Culture Clips: The Force is Grouchy With This One

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culture clips last jedi

Our newsfeeds have been filled with a lot of serious news as of late. And we here at Culture Clips Central have dutifully reported much of it, from sexual harassment scandals to teen depression to accidents caused by Pokémon Go. But today, we want to delve into something really critical: whether the new Star Wars movie was any good or not.

Seems strange, given that of course the movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, was good. I said so, didn’t I? But some people—including betrayers right in the hallowed halls of Plugged In headquarters—insist that Disney’s newest Star Wars flick was something of a letdown. Or worse. And they, surprisingly, are not alone. The Last Jedi has, in fact, become the most controversial Star Wars movie ever. And we haven’t even gotten into Adam Driver’s opinion that his character, the evil Kylo Ren, isn’t evil, or that the biggest problem that George Lucas had with The Last Jedi is that it didn’t have enough CGI.

While some of us were debating the merits of The Last Jedi with misled coworkers, a few prestigious awards nominations were rolled out. The Screen Actors Guild—often seen as a harbinger of Oscar glory—rolled out its list of nominees, but snubbed some big names, including The Post’s Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks and Phantom Thread’s Daniel Day-Lewis. (Look for Plugged In’s review of these Oscar-bait dramas early next year.) All told, the three of them have won a total of five bazillion Oscars. (Well, actually, just nine, but who’s counting?)

Meanwhile, the Golden Globes also released its list of awards contenders, with movies like The Shape of Water, The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri leading the movie charge. The Globes hand out awards for television excellence, too—tossing love toward HBO’s Big Little Lies and FX’s Feud: Bette and Joan, among others. Also in the mix: Netflix’s hyper-controversial 13 Reasons Why, which earned Katherine Langford a nom for TV’s best dramatic performance by an actress. “This nomination says that teens today are seen as capable of consuming media in a thoughtful and critical way,” writes MTV’s Alissa Schulman.

What else are teens capable of consuming? Marijuana, apparently. Weed use and vaping are both now more popular than cigarettes among adolescents, according to a national survey of adolescent drug use. Indeed, nearly a quarter of high school seniors—23%—admitted to using marijuana in the 30 days before the survey was conducted.

That means that fewer teens use that drug than check “other” when declaring their own gender in California. According to a study from UCLA, 27% of California teens between the ages of 12 and 17 idenfity as gender-nonconforming.

But youth are doing more than simply taking surveys. They’re also offering some nifty self-decorating tips for Christmas. A few teens and millennials are gussying up their hair like Christmas trees and decorating their eyebrows for the season, too. I’d like to think that before Christmas comes, some clever soul will fashion tiny presents to sit on their eyelids. Or, perhaps, hang stockings from their teeth.

Given all this youth-centric news, perhaps it’s no surprise that Oxford Dictionaries selected “youthquake” as its word of the year. (Ironically, the word was coined 50 years ago by Vogue, making it older than I am.)

Not everyone is feeling so festive as these eyebrow-decorators, of course. Twitter is banning accounts that “make specific threats of violence or wish for the serious physical harm, death or disease of an individual or group of people.” Facebook has tweaked its own formulas to try to cull what it calls “engagement bait” posts. And some experts are warning folks to keep cell phones away from their bodies. (Which seems like it would make them mighty hard to use.)

And then, of course, there’s the Grinch, that mean ol’ Dr. Seuss creation that seeks to spoil Christmas for everyone, especially folks in Whoville. At least that’s one cat you needn’t worry about this season. Why, because the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes? No! Because 5-year-old TyLon Pittman of Byram, Miss., called the police to arrest the Grinch. “I want y’all to come back to my house and take him to jail!” he told the visiting officer.

Perhaps when TyLon gets older, he can sort out this whole Last Jedi controversy.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

charitysplace 29 days ago
Yeah, George Lucas, because CGI worked out SO WELL for the first three films. ;)

I thought this was the best of the five 'new' Star Wars films. I also find a lot of the fanboy criticisms unjustified; it's unreasonable to expect Luke to be the same at 60 as he was at 20. And he illustrates a profound lesson about facing your mistakes, owning up to them, and choosing to do the right thing even when it's hard.

The Oscar snubs surprises me, frankly. I've become used to Meryl being nominated. And Daniel Day Lewis is always splendid (even if he almost worked himself into exhaustion with this movie). But Hollywood rigs those things anyway, so the real question is: why? Why are they snubbing their favorites?
bobed 29 days ago
TWENTY SEVEN PERCENT? That's horrifying. There is something very wrong going on in California when 27% of its youth are delusional. We need to get in the schools and undo the damage that's been done, stat. Or better yet, pull your kids from schools. (I understand it's not feasible for everyone.)
Anonymous 29 days ago
Yes! Homeschoolers! Our time has come!
In all seriousness, I think this study may be biased. It could be possible that children are saying that they are gender 'nonconforming' due to peer pressure and the general culture belief. They want attention, or are just frankly struggling mentally. It is incredibly concerning, but I am not so sure that 27% of California's youth are truly delusional. But if I am wrong and these numbers are true, this is horrifying.
-AR
Dan Haynes 29 days ago
Did you even click through to read the article? By the definition of the survey question (and NOT by the slightly deceiving blurb about it in this blog post) a boy with long hair or a girl with short hair (or otherwise not especially "girly") would qualify as gender nonconforming. Good grief. 
bobed 29 days ago
Good grief what? As though that somehow makes the fact that kids don't believe in gender any less disturbing? Good grief to you.
Scott Jamison 24 days ago
It's not even self-identification, but how they think their peers classify them.  So some boy who gets teased for not being manly enough because he doesn't like football would qualify.