Don't Watch That, Watch This

A Survival Guide to Star Wars: Force Awakens in Dallas

So you’re alive and in Dallas during the release of Star Wars: Force Awakens. You know there’s no escaping the power. It’s everywhere: Star Wars is on your jewelry, in your food, emblazoned on your buildings. It’s roving your house with gleeful boops and beeps. Many of you have likely bought tickets in advance, leaving a majority of us to fend for Star Wars seats like the vampiric mutants in I Am Legend. It’s going to be an intense week of a galaxy far, far away.

How can you make it through the biggest movie release (arguably) of the past five years with your sanity intact? This list is designed with a focus on the casual fan, or the “I didn’t buy tickets in advance and now I’m stuck here” fan or just the overarching “this is all so damn overwhelming” feeling. Pour a bourbon and say it with me: How the hell do I survive Star Wars week in Dallas? Pro-tips:

1. Build an interactive drinking game: Every time someone says “Han shot first,” take a sip. Every time someone says “These aren’t the _____ (any word) you’re looking for,” take a big drink. If you see Darth Vader stuck in traffic, take a shot. Bonus double shot: When you see someone do the “force choke." 

2. Wait it out, and see the film in a truly unforgettable, rare format at the Omni Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Here’s why: Director J.J. Abrams shot “key sequences” of the movie with true IMAX cameras. According to IMAX’s site, there’s only one theater in Texas (out of 15 theaters worldwide) projecting Force Awakens on true film (15/70mm) IMAX. The 70mm IMAX projection has a massive, high-quality image unlike anything else out there, and the Fort Worth Omni has Star Wars in that format. Can’t miss. 

3. If you’re going to NorthPark’s AMC, Uber it. Save 20-30 years of your life (showtimes here).

4. Avoid spoilers: Get good headphones and have the "Imperial March" cued up, at high volume, at all times. Hit PLAY when someone starts talking about the Star Wars plot.

5. Listen to Wilco’s Star Wars album.

6. Experience the serenity of “No Twitter for 5-7 days” during the film’s release.

7. If you have to drive and park to see it at NorthPark’s AMC Theatres, avoid losing all your hair by taking Park Lane or Abrams Road, or really anything besides Central Expressway to the NorthPark exit. Wolfman’s nards, it’s terrible.

8. Stuck at NorthPark? Post up at The Theodore. They’ve got a whiskey and bourbon shelf that touches the ceiling. Also, the burger is Empire-Strikes-Back-good.

9. Speaking of The Theodore: Go to their Cantina Party on December 17. No word if Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes will be performing, playing that damn song over and over again.

10. Han shot first, by the way. Take a drink!

11. Spend the weekend writing to NASA and ask them to jettison Donald Trump into space via a small, round ship. (Wait, would that result in a real-life Darth Vader?)

12. If you’re going to the Inwood Theatre, plan on going very early to get a seat and have a couple of martinis at the bar. Best movie theater martinis in Dallas (showtimes here).

13. Hey, LOOK Cinemas in Prestonwood is showing it too! They’re the movie theater with the cry-out-loud comfortable chairs (showtimes here).

14. Defy everyone’s expectations and win the Alamo Drafthouse’s Star Wars Marathon Endurance Contest. Marathon the entirety of Star Wars until the other entrants have dropped out. The winner gets a 7-year movie pass to the Alamo Drafthouse and a theater seat named in his honor, complete with a naming ceremony. I repeat: a naming ceremony

15. Watch George Lucas’ first film, THX 1138. It’s really good.

16. Watch the other epic opening on December 18, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Road Chip. Talk about it over people trying to spoil the plot.

17. Make a great cheese dip at home!

18. Bring the cheese dip to Peter Mayhew, who played the original Chewbacca. He lives in North Texas, and he probably loves cheese dip.

19. Be unpredictable and host a screening for the horror film Joy Ride, which was written by J.J. Abrams.

20. Join the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas and monitor actual warring in the stars.

21. Continue to avoid spoilers with an impromptu camping trip to Inks Lake State Park. (Pro tip: Use the little "moon" icon on your iPhone.)

22. Go to a theater where you can reserve seats in advance. Beer early and often, is what I say.

23. Craft photorealistic Star Wars costume add-ons from Dallas’ art supply stores and set up a small stand in a safe, public zone. Charge $10-$15 bucks per Star Wars item.

24. Sisters, with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, also opens December 18. Just sayin’.

25. Say out loud, vehemently, “Screw IMAX 3D!” and see it at the historic Texas Theatre. Update, 12/11: The kind folks at Texas Theatre have alerted us: They've just installed 5.1 Surround Sound especially for their Star Wars screenings. So, that's awesome. 

26. Avoid everything, spoilers and the crowds, by walling yourself inside the beauty that is Lakewood Landing (or your local dive). Bring quarters for pool, and order a glacially cold beer and a cheeseburger. Smile, it’s Star Wars week.