Saturday, November 19, 2011

Why "Star Wars" fans are dumbasses

From page xiv of the introduction to the book A Galaxy Not So Far Away: Writers and Artists on Twenty-five Years of Star Wars, by that volume's editor Glenn Kenny:

Kevin Kline's character in The Big Chill has a much quoted "no good music since year X" line that I can't bring myself to quote accurately, as it would mean looking at the movie again...

The accurate quote is actually this exchange of dialogue from Kline's character and Jeff Goldblum's:

Michael: Harold, don't you have any other music , you know, from this century?
Harold: There is no other music, not in my house.
Michael: There's been a lot of terrific music in the last ten years.
Harold: Like what?

I pulled that from the IMDb page, but I could've done it from memory, because even though as a rule, I hate boomers, I happen to love that movie. Go figure. I am large, I contain multitudes. For example, the title of this entry notwithstanding, I'm something of a Star Wars fan.

But anyway, that Kenny clearly doesn't love a movie which I do is not why I've made him exhibit Z (or whatever) in my case for why Star Wars fans are dumbasses. For that, we have to go two pages later, and read this from page xvii:

Empire's dialogue was a lot snappier than Star Wars' (I like to think that a lot of what I enjoyed in Empire was due to the participation of veteran screenwriter Leigh Brackett...

Glenn, Glenn, Glenn. You're making this all too easy, Glenn.

If I may hit you with a few more quotes, these are from the Lucas bio Skywalking:

Lucas had one lengthy meeting with Brackett to outline the story and turn his notes over to her, and by March 1978 Brackett's first draft was done. It was also her last-she died of cancer two weeks later.

One meeting. One draft. Still, I'm sure Brackett's participation is what paid off in enjoyment for Kenny and most others, including myself. Except that:

Lucas shelved Brackett's script and started anew. If he could get a new first draft done, he could turn it over to a new writer, and they could pass versions back and forth until Lucas was satisfied.

But who would be his new writer? Well, a few months later, one Lawrence Kasdan turned in a screenplay Lucas had hired him to write for something called Raiders of the Lost Ark, and he and Lucas went to lunch...

Lucas abruptly launched into the story of Leigh Brackett's untimely death, his problem with Empire, and his need for a writer to polish the new draft. He'd be happy to give Kasdan screenplay credit in Empire (Lucas planned to take none himself) but asked whether Kasdan would mind sharing it with Brackett. He wanted her estate to benefit from a profit percentage of the film.

And that was, indeed, how the writing credits for Empire ran: Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan, (screenplay); George Lucas, (story).

So then, who's responsible for the snappier dialogue and other joys missing from Star Wars that appeared in The Empire Strikes Back? Well, clearly, demonstrably, Kasdan.

Who is also screenwriter, co-screenwriter and/or the director of a dozen-plus other movies, including, what?

The Big Chill.

I repeat: Star Wars fans are dumbasses.

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