Movie Reviews: Logan Lucky

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If I was to assemble a dream team to rob a Nascar race, what would be my top 3 draft picks?

1)Thomas Crown

2)Danny Ocean

3)The Joker (Dark Knight version)

I understand what happened. Instead of one James Bond, they replaced him with a newer James Bond. Instead of one heart throb, they replaced him with Magic Mike. Instead of one over-the-top villain, they replaced him with Kylo Ren.

I’m sure the movie pitch was something like “Magic Mike plus James Bond plus Star Wars meets Nascar meets Oceans 11 meets Little Miss Sunshine. “Cinematic gold,” the group of producers would exclaim before high fiving each and heading off to their lunch meetings at Nobu.

I saw how the other half steals. To me, it seemed just like how regular criminals steal: with a bad plan. In movies, bad plans are often replaced with overtly ambitious plans executed by underachievers. This is because boring plans by overachievers is too serious. It’s Heat. It’s the opening of The Dark Knight. The protagonist is typically the authority chasing them.

The movie itself is worth a watch. The gimmick is watching Daniel Craig play an American down on his luck. Channing Tatum does a serviceable job in his performance but it was hard to believe Adam Driver was his brother. Part of me thinks the movie would have worked better if Adam Driver was the main POV. The obstacles would have been even more challenging, and maybe with the war backstory there would have been a more clever ending.

Movie Rating: 7/10 John Denver songs.

 

Movie Reviews: Midnight Special

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Midnight Special directed by Jeff Nichols

I wanted to believe.

Don’t be fooled by all the damn 4 star reviews on the movie poster. Let’s be honest, if they intentionally make the fine print of where it came from so small you can’t make out if it is from Richard Roeper or the ice cream truck man, doesn’t it really mean anything?

From the director of Mud and Take Shelter, came Midnight Special. From the images of the trailer and the ominous tone of the score, I had some hopes going in. The cast looked especially good, with Zod Michael Shannon starring, along with Kylo Adam Driver and Sam Shepard.

I spent a few days dwelling on what to write about this movie. It kind of harkened back to cheesy 80s sci-fi flicks in a way, but with serious acting and a darker tone. The movie seemed to have a number of gaps of logic in the intergovernmental cooperation to attempt to hunt down the boy, along with the religious cronies who seemed to fill a plot point, but being incompetent enough to do actual long term damage.

In the end, it felt a little like the end of Cocoon or Close Encounters of the Third Kind or ET the last fifteen minutes. Kind of like my review of Interstellar, I would have preferred the movie start with the last fifteen minutes because only then it gets interesting.

The acting was actually pretty good, which makes me disappointed in the film this could have been with a better story. Looking at Michael Shannon’s filmography, it showed he was in 10 films in 2016 showing his is taking the opposite approach to his career that Daniel Day Lewis is which is a shame.

Overall Rating: 5/10 Handcuffs

 

Top 57 Inconceivable Things in Star Wars Episode 7

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This is not my usual movie review. I’ll post that somewhere else. Overall, the movie did the impossible and rescued a franchise that was in the toilet with the prequel saga. JJ Abrams, through all the pressure from Disney (film, expanded plan of films, merchandise, and new parks) managed to make a good film. The first third and last 20 minutes in particular are really good.

But, I’m going to use this forum to tear the film apart. I recently watched it for the third time and many things stick out as batshit stupid.

1)They cast the gravitas of Max Von Sydow to open the movie as the only person in the galaxy who knows where Luke Skywalker is. Kylo lands and decides since he got insulted he kills the only person who knows where Luke is, which is baffling since this is the plot of the movie. Why doesn’t he mind-torture him? How did Max get trusted with the map? Why is he on the same planet as Rey?

2)Poe Dameron insults Kylo’s mask, but Kylo chooses to torture him instead? Does he know he is a resistance pilot or random villager?

3)How did the First Order know of the site? And … how the hell do they attack only at the moment Max Von Sydow’s character is giving Poe the coordinates? And isn’t there a more covert way to do it? Wouldn’t Kylo want to know what else Max Von Sydow has in his mind? To me, he would be a high value target with a treasure trove of information.

4)When Poe is brought to the ship, why the hell is the only thing Kylo tortures him about is the plans and the droid?  What doesn’t he torture him to get the “best pilot of the resistance” to tell the location of the resistance base? They already plan to blow up some planets with the starkiller laser gun (more on that craziness later). They could instead blow up the resistance too. Unbelievable that Darth Vader is obsessed in a New Hope to find the rebel base, but in Episode 7, the First Order doesn’t care.

5)How does Kylo know Poe is the “best pilot of the resistance?” Is this something he force grabs in Poe’s mind? Like Poe walks around strutting and thinking how awesome he is. Replace pilot with another word. “We have the best cook of the resistance” or “We have the best droid lubricator in the resistance” or “We have the best Calamari Optometrist of the resistance.” Just think about how stupid this is.

6)Kylo then meets General Hux. What? How old is this guy? 25? Is this why the remnants of the Empire have gone to shit? They promote newbies to a General?  In a new Hope, they had Grand Moff Tarkin. He was old and crusty and actually outranked Darth Vader. The Empire was run by the experienced folk.

7)It just so happens on the first battle of Finn’s life, being raised to be a killing machine stormtrooper, he decides he doesn’t want to kill? Or is it the killing or that the is on the wrong side? What makes him think he is on the wrong side? Because to me, it just seems like he is scared. But then later in the movie, he has no trouble killing his old buddies of the exact same division, when he was traumatized when his “friend-trooper” died. So baffling it nonsensical.

8)It just so happens they have the “best pilot of the resistance” and Finn goes in and escort him out? What? Leia was locked up in a dungeon under security. Han Solo was surrounded by a ton of troops. Ok. Alright, you have to get the hero out, so Finn just walks him out and they get in a dang Tie Fighter and nobody sees until it takes off? What?

9)Do Tie Fighters even have a hyperdrive? In a New Hope, they say the fighters don’t have the range to be out there alone right before discovering the death star. Finn, a stormtrooper his entire life (only in training, despite being terribly out of shape if you see the way he runs … but then again sanitation engineers might not do the most PT). Anyways, so Finn is surprised they have to go back to Jakku? Where else are they going to go?

10)The tie fighter crash lands, and somehow the ship lands safely, but in one of the random sand pits on Jakku? What? Talk about bad luck. Finn can walk from the crash all the way to the middle of some random spaceport and find Rey, dehydrated from the sun, and manage to avoid every sand pit? Kind of crazy odds. Maybe it is the force.

11)So Poe is thrown out of the Tie Fighter during the crash, but somehow he takes off his jacket during crash landing? Why would the “best pilot of the resistance” decide to take off his jacket while crashing back down to Jakku? Is it not a lucky jacket? How did Poe live through such an ejection?

12)So we get a scene to where Snoke is introduced and Kylo and Hux talk to him. But they don’t really give a crap who he is. In Episode 5, Darth Vader is bending the damn knee to the master. Snoke must not run a tight ship, or people don’t fear the new Sith Lord. In fact, neither of them really seem afraid of Snoke. Everyone was damn afraid of Emperor Palpatine. Just a mere mention got generals fearful in the original trilogy.

13)Is Snoke pissed off that the “best pilot of the resistance” somehow escaped? Is there any punishment? Or dark side threats? Nope. It is almost like he doesn’t even know, or care. He isn’t like “What? We need to know the location of the resistance base so we can destroy it.”

14)So we get to Rey. She is the only reason why the movie works, because the other characters don’t make any sense. She is the heart and the soul of the new franchise. (To hear the next script is being rewritten to add more meat for the popular new characters is ludicrous). But let me get this straight, so Rey can barely afford to get single packets of food to make insta-green-muffins, but she owns a damn speeder to haul stuff? What is that worth? If she can afford that, then why doesn’t she just leave to go find her parents? She is a grown woman. Who sits in the middle of nowhere to wait forever like a delusional idiot?  So Rey is a scavenger but not a good one currently when we meet her, but at one time, I guess when she was smaller, she could scavenge like a pro to be able to save enough food packets to barter for the speeder.

14)So they create this wonderful looking Cylon, I mean Captain Phasma, yet she doesn’t know how to fire her blaster? What was even the point? How dedicated is she if she brings down the shield instead of meeting her maker? And … how does she even know the code to bring down he shield? Is the First Order that open with their secrets? Why would a ground trooper need to know that? In ROTJ they had to blow up a damn station on the ground. Why couldn’t they just ask the person to turn it off? (At least Ewoks didn’t show up on Starkiller base)

15)So Rey and Finn meet. Then they get attacked and we learn they have so much evasion skills they can out-run Tie Fighters? What? And why did they send tie fighters instead of ground troops? Do they not want to capture them and the droid at this point? Are they not afraid of blowing up the droid? You know, the only damn thing that can show the location of Luke Skywalker? They just went through the whole mind torture thing just to send Tie Fighters to blow up anything in sight. Baffling. So the map is important, but that that important.

16)So Rey and Finn get out in the best scene of the film I think, that chase was awesome and I don’t mind the Falcon was randomly there. But the Tie Fighters know they are in a dogfight with the Falcon but don’t relay the ship is escaping to that Star Destroyer above? What? Why isn’t the Star Destroyer waiting for them? Why isn’t there another dozen Tie Fighers waiting in outer space above? (Props in the scene for at least addressing how BB8 has to adjust balance and position himself when not strapped in).

17)Han Solo, oh how I enjoyed seeing him come back on the ship like it was old times … but how was it that the randomly found the Falcon only after Rey got it? He couldn’t have found it sooner? And he found it before they entered hyperspace? And before the Star Destroyer that doesn’t care the Falcon is leaving Jakku with the droid and map? Crazy dumb explanation to how they randomly found it just there.

18)So Rey doesn’t know how to fix the hyperdrive before Han gets on, but after they are trying to get off the freighter, she instantly figures it out by “bypassing the compressor?” What? Coincidence at an urgent time.

19)Let me get this damn straight, so General Hux, the man with the Starkiller plan flies on a Star Destroyer with Kylo to chase down the map as the base is going through final testing? Is he the commander of the Star Destroyer or Starkiller base, or both? How does a 25 year old looking guy with an anger issue control all of this? How does he also have the time to raise his stormtroopers from a young age instead of using clones? Why does nobody fear him? Every actor to talks to him looks bored. This is such a break from the original trilogy it is downright distracting how bad Hux was cast and acted.

20)Rathtars … that’s all I’m going to say about that.

21)Going into hyperspace from inside a ship. What?

22)So Han Solo finds out they have a map to Luke Skywalker. Who wants the map the most? … I don’t know, maybe Leia. Where should they go? How about a damn watering hole for no reason. Why not take it straight to the resistance? Does he like pissing Leia off that much?

23)Mr.Resistance “Big Deal” decides he wants to find another ship out? Ok. But Rey is so smart she can bypass a compressor but doesn’t realize a “Big Deal” Finn is acting strange by wanting to leave, if part of the resistance?

24)The lightsaber and the visions. What is this? When Luke got Anakin’s lightsaber in a new hope, he didn’t have force visions. Anakin had to dream them in his sleep (or were planted by Palpatine but that’s another blog). (Although the force vision dream was cool to see)

25)I want to know the data plan these people have in the galaxy because they can transport messages past the speed of light to another location like it is nothing. Handheld walkie talkie? Boom, we now have an intergalactic walkie talkie. Then boom, the First Order is there in no time. Then boom, the resistance is there in no time….HOW? What clued them off? And why was it that it happens only after Starkiller base works for the first time. Why can’t the falcon get upgraded to get a comm like that?

26)Starkiller base. Are you kidding me? What the hell is this? Where does the First Order get manpower and resources to build this planet of doom? How does it take in the sun’s flare and not incinerate the planet? Is there some sun-sucking turbine? If they have resources for that, then why not build 1000 star destroyers? Wouldn’t that actually be better? And, why is the first order obsessed with blowing up planets instead of taking them over? Don’t you want to rule over a galaxy or just end the galaxy? Who designed it? Hux? Is that why the base has an obvious weakness that isn’t below ground?

27)If Starkiller base has a shield, okay, I don’t know how you shield an entire planet (in ROTJ they could only shield a death star from the forest moon of Endor). But how does the Falcon have the ability to hyper jump through the shield? WHAT? Did you realize they just randomly jumped in? Then, after showing us this, the resistance unit flying in with the “best pilot in the resistance” can’t do much because of the shield. Why can’t the “best pilot of the resistance” hyper jump through the shield too? Does the Falcon sitting and baking on Jakku have some better technology?

28)The resistance trusts a mission to lower shield on a 70 year old smuggler, a wookie, and an ex-stormtrooper?

29)So where is the damn Star Destroyer in this battle? It flew from Jakku to Starkiller base to Takodana and back to Starkiller base, but doesn’t participate in the battle. What?

30)Why is Kylo observing the starkiller shot (that breaks the speed of light, ironically) from the ship? Does he have a thing against Nazi rallies (Why they dumbed down the parallel and made a straight up Nazi rally in Star Wars is baffling. The whole salute thing was just batshit stupid as well.)

31)Why does the first order hate the New Republic so much? And … why does Hux have some crazy hate?  And why do all those stormtroopers stand out in the cold to listen to him (no microphone or anything) because the guy is like a juvenile with anger issues. Wouldn’t they listen to Kylo more? People actually seem afraid of Kylo at least. Why isn’t Lord Snoke talking to the troops?

32)So Finn gets a hold of the Anakin’s lightsaber and randomly fights the only stormtrooper in the galaxy with a special blaster-shock-cane thing that is as powerful as a lightsaber. WHAT? Why would they have that? How many Jedi have they battled in the last 20 years? What does Kylo think of the a bunch of anti-lightsaber weapons there are. (Also, why does he have to spin it like a toy?)

33)So the battle is chaotic and nonsensical. What are the priorities on each side? To rescue or destroy? On Earth, this could never happen because of all of the friendlies and civilians there. The big high value target, Kylo’s ship, isn’t even targeted. What? That is the one ship to hit. The “best pilot in the resistance” doesn’t recognize it, after seeing it at the beginning of the film? He doesn’t want a little revenge? Or to shoot it down?

34)When Rey confronts Kylo, why doesn’t Kylo force-stop her blaster bolts like in the beginning of the film? Why even put his cross-saber at her neck? Why can’t he just lock her in a freeze instantly like he die with Poe?  He puts her to sleep like he is spock, but he didn’t do that to Poe or Max Von Sydow or Finn or anyone else? What?

35)So the resistance plans the attack on Starkiller base, but they have no ships? The resistance is only like 25 ships in total? What? What the heck? One Star Destroyer with the location of the hidden base could end the whole thing (but nobody seems to care where it is at until later on).

36)So now we have Rey. Good ol’ mystery girl getting mind-tortured by Kylo. He sees her thoughts, but then all of a sudden she is strong with the force? Without training she can get a guard to let her go. Then the security is pretty lax on Starkiller base because now she can sneak around with no cameras saying “who is this girl prancing around the ship?”

37)Finn was a sanitation worker? Really?  Is this why he was such a terrible storm trooper? Is there a ladder of jobs? Droid lubricator, then sanitation worker, then Storm trooper?

38)So they all watch Han confront Kylo. Han meets his end. But then Chewy lands a shot on Kylo? Why doesn’t he freeze that bowcaster bolt? Do Wookies have special powers?

39)So Kylo fights Rey and Finn in the forest. Why doesn’t Kylo just force-freeze Finn? Snap his neck? Throw him? Flip him? Even being shot in his abdomen, I don’t understand why Kylo even fights him? Is he just stupid? How the heck does Finn, with no training, and being the worst stormtrooper ever all of a sudden get a hit on Kylo? Is Kylo that poor as a fighter that he forgets how to swing a lightsaber properly and doesn’t know how to use all the deadly sith tricks? Then Kylo doesn’t kill Finn, but just slices something (maybe his back, who knows). I just know Obiwan slices siths in half (Darth Maul), slices all limps off pupils (Anakin), watches his pupil decapitate Sith Lord (Count Dooku). Are the Jedi more brutal than Kylo? Do we have the story all wrong?

40)How does Rey become a Jedi lightsaber queen in 2 minutes? After never holding a lightsaber she can go toe to toe with Kylo? What? Then, just after she beats him (because he still refuses to freeze her or choke her or throw her again), he just lays on his back.

41)Just when Kylo is defeated, a crack opens right between them? Right.

42)How does Chewie know where they are?

43)How does Leia know who Rey is when they get back to the planet? Does she know something?

44)Why does R2 randomly only wake up when Rey comes back? Does Luke really not give a shit? He doesn’t tell R2 to wake up and tell people where he is at, you know, in case if the galaxy is getting blown up by super weapons again. Luke knows a thing or two about shooting swamp rats on Tatooine.

45)They go to Luke’s island, but Chewy lands at the very bottom? Why not drop off Rey? Why doesn’t Chewy want to see his old friend? How about R2, his old droid? Wouldn’t Luke recognize the falcon and walk down? Wouldn’t that be a safer introduction?

46)Now that the resistance planet is known, and the First Order has faster communication than anyone, why don’t they send a few star destroyers to the resistance base to counter attack? This would be the best time to do it.

47)Is Poe the “best pilot in the resistance” because there are only 4 of them? The story seemed small when all the resistance has are X-Wings but only a few pilots are shown. And there was too much of Grunberg it was damn right annoying. It was like an inside JJ Abrams joke to put in his talentless actor friend in all his productions.

48)Based on the star map they have, how can they not match the coordinates? Like if you gave me a map of Arizona, I wouldn’t need a map of the US to fit it in and discover Luke is hiding in Sedona. Batshit stupid. The map even looked 3D. This was nonsense.

49)Why the hell was Greg Grunberg aka JJ Abrams friend randomly in almost every background shot on the resistance base as if he was photobombing the whole damn third act? I hope there is a fan edit that takes out Grunberg as the movie’s version of Jar Jar Binks. Absolutely distracting and stupid. Does he double as General Organa’s security guard?

50)Does nobody question if Finn can be a plant for the first order, or does all he need is some vouching from Han?

51)HOW THE HECK DOES POE’S JACKET FIT ON FINN? Have you seen the size differential between the two?  Finn is built like a linebacker.

52)After walking through the desert on Jakku, Finn doesn’t sweat enough to leave salt stains? I go to the gym for a couple hours and a have dried salty sweat stains.

53)With Starkiller blowing up, why does Hux have to run back to send a message to Snoke on what to do? For a General, he really is unbelievably stupid. Also, where do they know where Kylo is? Is there some Sith tracker that Hux has?

54)WHAT THE HECK DOES SNOKE DO ALL DAY? SIT ON A CHAIR WAITING FOR A CALL? HE DOESN’T HAVE STUFF TO DO? I mean, those messages travel really fast and he is always in the same spot.

55)Where the heck did Kylo get Vader’s helmet?

56)Where the heck did they get Anakin’s lightsaber and how did it just so happen to be in Maz’s possession. How the heck does Kylo know whose lightsaber that is instantly? Is there some Sith handbook or is Kylo just what you would call a Sith super collector?

57)For someone as special as Rey, why doesn’t any Jedi Force Ghost come back to speak to her? You know, like “Rey, go to the ____ planet and find Luke Skywalker, a great Jedi teacher.”

 

READ WHO I THINK IS THE BEST CHARACTER IN STAR WARS

OR READ ABOUT MY FAN THEORIES ON EPISODE 8

 

Fan Theories: Star Wars Episode VIII

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Will the force be strong with him still? Will he say something in the sequel? Is Luke still a little traumatized by his kiss with his sister? (If you don’t know, it doesn’t count, now does it?)

After watching Star Wars Episode 7, my mind wandered to where the story would go. This is something that never happened to me after watching the prequels where I couldn’t wait to walk to the exits. As someone who used to read TheForce.net during the peak of its popularity, I know a fan theory or two that blew up after watching Episode 7.

For the seven of you who boycotted the movie because Jar Jar wasn’t in it, I’ll fill you in and ruin it for you. They blew up the Death Star, again. Yes. Instead it wasn’t a Death Star, it was a Death Planet. It was batshit stupid of the highest level, and outside of a new character Finn being the stupidest and most naive ex-stormtrooper this side of the Alderaan system, the movie holds it own as being the best since the original trilogy. If I was to rank it, it would be 4th, only because the beginning on Jakku and end fight between Kylo/Rey was so compelling. I mean, when the music cues up and Rey pulls that lightsaber out of the snow like Luke on Hoth, you can’t but feel the emotional resonance. The only high point to match it was when the screen panned to the left to show the biggest hunk of junk in the galaxy on Jakku. The movie ends with Rey piloting the Falcon with Chewbacca after Han bites the dust, and meets the Macguffin of the film, Luke Skywalker, on some island and hands him his old lightsaber.

What will happen next?

Here are 3 theories:

1)The original script before JJ and Kasdan took the bull by its horns and made a reboot of A New Hope called out for Luke to find Rey on Jakku and heading out on a quest of some sort to Endor. By all that I read, Luke was essentially Obi-Wan guiding Rey to her destiny. Episode 8 could pick up where Episode 7 left off and show them still on the island, but with Rey more powerful than we could have ever imagined. She is obviously a very very very very fast learner. With her new powers, she flies off on the Falcon when she learns her old pal Finn is in trouble and goes to rescue him while Luke pulls a Yoda and fades into midi-chlorian oblivion. Rey then learns it’s all a trap by Snoke, after telling her that she is a clone of Anakin Skywalker, and pits her against Kylo who she easily defeats and he falls off some crazy high place, and she is converted to the Dark Side. Kylo is then rescued by who else, Leia, who feels his pain. Plus, she has a special force power for sensing when someone fell from a high place. This is where Luke’s ghost shows up and the cliffhanger ending leaves us wanting more again. Luke can even give the same mysterious brooding look to Kylo. Is he still pissed about the Knights of Ren thing? Or is he happy he finally turned back? Talk about an awkward intergalactic thanksgiving.

2)While finishing her training, they are hunted down by Captain Phasma, who is all torn up and outcast from the First Order. She is like a crusty and jaded bounty hunter who wants redemption. She lands on the island and a fight ensues. Luke sacrifices himself so that Rey can vanquish Phasma. With Luke now a force ghost, Rey has no choice but to go out and rejoin the resistance. She tells Leia what happened to Luke, and Leia gives her another random hug and tells her that she is her daughter. She gives another friend-zone hug to Finn, who is paralyzed but now is General Finn (because they promote fast-as-hell in the resistance … e.g. General Solo and General Calrissian) The resistance is then tracked down and a giant space battle ensues. Rey’s ship is captured and is defeated in a battle with Kylo. Snoke, on the New Super-Deluxe-with-extra-Cheese Super Star Destroyer gives her a choice. Join him and he will show her where she comes from and tell her where her parents are and they will end the battle, or resist and the resistance will be destroyed, including the crippled cruiser Finn is commanding. She chooses to join him and save her friends.

3)The First Order fleet tracks down the Falcon to the island, and launches an ocean assault on the island. Luke, using his Lucas-crazy powers in some script from a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, destroys an entire assault with the force and the audience is like “holy shit, did Luke just do that?” Then Luke and Rey get off the planet and meet with Leia, who he asks again how she remembers her mom being sad, and she says “okay, I lied Luke. You were about to face your crazy ass father on his home turf.” The fanboys nod in approval. Rey asks where Finn is, and is told Finn and Poe went off on a secret mission to find their hidden headquarters but went dark. Luke and Leia and Rey and Chewie go to track them down and find out Poe isn’t randomly the greatest pilot in the galaxy … he is Snoke. What? Did your mind just melt? Who has the power to cheat death? (Poe cheated a Tie Fighter crash death). Who is strong with the force? (Did you see the assault on Starkiller base?) It all comes full circle on why Poe is the man with the plan to find Skywalker. The movie ends with Poe sticking his red lightsaber though Leia while Luke and Rey are off fighting Kylo, who somehow gets turned back to the light side. The movie ends with Poe taking Finn as prisoner by freezing him in carbonite.

Conclusion (And discarded Porkins Theory)

Whichever direction they go, hopefully they will cut one of the senseless parts of Episode 7, Greg Grunberg playing himself. It was clearly one the more stupid parts of the film and a waste of screen time. When I initially heard he was cast, I thought it was going to be throw back to Porkins from the original Star Wars, who blew up, no pun intended. Most of the fanboy sites agreed and accepted the Porkins theory as almost fact, but we got tricked. It was zero nostalgia, and too many scenes of Grunberg, now one of the worst characters since Jar Jar Binks.

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Grunberg playing Grunberg

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Instead of playing Porkins Jr.

57 Inconceivable things in Star Wars: The Force Awakens