April 06, 2005
From the Department of Stuff That's Really Kinda Lame But Nevertheless Amuses Me Terribly (DSTRKLBNAMT) comes news that hardcore Star Wars fans are already lining up outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre for the May 19th premiere of Revenge of the Sith. They have a website (naturally), a charity connection to help make it worthwhile, and, according to a report on Boing Boing, they are answering the pay phone on the corner. So if you want to talk to a geek with a lot of time on his hands, dial (323) 462-9609.
The voice of practicality tells me that waiting in line for six weeks is insane, especially considering that this flick is going to open on so many screens that everyone who is remotely interested can see it on opening weekend. It's not like the old days when people risked being turned away from a popular movie and would have to wait a week or two to get in.
However, I have to admit that there is part of me that thinks this sounds like fun. After all, this movie is going to be a mildly historic one, the final Star Wars film ever -- not counting re-releases, anniversary editions, special editions, special-special editions, director's cuts, and the super-special interactive videogame version. Cynicism aside, though, Grauman's Chinese is a kind of mecca for Star Wars fans. It's the theater that first reported lines around the block for the original film. So the story goes, Uncle George drove past the Chinese on opening weekend 1977 with his mouth hanging open because, holy crap, that little disaster of a sci-fi film he'd made seemed to be doing pretty good box-office. It's also one of the last remaining movie palaces -- all the palaces in the Salt Lake area, including the one where I saw the original trilogy as a boy, are long gone now. Seeing the final Star Wars movie at the Chinese would be like coming full circle, somehow, and life rarely gives us those kinds of opportunities.
UPDATE: Apparently, life hasn't given the opportunity for full-circling in this case, either. After I finished writing this post, I happened across further news that Revenge of the Sith will not be playing at Grauman's Chinese. This apparently hasn't deterred the line-waiters, who continue to congregate in front of the theater for a premiere that won't be happening because "it's tradition" for them to line up in front of the Chinese before a Star Wars movie. Um, okay. Suddenly this doesn't amuse me quite so much. Now it's just scary...
Posted by jason at April 6, 2005 11:55 AM
A nice, succinct description of the situation. I expected nothing less from a law enforcement officer!
I've been lurking on the message board at the Lining Up website. It's pretty interesting -- a lot of these people are saying that the movie is beside the point. They're lining up for the charity angle, and for the social experience of hanging out with fellow fanboys/girls, and most of them seem to think the neighborhood around the Chinese is the best place in the Hollywood area to do that. There, they have easy access to Internet wi/fi hotspots, restrooms, etc. At the Arclight Dome, which is where the movie will actually play in that area, they don't have access to all those "comforts."
Also, there seem to be a lot of folks who are hoping the bookers will reconsider and show ROTS at the Chinese after all. I guess they knuckled under to fans for one of the other prequels, and the line-up die-hards are hoping for a repeat. Lots of luck with that one, kids...
Sheesh, they're dumb...
At first I was going to say that I can't imagine putting my life on hold for that long, just for a movie. I'd be in lots of trouble (job, husband, son, and especially husband). I can only guess that the the rumor adout die-hard geeks really is true... they have no life.
From what I gather, they don't actually spend all their time in the line -- they have some kind of system worked out so they can go away and get some sleep, work their job, whatever, without forfeiting their place in line.
Also, like I said, a lot of them are involved in that charity activity -- I didn't read up on it, but I guess people must pledge x amount of money for x amount of time spent in line -- so the fans justify their behavior as doing something good for society.
But I think when it comes right down to it, lining up is just one of those kooky things that people do because it sounds like fun or for the experience of it, like the candlelight processionals at Graceland on the anniversary of Elvis' death. The activity itself is really silly, but people like to say that they've done it.
It gives us something to write about on our blogs, at least... :)
life could be worse. I could be one of the guys without any life that has that much time on his hands to sit and wait for a two hour film.
I'll never doubt myself again.
"..and for the social experience of hanging out with fellow fanboys/girls.."
I just read this again. Can you see the irony? SW Geeks and Social Experience?
I keep laughing when I remember Triumph the Insult Dog interviewing the "fanboys/girls" in line for Phantom Menace...
maybe it's a government conspiracy... get all the geeks together and whammo.. lay down some napalm or something. Nah.. they'd wait from a comic or Star Trek convention.
I do like the new Dark Side M&M's though..
"This will be a year long remembered... it has seen the end of Star Trek, it will soon see the end of the Jedi.."
Seriously, I think after the end of this summer, when both of the biggest sci-fi franchises are officially over (for the most part, anyway -- there's always going to be novels and videogames), we're going to see a real die-off in this type of extreme fanboyism. There will be conventions and clubs and such, but these huge, look-foolish-in-public things will be over. There just aren't any other properties with such large or loyal fan bases.
The sad thing is that neither franchise is going out in the glory they deserve. They're long since worn out in my opinion.
Wonder what all the sci-fi geeks will do now, maybe we'll see a mass exodus to Texas? :)
Well, I'm reserving my judgment on the end of SW until I actually see Episode III. I'm still hoping that George is swinging for the fences with this one and will make us all forget the crap that's been done in Star Wars' name the last few years. It most probably won't happen, but I haven't been so disillusioned that I'm not willing to at least give the final film a chance.
That said, however, I'm with you in wishing that both Trek and Wars had been allowed to exist as nothing more than what they were: beloved artifacts from another decade, classics that didn't require any revisiting, updating, or continuation.
As for the geek-scene, we'll just have to see what happens next, I suppose. But I really think a lot of what we've thought of as "fandom" will soon be gone. Just another passing social fad, like grunge music, or secure employment with benefits.