Dalton Ross on why he can't stop rebuying ''Star Wars.'' Plus: EW's senior editor is glued to ''Galactica'' webisodes, lists five bands that can pass a simple geography test, and answers reader mail
Dalton Ross on why he can’t stop rebuying ”Star Wars”
There’s a sucker born every minute. Like me, for instance. How do you know when you’re a sucker? When you find yourself shelling out 90 bucks for three movies that you already own. In about 18 different formats.
I’m speaking, of course, about this week’s re-release of the original Star Wars Trilogy on DVD. I suppose a little history is in order: Back in 2004, George Lucas put out Episodes 4, 5, and 6 — sorry, I’m not going to geek out with the Roman numerals — on DVD. Fans were delighted and outraged at the same time — delighted because the movies looked beautiful, sounded incredible, and featured some really cool bonus features, and outraged because he insisted on releasing only his tweaked ”Special Edition” versions. Why not release both the unaltered and the updated ones, fans asked, much in the way Lucas pal Steven Spielberg did with E.T.? But Lucas didn’t listen. Of course, now we know why: Because he wanted to wait two years to do that so that everyone who purchased his 2004 boxed set would have to go back and buy the films all over again.
But what Lucas is doing is even more egregious, because you can’t just go out and buy the new… uh, old… uh, let’s just call them ”original” versions of the films. You have to rebuy all three Special Edition versions, which now come in two-disc packs along with the untampered ones. That sucks. Look, any true goober (like me) already has the 2004 discs, and now if we want to own the films as we saw them back in the day, we have to buy the 2.0 versions all over again. Very interesting that Lucas would decide to package the movies this way, especially considering that said movies are all about the evils of greed. (Irony, anyone?)
I also love (and when I say ”love” I actually mean hate) how Lucas is now saying that he’s doing it because the fans were so passionate in their desire for the original versions of the films. He’s right. They are. And they also were two years ago, when they screamed and shouted for the untampered originals, but he conveniently wasn’t listening then. Still, none of this is the worst part. The worst part is that this blatant rip-off will not be the last time I buy movies featuring Ewoks and digitally inserted Gungans. You see, it turns out that these new two-packs will only be available through the end of the year. Why, you ask? Well, word is there is some sort of ultimate boxed set coming out next year that will contain all six previously released films, along with a whole bunch of other extras that Lucas has purposefully held off of other versions. IT SIMPLY NEVER ENDS!!!
”You’re either with me or you’re against me,” Anakin says to Obi-Wan in a line that speaks to power, corruption, and the dark side. So far, I’ve been with Mr. Lucas and all his various home video releases. And I hate myself for it.
OBSESSION OF THE WEEK
Sticking with the sci-fi theme, Sci Fi channel has been rolling out some Battlestar Galactica webisodes to lead up to the Oct. 6 season 3 premiere of the show. They’re not amazing — kinda low-budget, and, as webisodes tend to be, annoyingly brief (about two and a half minutes a pop). But if their mission was to get fans jacked for the upcoming season — mission accomplished. In them, we get our first look at New Caprica under Cylon rule, and see how some of the crew (like Colonel Tigh, the Chief, and Jammer) are adapting. What happens will tie in to what shakes out in the premiere. I won’t spoil what goes down in that two-hour affair, but I will say this: It frackin’ rocks!
There’s this album that has made it back into my rotation lately, except I don’t really want anyone to know about it, because while the band is pretty great, they have just a horrible, horrible name. I speak of the Archers of Loaf and their debut CD, Icky Mettle. There’s no doubt about it — Archers of Loaf is a simply terrible name, but I suppose it’s hard to come up with an exciting, original moniker (for example, I wanted to name my first high school band Dreamscape). Which is why I decided this week to pay tribute to the laziest of all band names — the ones named after actual places. So let’s pay tribute to The Top Five Bands Named After Places. And when I say ”places” I don’t mean a retail store (like Fountains of Wayne) or a lame nickname (O-Town, anyone?), but actual cities and stuff.
I’ve never been a big classic-rock guy, but the first Boston album is flat-out insane. (I’m still convinced Kurt Cobain lifted the guitar riff for ”Smells Like Teen Spirit” from ”More Than a Feeling.”) Too bad they weren’t as creative when naming their band.
King Crimson, Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and the Buggles share two things in common: 1) They are all bands that I hate, and 2) They all had members that went on to form this arena-rock supergroup. I actually like ”Heat of the Moment,” but Asia truly deserve props for their awesomely cheesy cover art, featuring sea serpents, tropical pyramids, and purple aliens. Plus, when it comes to naming yourself after a place, it doesn’t get any bigger than Asia.
I stand corrected! Why stop at the largest continent when you can name yourself after the entire kit and kaboodle! Earth was a drone-metal band from Seattle most notable for collaborating with Kurt Cobain, with whom they no doubt discussed their mutual love of Boston.
And back to continents we go. You still can’t go to a sporting event without being subjected to the sweet, sweet sounds of ”The Final Countdown.” In fact, right as I started typing this list, some stupid Diet Pepsi ad came on the TV playing that very song. First time I’ve ever gotten fired up by a diet beverage.
Did you know that Berlin lead singer Terri Nunn auditioned for the role of Princess Leia and that you can see part of said audition on the 2004 Star Wars DVD release? Isn’t it cool the way we just came full circle in this column?
I’ll be the first to admit it: I was a big meanie last week. I knocked movie stars who have to ”slum” by appearing on TV, even though a few weeks I earlier had argued that the small screen is a much superior format than the silver one. I absolutely railed on poor Amanda Peet. And I even took time out to dis and dismiss James Woods’ hair color. So I was ready for some angry responses. And I got them, along with — in response to last week’s plea — several people selling out their significant others and their questionable choices in movies. It all makes for one lively Reader Mail section.
Oh, Dalton. How very wrong you are about Amanda Peet and Studio 60. The pilot was whip-smart, intriguing, and well-acted across the board. Even EW named it as a ”must see” in your Fall TV Preview! — Kevin Taylor
As I said, everyone else I work with seems to really like the show, and who knows, maybe I will too. (I am, after all, a big Aaron Sorkin fan.) But the pilot didn’t do it for me, and while I felt bad being so harsh to Amanda Peet, I did find her to be really wooden. I haven’t had a chance to check out the second episode, but trust me — I would be ecstatic to be proven wrong.
Hey Dalton, I saw you on the TV Guide Channel’s Survivor preview. Good call not taking off the shirt. — Philip Cotrell
Ha! Very funny, Philip. I obviously have learned my lesson, even if I did learn it the hard, all-too-publicly-humiliating way. I would like to note, however, that I have managed to put on about five pounds since my last shirtless photo spread, bringing me up to a whopping 145. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a pathetic weakling, but I’m hoping one day soon to upgrade to mere ”wuss.”
I met my Army husband days before he left for Iraq, and we got married eight months after he returned. This despite the fact that when helping unpack his dirty Army things, including the DVDs he would watch during time off, I discovered his favorite movie… Bring It On. He’s a decorated Army vet and I love him, but he just cannot let go of his ”spirit fingers.” Coincidentally, his oldest son is named Dalton. — Jennifer Hill
Jennifer, my first thought is that I hope his Dalton doesn’t get mocked mercilessly and called ”Dolphin” by angry young bullies, but I can put those past demons aside…I think. As for Bring It On, I think the Army could use a few more spirit fingers, although I believe there may be some sort of ”don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in place for those.
My husband’s favorite movie of all time, which he insists on watching every time it is played on cable or whenever he feels the need to watch ”the best Cold War movie ever,” is Firefox. Yes, the Clint Eastwood ”classic” that centers around Clint taking a plane/helicopter from the Russians. And he quotes from it (not that there is a lot of dialogue) all the time: ”Your papers are not in order.” (laugh laugh laugh) The movie is just not good, and the fact that he believes it is the best Cold War movie ever makes me question his judgment (since everyone knows that Rocky IV is the best Cold War movie ever!!). Watching Firefox several times a year falls in the ”for worse” category. — Anne Culbreah
Actually, Anne, I don’t know how to break this to you, but you’re both wrong. The best Cold War movie ever is clearly — clearly! — Red Dawn. How can you deny a movie in which the entire Soviet army is defeated by Patrick Swayze and C. Thomas Howell? The answer: You can’t.
My boyfriend, yes, my gay boyfriend loves Steven Seagal movies. When I first found out I debated whether it was a deal-breaker or not. The taste level alone was enough to make me run, and being a huge film fan myself, it troubles me that he has seen almost every single one of his movies. At first I thought it was a ”hide my gayness” sort of thing, but now every time Under Siege shows up on cable, he’s watching it. His eyes light up and he gets all giddy. Every time I see him do it, I want to yank his gay card away from him. It isn’t that gay men shouldn’t like action films, but with our supposed ”good taste” gene, I just think they should like better action than a Seagal movie. Talk about breaking stereotypes there! — Todd Hamilton
Wow, Todd, I don’t even know where to begin here, except by saying that I too love Under Siege, especially the part where a confined Seagal starts yelling at a soldier, ”Get my pies out of the oven! My pies are burning!” Of course, I’m heterosexual (Tim Daly man-crush notwithstanding). And it seems Todd and I are not alone in our love for the Seagal. Dara Yastrzemski and Lisa Muftikian both wrote in ”outing” (as it were) their husbands for loving the ponytailed action star. In fact, I got tons and tons of e-mails from people willing to throw their significant others under the bus for having crappy taste in movies. And since there’s nothing funnier than public humiliation (as Philip Cotrell will surely tell you), I’d like to list some of them:
Lara Brown starts things off by mocking her husband’s love for Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon. As well she should. Jessica Hardwick’s hubby owns the entire Billy Jack trilogy, and Matt Hartman calls out his wife’s curious affinity for Transylvania 6-5000. Meredith Wendell’s husband has had about 200 dates with 50 First Dates, but Melissa Jasinski’s hubby loves an even worse Adam Sandler movie: Little Nicky. Meanwhile, Angel Jones’ spouse has a sensitive side, digging Serendipity and Pretty Woman, while Chandra Mullineax caught her husband giggling like a little schoolgirl during trailers for The Lizzy McGuire Movie and Cheaper by the Dozen II. You know what? That last part bears repeating: Chandra Mullineax caught her husband giggling like a little schoolgirl during trailers for The Lizzy McGuire Movie and Cheaper by the Dozen II. Moving on, Erin Hines’ fiancé has a thing for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but that is easily outdone by Cheryl Luttrell’s spouse digging The Cutting Edge. Toe pick! No word on if Barbara Myers’ boyfriend can wax on/wax off, but he digs Ralph Macchio in Crossroads. Howard the Duck remains the only film I have ever walked out on in my life, but Darcy Kremin’s hubby can’t get enough of it. David Dyer’s wife not only loves Xanadu but has actually downloaded all the ELO songs off iTunes! Melissa Spero’s boyfriend shows horrible taste across the board with his repeated viewings of Hudson Hawk and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, while Erin Graham mistakenly gives her husband crap for loving the Anthony Edwards paintball odyssey, Gotcha! C’mon, Anthony Edwards playing paintball! What’s not to love? And then there is Ginger Nix’s husband, whose favorite movie is The Postman. Ex-husband, actually. Ginger clearly did what had to be done.
Sorry I can’t humiliate more of your spouses — I was hoping to maybe even break up a marriage or two — but it’s time to be moving on. What do you think about the latest Star Wars release? Have another band named after a city or state that deserves kudos? And does your lover have a real stinkeroo of a film that can top all the others on this list? Then e-mail me at email@example.com, or just fill out the handy-dandy form below. See ya next week!