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Home » Culture and Criticism, Featured

The Poppy-Fields Movie Couch Of Fame: Star Wars: A New Hope

Submitted by on December 15, 2017 – 12:17 PM10 Comments


Stay on target…stay on target…

Seems like something's happening this weekend that makes this nomination relevant. No no, I'll think of it in a sec…hee. This is a gold-plated PFM, for reasons I'll get to below. First, here's Rebecca on why Episode IV merits a spot on the Couch Of Fame.

  • lengthy? 121 minutes (depending on the version).
  • familiar/frequent? Used to be on TV all the time and I expect we'll be seeing marathons in the fall in anticipation of Episode 7 ["note: this submission arrived in May of 2015, but between Last Jedi and cable skeds in need of holiday filler, the concept sustains" – SDB.]
  • classic/award-winner? Oscars for Art Direction-Set Direction; Costume Design; Sound; Film Editing; Effects, Visual Effects; and Music, Original Score. (And I'll argue this along with Indiana Jones and Jaws have some of the most recognizable themes around).
  • "Greetings, Professor Falken" (big payoff/long-shot victory a la WarGames)? The coming together of the rebels to blow up the Death Star.
  • "Wanna have a catch?" (Pavlovian tear-jerk; anything with dads opens the ducts for this guy)? Deaths of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru get me every time. I think that iconic scene where Luke contemplates the setting suns is touching as I feel a pang for my dreams achieved and lost during that scene.
  • quote-fest? Where to start? "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…" "May the Force be with you," "use the Force," "the Force will be with you always," "I've got a bad feeling about this," "this is some rescue," "what an incredible smell you've discovered" (useful when changing dirty diapers), "these aren’t the droids you’re looking for," "no reward is worth this," "help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" and so on. ["Would also add a monotoned 'stay on target,' 'wretched hive of scum and villainy,' and sundry Chewie braying to the list; no doubt readers can go on." – SDB]
  • caper-ish or -adjacent camaraderie? C-3PO and R2-D2, Han and Chewie, Luke and Leia, the aforementioned joining of effort to blow up the Death Star.
  • "forget you, melon farmer" (you own it, but will still watch bowdlerized TV verzh) I know we started with the VHS original and now have the updated DVD version and still sit to watch if we catch it on TV.

Well argued, Rebecca — and it's not an easy task, given what a slam dunk it seems like. It's like arguing for Babe Ruth. And yet, my sister-in-law has never seen any of "the originals," so I suppose occasionally considering why Babe Ruth is a shorthand for greatness is worthwhile, right?

HBO aired Episodes IV and V back-to-back one Sunday afternoon and my dad recorded them on an SLP VHS cassette, which was usually on for at least part of any weekend day, every weekend we were at home, for pretty much the entire 1980s. And I would still become becalmed by it, and likely would be now, even though I now own A New Hope on Blu-Ray and felt more than a little put off by the second trilogy…and even though I have to acknowledge that, as with The Godfather, a lot of it is not terribly well done and in fact occasionally outright poor/annoying.

But the Couch isn't always about greatness. It's about comfort. And Leia. Mighty, tiny Leia with her cool cinnamon-danish hair. And getting up for more cheese corn when 3PO starts flipping creaky shit about whatever goddamn thing. Literally was never funny.

Do I need to bother with the poll? Probably not, but let's be one of the few entities observing the rule of law in 2017, "heh."

Okay, Gold Leaders: is Star Wars: The One That Started It All a Couch Of Famer?

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The Poppy-Fields Movie Couch Of Fame is here. To nominate your own PFM, email bunting at tomatonation dot com with a rundown of the criteria and your argument for why it deserves a cushion. If I use your entry, free loot shall be thine.

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  • cayenne says:

    I can't believe this movie has never been nominated before. I have a bad feeling about this.

    Seriously, as a result of manually holding my mono cassette recorder's mike up against the mono speaker of our late-70s crap-O-vision TV and recording the audio to listen to non-frickin-stop until the tape disintegrated like a mouthy protocol droid in Jabba's palace, I can recite this movie (and the other 2) in my sleep, drunk off my ass, or on a crapton of codeine. And yes, that's been tested.

    And yet, last weekend I blew off holiday shopping and baking to watch Eps. 4-6 non-stop for 2 solid days just because they were on Showcase. I'll be doing Panic Cookie-Baking(tm) tonight for a shindig tomorrow, but I REGRET NOTHING.

  • Beanie says:

    I waited in line for over an hour to see this movie when I was 15. I remember thinking I had never been more impressed with anything in my life. Suddenly, Sci-Fi was cool, and I no longer had to defend it to my peers.

    I will watch A New Hope whenever I see it, in whatever format. Like you said, Sars, it's about comfort. And Leia.

  • Margaret says:

    A thousand times, yes. I was 6 when this came out, and the fact that my family had this movie on a VHS cassette with "Grease", and we wore that tape to shreds, probably says more about us than any psychologist could tell you. "A New Hope" is my original visual and auditory comfort food.

  • pagooey says:

    Ah yes. I was in middle school when IV and V hit those regular airings on HBO, but we didn't have a VCR yet…so I calculated exactly how many days per semester I could fake sick without losing a letter grade, synchronized with the TV Guide, and then memorized 'em the hard way. (I confessed my subterfuge to my mother when I was probably 40; she was appalled. Hee.)

  • Rebecca says:

    Hooray – I was hoping this would eventually make the list. Episodes 4-6 were running on TV just this week.

  • Missicat says:

    Ok…who voted "no"? Off to the trash room! :-)
    Can't wait to see The Last Jedi…will probably do a Jewish Christmas.

  • Jen S. 1.0 says:

    This is the first movie I remember seeing in a theater–I'm sure our parents hauled us to sundry Disney cartoons and such but I still recall the AMAZING HUGENESS of the images on the screen.

  • Mingles' Mommy says:

    In tribute to my Dad, who was a huge Star Wars fan and made sure we saw every one of the first three films (and refused to acknowledge the prequels), I'll say YES definitely!

  • Ann-Margrock says:

    Okay, so I'm old…let's get that out of the way.
    By that I mean that I saw this on Memorial Day weekend in 1977 when I was 17 years old.
    I sat in the third row, center with two friends.
    I was, in a word, flabbergasted. I had never seen anything like this before. I was not a sci-fi or fantasy kind of kid, but my friends were and I was humoring them by going along with this movie.
    Even now when I see it – with its creaky 40-year-old special effects – I'm still mesmerized. It's probably the emotional callback to sitting in that theater? Doesn't matter. I was completely hooked and remain so to this day. Loved Carrie Fisher's feisty attitude and self-reliance…and Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill weren't bad to look at either.
    Can't believe this wasn't on the Couch before now!
    I don't have a bad feeling about this.

  • Sandman says:

    Only a nerf herder would deny this one a comfy spot on the Couch! Maybe with the ottoman to stretch out…

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