Fests

Two fests are going on in Chicago this weekend. Chicago Zine Fest (CZF) and Bacon Fest Chicago. Both are pretty self-explanatory provided you know what a “zine” is. For those not in the know a zine is a self-published magazine. It usually has a very small, local circulation and is often hand made though there are some which are professionally printed and have largish circulations. If you don’t know what bacon is, get out there and eat something.

Zine Fest is free. It goes from 11AM to 5? Saturday and Sunday and I had friends who were going for the first time so I went to support them. I was going to go to Zine Fest, then Challengers and then to Bacon Fest if everything worked out. Now Zine Fest is being held at the Plumbers Union Hall which is a 10 minute drive from the UIC forum where Bacon Fest is located. Bacon Fest is $100 for a 3-hour block. Your $100 only gets you into that block. Saturday lunch (12-3), Saturday dinner (7-10) or Sunday lunch (12-3). If you buy a ticket to Saturday lunch and can’t make it, you can’t get in to one of the other two. You can also pay $200 and get in to each of the sessions an hour earlier, so lunch would be 11-3. Now I realized if I went to Zine Fest as it opened I could probably get to Bacon Fest around 12:30 giving me 2 and a half hours to eat $100 worth of Bacon and not have to wait around (yes, it’s Chicago, I could easily find something to do) until 7PM. And so this became the plan. Today was the choice as it was cold and rainy and that (to my people-hating psyche) would keep the crowds down.

I got to Zine Fest around 11:15 and was relieved to discover it was the size I thought it would be. It was like any small convention and similar to CAKE. I would easily get out within an hour. I found my friends, Lizzy and Ashly, and bought stuff from them and then randomly found other stuff to buy. I also met others there working the show who I knew and bought stuff from them. Now I’m not really a zine fan, I’m a comic fan and the stuff I bought was more comic than zine. Upstairs from the main room there was also a bake sale where $3 would get a a giant bagel which I thought about then realized there was a lot of bacon in my future. That morning I almost microwaved some turkey bacon for breakfast but decided against it as it would be a mockery of things to come. I spent a little more than an hour and around $100 on stuff and decided to head over the Bacon Fest.

Traffic was a little heavy and parking not as easy to find so I hit the floor around 12:45. Now I had never been to Bacon Fest and dropping $100 to eat lots of bacon is a risky proposition. But within 5 minutes I was certain my money had been well spent. In this age of instant gratification there was no buyer’s remorse on this purchase. On the other hand it will take a while to determine if my zine purchases were worth it. My friend’s stuff, even if it’s crap — and I haven’t read anything yet, is well worth the cost but the rest is up in the air.

Bacon Fest is set up like other conventions but since you’ve pre-paid for everything all the product is free. You walk around and eat from various restaurants and vendors where they all give you single servings of bacon themed dishes or samples of bacon related products. The latter is like sampling at the grocery store. “Try the sausage? And here’s a coupon.” The restaurants have things from their menu or they create dishes specifically for Bacon Fest. Several presented very gourmet dishes my favorites being a Bacon Bourguignon, a cajun bacon and mussels dish and bacon shu-mai. The group with the shu-mai also had baconroons (bacon macaroons which were decorated to look like cute little pigs) but I reached them near the end where I was too full to sample both. Near the end it was like going to a churrascaria (like Fogo de Chão) where you were so stuffed but they kept bringing you food. Now there were some places that were “sold out” by the time I got there including Honey Butter Fried Chicken which was the only one I was sorry I missed out on. I’m not saying I wouldn’t have enjoyed the others but I didn’t know who the restaurants I missed out on were. HBFC also won a “best of” award which meant their stuff was good.

The other thing is your $100 gets you 7 alcoholic drinks. Bottled water and soda was provided free. I had two drinks and they were strong and I kept to water afterwards. Like you could probably get beer and be OK but 7 mixed drinks would have done me in. I also got a free reusable grocery bag and I bought a t-shirt. If Zine Fest had a t-shirt of their poster (they were selling reusable bags with the image) I would have bought one there. I was really full by 2:30 which didn’t stop me from still eating but decided to head out at 2:45 and went to Challengers. I got to relate both experiences and everyone there got to see me with the meat sweats. I was there until just before close (5:00) and also spent around $100.

I am currently at home wondering how my evening will be. I do not plan to go out in case I have a “bacon attack.” I have a wrestling ppv tomorrow but that will depend on how well the evening goes. This will also determine if I plan to do Bacon Fest again next year, cuz right now it seems worth it.

April

Here it is, April is almost over and I haven’t updated at all! It’s been a slightly busy month: Lauren, our helpdesk girl, moved on to become a policeman, Pixar Warren and his family came to visit and I had a birthday — for which I was (and still am for this writing) on call. I was also kinda mean to Kristen, though she kinda blew me off. You man also note a new theme for the blog. I am running WordPress as an install and my old theme, Musa Sadr, had never updated in two years and was deemed buggy to virus scans. Right now I’m testing out the Times Square theme but I have no idea if I’ll keep it.

When Warren visited, I got to do all sorts of touristy things like take the Architecture Boat Tour and go to the Field Museum where they had an exhibit on Terra Cotta Warriors though I was mostly interested in getting Mia to sign her creative writing book. Warren and I, being who we are, also went to see Zootopia which was hella good. We ended their visit with seeing fellow Illini alum, Shelly who had just retired.

My birthday was a quiet matter, being on call. I did have dim sum twice at the newly opened Naperville Ming Hin. Ming Hin is the fourth big dim sum house (Three Happiness, Triple Crown and Phoenix are the other three) to open in Chinatown and they have branches in the Loop and Naperville with a fourth to open in Villa Park(?) soon. It’s good dim sum. A co-worker who never had it until recently goes there almost every other week though I doubt they recognize him yet.

For the birthday I didn’t plan anything special. By sheer coincidence I received my Mini Museum 2 which I had backed. It’s incredibly cool and possibly worth the money shelled out for it. I also played Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Skull & Shackles which had not a learning curve but an understanding of group balance to be learned as I played the Island hopping scenario three times. I also bought Antione Bauza’s Ghost Stories which I discovered I had played before at one of the old Michigan City retreats. That experience did not help me with the rules but I think I have it now.

As it stands on-call and April are both almost over though I have another on-call in a week due to trading. This weekend I may do Chicago zinefest, baconfest and the WWE Payback PPV.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

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So if you’re a Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) fan, her 5+ minutes (of the two and a half hour run time) are completely worth it. The rest, your mileage may vary. I will say I didn’t hate Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice but none of the criticisms you’ve heard are wrong.

Some SPOILERS to follow.

Perhaps because the movie did not focus on her, Wonder Woman is the most interesting, compelling character in the film. The guys, not so much. Batman (Ben Affleck) is a bit one dimensional. He’s just angry at Superman (Henry Cavill) for being at least partly responsible for destroying a lot of Metropolis in the previous Man of Steel film. Superman is very one dimensional as well as we mostly see how people react to him and not how he reacts except for some brooding.

There was a great Jimmy Kimmel skit where he recognizes Clark Kent as Superman and wants to have a picture taken and he asks Bruce Wayne to take the picture. Of course Bruce holds the phone so that only his mouth is showing and Jimmy recognizes him as Batman. Without giving too much away Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) does pretty much the same thing and sets the two heroes against each other.

If Lois Lane could figure out who Superman was when he was nobody it’s not surprising Lex Luthor could when he became a well known reporter. Discovering Wayne was Batman may have been more difficult but Luthor had essentially unlimited resources and his own genius though I never got the sense that he was truly super-intelligent. He was definitely clever and had inherited excellent resources but he wasn’t portrayed as having the smarts.

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Jimmy Olsen gets killed in the opening. I had mixed feelings about this but this is not the Jimmy Olsen we think it is. This is not Superman’s Pal. He does not have a signal watch to call Superman. While he may have been a staff photographer at the Planet he did not appear in the first movie. Clark and Lois did not know him. He’s just a guy with the same name.

Batman seemed too single minded in his hatred of Superman. While single-minded determination and focus are traits of Bats, so are logical thinking and deductive reasoning. But this Batman, much like Jimmy Olsen, is not the same Batman. This Batman kills. Though Superman killed Zod in the last film and he doesn’t kill either. These are not your childhood’s super heroes. Unexplainable is how Batman uses guns with bullets. And even more so how he didn’t make kryptonite bullets instead of a spear when he fought Superman. I suppose a spear has more religious connotations which were prevalent throughout.

Zach Snyder has never made a film I loved. He clearly likes comics and the same goes for David Goyer who helped write Man of Steel, the Nolan Batman Trilogy as well as the Blade films.They need someone like Christopher Nolan or Guillermo del Toro to curb some of the comic book tropes back for the general public. The movie isn’t terrible but it tries to do way too much and could have been two (maybe even three) movies. The fight scenes are OK but overall I don’t know that I’d recommend it — though Wonder Woman does shine every second she’s on screen.

C2E2 2016

C2E2 is this weekend. Saturday is over but I’m not sure if I’ll go Sunday. (Hmmm, I missed Jae Lee — I may go back.) I was kinda sick Friday but I doped myself on Dayquil and had cough drops. I spent some of my time with Kevin and Steve from book club but eventually met up with Kristen who amazingly was at an Art Teacher convention. She was interested in going to see the show so I said I’d fake a couple of badges. After Kristen and I were done I never did get back with Kevin or Steve and instead did my own shopping. I later discovered they went home. I went home and attempted to quickly fake badges. The blacks did not print well and were a little faded. They were OK, not great but they should have got people in. Then I doped myself up on Nyquil and slept like a baby.
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I woke up feeling much better (though I still have a slight cough.) Saturday was Rachel’s “Disney Princesses as Jedi Cosplay” day and during the early planning stages I was foolish enough to suggest I do my Russell from Up as a Jedi and the rest is history.

The Russell Jedi costume consists of:
orange shirt (I had an Arkham Asylum inmate t-shirt which I turned inside out.)
yellow karate gi. (bought one used and tub-dyed it and brought in the “hem” a little.)
yellow hat (from regular russell costume)
scout sash (from regular Russell costume)
padawan braid. (black hair extension- braided and trimmed. I should have left it hella long.)
light saber (cheap toy. I did not want the $150 one and Pat woulda lent me his if I did.)
fanny pack (part belt, part backpack. I felt the full jedi belt with the sash was too busy)
black pants (I ended up with black warm ups. I did try shorts, biker shorts and running pants.)
Jedi Explorer’s Handbook. (printed a cover to go over a small paperback book.)

I discovered something interesting this cosplay. I subconsciously suspected it but never came across a situation where it was put into practice. The colors of “Russell,” yellow shirt with orange neck piece, along with the sash meant people identified me as just Russell, not necessarily Jedi Russell. The more I though about it I was sure I looked more Russell (perhaps even poorly done) than Jedi Russell unless you looked closely. We were supposed to meet at noon but everyone was late. We started around 12:15 and did stuff until about 1 and then agreed to meet again at 5. Missing from the photo above (which was part of the 5PM set) was an incredible Elsa. [Edit: here’s one. She’s the leftmost character.]
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Oh yeah, the badges? I gave them to Kristen (she snuck me in to her con) and I had lunch with her. She and her friends who joined her did NOT end up using them. I understand it. There’s that fear of getting caught but those guards never look twice at badges. Really, would you?

The Money Pit C2E2
Vanessa Del Rey stechbook $25 (the porny one)
Vanessa Del Rey stechbook $20
Vanessa Del Rey stechbook $10 (theoretically the “porny” one but not really.)
Luke Smarto “Digital” Sketchbook” $10
Jenny Frison Sketchbook 7 $20
Jose Luis Garcia Lopez Sketchbook $20 (+$5 Hero Initiative)
Jeremy Haun 2016 Sketchbook $10
Rein Quintaro (ReiQ) Sketchbook $25
Stephanie Hans Cover-Art Book $25
Lady Death: Naughty-Art Book $40
Beauty TP $10
Cursed Pirate Girl TP (Archia ed.) $20 (Jeremy tried to not sell me on it due to an error. At least it’s not missing a page…)
Dark Tower: The Fall of Gilead $4 (the non-Jae Lee one, FINALLY!)
Namor Visionaries: Bryne vol 1 $4
Fantastic Four Waid ‘Ringo Ultimate Collection 2 $4
Fantastic Four Waid ‘Ringo Ultimate Collection 3 $4
Fantastic Four Waid ‘Ringo Ultimate Collection 4 $4
FF Omnibus 2 Lee/Kirby $39
Friday Parking $24 ($23?)
Saturday Parking $31 (I bought a day pass so I could leave and come back but didn’t need it.)
(2) Churros $8
(2) Diet Cokes $6(? One was from a machine for $2.50 The other from the Rib Vendor)
Super Polish $8? (it was served on the same french roll they serve the rib sandwich and the bread to meat ratios were off.)
Connie’s Pizza $6
Hot Dog $6

Hail, Caesar!

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Hail, Caesar! is a love letter by the Coen brothers to the golden age of Hollywood film making. It surrounds the daily life of studio head Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) who is trying to do his best by Capital Studios. He keeps his stars and starlets out of trouble, deals with gossips and deals with the day-to-day chaos that goes with being a studio head. It is tiresome, hard work but Mannix loves it, despite his long hours and missed family time.

The movie takes place over 27 hours and there are three semi-intertwined stories. Baird Whitlock (George Clooney,) lead on a film also named Hail, Caesar!, has been kidnapped and held for ransom, DeeAnna Moran (Scarlett Johannson,) is pregnant and unmarried and the studio is trying to make over the image of western film star, Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich,) into a dramatic actor.

We are shown scenes very reminiscent of blockbusters from that period. DeeAnna is Esther Williams and a beautiful swimming diving scene is shot. Hobie is Roy Rogers and he does a lot of trick riding, lasso work and singing. Hail, Caesar is literally Ben Hur. There’s also an amazing musical number with Channing Tatum very reminiscent of Gene Kelley.

Is it the Coen’s best film? Not even close but if you are a fan of the golden age of Hollywood there’s enough here for you to see this. No one really stands out except for Tilda Swinton who steals every scene she’s in without even trying.

Pride and Prejudice and Deadpool

Nothing since Star Wars but two films this weekend. First up:
Deadpool
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Deadpool, in his comic, talks to the reader all the time. In other comics he doesn’t break the fourth wall but still talks all the time. He quips and comments, similar to Spider-Man but on an extreme level. I am not a fan of Deadpool with the exception of the X-Force (2010) storyline “The Apocalypse Solution” but I liked the movie. I explained to someone who wasn’t aware of the character the movie was like “if the guys from Jackass (yes, the MTV show) made a super hero movie.” Understand it’s very rated R. There is a lot of intense violence, sex, nudity and rude, crass humor.

The movie starts in medias res and in fact the credits start with the camera flowing around a single, frozen moment in time and slowly pulling out to show Deadpool fighting guys in a car that is in the air flipping over. We then jump around in time where we see his origin story and how we go to that point. The short of it is Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is a bad guy with a heart of gold and he meets Vanessa (Morena Baccarin) who is (literally) a hooker with a heart of gold. They fall in love, he gets cancer and tries an experimental super soldier program to cure it and becomes Deadpool. The guys who gave him his powers are jerks and Pool wants his revenge. That’s it. Now there isn’t any big “save the world” stuff that happens in so many other films. If you’ve seen John Wick, Dredd or The Raid: Redemption, you know keeping it simple can have great results.

One of the things which sets Deadpool apart is it’s tongue-in-cheek awareness. Much like the comics, Deadpool talks to the audience, and not as an aside. “I’m not talking to you, I’m talking to them” is a line uttered by Mr. Pool while X-Men Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) are around. He spends a lot of time talking to the audience and he’s a quippy, snarky fellow. If that’s not for you he may wear on you a bit. The other thing that sets it apart is how rude it is. It really is as if the guys from Jackass we’re allowed to make a movie. There are dick punch jokes, anal sex jokes, masturbation jokes and other rudeness all of which eventually get played out visually. If they say it somewhere, they probably do it later.

Again, it is rated R and while many a Millennial will say don’t take your kids to see this, I saw Heavy Metal (the animated one from 1981) when I was 13 and Deadpool isn’t any worse than that. I don’t know that I’d bring a gradeschooler to see it but I’m not a parent so not my problem. There is a stinger at the very end of the credits which is worth staying for.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies started as a novel which is about half Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (in the public domain) and the other half zombies added by Seth Grahame Smith. If one is only familiar with Austen, the most striking change is Darcy is now a colonel, combining Mr. Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam allowing the male lead to be a military man whilst England is at war with zombies. That’s the only major change. Bingley, Collins and Wickham still exist and for the women the Bennet family survives as well as the other women, Bingley’s sister, the de Bourghs and Charlotte Lucas. They all play their parts — slightly modified due to zombies. Charlotte de Bourgh (Lena Hedley) is now the greatest warrior in all England who lost an eye fighting zombies and now has a functional patch.

The story, simplified from Austen, becomes even more simplified from Grahame Smith in the film adaptation. Much of the humor from both authors is abandoned in favor of action and thriller elements. Apart from Elisabeth (Lily James,) Darcy (Sam Riley,) Jane (Bella Heathcote,) and Bingsley (Douglas Booth) there is very little mention of the other characters and they have very little to do. I missed Charlotte (Aisling Loftus) as a character until she was suddenly betrothed to Parson Collins (Matt Smith).

The action was fine. One of the early scenes had all five Bennet sisters in formation slaughtering zombies. This is where Darcy may have fallen for Elisabeth. Lily James, who was previously in the live action Cinderella, is quite the actress but I never felt the love from Sam Riley’s Darcy, even as he proclaimed it. Darcy is a hard role to play correctly, both standoffish and in love. This was perhaps even more complicated due to his military upbringing and other elements of his past unique to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Jane and Bingsley were far easier to believe. If you are a fan of either book and don’t mind zombies you’ll like this though I might wait and see it at home instead of paying theater prices.

January

It’s the end of the month and I haven’t posted anything which really only means I didn’t see any movies since Force Awakens.

I started off the month taking the CCDP (Cisco Certified Design Professional) test in order to renew my CCNP certification. I debated letting the cert expire but discovered I needed them when the city’s changed the Police IT pay plan for 2016 and told us with 3 days left in 2015. I had an old Maron gathering where I inquired about jobs (they’re available) in case the city’s pay change falls through. Also at work we started playing board games during our Friday lunch hour. So far we’ve played Ticket to Ride, Tsuro, King of Tokyo/NY, Sushi Go and Forbidden Island.

I had book club in Chicago at Rachel’s place where I was conscripted into her C2E2 Princess Jedi cosplay group. I will be Russel from Up. When I jokingly suggested it there were squeals and high pitched communications and instantly had several facebook notifications indicating I would do this. I have subsequently purchased a Karate gi which I plan to dye yellow, hair extensions to use as my padawan braid and a toy light sabre. Danielle skipped that book club but the group saw her for her wedding on the 17th. The book we picked for next club: On A Wicked Dawn a romance novel and Valentine’s tie-in. I think the girls thought it was funny to see Steve squirm at the thought of reading a romance novel. I had admitted to reading them before. Virgin River was not very raunchy but Never Seduce a Scoundrel made up for it. Wicked Dawn is also kinda raunchy.

This week was kind of busy. I was on call through Tuesday evening and went out Wednesday through Friday. Drawing night was Wednesday, James Rollins at Andersons on Thursday, and Monthly Meat night at Twin Anchors on Friday. I was up until 3AM Friday night/Saturday morning and didn’t do much Saturday but had dim sum with my mother and sister at the newly opened Ming Hin in Naperville. My boss at work is a big dim sum fan and I also went there for lunch last Wednesday.

2015 Movie and Book List

I have not finished Pendergast 15 yet but will certainly do so. As I’m on call the 12/23-30 it is unlikely I will see any more films but will append the list if needed.

Books
The Big Over Easy (Fforde)
*Bonk (Mary Roach) *book club:read half
Ettiquette & Espionage (Gail Carriger)
The First 15 Lives of Harry August (Claire North)
The Girl On a Train (Paula Hawkins)
The Girl With All The Gifts (M. R. Carey)
*Lady Chatterly’s Lover (Lawrence) *book club:read some and then read “cliff notes”
The Lexicon (Max Barry)
The Martian (Andy Weir)
Mr. Penubra’s 24 Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan)
The Nightengale (Kristen Hannah)
*Paprika (Yasutaka Tsutsui) *book club:didn’t read at all — watched anime
Pendergast 14:Blue Labyrinth (Preston & Child)
Pendergast 15:Crimson Shore (Preston & Child)
The Princess Bride (W.M. Goldman)
The Thief of Always (Barker)
*Trigger Warning (Gaiman) *short stories-partial reading

Movies (seen in theater)
American Ultra
Ant Man
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Crimson Peak
Ex Machina
Fantastic Four
Furious 7
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay pt 2
Inside Out
Jurrassic World
Kingsman: The Secret Service
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
Mr. Holmes
My Fair Lady
Pitch Perfect 2
Rifftrax: The Room
Seventh Son
Spectre
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Terminator Genisys

Strep Wars: The Throat Awakens

I have strep throat. I get it at least every other year but no more than once a year. This is my second bout with strep in three months. You may recall I had it when I went to see the wonderful A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder back in October. Discovering this one was pure luck.

I had a doctor’s appointment Thursday, I felt completely fine Wednesday but woke up with slightly sore tonsils. No aches, no pains, nothing. Anyway I show up for my doctor appointment. We talk for a few minutes – I’m in pretty good shape for a diabetic, so much so my doctor is considering lowering my meds. But there’s not much to talk about after a few minutes so I mention my tonsils and he swabs them. There are two types of step, one that can be determined in 5 minutes and one that takes a day to confirm. I had the 5 minute variety. I still felt great and figure it must have just happened that night because I never felt sick and still don’t feel sick.

I had taken both Thursday and Friday off. In addition to the doctor’s appointment that Thursday I had also planned to have dim sum (Chinese dumpling lunch, kinda like tapas) in Chinatown with Pat and book-club Rachel who is literally between jobs. Her new one starts early next year and she’s off for these last few weeks of 2015 but always takes a California holiday with the family at Christmas so this Thursday was one of the few days I would be able to include her. I also had book club that evening which Rachel was hosting and I’m sure I would find something to do in between dim sum and club. It’s Chicago.

So I get in touch with Pat and cancel — unless he’s up for risking getting strep… Which he would be but rightly thinks I should rest. However I can’t reach Rachel. I even end up calling! I don’t want her showing up and not having anyone there. I also don’t want to go and not have anyone there. Eventually we touch base and as much as she’s interested in going for it and I’m eager for her company, I don’t want her sick on her vacation. Book club ended up being shifted to after her vacation. I probably could have made it through dim sum but would have suffered for it. I did sleep through most of Thursday afternoon and felt much better for it.

I also mentioned I took Friday off. There’s a movie that opened Friday (I’m writing this on Friday if my tenses get a bit screwy) and I intended to see it. Early. I like early films. One theater had a 5:30 AM but that was a bit too early. Everyone else was 9:00AM earliest. So I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens at 9:00 AM.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
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I’m gonna keep this short and relatively spoiler free. It was very good. Where it is strongest is in it’s two leads, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega.) Rey is a modern woman — independent, strong and entirely self-sufficient. She is ready for adventure but a desperate longing keeps her from moving forward. Finn is an ex-Storm Trooper on the run from the Empire. He has skills but is afraid of his past. They each follow the “Hero With a Thousand Faces” journey with great exactness.

There is a strong nostalgia component the film plays off of and it does so without shame but as a fan it didn’t matter. There is one moment in the film, the scene shown above, where they discuss “garbage.” This is the point where I laughed, cried and was certain the film would not let me down. It’s relatively early on and allowed me to relax into the film. [Edit: it’s been 3 months — here’s the clip, it’s the first 25 seconds.]

My only complaint is in Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) who (deliberately?) looks like bad CG work. It has to be deliberate, I’ve seen better rendering on a Nintendo Gameboy. But it was so bad it took me out of the film. That and my early fascination with BB8 being done practically. But that’s only because I knew it was done practically. The droid’s not distracting in any way and even a strong character.

If you like Star Wars, The Force Awakens has the franchise headed in a good direction. My first screening was at the Canter 17 RPX theater. If I see it again it will be via 3D IMAX but that’s still just a maybe.