Friday, November 25, 2016

Is That Cranberry Sauce? - BLOOD RAGE

It’s Thanksgiving again, the time of year we come together to celebrate awkward family interactions.  To enjoy good food, catch up with those we haven’t seen for a year, and to kind of wish we were doing something else.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to be around people you love and to enjoy their company, for a while.  Group festivities like this have a very specific expiration period, and Thanksgiving generally exceeds it by two to four hours (individual families may very).  The pleasantries wane, the crazy opinions come out, and everything goes off the rails.  But the next time Uncle Murray brings up “what’s really wrong with this country,” just think of 1987’s BLOOD RAGE (AKA SLASHER, AKA NIGHTMARE AT SHADOW WOODS).  It will put your Thanksgiving woes into perspective.

The Capsule:
Frustrated single mom Maddy (Louise Lasser) is just looking for some action with her date at the local drive-in when her twin boys, Terry (Mark Soper) and Todd (Mark Soper), wander off to get into mischief.  Unfortunately, Terry’s idea of mischief is hacking up some dude with a hatchet then blaming it on his now catatonic brother.  Ten years later, Terry is a handsome, popular young man with well-coifed hair while Todd is an emotionally regressed loon in a mental institution.  He has very messy hair.  Terry is home for Thanksgiving dinner when his mom announces that she is getting remarried, which is just the thing to get Terry’s homicidal jealousy blood raging again.  Conveniently for him, Maddy gets word that Todd has escaped from the institution and is headed their way.  Terry embarks on a hugely excessive murder spree, planning to once again blame it all on his brother and remain the sole apple in his mother’s eye.

There is an ingredient in older horror movies—particularly those from the ‘80s—that I dearly miss, characters behaving the way no rational human being would.  Not just the over-the-top villains, I mean everyone.  The things that the “normal” characters say and do can be more outrageous than the killings and the quips.  These days, movies are so scientifically structured that you can anticipate every beat and response.  They may have their satisfying moments, but they are predicable.  It is nice to be baffled every once in a while.  My favorite movies are the ones that perpetually make me ask “Wait… what?”  Obviously everything is just to move the plot along and set up some sweet kills, but I find it more fun to wonder what the characters were possibly thinking when they make these ridiculous statements or actions.  Some (most) might just call this poor writing, acting, or directing.  I call it magic.   

BLOOD RAGE is filled to the brim with this kind of magic.  Why, for instance, when Todd runs away from the institution, does his doctor and her assistant try to hunt him down (with a tranquilizer gun!) rather than, say, calling the police?  And why do they split up and search the grounds rather than just hanging out in the one place they are certain he is going to?  I made up a whole backstory to explain that.  

There are plenty of strange reactions that have nothing to do with the plot, too.  The traditional horror movie horny couple, Gregg and Andrea, are about to get it on in her room when they suddenly decide to stop cold and play an elaborate prank on Terry’s virgin girlfriend, Karen (it involves make up effects and everything).  Then they go play night tennis (not a euphemism, actual tennis).  Then they go to the pool.  To have sex.  Not in the pool, just at the pool.  You know, the average date night routine.  Plus, Gregg thinks it is super awesome that Terry’s lunatic brother is on the loose, and can’t understand why no one else sees it as cool.  I think he tries to give Terry a high five.  

Speaking of Terry, it has to be noted off the bat that Mark Soper looks (and acts) exactly like Val Kilmer.  This was filmed around the same time Kilmer was doing REAL GENIUS, and they probably could have switched sets every once in a while without anyone noticing.  They are like the acting version of stigmatic twins.  Soper even brings Kilmer’s cocky, manic, kinda smarmy energy to BLOOD RAGE.  

There is in fact, very little rage going on.  Terry is having an absolute fucking blast with his night of terror.  The trigger for his vicious killing spree seems to be jealousy over his mom remarrying, but I have the feeling he was just patiently waiting for a chance to cut loose and frame his brother again.  Ten years of pent up homicidal urges are coming out in style.  The clearest indicator is that instead of just killing the rival for his mom’s love, he goes after everyone in the entire apartment complex.  Offing the fiancée was just a bonus.  

Of course, he is aided by his seemingly supernatural aura of trustworthiness.  Seriously, absolutely no one picks up that he’s the killer, even when he is covered in blood and holding a machete.  He just casually talks his way out of everything.  “Oh, this is Todd’s—he’s killing people all over the complex.”  Jackie, the hospital attendant who is hunting Todd, even confides to Terry that he doesn’t think his brother killed the guy at the drive-in.  That means, by process of elimination, that Terry did, but he keeps chatting like they are having a beer at the bar.  Until Terry stabs him.  They never say what Terry is studying in school, but has to be political science.  Or hypnotism.

You can tell Terry has had murder on his mind for a long time by the inventive ways he slaughters everyone.  Brad, the fiancée, gets his hand chopped off (still holding a beer can) and his head cleaved in two.  One guy is decapitated and his head is strung up in front of an apartment door peephole, so his date gets a shock when she lets him in.  In addition to his machete, Terry has a stash of additional weapons, including a spear gun, a full length hand saw, and a serving fork.  You know, because it’s Thanksgiving.  He even has a Thanksgiving catchphrase, “that’s not cranberry sauce,” which he really likes, because he says it three different times.  Statistically speaking, this is probably the only opportunity he’ll have to say it, so might as well get the most out of it.

In addition to all the fun he’s having as Terry, Soper gives a dual performance (or a triple, if you count impersonating Val Kilmer).  He is less dynamic as the fragile, childlike Todd, but much more sympathetic/pathetic.  Todd and Maddy’s pumpkin pie smushing therapy session is particularly great, as is when he tries to put his doctor back together after he finds her bisected in the woods.  

He also has a sweet and incredibly awkward relationship with Terry’s feisty girlfriend, Karen (Julie Gordon).  She spends most of the third act running for her life, but she does become the protector to both Todd and a neighbor’s baby (in most movies they use a baby sized dummy for the action scenes, in this one she just lugs around a real baby).  She doesn’t get to kill Terry, but she does smack him in the dick with a princess phone, so that’s something.    

Louise Lasser’s Maddy is a bad mother, but a fantastic character.  Her slow breakdown is almost as fun as Terry’s enthusiastic killing spree.  Lasser is most famous for her deadpan delivery as the title character of the ‘70’s soap opera spoof Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.  The disappointed and delusional Maddy is the role she was born to play, though.  She is the very definition of a repressed housewife.  Armed with a forced smile, longing eyes, and a perpetual glass of wine, she is obsessed with maintaining the illusion of a happy, normal family.  Never mind the fact that her one son is an emotionally stunted basket case and the other has a murderously strong oedipal complex.   

When the wholesome façade starts to crack, Maddy copes by using the classic weapon of the repressed housewife, drunken house cleaning.  My favorite Maddy moment is when she is sitting on the floor in front of the open refrigerator, stuffing her face with Thanksgiving leftovers in a stupor.  Her power of denial is formidable.  She spends much of the movie on the phone with the operator desperately asking why her fiancée isn’t picking up (the real reason: he’s dead).  She knows something is very wrong in the apartment complex, but she won’t walk the 100 yards to his office because she doesn’t want to see that something is very wrong.  It’s better to blame the operator.  

For a movie that is not interested in subtlety, it’s odd that there is nothing overtly incestuous about Maddy and Terry’s relationship.  She is desperate to have a man in her life, and wears an uncomfortably provocative dress, but there is nothing particularly creepy with the way she dotes on Terry.  The only indicator, aside from Terry going apeshit crazy whenever he sees his mom kiss someone, is when Todd, pretending to be his brother, puts his drunken mother to bed.  Something about that inebriated embrace, lasting just a few seconds too long, suggests that Terry isn’t the only one acting inappropriately.
The ending is a bit of a bummer.  [SPOILER]  Maddy wakes up from her denial after seeing the hacked up body of her fiancée.  She finds Terry, who is just about to kill Todd and Karen, and shoots him.  Hugging the nearly drowned Todd, she apologizes and promises that nothing will come between them again.  It’s very heartfelt.  Then she calls him Terry.  When Todd informs her of her mistake, by way of psychotically chanting “I’m Todd!” over and over, she shoots herself in the head. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

It would be funny if, years later, Todd meets up with Phoebe Cates’ character from GREMLINS and they compared traumatic holiday experiences.  I think Todd has the edge.

C Chaka

P.S. – This movie also features Ted Raimi as a men’s room condom dealer.  I felt I had to mention that.  

Friday, November 18, 2016

I'm Just Saying: THE CRAZIES (2010)

Last week, I scrapped my plans to write about an apocalyptic movie in honor of a Trump presidency, since there was no way that could possibly happen.  So let me say it is purely coincidental that this week I’m writing about a bunch of insane people in the Mid-West who just might bring about the destruction of our country.  Zero connection with current events.  Honestly, I just re-watched this one during my October horror binge and remembered how great a movie it is.  I am in no way making allusions between Trump voters and the 2010 remake of THE CRAZIES.   

Other than the title.  
The Capsule:

Life is simple in the quiet town of Ogden Marsh, Iowa.  At least until some of the residents start to go a little off—doing things like zoning out, repeating themselves, and walking into a high school baseball game with a loaded shotgun.  It might have something to do with that mysterious military plane that crashed in the river, releasing a doozy of a biological weapon into the town’s drinking water.  Just as Sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Olyphant) starts to piece together what is happening to his formerly non-murderous neighbors, the Army descends on the entire town, putting everyone under quarantine.  Soon things get out of hand, and David, his doctor wife Judy (Radha Mitchell), her assistant, Becca (Danielle Panabaker), and Deputy Russell (Joe Anderson) decide to make a break for it.  To make it to safety, they will need to get past not only a town full of crazies, but a military containment unit whose idea of treatment is liberally applied bullets, followed by a flamethrower.

Superficial analogies aside, THE CRAZIES isn’t a democratic nightmare, it’s a libertarian one.  For the law abiding citizens of Ogden Marsh, the government is literally out to get them.  The remake is even more blatant about it than George Romero’s 1973 original.  His version focused much more on the military’s attempt to contain and even cure the Trixie virus they accidentally unleashed.  The Army in the original is similarly at odds with the survivors—the troops herd up the town’s residents and don't hesitate to put down the infected.  The motives of those in charge of the operation are notably more sympathetic, though.  The Army commander is frustrated with the logistic and bureaucratic obstacles preventing him from helping the residents.  The head scientist works (and complains) tirelessly to find a cure.  They are trying their best, and they are anguished that it is not enough.

The remake gives us none of that.  The motives of the military, and presumably the government itself, are never made clear.  Are they trying to stop a pandemic, like professional stone-faced government guy Glenn Morshower says, or are they just trying to cover up their involvement?  They are aware of what is going on, but they do not intervene until David finds the evidence that can implicate them.  It seems like an accident, but they knowingly created the virus in the first place.  Even though the plot is grade A conspiracy theory paranoia, it’s not totally unthinkable that someone would want to manage the PR impact.  The truth is going to look bad.  Wiping out a town—or all of Iowa—is not something you can just blame on an intern.

Still, things aren’t completely black and white.  With their gas masks on, the troops are a faceless, merciless mob of killers, pulling crying children from their parents’ arms.  Take the mask away, though, and they are just normal people.  The kid that David and Russell capture and interrogate knows nothing more than they do.  He’s just following orders, and he’s ashamed of it.  When David’s group lets him go, he doesn’t rat them out to his squad.  He’s trying to do right in a messed up situation.

Though the Army is the primary threat, the crazies themselves are the real highlight.  It could easily have gone in a more traditional zombie movie approach by making the infected just mindless monsters, but it takes an extra, unsettling step.  Nearly all of the crazies David's group runs into are characters briefly but memorably introduced in the first act. They are friends and neighbors.  For the most part, decent people.  That makes it even more chilling when the high school principal suddenly shows up dragging a pitchfork behind him, systematically perforating the restrained, helpless patients housed in his own auditorium.  Or, when the funeral director starts sewing up bodies that aren’t dead yet.  Even the incidental scenes have thought put into them, like when the survivors walk by a bunch of the baseball players from the opening who are methodically pounding their fists into a steel dumpster.

This Trixie virus is a real son of a bitch.  Giving it a cute name didn’t help.  Before turning its hosts into complete psychos, it distorts and subverts their personalities.  The loving husband turns on his family.  The wife and son of the man David had to shoot at the baseball game force David to watch as they try to kill Judy.  Deputy Russell is the saddest case.  While David refuses to admit they could become infected, Rus sees his inevitable fate clearly.  “I’m no world leader, but I had plans,” he laments.  Even when the sickness starts to creep in, working on his insecurities and paranoia, making him dangerous, he keeps it together.  He still wants to do the right thing.  His last act is a little bit of conciliation, at least.  He gets to sacrifice himself to help his friends. 

Of course, when the people are assholes to begin with, watch out.  The three redneck hunters who find the crashed plane’s pilot only needed the tiniest nudge from the virus to coax them into poaching people instead of deer.  When they show up briefly in the middle, with their pickup full of trophy bodies, they are treated like T-Rex Crazies, top of the crazy food chain.  Standard crazies want to kill you, these motherfuckers want to mount you on their wall.  The giant Viking looking dude with the Mohawk could be the main villain in a slasher movie just by himself, and that is before he gets all veiny and Trixie-roided out.  As intimidating as they are, the tension of the film was so relentless that I forget about them for a while.  It was a nice (and awful) surprise when they show up at the very end, silently staring at David and Judy in what they thought was a sanctuary.    

Though the story is centered in a single town, it has a bit of an apocalyptic road movie feel, like something Stephen King would write.  It moves from one self-contained scene to the next, with just a quick breather in between the tension.  The pacing is fantastically tight—no filler, but still having room for organic character development.  The big suspense scenes are staged differently enough to stand out.  While I do enjoy a good bone saw fight, the best is probably the car wash attack.  David’s group is trapped in a car as it advances down the track as the spinning brushes, water spray, and noise hide the crazies that might be around them.  It’s like the worst funhouse ride ever.

Timothy Olyphant is a man comfortable with playing a lawman.  THE CRAZIES was in between his role as hotheaded frontier sheriff Seth Bullock in Deadwood and his magnificent turn as U.S. Marshall Rayland Givens in Justified.  David Dutton is more of an “aw shucks” small town constable.  He has a smile for everyone, but nothing gets by him, and he lets people know it.  Olyphant plays him with more doubt and vulnerability than with Rayland.  It’s still a bad idea to try and outdraw him, though.  Once the shit starts to go down, David struggles to keep it together.  He gets snippy and makes mistakes, but his determination to keep his wife safe pushes him through.  

Olyphant is brilliant at conveying simmering anger just under the surface.  He explodes a few times, but mostly he just plays it with a searing glance.  It is all he can do to bite his tongue when someone is yelling something obvious to him.  His expression alone shouts “I AM trying to start the fucking car!  There are a couple of times I was surprised the crazies didn’t just back away awkwardly, trying not make eye contact.  Best just to let that guy cool off a bit.  If Olyphant got into an intense-off with Michael Shannon, the Earth would probably crack in two.

Radha Mitchell makes is a great match for him as Judy.  Though she has her fatalistic moments, she is very feisty and doesn’t let that pesky Hippocratic oath keep her from wasting some crazy bastards when need be.  I’ve been following Michell since PITCH BLACK and I haven’t been disappointed in her choices.  She has a taste for genre work, with great turns in films like SILENT HILL and ROGUE.  There is something about her big, haunted eyes that works so well for horror and sci-fi.   

This tense, tight little nail-biter came from a land seeped in remakes.  Co-writer Scott Kosar did screenplays for THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE and THE AMITYVILLE HORROR remakes, so I can't explain how this one came out so well (he also did THE MACHINIST, which I liked).  Director of photography Maxime Alexandre, who composed some exquisite shots in this, did cinematography on the excellent remakes of THE HILLS HAVE EYES and MANIAC.  Director Breck Eisner, has only done two other theatrical releases, neither remakes (2005’s SAHARA and 2015’s THE LAST WITCH HUNTER), though he is currently attached to the re-remake of FRIDAY THE 13th.That seems like a bad idea, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt based on this one.

See, this was not a political statement at all. Only talking about movies.  There is no way I am saying a shadow government exposed the Mid-West (and beyond) to a mind altering Trumpie virus that caused millions of reasonable people to make catastrophically bad decisionsThat's just...crazy?

C Chaka 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Somewhere In An Alternate Universe of Hope: STAR WARS

Preface: I started writing this just before the election results started coming in on Tuesday.  By the time I finished and checked the news, the inspiration for writing this had pretty much fallen to shit.  My first inclination, besides vomiting, was to trash the whole piece.  After thinking about it for a while, I’m posting the entire rambling, painful, embarrassing thing anyway.  As wrong as everything turned out, I still think the underlying message is important, now probably more so.   It’s not much, but it’s what I’m putting out there.  Enjoy it for the deadly irony, at least.

* * *
I was going to write two pieces this week and post the one reflective of our newly elected President on Friday. One would be optimistic and triumphant, the other would be apocalyptic.  But you know what?  Fuck it, I’m just going for the optimistic one.  I’m not hedging my bets.  Plus, I’m very lazy.  

This one is more fun, anyway.  It’s about the most wondrous, impactful, and positive moment in my personal history of cinema.  These recollections are from a five year old me.  No, I'm not going to write as if I were five years old.  That is hack bullshit.  I'm going to interpret from my five year old self.  Totally different kind of hack bullshit.  And yes, I am going to talk STAR WARS (the one from 1977).

The (Long-Ass) Capsule:
In an undetermined location and time period, two robots find themselves in a serious shit storm when their tiny spaceship is swallowed by a bigger, meaner looking one.  One robot is short and whistles instead of talks, but somehow everyone knows what he is saying.  The other one is tall, fussy, and British.  While a bunch of guys in white plastic armor kill everyone, a girl with crazy hair gives the short robot a secret message.  He and his friend escape to a desert planet and are promptly captured by some dwarf junk dealers.  Back on the tiny ship, the dopest villain ever struts around breaking necks and being super badass.  He takes the crazy haired girl prisoner and brings her to see the old guy from those Dracula movies with all the cleavage.  On Desert World, a whiny blond kid buys the robots, but the short one takes off.  Blondie and the fussy robot run after him, because short whistling robots aren’t cheap.  Blondie almost gets killed by a sand mummy, but a well-spoken old dude saves him.  The old guy turns out to be a magician samurai with a laser sword and very good manners.  The short robot plays the secret message for the old dude and he convinces Blondie to go with him on a mission.  Blondie agrees because Desert World is boring and he suddenly has much less familial responsibility.  They run into a scoundrel, who’s kind of a jerk, but kind of cool at the same time, and his ape-bear co-pilot who only growls but somehow everyone can understand him, too.  The old dude hires the scoundrel to fly them in his junky ship to a planet mentioned in the secret message, but Dope Villain and the guy from Dracula have already blown it up with their giant deathball ship.  The junky ship gets pulled into the Deathball and everyone splits up.  The old dude goes to flip the tractor beam power switch, Blondie and the scoundrel score some white plastic armor and go with the ape-bear to rescue the crazy haired girl. The robots stay behind to watch the car.  They rescue the girl, who turns out to be a princess who takes no shit.  They run around, shoot stuff, swing over chasms, Blondie almost gets drowned by an octopus monster, and they are all nearly squashed in a very inefficient trash compactor.  Also, the old dude turns off the tractor beam.  As they are all meeting back up at the junky ship, the old dude gets in a sweet laser sword fight with Dope Villain, then turns into a ghost.  Everyone else gets away and meets up with Princess Crazy Hair’s crew.  Blondie and a bunch of other guys attack the Deathball in space fighter ships that are all named after letters.  The alphabet ships get picked off by the enemy fighters, even though they all have hellacious blind spots and scream when they fly by.  Things look even worse when Dope Villain hits the scene in his custom screamer.  Luckily, the scoundrel, who we thought cut out after being paid, shows up in his junky ship and sends Dope Villain spinning out of control.  Blondie, guided by the old dude’s voice over and The Force, which I didn’t really understand at the time but knew was a cool catchphrase, shoots a rocket down a vent that leads straight to the Deathball’s central explody part.  The Deathball blows up, Dope Villain runs away, and there is a huge party for the heroes.  Everyone gets medals, except the robots, which is hugely unfair because none of that shit would have gone down without them.  They get polished, at least.  Everyone is happy and I didn’t see how there could possibly be any negative consequences down the line.  The End.   

First of all, I’m not specifically equating Hillary Clinton with Princess Leia, or the Democrats with the Rebels (clearly they are more of the Old Republic, but I’m not going down that rabbit hole).  And I’m really not equating Donald Trump with Darth Vader.  Trump only wishes he were that cool.  Plus, Vader has a small chance of redemption.  Trump is more like a certain desert dwelling entrepreneur/slug creature who is disrespectful to women and is choked to death by Princess Leia.  Maybe I am slightly equating Clinton with Princess Leia in this case.  Obviously, personal interpretations may vary.  Some might see Clinton as the Emperor and Trump as Han Solo.  Just kidding, no one is insane enough to think of him as Han Solo. [Ed. Note: slowest, saddest head shake in history] 

No, this isn’t a political statement.  It’s about excitement and enthusiasm.   STAR WARS is the first movie I can remember that I appreciated fully.  I’d seen movies before this, but they were just bits and pieces.  Only certain fragments made any impression on me.  STAR WARS, on the other hand, had me riveted from the first frame to the end, even the talky part in Ben Kenobi’s house where even C3PO goes to sleep.  I went in expecting some kind of PLANET OF THE APES movie, as the only thing I registered from the TV trailers was a big hairy dude.  What I got, within the first few minutes, was more than I imagined possible.  It was the first movie that solidly kicked my ass. It was my moment of magic.

Some of that wonderment fused directly into my DNA.  Unless it’s absurdly hokey, my suspension of disbelief is almost total when dealing with space movies.  I am all in. To this day, in my mind, the actor who played Chewbacca is a real Wookiee.  Intellectually, I know it’s just Peter Mayhew, a regular, if freaky tall, human in a suit.  I’ve seen plenty of pictures of him in the suit with his regular old human head poking out.  Doesn’t’ matter, every time I watch the movie(s), I see a living, breathing, growling alien.  It's cognitive dissonance in the best way, not the crazy way. [Ed. note: Like, say, thinking a billionaire who has never done any kind of public service and doesn't pay taxes will have the back of the working class.]

Sometimes it even surprises me.  When I saw the behind the scene footage of how they made the pen float for the shuttle scene in 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, I was floored.  It never rationally occurred to me that Kubrick hadn’t just made the whole thing in space.  Come to think of it, maybe he did fake the moon landing.  I certainly wouldn’t have questioned it.

Not only did STAR WARS color my appreciation of all movies afterward, it affected the way I looked at women in movies, and in real life.  Princess Leia is an incredible character.  She was strong, defiant, and clever.  She stood up to torture and wasn’t even intimidated by Darth freakin' Vader.  She matched Luke’s heroism, Han’s sarcasm, and Chewie’s (real Wookiee) heart.  She may have slid down the ranks of my favorite female characters over time (Ripley will always be #1), but she was the archetype.  Even more importantly, at five years old, I didn’t think of Leia as a strong female character.  She was just part of the gang, as capable as anyone.  Gender was never an issue.  Except that her 12’ action figure came with a goddamned hairbrush instead of a gun.  When did she ever use a hairbrush Mattel?  

It helped that gender wasn’t that big of a deal in the movie itself.  It did have a save the princess trope, but Leia was as much a part of their escape, and their ultimate victory, as anyone.  No one bats an eye that she is a woman in a position of power.  It's never questionedPeter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin (or Grand Moth Tarkin, as I thought, pre-Wookieepedia) preys on her humanity to get information, not her femininity.  Han Solo gets prickly with her because she’s royalty, not because she’s a girl.  And he can be kind of a jerk.  Luke clearly had a crush on her, but she didn’t have time for romance (which was better for everyone, as it turned out).  The fact that she is in a dress does not hold her back.

I’ve seen A LOT of movies since STAR WARS, of all topics and levels of quality.  A good many I’ve appreciated more.  Many have been better written, shot, directed, or acted.  STAR WARS doesn't even make my top ten anymore.  No matter how good or how bad a movie is, though, it will never replace or erase that moment when I was five years old, watching STAR WARS and feeling like anything was possible.  When it’s hard to keep going, that moment is what keeps me moving forward.

P.A.S. (Post-Apocalypse Script):

So Hillary Clinton wasn’t our Princess Leia.  She was our Aunt Beru.  But that’s okay.  Our Princess Leia is still out there.  Maybe she’s one of the four women of color to win (or retain) Senate seats Tuesday.  Maybe she’s a little girl who dressed up as Leia (or more likely Rey, or a Ghostbuster) for Halloween.  It will happen.  

Sure, the way things went down, it feels less like the triumphant end of STAR WARS and more like the downbeat ending of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.  We got our asses handed to us, no doubt.  But like the last scene, it’s time for us to catch our breath, heal up, and make plans to deal with Jabba the Trump.  Don’t worry, it turns out alright in the end.

C Chaka