The first time I watched a Star Wars movie, my brother and I thought it’d be hilarious to unscrew the top to a parmesan cheese canister. We watched, barely able to contain our laughter as our older cousins went to shake the plastic bottle onto their pizza and a torrent of processed late-80s parmesan crumbs flooded their plate.
I can’t remember where we learned this trick, but I’m pretty sure it was from these same cousins, a trio of sisters whom we cherished and were terrified of at exactly the same time. They were the cousins who taught us the joys of wet willies and how to give a proper slug bug, and if you don’t know either you probably didn’t grow up in sleepy midwestern suburbs wearing OshKosh overalls just before the internet ruined childhood forever.
As the last specs of lily-white cheese hit the eldest cousin’s plate, I knew we had made a mistake. With one look, it was clear we’d be the ones choking down the sawdust covered slices, agreeing the prank wasn’t funny at all and vowing we’d never do something so stupid ever again.
My memory of the movie is hazy. I know I enjoyed the shiny white storm troopers, zigzagging in and around trees on floating jet skis, chasing gremlins and Princess Leia, who I definitely remember being chained up by a large character we would find out much later was based on Harvey Weinstein. Regardless, I never became a life-long Star Wars fan, but that could have been less the movie’s fault and more due to the seven pounds of parmesan cheese I was force-fed while watching.
I managed to skip every subsequent addition to the franchise in the last twenty-five years; first the sequels, then the prequels, then the prequels to the sequels and Natalie Portman’s weird lipstick installment, which I’m assuming was a stand-alone commentary on the white-washing of Asian culture, right? Every time a new release came and went, I’d marvel at the passion fans continued to muster for these characters, who despite the heeled boots and capes never, not once broke into song. I just didn’t get it.
Then along came MoviePass, the magical company that somehow takes $10 a month from my bank account and gives me unlimited access to movies at the theater, allowing me to sit through films I previously wouldn’t have finished the trailers for. Which is how I found myself watching the newest Star Wars episode, on opening day no less. No spoilers — mostly because I didn’t entirely understand everything that was happening — but here are some helpful takeaways if you too have missed out on the last quarter-century of George Lucas’ imagination:
Most of the women in galaxies far, far away have inexplicable British accents while all the men are from Nebraska.
Han was given the last name Solo because a snarky customs agent was making fun of him.
Han speaks fluent Chewbacca, while Chewbacca understands English (both midwest and British) well-enough to crack hilarious one-liners but is unable to speak anything other than purr-yelling.
Khaleesi is in this galaxy but her dragons and blonde wig are not.
Woody Harrelson is also there, because if it’s a franchise, he is now contractually obligated to be in it.
There are storm troopers, but no gremlins.
There’s only one light saber and zero light saber fights.
There is still no singing.
All in all, I enjoyed myself much more than I thought I would, and my seven year-old self definitely enjoyed the lack of parmesan cheese this time around.
This has nothing to do with Star Wars or parmesan cheese, but is an amazing cover of Tina Turner’s Simply The Best Noah Reid performed on Schitt’s Creek, one of the best shows on television right now.
This is post 2/30 in a 500 Word a Day Challenge - read them all here.