By Marc Bernardin
Updated May 19, 2009 at 05:25 PM EDT

Ten years ago today, Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace premiered in theaters, and with it, my life as a geek came full circle. I can remember that day…waiting all day on line, bonding with other folks for whom Star Wars was their pop-cultural touchstone, suffering the shattering disappointment that came with actually WATCHING Episode I. Because, let’s face it, that movie blew…unlike those first trailers, which I recall first watching in the office, a dozen people giddily huddled around a computer monitor to get their first glimpse of the first new Star Wars in almost 20 years. And, lo, it was awesome:

Of course, nothing could live up to that hype — created by both the movie studio and my own head. But still, it didn’t have to be so…pedantic. (Patton Oswalt kinda had it right in his NSFW rant about the prequels.) So, here’s to you, George Lucas. Thanks for an eye-opening 10 years, during which it became less and less possible to recapture my childhood. Egads, I’ve had to resort to writing comic books.

What was your biggest pop-culture disappointment?