Category Archives: Entertainment

Star Wars: The Last Jedi, or “How I Turned to the Dark Side”

“ I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.” – Luke Skywalker

So, with great trepidation, I saw The Last Jedi.

To all of the readers of my post on The Force Awakens, you both know I wasn’t a fan.  Well, as much as I hate to admit it, I really liked this one.

<< SPOILER ALERT>>

For the most part, my complaints with TFA were addressed in Last Jedi (I guess they read my blog).  Leia’s character was well-developed and more along the lines of what one would expect from her.  The only thing I found silly was when she started flying through space.  If one is familiar with the books, it does fit with her strength in The Force, but I’m not sure that came through as clearly in the movies.

The light saber battle in TFA between Kylo and Rey has been explained pretty well.  I still think there’s a big plot hole there:  Proficiency with a light saber is about technique augmented by The Force, and technique takes training and practice.  She needs both.  Sure, she can fight with a staff, but staves and swords are different weapons and require totally different training.

I appreciate the reference to the Jedi Temple, and Luke’s attempt to rebuild the Jedi Order.  That was a HUGE issue for me in the last movie.  Why in the world would Luke be out in the middle of nowhere when he should be out rebuilding the Order?

There are still some issues fans have with the movie, and most are legitimate:

  1. No backstory for Snoke
    I agree with this.  I was curious to see who Snoke was and how he came about.  I mean, how did he turn Ben Solo into Kylo Ren?  How did he start The First Order?  These should have been explained, and other entire story lines (Finn/Rose, anyone?) could have been cut to make room.
  2. Luke Skywalker attacks Ben Solo
    I agree with this, too.  Luke would NEVER have tried to kill a student.  But, here’s the twist:  He didn’t.  The version given by Kylo Ren is different than the version given by Luke.  According to Kylo, Luke attacked him in his sleep.  According to Luke, he was tempted to, but didn’t.  Which is the truth?  Well, I think I trust Luke more than Kylo.  Also, I can see how the devastating consequences of a momentary wavering of his conviction would cause Luke to abandon his role as Jedi Master and choose to live as a hermit.  To me, this was believable, if not what I wanted to see.
  3. Luke’s death
    I didn’t like this.  First, it was ambiguous… was it suicide, or did something involving his encounter with Kylo kill him?  Or, was it just the sheer effort required to pull off that kind of force projection?  That needed explanation.  Also, I don’t think Luke needed to die.  Rey needs training… and she’s not going to get it from the books she stole from the tree (even Yoda said the books don’t have the right info).  It would have made more sense, in my mind, to have Luke survive and join up with the rest of the resistance so he could train Rey.  Then again, it does take death to turn a hero into a legend.  So, maybe this plays out in the third installment.
  4. Humor
    Fans complain about the humor being forced and “un-Star Warsy”.  I disagree.  I thought the humor was well done.  I liked the “crank call” at the beginning because it fit Poe’s personality.  Also, I laughed out loud to the pilot’s response in the scene where General Hux argues with Kylo Ren about Kylo descending to the surface to face Luke.  On the other hand, it did kind of turn General Hux into a buffoon, so maybe the fans have a point.
  5. Finn/Rose
    I honestly thought there was no point to the whole Finn/Rose plot line.  It’s kind of like Raiders of the Lost Ark.  At the end of the day, nothing Indiana Jones did mattered.  The Nazis got the Ark, God killed them and the US Government recovered it and stored it away.  Indiana Jones didn’t even need to exist.  Ditto with Finn and Rose.  Their mission failed completely, the skimmer attack was unsuccessful and even Finn’s attempt to valiantly sacrifice himself didn’t work.  So, what was the point?  They could have sacrificed that entire story and used the time to answer a lot of questions from the first movie, namely:  Snoke’s origin and rise to power, Rey’s parentage, Kylo’s turn to the Dark Side and the Knights of Ren, the fate of Luke’s other students, etc.  Quite frankly, Rose didn’t need to exist and killing off Finn would probably make things simpler in the next installment.

Even given the complaints above, I have to admit I liked it.  I walked out feeling like it was a good movie.

I also thought it was a good Star Wars movie, and that’s a different thing altogether.

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The Netflix Match System – A Study in Generating Random Numbers

The problem with binge-watching on Netflix is that you lose three days of your life.”  – Harland Williams

Has anyone ever figured out how Netflix comes up with the match percentage that appears on the stuff that comes up on your main page?

I, for example, watch a lot of stand up comedy on Netflix.  So, I expect to get Bill Burr, Mike Berbiglia, etc.  I’ve also watched most of the Marvel movies that are on there as well as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and  Jessica Jones.

So, it makes total sense I’d get things like Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (or, as I like to call it, “Try Hard 2″… or is “Try 2 Hard” better?) or The Punisher to come up as matches for what I like to watch.  (Both of those are 98% matches).

So, why is Luke Cage a 74% match?  Because I watched Friends, does Netflix automatically assume I don’t like black people?

Here’s the one that just stuns me:  On my top bar, the movie “8 Mile” is a 98% match.

8 Mile.

98%.

Right next to “Ace Ventura:  When Nature Calls”.

Never mind that I really can’t stand anything about Eminem/Marshall Mathers/Skinny Shadow/Whatever.  And, forget the fact I haven’t watched anything at all like Ace Ventura on Netflix (and thought the first one was pretty abysmal).

How in the hell did Netflix determine that BOTH of these shows somehow rated a 98% match?

Which begs the question… Of what is this a 98% match?

I think it goes something like this:

  1. I just watched House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey.
  2. Kevin Spacey was in The Usual Suspects with Kevin Pollack.
  3. Kevin Pollack was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon.

Wait… no, that’s the Kevin Bacon degrees of separation thing.

But, I did it in three degrees and all three are named Kevin, so I think that’s a 98% match for something.