Can't get a ''Phantom Menace'' ticket? |


Can't get a ''Phantom Menace'' ticket?

We offer some alternatives to those who can't get their ''Star Wars'' fix this weekend

So you didn’t get tickets to The Phantom Menace in its opening week. Okay, calm down. You didn’t really want to go anyway. All right, so you did. A lot. And it hurts. A lot.

We’re here to ease your pain. Contrary to all the media reports, there is life in the entertainment universe beyond Menace. Just because you got elbowed out of line by an accountant in a Darth Maul mask doesn’t mean you can’t feel good about yourself. Here’s a seven-step program for getting your entertainment fix during Menace’s first days:

1. The short line at the multiplex Yes, another movie opens this week: DreamWorks’ The Love Letter, starring Kate Capshaw, Ellen DeGeneres, and Tom Selleck. Why send a perfectly respectable little film out there to get crushed by the Wars steamroller? ”The Love Letter offers an alternative for those who prefer a romantic comedy,” says DreamWorks marketing chief Terry Press. ”Not everyone will be able to get into a galaxy far away. We present a galaxy nearby.” Adds Capshaw, who also produced the film: ”If you see this on a date, you’re definitely going to get a great kiss before the night ends. A guaranteed make-out session — is George Lucas promising that?”

2. Stay tube-tied Lest you forget, this is a sweeps month. A number of big-event broadcasts are left, including ABC’s Cleopatra; the final episodes of Melrose Place, Mad About You, and Home Improvement; and — talk about hype! — a Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman movie. As CBS spokesman Chris Ender notes, Wars devotees aren’t the only long-suffering bunch: ”Dr. Quinn fans have been waiting an entire year for this.”

3. Are you ready to (soft) rock? Forget John Williams. The music scene’s hopping with options. Among the new albums hitting stores: Phil Collins’ soundtrack for Disney’s Tarzan; the Notting Hill soundtrack, featuring Shania Twain and Elvis Costello; and what will easily be the week’s hottest disc, Backstreet Boys’ Millennium. If live shows are what you crave, Hole play in Columbus, Ohio, May 25, 1999, and the Goo Goo Dolls are in Pittsburgh the same day. But for real action, go to the Pennsylvania State Fair in Bethlehem May 22, 1999 to see Rick Springfield. The ’80s rocker is full of reasons why you’ll have more fun at his show: ”You won’t die from an errant lightsaber. There’s no virtual animation. There are some catchy pop songs. You’re not going to see any naked breasts in Star Wars, and you probably will at my show. It’s a state fair; anything can happen.”

4. Make it a blockbuster night If you’re completely geek-phobic and can’t bear to go outside, have your video store deliver Kingpin, just out on DVD. This special edition of the Farrelly brothers’ 1996 classic features four minutes of unreleased footage. ”You don’t have to wait in line to see it,” says MGM Home Video marketing VP Corie Tappin. ”You can pause it to go to the bathroom, or to go throw up because it’s so tasteless. Plus, there’s raunchy sex in it.”