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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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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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G.I. Jeez

Stomach Bugs and Prom Dates

E.Coli High is in your gut and on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Brothers-in-law Kevin Barker and Ben Miller have just made the mother of all Comedy Crib series, in the sense that their Comedy Crib series is a big deal and features a hot mom. Animated, funny, and full of horrible bacteria, the series juxtaposes timeless teen dilemmas and gut-busting GI infections to create a bite-sized narrative that’s both sketchy and captivating. The two sat down, possibly in the same house, to answer some questions for us about the series. Let’s dig in….

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IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

BEN: Hi ummm uhh hi ok well its like umm (gets really nervous and blows it)…

KB: It’s like the Super Bowl meets the Oscars.

IFC: How would you describe E.Coli High to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

BEN: Oh wow, she’s really cute isn’t she? I’d definitely blow that too.

KB: It’s a cartoon that is happening inside your stomach RIGHT NOW, that’s why you feel like you need to throw up.

IFC: What was the genesis of E.Coli High?

KB: I had the idea for years, and when Ben (my brother-in-law, who is a special needs teacher in Philly) began drawing hilarious comics, I recruited him to design characters, animate the series, and do some writing. I’m glad I did, because Ben rules!

BEN: Kevin told me about it in a park and I was like yeah that’s a pretty good idea, but I was just being nice. I thought it was dumb at the time.

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IFC: What makes going to proms and dating moms such timeless and oddly-relatable subject matter?

BEN: Since the dawn of time everyone has had at least one friend with a hot mom. It is physically impossible to not at least make a comment about that hot mom.

KB: Who among us hasn’t dated their friend’s mom and levitated tables at a prom?

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

BEN: There’s a lot of content now. I don’t think anyone will even notice, but it’d be cool if they did.

KB: A show about talking food poisoning bacteria is basically the same as just watching the news these days TBH.

Watch E.Coli High below and discover more NYTVF selections from years past on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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