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Random Awesomeness (part 2019.11)

Random Awesomeness


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20 Years Ago Today: We returned to a galaxy far, far away

Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace

We waited 16 years…for this?

Even Ani and Padme had their doubts

Sure, The Phantom Menace featured one of the coolest-looking Star Wars villains ever, but then he was (supposedly) killed at the end. A couple of spoilers there I guess, sorry.

Darth Maul

And then there was Jar Jar Binks.

Jar Jar Binks

What was George Lucas thinking?

MONEY

Yeah, that’s what he was thinking.

Star Wars movies

The Phantom Menace is now 20 years old. I’m glad George sold the rights to Disney, and I’m glad JJ Abrams gave us The Force Awakens in 2015 and will bring us The Rise of Skywalker later this year. Let’s not talk about The Last Jedi. Ever. Please. Thank you.

May The Fourth Be With You

Star Wars. It’s a cultural phenomenon. Long before the Avengers ruled the silver screen, George Lucas’ space opera captured the hearts and imaginations of moviegoers everywhere in the late 1970s.

I’ve ranked the Star Wars films before, but I’m going to do it again (without referring Star Warsto my previous ranking). Tell me where I’m wrong…

    1. Episode IV: A New Hope
    2. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
    3. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
    4. Rogue One
    5. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
    6. Episode VII: The Force Awakens
    7. Solo
    8. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
    9. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
    10. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Where will Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker fit into the saga?

[Ok, I couldn’t resist looking back to see how I ranked them shortly after seeing Solo in theaters. I had ESB above ANH, and Solo came in at #4 because it was new and shiny. In the end, it doesn’t really belong in this list because it has so little to do with the overall saga, but I love it anyway. AOTC actually settled into the last spot. So there have been some slight adjustments over the past year, but nothing really earth-shattering.]

Goodbye, Peter Mayhew

(May 19, 1944 – April 30, 2019)

Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca Star Wars

Words escape me. He didn’t speak English, but Chewbacca was certainly one of the more entertaining Star Wars characters. The actor underneath all the fur, Peter Mayhew, passed from this life April 30.

The actor’s family shared the news via his official Twitter account:

The official Star Wars account and several other people involved with the franchise shared memories and photos on Twitter, as did fans of the lovable fuzzball…

The Return of Random Awesomeness (part 2019.1)

It has been nearly three years since my last “Random Awesomeness” post. Partly because I don’t blog as much as I used to, and partly because I don’t spend as much time on the internet as I used to. But there is still a lot of cool stuff to be found around the web, and things that I want to share with you that don’t naturally fit into my own blogposts. Each “Random Awesomeness” entry will feature seven or more links to some pretty rad stuff, so (obviously) I recommend checking them out. I usually include a music video of some sort and a link where you can buy the music (or something related to the video). New in 2019 is “What I’m Reading Right Now.” No spoilers, just a link to where you can buy the book I’m reading.

I don’t know how often I will publish a new list “Random Awesomeness”…maybe weekly? I’m really not sure. Be awesome, and you’ll probably end up on the list. Since this is the first post in almost three years, I decided to change up the top-of-post image as well, so without further ado

Random Awesomeness

What I’m Reading Right Now: Steelheart: The Reckoners, Book One by Brandon Sanderson.

Purchase Star Wars music by John Williams.

Christmas gift ideas for your Force-sensitive friends

The original trilogy is classic. The prequel trilogy, not so much. J.J. Abrams’ first entry into the third trilogy restored the faith for fans of the classics, but Rian Johnson shredded that renewed fandom in less than three hours. Ron Howard’s Solo was excellent (ignore the negative reviews from so-called “fans” who never even bothered to see it). Abrams is back in the driver’s seat for the ninth and final episode of the Skywalker saga, due next year, and I am hopeful and optimistic that he will finish well.

While the Star Wars bandwagon has slowed considerably, there are still many gifts suitable for those who have not abandoned that galaxy far, far away. Here are a few ideas to get you going.

Visual MediaStar Wars DVD Blu Ray

Music

BooksStar Wars Shakespeare

Toys and Collectibles

Attire

Other odds & ends

Ranking the Star Wars movies

Star Wars logo

I had the extreme pleasure of watching Solo: A Star Wars Story on Friday with my boys. I avoided all spoilers and did not read any articles ahead of time, and I was floored by the movie. I thought Alden Ehrenreich played the lead role brilliantly, and Donald Glover was everything I expected Lando to be. I realize there are others who were not as impressed, even in my own house. But this is my blog, so only my opinion counts here.

Solo

Now that we have ten full-length theater-released Star Wars films, why don’t we rank them? I’m omitting the < ahref=”https://amzn.to/2kvlh5l&#8221; target=”resource window”>Clone Wars cartoon movie because it has been quite a while since I have seen it, and I have not watched any of the Clone Wars or series (though I really want to watch Rebels soon). I’m also ignoring the old Droids and Ewoks cartoons, and the Ewok television movies and infamous Holiday Special. We’re sticking to the trilogies and the two theatrical spin-offs.

This is my ranking as I sit here; tomorrow I might shift some things around if you were to ask me again. (I know, you didn’t ask to begin with. Don’t get technical with me, you scruffy-looking nerf herder!)

1. Empire Strikes Back
2. Star Wars
3. Return of the Jedi
4. Solo: A Star Wars Story
5. Rogue One
6. Revenge of the Sith
7. The Force Awakens
8. The Phantom Menace
9. The Last Jedi
10. Attack of the Clones

That’s right, Solo slides in right below the original trilogy in my present state of mind. Maybe tomorrow it would switch places with Rogue One. The top three will probably always remain the same, because how can you top the best trilogy ever made? Revenge and TFA may occasionally flip-flop (I loved them both), and the bottom three may struggle for the cellar (they are so difficult to watch sometimes, despite having some epic moments).

Darth Maul

May The Fourth Be With You!

In 2016, Punk Rock Paint released one of the most epic custom trading card sets ever…the “Galactic Greats Set.” I was fortunate to pick up one of the 66 sets made before they sold out.

Travis took inspiration from Fleer team stickers and “Baseball’s Famous Feats” cartoons to make these parodies. Here are a few of my favorite logos…

Star Wars baseball

Ewoks Endor

Astromechs

…and some of the best “Galactic Greats”…

Han Solo

Stormtrooper

Ackbar

I really hope Travis returns to making custom cards soon. I have purchased three of his creations. In addition to the Star Wars set, I have also picked up his Stranger Things box set and Stars of The Negro Leagues. He has also created a ton of digital-only cards, including a some fantastic Star Wars customs that take their inspiration from other sets. Check out Punk Rock Paint for a ton of stuff that will bring a smile to your face!

May The Fourth Be With You!

Christmas gift ideas for Force-sensitive beings

I am so pumped about Star Wars, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. I’m doing my best to steer clear of spoilers, and I plan to go “radio silence” mode next Thursday night since I can’t see the movie until Friday morning. But there is so much awesome Star Wars Christmas GiftsStar Wars-related merchandise out, from the classic trilogy to the awful prequels to the exciting new releases. Here are a few ideas for those Force-sensitive beings you love…

The Shakespeare books are perhaps the most unique items on this list. I have the books for Episodes I-VI and absolutely love them. The only reason I don’t already have “Part the Seventh” is because I didn’t realize it was out! It has been added to my Christmas list, and if I don’t get it from someone else, I’ll buy it myself!

Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book (2017)

Star Wars Sticker Book

Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book
Abrams, 2017

After reviewing the series of Star Wars: The Original Topps Trading Cards, it seems only natural to move on to the Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book, also published by Abrams. While the Original series displayed all of the cards and stickers from the trading card sets for the original trilogy, Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book is more than a display. These are actually stickers.

More than 250 stickers spanning the original trilogy and a handful from The Force Awakens, the book also contains five pull-out posters that can be used as backgrounds for the stickers. But on the flip-side of each poster is a reproduction of some of the original puzzles that could be created using the original sticker card backs.

Several of the stickers retain their original size, though some are shrunk down. In addition to several character stickers, featuring the main stars as well as fan favorites like Max Rebo, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Nein Nunb, the alphabet stickers from the 1980 Empire Strikes Back series are included.

Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book is a blast from the past, and any Star Wars fan will get a kick out of seeing (and sticking) these stickers again.

Learn more about Abrams.

Purchase Star Wars: Topps Classic Sticker Book.

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