Ten years ago today, I was waiting in a sun-drenched line at West Acres Cinema in Fargo, N.D., to buy a ticket for the midnight debut of “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace,” a movie that was supposed to change cinema as we knew it. One could make a case that it succeeded, at least in one sense: All “Star Wars” movies push the technology that makes fake things look real, and “Episode I” was no exception.
Here are five random thoughts.
1. What does pop singer Adele mean when she asks, “Should I give up, or should I just keep chasing pavements?” As I understand it, the British phrase “chasing pavements” means “giving up,” so that would make the lyric redundant, wouldn’t it?
Can we put the Kim Bauer/mountain lion jokes to rest now?
Since Jack’s daughter was briefly pursued by a big cat in Season 2, the incident has become a touchstone for critics who want to illustrate silly moments in “24.” That sequence never really bothered me. There are indeed mountain lions in the hills around Los Angeles; they were there first and we built a city around them.
The big movies get the buzz; the little movies get the love. My previous blog entry was movies that you’ll see with a group of 10 friends; this list is movies that you’ll see by yourself.
You’re going to hear lots of hype in the months ahead, but it’s sometimes hard to know which summer movies you should ignore and which you should embrace. Give your brains a rest, because I have the answers: See these five movies.
The latest issue of Wizard asks “Is ‘Lost’ the greatest sci-fi show of all time?” I can answer that in two words: Um … no. I don’t know where the magazine ranked “Lost” in its top 25 — it was wrapped in plastic and I refuse to purchase an issue that asks such a stupid question on the cover.
The first season finale of J.J. Abrams’ “Fringe” (8 p.m. Central Tuesday on Fox, and the next day at Hulu) promises to delve deeper into the relationship between Good Mad Scientist Walter Bishop and Bad Mad Scientist William Bell. They were lab partners at MIT; Bell went on to found mysterious corporation Massive Dynamic and Bishop went on to the nuthouse.
Director J.J. Abrams makes “Star Trek” respectable again with this origin tale that sets up everything we’ve seen in six TV series — I’m including the underappreciated cartoon — and 10 movies. (Well, “Enterprise” takes place before this, but who’s counting?) He also makes “Star Trek” cool for the first time.
It’s appropriate that Brittany Snow spells her name the normal way, rather than “Britney,” “Brittani” or “Britni.” The actress strikes me as an old-fashioned girl, because I first saw her as Meg Pryor in the 1960s-set “American Dreams,” that 2002-05 NBC series where Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” played in the background during every episode.
Here’s evidence that “writer” is more of a lifestyle than a profession. When I lost my job to a layoff on Dec. 2, one of my first regrets was that I wouldn’t get to publish my end-of-year top 10 lists.