Star Wars – A Galaxy of Daddy Issues

Daddy issues. What would Star Wars be without them? And how many Star Wars movies center around this one big Oedipal problem?

I have to wonder about George Lucas’ extreme father fixation. Darth Vader even means ‘dark father’, which is a seriously big clue right off the bat.  Daddy Issues are a huge thing in Star Wars, kind of like how Disney Animation singularly focuses on mommy problems (like dead moms and evil step-mothers). I’m amazed at how many films in the Star Wars saga center around male parental authorities and how they figure into the hero’s journey, especially after 42 years of storytelling! In fact, only two films in the series aren’t ultimately about dads and dad-stand-ins. Let’s take a quick look.

In production order, here are the Star Wars movies where it’s all about the Daddy Issues. (SPOILERS AHEAD through Rise of Skywalker.)

  1. A New Hope – Luke asks everyone from Uncle Owen to Obi-Wan about his father. No one gives him a straight answer.
  2. Empire Strikes Back – Well, we find out why no one tells Luke about his father. It’s because the truth is awful. Awful for Luke, that is. It was pretty amazing to find this out, back in the day. Whoa. We didn’t realize how difficult this would make the prequels until much, much later.
  3. Return of the Jedi – Luke refuses to kill his dad. I saw that coming right after Empire. But I wasn’t actually sure Luke would turn Vader to the light after positing Anakin’s past as a genocidal maniac. This turned out to be good storytelling in the end, in spite of the stupid Ewoks.
  4. The Phantom Menace – Qui-Gon Jin is a great role model and father-figure for young Anakin, who has no actual father. Too bad Qui-Gon bites it so early in the prequel trilogy. In the final TMP scene, you see young Padawan Anakin looking very unhappy during the Naboo celebration (foreshadowing!). While Anakin has deeply-rooted mommy issues in his trilogy, the lack of any kind of father makes him easy prey for Senator Palpatine, a manipulative and scary child predator.  Eeeew.
  5. Revenge of the Sith – After a bit of a daddy break in Attack of the Clones (besides the Jango and Boba Fett subplot), we get back to full-on father-figure issues between Anakin and Chancellor Palpatine. Then Anakin himself becomes an absentee father (granted: I’m not sure he knew he had surviving children. He seemed to find out about Luke off-screen between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. This is a problem, narrative-wise, but we never discuss the issue because, well…nostalgia).
  6. The Force Awakens – Who are Rey’s parents? Why did they abandon her on Jakku, and are they coming back? We don’t find out for a few years. Also, Han Solo gets to double dip as a tragic father(figure) to both Ben Solo and Rey. I’d count patricide as having big daddy issues, by the way.
  7. Rogue One – This prelude to A New Hope has Jyn Erso entirely focused on her father/father-figure issues (in Galen Erso and Saw Guerrera, respectively). Her mother has a tiny role in the story and makes a really stupid decision that gets her killed early on. It doesn’t seem to matter, since Jyn is too fixated on her father to seemingly care about her lost mom.
  8. The Last Jedi – Rey still wants to know who her parents are. Luke gets to be the “bad parent” with nephew Ben Solo. Luke also mostly ignores Rey, who still seeks some kind of father figure, because she just can’t let go of it. She did spend decades growing up alone on a rough planet with no one to care about her, so I don’t have an issue with her obsession.
  9. Rise of Skywalker –  Besides Palpatine’s reveal concluding the ‘who’s your daddy’ solution for Rey, Ben sort-of reconciles with his father. And finally, Rey gets to choose her parents-in-lieu, taking on the Skywalker name and legacy.

The ultimate Star Wars daddy message?

What are we left with, in the end? That it doesn’t matter who your parents are. And family are the people you care about, regardless of blood lineage. It’s an okay premise…but one hopes the next Star Wars movies can move on, creatively. It’s a big galaxy, after all.

star wars force ghosts anakin yoda obi-wan
Luke, your daddy I am.

Star Wars – Every Force Ghost Voice Cameo in Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars – Death Stars and Planet Killers: Enough Already

Star Wars Analysis – What does balance in the Force mean?

Is Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey a Sequel, Soft Reboot, or a Standalone Movie?

margot robbie in suicide squad at Harley Quinn
When she gets that look in her eyes, it’s time to clear out.

Margot Robbie reprises her standout role from Suicide Squad as Harley Quinn, epic psychotic ex-lover of the Joker. But is this a continuation of 2016’s Suicide Squad, or a soft reboot of the popular character with the same actress? How will this fit into the upcoming Suicide Squad 2, helmed by the beloved James Gunn?

Okay, is Birds of Prey going to be a sequel…or even the middle of a  trilogy?

The answer, to all sources, is YES. To both questions.

You’re welcome.

Will the Joker be in Birds of Prey?

So far, no. Let’s hope it stays that way.

To many people, Quinn is the best part of the Batman multiverse, often played for laughs, but also understood as a poignant role. Quinn started out doing good (a psychiatrist for the criminally insane), but turned to the Dark Side after being completely worn down and built up by one master manipulating bastard called Joker. Quinn, as in any good case of Stockholm Syndrome, fell madly, completely, and dementedly in love with the Clown Prince of Mayhem.

In her feature film debut in Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn stole the show (her animated incarnations are awesome too).  Audiences fell in love with her entirely. Robbie’s Quinn and Will Smith’s Deadshot carried the entire film. It’s worth watching just for those two. I can overlook Jared Leto’s pitiful Joker rendering and the terrible (Seriously. TERRIBLE) evil villain Wonder Twins in favor of enjoying the good parts of the movie ( I can compartmentalize).

When Quinn smashes a store window to steal a purse and complains, “What? We’re bad guys”, she also stole my heart. You go, nutso lady with no pants!

Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad 1 and 2

Besides Will Smith’s Deadshot (not Deadpool; keep up!), only Harley Quinn  makes the original Suicide Squad feature film stand out. Robbie was fun, funny, and even deeply messed up.

Here is an example of a good actor elevating a mostly-poorly-written role. I think without Robbie’s Quinn, there’d be no talk of a sequel. And certainly no standalone feature about her, which will essentially make Birds of Prey the middle movie in a Suicide Squad trilogy.

The actual Suicide Squad sequel is currently and hopefully helmed by James Gunn, after a clusterfrak of back and forth problems between Disney and Director Gunn.

While this hot Disney mess broke my heart at San Diego’s Saturday’s Comic Con (At Hall H, no less) when Gunn was booted from Guardians of the Galaxy 3 because of decades’ old tasteless Tweets, it’s all worthwhile now. Gunn is back in the saddle for the MCU’s GotG vol 3, plus we get him to fix Suicide Squad 2 in the package.

There aren’t a lot of MCU/DC cross-over talents, so I’m crazy thrilled at how this troubled circle has come around. Two for one, babies!

While Quinn moving from Suicide Squad to the Birds of Prey and back again hasn’t been explained yet, I’m willing to handwave anything that isn’t simply stupid. Perhaps this trilogy will be good enough to fix DC’s notorious story and villain issues?

We’ll see soon if the crazy person in the Harlequin outfit can carry her own movie. As our own ex-Joker-lover Harley Quinn would say, “So what if I’m crazy? The best people are.”

Harley Quinn Adventures You May Have Missed

All Joker Performances — Ranked

The Essential Will Smith

Is the girl from A Quiet Place deaf in real life?

a quiet place emily blunt millicent simmonds
Having a deaf daughter saves an entire family in an alien invasion. Who knew?

Is the girl from A Quiet Place deaf in real life? In a word, yes. The girl, aptly played by Millicent Simmonds, is deaf and speaks American Sign Language. And she’ll definitely be in this year’s follow up film, but presumably older and wiser.

Representing Disability in A Quiet Place

Actor-director John Krasinski pushed hard to have a real hard-of-hearing/deaf actress represent the deaf community. Judging by her actions and reactions in the film’s narrative, it was a superb choice.

I think it’s very difficult to make this kind of sensory difference come out right, so I had to wonder — is this actress truly deaf? A stand-out scene that sent frantic chills down my spine had Simmond’s deaf daughter Regan alone in the corn fields. Indeed, Regan’s quiet as a mouse, unaware one of the deadly but blind creatures was behind her, just…listening.

Simmonds hit all the right notes and I hope she did her community proud. She’s not the first deaf actress to star in a big feature film, but this one is less about in-your-face deafness and more about using it as an unexpected tool of survival.

Great Quiet Place casting gives this sequel hope

If you were one of the many movie fans pleasantly surprised by 2018’s sleeper hit A Quiet Place, you’re probably excited to catch the 2020 A Quiet Place II sequel. The original offered the right combination of refreshing cleverness, a terrifying plot that DOESN’T explain everything by the end, and ambitious hints of world-building… It’s a compelling work by the handful of speaking roles actors in the film.

Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe (most recently appearing as Peter Miles in 2019’s wonderful Ford v Ferrari)…and John Krasinski himself round out a small but tightly scripted cast in this truly brilliant — then copied wholesale in Sandra Bullock’s slightly-less-stellar but still worthwhile BirdBox — futuristic horror-lite instant classic. But can the follow-up be as good?

With great writing and a talented cast, all things are possible. I have hope. I’ll be at A Quiet Place II opening night…in shoes that don’t squeak, buying no snacks that can rustle. Seriously, someone in my theater jiggled a candy bag once and I thought they were going to get lynched. 😉

A Quiet Place – RunPee Jilly’s Movie Review (with SPOILERS)

Movie Review: A Quiet Place (RunPee Dan’s Review)

A Quiet Place 2 Announced

Movie Review – Ford v Ferrari

The Most Anticipated Science Fiction & Fantasy Shows of 2020

Avengers: Endgame
One “game” you can’t be late to.

In a post-Endgame, post-Star Wars Saga world, I have a hole in my soul where movie anticipation used to live. I had a lot of anticipation in 2019 for the new Terminator film, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Men in Black International, Zombieland 2, and Jumanji 3. All let me down in some way. They weren’t fails (mostly), but didn’t come close to how idyllic the original films were.

Endgame was the only perfect finale. I’m happy enough with Rise of Skywalker, but feel strangely empty knowing 42 years of storytelling is done.

I no longer have a burning desire to know how the next thing turns out. In fact, the only movie I’m excited for offhand in 2020 is Black Widow. And I’m actually a little bit meh on that. Call it a sort of Post-Snap Depression.

black-widow-may-2020The Best Sci Fi is on Television these days

Strangely, it’s TV that’s got me jazzed this year. The 2019 Mandalorian Season One was so good that my faith in Disney and Disney+ is restored. Can Season Two happen now? (What? No more ’til next fall? I cry foul!)

But there are other shows I’m crazy with anticipation for.

Here’s my short, short list for upcoming 2020 sci-fi shows:

The Mandalorian (Disney +)

Star Trek: Picard (CBS All-Access)

The Orville (Moving to Hulu)

falcon-and-winter-soldier-show-disney-plus

The Falcon and Winter Soldier (Disney +)

It’s annoying that all the best shows are being vacuumed up by premium channels. This must stop. Between Netflix, Hulu, CBS All-Access, Disney+ and Amazon Prime, consuming all the good stuff will cost more than cable used to be. Remember cable?

I actually remember when TV had four stations: CBS, NBC, ABC, and PBS (for Sesame Street and Mr Rogers Neighborhood). And they were free. That’s what commercials were for. I have more time to pay than money, so commercials are fine in my book. However, I’m not the boss of TV, so I’ll have to figure something else out.

Twinkies not included.

2020 Movies to Anticipate?

There’s also the next Fantastic Beasts film, but no matter how much I like those, I don’t love them. They just aren’t Harry Potter. They kind of feel like The Hobbit movies compared to the Lord of the Rings. Or maybe prequel movies never live up to expectations in general (which might explain my meh-ness about Black Widow).

If you love your superheroes, sci fi, and fantasy features, there’s definitely good stuff coming, but patience is required. Who knows when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3 will be — 2022? And Thor 4 is slated for 2021.

eternals

I’m fairly disinterested in 2020s The Eternals. The MCU will probably surprise us with a good film regardless, based on their track record. It’s just that I don’t need new characters in an already crammed shared universe.

What movies and TV shows are you looking forward to this year? Or do you also feel…kind of tired of it all?


RunPee – Our 2109 Movie Review Rankings (and who was stuck with the worst films!)

Jumanji Character Names and Skills

Avenger Superhero Powers, by Category

Critic Movie Reviews v RunPee Family Reviews

Critic Movie Reviews v RunPee Family Reviews

RunPee FamilyNot having professional or writer-educated staff (besides First Officer/COO Jill Florio, who was a journalist and magazine editor back when people still had real jobs), RunPee’s reviews are written from the heart, and are hopefully more useful than what we get from the well-paid critics of Rotten Tomatoes…  Because we send RunPee family members who are actual fans of the genre to get Peetimes and review them.

RunPee Reviews? What Peeps See What?

jill florio
RunPee Jilly likes blockbusters. She fully admits she has tentpole tastes and is not ashamed.

So we have Jill and Dan on sci-fi, fantasysuperhero, and action films; RunPee Sis on horror and comedies; RunPee Mom on animation, childrens’ films, dramas, and historicals; with Dana and Shani on miscellaneous flicks of their choice.

Of course we “RunPeeps” have interest overlap, and don’t always get our first movie choice. Sometimes one of us has to view a film we dislike (or even hate), or is totally out of our expertise to comment on — for example, don’t ask me to see War films, unless it’s Star Wars (or 1917, which rocked!).

We see hundreds of movies a year; life happens. We try our best. We try to keep off-interest assignments down.

chewbacca
Chewie is happy with most movies, if his family is any indication in the Star Wars Holiday Special.

RunPee has superior movie reviews!

What makes our movie reviews better is that a typical critic sees every movie willy-nilly and aren’t necessarily fans of each genre. So if they cordially dislike Sci Fi or superhero films, they will piss on them (to use a “Pee” reference) in their reviews. They DON’T GET THEM. We do. We try to make this inequality right.

This element explains the frequent discrepancy between Rotten Tomatoes Critics’ Scores and Audience Scores. Sometimes the numbers variance is huge and seemingly inexplicable. It’s not that Critics are stupid — these are often very educated people — but each critic is not going to appreciate every type of film. They can’t. Could you?

jumanji-game-box
Would you play this game? Seriously. Like, ever?

Critics often grade/rate genre films as if they were the bastard stepchildren of serious dramas. And that’s just wrong. At least, it’s not helpful to die-hard (or at least emergent) genre fans. If you loved, say, Jumanji 2, you should review Jumanji 3, because a built-in fan will have better opinions of its relative worth in the series than someone who didn’t appreciate the first two. If you are a Harry Potter fan who’s read the books, you’ll review it better than a casual fan who doesn’t know what Expelliarmus means. Savvy?

(Ten points if you get the franchise where savvy is a thing!)

To sum up why our reviews are better 😉

We also don’t waste your time merely recapping a movie. You can get the basics from the IMDb and the trailers. We offer our honest insights instead.

RunPee co-founder and CEO Dan says it best, “Our reviews resonate with people because we generally review movies in our favorite genres. The last thing I ever want to read is a review of a Marvel movie by some snooty movie critic. If you’re not a fan of the genre you’re writing about, then how can you expect to write something meaningful?”

You do know RunPee writes reviews, right? Check them out on our blog here or do a search on RunPee.com

Types of Peetimes: recommended, emergency, alert

Why do I only see old movies in the Movie List?

RunPee Family

 

Who rated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker higher, men or women?

Who rated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker higher, men or women?

If you go to IMDb.com you’ll see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has a rating of 6.9/10. And at Rottentomatoes.com #RoS gets a 86% from users. (And 53% from critics, but who cares what critics think?)

Infographic of every Star Wars movie ranked by fans on IMDb and RottenTomatoes

That’s nice to know, but user polls like that have always bothered me, because  I don’t know who’s voting. The assumption is that if enough people vote, then it really doesn’t matter. But is that a good assumption? Let’s test it and find out.

In the RunPee app we have a user’s poll — we call it the Peeple’s Poll — that breaks down user voting more precisely by age and gender. We also ask users to submit their expectation vote before seeing the movie to compare with their after-movie vote, to see how a movie performs based on expectations.

Lets see what the Peeple’s Poll numbers have to say about Rise of Skywalker.

Who rated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker higher, men or women?

Raw data of results by gender

expectation
aftermovie
difference
men
75.9 81.5 +5.6
women
76.8 83.6 +6.8
COMbined
76.1 82.1 +6.0

Women have a higher expectation vote than men. And, their after-movie vote is also higher — by a wider margin. The last remnants of the Old Stereotype that Star Wars is for nerdy boys has been swept away.

An after-movie rating in the low 80% range is respectable. For context, an 82.1 score would put Rise Of Skywalker as the 28th best movie of 2019 — just slightly ahead of Joker.

Read the 2019 Peeple’s Poll Movies – Year in Review here.

Turns out men and women don’t rate movies equally. If we look at all votes for all movies we can see there is a slight, but noticeable, difference in how men and women rate movies.

Peeple’s Poll voting by gender for ALL MOVIES

expectation
aftermovie
difference
men
75.4 80.1 +4.7
women
76.4 82.6 +6.2
Women – men
+1.0 +1.5

Remember, the numbers above are for all movies. The expectation vote between men and women differ by 1.0 points, while the after-movie vote differs by 1.5 points. Not huge, but I think it’s interesting that women generally are happier with a movie than men.

Note: this is with over 80,000 total votes submitted.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker departure from average.

expectation

#RoS – overall avg.

after-movie

#RoS – overall avg.

men
75.9 – 75.4 = +0.5 81.5 – 80.1 = +1.4
women
76.8 – 76.4 = +0.4 83.6 – 82.6 = +1.0

Here we can see the departure from average is a little greater for men than women, but again, women still rate the movie higher.

However, in a deeper context, the trend is for women to have an expectation rating that is 1 point higher than men, and in the case of #RoS it’s 0.9.

Let’s call that a wash.

On the other hand, the trend, when considering all movies, is for women to have an after-movie rating that’s 1.5 points higher than men. In the case of #RoS, men are +1.4 and women are +1.0. Women’s after-movie rating is higher, but not by the margin we would expect according to average.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker expectation by age/genderInfographic, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, rating by men and women before movie expectation

You can see that, in general, women had slightly higher expectations across all age groups, except for the 20-29 range. But more interestingly, I think, the 20-29 age range was lower for both genders by wide margins. If you have some reasoning for, that I’d love to hear it in the comments. Notice also that, among women, those under 20 had the highest expectations, while those 20-29 had the lowest expectations. A stark contrast for two adjacent age groups. But, that’s life.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker after-movie by age/gender

Infographic, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, rating by men and women after movie rating

This is where it gets really interesting. What’s up with women under 20? We saw from the expectation chart that women under 20 had the highest expectation, but it’s crazy how much that groups after-movie rating stands out. My guess is that young women identify with the protagonist Rey and young men identify with Kylo Ren. I don’t want to get into anything spoilery, so I’ll leave it at that. But if you’ve seen the movie you can see how the outcome of the characters could have a strong influence on the weak minded young. 🙂

FAQ – Peeple’s Poll

Want to get punched in the nose? Go tell a teenage girl that #RoS sucked. Note: of the 2,800+ votes for #RoS women under 20 has the least number of votes at just 19. I’ll check back in a few days and update to see there are any changes.

The other thing I notice from the after-movie chart is, among men, those in the 30-39 range had the lowest rating for the movie of any group. Why? Let’s see… A man of about 35 would have been around 15 when Phantom Menace came out. Does the scar of Jar-Jar still haunt them? You tell me.

One other statistical result is worth mentioning, and that’s the percentage of votes by women vs men for all movies and for #RoS.

Percent of voters by gender

# of votes all movies
# of votes Rise of Skywalker
women
27,756 810
men
56,031 1,945
women/men %
49.5% 41.6%

You can see that overall women don’t submit votes in the Peeple’s Poll as frequently as men. (2 votes by men for every 1 vote by a woman.) However, I don’t have any overall gender demographics for RunPee app users. I can only go by users who submit votes in the Peeple’s Poll and submit their gender.

For Rise of Skywalker women account for 41.6% of the votes, down 7.9% from the overall trend. My interpretation is that, while women rate #RoS higher, men account for a disportionate percentage of the audience. At least among RunPee app users.

We’re just getting started here. Tell me, what other sorts of statistical breakdowns would you like to see in the future?

Movie Review – Star Wars – Rise of Skywalker (spoiler free)

Star Wars – Death Stars and Planet Killers: Enough Already

The 6 Most Epic Lightsaber Fights in Star Wars (plus 3 that didn’t make the cut)

 

Two Must See Science Fiction Spoof Film Documentaries (plus: the most ‘inconceivable’ parody of a spoof)

It’s hard to make a decent movie spoof for a beloved franchise, and being in the science fiction genre doesn’t make things any easier. The producers have to sell a fresh plot, quality special effects, and sparkling humor, while somehow keeping the fan base happy. You have to honor — while riffing– the base material. It’s a tight line to walk.

Two beloved science fiction spoofs not only stand out as Best in Genre full-length film satires, but have now have their own documentaries. That’s impressive for a parody.

If you’re a Star Wars or Star Trek fan, you’ve probably heard about Spaceballs and Galaxy Quest. Join me in discussing the cameo-studded documentaries about these fabulous science fiction movie parodies.

Spoofing Star Wars: Spaceballs – The Documentary (30 minutes, 1987)

Lucasfilm actually did post-production for Spaceballs. Mel Brooks said George Lucas loved the screenplay, thankfully, since Brooks wasn’t going to go forward with Spaceballs if Lucas had a problem with it.

In the documentary, Brooks says, “to make a good spoof film, you have to love the genre.” Truth.

Not only did Brooks pull together a stellar cast for Spaceballs, the story was funny and reasonably sensible. Even better, there were film nods to other science fiction classics like Star Trek, Alien, Planet of the Apes, and even Superman. Spaceballs is a good romp.

Here’s the 1987 Spaceballs Documentary to get you back in the saddle for some silly Star Wars fun:

 

Spoofing Star Trek: Galaxy Quest (2019)

Ask any Trek fan to list their favorite Star Trek films and invariably Galaxy Quest comes up. Even the real Star Trek actors love it, and praise it to Klingon Heaven (aka Sto-Vo-Kor) in this documentary. When it comes to the best Star Trek films, Galaxy Quest is near the top for me. It also handles the fanbase with great esteem, letting ‘us’ help save the day (“It’s all real.” “I KNEW it!”)

Indeed, I loved the Galaxy Quest Documentary when it came out in a limited release in 2019. I laughed with all the other fans in a packed screening room, while we clued back into to why this…wacky  spoof…was so good. It told a real story. And FELT like Star Trek. It had a coherent narrative, gave us all the feels, and reminded us how amazing Alan Rickman can be with even the goofiest lines (“By Grabthar’s Hammer, you shall be avenged.“)

Here’s the trailer for the Never Surrender Documentary (not available free on You Tube Yet):

My Never Surrender Galaxy Quest Documentary Review:

Never Surrender – A Galaxy Quest Retrospective

Extra! Must-See Bonus Spoofiness

The Deadpool Before Christmas (2018)

A superhero spoof of a fantasy spoof? With genre-hopping Princess Bride fun? Yes, please.

Here’s the trailer if you somehow missed this Deadpool & Princess Bride Mashup:

And my review of The Deadpool Before Christmas:

The Deadpool Before Christmas

 

Every Type of Star Wars Stormtrooper, Explained

So, I was making my own list of every type of Stormtrooper we see in Star Wars, and I found a definitive video explaining more types than I ever noticed. And I notice most things in science fiction films. One of the great things about Star Wars is the massive but oft-unmentioned world-building. The more you watch these movies, the more you notice.

So many Stormtroopers, so little time to spot them

Can you recall which movie features Shore Troopers? How about Snow Troopers, Riot Troopers, SandTroopers, Mud Troopers, and Scout Troopers?

Offhand, I can answer that. In order: Rogue One, The Empire Strikes Back, The Force Awakens, A New Hope, Solo, and Return of the Jedi/The Mandalorian. But that’s barely scratching the surface of Stormtrooper designs.

Some sweep by so quickly you have to stop the movies to catch the new armor and designs. Apparently, I missed a lot of brand new specialized Stormtroopers in Rise of Skywalker.

Also, Star Wars has a lot of Imperial & First Order Guard Troopers. These aren’t the same as the generic Troopers: they are elite. These are the scary ones in red that defend the Emperor and Supreme Leader Snoke. Honestly, in their scenes I mainly noticed they were red-suited, and often wore capes. Sometimes they used unique laser weapons and may have a touch of the Force.

I learned there’s a lot more to the Guard Troopers than I realized when I watched the clip below.

Lucasfilm made this video with real design crewmembers, and it’s incredibly detailed.

Obviously, the designers had a lot of fun creating these different Stormtrooper outfits. There’s a lineage that flows through the decades of storytelling in Star Wars. I’m impressed with the care and attention paid to even the smallest difference in helmet features and armor accessories.

Additionally, if you like Stormtroopers in general, and A New Hope specifically, this parody spoof Troops below is a must-see. It’s now part of my personal head canon on what went down that fateful, deadly day at the Lars Homestead on Tatooine.

“All suspects are guilty. Period:”

TROOPS – A Star Wars Parody Does COPS

Lastly, here is a high quality satire from Saturday Night Live taking place behind the First Order scenes with Kylo Ren and his off duty Stormtroopers, called Undercover Boss. Adam Driver is not to be missed as he sends up his pouty, emo character arc in The Force Awakens. I consider this head-cannon too. Why not? It fits right in.

Undercover Boss – A Star Wars Parody on SNL

Every Type of Starship and Starfighter in Star Wars, Explained

Star-wars-death-star-battle-return-of-the-jedi
There are a lot of ships in the Battle of Endor. It’s a great scene — learn how to recognize the Starfighters here.

It’s kind of interesting when this happens: I come up with an idea for a RunPee article, start my research, and then find someone made an entire video with more detail and authority then I ever could. This has been happening frequently with Star Wars.

In this case, I was personally interested in differences and uses of the Starfighters used each in each movie. (A Starfighter is a one — sometimes two — manned, dogfighting style,  maneuverable armed space attacker. Some are modified for specifically atmosphere, as in the Imperial Tie Strikers on Rogue One.)

What are these Starfighters and who flies them?

Who gets to  fly certain designs and why? What does each ship look like? Offhand, can you tell the difference between a B-Wing and an A-Wing fighter?

The Empire & First Order Ships

For example, if you’re an Imperial or First Order pilot, you might get a Tie Fighter, a Silencer, or an Interceptor. We also see a lot of distinctive Imperial Shuttles with folding bird-type wings. Darth Vader has his own elegant Tie Fighter design that we see in the Death Star trenches of A New Hope.

Capital ships include Star Destroyers and Dreadnoughts (and Death Stars), but we’re not covering the big cruisers / spacestations here. (“That’s no moon.”)

You probably noticed the Tie-Class Starfighters have a distinctive ‘whine’ sound. Here’s one minute of the classic Tie Fighter sound as they flyby and spin out:

Here is is again if you want to listen to the Tie Fighter whine as ambient sound for 12 hours, because, why not?

(Photo embed below shows Darth Vader’s Advanced X-1 Tie Fighter)

Rebels & Resistance Ships

Everyone knows what an X-Wing looks like. It’s Luke’s ship design, after all. But there are also Y-Wings, B-Wings, A-Wings, the Naboo N-1, and on and on until they merge together with minor changes of design.

 

Rebel and Resistance capital ships include Cruisers, Bombers, and Ramming ships (and some rag tag unique boats, like the Millennium Falcon, owned by scrappy individuals like Han Solo). But again, the video below has enough to cover without leaving the realm of Star Fighter.

Where do we see these Starfighters?

The best space battles are in A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, The Last Jedi, Rogue One, and finally, Rise of Skywalker. I’m not going to include The Phantom Menace, which does have a space battle, but is kind of dodgy. Except for Rise of Skywalker, you can find these scenes on You Tube, so you can easily start and stop the action to pick out the different Starfighters and big capital ships.

(Here are all the Star Wars movies ranked by my thoughts on re-watchability.)

OK, where’s the Starfighter Video?

Honestly, I’d been listing things on my own, looking over scenes in various movies, and then I found THIS. It’s the definitive answer, taking almost 18 minutes to watch, created/hosted by design crewmembers of Lucasfilms.

I can’t compete with that. 😉

So here’s the video. Can you name each type of Starfighter as it appears on the screen? 

The other big article I’m no longer going to write is about Stormtroopers. There are more types of troopers than I originally noticed, and I really thought my personal list was pretty good. Oh well! This video is also by Lucasfilm designers, and I’ve written about that here.

Star Wars – Death Stars and Planet Killers: Enough Already

The 6 Most Epic Lightsaber Fights in Star Wars (plus 3 that didn’t make the cut)

Who rated Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker higher, men or women?

2019 Peeple’s Poll Movies – Year in Review

2019 - Peeple's Poll result count graph

The Peeple have spoken! Avengers: Endgame was the highest rated movie of the year — by far.

FAQ – Peeple’s Poll

Below is a breakdown of the Peeple’s Poll results for the top 30 movies in 2019. Not only did Peeple give Avengers: Endgame the highest rating of the year, they did so by a huge margin. Endgame scored 4.5 points higher than Ford v Ferrari. By comparison, you have to go 18 movies down the list to find a gap of 4.5 points below #FvF.

Peeple’s Poll top 30 movies of 2019

Title Before Movie After Movie Difference
Avengers: Endgame 90.1 92.2 2.1
Ford v Ferrari 77.4 87.7 10.2
A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood 79.3 87.5 8.2
Spider-Man: Far from Home 80.0 87.2 7.2
Downton Abbey 79.6 86.9 7.3
Toy Story 4 81.9 86.3 4.4
Harriet 74.8 86.3 11.5
Little Women 77.3 86.0 8.7
Knives Out 77.0 85.6 8.6
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World 80.2 85.5 5.3
The Best of Enemies 71.6 85.2 13.7
They Shall Not Grow Old 80.3 85.0 4.7
Jojo Rabbit 76.7 84.9 8.2
The Upside 74.5 84.8 10.2
Captain Marvel 78.9 84.6 5.7
Frozen 2 78.0 84.4 6.4
On the Basis of Sex 74.9 84.2 9.3
The Peanut Butter Falcon 73.0 84.1 11.0
Rocketman 78.4 84.0 5.6
A Dog’s Journey 69.4 83.6 14.2
Brittany Runs a Marathon 73.7 83.1 9.4
Yesterday 73.0 82.9 9.9
Hotel Mumbai 74.3 82.6 8.2
Dark Waters 74.1 82.5 8.5
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum 79.0 82.5 3.5
Aladdin 72.0 82.4 10.4
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 76.4 82.4 6.0
Richard Jewell 71.8 82.0 10.2
Joker 77.6 81.8 4.2

As you would expect, the breakdown of the post-movie rating for movies forms a nice-looking bell curve.

2019 - Peeple's Poll result count graph
The average beforemovie vote is 70.4 and aftermovie is 75.8.

Here’s a few interesting data points from the Peeple’s Poll.

  • Uswritten and directed by Jordan Peele, had the misfortune of being the highest rated movie that didn’t meet expectations. It got a respectable 79.6 post-movie rating, but the expectation before the movie was 81.5 — a difference of -1.9. I think Jordan Peele should take it as a compliment that people have such high expectations for his movies.
  • The Beach Bumstarring Matthew McConaughey, is the lowest rated movie in 2019. Not only did it have a horrible expectation of only 57.4, but it even failed to meet that by getting a 49.0 post-movie vote — down 8.4 from expectations.
  • Captain Marvel had a very respectable 78.9 before-movie vote and a 84.6 after-movie vote (+5.7). That’s not particularly noteworthy, unless you look at Captain Marvel’s score at IMDb.com (6.9) and RottenTomatoes.com’s  user score (49%). What’s up with that?

Do Peeple who use the RunPee app just like Marvel movies more that average? Probably not. There was a concerted effort by a few men’s groups to suppress the audience score at both sites because Brie Larson (who plays Captain Marvel) is outspoken about women’s rights. It’s impractical to rig the scoring in the Peeple’s Poll because a user can only vote once, and they must spend a Peecoin just to vote. So there’s a barrier to submitting a vote. That’s by design, because I’d rather have quality votes rather than quantity.

  • It’s not just about how good a movie is, but sometimes how much better a movie is than expected. If you really wanted to be surprised by a movie this year, then I hope you saw Run the RaceIt scored a whopping 14.9 points above expectation.

With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the movies that beat expectation by double-digits this past year.

Title Before Movie After Movie Difference
Run the Race 63.0 77.9 14.9
A Dog’s Journey 69.4 83.6 14.2
The Best of Enemies 71.6 85.2 13.7
Breakthrough 67.8 80.9 13.0
The Art of Racing in the Rain 69.1 81.4 12.3
The Aeronauts 67.6 79.6 12.0
Harriet 74.8 86.3 11.5
Dora and the Lost City of Gold 63.7 74.8 11.1
Abominable 68.7 79.8 11.1
The Peanut Butter Falcon 73.0 84.1 11.0
Playmobil: The Movie 59.4 70.0 10.6
Aladdin 72.0 82.4 10.4
Richard Jewell 71.8 82.0 10.2
Ford v Ferrari 77.4 87.7 10.2
The Upside 74.5 84.8 10.2
Yesterday 73.0 82.9 9.9
Note: Yes, I know that 9.9 is less than 10, but I loved Yesterday and wanted to include it since it was almost there.

All things considered, it’s hard to overlook just how excellent Ford vs Ferrari was. Overall it was the second highest rated movie, going by post-movie vote, but also scored 10.2 points better than expectation.

That said, Avengers: Endgame had an expectation vote that was higher  — by far — than any other movie had post-movie vote. It’s kind of hard to improve on such grand expectations, yet it did.

Of course, a lot of movies didn’t meet expectations. Here’s the complete list:

Pet Sematary 68.3 67.8 -0.5
A Madea Family Funeral 66.8 66.1 -0.7
Hellboy 64.4 63.6 -0.7
Little 67.6 66.8 -0.8
Cats 61.4 59.9 -1.5
Us 81.5 79.6 -1.9
Serenity 62.6 60.6 -1.9
Ad Astra 72.8 67.5 -5.3
The Lighthouse 70.6 64.0 -6.6
The Dead Don’t Die 68.2 61.3 -6.9
The Beach Bum 57.4 49.0 -8.4
Black Christmas 61.6 53.0 -8.6
Uncut Gems 75.3 65.9 -9.4
Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable 76.0 62.0 -14.0

Thanks to everyone who voted in the Peeple’s Poll this year. And please let me know if you can think of ways to improve our voting system. We read every email and comment our fans send us.

What are your favorite and worst films of 2019? Comment below!

Infographic of every Star Wars movie ranked by fans on IMDb and RottenTomatoes

RunPee’s “Anything Extra” Feature – The Details About End Credits Scenes

Life on Earth After Avengers: Endgame (Post-post Snap)