The Looters of the Lost Art: Hollywood has forgotten how to make an Indiana Jones film

The movie Raider’s of the Lost Ark turned 40 as of June 12th, 2021, and I have to say, it has been one of the most impactful films ever produced.  Not just for me, but science in general.  More happened well in science as a result of that movie than anything ever has done for any field of endeavor.  But it’s a shame; even this movie has come under criticism from wokeness, as I talk about in the video above.  Back in the 80s, they made three Indiana Jones films in 10 years.  Then it took over 20 years to make another one.  Then since Disney bought the franchise under the roof of Lucasfilm, even with all the money and talent in the world, they can’t get a script that everyone likes that is woke enough for modern Hollywood.  We went from a culture that made great movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark then to not to do anything close with no prospects on the horizon in such a short period.  And that is because of wokeness.  I will have to say that Indiana Jones 5 did start shooting this week in London.  It took a long time to get there, and I don’t have high hopes for it.  But you never know. 

Cliffhanger the Overmanwarrior

Share, subscribe, and see you later,

Sign up for Second Call Defense at the link below. Use my name to get added benefits.

Angry White Males are Sinking Disney: A bad decision to go to war with half the population over politically progressive ideas

Even if it doesn’t impact you directly dear reader, the civil war at the middle of the Star Wars debate is at the center of the most important aspects of all our lives. As everyone knows by now, the latest Star Wars movie did dreadfully bad at the box office. Solo: A Star Wars Story I thought was one of the best Star Wars movies, if not the very best one, but the fan base was and remains impossibly split on the topic and the brand has taken a hit that I don’t think it will ever recover from. That is very sad, because of all the good potential that there has been over Star Wars. I of course still enjoy it, likely for me that is mostly because of my grandchildren. I have been willing to overlook a lot of the progressive stuff that are now in the films because I wanted to be able to share those stories with my grandchildren. But with Solo: A Star Wars Story being out in the theaters for almost a month now, and its global box office hasn’t even hit $400 million yet, it’s quite obvious that the battle lines have been drawn and the brand of Star Wars has lost its power and that is really bad for retailers like Target, Wal-Mart and Hasbro who have invested heavily in the franchise, but it’s ultimately a killer for Disney who bought Lucasfilm in 2012 only to do what many fans feared would happen, and that was to ruin it for everyone.

Long time readers here might recall the radio broadcasts I did back in 2015 where all this was predicted. Star Wars was never supposed to be a vehicle of progressive ideas, it was always a hot rod version of the space cowboy values of Flash Gordon. There were a lot of white male characters in the story because those were the types of actors who were easy to get on a shoe string budget and everyone made the most of it. While the original films were about ultimately the tyranny of government over individuals which is something all political sides could agree on, the scope of the entertainment enterprise was haughty enough to avoid getting too complicated with details. The target audience was young males 6-12 years of age and the formula worked. It was popular because dads could share the experience with sons and there was enough fun there for the girls if they wanted to come along and make the whole thing a good family event. But Disney and Lucasfilm together sought from the very beginning to change Star Wars into the very toxic realm of identity politics where girls took over the role of males and people of color were purposely inserted into the storylines with an activist intention directed to Star Wars fans that they would accept those types of things or they simply wouldn’t get anymore Star Wars, almost like a parental figure bribing a kid to be quiet or they wouldn’t get any chicken nuggets from a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

The big mistake Star Wars made under the Disney ownership was that they joined in the progressive attack against angry white males and specifically the value that males bring to the world. We are living in an age where boys and men are literally attacked all the time over everything, and many of them are sick of it. The election of Donald Trump has been a boomerang effect that many never counted on, but guess what, men make up half of the global population. Attacking them is probably going to have an impact on the bottom line of any business because once men get the idea that they are being punished for something, they are going to take it personally, and that is exactly what has happened to Star Wars. Girls are girls, they really don’t care about fighting and wars, they have concerns about procreation and being nurturing figures. They aren’t the people who supported Star Wars, they often went along because they were interested in the boys who were interested in Star Wars. Disney’s biggest mistake was in thinking that if they centered the Star Wars films on women that the boys would stick around for the space ships, and that is not what happened at all. The boys and men have just rejected it all together, and by the time that Lucasfilm realized the error and tried to correct it with Solo: A Star Wars Story, it was too late.

I feel bad for Kelly Marie Tran who played the most divisive role in any Star Wars film with Rose in The Last Jedi. (See my article titled, Blame Fat Asian Chicks) for my take on her role in killing Star Wars. It’s not her fault personally, she was put into that role by the producers and the effect was just explosively negative. This past week she has had to remove herself from social media because of all the harassment she is getting which has then led to many of the Star Wars alums defending her which really has only made the situation worse because it keeps feeding the narrative. And now that Solo: A Star Wars Story has lost so much money, there is even more anger at those “angry white men” who simply didn’t go to the theater to see the Disney product—the potential loses here are in the billions of dollars, which is exactly where I warned Disney they didn’t want to be if they stayed on their progressive path as indicated way back in 2012 and 2013. People would not support Star Wars if it went from a story of hope for anyone no matter what sex or color and turned into an “anybody but white males” extravaganza of pointless resistance. The metaphor for The Last Jedi couldn’t be more girlish—all the great men are dead, Han Solo and Luke specifically, and the whole movie is about women in charge running out of gas only to turn the ship around at the end and kill themselves with a big human sacrifice. At least three of the main female characters in the movie sacrificed themselves in the movie for really no other reason than they were being outmatched and dominated by their male counterparts and that was not an exciting message to inspire audiences to spend vast amounts of money on the experience. The Rose character was dropped into the Star Wars story to obviously appeal to people who weren’t Barbie doll beautiful, which is always a concern with square hipped middle-aged women on their last few eggs who feel like their best years of attracting the pollen of a hungry young bee are behind them, so they become angry political activists who start hating men not for what they are, but because those men are no longer interested in them sexually. This progressive radicalism starts to become all they see in everything, and that’s why The Last Jedi happened, and completely divided up the fan base. It’s one thing to allow those emotions to govern your life, it’s quite another when they get mixed up in a multibillion dollar franchise that has the lives of lots of people attached to it. People like Kelly Marie Tran get caught in the crossfire which really wasn’t fair to them, but it is what it is.

This is important because it’s the most obvious sign of things to come in the war between progressivism and traditional white men—and males in general. The desire to turn men into something other than what they are has backfired in the worst way for Disney and they’ve taken something that could have been really wonderful and turned it into a mess. While Bob Iger did a great job setting the table for his company of Disney and the shareholders assumed that he and everyone else knew what they were doing, they made a fatal mistake—they assumed that Star Wars could hold all these progressive messages and that the franchise would still make a billion dollars a picture. Instead they have put themselves on the front end of the down turning progressive movement, and I say down turning because the Donald Trump presidency is changing the nature of politics and the Disney Company is on the outside of that change. Disney instead of truly being an all-inclusive company has chosen to go after the Starbucks type of crowd believing they were the future and they did so at the expense of the Chick-fil-A crowd who are filled with those crazy religious angry white males. But those are also the same people who grow up and have families with expendable income who will spend $10,000 on a Disney vacation in one of their theme parks. And now that doesn’t look to be the case. The Starbucks people are bums, people who loaf around and want things for free, they won’t be dropping millions of dollars on the new Star Wars Land at Disney World. And now because of their actions at putting progressive activism into the new Star Wars movies, the angry white guys who do like to eat at Chick-fil-A, who voted for Donald Trump, and who are typically the type of people who get and hold jobs won’t be participating, and that is bad, bad news for Disney. A terrible miscalculation on their part, which I tried to warn them against. But they didn’t listen, until it was too late.

Rich Hoffman
Sign up for Second Call Defense here: Use my name to get added benefits.

The Box Office Trouble for ‘Solo’ is Not the Movie’s Fault: Free advice to Disney on how to proceed forward–I just want it to work

I’d like to thank Disney and Lucasfilm for making the new Star Wars film Solo: A Star Wars Story. I am very sorry that financially it didn’t work out the way they needed it to. It was a bold film for them to make in these highly politically charged times and I’m amazed by the product that ended up on the screen. I’ve seen it many times now and after taking some of the emotion out of it, I think it’s the best Star Wars movie to date. It’s certainly in my top ten movies of all time. Part of that is that Han Solo is my favorite character but a lot of it is that it is a wonderful anthology film put together at a breakneck pace that was very positive. The characters are fun, the scenarios entertaining and the scope of it is just jaw dropping. Its science fiction and adventure on a top-tier level and is on par with the first two Indiana Jones films from back in the 1980s. I think the movie will go a long way to repairing the Star Wars brand which was severely damaged by The Last Jedi which came out just 5 months prior. I hope that Disney still gives Lucasfilm the latitude to continue making Star Wars films—because they are valuable. Solo: A Star Wars Story may have fallen short of expectations financially, but I think in the long run will prove to be one of the most important. It may have taken everyone three prior films to find their footing, but they certainly did—unfortunately the fan base was already damaged which played a major part in the poor financial outing of this latest movie.

The hatred and rebellion that many fans showed toward Disney and Lucasfilm prior to the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story is complicated and filled with many contemporary minefields that are specific to our times. I knew what was going on during the second weekend of the film’s release when Forbes, The Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair all did hit pieces on Solo: A Star Wars Story about the weekend box office take before anybody really had a chance to get to the theater. Clearly, they were trying to shape the story as the media picked up and created a narrative that actually contributed to low ticket sales. Many people who I talked to on Saturday June 2nd who had not yet seen the film told me they hadn’t gone because they heard the movie wasn’t very good and was struggling financially, so they were holding out for Jurassic World or seeing The Avengers again. I was thinking that this situation was very much an Ellsworth Toohey moment from the great American novel, The Fountainhead. It didn’t matter how good Solo: A Star Wars Story was, critics intended to torpedo the film due to their own political activism and it was having an impact. People who might otherwise want to see the film weren’t going because they got caught up in the narrative created by the entertainment press that was using the power of their media to instigate more Star Wars films without “white” heroes in them and more gay characters focused on diversity, not unrealistic adolescent popcorn action sequences.

Even with all that against it, a movie like this can still make a billion dollars at the box office, but Solo: A Star Wars Story unfortunately was the victim of a massive rebellion of fan wrath that I was afraid was going to happen. If Solo: A Star Wars Story had come out in December of 2017 and The Last Jedi had come out this past May 25th, the fan base might have been aligned more than it was. But as it stood, the fan base for Star Wars was split and a percentage of fans just were not going to see Solo no matter how much they wanted to. That in itself was complicated as there are many cultural trends locked up in that protest intention—for instance the belief that big companies like Disney should not be in the movie making business to make a profit. But if the real roots of the narrative were explored there was a very legitimate fan complaint that Disney had ejected the previous expanded universe of Star Wars and had stuffed the new era films with political activism that just didn’t fit.

Politics has always been a part of Star Wars, but the vantage point has always been on the big scale. For instance, the Empire was always reminiscent of Nazi Germany and most everyone going to the movies could agree that Hitler and the Nazis were evil. However, these days not even the filmmakers at Disney and Lucasfilm can agree on what a Nazi is. To liberal filmmakers like Jon Kasden and the director Ron Howard, Nazis are Trump Republicans while Republicans from the flyover states see the Empire as the tenants of liberalism. George Soros is the ultimate Emperor in the eyes of the Midwest so there is already a divide in the fan base that was exacerbated by the filmmakers due to their liberal activism, such as Jon Kasden, the writer of Solo: A Star Wars Story letting it leak ahead of the film’s release that the character of Lando was pansexual. I understand why he said what he did—he was looking for a way to appeal to the liberal critics and get better reviews on the Rotten Tomato meter—which didn’t work. But it was worth a shot, I can’t blame him. Then Ron Howard Tweeted nearly the same day a bunch of anti-Trump information that fed into the story of Solo: A Star Wars Story, that the Empire was like the United States and taking over domestic planets against their will. In the Han Solo film, the political activism wasn’t nearly as bad as it was in The Last Jedi, but it was there certainly as a distraction, something that just wasn’t done back in the days of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Once the makers of Star Wars allowed it to be known that they were all liberals, they turned off half the American nation to their product and if the Americans weren’t going to support such a movie then the oversea markets certainly weren’t going to give it a chance.

Then there are the fans who just wanted to protest this film by denying it support. They are angry, and I understand it. I was one of those guys after The Force Awakens. I took a whole year off Star Wars and it was only about a month before Rogue One was released that I decided to give the movie a chance, and it was good and did win my approval. So I decided to give The Last Jedi a chance, which I thought was good enough to enjoy. It’s my least favorite Star Wars movie by far, but it was worth the attention. Solo: A Star Wars Story however won me back. I felt that Lucasfilm and Disney went well out of their way to win back fans, but for many it came too late. So Disney is going to have to keep listening and work hard to build back the fan base. They did for me with Solo, hopefully they stick with it and give people the films they want, not the political activism that they think the fans will just take so they can get a Star Wars fix—which is what I think Kathy Kennedy got caught doing. She and many of the top executives at Disney thought that Star Wars fans would put up with gay characters, progressive plot points, and the complete eradication of 30 years of books and comics just so they could get another Star Wars movie and that turned out not to be the case. Many people just didn’t even give Solo: A Star Wars Story a chance, they were intent from the beginning to protest the film to force Disney to make executive level decisions about the entire franchise.

If I were Disney I would let Lucasfilm make more films like Solo: A Star Wars Story. I’d set a budget cap at a $150 million and force the filmmakers to stay under it. I wouldn’t let any Star Wars film go up over $200 million assuming that the movies will make over a billion dollars each. That may not be the case even when the fans come back to Star Wars, I’d keep the projects down to something reasonable and focus on rebuilding the franchise, because the nostalgia factor is no longer there. It’s time to make movies that make history not ones that remember it. Solo: A Star Wars Story had both elements in it, and if Disney made more movies like it, the fan base would expand, not contract. But its going to take time, I just hope they have the patience to follow through on it. Three Star Wars movies a year with budgets of $150 million each and a box office take of $500 million each globally would do a lot more for the franchise than one movie a year that makes a billion. It’s just simple math, but the fans need to be fed. If Disney is smart, they’ll give the fans what they want, and then everyone can be happy. Solo: A Star Wars Story was certainly a step in the right direction. The fans will agree once the politics of the moment drift into history. But not until then.

Rich Hoffman

Solo: A Star Wars Story Box office discussion–what it means to everyone–and nobody cares about China

Box office numbers are often a good thermometer into what the world is thinking, and I pay attention to them closely, and sadly the new Star Wars movie Solo: A Star Wars Story is falling well short of the kind of numbers its going to need to make. I found it interesting to see how many news outlets were already writing stories on Friday about how dismal the box office numbers were for the new Star Wars movie, like The Hollywood Reporter for instance. Their story was that Solo was bombing big time in China. Well, since when was China the market decider for films, they are communists, more aligned with the villains in these stories? Solo: A Star Wars Story is all about freedom and I’m sure the “state” wasn’t all that happy with the film, and that whether or not people saw the film or even advertised it so that their billion people had access to it is probably a big factor. Asians especially in China are not big on the Star Wars films, but that’s OK, they haven’t been a big part of the box office numbers all this time—who really needs them now? Solo isn’t any different, yet The Hollywood Reporter was almost as happy as a kid on Christmas Day to learn that China was not supporting the new Star Wars picture. There’s a lot going on with this one which justifies a good long discussion.  (CLICK HERE FOR MY REVIEW OF THE FILM)

First of all, I don’t think the poor box office numbers so far reflect that Solo: A Star Wars Story is a bad movie. If you took the box office numbers of Infinity War and Deadpool 2 and released Solo: A Star Wars Story on a light release month, such as April I think this Star Wars movie would be on track easily to achieve a billion dollars at the box office, but with some competition out there, it would appear there is only so much money on the table to divide up between all the movies, and that’s not a bad thing for theater owners. I often say that Hollywood has let down all the personal investments that theater owners have to shoulder with less than stout productions that drive their concessions. That certainly isn’t the problem currently, there are a lot of movies released right now, and coming up as the summer unfolds which should help theater owners sell lots of popcorn. Hollywood owes them for always being available to display the Hollywood product to the public. That same public has a lot to do on Memorial Day weekend, that’s when the pools open in the states and people typically have things to do outside. In America Memorial Day weekend was pretty nice except for some flash flooding in the eastern part of the country. Everywhere else it was sunny and hot—and people spent time outside. May 25th may have been a traditional release date for Star Wars, but it’s no longer a great weekend for opening a movie because it’s the gateway to summer and people are often doing a lot of things that involve going outside.

Additionally, there are problems for Star Wars to overcome, the entertainment media is trying to do with Lucasfilm and Disney what the general media is trying to do with President Trump, and that is torpedo anything that they do that’s good, because everyone else is struggling to compete. Disney is going to make a lot of money this summer between the Marvel films and Pixar’s Incredibles 2—many in the entertainment business are very happy to see a Star Wars movie get bad press, because it’s a shot at Disney as a media company they are competing with. It’s like how the rest of the NFL teams around the country enjoy it when the New England Patriots lose a game, or Tom Brady throws an occasional interception. The trade media rushes out to talk about how Tom Brady is too old and is losing it. But the very next week Brady will throw for 400 yards and have a quarterback rating over 100 and the Patriots will win by 24 points over whoever they are playing. Disney and its tent pole of Star Wars is a big presence in the marketplace and the second handers love to see trouble happening in the Star Wars universe.

But then there is the very legitimate problem that I have talked about before and that is the mistake that Kathleen Kennedy and her story group at Lucasfilm has made in throwing out the extended universe of Star Wars and pushing very progressive themes in these new Star Wars movies cramming PC culture down the throats of the fans who clearly don’t want those elements in these movies. To me the Lucasfilm efforts with Solo: A Star Wars Story went a long way to fixing those problems with the fan base where some still want to enjoy new instalments, while others want to boycott the films in hopes that Disney will fire Kathleen Kennedy for messing with the elements that made Star Wars great to begin with. Nobody cared that Princess Leia was a bit of a feminist in the original A New Hope. George Lucas tried to make people happy by putting a black guy in the stories with the character of Lando. But in general, the heroes were white people, especially men and Kennedy has been very active to change that. But while doing so she literally destroyed two of the most popular female characters that fans loved, Jaina Solo, Han’s very strong daughter, and the wife of Luke Skywalker, Mara Jade. Fans who read the books went on a lot of journeys with those characters over two decades and suddenly fans were told that those people didn’t exist in Star Wars anymore, and that has caused a lot of consternation. When The Last Jedi failed to reveal who the parents of Rey were—many people were hoping that she was actually Jaina which would at least explain why she is flying around in Han Solo’s precious Millennium Falcon—a lot of fans stepped away from Star Wars at that point and now this second film in only a year has hit theaters and people are ambivalent about it. The Last Jedi was a very progressive movie that really split the fanbase, from not revealing the parentage of Rey, to the killing of Luke and the obvious progressive messages of feminism and sacrifice where everyone was blowing themselves up instead of taking the fight to the enemy, it’s that which made it so the fans stepped away from Solo: A Star Wars Story.

I have been enjoying the new Star Wars stuff the best I could. I have not been a fan of what Lucasfilm has done. I was a big fan of the Star Wars EU and I think Lucasfilm could have easily have just picked up these stories where the books left off and would have done something really special. However, I think the value of the movies and all the merchandise that is coming from the franchise does far more good than bad. I think Lucasfilm and Disney made a major mistake with Star Wars and that they are trying to remedy that now. For me Solo: A Star Wars Story was a huge step in that direction—of making things right with the fans. But its obvious that the fans are going to make Disney and ultimately Lucasfilm earn back that respect which is where things are today. There was a boycott of this latest Han Solo movie and it had an impact on the final ticket sales. As the word is getting out, because Solo: A Star Wars Story is pretty good—I think its one of the best and is certainly on par with the original films somewhere in quality of story telling between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. But the film is more fun like A New Hope was. I like the prequel films but can admit that Solo: A Star Wars Story is better than those films and it is certainly better than The Force Awakens. But these new young actors are making a name for themselves, the young Alden Ehrenreich is earning his respect from the fans little by little. Many fans have been sitting on the fence with Solo: A Star Wars Story because they weren’t sure how to feel about a new actor taking over for the legendary Harrison Ford. If this latest Star Wars film does anything it shows fans that its possible to have a younger actor playing an old favorite, and because of that I think Solo: A Star Wars Story will have good legs into the future of the franchise, and people will come back to the films and forgive Lucasfilm and Disney for their mistakes with the first three films made since the acquisition in 2012.

Alden Ehrenreich is a smart young actor with a good head on his shoulders, and he likes playing Han Solo in Star Wars. He’s good for the franchise and understands that taking less money for the opportunity to do more films like this makes good business sense because it could place him in Hollywood as the next big demand actor—like Harrison Ford was. With all that under consideration I think Disney certainly put the cards down on the table with this one holding nothing back promotionally. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they spent $500 million on the movie and are worried at this point of making that money back, which I think they will. But they spent the money expecting a billion in return and that could cool them on launching the other projects that are in the pipeline. Hopefully they let Lucasfilm go forward with the budgets on those new films, the Kenobi film, the Boba Fett film, the Rian series, and of course at least two more movies about the young Han Solo—as well as a whole bunch of other films not yet released. It’s not too late to make these films into the kind of successes that were experienced with Marvel—but getting the fan base back on board is the key.

To win back the audience, and this is just my advice, do with it whatever you want Lucasfilm, you have to get Mara Jade and Jaina Solo into Episode Nine as its being directed now with J.J. Abrams. Everyone gets what they want if that happens, Kennedy gets her strong female leads, Luke has a reason for being so distressed in The Last Jedi, and Rey gets a name and a reason for having the Falcon with Chewie as her co-pilot. A new trilogy featuring Jaina could even take things further 30 years after Episode Nine—the possibilities are endless. It took Marvel ten films to build up the kind of anticipation that was seen in Infinity War, Star Wars could do something very similar, but they’ll have to earn back the fans, and Solo: A Star Wars Story was a big first step. Hopefully Disney doesn’t get cold feet after they study these box office results and consider whether fans will support two Star Wars movies in the same year. They will, and they will support three or four a year if Disney will make them and be very profitable with $200 million budgets. But it will take more movies like Solo: A Star Wars Story to earn back that fan trust, not more movies like The Last Jedi or even The Force Awakens. The nostalgia wore off and now reality is there for Star Wars films, going forward, people want to see new ground that pays respect to what they know from the original EU—and fans don’t want to be preached to with gay characters, or black characters, or women. They just want to see a story set in a galaxy far, far away that will endure for centuries—and not fall out of favor with whatever new political movements come in the next few decades. Star Wars fans want their traditions, and they want the long view—and its their money that Disney wants, so it’s up to the giant entertainment company to give it to them.

I think I’ve listened to the new Han Solo theme from the John Powell soundtrack back to back for a solid four days now and I love it, it’s so full of optimism. It reminds me of how it was when Christopher Nolan’s Dark Night series started back in 2008, with a movie that many people didn’t think was needed because at that point Batman had been done so many times. The Nolan trilogy built up a nice audience and earned a reputation by the fans that they trusted and supported. Those films each went on to make over a billion dollars each. Iron Man the first Avenger film also came out that year with a fantastic performance by Robert Downey Jr. The film only grossed around $500 million globally much like I think this new Han Solo movie will make, but it became the glue that built up those next nine Marvel films. Disney purchased Marvel shortly after that film’s release and the rest is now history, and has been very successful. It has allowed Disney to make obscure films like The Black Panther, which I thought was pretty good—which would have never been made unless there was a need for the ever-expanding universe. Star Wars could do better, but the fan base will have to be built and listening to that soundtrack of Solo: A Star Wars Story that new Han Solo theme could serve as a nice light in the darkness for all the Disney executives timid about the next stage of the adventure. The best thing to do would be to support the effort and not panic, there is a lot of good that came out of Solo, and it hints at how things truly could be now that it looks like Lucasfilm is starting to figure out how to make these Star Wars movies without the guidance of George Lucas. The John Williams contribution is absolutely brilliant and I hope that everyone involved can use it to launch something really special, because the opportunity is certainly there.

Rich Hoffman
Sign up for Second Call Defense here: Use my name to get added benefits.

‘Solo’: Making ‘Star Wars’ Great Again

A lot of my readers are millionaires and are people used to having net assets due to long time investment portfolios, so they are rather perplexed why I am making so much over this new Han Solo movie titled Solo: A Star Wars Story. I think it’s one of the most important things going on today in the world, not just because I love Star Wars, and the character of Han Solo—but because culturally it says a lot about our society in general. I think there are many things that are very important about this upcoming movie that are epic not just in the film itself but in the reaction to it that so many sectors of society have invested. With that said, the film is for children. It’s intended to inspire kids from the ages of 5 to 12 and make it so that their families can go see the movie with them. It’s a family film that expands generations, adults who loved these movies as kids can now take their own kids to see a movie that they can all relate to, and that is the miracle of Star Wars in its purest form. As of this writing I haven’t yet seen the picture, but I know what I’m getting in to. I am delighted that Kathy Kennedy and Bob Iger at Disney greenlit this movie and that all those San Francisco progressives that work at Lucasfilm went against their modern political instincts to make a movie about a white guy who is a strong alpha male who shoots guns, has no reverence for the law and likes to fly starships insanely fast. Han Solo is everything that progressive society is trying to eliminate culturally, so I think it says a lot that Lucasfilm and Disney decided to make this particular movie because it’s what the fans have always wanted—its what the story of Star Wars demands and they went with it, and it took a lot of guts. The fact that these filmmakers made this movie about this kind of character goes a long way to fixing problems I had with both Lucasfilm and Disney—and I admire them for extending that branch. I could easily think that based on what I know about the movie that they made it just for me. But that would be a bridge too far—they made it for kids—a new generation of fans that they want to appeal to the Star Wars brand, and they fully intend to make a lot of money while they do it—which is the name of the game. Personally, I am delighted about this movie in every way possible from the money it will make to the product it delivers.

But I warned about this a long time ago on a radio show I did for 1600 WAAM in Ann Arbor, Michigan when after The Force Awakens came out where I was concerned that Bob Iger and Kathy Kennedy were going to divide the Star Wars fan base by eliminating the extended universe, the many books and comics that had been made to continue the storyline over the last thirty years. Then there was the incident where Kathy Kennedy said she didn’t care about the male fans of the Star Wars fan base to a New York Times reporter, which didn’t go over well. Additionally, she allowed The Last Jedi to be a very progressive film that was bordering on Cloud Atlas in sentiment which was only saved by the score of John Williams and the great visual effects of Industrial Light and Magic. The fans were mad at Kathy Kennedy after The Last Jedi because she had betrayed them and now they are on a mission to destroy her at Lucasfilm, wanting to boycott this new Star Wars film, Solo: A Star Wars Story to force Disney to fire her.

I am rather shocked at the vitriol over this film—the activists are really the same type of people who make up the Antifa protestors in politics, they have hit the Rotten Tomatoes site trying very hard to put up bad scores to hurt the film financially at the box office. Right before the release of the film the “want to see it” score was hovering at around 40% which is really low for any film, especially a Star Wars movie. That says there are enough activists out there mad that their ideas for Star Wars have been destroyed and they are throwing a fit about it. They think if they hurt the Solo film financially that it will force Disney to listen and they will get the kind of movies they want. But of course, most of these people are idiots and they have no idea how business actually works. They forget that these movies are not made to make them happy intellectually or to provide them with the voids for religion that they are seeking. In some cases Star Wars does all those things, but only on an infantile level. Most of the complaints I have been hearing about not just for The Last Jedi but Solo: A Star Wars Story is that its fans want new material to carry them deeper into the mythology. However, that’s not what Disney needs, they require a new fan base to take this whole franchise into the future and if they piss off the long-time fans, they rationalize that they are willing to do that because they need to reach the children. If the adults don’t come along for the ride, then so be it.

You can tell that most of these protestors are of the millennial age because they say all those dumb things they learned in public schools—that money, or making money is some kind of evil enterprise and that Disney should be making these movies out of the kindness of their hearts—sacrificing profit for the greater good. No, that’s not how things work in the real-world people, Star Wars movies are and have always been about making money—lots of money. They sell ideas and images in exchange for profit which they then use to expand the reach of those things. If people want to see an art film, as many critics think they do, then go to Sundance and watch all those art movies. But Star Wars is a huge commercial enterprise designed to drive many other commercial enterprises and that’s part of the fun of it. Let me explain this to everyone, even though Disney leans to the political left these days, they are not evil. They are a company designed to make money and from what I have witnessed with them, they listen to what fans want and they try to give it to them—because they want to make money. They aren’t trying to make a bunch of 30-year-olds who still live with their parents happy because their mothers over coddled them all their lives and the people they talk to at GameStop agree with them. Money and the making of it is not “evil,” as they taught you in public school. Let’s get that straight right now.

As to the industry news, many of the critics out there and newspapers they work for are all into the kind of fake news that has led a campaign against the Donald Trump presidency. In many ways if Solo: A Star Wars Story breaks the $300 million mark globally over this Memorial Day weekend in spite of all the efforts the protestors have attempted to stop it, it will truly be a moment where the Star Wars franchise will be made great again, just as Donald Trump has made it his effort to “Make America Great Again.” On election night in 2016 people elected a person that all the industry analysts projected would lose terribly to Hillary Clinton. The labor unions in the entertainment industry have their hands in everything which is why movies these days have moved in such a progressive direction. If the fans are mad at Kathy Kennedy for screwing around politically with Star Wars, the labor unions are mad at her as an executive at Lucasfilm who fired the original two directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. There is a very interesting article in Indiewire linked below that goes into more detail, but the gist is this, labor unions don’t like to see people getting fired, and when Ron Howard was brought in to fix Solo, so that it would be a profitable film, and not some comic art piece, the battle lines were drawn and Kennedy couldn’t make anybody happy. But I give her credit for putting the effort into making a profitable film that would be loved for years instead of a film critics enjoy.

With hindsight being 20/20 it would have been smart for Kathy Kennedy to keep the fans to her back. I think the power of her position and her feminist nature got Star Wars off to a rough start through the first three films under her control, The Force Awakens, Rogue One, and The Last Jedi. But I’ll give her credit, she put her finger to the wind and made adjustments and this movie Solo: A Star Wars Story is the result, and I think its going to be great. Like I said, I feel like she made the movie just for me. But I know better than that—she made it for lots of kids around the world that want to see and live through this character a very exciting life. And I think it will be so good that it will overcome all the protests and negative press that is highly politically motivated. I remember what it was like to see movies like this back in the late 70s and early 80s. There is a good reason that nobody makes movies like this anymore—because there are parasitic fan bases that want movies to mean more to them then they really do—and they are always disappointed. It’s hard for filmmakers to sit down in a concept meeting and quiet all that noise and to make a movie like Solo: A Star Wars Story—a fun movie that doesn’t deal with changing character arcs and relish in a bunch of progressive themes such as whether or not Lando is pansexual. This movie and all movies are about the joys of capitalism and the fun that can be found in a good character that takes everyone for a nice ride for a couple of hours—and that’s what Solo is. And that excitement sells toys, amusement park experiences, and an expansion into more mythology such as books, comics and even more movies. When people ask why anybody needed a movie about Han Solo the answer is because at the heart of all Star Wars movies is Han Solo. He’s the only character who ever really had his head on straight and if Lucasfilm wanted in their wildest fantasies to make Star Wars great again—they needed to turn to Han Solo—in his pure, overly optimistic form, even if it meant pissing off everyone so that it could win everyone’s hearts all over again much to their eventual benefit.

Rich Hoffman
Sign up for Second Call Defense here: Use my name to get added benefits.

Why I’m So Excited for Han Solo’s Movie: A brief history of cinema and the progressive attempts to control the messaging of American values

If you study any ancient society—or any society at all for that matter, scientists and historians always find a way to rationalize their successes or failures on a few key elements. They will proclaim a civilization may have been successful because of their proximity to water, or key trade routes. Or fertile soil, access to natural resources, abundance of food—those types of things. The truly great societies are often judged by the artists they produced and the literature they performed. In a lot of ways entire societies are judged based on the written works produced by their cultures, such as in England with William Shakespeare, or Ireland’s James Joyce. But we don’t really have enough history yet to properly understand how our modern age of great art and entertainment will recoil through the ages, because most of it is so new. American movies for instance are underplayed in their importance to how they shape world culture—because they essentially have only been around for a century, so the effects on people as a whole are still being determined. But I have a pretty good idea how those results will be determined as judged by time and it is for that reason that I am so excited when a new film comes out that I know will be a game changer in the way that art shapes society. That is why I am so excited for this new Solo: A Star Wars Story as it is being produced by Disney. Something very different is going on with this one and if it turns out the way I’m thinking, there will be shock waves percolating through the industry as a whole that will favor the political trajectory of the modern Donald Trump age—and that’s a really good thing.  To get a good idea of what I’m talking about read this fine movie review about Solo: A Star Wars Story in Forbes.  I don’t think I could have written a better one.

Over that same century that movies came to be as a form of new art and entertainment liberals under the umbrella of progressivism made their move to spread tyrannical socialism to every corner of the world. Movies didn’t always reflect this socialism because the cultures they were speaking to had emerged before the progressive move to take over the world essentially. Westerns specifically were a group of movies that told stories of Americans yearning for freedom at any cost and the values that could be inflicted on large tracts of unpopulated land with the barrel of a gun pointed at a bad guy, and on the backs of that concept, Hollywood was essentially born. It was westerns that propelled the film industry into being such an important artistic endeavor that became the envy of the world. Not only had America created this interesting artistic machine known as Hollywood that mass-produced art and entertainment in such an excessive capitalist fashion. But it could do so in seemingly infinite quantities quickly spreading the culture of a free North America to every part of the world that had electricity.

Progressives saw this power and sought to take it over starting before World War II but really beginning to succeed in the late 1960s. But some of the best films of that time still came from filmmakers who made movies in the traditional way of Hollywood before the liberal invasion and it was those films that carried Hollywood into the modern age financially. Star Wars is a great example of the type of America that used to show up in the movies of its culture—B movies made quickly and cheaply for Saturday Morning Matinee entertainment. George Lucas was often derided by his peers in the film industry for wanting to make such old-fashioned throwbacks to the old westerns and science fiction films of his own youth—yet the Hollywood liberals built and industry around the commercial success of those movies and the history of all that is well-known.

Fast forward to my excitement in 2012 when I found out that there were going to be more Star Wars movies because Disney had bought the franchise from George Lucas for $4 billion dollars and I had high hopes. I also had my concerns which I expressed to everyone who would listen, including the key people at Lucasfilm. I did not like The Force Awakens not just because they had killed the character of Han Solo, but because they had cheapened that very popular fan favorite into a much weaker progressive character as was reflective of the attempt by Hollywood to follow a more progressive political agenda for which they sought to take over the entertainment industry in the first place. But I kept my mind open because I knew they were planning to make a Han Solo movie in the future so I stayed on the ship awaiting the results of that to figure out if I would continue to support the artistic efforts of Star Wars in the future—or relegate that it had died with the Disney acquisition. Thankfully I am quite happy to say, the financial viability of Star Wars as a business has won out and the filmmakers at Lucasfilm and Disney have come to terms with what works and what doesn’t in that particular universe of storytelling—which is essentially the values of the traditional westerns in America, and they have unleashed all that into this new Han Solo movie.

That’s important because Solo: A Star Wars Story is not about social justice, or the mysticism of religions—its not about altruism and all that garbage—its much more of an Ayn Rand type of story which is what I have always said was the core value system of Star Wars. Han Solo has always been and will always be best when he reflects more a character that would be written by Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged than from Les Misérables. Star Wars fails when it tries to be reflective of European literature more than American bravado and that lesson has been reluctantly unleashed in Solo: A Star Wars Story, which is all about guns, getting rich and taking care of the character’s self-interests.

Of course, the liberal aspects of Hollywood are hoping that this Solo: A Star Wars Story will fail at the box office, and for that to happen the industry will pounce on any numbers that don’t reach a billion dollars globally, or under $600 million domestically. Anything short of that and this Solo movie will be destroyed in the press much the way Donald Trump’s presidency is under constant attack because it threatens the status quo. But as I have been saying for many, many years—Star Wars is best when it is about all the things I described this upcoming movie to be as opposed to the self-sacrifice and general altruism of the Jedi and the Skywalker portions of the saga. Without Han Solo, I’d say there is no Star Wars. So to their credit, they listened at Lucasfilm and Disney has not been shy with the money and has thrown their full weight behind this movie knowing that it goes against the general strategies of the progressive community. And they had to do it because economic necessity dictated that they protect the property of Star Wars from the politics of the modern age. The last time I saw Disney market this hard for something like a western was The Lone Ranger in 2013, which was financially successful, but was considered a big bomb at the box office. If I had to bet, I’d say that is why Bob Iger has been nowhere near the early previews of Solo: A Star Wars Story. He is keeping one foot in the world of deniability. But I don’t think he’ll have to throw anybody under the bus. I think this new Star Wars movie will make everyone happy at Disney, even if it does give them a political paradox to deal with.

Progressives would love to assume that they can shape culture—which is why they wanted to take over the movie business. Films were to reflect the cultures they came from and the values expressed which is what other nations wanted to see in American movies. People get excited to see things they can’t get at home or yearn to become themselves, so they enjoyed the lofty characters of the American westerns who shot first and asked questions later, who did whatever they had to do to get rich so they could live free of the rest of the tyrannical world. Thinking of the great Sergio Leone movies from the late 1960s, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and For A Few Dollars More, the filmmakers were from Italy making westerns as they interpreted them, as a way out of the fascism that their country had just emerged from and the character emphasis wasn’t on saving the world or even a damsel in distress, it was in using a gun to get rich and live happily ever after alone and disconnected from the rules of society. That was always the allure of the Disney Pirates of the Caribbean movies, that is why the Fast and Furious movies make so much money, and that is the commitment behind Solo: A Star Wars Story.

With this being the fourth Star Wars story produced by Kathy Kennedy as the new head of Lucasfilm economic necessity has dictated a more traditional approach to their films. That is a great thing because it informs what the true values of our culture are which addresses at the most epistemological level values that are conducive to a successful modern culture reflective in movies, and not where Hollywood shapes culture. The values of people are inherit and they need to form their lives around those values—that is self-interest, acceptance of capitalism as the primary driver for success and improved lives. What could be a better message in Star Wars than a black character called Lando Calrissian who loves wealth and the fine things in life and became an extraordinarily successful businessman? Solo: A Star Wars Story may be the first movie in several decades that doesn’t demonize the acquisition of wealth. I doubt the movie will do well in China for that very reason, but that’s OK. Lucasfilm made this movie and hopefully people support it the way I’ve always said they would. I can say this, I am excited for it—for all these reasons and more. I think it’s a game changer that could very well alter the way Hollywood produces films, and that is not good for the progressive elements which have taken over. Like the presidency of Donald Trump, Star Wars is rooted in old-fashioned values, and that was something that Hollywood has wanted to destroy but find that they must reconcile with if they want to live into the future. I never honestly thought I’d ever see a Hollywood product like this movie, where guns are as much of the plot as the pursuit of personal wealth and freedom. But here it is, and my hope is that people show up and support it, because it took a lot of guts to make it—and for Lucasfilm and Disney—it’s a tremendous gamble that could pay off big for them—and the rest of us.

Rich Hoffman
Sign up for Second Call Defense here: Use my name to get added benefits.

‘Solo’ Gets a Standing Ovation at Cannes: Mythology and culture are on expanding in a very positive way

I can’t emphasize enough what Star Wars means to our current society—and specifically how important this next film, Solo: A Star Wars Story is to the continuation of the great mythology that is now set to take on a life well beyond anything planet earth has ever seen. As I say often the most important topic to me out of all the things that I discuss is the realm of mythology and how it captures the minds of mankind and propels it forward at each juncture of history. I am specifically thinking right now about the great legends of King Arthur, or the early works of the Iliad where Odysseus propelled modern society to its current form to the point where our civilization has outgrown those great stories. Our modern society is very complex, and we know so much about so many things that were not known at the time that the great classics were written, and we are and have been in desperate need for stories that can take us all into the future—because that’s how human beings work. They need conceptual devices in story form to put into context their observed reality—and even though Star Wars is intended for kids, it works on so many levels to get the imaginations of the human race moving that I think it’s currently the most important thing in the world happening right now, and I understand very well what is happening from North Korea to the taxation of Amazon in Seattle—to the teacher union strikes, to the corruption of our own FBI becoming weaponized against us all. Even in that context I think this new Star Wars movie is a tremendous opportunity for mythmaking to expand dramatically into the lives of all thinking beings on planet earth for the better, and it would all come down to the presentation of the film at the Cannes Film Festival in France. It’s not just because I love the character of Han Solo, but it’s why the movie was made in the first place that I think it’s so important and I was very happy to see a standing ovation for the film after its screening. This is going to be a big one.

I read the critics opinions of the film and most of them were positive, many very positive with about 23% less than enthusiastic. What those lukewarm reviews had in common was that they missed the epic scale of life and death situations that have been present in Star Wars up to this point—the save the whole galaxy or else type of storylines. If Star Wars is going to work in future, they need to become much more individualized, personal stories which we all know culminate into the three trilogies of nine films we have mostly been familiar with. And once Lucasfilm accomplished that, mythology by way of the vehicle of Star Wars will be unleased in a very dramatic way and I don’t think those people trained into their institutional professions, and are making good livings in those comfortable places, are open to these big changes. Their comments about nobody asking for a movie about Han Solo and that the movie is just capitalizing off the Star Wars name and is an entirely different kind of film altogether are missing the point. This movie was always intended to expand the Star Wars mythology in ways that I would argue it always needed to go—since the Empire Strikes Back way back in 1980 and I think everyone watching this movie is going to be in for a surprise.

I know enough about this movie to be happy with the decisions that Kathy Kennedy has made over the last two years. A lot of people do not understand how hard it is to make a movie, and to negotiate contracts with expensive actors and to hold those contacts over many films. I continue to be amazed how the Marvel team does it with all their big-name actors now and how they can put them all in a film like Infinity War. That would be an astonishing payroll to put all those stars into one movie, but Marvel has figured it out and that Disney polish is now coming to Star Wars with these Han Solo movies serving as a test bed of creative entanglement. I will be the first to say I was not happy with the Lucasfilm abandonment of the original books which they now call legends, and I was not at all happy with The Force Awakens when they killed Han Solo in that movie. Long time readers here know very well how angry I was at the way they dealt with Han Solo’s character in that film and I did several radio shows discussing the issue in detail. However, and I know I wasn’t the only one, I think Lucasfilm to a reasonable extent has listened to the fans—and they have made some adjustments with this Solo movie which is why it needed to stay on schedule even after the previous directors were fired and Ron Howard was brought on to fix things. It’s also why I believe that the last movie of the modern trilogy, Episode 9 now directed by J.J. Abrams was pushed out into 2019—because Lucasflim needed to see how audiences reacted to new story elements in this new Solo movie.

I don’t think Kathy Kennedy or Bob Iger are all that happy with the direction of Solo: A Star Wars Story, I think they’d love to have a much more progressive film with less male characters acting so strongly. That’s a very educated guess on my part, but business is business. If you are running a movie company that makes Star Wars movies and you intend for them to transcend modern politics, then they need to be timeless stories, and this new Han Solo movie needed to be more of a classic western than a modern progressive version of Guardians of the Galaxy. I watched Kathy Kennedy at the Cannes press events and I think she is breathing a bit better now—she really needs to pull in at least a billion dollars off this Han Solo movie to justify everything they’ve done with Star Wars since Disney bought it in 2012. She made serious mistakes putting top-heavy female characters into Star Wars and making really stupid comments like she did to the New York Times where she said she didn’t care about male Stars Wars fans—which traditionally have been the primary support of the franchise for over four decades now. There was always room for women in Star Wars, but they couldn’t just take everything over and get away with it. The backlash against Kathy Kennedy in general has been harsh. And Bob Iger is an anti-gun liberal, so it’s probably tough for him to see all these posters of Han Solo pointing a gun out into the horizon, but that’s the character and that’s what people want to see in movies, and putting politics aside, Lucasfilm and Disney have given fans what they want—which is a very good thing.

I will likely give a very long and detailed review on the 24th of May which will articulate many, many things that I think are superb about this new kid’s movie which I think will capture the hearts of so many people in a very positive way. It’s not just the movie that I’m happy about, but what will come out of it creatively. Mythology has always been the center of any advanced culture and when a story works—it advances everything from arts and sciences, to politics and philosophy. And after watching that standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival, I am quite sure that we are all about to see something very special.

Rich Hoffman
Sign up for Second Call Defense here: Use my name to get added benefits.

North and South Korea Hug at the 38th Parallel: What educations should be and why the NKU Millennium Falcon Expereince was the most important thing

I had a lot of thoughts while waiting in line at the BB&T Arena at NKU University just across the river from downtown Cincinnati to witness the promotional exhibit for Solo: A Star Wars Story which comes out on May 25th. Among those thoughts were how nice and well-educated all the fans were who showed up early to get a ticket to essentially sit in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, which was in so many ways very, very cool. From my perspective as a super fan of not only Star Wars, but of the functions of world mythology in the greater sense I noticed some very special things going on that were worth a deeper analysis. Because of my conservative political positions, my stance against large salary requirements for teachers and college professors, it is often asked of me what I want in public education offerings that are reasonable, and to be quite honest, I want our education system to produce the type of people who were in line for that Solo exhibit—and the type of people who have used the Star Wars mythology to bring meaning to their lives where the regular social offerings have failed our entire civilization.

What made this NKU exhibit from Lucasfilm and Disney unique was that it was free, and there was no merchandising on hand to clutter up the motivations of people. All they wanted to do was see the props of the Millennium Falcon from the movies up close and satisfy some longing for that reality to become their reality. Because reality as we have all come to know it is something very disappointing. Star Wars for many people offers an alternative to that boring reality and that was quite clear to the thousands who showed up to see the Millennium Falcon Experience at NKU over the first weekend of a four-city tour which will take place all through the rest of May 2018. I’ve traveled the world, eaten in the very best restaurants in places like Japan and London, I associate with people at the very top of the food chain both politically and economically. If I’m not a mover and shaker in the world, I don’t know who would be—so I’m hardly a couch potato geek who is hiding from reality behind the fantasy characters of a space movie. Yet I’ll say that one of the most thrilling things that I have ever done in my half of a century of life was to sit in that cockpit of the Millennium Falcon with my grandson, wife, and granddaughter and play with the buttons, handle the flight yoke and just sit there for many minutes in private to consider how everything could work in real life—how to make that delicate transition from fantasy into reality—which is where everything is headed.

Even better than all that though was the people in line with me, who from what I could tell were some of the smartest people I’ve seen in one place in many years. If I had been waiting in line for tickets to a Miley Cyrus concert, the collection of intellect presented would have been much less. Most of the children present were reading books while in line, mostly Star Wars books. Most of the adults had already read them and were certainly higher than the average intelligence that is functioning in the world and I would attribute that to the fact that Star Wars has given people something positive to think about, so even though what they were thinking about was a fantasy entertainment offering, the process of thinking about something had better prepared them for functioning in the world than the average person experienced, who didn’t have such advantages. The exhibit itself took a long time to get through because of all the thousands of people in line, only five people at a time could go through that Falcon cockpit, so people were very motivated to wait their turn which I thought was astonishing. Nobody in line was angry with the people ahead of them making them wait, it was one of the most remarkable things I had witnessed in a long time from a large collection of people. Given that the campus of NKU was in the background I couldn’t help but think that every college in America should aim to have this type of experience for everything they try to instill in an educational format to the participants of their classrooms. The goal of all education should be to turn on minds, not to turn them off, and often that is what we are doing at all levels of our education. The people who have become Star Wars fans over the years have rejected that premise. When their schools have told them to turn off their minds and to stop daydreaming, to put their hyperactive kids on Ritalin, the people at the Millennium Falcon Experience who were there with me on that first day, the people who Channel 19 called “super fans” with just a bit of contempt to make sure the viewer didn’t associate her with them—the Star Wars fans rebelled and turned inward rejecting social norms and invested their intellects to the fantasy world of a galaxy of a long time ago far, far way.

While all this was going on I was checking on the latest NFL picks from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, watching Kenya West get criticized by the liberal entertainment guild for defending President Trump, and North Korea and South Korea were hugging at the 38th parallel, an astonishing feat all by itself, and contemporary society mistakenly thought that those events were more important than this Millennium Falcon Experience—but I don’t think so. In many ways it is those events that are the fiction and it is the mythology of Star Wars that has more truth in it than anything else going on outside of that NKU campus that day. Specifically, the Kenya West situation where just because he’s a black rapper married to Kim Kardashian he’s supposed to fit some liberal presentation of what a “black person thinks”—which was taught to all of us in our public-school experience. Those same public-school personalities don’t teach kids that Republicans ended slavery, and that Fredrick Douglas the great black crusader was a Republican. The emphasis on what we learn in our K-12 educations is not to read and perform math, its to fit into a segment of society for which our political philosophies at the administrative level can deal with when everyone grows up. The purpose of public education is to create demographic groups, not individualized thought and Kenya West was pushing back against that system which had all the proponents of that reality very upset. Many of the Star Wars fans at NKU to see the Millennium Falcon Experience had gone through the same type of rigor and had made very conscious decisions to reject those offered demographic categories created by the politically driven public-school systems, and they were looking for things to think about elsewhere.

Education is supposed to ignite the thinking process, not to turn it off, and for most of our civilization that is exactly what is happening in our government sponsored schools. They destroy minds, not meaning to, but that is what ends up happening. Later that day after the Millennium Falcon Experience I watched the coverage of the NFL Draft on Fox and I’ll have to say that it wasn’t nearly as rooted in reality as Star Wars was. The people drinking too much beer and spending most of their free time thinking about the statistics of the various players offered were participating in a fantasy much less real than seeing the Millennium Falcon up close. Star Wars fans have evolved as a rebellious rejection of that static public education offerings. The NFL draft was just a big reality television show that promoted the schools the athletes came from advertising those universities for millions of young people who might be inspired to spend $100K on an education to get a decent job at the places that produced these gladiators of the NFL. But honestly, the Millennium Falcon as presented at NKU to promote a new movie coming out soon was a lot more real, and much more positive for the intellects of the participants—and that should say a lot about the world we are living in.

We’ve made a tremendous mistake as a human civilization in establishing to people through their educations that they should give up the ideas of youth and to accept the limited offerings established by our governments through their education systems. We have tried it so many different ways and they all end in failures—in most cases middle class earners who makes six figures in household income who drink too much on NFL draft night over a grill cooking hamburgers in the back yard and think that is the definition of success. Star Wars and other pop culture entertainments have simply done a better job in creating foundation mythologies that the human intellect truly craves for the unending yearning for adventure and exploration. Those adventurous desires are what fuel all invention and take it from me, I just received a patent that I had led a team to realize just last week, so I understand what I’m saying in scope of human endeavor. It all starts with imagination and adventure which is specific to human minds and it is in our fantasies that we do a better job than our official educations in harnessing those powers. But it shouldn’t be that way. I bought three things over the past two weeks that made me very happy, one was a new gun that cost well over $2000. Then I bought a little Hot Wheels Millennium Falcon and a new Han Solo landspeeder for about $5 each—and they equally made me very happy. One is notably a very “adult” thing to buy, the other two are associated with the desires of children. But I can say that I enjoyed those purchases equally, and I think that is an essential need that any active intellect has—it wants to be fed stimuli—not junk food, or alcohol, but intellectual stimulation that provokes thought. Regarding education moving into the rest of this century and into the next, all over the world, we need to end this nonsense about “growing up.” What public education means when they encourage people to “grow up,” is that they intend to turn off minds, not to turn them on. And until that happens, I will be against our government endorsed education systems, both K-12 and the college experience, because they are not adequate in their objectives into preparing human beings for the kind of world we all want. Fortunately, and unfortunately, the Millennium Falcon Experience did a much better job.

Rich Hoffman
Sign up for Second Call Defense here: Use my name to get added benefits.

A Trip to Denny’s For Han Solo Merchendise: Why all the fuss?

It wasn’t just this that we did for my 50th birthday this past week, my family did a lot of things for me to show how much they appreciate me. But when they asked me what I wanted to do, I said that I wanted to find a Denny’s near our home so I could get a Millennium Falcon cup from the new movie Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the new Topps collecting cards that you can only get at the promotional event that they are doing at most Denny’s restaurants. And I wasn’t kidding about it. If we were planning to do a dinner for my birthday and go out somewhere anyway, I wanted to do something fun that I’d like, and could share with my kids and grandkids. After all, we all like Star Wars. I always used it in the way it was intended, as a modern mythology that had embedded in those kid’s films an essential epistemology in regard to philosophy that is needed in this fast-moving world, so one of my daughters found a nice one about an hour and a half outside of downtown Cincinnati, just outside the city limits of Indianapolis, Indiana. Han Solo was always my favorite character from the Star Wars movies so it was fun to make the Denny’s promotion a fun birthday event that everyone could enjoy. As an added benefit Disney had released the last trailer before the new movie opens on May 25th, just over a month from this writing so it made for an interesting birthday dinner at Denny’s. We didn’t hold back on the Solo merchandise!

I think Alden Ehrenreich will do a great job playing Han Solo as a younger man, a tough job to take over from one of the most iconic film roles Harrison Ford brought to life. It’s a tough job that everyone has in their head differently, so no matter what Ehrenreich does, someone isn’t going to like it. But, from what I’ve seen, the kid gets it—and that’s all that matters. It works for me and I hope it leads to a lot more Han Solo in movies that take place before the events of episode 4. I like the new pointy nose on the Millennium Falcon, I like the idea of new Star Wars music about to be released. I love the DLCs that will be downloaded on Star Wars: Battlefront 2. I love all the toys being released for the movie, its more generational stuff to share with my grandchildren for which all this is new to them so they are having fun with it for the first time. I see it all as very positive and it generally puts a smile on my face to have a new Han Solo movie because that character represents everything I love about Star Wars.

Of course, part of what makes 50th birthday celebrations what they are is in the reflection that you have about your life up to that moment and what might be ahead. For many it’s a time when they look at their life and consider that their best days are behind them. But not me. I have had a lot of very good days and I am sure there are a lot more ahead of me, and the Denny’s meal day was surprisingly fulfilling, not just from the Han Solo gear, but I enjoyed eating Denny’s food again after not having it for over 25 years. Denny’s was one of those places I used to go because they were open all night where I’d go to read after I’d get off work from my second shift jobs. When I was young and worked two fulltime jobs to make ends meet and our house was too small to leave a light on otherwise it would wake up the whole house at night, I’d read my books at all night restaurants like Waffle House, Perkins and Denny’s to make myself tired enough to wind down for bed. After a good meal and about 10 refills of a Coke at 2 am I’d go home and sleep for three or four hours and do it all again at the crack of dawn. Somewhere over that 25-year span Denny’s left the Cincinnati area so it was fun to have it again on my birthday. It was even more fun to have a Star Wars inspired menu with the new Han Solo on the cover. I had the “Two Moons Skillet” which was Heaven on earth for me.

All this of course led me to consider how much Star Wars had evolved over time and what role it plays in a modern sense. I’ve written many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of words as to what Star Wars means culturally, but I think I’ve been leaving out the epistemological definition in referring to it. After all, I write about some pretty serious subjects most of the time, so when I switch gears and do these Star Wars articles, to some it seems out of character, but to me it all runs together. It’s relevant to the missile attacks of Syria this past weekend, the teacher strikes in Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona, the opioid epidemic—just about every topic one might consider can be traced back to the epistemological failures of modern society—and Star Wars was created, and does a good job of maintaining it for children a basic epistemology of values that are designed for modern life. The world is otherwise very confused, their religious values are all over the map, politically we have factions that want to take mankind back to a theology while others are wanting to plant flags into anarchy, democracy and those who presently have power want to keep everything in an aristocracy. We are moving to space as a species while the political powers in office want to cling to mother earth and environmental concerns because that is how their power bases were established—on earth with earthly rules. The truly wonderful thing about Star Wars is that it takes all the value of the world’s mythology and applies it into a modern context, which is why kids, and kids at heart love it so much. It’s a much different thing than other pop culture rituals. This one is actually very healthy for modern human beings. It’s meant for kids, but it works for adults too in very meaningful ways.

When I was in grade school showing a love for Star Wars was extremely taboo. I make no attempt to hide my contempt for the way public school operates—I often say that public school is like using a public restroom or a drinking fountain. Yeah, it does the basics, but not very well. In public school, too many people establish their basic epistemological essence in those public institutions because they don’t have reliable families at home to help them, or other positive influences. The school becomes the basic foundation for that while it was quite clear that George Lucas was intent to provide a competing epistemology for young people, so the pubic school system rejected the competition instead of embracing it, the way they should have. However, I was never one who backed down from a fight—never one day in my life. The more kids made fun of me for wearing my favorite Han Solo t-shirts to school, the more I did it, and my love for Star Wars actually got me into a lot of trouble. It’s not like that today, kids can show their enjoyment of such things without getting into fights over it, and that is actually some real progress. Concerning education, I see that Star Wars has given many people who missing epistemology that they should have been getting from school, or their families and the stories are keeping pace with the concerns of our modern age that is coming at us much faster than ever. It’s really the only thing that is—which to me makes it extremely important culturally.

One of my many hobbies is the study of world cultures and religions. It doesn’t pay much money otherwise I’d do that task fulltime because as I say here often, mythology is my favorite topic. I could talk about world culture all day long and what the pros and cons are. You can often read in hindsight why cultures failed if you know the details and why that’s important is so that you can prevent it in your own culture. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about the American Indian or Roman and Greek societies, you can see through the gifts of historical hindsight why they all failed, and I apply those lessons daily with the millions and millions of words I have provided for free to my readers—because I don’t want to see people fail. Professionally, I don’t have to read in a Denny’s at 2 AM anymore because the lights in the house keep everyone awake. I’m doing well at age 50, as is expected given my role in our family, and my community. So I don’t mind sharing things I love in writing and mythology if it might improve the life of one person—let alone helping many people. The human race in spite of all the faults we could list off for hours on end is actually plotting into positive uncharted territories for the first time in history and it is really only the epistemological values of Star Wars that are successfully preparing the minds of our modern age with the intellectual means to deal with everything in a positive way.

This morning I was at the Target department store near my house shopping for Han Solo toys and I couldn’t help but notice that The Last Jedi just hit the shelves from its Blue-Ray release, and here we are talking about another Star Wars movie being released in a month. The cultural values of the last Star Wars movie are still simmering, Lego hasn’t even put out their video game yet for The Last Jedi. And there are lots of beach towels and clothing out for consumers to enjoy and all this is happening as Space X and Virgin Galactic are taking over the civilian colonization of space and Amazon is delivering packages within hours of ordering from virtually anywhere in the world. Artificial intelligence is taking over as the new rudimentary task supplier in a rapidly expanding economy where there simply aren’t enough workers in the world to do all the jobs coming available. I’m not kidding when I say Alexia could take over the teaching profession. With a second Star Wars moving coming out and all that comes with it culturally, it will be interesting to see what happens. And that’s not all, there are at least eight more Star Wars movies in development right now, along with Star Wars television, video games, books, music and so many other items. What impact that has on the human race I think is a fascinating topic on the epistemological level of consciousness.

As I was paying the check at Denny’s it was a big one, and many of the Indiana farmers looked at me a little side-eyed. My oldest grandson and I were very openly showing our excitement at getting the Han Solo card in the stack I bought. I of course was hoping to get that particular entry. Those are the same kind of people who used to make fun of my Han Solo shirts on the school bus—they didn’t understand what all the fuss was about and thought I should be thinking about something more—real. But little did they know, or little did they know that day in Denny’s that what I was excited about was more real than just about anything they were considering and Han Solo has always best exemplified my excitement for it—the optimism of what is always potentially just around the corner. Han Solo is a very positive character who believes he can get out of anything he gets into under any circumstances and in so many ways, he represents the current position of mankind on planet earth in the early parts of the 21st century. That makes these movies more important than just an entertainment option. Even more than that, it made for me a really fun birthday!

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here: Use my name to get added benefits.

Jim Renacci and ‘The Last Jedi’: Liberals and their Resistance are more alike than they know

One thing that I really like about Jim Renacci’s run for the governorship within the state of Ohio is that he is very light on his feet. As he had a press conference early in the week for which the new Star Wars movie The Last Jedi was released I thought it was cleaver that he was active on Twitter tying the needs of his campaign to the pop culture monstrosity. It was a hip move that was reminiscent to the light on his feet nature of Donald Trump. The big news of course was that Renacci was partnering up with Cincinnati councilwoman Amy Murray which was another smart move—and for most politicians that would have been their news highlight of the week. But what is noticeable about Jim Renacci is that he’s very competitive, and determined to win whatever he does which is why I’m supporting him for his run for governor—to replace the docile, and much maligned closet liberal—John Kasich.

The candidacy of Renacci is actually very much in line with the pop culture for which Star Wars represents to our society at large. I’ve seen The Last Jedi, the most recent Star Wars film at an early screening and it was good of course in its own way. I understand now that I’m a traditional Star Wars guy and that these new movies, books and televisions shows will never touch my heart the way they once did—which is fine. They are fun movies that are dealing with a lot of very contemporary mythology, but nobody did it better than George Lucas. Disney should have followed the Lucas stories and stayed away from these much more progressive adoptions created by the San Francisco kids at Lucasfilm. I’ll give a little review of course once the dust settles—because there is a lot to think about. But one take away that is directly connected to the politics of our real world is that the Resistance in the movie is very much reflective of today’s political left.

I’m a Rebellion guy from the first Star Wars led by Han Solo. When Solo was a general the Rebellion won and destroyed the Empire and it was a very Ayn Rand type of embodiment. In these new movies it’s not the Rebellion any more it’s the Resistance and the new Han Solo type of character is Poe Dameron. Led completely by women now, the Resistance is very progressive and as a result they are losing. In fact, they are not only losing, but they are dreadfully inefficient and nobody in the galaxy seems to be rallying to their cause. That is a far different thing from the first movies where hot-shot pilots like Biggs and Wedge were defecting from the Empire to fight for the Rebels. In The Last Jedi, the defectors are from the Resistance. Given how politically charged our current entertainment culture is I thought it was very telling that Carrie Fisher and Laura Dern berated Poe for being too reckless and not following orders—which is ironically how people who win a lot do so—by not following orders. Then when he wasn’t in the room they commented on the fact that they only kept Poe around because he was a good-looking guy. So that’s how these progressive women like Kathy Kennedy who is running all these Star Wars movies these days see the way the world of tomorrow will be? Sexual harassment will now be dished out by the women because they are now empowered? Not that I care really, but it is a very interesting thing to watch—the hypocrisy is hilarious.

Leading up to this Star Wars movie many people who are anti-Trump including many of the production staff and actors in The Last Jedi made it clear that the Resistance was reflective of their political ideology. Without question given the number of scenes where members of the Resistance made really desperate sacrifices we are seeing essentially what the political left believes is their plight in life. They think like that FBI agent Peter Strzok who felt it was their plight in life to do whatever needed to be done to keep Donald Trump out of office—as if they knew better than the rest of us what was right. I’m a person who hates bad guys in movies, but there were a lot of moments whether it was intentional or not, that Kylo Ren was the star of the film. He was the one who had it all together and was able to achieve objectives—and to get things done. Even to the point where nice girl Rey was tempted by his power. I felt that the makers of this Star Wars movie wonderfully directed by Rian Johnson meant to say one thing about the state of politics in our current world, but ended up saying something completely unintentional—like we know we’re losers and understand why.

In the original stories by George Lucas it was the pirate Han Solo who shook off the rules and helped the Rebellion start winning again that served as the guiding light of the entire franchise. He made the Empire look like a bunch of bumbling fools outwitting them time and time again in a classic good guys against bad guy fashion. Yet in these new Star Wars movies it is the First Order now led by Kylo Ren who makes the Resistance look pathetic and weak. I know the metaphor for these modern Hollywood artists is that the First Order is the modern equivalent of Hitler or President Trump—but its not the Resistance they really adore as artists—it’s the power of Kylo Ren. It’s like a woman who says she hates men with long hair who play in rock bands doing drugs day and night then turn around and leave their nice husbands and children for just such reckless characters. There is a unique scene in The Last Jedi where it’s a kind of upside down world from the Stranger Things television show. The schizophrenia that I’m talking about is on full display here and I think they think they’ve concealed their insecurities, but at the end of the movie when there is literally nobody left in the Resistance I couldn’t help but feel that the inner fear that all members of the Progressive caucus are experiencing now can be summed up at the end of the movie. They know that the demands of the story will pull the natural order of things toward Kylo Ren in the end with Rey helping to tame him toward the needs of existence. But the story is not Rey’s, it is clearly about Kylo Ren—Han Solo’s son that was seduced to evil off the superstitions of a Luke Skywalker who thought about killing the young lad in his sleep—and then propelled him to the Dark Side out of self-preservation.

You might ask what any of this has to do with Jim Renacci and his run for governorship. Other than the fact that he used a cleaver Star Wars ad to show how he was different from his competition the candidacy is enough to stir the concerns of the real Resistance that exists in our very tangible political world. The progressives and establishment types who now look at these days of Trump and think of themselves as the Resistance in Star Wars are more correct than they know. They may get little moments of victory—like in the case of the Alabama senate race—but like the events of The Last Jedi, their numbers are dwindling down into nothing while all the resources of a vast galaxy are going to the other side. The insecurity they all face is the same as the one in that movie where Kylo Ren is supposed to be the villain—but is he really in the ways of the Force? Maybe it’s the idiots in the Resistance who are so prone to kill themselves for stupid reasons who are the real villains and that is a thought that I couldn’t help but conclude as the lights came on and the movie was over. Good guys and bad guys are really a matter of perspective definition. But………….only one side is right and one side is wrong and when nobody is left on the other side—the answer becomes obvious. What I learned from The Last Jedi is that the Force hates the Resistance. And that appears to be what’s going on in real life politics too.

Rich Hoffman

Sign up for Second Call Defense here:  Use my name to get added benefits.