Sunday, December 20, 2015


Conceived and used with the permission of Matthew Constantine and Brad Gullickson, the original dorks.

Everyone has a “Top 5.”  But Brad and Matt, choosing to walk a different path, amended that to “A Fistful…” over at their blog, In the Mouth of Dorkness.  A film-centric blog where they also discuss comics and books and TV, these two regularly share their top 5, ranging from “Heroic Kids” to “Spies” to “Summer Movies” to “Punches” to all things in between.  Always fun, often insightful, and something I hope to regularly pilfer for Warrior27.  As they say:  If you’re going to steal, steal from those you know relatively well, who will not sue you.

I was five when Star Wars was released.  Saw it in the theater, and I was hooked.  I had the toys, the books, the comics, posters, the soundtracks, the collector glasses, the pajamas, the bedsheets, coloring books, the official fan club magazines (plus membership card), the movies (and behind-the-scenes specials) on Laser Disc then on VHS then on special edition, letterboxed VHS, and finally DVD.  Star Wars is the alpha and omega of my collecting.  As I stated in this Thanksgiving reminiscence:  It was always about Star Wars.  So, spurred by the arrival of “The Force Awakens” and the IMTODcast’s impending episode featuring their own Fistful of Star Wars moments, here are my top 5 moments from this seminal film series. 

“It’s a trap!” 


It took ILM, Lucafilm’s special effects division, three movies to ramp up to a fully-pitched space battle, and it was so worth it.  Hundreds of ships, all different shapes and sizes, racing in myriad directions, firing, swerving, arcing out of (or into) harm’s way.  The complexity of this shot is astounding, and it not only works but manages to suck you in, emotionally, as the Rebels discover it’s a trap and have to decide whether to break it off, or just go for it, because when will they get another chance like this?

“I, am your father.” 

Sure, we had Obi-Wan battle Vader, with their lightsabers, on the Death Star in the first movie, but this one took it up a notch.  Luke, inexperienced and brash, takes on the Dark Lord of the Sith in the bowels of Cloud City.  The setting, the disadvantage we realize Luke has (overcome by his youthful energy and naivete), and the stakes involved all coalesce to craft a poignant lightsaber battle that is engaging and electrifying.  Then, after relieving young Skywalker of one of his hands, Vader drops the bomb:  “I am your father.”  Star Wars went next-level with that declaration. 

“ . . . “

This scene perfectly encapsulates Luke’s despondency at being stranded on Tattooine.  From the beautiful scene of the two suns setting to the musical cue from John Williams, it is a scene I look forward to and one that never fails to give me chills. 

“Never tell me the odds.” 

Star Wars has a collection of great space ships, but the Millennium Falcon is, by far, the best.  And the asteroid belt perfectly exhibits why.  From Han Solo’s brash decision to dive into the asteroids to the way the Falcon deftly twists and turns around all the flying rocks in an almost balletic manner, this is the scene that cemented the Falcon and its two-man (two-being?) crew as the coolest ship in that galaxy far, far away.

“There’ll be no escape for the princess this time.”

This is it.  The opening shot of Star Wars.  The blockade runner coming across the movie screen in close-up, a space ship that feels big, and then . . .
That Star Destroyer in hot pursuit.  It went on forever, then we came to the docking area and you thought it was the rear of the ship…and it wasn’t, and it kept going on, pushing the Tantive IV ahead of it until that first ship was just a speck on the edge of the screen…and the damn Star Destroyer continued to roll across your vision, until finally, it’s propulsion system revealed itself.  That was the point where I was all-in.  It was spectacle like I hadn’t seen up to that point in my life (I was only five).  It’s the scene that made the biggest impression on me the first dozen or so times (dozens?) I watched Star Wars.  And it’s stayed with me ever since. 


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