So Much For Gamestop, They Are Closing 1,000+ Stores

We preordered Star Wars pinball machine from Gamestop, it has been delayed until first quarter 2021

Maybe we shouldn’t have preordered Star Wars Pinball from Gamestop (see: Upcoming Star Wars Pinball from Arcade1up and Zen Studios Looks Amazing). I’ll get to why shortly.

Gamestop are closing a bunch of stores.

A lot of businesses are suffering now. I’m not sure videogame physical stores when so much is about digital and subscription these days makes much sense. Me? I personally like to shop in person when possible, but there is no denying convenience online and with the added safety requirements, it’s putting a tremendous strain on businesses like Gamestop.

GameStop, the largest video game retailer in the world, is headed for some serious trouble. After a years-long downward spiral into debt, the company announced in a Dec. 8 presentation to investors that it will close more than 1,000 stores by the end of its fiscal year in March. This comes after the company already closed over 783 stores over the previous two years.

This Legendary Chain Is Closing Over 1,000 Stores by March

Arcade1UP suffered production and manufacturing delays which has led to pushing back the December 14, 2020 ship date for the Star Wars pinball machines. We received an email from Gamestop and they didn’t even have the right pinball machine listed in the email, saying our “Marvel Pinball machine” would be delayed. Um, no, I replied, we have a receipt for the Star Wars machine. They replied and apologized, oh yeah, that.

Umm, is this how their customer service works? They don’t even know what you order?

We ordered two gaming stools from them and never did see on their website that the order was fulfilled, however, the stools arrived a week later. We paid a couple extra dollars for expediated shipping, but it still took a week for the stools to arrive. They were in good condition and no issues otherwise, but Gamestop’s website and order confirmation page is lacking.

This leads me to believe that maybe Gamestop should go out of business if they can’t get online orders right and people aren’t shopping in their retail stores in significant numbers.

I still like Gamestop, despite our own issues with them. They aren’t Amazon as a shopping experience. Maybe that’s the biggest problem for them.

Star Wars Holiday Ornaments

Hallmark sells Mini Star Wars ornaments, just visit Hallmark.com and search for them, if interested

Movie and TV-themed ornaments, do you put them on your tree?

Here is our family tree, but we don’t have the Mandalorian, C-3P0, Darth Vader or Stormtrooper on it.

If you’re like our family, we keep the Christmas tree up until after New Year’s. Or do you tear it down as soon as Christmas is over?

If your tree is already tore down and the decorations away, then file this away for tree decorating ideas next year.

TV SERIES Review: The Mandalorian S2E8 Chapter 16 – The Rescue ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 2 – Episode 8 of 8
Disney+
Air date: December 18, 2020
Run time: 46 minutes
Directed by Peyton Reed

Chapter 16 – “The Rescue”

Boba Fett, Cara Dune and Mando intercept and disable the imperial ship carrying the clone engineer featured in an earlier episode. They stop by and pick up Bo-KaTan to join in the fight to take Moff Gideon’s ship and reclaim Grogu. Alas, the Dark Troopers are standing guard as well as a battle to reclaim the Darksaber which carries a secret of its own. Pinned down a ship arrives carrying a stunning visitor ready for battle.

Will Grogu be saved? Will Moff Gideon fall at the hands of Mando and his team or live to further build his evil Imperial forces? Who will control the power of the Darksaber? Who is the mysterious visitor that arrives?

Everything builds to an epic battle aboard Moff Gideon’s ship.

Summary

Did not see the ending coming, nor especially the arrival of that familiar Star Wars visitor. The Dark Trooper battling Mando on the ship was one of many entertaining scenes. This episode is pure Star Wars gold, the best of any so far in this series. Do not miss the end credits either, as a surprise awaits there as well.

We’ll be back in a future post to cover spoilers and more, but this episode is too good to ruin that this soon. I can’t wait to see where this series takes us next. Season 3 is totally primed. In the meantime, we’ll just have to speculate about how awesome Disney+ will be with more of this quality and type of Star Wars. Great work all around from Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni and their team. They should have been given the keys to the Star Wars kingdom as soon as Disney purchased from Lucasfilms.

Oh, and one more time Mando takes off his helmet. Can we stop having articles saying Pedro Pascal is complaining about not being able to take off his helmet? His helmet has come off multiple times in season two. We know his face. We know that perfectly manicured mustache. If Pascal ever did complain, it might be that it was about how hot it was having his head inside the mask so much. That part is believable anyway. This is a huge role for him. What actor wouldn’t want to be Mando?

S2:E8 Chapter 16 “The Rescue” rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What did you think of Chapter 16: “The Rescue”? We welcome your comments — good, bad or indifferent — below.

TV SERIES Review: The Mandalorian S2E7 Chapter 15 – The Believer ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 2 – Episode 7 of 8
Disney+
Air date: December 11, 2020
Run time: 38 minutes
Directed by Rick Famuyiwa

Chapter 15 – “The Believer”

With Grogu AKA The Child AKA Baby Yoda captured by Moff Gideon, Boba Fett and his partner promising to stay by Mando’s side until The Child is returned, they need to locate Moff Gideon’s ship.

Under false pretenses, Marshall Cara Dune breaks out Mayfeld (Bill Burr), prisoner from the scrapyard and returning scoundrel from season one. The mission is to find Moff Gideon’s coordinates and Mayfeld knows Imperial protocols and can hack the Imperial computer system.

Mayfeld tells them to stop by the planet Morack, there is an Imperial computer terminal there that can provide Gideon’s location. This won’t be easy, they’ll have to go undercover. Mando teams up with Mayfeld to enter the facility. Mando will soon face whether or not to break a Mandalorian credo in order to complete the mission.

Does Mayfeld double-cross Mando again to gain his own safety? What decision will Mando make regarding taking off his helmet to complete the mission? Does he do it? Will we see actor Pedro Pascal’s face? Will the mission be completed and they will receive Moff Gideon’s coordinates? What will be Mayfeld’s fate? Does he survive the mission and is returned to the prison scrapyard?

Tune into this week’s episode of The Mandalorian to find out these answers and more!

Summary

All the drama around Pedro Pascal allegedly frustrated that he couldn’t take off his helmet for the role behind the scenes (see: Do “BIG” problems exists with The Mandalorian Season 2?) and Favreau and company wisely covers this meta story in this episode. We learn the answer to just how far Mando` will go to rescue and protect Grogu.

The episode itself is a pretty familiar run and gun escape plot. Reminds me of an every week in and week out episode of The A-Team. It’s entertaining enough, but the most formulaic episode of the second season. It’s the kind of episode that the show risks falling into if it doesn’t forge new territory.

S2:E6 Chapter 15 “The Believer” rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

Reviews by Others

After seeing the episode, I was curious what others thought. Here’s a few reviews I read from others. There are many, many more out there. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, watch it and judge for yourself first because spoilers abound in many reviews.

  1. Annayiel Online: “All in all, no it wasn’t as fantastic as last week’s episode but it was still very enjoyable and is leading up to what surely will be an epic finale.”
  2. Sean Hussey / ComicBook Debate: “I am often quick to praise writers and directors on episodes, but I must start by giving praise to Rick Famuyiwa. This episode is not only beautifully directed, it is also incredibly well written.”
  3. We’ve Got (Back) Issues: “It’s worth pointing that Grogu doesn’t appear in this episode proving that this is more than just the ‘Baby Yoda’ show.”

What did you think of Chapter 15: “The Believer”? We welcome your comments — good, bad or indifferent — below.

TV SERIES Review: The Mandalorian S2E6 Chapter 14 – The Tragedy ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 2 – Episode 6 of 8
Disney+
Air date: December 4, 2020
Run time: 34 minutes
Directed by Robert Rodriguez

Chapter 14 – “The Tragedy”

Mando and Grogu AKA Baby Yoda AKA The Child are kicking it in the Razor Crest on the way to a planet with a seeing stone, unaware that Moff Gideon has placed a tracking beacon on the ship. Mando can’t find a suitable landing spot, so he sets the ship in hover mode and he jetpacks Grogu to the ground. He places Grogu on the seeing stone in the middle of the circle and asks him to do his Jedi thing.

Mando notices they’ve been followed and tries to get Grogu to leave, but the creature is in full on meditation mode on the stone with a powerful force field surrounding him. Mando comes face to face with a man who claims to be Boba Fett’s son (UPDATE: actually, that’s how it appears at first, but it’s really Jenga’s armor the character is talking about — and you’ll have to watch to see who Jenga is, if you don’t know the lore), and he wants the armor back that Mando claimed in an earlier episode this season. He has a sharpshooter trained on Grogu if Mando doesn’t comply. But a new enemy for both of them emerges when an imperial ship arrives complete with a bunch of Stormtroopers and Moff Gideon. They are there to take Grogu.

Will Boba Fett’s son join Mando in a fight against the Imperial forces? Does Boba Fett himself appear? Does Grogu summon a powerful Jedi to train him? What sort of evil plan is Moff Gideon up to?

You’ll have to watch the episode to learn the answers to these questions, but it’s definitely the meaty episode we’ve been waiting for. There are thrills aplenty including several shock moments.

Summary

This is the fastest paced episode of any in the series. It feels almost like one extended action scene. That’s both good and not so good. The subplot with Boba Fett’s armor being returned is the secondary subplot, but once again the protection of the Child named Grogu, becomes Mando’s primary mission. The title of the episode portends that this might not end well.

Always good seeing Stormtroopers getting blasted. Mando learning Boba Fett is the rightful owner of the armor is a fun nod to the past but we don’t learn how Fett survived the Sarlac Pit (maybe in the future?).

The action is very good and, despite Robert Rodriguez directing, this isn’t Star Wars meets Machete, it’s not grindhouse or Spy Kids in the slightest. Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni, executive producers, along with Rodriguez in the director’s chair make sure we’re getting the same consistent style for the show.

Too short, that’s my main criticism. It’s still very good — I mean, it’s The Mandalorian and one of the best shows around right now — easily a recommended episode, but it just feels like we were treated to an incomplete story. Intentionally leaving us hanging. Bad guys want The Child, we’ve seen this plot before and we already knew a bigger threat from Moff Gideon and his Imperial forces were coming, but this episode feels somewhat incomplete. Too much left for next week.

That said, it was all exciting and fun to watch.

This is episode 6 of 8, so it’s setting up a three part finale for Season 2. I suppose that’s kind of how this had to go down, but we’re left wanting more, feeling like the episode was cut too short, like we didn’t get a complete mission. Just a few too many unanswered questions. It’s like it wanted to be like The Empire Strikes Back, but there’s no Luke and Darth Vader with a stunning revelation about who Luke’s father is, there is a curious reveal involving the existence of Boba Fett, through a child seeking his armor. The ending, without spoilers, is total cliffhanger.

Guessing for some this will be a 5-star episode, because it sets up an exciting final two parts, but I’d rather have just seen all three episodes as one movie-length episode. Perhaps greedy, but honest. At the end of the day, I’m riveted by this series and it always leaves me wanting to see what’s up next week. That’s the highest compliment possible, so keep my (very) minor complaints in perspective.

S2:E6 Chapter 14 “The Tragedy” rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

Reviews by Others

After seeing the episode, I was curious what others thought. Here’s a few reviews I read from others. There are many, many more out there. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, watch it and judge for yourself first because spoilers abound in many reviews.

  1. Jacob Mahady / The Sandcrawler Blog: “This episode was a lot shorter than I had originally hoped for. This might be one of the shortest ones yet and it felt like it. This episode blew by, as it set up for next week. Seeing Shand again was welcomed, too. She has a great assassin personality and fits in very well.”
  2. Paul Wilkinson / We’ve Got (Back) Issues: “I don’t know if it nostalgia, the lack of other entertainment at the moment, or if the show is really that good. It’s probably a bit of all these factors but this show is unmissable. The only thing missing was a Danny Trejo cameo.”
  3. Ready Steady Cut / Jonathon Wilson: “With several major developments, a lot of fun stuff for long-time Star Wars fans and a good deal of connective tissue with the first season, this isn’t the biggest, showiest episode, but it’s an extremely competent middle chapter designed to shift things around for the back half of the season.”
  4. Small Screen / Edward Lauder: “The other thing I love about Chapter 14 is that it sets up something truly exciting. It sets up Din Djarin finally building his team of misfits and rogues. This is something I cannot wait to see moving forward.”
  5. X-Geeks: “Robert Rodriguez did a good job with the episode, especially with some of the action sequences. This was a nice episode for him to be involved with, although it did go by very quickly, don’t you think?”

(UPDATE 12/4/2020 7:30am PT: Since we’re in the spoilers area, I should confess that I misunderstood that Boba Fett was claiming to be his son. That’s how I interpreted it on the first watch. Boba Fett explains at 25:00 in the run time that the father he spoke about was his own father, Jenga Fett. There is no Boba Fett’s son that exists, because the mysterious stranger *IS* Boba Fett (how did he survive the Sarlac Pit, I guess that continues to fuel my confusion), and it might seem like “how could anybody ever miss that?” but, yes, I did. Leave it to an insult from a stranger on Twitter to correct my bone-headed error above — quickly — once this was originally posted. I left the review text above as written with a minor update for better clarification. Go ahead, make fun of my mistake if you will. I wake up, watch these episodes usually only once and then immediately write my thoughts. I’m also trying to make the review SPOILER-FREE. A major part of this episode is Boba Fett returning to fight alongside The Mandalorian and reclaiming his armor along with Moff Gideon’s scheme to take Grogu back. By reading my original review you wouldn’t have that spoiled at all, which is what I’m trying to do here each week, but I shouldn’t erroneously point to characters that don’t exist in the story recap portion. Sometimes I can, do and will make mistakes. I’m owning this one, because it is somewhat funny and, yes, dumb. Sorry. 😉

What did you think of Chapter 14: “The Tragedy”? We welcome your comments — good, bad or indifferent — below.

Darth Vader David Prowse Dies At 85

The actors who starred in the original Star Wars movie continue to pass on to the great space beyond. Most recent, this past weekend, was the man inside Darth Vader’s black suit, David Prowse.

Prowse died on Saturday at age 85 after suffering from an illness. Though James Earl Jones voiced the famous villain in “Star Wars,” Prowse was the physical actor who portrayed Darth Vader. In a post on StarWars.com, creator George Lucas wrote a touching tribute to Prowse. “David brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character,”

George Lucas, Mark Hamill and More Pay Tribute to David Prowse – Variety

For those keeping track, even loosely so, the actor who played Chewbacca, Peter Mahew is gone, Obi Wan Kenobi, Sir Alec Guinness, was the first I believe (Peter Cushing, actually, see comments) to pass on. Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia has also is gone. Who else from the iconic first movie have traveled beyond this plane of existence?

R.I.P David Prowse.

TV SERIES Review: The Mandalorian S2E5 Chapter 13 – The Jedi ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 2 – Episode 5 of 8
Disney+
Air date: November 27, 2020
Run time: 47 minutes
Directed by Dave Filoni

Chapter 13 – “The Jedi”

Mando and the child head to a planet to learn more of his origins. A cruel magistrate offers Mando a pure beskar spear if he will kill a Jedi threatening her fierce power grip over the townspeople. Mando and Baby Yoda find the Jedi, who can speak to the Child. The Jedi tells us Baby Yoda’s name. Instead of killing the Jedi, Mando takes a different path.

You’ll have to watch to learn Baby Yoda’s name — or have it spoiled in a review or news article online, but, minor spoiler, it sounds a little too much like “Google” to me.

I’ve been itching to learn more about The Child’s origins and this episode gives us more than a minor teaser. It’s also fun seeing a Jedi wielding a light saber. The mini mission for Mando is entertaining, albeit a little slow compared to other episodes. All in all, another solid episode.

S2:E5 Chapter 13 “The Jedi” rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

What did you think of Chapter 13: “The Jedi”? We welcome your comments — good, bad or indifferent — below.

Alan Dean Foster Says Star Wars and Alien Movie Novelization Royalties Not Being Paid by Disney

Whenever I read stories about big corporations not paying royalties, I’m reminded that these days self-publishing is an option to protect against this situation. Of course, Amazon or whatever bookseller could also choose to withold royalty payments leading to the same situation.

Anyway, who doesn’t despise reading stories about creative people being screwed? Or at least saying they’re being screwed and not getting paid outstanding royalties.

Alan Dean Foster, a science-fiction author of note, has written the likes of the novelisation of the Star Wars movie as well as a sequel, Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye before Empire Strikes Back was even on the blocks. He also wrote the novelisations of the Alien, Aliens and Alien 3 movies. The only thing is – that the royalties on all these books, which still continue to sell, have stopped. And he is directly blaming Disney.

Demands For Disney To Pay Alan Dean Foster Over Star Wars Increase

I don’t read many movie novels, but have actually read Alan Dean Foster’s take on Alien and also read Star Wars: Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye. Both were done well. I’m not a big fan of movie tie-in novels. I’d rather a movie be adapted from a novel like Doctor Sleep from Stephen King, but I see the value in these novelizations. Regardless, the authors should always be paid royalties.

Let’s hope this is just some accounting mistake at Disney. Pay the man his royalties.

Hey Star Wars Hardcore Fans, Stop Trying To Get People Fired For Being Ignorant on Social Media

For a moment, or at least for the duration of this post, can we agree that whatever an actor says or does off screen, out of character, has very little to do with what happens in our favorite movies and TV shows?

(in the comments, feel free to agree or disagree) See: The Mike Tyson Dilemma – does promoting those who’ve done bad in the past imply support for their misdeeds?

Let’s face it, people say and do stupid things online, offline and everywhere in between. These days, word travels much faster on social media. Sometimes they mean the idiotic things said, sometimes they don’t, but stupid is what stupid does.

Stupid.

The bigger question at hand: should an actor lose his/her job because they say or do something stupid online? Those pedaling and pushing the #FireGinaCarino tag action say YES. If that’s the case, then Gal Gadot when she created that awful Imagine cover (see: Wonder Woman Gal Gadot’s Imagine Instagram Karaoke is disliked, imagine that?), should have been fired from WW1984. Or maybe because she — gasp — smoked cigarettes (almost everybody did once upon a time), her acting card should be revoked?

(relax, I’m joking)

Sigh. Gina Carano.

Gina Carano plays Cara Dune in The Mandalorian and apparently she’s said some things on her social media that have raised the ire of diehard Star Wars fans. I keep seeing these stories popping up in feeds and people are really passionate to see her gone from the series.

So offended, apparently, that some are calling for her to be fired from The Mandalorian.

Many fans have been calling for the firing of The Mandalorian’s Gina Carano over recent months, considering her controversial takes, likes, and retweets on Twitter. Recently, the actress who plays Cara Dune has made several anti-mask comments, as well as questioned the results of the recent presidential election. This is in addition to her past actions on the social media site that have come off as anti-Black Lives Matter, and mocking LGBTQ+ communities. With Carano showing no sign of stopping, Disney might be looking to get rid of the actress.

Gina Carano May Actually Be Fired From The Mandalorian, Here’s the Plan

Can we just make a pact, fellow netizens, not to join gangs trying to expel actors in movies for saying or doing something stupid on social media? I mean, really, does it matter what idiotic statement Gina Carano posts on her Twitter feed about any group, cause or people? Since when is what she says the gospel? How does any of that equate to her job as Cara Dune in The Mandalorian?

Or maybe it does. Maybe I missed where she’s trying to use her role in The Mandalorian to espouse these wrongheaded views? If that is what’s happening, I’d side with firing her, but that’s not it, is it? When the agendas overflow into the creative work, then it does matter, but something tells me the character Cara Dune has zero creative input by Gina Carano’s Twitter stream. Jon Favreau isn’t consulting her feed before working on the next Mandalorian screenplay. Is Carano flavoring her portrayal based on controversial world views? Perhaps.

Just to be clear, totally not defending whatever stupid things she’s said, because I’m fairly certain they deserves pushback. Glass houses and all, but how many have said stupid things and regretted them at some point in their lives?

I’m not going to grab Carano’s tweets and dissect here, because that just draws more light on stupid, and nobody needs that.

Am growing tired of seeing the response for stupid words resulting in gang “fire this person!” mentality. We’re in troubled times with a lot of people losing work and is it really wise to band together and try to get anybody fired for their personal views? (think that’s like the third time in this post I’ve asked, but am legitimately curious)

More and more companies have HR social media policies and the wise probably should tone down the hot topic commentary or risk being unemployed. There are so many things people can focus negative energy on, but the most negative of energy is disinterest. If you hate what Gina Carano says or does, then don’t watch any of her work. Disinterest is the ultimate diss for every creative work.

There’s the problem. You can take the Star Wars out of the actors, but not from the fans.

TV SERIES Review: The Mandalorian S2E4 Chapter 12 – The Siege ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 2 – Episode 4 of 8
Disney+
Air date: November 20, 2020
Run time: 38 minutes
Directed by Carl Weathers

Chapter 12 – “The Siege”

The Razor Crest is badly in need of repair, especially after botched repair attempts in Frogland, so Mando tells The Child they will make a stop at Navaro. There, they meet up with old, friendly contacts: Marshal Cara Dune and Magistrate Greef Carga and Mando’s bounty in the first episode is unfrozen from carbonite and trying to help the cause.

Cara Dune busts in and takes down a bar full of seedy thieves. She makes a friend of a tiny furry creature, grateful that his life has been spared. The Razor Crest lands at the port and Greef Carga orders his people to fix the ship like new. The Child is put in a school with other kids and a 3-P0 like teacher.

While waiting for repairs, Greef and Cara ask Mando to help to take out an imperial base located in Navaro near a lava pit. The team sets out, soon running into conflict.

What happens with the side mission? What is the empire doing in this base? These questions and more await in this week’s exciting episode.

Another solid episode, this one light on The Child and heavy on Greef Carga, Cara Dune and that guy bounty in the season one first episode for comic relief. We’re treated to pure Star Wars action including Stormtroopers and Tie Fighters in a trench. Some good progress on the main storyline, this is an excellent, entertaining episode.

S2:E4 Chapter 12 “The Siege” rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

To read all our coverage related to The Mandalorian see search results. We watch and review every episode, usually on the day it is released.

Time to get into SPOILER territory. To offer additional perspective and insight, I went looking, reading and grabbed pull quotes from some other reviewers that I came across, there is no specific order otherwise below.

Reviews by Others

What do others think of The Mandalorian S2:E4 Chapter 12: “The Siege”?

… you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …

  1. The Future Of The Force / Max (Grade: B+): “In the end, we have a pretty good picture of what the Imperial Remnant is planning and as always, we are excited to see the outcome. B+ all the way.”
  2. The Sandcrawler Blog / Jacob Mahady: “Overall, this episode was fantastic. It had great action, it gave great backstory to characters, there were dogfights, chases, and shootouts. But, once again, the episode was way too short. This one felt like it blew by. It seems that is the only consistent complaint with the show, is the fans demanding more. I’d say they are doing an excellent job on this show. “
  3. TL;DR Movie Reviews and Analysis: “…while this felt a little like rehashing old territory, the production qualities are so high that it just works. There were some hints to the broader Star Wars story in this episode, and we will need to see how that develops in the future.”
  4. We’ve Got (Back) Issues: “Din Djarin is quickly becoming a galactic version of the ‘Littlest Hobo’ (showing my age with that reference). He wanders into town, solves someone’s problem, then moves on. This a standard template for classic American television and has been used for years in shows like ‘The Fugitive’, ‘The Incredible Hulk’, ‘The A-Team’”

What did you think of Chapter 12: “The Siege”? We welcome your comments — good, bad or indifferent — below.