The Top Ten returns this week, recharged after a long unplanned break, and less objective and more personal than ever. How could any self-respecting lover of science fiction be anything less when it comes to Star Wars? I'm prompted by two films I saw at SXSW last month: a raucous, opening night screening of post-modern action-comedy Kick-Ass, which threatens to poison the minds of young people everywhere this weekend, and an enthusiastic afternoon viewing of The People vs. George Lucas, a documentary by Alexandre Phillipe. Our own John Gholson concluded of the doc: "For disillusioned fans like myself, it's a[n] unnecessary reminder of the things you hate about a thing you used to love."
Kick-Ass reminded me how much fun it is to share a movie with hundreds of strangers, and the documentary brought back to mind precious moments of joy and sorrow when watching the Star Wars films in theaters. You may hate what Lucas did to his creations, but I bet you have strong memories of your first, second, third -- or 93rd -- viewing, just like me.
1. Return of the Jedi, Cinerama Dome, Hollywood, California, May 25, 1983
Even though I had problems with the movie itself -- they're trying to blow the Death Star up again? Leia always knew she had a brother and still kissed him on the lips (twice)? -- the experience of watching it with a frenzied crowd on opening night will never be topped. On a whim, I waited in line for four hours and barely made it into the 3:00 a.m. screening. The tremendous applause and cheering that greeted the opening credits still raises goosebumps, but that was nothing compared to the full-throated reaction to Darth Vader choosing between Luke and the Emperor.