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From Under A Rock:Star Wars Holiday Special

December 17, 2016 | Posted by Michael Ornelas
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From Under A Rock:Star Wars Holiday Special  


I’ve developed quite a fandom for “so bad they’re good” movies in recent years. The Room has become a personal favorite of mine, on rotation every year or so. Well sometimes, movies are just bad. Not “so good they’re bad”…just bad. This week’s pick is an example of that happening to one of the most successful franchises in film history.

You only get one first time, and for some people, it comes later than it does for others. This particular column is about documenting the first viewing of a “classic” movie or TV show determined at the discretion of Aaron Hubbard and Michael Ornelas in alternation.

Last week Aaron put the column on lockdown as we reviewed Dredd. This week Michael takes Aaron out from under the proverbial rock by showing him the Star Wars Holiday Special.

Here it is in all its glory if you haven’t seen it yet…

Star Wars Holiday Special
Released: November 17th, 1978
Directed by: George Lucas, Steve Binder, & David Acomba
Story by: George Lucas
Harrison Ford as Han Solo
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
Jefferson Starship as Holographic Band

Michael Ornelas: So Aaron, you’ve built this up as an agonizing pick for you. Now that we’ve actually watched it…was it? Was it that bad?

Aaron Hubbard: I just really wish I had not accepted the technicality that watching the Nostalgia Critic review this garbage fire was not the same as watching it myself. I knew all the worst parts and did not want to revisit it. It was a horrible nightmare.
Things I Enjoyed
Michael: So this so-called “horrible nightmare” actually had some good things in it. They didn’t necessarily serve story, but I dug the segment with Boba Fett, even if it wasn’t “great” by any means, and I liked the performance by Jefferson Starship. And Harrison Ford isn’t awful, even if the story is…

Aaron: The animated sequence was a decent story, but the animation itself was hard to deal with for me. I think my favorite part is Bea Arthur showing up and singing the song. It isn’t what I would call good, but it felt like there was some effort to create an actual human emotion there and I appreciated it for that. With so much of this just feeling like an acid trip, it was a nice break.

Michael: Since this segment is about talking about what I liked, I’ll save acknowledging the trippiness of it for later (and I have some truly scathing thoughts on this). I will take one more second to acknowledge that it’s impossible for Harrison Ford to be bad in something. If any reader can give me a counterpoint to that statement, I’ll eat a hot dog with thumbtacks on it.* He is the only one in this garbage fire pushing whatever semblance of plot there is forward. He gives a sense of urgency to reuniting Chewbacca with his family for Life Day, and the special is marginally better for it.
Help Me Michael-Wan Kenobi
Aaron: I think this might have actually killed me. I knew some stuff coming in, like the old wookiee watching softcore porn (what the hell?), but this still managed to wreck me. One scene in particular was the scene where Chewbacca’s wife is watching a cooking show (you can’t make this stuff up) honestly put me on the edge of a breakdown. Dexter Jettster’s grandmother (I assume) was the most pointless, grating, awful thing these eyes and ears have ever seen. It was the nadir of this monstrosity and I may never fully recover. So. Thanks for that.

Michael: I feel that you have to experience the lowest of lows to appreciate the highest of highs. So this whole thing was really just a strategy to make Rogue One that much better for you! The thing that got me the most in this special, however, was the fact that we get about ten minutes of uninterrupted, unsubtitled wookiee banter. It’s all just grunts and groans and whines and noises, and I have no idea who thought this would be the right call…but it wasn’t. I have nothing against foreign films, and if they don’t have subtitles, I just won’t watch them. But to do that with a fictional language? What the actual fuck??

Aaron: I do not understand the logic in how these wookiees were presented. First off; these wookiees do actually have full names, but the nicknames are so stupid. Itchy and Lumpy? Why? Second, why does this family of largely animalistic and primitive sasquatch aliens have what appears to be a relatively modern family home inside of a tree? It’s so at odds with how the Star Wars universe felt like. And lastly; why make this plot the connective tissue instead of one skit?
Life Day
What Was The Point?
Michael: So the big question I have with all of this, because I truly don’t know the answer: why?? Why did George Lucas make this? Did he pitch it to the studio, or vice versa? Was he contractually obligated to make this? Who thought it was a good idea? This was a variety show trapped in the Star Wars universe…which I’m actually not even opposed to on principle, if it had managed to be a good variety show! There was no real justification for the various acts that got to perform on this special (why are they there??), and everything felt shoehorned in. It’s so awful compared to literally anything else in the Star Wars film franchise.

Aaron: You know something’s awful when Attack of the Clones looks like Casablanca in comparison. As for George’s involvement, he claims to have had almost nothing to do with it, but reports vary. He has said he’d destroy every copy if he had the time and a sledgehammer, so he definitely felt remorse over letting it air. I am perversely glad this exists even though I hate it; reading or seeing various people take shots at it or diplomatically praise the Boba Fett debut is quite a riot.

Michael: I have things I’ve made that I regret, but man…I don’t know if I could ever let someone take my intellectual property and run free with it like “someone else” did here. And seeing some of the stuff that Lucas has paraded out since, I don’t necessarily buy the fact that he wasn’t hands-on in the making of this. Maybe some of our readers can explain to us what actually happened, if anyone knows? It’s just…it’s so bad, and I have a hard time believing that they didn’t know it was so bad before it went live.

Aaron: I’m still questioning whether or not this killed me and I am actually writing as a Force Ghost. Do yourself a favor. Don’t watch this. Please.


Michael: I am a big believer that, to deserve an F, a movie has to be completely devoid of redeeming qualities, and that simply wasn’t the case with this. I enjoyed a couple things about this, and therefore can’t bring myself to give it an F.


Aaron: So there is no movie that can have an F. Good to know.

Michael: I’m kidding, Aaron.


Have you been able to sit through this whole thing?

Next week:

Aaron: Well, next week is Christmas, so let’s continue the theme. With a much better movie.
A Christmas Story
Michael: I know nothing about this beyond the DVD cover, as I see it in every store this time of year. I’ve not even seen a clip of it, nor do I know what it’s about, when it’s from, or anything. I don’t know how I’ve managed to get that far under a rock on this one, but hey! That’s why this column exists, yeah?

Aaron: I’ve only sat down and watched the thing properly in the last week or so, but bits and pieces of it have stuck with me for a long time.

Which holiday classics have you put off watching for too long?

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Check out our past reviews!
Mission: Impossible, They Live, Marvel’s Daredevil, The Silence of the Lambs, 12 Angry Men, The Usual Suspects, The Boondock Saints, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Iron Giant, Fargo, American Psycho, 28 Days Later, Frankenstein, Crank, The Godfather: Part II, American Beauty, Rocky, Alien, Spaceballs, Star Wars: Clone Wars, The Muppets Christmas Carol, Reservoir Dogs, Superman: The Movie, Lethal Weapon, Double Indemnity, Groundhog Day, The Departed, Breaking Bad, Shane, Glengarry Glen Ross, Blue Ruin, Office Space, The Batman Superman Movie: World’s Finest, Drive, Memoirs of a Geisha, Let the Right One In, Apocalypse Now, Aliens, The Incredible Hulk, A Clockwork Orange, Chicago, Seven, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, The Room, Chinatown, Jaws, Unforgiven, RoboCop, The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air, Ghostbusters, Spider-Man 2, Prometheus, Scarface, Gattaca, Monty Python & The Holy Grail, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, Equilibrium, City of God, The Graduate, Face/Off, Snowpiercer, The Exorcist, Hellboy, Village of the Damned, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, Idiocracy, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, The Fly (1986), Under the Skin, Die Hard, Dredd, Star Wars Holiday Special

Michael Sings Filthy Christmas Carols
In this week’s episode of Michael’s Spin on Things, Michael reviews Fifty Shades of Grey as the lyrics to Christmas Carols…and then performs them to an unsuspecting public! Watch it unfold below:

*I reserve the right to post proof of eating a hot dog with thumbtacks on it using pre-existing footage.

Aaron Has Another Column!
This week on 411 Comics Showcase, I talk about one of my favorite characters in the medium; Swamp Thing!

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Check me out here to see my star ratings for over 650 films. I recently completed in-depth reviews of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but if you want some quick hits I also reviewed The Da Vinci Code and Blue Jay.

The final score: review Extremely Horrendous
The 411
If you're feeling masochistic, this is certainly an unforgettable spectacle. That's the closest we can get to a genuine recommendation. It's terrible in almost every way conceivable, but that kind of makes it a curiosity.