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Ten changes we wouldn’t mind seeing in the new “Star Wars” Blu-rays

Ten changes we wouldn’t mind seeing in the new “Star Wars” Blu-rays (photo)

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When news broke a few weeks ago that George Lucas was reediting the “Star Wars” films yet again, this time for their first release on Blu-ray, nerds everywhere reacted with collective outrage. “You can’t add Darth Vader screaming “NOOOOO!” to the end of “Return of the Jedi!” they cried. “We don’t want Ewoks that blink!” they howled. But complaining about the fact that George Lucas continues to change “Star Wars” is like complaining that the sun goes down at night. No matter what you say, no matter how much you point out that he’s kind of a hypocrite, Lucas is going to keep doing what he wants. And what he wants is to continue tweaking hos beloved science-fiction saga until the day he dies. At this point, the Wikipedia page devoted to listing the changes in each successive rerelease of “Star Wars” is over 10,000 words long. I’m sure someday it’ll be twice that.

So instead of gnashing our teeth and flailing our lightsabers, we decided to be a little more constructive. No more fighting change; from here on out, we’re embracing it. We put our midichlorians together and picked ten beefs we have with the six “Star Wars” films that should be fixed. Changing back anything that’s already been changed — like sticking Sebastian Shaw back into the final celebration of “Return of the Jedi” — was against the rules; these are old school issues only (or at least as old school as 2005 can be). Obviously it’s too late to get them in the new Blu-rays that hit stores tomorrow. But there’s going to be another “Star Wars” collection. How do we know? Because there’s always another “Star Wars” collection. And here’s what we want to see in it.

1. Recast the stereotypically ethnic alien prequel voices.
I’ve never heard a valid explanation why the aliens in “The Phantom Menace” all sound like guys with the worst kind of stereotypical ethnic accents. Instead of Asian Neimoidians, African-American Gungans, and Middle Eastern Toydarians, why not just have aliens who sound like aliens? In the original trilogy, the aliens had their own languages (Chewbacca) or totally unique speech patterns (Yoda). In the prequels, the alien dialects are, to quote Jar-Jar Binks, “nutsen.” A revision that brought the prequels in line with the original trilogy would make me “mooey mooey” happy. –MS

2. Fix Han’s carbonite costume change.
Han Solo didn’t appear to have much room inside that block of carbonite that he rode in from Cloud City in “The Empire Strikes Back” to Jabba the Hut’s palace in “Return of the Jedi.” Nevertheless, he found some time (and some space) along the way to switch from a single-breasted shirt to a more symmetrical double-breasted look. The quick-change is far less believable than Ewoks who don’t blink, so let’s see some appropriate priorities put into place — please. –BW

3. Do something about the “Two fighters against a Star Destroyer?” line.
The drama leading up to the Battle of Hoth in “The Empire Strikes Back” comes to an awkward and disorienting pause for a moment while Princess Leia explains how their mission is about to unfold. Actor Richard Oldfield deserved to have another take after his odd line delivery, which somehow managed to produce a sentence that’s neither a statement nor a question. –BW

4. Make the TIE fighter windows consistent.
With all of the cash and CGI effects at George Lucas’ disposal, surely there must be a way to get the TIE fighter windows to look the same from the inside as they do from the outside. Unfortunately, the miniature models used for the original Death Star battle in “Star Wars” featured octagon-shaped windows with corners at the top, while the cockpit views showed the windows with flat sides facing up. Pick one and make them match! –BW

5. No stunning people with blasters.
In the opening minutes of the original “Star Wars,” Darth Vader and his Stormtroopers board Princess Leia’s ship. A couple of troopers find her hiding behind some bulkheads. “There’s one! Set for stun!” one orders before firing what looks like a giant blue hula hoop made out of energy from his blaster. Not only does it look silly, it looks out of place; in five other movies, no one ever fires a stun laser ring again. Just one shot is random and weird. Why not have the Stormtroopers fire a normal blast and have it glance off Leia’s arm or something? –MS

6. Slow down those speedy Jedi.
Right at the start of “The Phantom Menace,” as Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi are escaping from a trap on the Trade Federation ship, they run away from their enemies at super-speed. And I mean like Road Runner super-speed. While the Force does give Jedis all kinds of super-powers, hyperspeed is problematic. Like the blaster that “stuns” Leia, it’s never really seen again in the entire saga. If they could do it once, why don’t they don’t they do it all the time? Why doesn’t Obi-Wan race away from Darth Vader in “Star Wars?” Or toward Darth Maul when he’s about to kill Qui-Gon in “The Phantom Menace?” Eliminating that one shot of them darting away would clear up so many questions. (NOTE: This article on DVDActive.com indicates that the Force Speed effect has been made “more realistic” on the Blu-ray, but not eliminated. Not good enough!) –MS

7. Give Vader a better line than “Noooooooooooo!”
The “Star Wars” prequels should have humanized Anakin Skywalker, and while they did shed some light on his boyhood podracing skills and hot temper, the Vader transformation scene in “Revenge of the Sith” left a great deal to be desired. The emo, fist-shaking disaster that introduced Lord Vader could benefit from a simple redub. After that’s done we’ve got a long list of other whiny Anakin moments that belong on the cutting room floor, but this is the one that needs the most help. –BW

8. Anakin: Best star pilot in the galaxy no more.
Granted, the scene where Obi-Wan tells Luke about his father in “Star Wars” is rife with all sorts of strange comments (Lightsabers were “elegant weapons for a more civilized age?” Since when is decapitating people with a single slice civilized?). But the one line that really makes no sense post “Star Wars” prequels is Obi-Wan’s remark that Anakin Skywalker was “the best star pilot in the galaxy and a cunning warrior.” Cunning warrior, sure, but best star pilot? On what evidence? Because that one time in “The Phantom Menace” he blew up a Trade Federation ship by accidentally pressing a lucky combination of buttons? What if he’d hit a different combination of buttons and activated the ejector seat while he was in deep space? –MS

9. De-evil Emperor Palpatine’s face.
The whole crux of Emperor Palpatine’s plot to conquer the Republic over the course of the “Star Wars” prequels hinges on the fact that he, the biggest of big bads, looks like a harmless, middle-aged man. That’s what makes his storyline scary: the fact that he is able to take over the Senate from within through cunning and subterfuge rather than weapons of war. Which is precisely why the Emperor’s appearance in “Revenge of the Sith” after he zaps himself with his electrical bolts is so annoying. Now he’s gone from being this insidious unseen force to the most obviously sinister dude ever. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but c’mon people: that is one seriously villainous cover! And no one seems bothered by it! Shouldn’t someone have the balls to call the guy on his weird face? Or at least schedule a visit to a dermatologist for him? Someone get some CGI and de-evil that dude’s face, stat. –MS

10. Make “The Phantom Edit” a reality.
The greatest “Phantom Menace” cut that George Lucas never approved came from editor Mike J. Nichols, who filtered out the Jar-Jar Binks nonsense in favor of keeping the flavor of Episodes IV-VI alive. Let’s just take that philosophy a step further and find a way to stitch the rest of the prequels together without ever having to look at that ridiculous guy ever again. That’s the real “special edition” that “Star Wars” fans would love to see. –BW

What changes do you want to see in the “Star Wars” saga? Or are we heretics for even suggesting changes are needed? You tell us. Leave us a comment below or get in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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