Take Off The Nostlagia Goggles: 'The Force Awakens' Is Terrible

Take Off The Nostlagia Goggles: 'The Force Awakens' Is Terrible

2.5/10: This nothing more than an abysmal remake of the 4th film, losing any redeeming qualities in a desperate attempt to rake in as much money as possible. 135 min / 2015 / Abrams
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I had originally planned to write a review of the film “Crash,” a superficial, cliche overview of racism rendered all but worthless by its structure and development. However, upon viewing “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” I was alarmed. I wondered if I had missed some golden scenes that give the film its own feeling, its own themes and its own plot. However, after about 15 minutes of reading other people’s summaries and analysis, I came to the tragic conclusion that I had indeed seen the same film. Now, I am in a state of disbelief that this film had received remote acclaim, and grossed $2 billion. JJ Abrams has made a fortune for doing nothing. “The Force Awakens” is a systematic failure of filmmaking: the camera work is bad, the dialogue is bad, the acting is largely bad and the structure of the film is awful, so derivative and unoriginal that I couldn’t believe my eyes when I witnessed plot development. I kept futilely hoping that the film would come into its own, but alas all that remained after over two hours was dreck. There are innumerable gripes I have about the film (Snoke sounds like the name for a 5-year-old’s stuffed animal) but will stick to my larger issues.

The camera work oscillates between fan service and bad shots. To be fair, there are two shots I found effective. The first is during the opening scene. The shot switches between shallow and deep focus of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow). It does an excellent job of concisely capturing their reactions and was a welcome stylistic flourish. The other excellent shot was a carefully crafted one on the bridge during the Starkiller Base assault. Light from the top streams in a long shot that gives the moment between Han Solo and Kylo Ren an almost religious quality, which the scene itself reinforces. It was a rare moment that wasn’t contrived, and was epic in itself. Outside those two more laudable moments, the camera work lacks any ingenuity. It is filled with references to the original trilogy. The opening shot of the film is a direct re-tread of a scene in the fifth movie when Darth Vader’s destroyer is introduced, which is a nice symbolism for the entire film: an inferior retread of the original trilogy. Among the most overt are the Millennium Falcon taking off from an identical angle when it flees from Mos Eisley, and a terrible rehashing of the wonderful Cantina scene, with even the same camera swoop surveying the bar. It's all done due to a creative void; Abrams is a vacuous ventriloquist, and there is never a desire to expand on what the original trilogy did, just to recreate it for maximum profits and fanboy acclaim. Watch the unveiling of R2D2 scene again, the camera swoops at the ground level and gazes at the robot with a monolithic admiration, as if the audience is staring at the Pyramids or Taj Mahal.

There is no fundamental difference between the plots of “The Force Awakens” and “A New Hope.” The escalation, the evolution and the character development are fundamentally the same. Consider the premise: an orphaned child with Force powers is reluctantly dragged into the battle between rebels and a powerful evil organization after the person runs into a droid carrying a valuable secret. That opening is even filmed in the same damn order, with the First Order/Empire attacking the rebels and forcing the droid to flee, then depiction of daily life for the hero, and finally them discovering the secret and having to flee their home planet. This decision to recreate the fourth film’s glacial first 40 minutes is confounding given that that is “A New Hope’s” weakest facet. There was no thought behind retreading that ground; it was just mindless fan service designed to appease people rather than try to make a film of any worth. "The Force Awakens" even highlights its own startling unoriginality when the rebels discuss destroying the Starkiller Base. They note it is functionally the Death Star again, only bigger (one of the films many failed visual gags). That is emblematic of the film’s ethos, just create the fourth film, modernize the film and make it “bigger,” which will hopefully obfuscate that the film has nothing to say. The stakes are not raised in any meaningful way; the film is not more epic or interesting, just lazy and devoid of ideas.

What makes the film a special kind of awful is the characters, either due to the acting, dialogue or at times, both. The film’s terrible fan service and imitative nature could be overlooked, even forgiven, if the characters and dialogue were strong. Remember all of the reasons I complimented the script of “8 ½?” Well “The Force Awakens” is the exact opposite. It is a terrible script. Half of the lines seem to have been pulled from a compendium of cliche action movie lines: e.g. “We’ve got company” or “That’s impossible! “We have to try” (the second isn’t verbatim, but that idea). Another chunk of the dialogue is, as many other elements are, designed to milk nostalgia as much as possible, e.g. “This place have a garbage chute?” “We're home, Chewy.” Now, to discuss the characters: Even in his 70s, Harrison Ford has not lost his charm, and the scene in which he attempts to talk his way out of trouble (the dialogue portion) has the humor that the other two hours and 10 minutes needed. It was a call back to the old trilogy while still offering something new. Unfortunately, the rest of his dialogue seems designed to recall his time in the original trilogy as much as possible, and he is certainly the most consistent nostalgia pull throughout the film. Carrie Fisher as Leia functions similarly, but unfortunately she was never a good actress, and age did not help that. Boyega as the rogue trooper, Finn, is generic, as is his character. There is nothing that separates him from any other defector in film. The film wastes the power of Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron. The actor, who was brilliant in “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Ex Machina,” has turned into a “Top Gun” character. He should be spitting abysmal one liners with Tom Cruise, though he does the first part of that plenty. Rey is probably the single most obvious example of the scripts overall negative trends. Abrams took Luke and made him a girl, and apparently thought that because Rey is female, that he should take out all of Luke’s charm and personality. Rey is determined and brooding to the point of caricature. She lacks any defining personality trait, a sense of thought behind her actions. She as a serious character isn’t bad in and of itself—I certainly think there should be female characters taken seriously—but not when it sucks out any chance at a personality. And finally, Kylo Ren, the greatest catastrophe of the film. Driver is stolid to the point of wooden, and there is none of the turbulence, confusion and frustration that he should have been afforded. Ren is an angsty teenager. Instead of the touching portrayal of a man torn in two, someone who is pulled by dichotomous sides of good and evil (his true nature and his obsession with power), he has the existential profundity of a Puddle of Mudd fan. Kylo Ren’s emotional depth makes a kiddie pool seem like Mariana’s Trench. To be fair, there are moments that seem to indicate Abrams wanted to make Ren a complex internal Jekyll and Hyde (scene with Vader mask is telling), but his ineptitude prevented more admirable character designs to reach fruition.

“A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” are so effective because despite the dark plots and high stakes, the films never lose their charm. The fourth and fifth films contain a hint of camp throughout the proceedings that makes them fun, engrossing even. The problems with the sixth film and the prequels is that they went too far into the camp realm (Ewoks, Jar-Jar), and now the reverse has happened. The film attempts to move Star Wars into the modern blockbuster vein, which is why “The Force Awakens” fails so utterly. Star Wars 4 and 5 are original films, they are charming, the characters are memorable; “The Force Awakens” is none of these things. Star Wars’ personality is not “The Dark Knight,” which it feels every blockbuster attempts to emulate now. JJ Abrams has produced another cash cow for Disney, but in doing so sucked any memorable moments, charm or silver lining from the franchise. This atrocious, venal film does nothing new, has nothing to say, contains nothing to remember and certainly leaves nothing worth pondering. Hopefully, Abrams will ponder this article.
Cover Image Credit: Starwars.com

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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
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Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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I Wish I Had The Time To Test All These Supplies

If only I didn't already have an avalanche of art supplies to use up, I would be all over projects like this.

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I love art and office supplies, one might say I have a borderline obsession with being prepared for any possible project. My favorite store of all time is Staples closely followed by Michael's Crafts. There is just something about these supplies that draws me in, inspires me, and gets me in the mood to be creative. Currently, I have reached a tipping point for the amount of art and office supplies I have. I am in maximum use up mode. This is why I have been making blankets, hats, and scarves left and right. Some are gifts, donated, or even sold on E-bay or Etsy.

That being said, if I had the time and the resources I would love to test art and office supplies to see which ones are the most effective and give you the most bang for your buck. I have done one art supply review thus far and that was when I was getting into micron-pens because the kit was on clearance and I had a coupon, plus a gift card. I had an absolutely amazing time getting to test and play around with the supplies in the mini kit and I still use all of them (except the paper) on at the very least a weekly basis.

Trying 30 Artist Erasers - WHICH IS THE BEST?! www.youtube.com

Youtubers like Kasey Golden and Superraedizzle do large batch product reviews like the video above all the time. I watch them endlessly. Not only are they informative as to what is the best of the best to use and buy, but they are also relaxing and organized which helps me to get rid of my stress during a day. I always watch art videos if a day has been stressful, and let's be honest this is college, every day is pretty stressful.

I don't always have the time to create my own art or the capacity for that matter, but I do have plenty of videos to satisfy my need for art in my hectic college schedule.

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