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Saint Louis

Posted on Friday, August 15th, 2008

Manga Dave!Since today is Friday, it's a work day... even when I'm in St. Louis. But I did manage to get out a bit in the morning and afternoon to see some of the sights, so it's all good.

I've been to St. Louis exactly two times. Once to visit the Hard Rock Cafe on my "Hard Rock Run" road-trip in 2000 (which included Indianapolis, St. Louis, Memphis, Nashville, Gatlinburg, Myrtle Beach, Atlanta). And again for work in 2002. When I went to visit The Gateway Arch on my first trip, it was closed. On my second trip, I became violently ill, and couldn't even think of being trapped in an enclosed space.

So when Ajooja won the "Dave Event in Your City" Grand Prize for Blogiversary 5, I swore to myself that I would go up The Arch this time, even if I had to climb it on the outside. Fortunately, this wasn't necessary. When I got to park at 8:00 this morning, there was hardly a line at all, and I was the first person to the top when they opened the doors.

It was totally worth the wait...

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

Gateway Arch, St. Louis

The structure is sublimely beautiful, and photographs simply cannot do it justice. To the naked eye the steel exterior reflects the ambient light in a way that makes parts of The Arch seem to "disappear" into the skyline, giving it an almost ethereal quality.

To get to the top, you have to board one of eight tiny five-seater cylindrical elevator cars that are chained together and pulled upwards. Gina summed them up perfectly when she said they have a "2001: A Space Odyssey" feel to them. As you climb The Arch, a recording describes the system as "part elevator, part train, and part carnival ride." This sounded very interesting, but there is NOTHING detailing the elevator system in any book, brochure, or postcard I could find. When I asked the nice Park Rangers questions about how the cars worked, I got precious little information (and 9-11 thrown in my face as the reason why). Oh well. Still very, very cool...

The Arch elevator car interior with five tiny seats.

For some reason I was expecting the top of the arch to be a tiny cramped room (like the Statue of Liberty, perhaps), but it was actually quite roomy...

St. Louis Gateway Arch interior view.

I was blessed with beautiful weather (despite the crappy forecast I had looked up yesterday), so I had an excellent view of the city...

St. Louis view from the top of The Arch

Here's a pano I stitched together. If you click on it, it will open a bigger view...

St. Louis panorama photo shot from the top of The Arch

Once safely back down to earth, I headed across the street to "The Old Courthouse." This is a famous monument because of the infamous Dred Scott trial where slavery was upheld. The building is quite remarkable because of the beautiful dome interior...

St. Louis Old Courthouse building with The Arch in the background.

Interior of the Old Courthouse Dome.

As I was walking back to my hotel, I happened across "St. Louis Bread Company" which uses the exact same logo as my beloved Panera Bread. Closer inspection showed that they have the same exact menu as Panera as well. A quick look on Wikipedia on my iPhone told me that St. Louis Bread Co. was bought out by Panera, but they kept the original name in St. Louis (for obvious reasons). A delicious Mediterranean Sandwich made the perfect brunch-time meal...

St. Louis Bread Co. sign.

After getting some work done, I decided to take the MetroLink to Union Station so I could visit the Hard Rock Cafe to see if anything had changed in the past eight years. The location was originally a massive train station, but they made a kind of shopping mall out of it with a lake in the middle...

Hard Rock Cafe St. Louis at Union Station

Since I've been dying to see Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, I decided to catch a movie, but couldn't find it playing anywhere. So instead I went to see Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I wasn't a fan of the prequels, but love cartoons and thought the poster looked kind of badass cool...

Clone Wars Movie Poster

Uh huh.

Due to massive amounts of profanity and adult situations, I've decided to put my "review" in an extended entry.

As for me, I'm going to call it a night so I can attack the city fresh in the morning. There's a lot left to do, and only one day to do it all.

Star Wars is a huge part of who I am.

When I saw it as a kid, the film completely consumed my imagination and changed my life forever. I don't say this lightly, because it's true. It has to be true, because I've spent every day since dreaming of a galaxy far far away and being obsessed with science fiction in every form I can get it.

I remember borrowing my dad's 8mm movie camera and filming my own Star Wars adventures using stuffed animals which were painstakingly moved in tiny amounts, frame by frame. Special effects were draw directly on the developed film using a Sharpie marker and a magnifying glass. My home movies were shit, but they were a labor of love that continued the Star Wars story onward.

Years later, George Lucas decided to revisit the Star Wars universe and unleashed the crappy prequel trilogy upon an unsuspecting world. Reduced to fart jokes with shitty stories about trade negotiations, and devoid of the sci-fi brilliance that made the first two films so engaging, I pretty much hated all of them. After my review of Revenge of The Sith, I laid it out in a ranking chart like this...

Star Wars Ranking

Heaven only knows that my expectations were not high for the Clone Wars cartoon movie, but I was completely unprepared for just how bad it turned out to be. It was so horrendously bad that my ranking chart was grossly inadequate to describe the complete and total suck that I witnessed. I had to extend the chart to a whole new level...




Did writer/producer George Lucas run out of money? Did he lose a bet? Has he gone fucking insane? I'd honestly like to know, because I've run out of possibly excuses as to why he would ever release this pile of excrement.

Everything that I fucking hated in the shit-infested crap that perverted every Star Wars film after the masterpiece that was Empire Strikes Back is in full force with the utter travesty that is Clone Wars. Fucking whiny annoying kiddie characters. Fucking fart jokes. Fucking boring ass stories. Fucking lame-ass characters. Fucking American slang diction. Fucking stupidity at every turn. From every conceivable angle, this "movie" was a total turd stain that has finally put the last nail in the Star Wars coffin for me. I don't care if I ever see anything Star Wars ever again.

I know a lot of people will read this and say "well, it was a cartoon that was made for kids... that's why you found it childish and stupid, because it wasn't made for you."

Bullshit. Bull fucking shit.

I love cartoons. I love animation. Watching a cartoon film made for kids is not a problem for me.

Watching a cartoon film made for kids that sucks ass is a problem for me.

Even if you discard the dull-as-a-box-of-rocks storyline that attempts to be exciting by having repetitive battle scenes every five minutes... even if you ignore the cheap and shitty animation... even if you excise the awful musical score... even if you eliminate the cheesy gag-inducing dialogue... this "film" is an abomination. George Lucas should be so ashamed that this pile of shit was released with the Star Wars name on it that he commits seppuku in the lobby of Industrial Light and Magic (which is about the only good thing left to come out of Star Wars).

I hate this movie. Fucking HATE it.

I could go on to describe what the movie is about, but that would involve me having to relive Clone Wars, when all I'm trying to do is desperately forget I ever saw it. Who the fuck wants to remember such as vapid absurdity as Jabba The Hutt's gay uncle (I am so not kidding) and such insipid idiocy as Anakin's plucky alien teenage girl sidekick constantly calling him "Sky Guy." Give me a fucking break. I never thought there could possibly be a character more annoying than Jar Jar Binks, but here she is!

So thank you George Lucas for once again raping Star Wars to create garbage that has rained shit down upon the fans who made you a billionaire in the first place. When you released Phantom Menace I thought perhaps your magic had gone. After you released Attack of The Clones I was sure of it. Now I'm thinking that this isn't the case at all... you just hate us. You actively despise anybody who ever loved Star Wars, and now you've decided we need to suffer. Again and again.

Of course, there's still the live-action Star Wars television show you're working on that's yet to come.

I can't even fathom what horrors are going to come out of that shit.

Fortunately, it doesn't matter anymore. Thanks to Clone Wars, I don't give a flying fuck.

And obviously, Mr. Lucas, neither do you.

Categories: Movies 2008, Travel 2008Click To It: Permalink


  1. Elizabeth says:

    Those elevators scared the crap out of me. A little too claustrophobic for my liking! But the view was totally worth it.

  2. Jodi says:

    oh crap. i know i am going to end up seeing this, you know… take the pain now and then call it in later when there is something i want to see.

  3. yellojkt says:

    Great pictures. Really fantastic.

    I visited the Arch two years ago and talked about what a weird system the trams are. They’re kind of small and cramped.

    I can’t believe that Lucas expects people to pay full price for a trailer for his insipid cartoon. Getting ripped off like that is what you deserve from not learning from the prequels. Star Wars is now total fan-raping crap.

  4. Mik says:

    Tell us what you really thought of it Dave, the trailer looked crap to me and I think you’ve given me plenty of reasons not to bother.

    I’ve seen every Star Wars movie in the theater on release week, but that ends now.

    Plus last time I went, I went with a friend who had to wear his Jedi cloak!

  5. Amanda says:

    I’m glad you’re enjoying St. Louis this time! What are your Saturday plans, pre-Dave Louis? (I won’t stalk you. I promise. Unless you want me to.)

    I’m pretty sure Pat Robertson is more evil than Dave. And probably tied with Dick Cheney.

  6. Y2K Survivor says:

    You know the real problem is George was called a genius after Empire. We always hear about how Studio guys ruin the artistic take on a project, but I’m betting this is a case where the first two projects were controlled by a studio and everything after that was ALL Lucas.

    Can you imagine the studio brass in a meeting if Jedi was the first flick? SO we have these walking tanks things see? And they blast away at the good guys see? And everything looks like the good guys are all gunna die, so kiss their ass goodbye, right? Then … wait for it…. THENnnnnn Wait… this is gunna be so fucking awesome you wont believe it…. THENNNNN.. this army of LIVE teddy bears comes to the rescue!

    Yeah… he got too big after Empire was almost as huge a hit as Star Wars… George Lucas, killed by his own fame since 1982.

  7. I’ve always wanted to go St. Louis…and your pictures made it more so.
    I’m an old school SW fan – and your scale is pretty much how I felt about those movies though I haven’t seen anything past Menace – it was so shitty I wanted to preserve my childhood memories all glossy and stuff and not tarnished by any more modern day bullshit.

  8. B.E. Earl says:

    I remember dragging a friend of mine with me to go see Serenity for the second time. He wasn’t a Buffy/Angel fan and he hadn’t seen an episode of Firefly, but I told him that it didn’t matter. That he was going to love it anyway.

    His first words after watching it were, in a way, surprising. He didn’t just like the film, he loved it and he declared his love for the movie by saying “Fuck George Lucas up his fucking ass! THAT should have been what he should have given us instead of Phantom Menace, Clones and Sith!”

    George Lucas can rot in Hell for all I care. He absolutely ruined this franchise that I used to care so much about. Ruined it.

  9. heather says:

    i had planned on taking cheeks to see this tuesday. won’t waste the money on it now. we’ve already seen wall-e so i guess the movies are out for this months ‘girls day out’.

    haircuts it is…

  10. Tracy Lynn says:

    The only Star Wars thing I have seen recently was the Genndy Tartakovsky series of shorts called Clone Wars that ran on Cartoon Network a couple of years ago. Those were AMAZING, great animation, not a ton of dialogue, but what there was was cool and after each mini episode I was dying to see the next. Brilliant.

    I’m pretty sure George Lucas did nothing more than greenlight them. I haven’t seen any Star Wars stuff other than that since Jedi, and don’t plan to.

  11. Poppy says:

    The third photo of the arch is soooo gorgeous. Please sell it in the store.

    As for Clone Wars, Dawg and I are seeing it on his one day off this week (Sunday) and I’m pretty sure neither of us cares if it sucks. 🙂

  12. claire says:

    Well, that settles that. No Clone Wars for me. I had enough love for the original trilogy to suffer through the prequels, but I’m done. The only recent thing that has rekindled my love of the franchise are the Lego Star Wars games.

    Nice shots of the Arch. I wondered about the inside; I didn’t have time to go in. So true about it reflecting the ambient light. Though my photos were shot in color, they look sepia since it was after 7 pm during a break between storms.

  13. ster says:

    i think you’ll actually really like the tv series. i hope you’ll give it a chance when it comes out this fall. seriously. 🙂

  14. Jeff says:

    Holy crap! I didn’t have high hopes, but I expected that it would at least be on par with Phantom (I mean, I didn’t think things could get worse).

  15. sorata says:

    so… Can u tell us how u really feel again?

    I am so glad a Starwar fan is actually being honest. I was forced to watch II & III a few years back, I hated them but was told it’s because I am not a fan. Sorry that u have to experience that after such a spectacular day at the Arch.

  16. libragirl says:

    So tell us how you felt about the movie…it didn’t come across clearly.

    I went up the Arch when my sister graduated med school. (she and Adam went to the same school, many years apart, fun fact) I don’t remember anything but the view, which was amazing.

  17. I’ve been to MO several times, and have not been to St. Louis yet! You mentioned Nashville… Isn’t that place beautiful?!!!!

  18. Sodapop says:

    I love St. Louis and I’ve only driven through it. LOL I need to go back and visit.

    As for the Star Wars thing…could you, um, tell us how you really feel? I don’t think I quite got how much you hated the movie. 😉

    I’ll make sure to not go see it. I sat through the new trilogy only because I am a huge original Star Wars fan. It’s sad where he’s taken Star Wars as a whole.

  19. Nat says:

    This post made me want to go to Saint-Louis.

    The Boy has been begging me to see Clones. I think I’ll wait for the DVD. Then find some excuse not to watch… like I need to do a home lobotomy.

  20. kilax says:

    I almost wrote a post yesterday about how embarrassed I was to be a Star Wars fan – because Clone Wars was coming out yesterday. But then I thought, “nah, I better not judge it.”

    I think my review would be the same as yours. What the fuck is going on with Lucas?!

  21. Love the peek at St. Louis!

  22. NYCWD says:

    Pssst… George Lucas didn’t create Clone Wars. It’s directed by Dave Filoni… and it’s really a television series they released theatrically. So yeah… I can understand why you would feel that way.

    I don’t understand why you would think Episode II was worse than Episode III though.

    Nor do I understand the complete randomness of a category icon cartoon… or was that always there?

  23. Dave2 says:

    Hmmm… apparently I misunderstood the credits. He didn’t write it, but is credited with the “universe and characters.”

    It doesn’t really matter though… Lucas approves everything that goes out with the Star Wars name on it… he’s ultimately to blame. The only reason for him to approve this steaming pile of ultimate FAIL would be… well, as I said, I don’t know WHAT the reason would be.

    The reason I feel Episode II sucks worse than Episode III was because the dialogue was just so horrendously distracting. It was made even worse by the whiny delivery of Hayden Christensen as “Annie.” About the only thing I care to remember from the film is Yoda kicking ass… everything else was just mindless exposition around a gag-inducing “love story” that is about as romantic as Bantha poodoo. At least Episode III had wookies and Darth Vader in it!

  24. Avitable says:

    No pictures with Gina?

    You should go over to Ain’t It Cool and read Moriarty’s post on Clone Wars. I think it sums up what you feel pretty well.

  25. Sue says:

    I’ve been to St. Louis a few times. The Arch was actually built in my hometown of Warren, PA. The day we went up the wind made it ‘sway’ a little at the top. Nothing like motion sickness when you’re high off the ground, eh?

    In Union Station the ‘arch’ above the main entrance (to the actually old train station) houses a little secret. Two people standing at the bottom of the arch on either side can hear each other whispering, so long as you’re facing the wall when you whisper. Awesome how that works.

  26. Whitenoise says:

    Ummm… great STL photos… too bad about the movie…

  27. Lewis says:

    What? NO mention of the SPIRIT OF SAINT LEWIS? Do you know that the majority of my Google search hits come from the St. Louis area? funny. Those pics are someting amazing! Great work.

  28. apricoco says:

    your shots of the arch are amazing… really nice work.

  29. Karl says:

    Yeah, the trailers for Clone Wars looked like crap. Not gonna bother. Beautiful photos of the arch!

  30. maman says:

    You lean OVER the arch to look out the window?!! There is no way in hell that I would ever do that. I am shivering just looking at that.

  31. Michelle says:

    SoooOOOooo … where does Ann Coulter rank on this list? ;o)

  32. ChillyWilly says:

    Ok. That picture you took outside of the courthouse, with the fountains, the statue and the arch is so damned perfect. That is so cool. Very great photo. Makes me want to go to St. Louis so I can take my own picture with that view.

    After reading your review (and others), I really don’t have an interest in seeing Clone Wars. Your rant on George Lucas hit the nail right on the head. Raping the franchise at all costs. Can’t believe he would stoop so low in his power.

    Of the prequels, I liked SITH the best. Attack Of The Clones wasn’t bad, Phantom Menace was ok, but annoying characters (like Jar Jar). But nothing touches the first 3 movies. I even didn’t mind 80% of Return of the Jedi.

  33. michelle Jacobs says:

    Great photos dude!! I love the panoramic view of the city!!! Very neat!!!

  34. Robin says:

    Beautiful photos!

  35. With your excellent photos, you’ve single handedly made my want to go see the arch. Great shots actually.

    The first three Star Wars movies were a huge part of my life when I was a kid. Like everyone else, I watched the three prequels but was so disappointed I swore I would never ever watch anything to do with Star Wars ever again so wouldn’t have watched Clone Wars anyway. And after reading your review, I’m glad I made that decision.

  36. kimblahg says:

    welcome to stl! the cars in the arch work on kind of a rachet system- they pull one way then the other all the way up on steel cables. i’ve lived in the area my whole life and only been up twice. i am a bit clausterphobic and don’t like the way it sways at the top. also, looking at your twitter, someone should have warned you about our bus system- it is always a big bag of suck. have fun while you’re here! go to blueberry hill and fritz’s next.

  37. Walt says:


    That’s the funniest thing ever! I too loved the early Star Wars. Not just oh here’s a great movie but here’s a MOVIE! Blown away like the 1950’s Looney Toon’s space ship rocket kind of amazing. But I have felt the sting of the Lucas bitch slap he served us with those last three shit cinema sandwiches ever since. Now we’ve got this retard animation version thats spoon feeding a new generation of minds but the bar has been set lower than TMZ’s Britney coverage. I would have loved to have seen a LEGO animated series! You just can’t copy live action and Lucas should know that. Hell, Chuck Jones said it best when he said it’s easier to make animals act human than it is to make humans act human.

    Anyway, love the idea that Lucas is hell bent on making us suffer!

  38. delmer says:

    As further proof I’m not the smartest man alive — I knew a person could ride to the top of the arch, but had no idea there was a room at the top and that a person could get out and walk around. I guess I assumed a person simply went up and then down.

  39. John says:

    Great photo tour! : )

  40. awytch says:

    I used to love sequels to my favorite movies/TV shows (Going My way, Bell’s of St. Mary’s, Back To The Future I,II and III, Halloween and Halloween: H2o, Raiders and The Last Crusade, Any of the Star Trek movies except for ST:5 that sucked!) and I even (have to admit it) kind of thought Jar Jar was (while annoying) not all that bad. But when Lucas re-released the “Original” Trilogy re-done with advanced CGI, I was pretty much done with all things Star Wars….

    Yes, compared to the technology now the the original movies look a tad cheesy (I still remember noticing you could see through the corner of the ship when they were on the straffing run while sitting in the theatre, but that was part of the fun, dammit) and I could see Lucas wanting to “show” us how he envisioned the Star Wars galaxy but, enough is enough…

    George, Kill the Cash COW NOW! You have done beaten it enough that it’s too damned tender to watch…

    Loved the SL pics, maybe someday I will get there for myself, thanks for sharing…

  41. Okay, now I’m interested in going up in the arch.

    Last week when you mentioned it, I was thinking I couldn’t do it. Seemed kinda closed in and creepy to me (had no idea it was so roomy up top). Did it sway (or shake) in the wind?

    Great panoramic!

  42. Erin says:

    There was an SNL sketch long ago when the prequels were still coming out about George Lucas that featured him running around his front yard in an Ewok suit and that, forevermore, will be how I think of him. I’ve pretty much decided to boycott anything he claims to have written or had a hand in concepting because I know that it will suck. ass.

    But on a lighter note, those are some awesome photos! 🙂

  43. Mrs. K says:

    Please don’t hold back on your true feelings!

    I’m so glad we didn’t waste our time on that “movie”. We saw Tropic Thunder and laughed so much our sides were hurting.

    Thanks for the pics of the arch. That is a location on our must see list also.

  44. Göran says:

    Excellent photos. You added another must see place to my list 🙂

  45. Winter says:

    Loved the arch photos. I actually liked your review too. There’s something about a worked up Dave that is stimulating…

  46. kapgar says:

    Out of curiosity, how do you rank the Gennedy Tartakovsky Clone Wars mini series that was on Cartoon Network a few years back?

    Your photos are amazing, BTW.

  47. Christian says:

    While I missed episodes IV-VI at the cinema, I was a huge fan myself once I saw them on tape. Then, the modifications came out, which I felt added nothing and took away much of the original trilogy.

    Then came I-III.

    Ep I: saw it at the midnight premier.
    Ep II: waited a couple of weeks, then saw it in an almost empty theatre.
    Ep III: Haven’t seen it, never will. Despite being told how much better it is than the other two. I don’t care. Call it a point of honour, I won’t watch it. Looks like that will go double for this animated abomination.

  48. Willie G says:

    When I saw Star Wars at the theater in the 70’s it was awe inspiring. Nothing in my opinion has come along since that gave my the same feeling of cinematic wonder. I have seen the entire series, but to me (even Empire) none left me with that same feeling.

  49. Wow, St. Louis looks just lovely… Sorry that Clone Wars sucked THAT BAD… Yikes!

  50. Eric says:

    hey dave – it was cool to meet up with ya in chicago. lynne pointed me to your star wars rant – very entertaining and informative. i’ve seen a few others ask but didn’t see your reply yet – how does the “clone wars” movie compare to the mini tv-episodes they showed on cartoon network a few years back?

    while i agree that the prequels are crap with respect to well-rounded entertainment, i’m still somewhat of a slave to the creativity behind star wars and the “universe” itself. after letting out an audible groan the first couple of times listening to the stilted dialogue, part of me just phases that out and i enjoy the elaboration of the scenes and concepts from the original series. while the movies do feel like an extended advertisement for the new technology, occasionally you can still get lost in the images and overall story-arch relating to these characters we came to love from the first couple of movies. while sadly disappointed that quality storytelling was left out of the productions, i’m still a closet fan of the prequels. i will not blow movie theater money on “clone wars” but will rent it on DVD, wholly expecting disappointment.

    after watching my nephews play the “lego starwars” videogame, i agree with another commenter above that a lego movie might have been a better choice!

    by the way, i’m now pimping “artificial duck”-ware on my flickr and facebook accounts. is your store website still down?

  51. Patty says:

    Nice photos of the arch! Think I flew into the airport once but didn’t get to visit.
    Thx for the review of the clones. My son and husband want to go but I think I’ll pass. Glad you will be getting some vacation next month….where you going (if you want to share)? Somewhere warm? We had our mini vacation over in you neck of the woods and it was nice.

  52. Chris says:

    Love the photos of the arch. Will have to add that to my must do list.

    As for Clone Wars………..well I saw it since I was hoping there was some kind of redemption in there. No such luck. You’re spot on with your review.

    Note to self: call Lucas and tell him to put cheque in the mail for wasting my time.

  53. Justin says:

    Cool post. Yes, my comment is 2 1/2 years late. But you linked to this post from Enrico’s blog (hoteltuesday). As I commented there, You are the first person to actually make St. Louis look interesting to me. I may actually *have* information on the elevators, if I can find the glossy brochure I mention in my post over at Enrico’s blog. It’ll take some digging in our various attic storage areas (our house has an unusual configuration, so although there is something of a crawlspace attic above the 3rd floor, it’s too small to stand up in, but behind the walls of the 3rd floor bedrooms are several attic-like areas under the slopes of the roof). I’m fairly sure I saw the brochure within the past year or so, though, so I may know what box it’s in.

    Also, as I commented over on Enrico’s blog, I honestly cannot believe your rating system of the Star Wars movies is so entirely exactly the same as mine, though I vascilate between “okay” and “lame” for Sith. At first, I didn’t realize you were talking about the Clone Wars *MOVIE* which I haven’t seen. I saw the Clone Wars miniseries of cartoons, which I thought were ok (and in some ways better than Sith) and which lead directly up to the opening of Sith. I can’t say I was ever super-interested in seeing the movie itself, though your review almost makes me want to check it out for curiosity’s sake alone. 🙂

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