DID YOU READ

An Open Letter to Star Wars By Someone Who Was Burned By the Prequels

Star Wars: Force Awakens

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Dear Star Wars,

It’s been a long time. How are you? I hear you’re doing well and really working at trying to get your act together. You look great, I won’t lie, and despite everything we’ve been through I was genuinely happy to see you. Seeing you reminded me of old times, of why I fell for you in the first place. You look like the Star Wars I always knew and loved.

But I’m cautious, Star Wars. I mean, I want this to work. I want us to work, but can you blame me for having my doubts? For being scared of falling in love all over again only to end up hurt, betrayed, and confused by the mess you ended up causing?

It took me a long time to get over what happened. I’m still not sure I’m really over it. Are you? I mean, you say you are and that you want to wipe the slate clean. To start over. To be the Star Wars you once were, but can you?

I’d be lying if I said I don’t watch the original trilogy and pine for what we once had. You were so innovative back then. All the action, the humor, the romance; the way you managed to make me believe in and love things that seemed so utterly unbelievable like Wookies and Jawas and sentient robots that seemed like real people. I’ll admit I even thought Ewoks were cute, even if they seemed to serve little purpose and slowed things down.

But then things got…weird. I know that people change, but you just went off the rails. You seemed to suffer from delusions and grandeur. You became revisionist, embellishing and rewriting what existed between us for so long. Maybe it was overconfidence, maybe it was arrogance, maybe it was a desperate attempt to seem relevant and inventive in a time when so many new things were available. (I understand that 3D is tempting, but did you really have to go there?)

You started associating yourself with some questionable people. They say you are the company you keep, so what does it say about you that you spent so much time with Jar Jar Binks? I get that you clearly have daddy issues, but after a look at the prequels, aka “Anakin: The Early Years,” we ALL have issues with your father. And his being a Sith isn’t one of them.

I had some hope when I heard Boba Fett would be in the prequels, until he ended up being an annoying little kid that served no purpose other than messing with my emotions.

Stormtrooper

And poor Obi Wan. What did he ever do to you, to us, to deserve to struggle through that sketchy time in your life, carrying the weight of your mess on his shoulders? His memory deserved better than that.

It’s been a long time for us, Star Wars. We literally grew up together. We needed to take a break, and maybe it was for the better. I needed to see other movies, explore various universes, try on a few different franchises, maybe even fall for a few new heroes. But I won’t pretend I didn’t compare a lot of them to you.

Now we’re both older, hopefully wiser. You’ve made some better friends, like this J.J. guy, and he seems to bring out the best in you. The you I fell in love with. Yeah, there’s still some feelings there, but I just don’t know if I can trust you again just yet. But I may be willing to try if you are. I just need to see a little more effort on your part first. Like maybe one more trailer where we see Han shoot Greedo’s grandson first.

Yours,

A lapsed (yet hopeful) fan

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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