For The Love Of Film is a weekly column from film nerd and lover of all movies Justin Proper. Sometimes you need some help to figure out how to enjoy movies, and we are here to help! No longer will you need to fear movie night because your friends have no taste in film. With this column you will be able to love even the worst gems to ever grace the silver screen.
I know I am going to catch some flak for this but I think Star Wars is overrated. I enjoy the movies, but I think they have been made out to be far better than they actually are. I get it, they are a sci-fi lover’s dream. Except they actually are not. I love sci-fi a lot which is why I think Star Wars is massively hyped more than it should be. You know what sci-fi movies deserve the kind of hype Star Wars gets? 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, and the first two Alien movies. Those make Star Wars look like The Adventures Of Pluto Nash.
Sorry, this column started out kind of negative. I will get to the point. In 1999 a new Star Wars movie was being released, and all the nerds in the world got nerd boners at the thought of another “great” installment to their beloved franchise. Now we know that the movie ended up sucking, but before it was released no one even considered that. People were excited. It was like Nerd Jesus was coming back to save all the geeks and usher them into a new era of prosperity. One movie set out to capture that excitement nearly a decade after it happened. That movie is Fanboys, and it deserves better than what it got.
Fanboys is about a group of twenty-something friends that reunite to go on a road trip to steal a rough cut of Episode One from Skywalker Ranch. They do this because one of the friends has terminal cancer and wont live to see the movie released. Just like any other road trip movie nothing goes quite as planned and the guys get into some zany antics, except with a Star Wars super-fan theme. They fight some Trekkies (the Star Wars fan’s mortal enemy apparently), meet someone one of them was dating online (with hilarious results) and even hang out with William Shatner at one point.
Critics were about as impressed with Fanboys as they were with the Star Wars holiday special. Spoiler alert: they hated both of them. The most common complaint of Fanboys is that it does not work as a general movie, just as a niche film that only nerds will enjoy. I completely understand this complaint, as the movie is loaded with Star Wars references and jokes. But here is the thing: is there anyone out there that has never seen any of the Star Wars movies?
So what if it is loaded with references and “in-jokes”? People are aware of the Star Wars films and are aware that there are people out there completely obsessed with them and that is all you need to know to enjoy Fanboys. It does not take a super fan to get that it is funny when the guys jump to hyper-space or whatever in the van and then crash through a sign to make a Darth Vader reference. Everyone is familiar with the stars shooting towards the Millennium Falcon cockpit scene and everyone knows what Vader looks like.
The other thing this film has going for it is its cast. Fanboys is loaded with celebrity cameos. You have Star Wars stars like Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, and Ray Park (Darth Maul) making appearances and even referencing their own characters from the Star Wars films. Other celebrity cameos include Danny Trejo (the angry mexican guy in everything), Will Forte, William Shatner, Seth Rogen (playing three different roles) and even Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes (Jay and Silent Bob).
Fanboys is a very unique take on the road trip genre. It takes your classic “buddies on a trip” story and injects it full of geekiness and is a great love letter to Star Wars. If you still are not convinced this movie is worth your time then take a look at Kristen Bell as Slave Leia.
Yeah, I thought so.