There is one small very kinda-spoiler three or so paragraphs above the quote block, the warning is in all caps so you can scroll down and spot it (it's not actually a spoiler but if you're a super duper stickler about it, that's where it is).
Premiere thoughts/experiences (it's late and there's Scotch here so I may tail off and add another post later):
Disclaimer: A lot of this probably will center around my non-Rian HS friends which is boring to you but I feel differently. Sorry in advance.
I arrived late-ish due to a comically entertaining few days leading up to it, including a 13-hour trip to New York the day before, which my boss sprung on me at 2:00 on Tuesday. I was on a flight at 9:30 that night. I arrived back in SF at 11:00 PM Wednesday (yes, 26 hours including ~12 in the air), not having slept (or showered, and the less said about that, the better) more than 20 minutes in around 38 hours. When I got back, my co-worker met me at the airport to bring to the office the things I was sent to retrieve, and I gave him donuts in exchange for this favor.
My flight down south was at 9:30 AM Thursday, which I had cleverly picked to maximize my time. To save time going off on endless digressions, I'll just tell you I was the last person to board on three of my four flights last week (and a couple of latecomers spoiled the flight home at the last minute).
So, the premiere. My plus-one was more hung over than I was Saturday morning, so we drove from VERY south Orange County to LA separately (I had to detour to drop off another friend and that's a whole series of side stories), and the invite email was quite clear that 6:30 PM was the absolute last possible second any person could come in whether they knew Zeus or Rian or anyone. I got there around 5:00 and milled around outside making sure she'd make it and calling friends to ensure that in-and-outs were possible if I had to run out. That settled, I went in and completely missed the big red (actually white for the public thing, the carpet was red inside the real perimeter) carpet thing where they high-fived and hugged and selfied with the fans.
I wandered up and down that for a while (it was one-way but I just ignore people and walk--thanks, city life), nearly caught Rian's eye (he was dead focused on getting his interviews done right and not seeing silly people like me right just then), saw Karina, hugged Leo (his lovely assistant and the magic man that got me in at all--please watch for "Leopold Hughes" in the credits, he got a good one which IMDb hasn't corrected yet). I am very likely in the background of his interview with Univision, which I haven't had time to look for yet.
I took pictures, which I'll edit and post soon. Along the backdrop of the red carpet were the "hero shot" versions of the main cast, and so I took a picture of Carrie's only, as was proper. I saw Daisy and John (I'll just use first names because although none of us know them you know who I mean) chatting with someone together and got a crap picture of them from quite far away. Assume I saw the rest of the cast there too, along with alumni such as Warwick Davis and the rest of everyone.
Then Mark showed up.
I wasn't able to get super close, even swimming upstream, so the only picture I have of him is crap. But still, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I made it back to Rian's zone to hear Leo saying "seven thirty, seven thirty" because there really were a huge amount of interviewers lined up and Mark was just getting to the first of them. It was 6:10.
(Insert drama of texts/calls of "please tell me you'll make it" and getting not entirely encouraging responses--traffic was bad. LA pro tip: never ever ever ever EVER route yourself through the East LA interchange; the 5, 101, 710, 10 and 60 all smack together just outside downtown and a) Interstate 5, the main artery of the world's richest country's second-most-populous city, running from the Mexican to Canadian border, narrows to two lanes for a not-inconsiderable distance, which, to put it as mildly as possible, fucks everything up forward AND backward in time, and b) It's the actual spot where Michael Douglas' character loses it in Falling Down, a feeling which I am entirely sympathetic with.)
(Also insert quick cuts to a ticking clock getting ever closer to 6:30 and a guy anxiously standing right behind the security gate waiting and waiting and fucking WAITING--anyway, she made it at 6:37 after all the red carpet stuff was closed off, but thankfully that's not her thing anyway [to explain that
as briefly as possible, she grew up in LA and is jaded to the whole process], so we hustled into the theater, pausing only briefly to grab tons of free popcorn and drinks--soft drinks, mind, but also really a lot of popcorn in official The Last Jedi buckets.)
We get to our seats, which were pretty good considering the late date that Leo--again, the hero of the hour--managed to secure for us, but my pals are nowhere to be seen. On the phone earlier they'd told me they had "like 20 all in one row" so this was a little disappointing, but near-center balcony, in the first row of the second section, are really good seats no matter where you are.
Side note: the other three HS guys, wives, and kids totaled 11, and they all went to see Rian as a group in March or April 2016 (3-4 months after me), during which one of them nicknamed that crew as "The Pinewood 11". I found out late they were all going and briefly thought about going back, but shit's expensive man, so I make up for their way-more-comprehensive tour and time with Rian by reminding them that they were all late. Also, (NO SPOILER BUT IF YOU'RE FREAKING OUT SKIP THE REST OF THIS PARAGRAPH
) they'd dismantled the Falcon interior set by then (probably to make room for something else in the sound stage as I cannot confirm or deny anything regarding this), so none of those jerks got to go on it, which, considering how much closer a few of those guys are with Rian, is really goddamn funny to me. But they saw and did cooler shit than me in many cases, including being a way way way way background extra in a scene I can't even remember now.
At this point, popcorn supplies were getting low, so I was dispatched on a run (aisle seats mean you go, and also she was in heels). Rather than jog up and down the stairs, I took the elevator down before noting what floor we were on (four flights of stairs but "L" was starred and the remainder of the buttons were 1-4, so what the hell floor did we walk into on, etc.). And grabbed two more (very small) buckets and hit the "up" and paced nervously, diligently noting that it was on "B1" (insert "how many fucking floors are here what the hell" here). The doors opened, I impatiently rushed to them only to see an older gentleman ON CRUTCHES give me the stink eye as he peg-legged out and I mumbled apologies and got the hell out of the way.
Next week I'll tell you who he was and how/when I found out. Anyway, I hit 4 (we were pretty far up) and saw the doors open to a surprised security guard on a floor I hadn't seen, so I hit 3 and ran back to the seats.
And like all things, we hurried up only to wait, so rather than eat popcorn the whole time, I took a walk to look for The 11, knowing one of them would spot me and yell at me even if I failed to spot them first. I'd covered most of the balcony when the lights dimmed so I ran like hell back to our seats (she waited patiently for me, which was a fair trade considering my wait for her). The PA announced Rian, who introduced--going to do a couple then "and all of them"--Kathy Kennedy, Ram Bergman (his producer), JOHN FREAKING WILLIAMS MAN, then the entire main cast (save Oscar Isaac, who was not on stage but may have been there, I dunno).
Insert many "and the crowd goes wild" here. Rian then gave a really touching tribute to Carrie--I'll put it in a quote box that you can skip if you don't want to know, but you do.
“I want to dedicate tonight to Carrie, who is up there right now flipping me the bird, saying ‘Damn it Rian, don’t you dare make this night a solemn tribute,’” the film’s writer-director Rian Johnson said as he introduced the screening.
“So let’s all have a blast tonight for Carrie,” he said.
I didn't have the emotional connection that 51% of the population probably did while I was a kid (Han and Luke, man), but years ago when my (personal spoiler alert) ex-wife told me she dressed as Leia for something like eight Halloweens in a row, I kind of got it.
[A MOVIE THEN HAPPENED]
It's late and there's SO MUCH MORE, so I'm going to stop here for now. More (maybe, probably, likely) tomorrow.