Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Force Isn't With Me

A long time ago in a USC classroom far far away there was a fresh faced film student on her first day of Sound Class. Her Professor, Tom Holman (the T.H. in THX--for those of you who don't know) began his lecture on the importance of sound design with a dramatic demonstration. The lights dimmed, the projector rolled and the first five minutes of Star Wars: Episode IV began playing with its original production recording only. The opening crawl was endless without the iconic John Williams score, feet stomped across rickety wooden sets, and Darth Vader and his storm troopers spoke in...British accents. And as the lights came back on the room fell silent and the guy next to her leaned over and murmured, "Can you believe how different it was?" She shrugged her shoulders and whispered back--a little too loudly, "I don't really know. I haven't seen it."

A gasp echoed through the room and all heads turned to catch a glimpse of: The Girl Who'd Never Seen Star Wars.

How could this be? How could anyone born after 1977 manage to exist without watching this epic battle between good and bad, dark and light, Luke and Vader? And how could they possibly score a coveted spot at the USC Film School--sponsored by George Lucas himself--and his Alma Mater to boot? Should they take her outside and string her up for such sacrilege?

Fortunately for me, they didn't, and I lived to tell the tale. In fact, it became my trademark--my conversation starter, if you will. I was boldly going where no one had gone before (wait...that's Star Trek, isn't it?). And when I graduated from USC two years later I could proudly say I still hadn't seen it--take that George Lucas!

So for those of you experiencing paroxysms of rage right now, please, let me explain. It's not that I don't appreciate Star Wars for what it is. Believe me, I know better than most what an earth shattering thing it was--revolutionizing special effects and sound design, creating the concept of the blockbuster, launching actors like Harrison Ford into Superstardom--not to mention creating an epic dogma that has changed pop culture forever. I get it. I get that it's important. I get that it's beloved. And I don't deny that it deserves it. It's a great, wonderful thing. Go right on ahead loving it. Just don't expect me to like it and we'll get along just fine.

And if you want to blame someone, blame my parents. My mom hated the movie the one and only time she saw it, so it was not a part of our limited VHS collection. Worse: my dad was a Trekkie. I was forcibly exposed to so many Klingons and Vulcans and Ferengi that I grew to despise them--to the extent that I not only rebelled against anything Star Trek related, I took it one step further. I swore off Sci-Fi altogether. I wanted no part of anything with the word "Star" in the title. And I intended to stay that way.

Enter my husband. Let me put it this way: his dad went to USC Film School with George Lucas back in the 60's. They were friends. They even worked together at one point. Needless to say, my husband grew up living, breathing, and sleeping Star Wars. So when he found out he was dating someone who'd never seen the movies that he describes as being "the defining pieces of his childhood," well...let's just say he wasn't happy. Horrified is probably a better way of putting it. And he was determined to change me.

Because I loved him...I agreed to give it a chance.

I tried. I really did. I endured a Star Wars marathon. We started with Episode IV, because he thought I should experience it in the same order everyone else had--plus he likes the originals better. I watched the whole saga play out, every over-hyped moment from, "May the force be with you," to, "I am your father." I met Jedis and Wookies and Ewoks and talking droids...and I sincerely tried to like them. But...I just couldn't. I can't even explain why. I guess I just don't get it. I get why everyone respects it. I just don't get why they like it. Sorry people. I guess I'm alone in my principles.

Miraculously he still married me, and through the five years of our marriage we've settled into a strange sort of truce. He has one room in the house where his action figures and posters are allowed to exist in all their glory (plus a garage full of merchandise and paraphernalia he can't bear to part with). In return, he doesn't make me watch the movies. He knows he can watch them anytime he wants, but I'm going to go in the other room and read. It's not an ideal arrangement, but it works. And he did accomplish one amazing feat. Thanks to him I am no longer The Girl Who Never Saw Star Wars. I came. I saw. I...wasn't moved.

So, the real question is: will I ever see them again? Will I cave into my husband's peer pressure and give them another chance? Well, I suppose anything's possible...and I've learned to never say never. But I think Princess Leia said it best: "I'd just as soon kiss a Wookie."


  1. As an avid watcher and admirer of Star Wars, I appreciate your honesty. And I don't think Marisa has ever seen any of movies either. Tell Miles we need another marathon!! haha.

  2. He says we should set a date. You Star Wars people. *rolls eyes* Seriously, how many times do you need to see it? :-)

  3. Great story and prospective is priceless. I can honestly say not too many (if any) can relate to your experience, let alone share it with the world.

  4. Well, I don't know about the world...there's like 3 people reading this blog. But the only way to survive two years of classes in the Lucas! Building surrounded by Star Wars freaks as The Girl Who'd Never Seen Star Wars was to be open and fearless about it. I'm not ashamed. :-)

  5. This was a really good post. I have to admit that I've seen all 6 and enjoyed them.... but I'm nowhere near obsessed. Though I do think the Ewoks are adorable.

  6. Donna-Thanks for reading it! And okay, I do have to concede to your point. The Ewoks are pretty stinking cute. But I'm still not sold on the movies. :)


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