(Welcome to The Galaxy-Wide Star Wars Character Guide, where we give proper due to the smaller figures in Star Wars history.)

Some of us saw Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and liked it right away. Some disliked it immediately. For some, it took many viewings to cement an opinion. And for others, there was a feeling that wherever happened in its follow-up, Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Cloneswould help make sense of whatever George Lucas was up to with The Phantom Menace’s rougher storytelling choices.

Then Attack of the Clones came out and immediately hit us with Zam Wesell, a character who – good or bad – introduced more questions than answers and felt a bit confusing for no reason. Looking back now, stuff like this is just part of the Prequel vibe, but for those first viewings back in 2002, when we were ready to overanalyze every Star Wars thing as they happened, Zam Wesell gave us a lot to consider early in the film. Maybe too much.

Read More »

(Welcome to Great Moments in MCU History, where we fondly recall great little bits that made us fall in love with the MCU.)

After all these years, it’s fun to look back at early Marvel Cinematic Universe efforts. They’re all so quaint in retrospect, so tiny. Thor loses his hammer and has to fight a big metal guy who breathes fire. (Yes, I know he’s called the Destroyer, but he destroys little more than a block of New Mexico’s smallest town). Tony Stark makes his suit, flies around a bit, and has to fight a slower, chunkier Iron Man. Hulk fights some army guys on a college campus and then has to fight an uglier Hulk.

But we didn’t fall in love with them for their bombastic, non-stop action. Early Marvel films succeeded –  allowing bigger Marvel films to mature – due to their casting, their wit, their heart and their willingness to get a little weird with it. This was the age of Nolan’s Batman films, after all. It took guts to make a colorful, pop-Shakespearean Thor film filled with Dutch angles.

Heart is front and center in the first great MCU moment I’d like to discuss: the famous grenade scene from Captain America: The First Avenger.

Read More »

Even the biggest Adam Sandler fan has to admit that not every at-bat is a homerun. This has been particularly true of his Netflix tenure. The smaller stakes nature of Netflix exhibition has at times allowed Sandler to try fun ideas that would never make it to the big screen (Sandy Wexler) but also get away with lazier executions (The Do-Over). 

The newly released Hubie Halloween falls somewhere in the middle. There isn’t much to it, overall, but it’s also one of the funniest recent Adam Sandler films thanks to a star-studded cast of folks getting weird with it and an admirable commitment to running gags. It won’t convert any Sandler haters, but fans should definitely check this one out. In fact, I have counted the reasons why you should check it out. There are eight of them.

Read More »

(Welcome to The Galaxy-Wide Star Wars Character Guide, where we give proper due to the smaller figures in Star Wars history.)

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story begins with a child witnessing the murder of her mother and only gets more fun and exciting from there, culminating in a conclusion where (spoiler!) all our main characters die and Darth Vader slaughters a bunch of Red Shirts just for an added dose of carnage. Love it or hate it, this is the Star Wars movie that most thoroughly stresses the “War” half of the title. The Empire is terrifying, morals are grey, and life is hard for everyone.

If you don’t believe me, I invite you to chat with my good friend Tivik. He’s super duper dead.

Read More »