Saturday, March 12, 2005

An Open Letter to George Lucas

Dear George,

I realize that you have pissed off a lot of people in the past couple of years, and a lot of people have been writing letters to you, expressing their anger. Please do not take this letter as a means of venting my frustration, but rather accept this missive as a list of helpful suggestions to prevent the final Star Wars movie from completely sucking ass.

Allow me to begin by giving you a little background about myself. I am not some rabid Star Wars junkie who travels to conventions, attempting to get Carrie Fisher's autograph. I am not like one of my friends, who, on opening night of the Special Edition theatrical release of Star Wars (a version that completely sucked ass, by the way), unwrapped and wore a 1982 lime green iron-on Chewbaca child's t-shirt that was so small, the circulation was cut off to his extremities. I will admit to collecting some of the toys when I was younger, but since my parents would not spoil me, I never got the freaking Millenium Falcon like my neighbor David did. The best thing I ever got was the Ewok Village...which my brother and I had to share! (I am still holding a grudge against my parents for this, and I won't talk to them until they redeem themselves by giving me the Death Star, at the very least.) Nay, I am but a mere casual fan. I grew up in the Star Wars generation and ever since I watched a grainy pirated version of The Empire Strikes Back on a massive Betamax VCR, I've dug your work.

But things have gone horribly awry since Revenge of the Jedi (I refuse to call it by it's renamed title). I understand that these movies have made you rich, and rich people have access to good drugs, but what kind of drugs have you been doing? I mean, you must be getting some really good shit because your mind seems seriously fucked up.

For starters, what were you smoking when you decided that Hayden Christensen can act? Seriously, I want to know. I need to get some of that shit. This guy makes Keanu look credible. I'm not gonna call it a stretch when I say that he may very well be the worst actor to ever set foot on the screen. (At least you could laugh at Pauly Shore.) I see that he is in pre-production for two films, The Decameron and Less Than Kind, and I think these films have a brilliant future as fertilizer. Quite frankly, I am stunned by this little pissant's incompetance.

Unfortunately, we all know that Anakin has to live throughout the next movie. There is no way he can be killed, and that sucks. I am so disheartened to know that I will have to sit through two-plus hours of that little bitch's on-screen whining. However, all is not lost. Here is what I propose:

A) Turn him into Darth Vader within the first five minutes. If you make us sit through six of more minutes of Hayden Christensen pouting, there will likely be an in-theater revolt. Skip all of your typically boring exposition (that's all that Episode I was anyway), and cut to the transformation.


B) Have Anakin mouth off within the first minute and Obi Wan respond by wacking him in the throat with a lightsaber. Anakin will experience serious larynx damage, and he'll have to spend the entire film in sick bay until doctors perform the wrong surgery on him and accidentally transform him into Darth Vader. Since Anakin's voicebox will be damaged, he won't be able to speak, and the audience will be spared from any potentially emotionally transparent, whiny monologues from a hospital bed.


C) Just have James Earl Jones play Anakin. Only a few people will notice, but they'll be those anally-retentive sticklers for detail. Don't sweat them. They're pains in the ass anyway. You can seriously pull this off with little problem. Papa James could use the paycheck, and the film could use one less Hayden Christensen. The role of Anakin should be interchangeable. After all, Bewitched switched Darrens mid-show.

Now that we've solved the H.C. issue, let's move on to Natalie Portman. What did you do to this girl? She seems like she can act until she appears in your films. You must be like emotional kryptonite to this poor kid. I've given up all hope for her in the next film, but an acquaintence recently told me, "I had a feeling that this (film) might deliver the goods when I noticed that Natalie Portman was only in the trailer three times, and she didn't open her mouth once." This is very good news. Perhaps Padme witnesses something horrific (like maybe Hayden Christensen being decapitated?) and she goes into shock and becomes a mute. Yeah, I like the sound of that.

Along the same lines, please kill the love story. Face it, dude, you are not a good writer. Your dialogue is baaaaaaaaaaad, but your two young actors are even worse. Do not toture us with their budding romance. Watching those two onscreen is enough to make any man want to take a vow of celibacy.

What else....? How about Samuel L. Jackson? Why is he in these fucking movies? You did give him a cool name (Mace), and you did let him kick a little ass, but please let the brotha really fuck someone up! I picture him ramming a lightsaber up a stormtrooper's ass and declaring, "The Force just ran right through you, bitch!"

While we're at it, can we find something for Jimmy Smits to do? Maybe give him a gun and a badge or something? Just a suggestion.

Jar Jar Binks? Do I need to elaborate here? You are due some congratulations, Mr. Lucas. With your creation of Jar Jar Binks, you simultaneously invented a new synonym for "asshole." While Roget is appreciative, the viewers are not.

Do we really need Count Dooku? Yes, the guy was great in Lord of the Rings, but that was a good trilogy of movies, while this is... Look, you started him off on the wrong foot by giving him a lame name. Put this guy out of his mercy early on, and save this film.

Speaking of bad names, don't ever name a character "Elian Sleazebaggano." Why don't you just call him Elian Surfacecharacterthatsucksballs?

Okay, I've given you a lot to think about here, and the film is slated to be released very soon, so you had better get your ass in gear. Granted, it will take a lot of money to fix the mess you've made, but dude, you shit Benjamins so it shouldn't be a problem. Save this movie and redeem this trilogy. Otherwise, Episodes I, II, and III wil be fated to lie alongside Police Academy 4, 5, and 6. Trust me, you don't wanna be associated with Steve Gutenberg and Bobcat Goldthwaite.

Your friend,

I Saw The Light

Two months ago, I had ate the greatest sandwich ever. It inspired a late-night rant that was emailed to many friends. For no apparent reason, I'm reposting it here:

Tue Jan 11, 2005 3:58 am

I Saw The Light

Friends, I have happened upon a wonderful discovery. Last night, at approximately 7:30 P.M. I exited Port Authority onto Ninth Avenue. Oddly enough, this was the first time I had ever taken that exit, but good things always seem to happen when you take a new path. In search of a cheap place to eat, I crossed Ninth Ave. and headed uptown. As I glanced over to see scaffolding covering the now depraved den of sin that was formerly the saintly Tobacco Road, I caught a golden glint out of the corner of my eye. There it was. A bright yellow beacon of hope in a world of darkness: Tony Luke's Old Philly Style Sandwiches had arrived in New York.

I knew this place. I knew its mystical lore. I knew that it was beckoning me to come taste its wares. Initially, I had set out to eat something healthy, but after .036 seconds of contemplation, I bolted across the street, and just like little Carol Ann in Poltergeist, I ran to the light.

I opened the door and basked in the glow of the warm but near-blinding yellow fluorescent bulbs. I inhaled the mouthwatering aroma of fried onions and sizzling meat. Drunken with olfactory delight, I stumbled toward the window and asked, “How long have you been here?”

“A little over two weeks.”

I had been gone for almost two weeks and had no knowledge of this landmark opening in Manhattan history. New York City, I will never leave you again during the holidays. I had no idea that such fascinating things happened here in late December. Please forgive me.

Evan, the friendly store owner, asked, “You from Philly?”

I replied, “Mfblemblfelmmmmmmmmmm….”

It may have been the tremendous amount of drool that had accumulated and was barely being contained by my quivering lower lip, but I think I was distracted by the towering menu offering otherworldly delights. I wanted to say, “Don’t talk to me, mortal! I’m reading about the most incredible food Mother Earth has to offer,” but I could only offer a few unintelligible syllables. Then I saw it. My path in life had been decided. It was known as “Roast Pork Italian.”

With a bright future ahead of me, I quickly introduced myself and ordered “Roast Pork Italian Wit.” Evan was taken aback because very few people north of Trenton understand how to properly order a sandwich with fried onions. Instantly, we had formed a bond and could now communicate on a higher plane.

I very briefly thought that since I would be attending a rehearsal in about a half an hour, I should be considerate of my fellow actors and forgo the onions. Then I thought, “I’m about to eat Roast Pork Italian Wit. I’m about to sip from the Holy Grail. I am the chosen one. They will understand.” Nervously awaiting my chance at immortality, I grabbed some napkins and lifted a heaping pile of dill pickle slices from a sneeze-guardless container that is likely to be labeled unsanitary by the New York Department of Health. Of course, I was about to run with Apollo, so my mortality and health were of little concern.

Then the angel behind the sliding glass window shouted one of the best words in the English language: “Brian!”

My time had come. Frothing with anticipation, I slowly walked toward the window to Heaven, and then the manna was delivered. Inside of a brown paper bag laid the keys to the universe: a Roast Pork Italian Wit. In an instant, I unwrapped my prize and like a rabid dog, I gnashed my teeth into the soft bread that had been moistened by the pork juice. A mind-altering blend of flavors danced in my mouth as the drenched bread combined with bitter broccoli rabe and the nutty sharp provolone. And then there was the pork. Within seconds, a large chunk of it had soaked its way through the roll and was now resting on the wax paper, beckoning unto me. I had little choice but to grab that succulent piece of flesh and then slurp it into my waiting mouth. The moist juices gushed from the meat and a small trail of love trickled out of my shaking lips and dripped down my chin. It was nothing less than amazing.

I think I now understand how Sir Edmund Hillary felt upon his descent from the peak of Mt. Everest. Ghandi had nothing on me. Move over Voltaire, this was a whole new kind of enlightenment. I was wise beyond my years.

The sandwich had been consumed, and after a few minutes of staring into oblivion, I came to. I was a changed man, indestructible perhaps. Nothing could stop me-- not even the Italian Fries I ordered, which were alright but not worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as my beloved Roast Pork Italian Wit. Oh, Roast Pork Italian Wit, you complete me.

I quickly glanced at the menu and noticed that the prices were about $1.25 higher than those in South Philly, but friends, I ask you, can you put a price on enlightenment? I think not. This branch was also wise to omit the veal cutlet portion of the menu and put a greater emphasis on the “green” vegetarian sandwiches. And if you know anything about Tony Luke’s, you know that the Great New York Cheesesteak Drought has finally ended.

I thanked Evan for his divine intervention in my humble life, and I warned him that I shall return-- perhaps this evening. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Cheesesteak (Provolone Sharp, Wit)!