The National Championship.

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2015 Most Overused/Obnoxious Quotes Tournament – National Championship

Originally posted on 2015 Most Overused/Obnoxious Quotes Tournament.:

We will have a new champion this year. The question is…who will prove their obnoxious/overused worth here the most?

The Champion will be crowned at 345pm EDT on Friday.

Introducing first…your Real Housewives of Atlanta Bracket champion. The quote that slayed the defending champion Turn Up/Turn Down For What by a score of 17-11, it has certainly taken a step forward this season in obnoxiousness. What was once started as a hashtag, it has evolved into an acronym that even takes on such adjectives as “THOTties” and others I don’t feel like hurting your brains with. Ladies and gentlemen…That Hoe Over There…THOT
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Its opponent…your Young Thug Bracket champion. Although its 18-10 victory over That’s None Of My Business (Sips Tea) snapped its double-digit winning streak, it remains the most dominant quote of this tourney thus far. Short for babe and also meaning “Before Anyone Else”, it returns to the National Championship…

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Top 15 Arcs of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

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Must-see reference for the cartoon series that partially redeemed the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Some truly great story arcs that added depth to the Star Wars galaxy and most importantly, Anakin Skywalker.

Originally posted on Story Punch!:

CLONESIn celebration of Star Wars: The Clone Wars coming to Netflix and its long awaited sixth season, it’s time to revisit the best arcs from this amazingly ambitious show.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars debuted in 2008 with an uneven and little seen movie. Set firmly between Episode 2 and 3, the ensuing series promised to show us Anakin and Obi-Wan’s adventures in the Clone Wars leading up to Anakin’s turn to the dark side.

Perhaps the greatest creative risk The Clone Wars took was the introduction of Anakin’s padawan. Over the course of five seasons, Asohka Tano’s gradual maturation from impatient sidekick to wisened warrior became the shows crowning achievement and most important legacy.

Peculiarly, episodes of The Clone Wars were loosely organized into largely standalone arcs. Often arranged in groups of two to four, episodes generally continue the story of either certain characters or battles interrupted by an occasional…

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Happy Lupercalia!

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Happy Lupercalia Day!

Originally posted on Alison Williams Writing:

Lupercalia heart

Yes, I know it’s Valentine’s Day and lots of you will be receiving bouquets of roses and planning romantic dinners (not me- my husband knows I have no time for the gross commercialism that is Valentine’s Day and is under pain of divorce not to buy me flowers – and I mean it), however, it would seem that Valentine’s Day has always had a lot more to it than hearts and flowers. In fact, it originates from an ancient pagan ritual that was celebrated for years before anyone had heard of Valentine.

In Rome, many centuries ago, the festival of Lupercalia was celebrated from the 13th to the 15th of February. On the 14th of February, a day devoted to Juno, queen of the gods and patron of marriage, young women would place their names on slips of paper put into jars. The young men would pick out a name…

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Would ‘Star Wars’ be a hit movie today?

It’s a compelling question.  But in the end, it’s an impossible question to answer because of the widespread impact that Star Wars has had on business franchising, copyright licensing, pop culture, and now officially in the U.S., even religion.  Yes, ‘Jedi’ will officially be an option to check on the next census.  No more write-ins, my Jedi brethren!  But the question remains, in an age where Star Wars fans are divided between defenders of the Prequel Trilogy and old guard assailants of George Lucas’ maligned Episodes I-III, are Prequel fans’ criticisms of the Original Trilogy right in saying they were overrated to begin with?  That they would be outdated and laughed at today?  Although I know the answer to those questions is ‘no’ from any learned film fan, its still an interesting thought:  What impact would the original 1977 ‘Star Wars’ have at today’s box office?  And I consider this question separate from analyzing the subsequent sequels, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, both of which created the religion and franchising property that we know today.  So, in considering only the 1977 original Star Wars release…my answer is simple, it would still be a film held in high regard for its editing, ensemble cast of characters, outlandish setting, sound, and score.

First of all, Star Wars is a space opera.  You cannot name a film of the space opera genre that has had both the commercial success and critical acclaim that Star Wars had in 1977.  It quite simply was the first AND ONLY of its kind.  Subsequent space opera films, including stories that inspired the making of Star Wars in the first place, can only attain cult classic status within genre fans like myself.  Flash Gordon (1980), the original target of George Lucas and Gary Kurtz, is a mostly terrible film that attained cult status as a terrible film with awful special effects.  Sales of Flash Gordon film merchandise are only here today because of its mention in Seth Macfarlane’s Ted.  Frank Herbert’s Dune (1984), another huge influence on Star Wars (George Lucas’ early drafts appear to be right out of Herbert’s universe), is a Sci-Fi channel throwback shown on slow weekend afternoons to take up 4 hours of programming time.  Disney’s own John Carter (2012) comes from one of the defining works of the space opera genre, Princess of Mars, written in 1917 and it, along with Chronicles of Riddick (2004), was a huge flop.  These are epic flops and mostly terrible movies.  Even Joss Whedon’s Serenity (2005) was a commercial flop, even though its a solid film of the space opera genre.

Yoda is not impressed with other space opera films.

The only space opera film to put together excellent filmmaking to achieve commercial success close to 1977 Star Wars is Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).  Critically, it put together the ensemble cast, notable if not original soundtrack and outlandish setting and editing pace to put it in a similar ballpark of successful space opera films, and that ballpark is small, but notable.  And Star Wars gets there without the ‘Marvel’ stamp on it.  Notable indeed.

Although its impossible to compare visual effects, its clear that George Lucas would have tried to push the barrier of visual effects no matter what the era.  Strange Magic (2015) is said to have incredible animation, even if it doesn’t make up for lack of coherent story.  And while George Lucas isn’t the director that we all wish he was, he did come up with the idea to cut together stock film of World War II dogfights to inspire his visual effects nerds to create the Death Star dogfights.  That was unique in science fiction.  Hell, the dogfight sequences in Star Wars are better than ones in Top Gun (I’m dead serious about this, look at the awful stock footage used in Top Gun).

Also, nothing, seriously, NOTHING, sounds like Star Wars.  From Chewie’s growls, to Vader’s respiration, to the iconic ‘snap-hiss’ of a lightsaber, there is no movie that sounds like Star Wars.  The sounds of Star Wars are all familiar to the audience, but foreign at the same time.  That is a lauded feature of Star Wars that often gets overlooked.

Don’t get it twisted, Chewie’s got growl game.

There is a similar uniqueness of the ‘weathered’ or ‘lived-in’ galaxy that George Lucas created.  Prior space films’ environments are sterile.  From the Star Trek television series to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), space was a sterile, hospital-like world.  George Lucas was the first one to create a dirty, industrial, weathered look for a space civilization to live in.

Star Wars was unique in these aspects and its tough to say that ‘Oh some other filmmaker would have thought that out in 40 years since 1977′.  That’s a cop out.  If a similar film would have come out today with the uniqueness of Star Wars, even without the cultural moment and subsequent impact of the original film, we would praise it for originality and uniqueness and difference from darker and more technical space films like Interstellar (2014) and Gravity (2013).  Those films did not have the editing style as quick as Han Solo’s wit and soundtrack that creates the uniqueness of the Star Wars galaxy.

Some Clone Wars fans weren’t even born in 1998. Damn.

So yes, although we can pick apart the flaws of George Lucas’ direction and writing today, the 1977 Star Wars is an impressive combination of editing, characters, sound and score that no other space opera has ever put together.  It’s not without flaws of course.  Its not the most intricate storyline.  Carrie Fisher’s accent is puzzlingly inconsistent.  The camera direction isn’t groundbreaking outside the Death Star dogfights.  But overall, there is a uniqueness and quality that earned it several Oscar nominations and a win for Best Editing.  We may argue over the prequels, which we shouldn’t, they’re not good films.  But the original film released in 1977 is a true cinematic masterpiece that we can’t take for granted.  It could have easily been Flash Gordon.  But it’s not.  It’s Star Wars.

AND EITHER WAY, IN THE IMMORTAL WORDS OF BART SCOTT:  “CAN’T WAIT!!!”