Tag Archives: movies

5 Reasons Disney Should Release a PG Version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, In Theaters

Photo by Lucasfilm
Photo by Lucasfilm

Imagine my disappointment…

Everything was going along nicely.  When I was four, my parents took me to see the original Star Wars in the theater, igniting my lifelong fandom.  Next, I was lucky enough to marry a woman who is as big a Star Wars geek as I am, or geekier (I mean, how lucky am I, right?!).  Then, with great excitement, we introduced our five-year-old twins to Episodes IV, V and VI* this fall in anticipation of taking them to see Star Wars:  The Force Awakens.  And what happens next?!  The movie is released with a PG-13 rating.  As you would expect, my reaction was much like Luke’s upon learning that Darth Vader was his father… “Noooooooooooooooo-ooooooooooo-oooooooo!”

My wife and I were concerned about how much violence might be in the film for it to get pegged with a PG-13 rating.  So, we decided to do a date night on opening day and check it out before exposing the kids to it.  We loved the film, but agreed that it’s too violent for them.  We don’t even let them watch the evening news, yet – that shit’s scary.

So, I’ve decided to appeal directly to you, oh benevolent Disney Corporation to please release a version of The Force Awakens in theaters re-edited to garner a kid-friendly PG rating.  In case you’re hesitant, I’ve put way too much thought into this and come up with a five-point proposal as to why you should do it.  Here it goes…

  1. Ticket Sales

Oh sure, you might have broken all-time sales records on your opening day, but there’s no reason to let that stop you from opening up the film to a broader audience and selling even more tickets.  Think about it, my wife and I already went to see the film once and we will go again to see a PG version with our kids if you release it.  There are literally millions of other parents exactly like us.  Literally.  Millions.

  1. Toy Sales

OK, I admit that my son already has a LEGO Tie Fighter and will be getting an X-Wing for Christmas (shh… don’t tell).  But just think of how many more The Force Awakens toys he would be begging for if he could actually see the movie!  I’m sure he’s not alone.  Heck, my daughter isn’t as into Star Wars as my son, but she loves Leia and she’s bound to love Rey even more once she sees this movie.

  1. The PG Legacy

Until Episode III came along and changed the game, Star Wars had a storied legacy as being a PG franchise.  People were delighted by that fact.  Come on guys – bring the PG Star Wars legacy back to theaters.

  1. Because Disney

You’re The Walt Disney Company for goodness sake!  Seriously, the words “kid-friendly” and “Disney” are practically synonymous.  Do it for the children!

  1. You’re Going to Eventually Anyway

Someday, Star Wars:  The Force Awakens will appear on broadcast television, probably on ABC.  So, why not simply make the edited for TV version a couple years early and release it in 3D, Real D 3D and IMAX 3D?  You know you want to.

So, there it is… five compelling reasons why you should help all of us Star Wars Super Geek parents out and make a PG cut of the film now.  Let us buy our kids some overpriced popcorn and sodas and give them the experience we had long, long ago.

May The Force be with you.



*We didn’t show our kids the prequels.  Why bother?  Episode III is PG-13 and way too violent for them.  What’s the point in watching I and II without III?  Besides, they learned all the backstory they needed from IV, like their parents.

50 Shades of Grammar

Guest Post 
by Anna Villeneuve

Anna Villeneuve is a Professor of English at Citrus College in Glendora, California. She writes romance for Bella Books under a pseudonym.


Who gets excited about grammar? When it’s time to talk subjects and verbs, I know that I am going to lose my students’ attention unless I do something dramatic. They already consider the study of sentence syntax nothing short of sadistic, so I use that to my advantage and use 50 Shades to keep their attention. They cannot believe that their literary-lesbian-feminist teacher would ever crack the spine of such a book, and I will admit it was a painful read. However, I have never seen grammar as clearly as I did when I read 50 Shades of Grey and use the book’s conflict to discuss the symbiotic relationship between grammar and romance. The first semester I used this idea, we even created a slogan for a shirt… Punctuation: Words in Bondage.

Anastasia is an independent clause. She went to school and has a job. Critics of the novel argue that she is an underdeveloped character, but all a simple sentence needs is a single subject and verb. Accept her, then, as a simple sentence, a single woman dreaming of another independent clause out there with whom she can coordinate. She’s thinking of all the ways they can become a compound sentence. Maybe a casual comma coordinating conjunction:

I like him, so we will get coffee.

Some nights they can dress it up with a conjunctive adverb:

We’ve been dating for a while; therefore, I will introduce him to my friends.

When they are really serious, she can see the single semi-colon signaling their togetherness:

We are perfect together; we shall marry and live happily ever after.

There’s only one problem.

He wants to subordinate. To be clear, here, he is the only independent clause in a complex sentence. Only dependent clauses need apply. Coordination is so vanilla. His special room is full of subordinating conjunctions:

Although she is beautiful, only docile women interest me.

He has relative pronouns in his pocket:

I am the one who is in control.

The interesting thing about subordinating conjunctions is that what we do intuitively as writers shapes the meaning of the sentence. I never noticed before I read 50 Shades, but when I viewed sentences as relationships, I could very clearly see how much power the independent clause holds over the dependent clause:

Even though he will be married in June, he is single now.
Even though he is single now, he will be married in June.

The first sentence says who cares about promises! Technically, no-one is breaking a code of honor. The second cautions the interested party to hold the value placed on engagements. The independent clause makes the call.

I am not critiquing S&M culture, but I think that it is important that people know what they are getting into. I do not judge Anastasia for trying things his way:

If… if I look at your room, could you… be gentle?

Remember, she is a virgin. But I do have a problem with Christian’s response:

We can be vanilla your first time, but then we do things my way.

What rankles me is that he refuses to acknowledge that without the joining words. Whether they coordinate or subordinate, she is her own person. As her own person, she can even choose to engage in a threesome:

After you play the dominant, we can talk about it, for communication is important.

We can invite as many independent clauses into the sentences as we want (as long as it’s punctuated properly i.e. be careful). The problem is that he sees only a dependent clause. That, in grammatical terms, is a fragment:

Because I let you take control of my life.

The story is not just about naughty sex. It’s about whether two consenting adults are engaging in actions that result in a complete relationship, a complete sentence. The storyline results in a woman sacrificing her identity. In academic writing, a sentence fragment is considered one of the major sentence errors. In life, to allow yourself to be as fragment is a major life error.

It is no accident that the movie was launched to the public for Valentine’s Day, a time when so many feel the pressure to be partnered. I also use my 50 Shades of Grammar to encourage my students to stand proud as the independent clauses they are. There is no shame in the simple sentence! When we partner, in writing and in life, we must remember that there are all sorts of different ways to hook up, each with its own rules of conduct. As long as we know the rules, we’re allowed to have some fun!

The Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Streaming; the Definitive List

If you are a sci-fi purist searching for the best sci-fi movies streaming on Netflix then you’ve come to the right place.  The list below is based upon what is arguably the definitive list of the top 100 sci-fi movies of all time.


Searching the web, I was dissatisfied with the available lists of science fiction movies presently streaming on Netflix.  Many of the lists include fantasy films, which – in my opinion – muddle the rankings.  Though I am a fan of the film classic “Wizard of Oz” for example, I don’t think that it should be jockeying for position against the “Star Wars” franchise and “2001: A Space Odyssey” in any “Best Movies” rankings – unless you are noncategorically ranking “The Best Movies of All Time.”

So, I searched for “best sci-fi movies of all time” and landed upon TimeOut Film’s recent The 100 Best Sci-Fi Movies list.  What makes the list special is who TimeOut reached out to in order to select the films.  They didn’t do an online poll; they didn’t just reach out to critics.  Instead, their comprehensive approach was to have “Leading sci-fi experts, filmmakers, science fiction writers, film critics and scientists pick the best sci-fi movies ever made.”

The result is an exciting array of fantastic films ranging from 1927’s “Metropolis” to 2013’s “Her.”  The list is comprehensive, exhaustive, and 100% pure science fiction.  Happily, the list includes links to the films on Amazon.com and iTunes.  Sadly, it does not include links to Netflix Streaming.

Doing my part to improve the lists of sci-fi movies available on Netflix Streaming, the list below contains all of the films in TimeOut Film’s top 100 that are available for streaming (I will update the list from time-to-time).  The number beside each film title reflects its position on the TimeOut Film list.  I’ve flipped the list from the way it’s posted on TimeOut Film, so that the-best-of-the-best appear first.  Clicking on the film title will open the film’s page on Netflix.com in a new window or tab on your browser.

Happy viewing!

8.  Metropolis (1927)

16.  Terminator 2:  Judgment Day (1991)

26.  Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

31.  The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)

33.  Silent Running (1971)

38.  Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)

42.  The Fifth Element (1997)

44.  Star Trek 2:  The Wrath of Khan (1982)

48.  Ghostbusters (1984)

58.  Donnie Darko (2001)

86.  Barbarella (1968)

89.   Fantastic Voyage (1966)

95.  Serenity (2005)

Bonus:  Here, in no particular order, are a few sci-fi films that didn’t make the TimeOut list, but are currently streaming on Netflix and you might find worth the watch:

Robot & Frank (2012)

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

Star Trek III:  The Search for Spock (1984)

Star Trek:  Generations (1994)

Star Trek:  Nemesis (2002)

The Brother from Another Planet (1984)

Starman (1984)

Strange Days (1995)

Event Horizon (1997)