Episode 046: Off The Rails 5 – Face Like A Bean

article-0-1a0ec7cb000005dc-682_638x714.jpgIn this episode, the fellas are back with 3 of their 4 most touched on topics!

They start off talking about Batman and Ben Affleck seemingly being on his way out the door and who they would cast in his place, Doom brings some Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. news, and then Fitz gets all aquiver about the new Rebels trailer.

Han Solo is discussed, the works of Mike Judge some how get thrown under the microscope, and then they also wonder why stuff isn’t always as good as it did was when it 1st aired.

All that and more in this lean mean talking machine!

URL: Episode 046: Off The Rails 5 – Face Like A Bean
Direct Download: tnb046.mp3

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Star Wars: Ahsoka Review

She started as one of the most hated characters in Star Wars history.
After 5 and a half seasons of superb animation, she had become one of the most beloved characters in the entire franchise.
This untold tale of Ahsoka Tano in the fallout of Order 66 feels like it probably would have been a key part in the final Season of The Clone Wars, but the main questions are does this book do that spectacular series and character justice?

Heads up gang this is your official ***SPOILER WARNING***

No need for suspense, hell yeah it does!
The worst thing I can say about this book is the same thing we constantly said during Series 1 of The NerdBlitz Book Club, “Fuck, I wish this was animated!”.
Yes, it’s that damn good.

The plot is fairly simple, a year after Order 66, Ahsoka has abandoned her lightsabers and gone on the run from the Empire.
Moonlighting on an Outer Rim planet as a mechanic, she’s gotten pretty comfortable…until the Empire comes acallin’!
She steals a ship from the family that embraced her and heads for a moon so she doesn’t get discovered and cause even more havoc for innocents.

Tonally, this story really represents where it falls in the canon.
It’s somewhere between The Clone Wars and Rebels.
By that I mean it has darkness like the former, but not to the extent of the Maul arcs, and it is lighthearted like the latter, but not nearly as light as some of the chipper moments from Season 1.
E.K. has one hell of a balancing act here, too far one way or the other and you risk alienating a group of potential readership, but she hits the sweet spot.

Some of the things I truly love about this book are ties to the series that gave us Ahsoka and the series that brought her back to us.
One of the interstitial scenes actually takes us inside of Anakin’s mind on Christophsis, moments before Ahsoka entered his life.
A bit more light is shed on the process of bleeding lightsaber crystals to turn them red for Sith and their underlings.
We find out the fate of a planet from TCW, Ilum, that hundreds of generations of Jedi travel to to retrieve the kyber crystals for their lightsabers.
We meet another Inquisitor, The Sixth Brother.
We find out how she gets involved with the Rebellion, how and why she takes up the name Fulcrum, and most importantly we see her grow and gain her footing for the 1st time in her post-Jedi life.
All the moments we need to know about in her life are covered for sure.

Seeing the Empire come in and squash a moon under their collective boot, completely take over, and knowingly drain a planet of it’s resources to the point that the people who live there are better off just leaving helps paint the picture of how oppressive the Empire has become in such a short period as well.
That there is probably the thing I like best overall about this book, seeing those early days after Sidious took power.
It’s a time period that is sadly unexplored, and I fear it will be some time before we get more set in this era.

It really is a well written book that makes me hope E.K. gets another shot to play in the Star Wars sandbox, she hits the feeling of every era.
She plays well with all of the characters, including a cameo of a certain Prequel Jedi that I want more canon stories about.
If you like either of the big animated shows, read this.
If you want more Ahsoka stories, read this!
If you just want a good Star Wars story, read this damn book!

Episode 045: Fanb!tches

DT60JRZVoAAolO0.jpg largeIn this Episode, Doom breaks a long standng rule to make a whole thing about his Stark Toons debut doing an impression of a certain asshole getting his hump on with an airhead.

The fellas get into the body of the show with some (what else?) Star Wars talk by bitching about vitriolic douchebags that bitch, how Rian Johnson shuts them down with emojis, textless pictures, and cartoon gifs, plus they jibba jabba about the toxicity of current day fandom.

A death is discussed, time travel happens, and if you stay tuned in, ya just might learn something from this short but jam packed episode of The Nerd Blitz (now go tell all your friends to listen to us)!

URL: Episode 045: Fanb!tches
Direct Download: tnb045.mp3

Solo: A Star Wars Story (Finally…)

It seemed like we were NEVER going to get to see any footage from the Han Solo standalone film before it drops into theaters in May, but this past weekend we finally got the trailer everyone has been predicting for weeks.

Check out the trailer below and let know what you think!  We’ll be discussing this in an upcoming show along with our speculation as to what we’re actually seeing.

 

Episode 044: Meaty Middle

star-wars-the-last-jedi-benicio-del-toroIn this episode, we take a trip back in time to before Fitz saw Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi for the 2nd time!

***SPOILER ALERT***

After an extra special intro, Doom explains the time travel and takes the lead so Fitz doesn’t spoil anything he doesn’t already know…which isn’t much!

Deaths, returns, and wonky new force powers abound as we do a deep dive while Fitz tries to massage this new chapter of The Saga into it’s proper place.

Sit back, enjoy the show, and May The Force Be With You!

URL: Episode 044: Meaty Middle
Direct Download: tnb044.mp3

TNB Commentaries 011: Blade Runner

bladerunnerPlease turn off your cellphones and join Doom & Fitz as the hop in a spinner and soar back to……..1 year in the future!

For our 11th commentary, we head back to 1982 for Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, & Sean Young.

The fellers talk about Star Wars again cause why not?, ponder legacy, tease a bunch of future commentaries, and try to figure out what the differences and influences of this movie and it’s various versions are.

So strap in and prepare to be “retired”.

 

URL: TNB Commentaries 011: Blade Runner
Direct Download:tnbc-011-blade-runner.mp3

This has been a feature of TS-D/JA Productions and JJ2E Media 2017

The Last Jedi: Harsh Critic Rebuttals – Pt. 3

luke-skywalker-the-last-jedi-919965Welcome back gang. This will be the 3rd and thankfully final part of my rebuttal to Mr. Flick Flack Film’s especially harsh criticism of The Last Jedi.

As always we pick up where we left off last time, and here is a link to the original video https://youtu.be/C6fDPKNPqGM

 

 

 

 

Does Luke turn evil? No.

Of course not. If Luke turned evil it would completely negate the original trilogy. It would’ve rendered his hero’s journey meaningless. The entire point of his story arc in the OT was to learn from his father’s mistakes. He faced the greatest test he could EVER face when he stood toe to toe with the Emperor. And he passed that test. He refused not only to turn to the dark side but to fight at all, effectively forfeiting his life until Anakin’s turn back to the light saved him.

To make up some scenario in which Luke could ever be truly tempted to go dark after that is not only a betrayal of his character’s history but way more insulting to fans of the saga than anything that actually made it to the screen this film.]

Does Luke show how awesome and powerful of a Jedi legend he is? No.

Ok, now you’re just fucking with me.

I’m sorry, tell me again which Jedi before Luke was able to not only astral project himself via the Force all the way across the galaxy but do so for the sole purpose of punking his enemy while literally holding off an entire army?

His final act was the greatest feat of Force ability ever displayed in any Star Wars ANYTHING.

Do we get an awesome epic battle between Luke and Kylo at the end? No. It was just a hallucination of Luke.

Not a hallucination. Force. Projection. Varsity level Jedi power on display.

That ending duel was absolutely brilliant. The tension between the two, Mark Hamill’s  delivery, Adam Driver’s unhinged boiling rage. The whole time I expected Luke to pull the Obi-Wan Kenobi move. When Kylo seemingly delivers the fatal Vader-esque blow and we see Luke still standing, I was confused but relieved. When we get the reveal that Luke never left the island, and the realization dawning on Kylo that he was utterly played, I almost sobbed.

THAT is how to defeat an enemy. Luke stoked Kylo’s rage and managed to secure a victory (albeit hollow) for the Resistance all without ever lifting an actual finger.

Luke has the stupidest death….ever. Why wouldn’t he have actually been there and been killed like Ben Kenobi in  A New Hope

How was he supposed to get there? Carrie Poppins himself all the way from Ach-To to Crait?  He intentionally crashed his X-wing. Not only ditching it but stripping it for components over the years (like for the metal door to his hut). Rey and the Falcon left him behind.

He literally had no way to get there EVEN IF HE WANTED TO. Which he early didn’t.

He says it early and often. I came here to die. I will never go back. Nothing will change my mind.

And nothing does. In a stroke of brilliance, Rian Johnson makes it so Luke can stay true to his pledge of self imposed exile and yet still somehow be the hero of legend that the Resistance needs.

Again the complaints about The Force Awakens all centered on its supposed rehashing of A New Hope. How well would that Ben Kenobi style gone over had the Last Jedi literally recreated it exactly on those salt flats?

Instead Rian Johnson gives a something faintly familiar but delivers it with a completely unexpected twist.

We don’t find out about the crystal around Luke’s neck.

Oh you mean the tiny costume detail that nobody on earth but the hardest core hardcore fans who live on leaked internet spoilers before the movie comes out would notice?

No we didn’t. Big deal.

Sorry it didn’t turn out to be the crystal from Vader’s lightsaber like the internet chatter thought. Which by the way would have been pretty retarded given his lightsaber blew up with the Death Star II.

I still don’t care about Rose or anything about her. Her sister was WAY cooler. Thanks for the useless token Asian character Disney.

Useless token Asian character. I mean she only figured out how to outsmart the First Order’s tracking system, sowed a seed of hope in the hearts of the next generation of rebels, and  destroyed an entire casino city on horseback before going unflinchingly into a losing battle against a foe that had them out-manned and out equipped. But yeah, you’re right, completely useless character. Not sure what purpose she served in the movie at all.

What was with that stupid kiss Rose gave Finn? It was awkward and I didn’t see any romance, it came out of nowhere for me. It was a worse love story than Anakin and Padme.

………….pass……..

The scene where Leia used the force after being blasted out of the ship was the stupidest thing I’ve seen in a Star Wars film or any other film for that matter

Hyperbole much?

That scene to me was so powerful. Such a satisfying reveal of Leia’s Force abilities. We’ve spent literally decades wondering if Luke ever got to pass on any of his knowledge to his sister and if she would become as strong in the Force as all the other Skywalkers. This film gives us the answer in a big way without belaboring it.

When that bridge window is blown and she’s sucked out into the vacuum of space, my heart sank and for a minute I thought they had pulled off a huge swerve after having said all along that they weren’t changing anything after Carrie’s death. I thought wow, they’re actually going to shock us all by writing her out of the trilogy right here at the top.

Instead they shocked me is a much better way.

Now, I concede that the way she was filmed, something about the position of her body or the weightless movement or even maybe the lighting itself made the sequence look a little “off” to me, but at no point did I think it was dumb or pointless.

Rose saying, we don’t will by fighting the things we hate but by saving the things we love is total crap and hypocritical of her

By stopping Finn’s sacrifice, she risks killing everyone Finn loved in that fort. 

Sigh. I actually have no real explanation for this one. I truly thought this was the end of Finn’s story. While I would’ve been disappointed at not seeing more of him, it would’ve been a good death.

But at the same time, I was fine with the way it played out. The kiss was a little much though.

Rose is a dick.

That’s a bit harsh. Rose did not want to lose a friend like she just lost her sister. Maybe she realized that winning a single battle any cost is sometimes not worth it, or won’t actually accomplish much in the long run. That maybe there’s a better way. Maybe she decided to trust the Force and let fate decide?

The whole plot of Finn and Rose is useless and could’ve saved a lot of time in the film by cutting it out and not putting in an out of place message about war profiteering and animal abuse 

While at first blush it did feel a little extraneous, after i thought it over and saw the movie a couple more times I realized this little side quest was a lot more important than it seems.

First off, obviously, it’s important because they need the master code breaker in order to get onto Snoke’s ship to defeat their tracking system.

But, more importantly, it’s a necessary part of Finn’s character arc.

Finn starts of this film in a very selfish place. He’s not a coward exactly, but he’s very much into his own survival. He feels an obligation to protect Rey, the one person who he considers a real friend, but aside from that he takes care of one person, himself.

He makes the choice early on when faced with long odds to just run. To save his own ass and make sure Rey doesn’t return to the soon to be massacred fleet.  At this point he’s perfectly fine running from the First Order and pretending they don’t exist. A lot like he was in The Force Awakens until Rey needed rescuing.

Rose stops him from abandoning the fleet and together they come up with a plan to save the day. But it’s not until Finn sees the denizens of Canto Bight, fat and rich off the spoils of this destructive war he’s experienced first hand, and the squalid conditions of everyone else’s lives on a such an applicant world that he begins to see how the war and the First Order especially, is ruining people’s lives.

The animal abuse is tossed in not as a heavy handed PSA like a lot of people are complaining about but as part of a metaphor for the current state of the galaxy. These war profiteers are able to live a life of extravagance built on the backs of a suffering galactic populace. They treat the galaxy no different than they treat the fathiers. They beat and abuse it for their own entertainment.

Then they meet DJ, whose entire purpose in this film is to offer Finn a Ghost of Christmas Future mirror to look in. DJ tells him there’s no difference between the good guys and the bad guys it’s all just machine for making money. Don’t pick a side, just live for yourself and don’t get involved, it’s not worth it.

But Finn is unconvinced, and when DJ betrays them in the end it’s the final straw and right then he knows this guy is full of shit and this is no way to live your life. He goes from self preservationist to a hero who knows there is a right side and a wrong side to the war. And he can’t live the rest of his life not choosing a side or else he’ll be no better than the shitbag that just turned on them.

That is the true point of the Canto Bight subplot. It solidifies Finn’s status as a hero.

Whenever Finn and Rose appear on screen it’s pretty much a free pass to go to the bathroom.

I wouldn’t call it a free pass, but, when ya gotta go ya gotta go.

That scene with Yoda was a little weird and out of place to be completely honest.

Only weird in your mind.

At first it did feel strange, but mostly it was seeing the ESB era Yoda puppet again, and how they made him more solid looking and able to physically interact with the real world environment.

But I got over that pretty quickly and it became one of my favorite scenes in the film.

It was surprising and interesting to realize this was the first time they’d spoken in decades perhaps. It makes sense once you see that Luke has cut himself off from the Force all this time.

And the final lesson that Yoda imparts his a heavy, deep lesson for Luke. It’s necessary guidance for him, in a way Yoda is telling him the same thing that Kylo tells Rey, let the past die. You messed up, but that is part of the game. Students grow beyond their masters and you can teach them only so much before they choose what they will ultimately become. That part you have no control over.

It’s then that Luke realizes he must face this guilt and put it to rest so that he can become what the galaxy needs him to be, what he was always meant to be. The legendary figure he was at the end of Return Of the Jedi.

I was looking forward to seeing what Rey would find out in the hole on the island. But what she found was just weird and didn’t add anything. Or show us anything interesting or dark like it did in the Empire strikes back

It was weird. The first time I saw the movie I didn’t get it first either. But after a little thinking, it was obvious what it meant. She wants more than anything to be shown her parents. It’s why she foolishly allows herself to be baited into the Dark Side’s trap and falls into the hole on the island.  The Dark Side energy under the island calls to her just like it called to Luke from the cave on Dagobah.

And just like in the cave on Dagobah, the Dark Side gives our hero the information they least want to hear. For Luke it was that he would become like Vader (later it also foreshadowed their biological connection)

For Rey it confirmed her worst fear.  She’s alone. The only one she has is herself. There’s no family, there are no parents. She’s on her own.

How can that not be considered dark?  Alone in the galaxy? The hope you’ve held onto your whole life that somewhere out there was a family searching for you, trying to find you, that hope is snuffed out just like that and you’re left with nothing.  That is dark.

Now, whether what the vision showed her or what Kylo convinced her to admit is actually true or just a cruel trick being played by the Dark Side remains to be seen.

The movie makes you feel like a jerk for thinking Holdo, the pink haired lady is evil even though that’s what the film was telling us

You’ve never been misled by a movie before? Where you’re sure someone is up to no good but turns out they were doing the right thing all along?

As an audience we were being shown Holdo’s actions from Poe’s perspective. We didn’t get any more information than he got. So of course, just as Poe was suspicious of her we as the audience were too. And that’s ok, that’s part of the storytelling journey. We’re supposed to feel what the heroes feel. And in this case we did.

The lesson was for Poe, not the audience. We were just along for the ride. This was all part of Poe’s arc in the movie. He began as the brash pilot who thinks the only solution is to blow something up all costs, that running from a fight and living to fight another day is the coward’s way out. But Holdo finally teaches him a lesson that Leia could not. Brains and guile are sometimes more valuable than blaster or an X-wing. Sometimes ensuring survival is the goal of the mission, not victory.

We see that he has learned this lesson at the end of the movie when instead of rushing out to make a last stand next to Luke (who as it turns out didn’t need any help) he can see the bigger picture that there’s more at play than what he sees on the battlefield. He realizes this is a diversion and they’re not supposed to fight to the last man, but escape instead.

He had become a leader.

The film took place over 48 hours when the empire strikes back took place over years.

Empire Strikes Back took place over weeks maybe a month at the absolute max. Not years. Not even close.

It felt like I was stuck in one moment for hours when the ships were chasing each other.

I felt the same the first time I watched the movie. The next time it flew by. I encourage you to give it another look.

The trailers and everything told us this would be dark and a great big new change for the franchise but it wasn’t.

Again with the trailer promises. The trailers promised nothing. They promised Rey and Lule on the island. They promised Snoke in the flesh. That was about. Everything else was a fabrication of fans’ eyes and unrealistic expectations.

This movie’s themes of guilt and loss and failure were all hella dark. Again, just no dark the way you thought it would be.

It ruined everything that made Star wars great.

Like what? That’s a pretty sweeping statement.

It had all the elements that make Star Wars great and added a few more!

I don’t understand this claim at all so I don’t even know how to counter it other than to say nuh-uuuhhh!

Oh and where’s the Knights of Ren? Who cares, they’re not acknowledged.

So what? I’m so sick of hearing people bitch about the Knights of Ren. A totally throwaway line in one movie. Who cares? They’ll get to it. Or not. It doesn’t matter at all to this story and really doesn’t matter to Kylo’s story ultimately either.

Personally I feel like they morphed into Snoke’s guards but if not, meh.

Why did Holdo have to sacrifice herself when it literally could have been anyone else and’ve been more meaningful.

Now THIS is a real conundrum for the filmmakers.

Holdo was clearly created to fill Leia’s place because they knew she would be incapacitated for much of the movie, and also because their plan all along was to make Episode 9 very Leia-centric. (7 was Han’s sendoff, 8 was Luke’s, presumably 9 would be Leia’s). It’s entirely possible that before that was the real plan that they were going to have Leia split Snoke’s ship but then it became oh shit we need Leia for 9, and had to create someone else to do it.

Of course we all know now that Leia will NOT be in 9 so Holdo feels like a complete waste, since they could’ve shifted her into Leia’s position as Resistance Leader full-time following Carrie’s untimely death. Instead they’re kind of left in a lurch.

That is my theory anyway as to why it was Holdo instead of someone else.

As to why she had to do it, again, it goes back to Poe’s journey. He sees what she sacrifices so that they can live. It’s why at the end he calls off the suicide mission against the battering canon. It’s why he looks again for a back way out. These people’s lives now have incredible value to him (not that they didn’t before but…) he’s not willing to throw them away so easily.

Again it helped him mature into a leader. Which the Resistance will need now more than ever going into Episode 9.

Let’s talk about the things I did like.

Wait, there were things you liked?

To be honest, I really struggled to find things I liked at all about this movie.

That’s what I thought.

Mark Hamill was great. In one of his best performance ever. And I liked the relationship between Luke and Ray it was cool to see. Even though Luke is now completely wasted as a character.

Agreed. Mark Hamill gives a fantastic performance, and I found many of his lines utterly heartbreaking. The way he is able to convey Luke’s grief and psychological damage is subtle yet powerful.

Of course I disagree completely that he was wasted as a character, not sure how anyone could make that argument. He basically save the Resistance single handed, but whatevs.

Also, he’ll be back in episode 9 (spoilers)

I liked the flashbacks with Luke almost killing Kylo.

Me too. But I thought this movie wasn’t dark? How does this not qualify? Luke, noble Jedi, literally going to murder a child because he’s afraid he will become a monster. He doesn’t do it, but then by not doing it ends up creating the monster he feared? That’s fucking BIBLICAL DUDE! Come on. Dark AF.

I liked how Rey and Kylo fought the guards. 

I even liked the Porgs even though they’re only there to sell merch.

The gag with Chewie roasting one was worth the blatant cash grab.

The part where Holdo sends the ship into hyperdrive and splits Snoke’s ship, is the coolest and best visual thing I’ve ever seen in a film. The visuals were all just amazing.

In conclusion, I don’t ever want to see this movie again.

That’s a shame. I really seriously do want to encourage people who didn’t like this movie the first time to go back and watch it again, knowing the secrets and twists and more importantly what is NOT in the movie and I think many of you will enjoy it much more the second time.

I don’t think I even want to see Star Wars 9 when it comes out.

Why? Don’t you want to see where it goes now?

This movie….broke me.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Oh. Sorry. You were serious.

Well then I’ll be serious. It really bums me out to hear longtime fans toss their fandom in the garbage because they disliked one movie. And not even and entire movie but parts of movie.

I implore people not to be so reactionary. Give The Last Jedi another look. Open your mind, unlearn what you have learned. You might be surprised to find you do actually like it.

And if you don’t, oh well. But don’t give up on the movies that came before, that’s just childish.

And that’s why I hate it.

Now, there’s a lot more that I disliked about this movie

Like what the credits were too long?

And a few more things I did like.

That it was eventually over?

But I want to hear from you guys. Did you hate this movie and if you did why. If you liked this movie please tell me why and please try to counteract some of my points I made in this video. I would love to hear what you think in the comments. 

Thanks for watching, and may the force be with you.

And May the Force continue to be with you. Hopefully someday you’ll come to terms with The Last Jedi and start to appreciate it for the film that it is and not hate it for what it didn’t give you.

 

Well, thanks for indulging me guys, that’s going to wrap up the first (and probably last, this was exhausting) series of rebuttals to overly harsh critics of The Last Jedi.  Hope you enjoyed, and I’d like to think maybe this will make a few people reconsider their initial reactions to this movie.