Every week on My Favorite Slice, a Movie Trivia Schmoedown competitor shares their favorite category on the wheel! This week’s guest is Kevin Smets, Innergeekdom competitor and omega-level heel of the Schmoedown!
For those who know me, it’s no secret I’ve been a lifelong Star Wars fan. My earliest movie theater memory is just a flash for me really, but I remember sitting in the theater during Return of the Jedi and the back flip Luke does avoiding Vader, jumping to that scaffolding before the Dark Lord cuts it down.
Countless views of the trilogy on VHS in the years to come solidified it. Then, like so many things, I kinda drifted away from it for a while, like teenagers did. I got involved in sports, took an interest in girls, and sorta took a hiatus.
Until July 4th weekend in 1996, when I took my high school sweetheart to see Independence Day. My theater in Irvine, CA. was one of only a select few to show the Star Wars Special Edition trailer months and months before it released worldwide. And it hooked me back in. Though it’s lauded now, the sight of a CGI Jabba and that speeder cutting off the Ronto knocking those Jawas off got me so stoked. “It’s gonna be like Star Wars with Jurassic Park graphics!” we all thought.
The movies reach everyone very differently. For me, I knew I wanted to be in film eventually; my final destination as an editor wasn’t determined for years later, but I was always drawn to the execution of the movies as a whole… the images with sound design (Ben Burtt is incredible) and the music mixed with the performances for me just was a special thing.
When asked to do this article, it was a no brainer that Star Wars is my favorite slice. Now I know it’s considered a deeper cut category, and some would argue you’d want to spin away from it. While in my training for Innergeekdom matches I don’t focus on studying/rewatching Star Wars because I’ve seen them a thousand times and feel i don’t need to… and I paid for that by missing a ‘gimmie’ against Jay – Obi Wan and his RED striped Jedi Starfighter, d’oh! But I’m not so sure I’d shy away from rockin’ Star Wars on the wheel should I land on it. Maybe that’s my strategy. Or maybe I’m lying to throw off potential future opponents? You’ll never know.
But here are my top ten Star Wars movies, and yes I think there’s a shocker in there that many of you will be surprised to see! Starting from #10 and going down to #1.
10. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
I am not as big a hater on Hayden Christensen’s Anakin as most of the internet, and I think he’s actually pretty good in “Life as a House” and “Shattered Glass,” but the writing did him no favors in this movie. “I don’t like sand” comes to mind. Look, I don’t HATE it. I don’t hate any Star Wars movie – I even like the Clone Wars movie (which didn’t even make the cut) – but if there’s a number 10, its AOTC.
9. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
This placement is hard for me, because it’s my own fault. I hate that I set up my expectations with what was to happen with Rey, and with Snoke and most of all Luke Skywalker. Who here didn’t think it was gonna be Luke and an in-training Rey infiltrating a casino planet – seeing the two of them fight together side by side a la Obi-Wan and Anakin. Alas it didn’t come to pass, and watching the Force Awakens Force vision of Rey just bums me out because of how nothing was followed up with in this movie. I’m hoping IX makes this a better movie, because it COULD definitely shoot this up several spots if that’s the case. “Come on JJ, ol’ buddy don’t let me down!”
8. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Hands down the excitement going into this movie was nuts. I saw Meet Joe Black in a theater during my San Diego State days just to see the Phantom Menace trailer. Pretty sure my date just thought I was a nice guy taking her to a Brad Pitt movie! And I love Qui-Gon Jinn.
7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I am a sucker for suicide mission stories like Seven Samurai and The Dirty Dozen. Though it has the worst title card in Star Wars, the performances across the board and the space scene above Scariff make this always a pleasure to watch. Also, VADER.
6. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
The music more than anything makes this number 6 for me. I still feel the ‘fall’ of Anakin feels forced and rushed. Ideally Episode I would have been in the CRAWL of the real Episode I (which would be Episode II, and then Episode II would be a full fledged war movie where Anakin further descends to darkness, with Episode III still having Anakin pre-mask the whole time but finally falling to the Dark Side). But gotta give love to this movie anyway. Thank you Ian McDiarmid and Ewan McGregor – the real stand outs of the trilogy.
5. Solo: A Star Wars Story
I know, shocker right? But I agree with the Pit Boss himself, Ken Napzok, who further strengthened my love for this film when he saw what I saw… the scene where Han protests to Qi’ra “I’m not a good guy” is SO Han Solo. And then later, when Han is talking to Beckett, and Enfys Nest asks her what he’s doing, Qi’ra says, knowingly, “he’s going to help you” – she knows what we all know. And she’d probably guess too that Han would come back in the Falcon and knock those TIE’s out of the Death Star to help Luke, or that he’d volunteer for the ground mission on Endor. This movie just hit me the right way, and when Chewie first sits down in the copilot’s chair, and he and Han exchange a look… goosebumps!
4. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Pretty simple for me, these last few choices are basically going to be easy. From Jabba, to the final Yoda scene to the duel at the end and the battle of Endor, this movie is a treasure and brings me back to my childhood.
3. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
This is here because I love the new cast, I love the music of this movie, especially Rey’s theme, and because it’s so prevalent throughout the movie it basically raises everything up for me. And Harrison Ford’s inspired performance as an older Han was fantastic. The opening day excitement and first viewing of this movie also brings it to #3, and I look forward t seeing what JJ does with IX.
2. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
This is a classic. I must have gone through 4 or 5 VHS tapes of this movie, watching them so many times until they got damaged and had to be replaced. There’s just so many moments of this movie for me that bring me back to being that kid, that dreamt of those worlds in a galaxy far, far away. It will firmly be locked in at 2 probably until the end of my days!
1. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
This was easy for me. You know what wasn’t? Not watching this movie from 2012 until 2015. Yes. Just weeks before the new trilogy was announced I was planning on finally rewatching the movies (it had been a while actually, you know, life happens) and when it was announced I decided to wait until the weeks leading up to The Force Awakens to really “miss” the movies and make them feel new. And I got to see ESB on a big screen just hours before Episode VII (I did that marathon thing at Arc Light) – and watching it again, for the first time in YEARS on the big screen, it felt like the first time all over again. This movie is just pitch perfect to me, from the music, the humor and the acting. I will have a deep love for this movie forever!
And there you have it, my list. Everyone’s list of top SW movies differs, and no one is right, and no one is wrong. It’s right for them because it means you’re a Star Wars fan!
Speaking of my fandom, I’ve also been at the helm of a series of machinima movies based on Knights of the Old Republic, we actually completed several full-length movies and are in the process of doing a prequel series based on REVAN and his fall to the dark side during the Mandalorian Wars. You can check them out at this website – www.revantrilogy.com – thanks for reading and who knows, maybe one day I’ll take my chances and go for that Star Wars belt…