Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.
I’m sure some readers are sick and tired of the incredible saturation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I can understand the impulse. I’ve still never seen Titanic, despite being a fan of its two stars and enjoying other movies by the director—because of how inescapable it was back in the winter of 1997-98. I still go into spasms of Pavlovian nausea whenever I hear that damn Celine Dion song
That said, The Force Awakens is fantastic. I think our man Bob nailed it with his review on page 22, so I won’t detail much here. But it’s a satisfying experience. The Star Wars movies were probably the single most important mythology of my childhood. Going to see Return of the Jedi in the theaters is one of my very earliest memories. (I was 3.) What I remember most clearly isn’t the actual movie—which I’ve seen several times since then—but the excitement beforehand. More specifically, I remember looking at a movie still—Luke at Jabba’s palace, surrounding by goons and piggish aliens—in a newspaper.
It’s funny. I’ve always cherished this early memory for demonstrating how important fantasy stories, and the Star Wars movies in particular, were to me at a young age. But while telling this story to a friend before The Force Awakens, it occurred to me that it’s also a story about how one of my earliest memories is of looking at a newspaper.
A wild thing about going to a big movie like that on opening weekend is seeing tons of Renoites. And sure, I saw a lot of people I knew there, but I also saw tons of people I’ve never seen before, people I never see in my version of Reno—out and about at locally owned restaurants or bars—let alone at art openings or local music shows.
And of course they never see me out and about at the mall or church or Olive Garden or their mom’s basement or wherever they spend their time. I don’t mean that in a snobby or condescending way. I just mean that it’s strange that sometimes it takes a galaxy far, far away to bring neighbors together. So we can all cheer for images that can’t hear the applause.