By Don Simpson | February 18, 2013
Director: Mark Edlitz
I have decided that I am going to make my mother watch Mark Edlitz’s Jedi Junkies because maybe then she will finally realize that the hundred or so vintage Star Wars action figures that are packed away in my childhood bedroom does not constitute a collection by any means. I bought my last Star Wars action figure in 1984 and every piece of my “collection” has been used and abused; so nothing in that “collection” is worth anything other than sentimental value to myself. Of course, I knew all if this before watching Jedi Junkies; but to hear it from my mother, she makes it sound like I threw away so much of my hard-earned money (from birthdays, holidays and my paper delivery route) on a massive collection that has taken over her home. (I challenge you to search my parents’ home for any Star Wars memorabilia — I guarantee you will find nothing.)
Not that there is anything wrong with collectors of Star Wars memorabilia… And that is precisely the point of Edlitz’s documentary, to normalize the legions of obsessive fans of the Star Wars franchise. Edlitz even goes way beyond the collectors, discussing everyone from Jedi-in-training to women who dress up like Slave Leia; he even consults with a few psychiatrists about these obsessive fans.
Who knew there were so many ways to show appreciation for a film franchise? Other than possibly Star Trek, how many other films have had this profound of a cultural impact as Star Wars? (I, for one, would like to find an equally obsessive 2001: A Space Odyssey fan base.) Episode IV and Episode V are two of the most important films of my life as a cinephile, so I totally get it. I just wonder what complete outsiders think of Star Wars fans? I am even more curious how someone who has (gasp!) never seen a Star Wars film — or, worse yet, does not like any of the Star Wars films — would react to Edlitz’s documentary? (I have no doubt that some non-fans will be instantly converted into Star Wars fanatics upon hearing Olivia Munn state that she thinks men who can handle lightsabers are sexy.) Would non-fans even give this documentary a chance or is this documentary intended to help obsessive fans come to terms with themselves? Either way, I find Jedi Junkies to be a truly fascinating snapshot of a very unique and expansive sub-culture.
Now, mother…can you please ship my Star Wars action figures to me? In the meantime, I will be tirelessly practicing my lightsaber skills like a well-trained Jedi to impress Olivia Munn.