We all gathered for Chinese food for my mom’s 71st birthday last week at New Town Bakery, where the bau sits nestled and warm in huge steamers, the staff run around in bright orange shirts (that matches the decor) and the jook runs freely, piping hot. You can peek into the kitchen to see 6-8 Chinese cooks in white paper hats standing at stations, the clang of giant utensils against woks mixed with the hot steam of frying in the air.
I brought this cute and frilly pink cake to New Town and we sang happy birthday amongst the cluttered dishes and balled up soiled napkins and general chaos of having six kids under 7 out for dinner. We sang Happy Birthday loudly and proudly, the server brought a set of mismatched plates from the 80s and a giant serrated knife for the cake.
A few days later, my husband and I celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary on January 13th, also marking 15 years together as a couple. WHAT!? Yes, our relationship is like a pimply teen, stretching its gangly legs towards adulthood. A decade and a half and its flown by like changing channels, these are the days of our lives. Naturally, we went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens to celebrate.
Here are my thoughts, which I’ve decided to randomly share like a teen YouTuber doing a reaction video, on my cake blog. STAR WARS SPOILER ALERT, nerds! Back away! SPOILER ALERT!
Rey. Damn, she is awesome. Whip-smart, powerful, strong – the one scene in the whole movie that made me choke up is when she hears the young child crying, and she follows the voice down the stairs and discovers it’s her own memory of being abandoned as a young girl. Since then, she’s fended for herself in the dry desert landscape of Jakku, spending full hard-labour days scavenging metal and parts from old ships to trade for meal portions. I love the look of that space-future vacuum-packed food portion she receives, and you feel her hunger, her thirst. PLEASE PLEASE don’t have her captured and chained up in a Jabba the Hutt-induced slutty slave costume in future movies. PLEASE JUST LET HER BE COOL and feminist and not sexualize her.
Man, Star Wars has a lot of sadness. Dead parents, abandoned children, children taken from families to be trained to kill as storm troopers. I asked Rich afterward, how are storm troopers not totally depressed? What do they have to live for, why do they even get up every morning? Or do they live out of fear? Do they have any teensy glimpses of happiness at all? I guess they’re basically suicide bombers, their only reason to be is to kill. In the movie, they do get blasted and pegged off like swatting flies and their lives are shown to be meaningless. I hate how easily and non-chalantly people (even the bad guys) are killed in movies.
Finn. Love it. A deserter, and he steps up to be a rad character. Also, he’s not white. The whole movie is racially diverse (and creature-diverse!) and gender-diverse, everyone just chit-chatting away with each other and flying X-wing fighters and dinking around behind computer screens – gals, guys everyone competent. From a very base level approach, if I were a young girl or boy watching this movie, it would appear to me that anyone and everyone can do anything – the women can annihilate, fly planes, slide down giant sand hills, kick serious storm trooper ass and it’s natural and normal for either gender. Of course Han Solo has some incredulousness towards Rey’s abilities but it’s sort of like new order trumps old order – in this Star Wars, it’s the white gal, the black guy and the giant furry oversized bear-dog that cruises off into the galaxy as the heroes.
I liked how the dialogue wasn’t boringly serious but had some real zingers. Overall the movie had a campy feel, almost veering on Spaceballs – like when Kylo Ren loses his MIND after Rey escapes and is slashing the place up with his glowing red man-stick and it shows the hallway with two storm troopers about to come into the room and then realizing Kylo Ren’s having a spazz attack and being like – Oh hell no, and backing away…
Leia. Sadly, General Organa kind of sucked. I didn’t feel her General-ness, and I found Carrie Fisher’s acting to be stiff as a board; her acting was so glaringly bad against Harrison Ford’s effortless Han Solo. Yes, older woman can be powerful (She’s a General!), sexy (Han’s love interest), strong (General!), motherly (aching for the loss of her son, also motherly to Rey). I was getting a community amateur theatre vibe from her bad acting and to me it stuck out like a sore thumb.
Han Solo. SPOILER ALERT, nerds! I’m still in shock! Nooooo! Why kill off the coolest vintage character? Every time he’s on the screen, there’s some jazzy funny dialogue or he’s goofing with his main squeeze Chewie or just being altogether charismatic. Now who is going to stop horrible Kylo Ren? Wood board Leia?? Kylo Ren is beyond a jerk to me now! I felt some empathy for him when he removed his helmet for Rey. But not now. Argh. Also, as my friend Steph and I noted: THE BRIDGE. DON’T GET ON THAT CRAZY ASS SKINNY BRIDGE WITH THE 1000 FOOT DROP AND NO SIDE RAILINGS.
Chewbacca. Guy can do a lot with howling. I felt like he should’ve been a LOT more sad and in deeper pain after Han. Same with Leia!! The love of your life is gone! One forlorn look off in the distance is not good enough!
Poe Dameron. Dude’s voice is like smooth chocolate by a warm fireplace spread with a bearskin rug. I feel like he was lit BEAUTIFULLY like a matinee idol in those first scenes! I clapped when his character came back. Obviously I knew he couldn’t be dead yet but still, the clap came. Side note: I’ve come across some very interesting fan art featuring Poe and Finn smooching and more. LOVE IT!
BB-8. Thank GOD for this cute little guy! The round and chubby little droid that could provides some cuteness relief from all the terror. He’s the loyal dog.
C-3PO. As annoying as ever! I’ve never liked him. He’s the Big Bird of Star Wars! His only redeeming quality is that he’s shiny gold in colour.
The orange wrinkly fish faced lady Maz Kanata. I get that she’s supposed to be the wise black reggae free-bird lady, a motherly figure, a strong female presence to encourage and guide Rey. Yoda-ish? Her and Yoda could get married and have babies, some green, some orange.
Captain Phasma. A terribly boring character with a wickedly cool outfit, and a bummer that she is relegated to a trash compactor joke…
The big freaky hologram Tales From The Crypt guy. Ugh, just ugh. Pure evil! Andy Serkis has certainly pigeon-holed himself as far as roles. Gollum gone giant and WAY more evil.
The entire set design and production was so amazing, so 80s, so perfectly in line with the original Star Wars movies. All I remember about The Phantom Menace etc was the booooring long over-explanatory dialogue and the lack of good story. The Force Awakens was just simply a FUN movie with a good old fashioned story with characters you can glomp onto and invest in and fall in love with. I know, I know – it’s also a bloated capitalist BILLION DOLLAR MARKETING POT BELLIED PIG MACHINE and it’s disturbing how omnipresent it has become in our culture, product and merchandising ram-jammed down our throats. But if you go into it with open arms, a child’s heart and the hope that you might simply be entertained, you certainly will be.
And back to my beloved mom… She babysat Teddy for us so Rich and I could sneak off for a night of romance a.k.a. go to Metrotown to see the new Star Wars in 3-D. I was even too full to get popcorn. Every year on our anniversary, I like to bring out our wedding photo albums and guest book, and look through the stack of photo booth pictures Rich and I have taken through the years – from our first photo strip, as smooth baby-faced early 20-somethings, through a range of haircuts, styles, facial hair, glasses, no glasses, wrinkles, grey hairs and present day ones with the addition of Teddy. I had read our guest book earlier in the day and noticed that my mom had never signed our wedding guest book! So she signed it when we were at the movies, and here’s the last line:
“Love you both! Happy happy anniversary, Love Mom!
PS: May the force be with you!”