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As the title Jar Jar Binks Must Die indicates, Daniel M. Kimmel is not only a film critic with strong opinions, he's also a fan. In this collection of essays, he covers movies from Metropolis (1927), answering the absurd claim that the restoration of this silent classic negated its status as a science fiction film, to how Star TrekAvatarMoon, and District 9 may have made 2009 a "miracle year" for the genre. Along the way he looks at neglected works like Things to Come (1936), explains why remakes aren't always bad, and how seeing E.T. in an empty screening room changed his mind about Steven Spielberg. Whether to rediscover old favorites or add new titles to your Netflix queue, this is a must-have for lovers of SF movies.


Jar Jar Binks Must Die was a Hugo Award nominee in the category of Best Related Work. One of only five finalists on the ballot in 2012, it was both author Daniel M. Kimmel's first Hugo nomination, and the first for publisher Fantastic Books.


Daniel M. Kimmel is a past president of the Boston Society of Film Critics. When it was discovered he is also a science fiction fan he started getting invitations to participate at a number of SF conventions, which he continues to do. He reviewed for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette and now writes for He is a correspondent for Variety, the "Movie Maven" for the Jewish Advoacate and teaches film—including a course on SF and horror—at Suffolk University. His essays on classic science fiction films have appeared in several publications includuing ClarkesworldSpace and Time, and the Internet Review of Science Fiction. He is the author of a history of FOX TV, The Fourth Network (2004) which received the Cable Center Book Award. His other books include a history of DreamWorks, The Dream Team (2006) and I'll Have What She's Having: Behind the Scenes of the Great Romantic Comedies (2008).


Table of Contents:


Introduction—Science Fiction: the Forbidden Genre


Part I. Mandatory Viewing
Days of Futures Passed
Future Tense
Science Fiction or Not?
Sleep No More
Real Aliens Don't Ask Directions
Keeping Watch
Don't Call Me Shirley
Red Alert
2001: A Space Odyssey in 2001
Nerds in Love
We Come in Pieces: The Alien as Metaphor
…But Somebody's Got to Do It
Blue Genes
2009: A Miracle Year?


Part II. Camera Obscura
SF, My Parents, and Me
Destination Moon in the 21st Century
Our Batman
Atomic Ants
The Bare Necessities
Being and Nothingness: The Movie
My Bloody Valentine
Love in the Time of Paradox
Ironic, Isn't It?
The Ultimate Book Movie
The Mystery of The Woman in the Moon
Retro Robo
The Cranky Person's Guide to the 2009 "Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form" Hugo Nominees
The Future is Now
We're Scientists, Trust Us
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future
Not Coming to a Theater Near You
Watching Me, Watching You
The Time Traveler's Movie


Part III. Bargain Bin
Remake Love, Not War
Gilligan's Island Earth
Guilty Pleasures
Mars Concedes!
E.T. Go Home
Jar Jar Binks Must Die


Post Script—The Modern Classics: A First Draft
Publication History




"A spirited explanation of the role of science fiction films in our culture. Any serious fan of the cinema must read this book." —Michael A. Burstein, John W. Campbell Award-winning author of I Remember the Future


"Kimmel displays expertise on the subject along with a lively sense of humor—scarcely a page is turned that doesn't yield a few good laughs.… Readers who already take science fiction seriously will enjoy the book's panoptic breadth and it's frank jubilation in its subject matter.… [Kimmel] makes it his business to guide his readers to science fiction films that are worthy of our attention as social commentary, whiz-bang spectacle, or works of entertainment that carry an extra edge.… the best advice to take with you on your foray into Jar Jar Binks Must Die is this: keep your Netflix wish list at the ready. You're going to revisit movies you hadn't thought about in years and be irresistibly tantalized by films you've never seen, and maybe never even heard of." —Kilian Melloy, in Edge Boston, 13 April 2011.


"…the leading film voice in fandom today… Dan's look at all the SF Films of the previous century-plus is powerful and serious and smart and even sassy at points.… His look at Metropolis and Things to Come are both brilliant and much deeper and broader than mine in these pages.… I thought it was the best written look at Destination Moon I've ever read.… I could spend a day heaping praise on the essay 'Our Batman'.… So many great pieces in here that I should just say this is the best book of essays about film of any nature that I've read in ages.… the best pieces of writing on SF Film you'll ever see!" —Chris Garcia, in The Drink Tank, #280 (April 2011).


"[Kimmel's] writing is intelligent and entertaining.… his knowledge of SF movies is encyclopedic.… This is the guy you want sitting next to you when Channel 45 has a weekend 'sci-fi' movie marathon.… For anyone who likes SF movies, this volume is worth the price of admission." —Don Sakers, "The Reference Library", in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, July/August 2011.


"…one is left wanting more, which is a testament to Kimmel's writing abilities.… Even when you find yourself not agreeing with Kimmel—his take on E.T. is just plain wrong damn it!—the book remains worthwhile and thought-provoking.… Jar Jar Binks Must Die is worth a purchase." —Sci-Fi Movie Page


"Kimmel's a terrific guide to classic though underappreciated works such as Things to Come, and is especially sharp on 1950s sf movies, David Cronenberg, and the art (or lack of same) of movie remakes.… his brief essays are addictively readable and yes, a lot more fun than watching Revenge of the Sith." —Elizabeth Hand, "Books", in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2011


"[Kimmel's] essays are both informed and informative, erudite, often humorous, filled with insider-knowledge… [the book] is eminently accessible—and has a few good points to make.… Jar Jar Binks Must Die has now become the sourcebook that I will use to underpin my [film] arguments, as Daniel has said everything I've been saying about film, although much more so and in a far more entertaining and convincing manner.… This is an encyclopedic mind at work, one that went looking for the redeeming qualities in just about any of Hollywood's SF efforts and managed to find something in most of them.… Jar Jar Binks Must Die is a well put together book; Fantastic Books has created a handy tome that is easy to read and well-organized." —Steve Davidson, Amazing Stories

JAR JAR BINKS MUST DIE... by Daniel M. Kimmel

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