Back when I first started the Virgin Viewing column, there were a couple of movies that I could always mention and get a “You haven’t seen what?!” reaction from people: The Godfather, Back to the Future, and Star Wars. And since is this is my very last Virgin Viewing feature for Crushable, and I already saw The Godfather and Back to the Future, it seemed only right that I go out in grand style – barricading myself in my living room and watching the entire original Star Wars trilogy.
Part of why I never got around to watching the movies was because, thanks to their cultural saturation, I already knew most of the major plot points. Did you know there are no chicks in space? That was my first takeaway from this movie – of fucking course every dude in the movie wants to get with Princess Leia, because she’s the only damn woman around. And I can’t imagine how anyone wouldn’t have figured out that Leia had to be Luke’s sister, because there aren’t any other women to choose from. It’s like that game Guess Who – if you ask “Is your person a woman?” and your opponent says yes, there are so few chicks on the board that you have basically already won.
But the cultural capital of this series is an interesting issue. Star Wars is so deeply entrenched in our culture that it pops up everywhere. I knew about Princess Leia’s gold bikini from an episode of Friends and about Admiral Ackbar’s “It’s a trap!” from any number of internet memes. The reason I never actually sat down and watched the movies before now is because I felt like I already knew all about them from pop culture. [True story: several years ago, I actually watched The Star Wars Holiday Special, which was hilariously bad but didn't compel me to watch the original movies.] When I snarked on some clunky exposition-heavy lines at the beginning of Return of the Jedi, my boyfriend pointed out that people used to have to wait years between films and needed some reminders. In that way, I can understand how people who came of age waiting around for the latest Star Wars film to come out have a deep, obsessive love for the franchise the same way that people who grew up with the Lord of the Rings (haven’t seen ‘em) or Harry Potter (have) movies do. It was really fun to curl up on the couch and watch the movies back to back, but I don’t feel transformed. I enjoyed them a lot more than some of the other movies I’ve watched for this feature (that means you, The Dark Knight), and I can totally see why people are so into them, but being a culturally literate American kind of meant I wasn’t going to be surprised by the plot. And that left me plenty of time to think about Leia’s awesome hair in Empire and Jedi, so that’s cool by me.