With an inexorable will befitting the Galactic Empire, Star Wars creator George Lucas has scoured the known universe for any remaining prints of the franchise's unaltered original trilogy, obsessive in his decree that only those versions featuring retroactively added CGI "improvements" be considered definitive. Such a compulsion makes it all the more perplexing that he tolerates the continuing existence of the notoriously misguided Star Wars Holiday Special. Perhaps even Lucas has accepted that no digital enhancements can redeem this infamously tacky fusion of cloying holiday sentiments, variety-show oddities, and B-rate sci-fi melodramatics that make Land of the Lost seem literary by comparison. Broadcast for the first (and only) time on CBS in 1978, the Star Wars Holiday Special recounts Chewbacca's return to his home planet of Kashyyyk to celebrate, ahem, Life Day with his wookie family. Though the Star Wars cast endures varying degrees of embarrassment (Harrison Ford's brazenly wooden performance is matched only by Carrie Fisher's warbling of the Life Day carol), the worst impressions are reserved for "comic" relievers Bea Arthur, Art Carney, and Harvey Korman. Of course, matters aren't helped by a curiously suggestive ballad from Diahann Carroll or the trippy interstellar rock of Jefferson Starship. The only thing that could make the mess more unintentionally hysterical would be a cameo from Jar Jar Binks (not to give Lucas any ideas for future special editions). Admission is free with the donation of a new toy for Toys for Tots.
Thu., Dec. 8, 6:30 & 9:30 p.m., 2011