By Cody Pestana
When I first heard about the Han Solo standalone movie I was not happy. It was the dumbest Hollywood cash grab in a long time. Ever since… well we’ll get to that. The character is a classic, the performance is iconic and so far the only way to make a bad Star Wars movie is to make it a prequel.
To write, Disney hired Lawrence Kasdan. A good decision but also kind of an obvious one. He is the only person other than Lucas who has ever written Han, he knows what he is doing and he is generally a reliably good writer. But I was still unimpressed, figuring the idea was just so bad that there was no way even he could pull it off.
But then they hired directors specifically Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Lord and Miller are fantastic directors who have yet to make a bad movie. They have a history of turning bad ideas around. Both Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street looked like stupid film ideas on the surface but both are well-liked and successful. And that isn’t even touching The Lego Movie.
I remember hearing about The Lego Movie a year before it came out. I was livid. This was the stupidest franchise idea I had ever seen. A movie about Legos? Seriously? How dumb did they think we were? But of course the movie turned out to be a sublime piece of pop art. And that’s the thing. The Young Han Solo Movie is the dumbest idea I’ve heard since a movie about Legos.
But still, you can’t recast Harrison Ford as Han Solo. It doesn’t matter how good the directors are. You don’t have a Han, you don’t have a movie. I spent a good chunk of time sitting around with my friends trying to think of a single person who could fill the role. We came up empty.
I recently saw Hail, Caesar and was blown away by Alden Enrenreich. He stole scenes out from under experienced actors and he had an odd charm that made me eager to see more. When he was announced as a contender for the roll of Han, I was surprised to find I could picture him playing Han Solo. Luckily they gave him the part.
So here we are with an actor who can fill the role and directors whose entire careers are based on making bad ideas into great movies. I still kind of can’t imagine it being good. But I just keep thinking I felt the same way about The Lego Movie. I think we all did. And look how that turned out.
Cody Pestana is a writer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. You can contact him at email@example.com.
being inclusive as a nerd
Lately there has been a lot of nerd on nerd bullying in the news. The release of movies like Batman V Superman and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has brought these feuds to the forefront yet again. If you don't agree with someone else on a fandom you're shouted down. Not to mention the attacks on female nerds that are still going on, especially in the cosplay community. I wrote this on my own blog back in April of 2012. It is still relevant today.
There is a war going on and we don't even know it. How is that for a first line? The war I am talking about it between the nerds and the so called "fake nerds." It is being fought on the interwebs, on message boards, social media sites, and blogs. Since when have nerds complained about having people that are attractive coming into our fold? Why would somebody who is attractive want to face the life of a geek if they did not want to? A lot of my life had I been faced with ridicule and socially awkward situations that come from being a geek, or nerd, or whatever the term is these days. People admit to liking gaming or comics because they like them, not because they think it will make them cool. It is quite the opposite. So to call them posers is ridiculous. What do they have to gain? Being a nerd who has been excluded from most things in their life, we of all people should be the ones saying come on in, the water’s fine. I know we have been hurt, we know the derisive looks that people give us and the patronizing, “Oh you read comic books.” So our first instinct is to want to lash out at the beautiful people, and say “Hey you can’t be a member of our club.” But we need to get over that. We of all people should be accepting of anyone, because we know what it is like to not be accepted by pretty much anyone.
I know a lot of us are socially awkward and have problems having conversations with other people. We would much rather be left alone to read comics or do some gaming. I know for me, years of ridicule and loneliness have gotten me kind of jaded on the whole people thing, and sometimes the old high school insecurities come out when I least want them to, and I am 41. I know what it is like not have many friends. I had one friend through elementary school, through junior high. Before starting high school my parents moved and I started a whole new high school not knowing anyone. I really don’t remember many of the people that I went to high school with. I had more friends when I started working than I ever had at school. But I got through it. I still only have maybe one friend that I hang out with on a regular basis. I am not sure why. Maybe I don’t try hard enough to meet new people. Maybe it is still that feeling that I am not good enough. Anyway the point of this is that I know exclusion, and I have promised myself not to exclude other people, because I would never want them to feel like I did. We of the nerd community need to be accepting of all comers, no matter what they look like or what their geek cred is. Come on in. The water’s fine
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JEFF - I love Star Wars, Star Trek DS9 and TNG, The Flash, Arrow, Equilibrium, anything Christopher Nolan does, The Terminator, Back To The Future, RPGs especially Mass Effect and Dragon Age, martial arts movies, and Bantha Milk!