Published on: June 3, 2016
Earlier this week, I was watching "Morning Joe" on MSNBC, and the show had a round-table discussion that featured legal scholar and Harvard Law School professor Cass Sunstein ... and he was talking about Star Wars
More precisely, Sunstein was on the show promoting a new book he has written, "The World According to Star Wars." I paid attention, in part because I am a 'Star Wars" fan, but also because I have some interest in the idea that movies can provide lessons and metaphors that we can use in our work and everyday lives.
(You may not know this, but I co-wrote a book on the subject with Michael Sansolo: "The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies," which continues to be available on Amazon.com
The on-camera discussion lasted just a few minutes, and so I decided to download the book to the Kindle app on my iPad and read it.
At the risk of seeming uncharitable, I'd recommend you not follow my lead.
In "The World According to Star Wars," it seems to me, Sunstein - an avowed Star Wars
fan - does his best to drain all the blood from the films, approaching the subject as a legal scholar and over-analyzing the series to the point where I thought my head was going to explode. Sure, Star Wars
has roots in classic myths, which is one of the things that makes the movies resonate to varying degrees.
But it examining every pause, every shot, and even the scenes and characters that were in early drafts but did not make it to the screen, Sunstein underestimates what used to be called "movie magic," and gives way too much credence to what seems to me to often be revisionist history about the series' evolution.
Also, while I like Star Wars
as much as the next guy, I'm not sure I'm ready to get on board with the idea that Star Wars
is "the defining work of our time." I also think he's way too definitive in certain opinions, like saying that Star Wars
is certifiably better than Star Trek
. I've always felt that they are entirely different enterprises (pun intended) and almost shouldn't be compared ... they resonate with different people for different reasons. As do, by the way, many movies.
In short, Sunstein writes about Star Wars
like a lawyer, not a film enthusiast. That may be what some folks are looking for, but not me.
There is one thing that Sunstein managed to persuade me about - that in many ways, the work of Lawrence Kasdan - who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back
, Return of the Jedi
and The Force Awakens
, as well as co-writing Raiders of the Lost Ark
and writing/directing The Big Chill
- may actually be more important to and more intelligent about the Star Wars
franchise than that of creator George Lucas. This may be heresy to some, but that's what I'm thinking.
Sometimes it is fun to venture down to the wine cellar (okay, it isn't a wine cellar ... it is just a messy basement with a few wine racks) and find something forgotten yet appealing. Such was the case last weekend, when we cracked open a bottle of 2011 Roads End Pinot Noir from Oregon's Carlton Cellars.
As expected, it was delicious. To be fair, it is hard to get Carlton Cellars wine in much of the country; it is a small operation, with limited distribution. But I've become friends with owners Dave Grooters and Robin Russell, I visit them every summer, and I belong to their wine club
... so I make sure I always have some of their wines on hand. I've mentioned their wines before on MNB, and will again ... they make a wonderful product, and you should try it, even if it means ordering online.
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.