Glenn Branca, you are a dork.

Last night, I wandered through the shadow of the valley of Nerd Heaven. I’m talking, of course, about the 12:01 showing of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the putative final entry in the film saga that has defined sci-fi for my generation. I don’t normally brave the geek throngs for big opening nights like this one — let alone stay up past midnight — but Ben’s got those puppy-dog eyes, man, and I couldn’t turn him down. Met up with Rahul for some Afghan food (courtesy of his dad — thanks, Mr. Rahul!) then headed to the theater, where we saw Stacy for a fraction of a second before she vanished into what must have been a better spot in the line. Ben and Steven showed up soon after, followed by my brother Rich, and then — straggling in from rock practice in Oakland — the legendary James Perry. Yes, it’s true: James ended up sitting next to strangers in the front row. It wasn’t my fault. We were in the third or fourth row, which wasn’t as bad, but it still rendered the faster-moving action sequences all but impossible to follow. Which is fine. I’ll just have to see it again.

I haven’t been all that worked up about this movie, which is natural, I guess. I’m not the fourth-grader I was when Return of the Jedi came out, and I didn’t have the gallons of pent-up nostalgia that made the wait for Episode I so interminable (and the payoff so damn disappointing). It was — I hate to say it — just a movie. An important movie, sure, but still. Once we got in the theater, though, and the minutes started ticking down, I started getting pretty excited.

Although it may have been the venti macchiato I had just guzzled, in an effort to ensure continued consciousness.

I had planned on taking a bunch of nerd photos and putting together a hilarious photo essay for you here, but I couldn’t do it. They were there — oh yes, they were there, from the ordinary doofi with lightsabers, to Darth Vader, to a bespectacled middle-aged Obi-Wan, to the woman (?) who dressed up as Chewbacca. Some guy even dressed up as Spider-Man. There were so many, in fact, that I was a little uncomfortable following them around and taking pictures of them. They outnumbered me by a wide margin, and when you corner a nerd in his native habitat, there’s no telling what he’ll do. I didn’t want to have to explain lightsaber bruises. You’ll just have to imagine the incredible, glorious swarm of dorkitude that was the Mountain View Century 16 last night.

How was the movie? I’m sure I really don’t know. My brain doesn’t know what time it is, for one thing; for another, Episode III — like II and I before it — is made up of extreme highs and extreme lows. It’s certainly much better than I and II, don’t get me wrong. The highs far outbalance the lows. But when the movie sucks, it really sucks, and I’m not sure exactly how much the low points, taken together, detract from the film as a whole. I guess I’d give it a B+. Or an A-. Ben will strike me down for saying all this, I’m sure. But there were a handful of times when I couldn’t help laughing when I wasn’t supposed to.

Good, spoiler-free news for those who haven’t seen it: No lines for Jar Jar. I felt a strong urge to raise both middle fingers at the screen when he popped up, but there were children behind me, and I’m a respectful guy.

I have so much to do. I’ll sleep better tonight if I go get some of it done…

P.S. Because I know James and Ben are dying to know what the members of SHY TIGER are up to these days: click and ROCK!