Friday, December 18, 2020

Barbecue's Bonfire 12/18/2020: Tis the Season for Festivus and a Star Wars Marathon Edition


   We're only a  week out from Christmas and there are only two work days away from going on my almost 2 week Christmas vacation! Hooray! Today's the season 2 finale of The Mandalorian as well, so you know what I'll be up to this evening. My daughter's remote school schedule has been getting easier and easier as she coasts towards Christmas break as well so we've all been in a festive mood and enjoying lots of fun stuff. What you may ask? Well, let's start by talking about The Mandalorian Chapter 15: The Believer...

   While Chapter 15 didn't wow us with any big
reveals like the past two weeks, it was a very solid, tense episode. Now that Grogu is in the hands of Moff Gideon we see that Din is willing to do anything to rescue him. Between Din's struggles and Migs Mayfeld's desire to stick it to the Imperials, this episode was loaded with character development and solid action scenes. One of the best of the season.

More stuff after the break...

  My current gaming focus is on The Last of Us Part 2 but I did take some time to play The Room on the Nintendo Switch last week. The game has been out since 2012 and was released on the Switch in 2018 but I just downloaded it a week or so ago. It's not a very long game but it's an excellently atmospheric puzzler that is focused on solving elaborate puzzle boxes by interacting with them through the touch screen. Turn knobs, slide panels, and use a special lens to find clues, keys, and other items.  If you like room escape games or environmental puzzles, this is a good buy. There are actually multiple sequels to the game but none have been released on the Switch yet. The story is quite minimal as it's told through letters you find from a researcher investigating a mysterious new element called Null that somehow powers the puzzles boxes you interact with.  

   This week I watched the Seinfeld episode "The Strike" twice, once with just my wife and then again with my daughter. She's never seen Seinfeld before and since I'd just watched this one I knew nothing objectionable for her was going to pop up. While much of the humor went over her head she certainly enjoyed Frank Costanza and the Festivus holiday. It's called "The Strike" because on of the plot points is Kramer going back to work at a bagel factory after a decade long strike. Who knew he'd ever worked? This is one of the last season episodes and it's packed with some of the most memorable stuff: Festivus, the Feats of Strength, the Human Fund, Elaine giving out a fake phone number, and jerry dating a two-face, the woman who looks beautiful in some lighting and terrifying in others. Plus, you get some Christmas elements, some Hanukkah elements (Tim Whatley throws a Hanukkah party that Jerry likens to Studio 54 with a menorah), and Festivus. It's three holiday specials in one!

   Since my daughter is starting to get pretty interested in Star Wars we followed up our viewing of Revenge of the Sith with A New Hope. Man, every time I watch this movie I still feel like it's a fresh experience. Despite how many times I've seen it, experienced it in comics, games, books, parodies, and other mediums, it always manages to surprise me. The Original Trilogy is truly magical. I watched some of this with my daughter when she was 2 or 3 but now, at 7, she really was able to get into it more. It's cool to here her point out connections between this film and others in the series and notice stuff like Obi-Wan's "from a certain point of view" explanation about Anakin being killed by Darth Vader. I think C-3PO got the most laughs from her simply because he's so loveable and always looks like he's in a state of panic. While she's grown up in a home filled with Star Wars stuff and knows about most of the characters, it's really cool to experience the movies with her, especially when she's surprised by something. I don't think she was aware of the dianoga in the trash compactor... 

   Our Star Wars marathon continued on Wednesday night with a viewing of Episode I: The Phantom Menace which my daughter loved. Episode I came out at the end of my freshmen year of high school so some of the humor, at the time, seemed a bit juvenile to me. It was also very, very different from what I expected. Over the years, though, Episode I has become a film I love watching and it was clear that it really made an impact on my daughter, and it was fantastic to experience it with her. She had seen parts of it before but I think this is the first time we've watched the entire film since she's been old enough to "get" it. While the talks of trade disputes and such is still a bit stifling and Jar Jar Binks is still overused, the film really is amazing with its world building. It's crazy to realize that so much of what is now just the accepted Star Wars basics really comes from this film. I still think the fight between Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, and Darth Maul is the finest lightsaber battle in the series (followed by Luke and Vader on Bespin and Anakin and Obi-Wan on Mustafar) and the last third of the film (from the moment Duel of the Fates cues up) is just brilliant. 

Last, but not least, it's time for the most popular articles and reviews of the week. Here we go!

Jango Fett (Star Wars: Bounty Hunter) from Star Wars: The Black Series continues to stay the top of the list like the boss he is for his third week running! While he's mostly a repaint with the new facial printing he's a superior figure to the previously released Jango. Hasbro has been putting out some interesting figures in their GameStop exclusive Gaming Greats subset and Jango Fett from the 2002 game Star Wars: Bounty Hunter seems to be one of the most popular.

Barbecue's Ramblings: 10 Star Wars: The Black Series Figures We Need From The Sequel Trilogy Era is the first of what is planned to be a series of top 10 lists and stuff just giving me a place to ramble on. It's proven to be quite popular. Jump over there and let me know what you think! Who has Hasbro neglected from the first 5 Disney Star Wars films.

Darth Vader from Star Wars: The Black Series is on his second week on the list and, knowing Vader, he'll probably keep making his way upward. This is Hasbro's Empire Strikes Back version of Darth Vader and he's the best they've released. The best Vader figure from the best Star Wars flick. What's not to love?

IG-11 from Star Wars: The Credit Collection is a newcomer this week. The Credit Collection is a series of repaints based on the excellent concept art shown during the end credits of each episode of The Mandalorian. This is a series of repaints with a new roleplay credit accessory but since they look fantastic and nearly everything based on The Mandalorian sells like nerf nuggets at a podrace, these are hot, hot, hot!

Han Solo (Endor) from Star Wars: The Black Series dropped a bit this week but he's still here and he's a key part of this week's list which is all Star Wars based. Wow! You'd think people were suddenly really enthused about Star Wars again, wouldn't you? This is an excellent figure and definitely one of Hasbro's strongest releases. They've been on a roll lately for sure.

Scout Trooper from Star Wars: The Black Series is another one of the GameStop Gaming Greats figures from the Black Series who is on their third week. This isn't a ROTJ Scout Trooper, though, but one based on last year's Jedi: Fallen Order. This guy has a fair amount of new tooling and some new accessories, making him a pretty desirable release from a subset that's usually made of repaints. 

That's it for this week folks. I've got some big stuff coming up this week (including a real "mountain" of a review) and, of course, it's almost Christmas! Stay holly, jolly, and enjoy the season finale of The Mandalorian!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome that you are sharing Star Wars with your daughter. My daughter is 15 and I remember when I first sat down with her to watch the OT and the PT. So much fun.


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