Using The Force to spread the love of ballet
CHICAGO -- On Friday, I will be subjected to several hours of inscrutable "pew-pew"-ing when I flock, reluctantly, with my husband, my son and a substantial portion of America to the new "Star Wars" movie, "The Last Jedi."
Enduring another installment of a movie franchise that seems to have no end in sight (especially now that it has mastered the art of re-creating deceased actors in beloved roles) has somehow become a new Christmastime tradition in America. And it has gone far beyond getting on my nerves.
The holidays are busy enough as it is. Having to shoehorn in an annual two-and-a-half-hour space opera leaves even less precious time for other holiday traditions.
Yes, I recognize I'm coming across as some sort of sociopath for not loving "Star Wars" as much as the next light-saber rattling guy or cinnamon-roll-hair-wearing gal. What can I say? My aunt took all the kids to see "The Empire Strikes Back" when I was but a wee 6-year-old and I was bored nearly to tears. I fell asleep.
However, I've negotiated a 2017 Christmastime accord: I swore to show up to the theater with love and joy in my heart for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" and to not fall asleep. In exchange, I get something similar from my husband and son the next day.
I'm dragging them to a big-screen presentation of the Bolshoi Ballet's "The Nutcracker." (In movie theaters across the country on Dec. 17 only.) Don't miss it -- no one does "The Nutcracker" like the Russians. There are no cute kids cast for the family party scenes at the beginning like in American productions -- professionals play all the roles to ensure the top level of perfection at each performance.
They'll enjoy "The Nutcracker" as much as I will enjoy "The Last Jedi" -- and this isn't sarcasm or mere wishful thinking.
The truth is that you'd have to be practically dead not to feel a full load of adrenaline drop into your bloodstream once the endless movie trailers and sundry in-house ads for gourmet nachos finally fade to black and a full orchestral score comes up under the iconic opening crawl, "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away ... "
But there is just as much ritual, pomp and majesty in the choreography and costuming of the sci-fi blockbuster as there is in the classic ballet.
Plus, both offer sinister, magical guys in long, billowing black capes.