SXSW2023: Star Wars Documentary ‘A Disturbance in the Force’

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AUSTIN, TX – The best film I saw at SXSW 2023 was “A Disturbance in the Force,” a new documentary about one of the most infamous TV programs in the medium’s history … “The Star Wars Holiday Special.” In a precise narrative with celebrity commentary, the history and mystery of this CBS-TV holiday event is unspooled.

In 1977, “Star Wars” became a cultural phenomenon that single-handedly revitalized a stagnant film industry, and forever changed how films were sold, made, and marketed. Movies would never be the same again. A year later, neither would television. In 1978, CBS aired the two-hour “Star Wars Holiday Special” during the week of Thanksgiving and was watched by 13 million people. It never re-aired and is considered one of the worst shows to ever air on TV.

Seth Green in ‘A Disturbance in the Force’
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CAPSULE REVIEW: Just check out the video below to understand my obsession with “The Star Wars Holiday Special.” Co-Directors Jeremy Coon and Steven Kozak has created a perfect documentary, a comprehensive story on how the Star Wars Universe got a cheesy holiday special. Part tribute, part social history, part celebrity roast, this document had to be done, and the two creators did it absolutely right. A must see for Star Wars fans, fans of cheese and the history of movie marketing in another era, never to come again. This is a triumph.

Pat and Ken at the Holidays 2009 review “The Star Wars Holiday Special” …

The 2023 South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals took place on March 10th through March 19th. For all information click on senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Critic/Writer

© 2023 Patrick McDonald,

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