5-25-77 (2017)

It’s a shame that in 2022, a year filled with movies about movies that landed with a thud, that the best one, “5-25-77” will have gone largely unnoticed and ignored. “5-25-77” is a love letter about movie making, it’s an ode to the art of filmmaking, and how film can also be a reflection of how we view life. Director Patrick Read Johnson’s coming of age drama comedy is a pretty excellent indie film, one that I’ve been waiting for over five years to watch that is now being available to view for a wider audience. 

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The Last Starfighter (1984): Remastered [Blu-Ray]

Nick Castle’s science fiction adventure film is one of my all time favorite “Star Wars” rip offs. It’s a film that fully embraces the hero’s journey trope and has a damn good time with it, bringing in robot clones, big headed aliens, and a pretty great mythology begging for a franchise. “The Last Starfighter” thankfully hasn’t lost any of its luster even in the midst of the glut of “Star Wars” wannabes, and it’s still a big personal favorite of mine.

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Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)

With director JJ Abrams returning to the “Star Wars” universe once again (taking the reins for Rian Johnson), he’s able to repeat history of generations’ past. He offers fans the final film of a three movie saga that never quite hits the high bar set by the previous films. “The Rise of Skywalker” is a great movie in its own right, but like “Return of the Jedi” it is held back due to many unfortunate screenplay inconsistencies, characters that don’t do much of anything, and blatant retconning that Abrams commits to at the expense of the story. “The Rise of Skywalker” is a very good movie and great closer to the Skywalker saga, warts and all.

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How the Failure of “The Phantom Menace” fed my “Star Wars” Obsession

My “Star Wars” obsession began in 1997 when George Lucas unleashed the new editions of his trilogy in theaters. For me it was something of a passing fad that I admired through the fun commercials and the heavy connection to Doritos. I wanted those pogs even if I didn’t know who Luke Skywalker or Lando Calrissian was. A year later, I borrowed the original trilogy from a friend on VHS and consumed the whole series in one sitting over the course of a weekend. I never came back from that obsession, and to this day it’s a hard habit to break. “Star Wars” is a series that kept me hooked for a very long time and I was always looking for anything I could find to read about it, or consume in some form as entertainment.

In 1999 when Lucas aired the first ever trailer for “The Phantom Menace” on primetime television, I rushed home to watch the trailer on video tape, and I must have seen it at least ten times. It looked amazing.

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TV On DVD: The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2 (DVD)

Nostalgia entertainment is about as popular as ever and modern streaming services and networks are banking on the fascinating topics that can be mined from the mementos of pop culture. One of the most entertaining documentary series to be brought to the popular Netflix service has been by Brian Volk-Weiss’s “The Toys That Made Us.” While most studios would cut corners by merely making a series that relies on “Remember this?” and “Remember when…?” what “The Toys That Made Us” instead does is examine the importance and relevance of iconic toy lines from the eighties and nineties.

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Looking Back at “The Last Starfighter” at 35

I didn’t discover “The Last Starfighter” until I was thirteen years old. It was 1996, and I was looking for any and all movies that peaked my interest, and “The Last Starfighter” seemed like a good time to me. For some reason “The Last Starfighter” managed to skate right by me when I was a kid, and I watched every movie. I watched everything from “Willow” and “Legend” right down to “Warriors of Virtue,” but I never actually knew there was such a thing as “The Last Starfighter.”

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Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)

The problem with prequels is that you already know what you’re getting, because you already know what’s going to happen to certain characters within the canon, so, “Solo” doesn’t pack much surprises. I will say though for arguably safe genre entertainment, it’s exciting and also delivers some well timed twists within its narrative. After the much ballyhooed problems during the making of the film, “Solo” ends up being a surprisingly competent popcorn movie that keeps a brisk pace, and channels the original tone of the episodes IV-VI better than the previous prequels/mid-quels (?).

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The Bootleg Files: The Lost Starfighter

BOOTLEG FILES 622: “The Lost Starfighter” (2017 “Star Wars” fan film).

LAST SEEN: It is on YouTube.


REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Not unlike all fan films, it is based on an unauthorized use of copyright protected material.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Maybe in a galaxy far, far away, but not in this one.

I have not seen the latest installment in the “Star Wars” saga, nor do I have any plans to watch it. For that matter, I have no plans to see any more films released under the “Star Wars” banner.

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