Star Wait

Star WaitSynopsis: They Waited in Line Six Weeks… to See a Movie

Every time a new Star Wars movie comes out, they start lining up.

Hundreds of devoted Star Wars fans line up outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre a full 6 weeks before each Star Wars opening.

Who are these people? How do they deal with people passing by making fun of them? And of course, how do they go to the bathroom?

Director Michael Rotman (Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, The Simple Life, Nanny 911 and The Oz Witch Project) and Editor Adam Schenck stood in the Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones line with a colorful cast of characters to answer these questions and more.

Star Wait puts you into the line to experience the highs and lows of this truly surreal experience. Star Wait is the ultimate reality from a galaxy a little too close to home.
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Star Wait 7.0

eyelights: its efficient look at the setting and the people involved
eyesores: its limited scope.

“Welcome to the line.”

‘Star Wait’ is a documentary that takes a look at the fans camping out to see 2002’s ‘Attack of the Clones’. The 74-minute documentary, which was released on November 1, 2005, months after the sequel to ‘Attack of the Clones’, takes us to Hollywood’s legendary Grauman Chinese Theater six weeks prior to the film’s release. Over the course of nine episodes (i.e. chapters), we get to see what these fanboys organised themselves, passed the time and overcame obstacles.

What’s especially different about this film, versus ‘Starwoids‘, is that it focuses on only one group of fans, all from a website called LiningUp.net. After introducing its main cast, and explaining some of their motivations for doing this (fanhood, Ewan McGregor fans, to hang out, …etc.), the picture then explains how many hours each of them have to log, the amount they have to raise for Starlight foundation, and even how their custom-made badges work.

Personally, I was impressed with skill and devotion they invested in even something as nerdy as a badge: they had each individual’s picture, name, chosen ‘Star Wars’ logo, state flags, and even one of three colour lightsabers depending on how much or little they want to know about the new movie ahead of time – some people really want to avoid spoilers and this was a way for everyone to respect this. For extra, the unwieldy badge’s lightsaber could even be made to blink.

They were a pretty resourceful crowd, with some going so far as picking up tools and materials at a hardware store so that they could spend their time making their own lightsabers. Naturally, they also found a way to set up internet access and, at one point, one guy also set up a small bar-b-q so that they cook burgers and hot dogs. It may not seem like much, but given how much time they were spending on the sidewalk, I think that they did remarkably well for themselves.

Ultimately, ‘Star Wait’ is about this motley group of young adults, and they are quite an interesting bunch. I loved hearing the stories of couples who met in line in 1999, for ‘The Phantom Menace‘, and another on a ‘Star Wars’ message board; couples combined and split their hours so that they both ended up together in line. Then there was Art, the jock, Josh, the temperamental punk, and Grimlock, an extroverted goofball who tried hitting on passersby. And that’s just for starters.

As in 1999, they also got phone calls from the curious and the media on public payphones (which they had commandeered – they had even posted the numbers on liningup.net). They kept track of where the calls were from on a world map, which was neat to see. Interestingly, the media concentration was in the U.S. At one point they even get a call from “George Lucas”; Peter passed the phone to Josh, knowing he would handle it well; he was super professional. Nice.

Their biggest challenge, aside for rowdy punks who were picking a fight one night (guess who won, b!tches?) was when they discovered that tickets were going on sale on Moviefone ahead of time, bypassing them. Tensions grew around that tine, as they fumed and tried to figure out what to do to circumvent this problem. I won’t reveal all the details of that chain of events, but let’s say that we’re looking at stacks of cold hard cash – enough for 300 tickets.

And, yes, of course they got tix. (With fanhood like this, could that ever be in doubt?)

These people were so die hard that when they did interviews with the media and were offered 10K by the journalists to relinquish their spot in line, they turned the offer down flat (Josh considered it, however, to nullify his debts for the first time in years). And, ultimately, it paid off: many of them ended up in the Top Ten in line, with Grimlock at number 2 and Josh at number 1 (interestingly some of Top Ten didn’t participate in the documentary).

‘Star Wait’ ends with the inevitable opening night footage, complete with throngs of ‘Star Wars’ fans and the usual array of people dressed as Darth Vader, Stormtroopers, Imperial Guards, Boba Fett, ..etc. It also fittingly adds some end credits footage of the LiningUp.net gang coming out of the movie afterwards, raving about it. But would it be enough for them to line up again in 2005, for ‘Revenge of the Sith’? Well, we invite you to check out their website to find out.

Ultimately, I was pleased with ‘Star Wait’; it’s sort of a reality show for ‘Star Wars’ geeks. I found it quite entertaining, even if its scope was more limited than ‘Starwoids’. To me, it perfectly captured the madness and the tedium of a bunch of fans sitting around waiting, and waiting, and waiting. And the excitement that they felt for the franchise, even after having seen ‘The Phantom Menace’. These young men and women are the real deal. For good or bad.

Date of viewing: December 1, 2015

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