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Favorite Film: The Shawshank Redemption
Favorite Actor: James Stewart
Native City: Washington, D.C. (Go Nationals!)
Personal Hero's: Pope John Paul II, Martin Luther King Jr; Duke Ellington, Jesus Christ.
Overly sentimental war time propaganda
Before I really get into the meat of this film, specifically why I wasn't impressed by it, I want to first mention what I liked about it. It was a gorgeous movie to view. The film wasn't afraid to use lush colors, especially in scenes in the White House's Blue Room. I also liked the use of period newsreels juxtaposed with (then) current, black and white footage of the actors. This movie was pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately, it was not so pleasing to the ear and mind.
There's really not much to Wilson from an intellectual point of view. It gives a very school book depiction of the man as the Ivy League President turned United States President. You can tell they tried to humanize him by putting a great deal of emphasis on his relationship with his family (especially in the first half), but in general the 28th President came off as dull and overly pious. I applaud Alexander Knox's effort, but it came up short for the most part. In general, the depiction of the characters came off as two-dimensional, cliché and generally hokey.
When you factor that along with the overly sappy score consisting of "heavenly" choirs and slow, orchestral strains of patriotic tunes and terrible pacing (the movie was a little over two and a half hours, but it felt much longer), it's no wonder why it bombed at the box office. In an era when audiences had a much higher tolerance for over sentimentality, this one pushed it too far.
Gravity Falls (2012)
Gravity Falls: a Diamond in the Disney Channel Rough
There are few things I hate more on television than the Disney Channel. This factory of mediocrity has churned out "gems" like The Suite Life with Zach and Cody and the unfortunately popular Hanna Montana. The Disney Channel is a place for Uncle Walt's successors to push talentless teens out in front of the world. Said teens get a few moments of fame and the Mouse gets another few million.
Why do I make this cynical and cliché critique of the Disney Channel? Because I want to make sure every person who reads this understands how shocked and delighted I am by Gravity Falls.
Gravity Falls takes place in a remote Oregon town of the same name. It features Dipper and Mabel Pines (voiced by Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal respectively), a pair of twins, staying with their Great Uncle (or Grunkle, a term I believe needs to be used more often) Stan (voiced by show creator Alex Hirsch), a sleazy con-artist that runs a tourist trap called the Mystery Shack. Stan rips off gullible vacationers and townies with "supernatural" attractions and a less than stellar gift shop, overseen by man-child Soos (also voiced by Hirsch) and a down-to-earth slacker teenager Wendy (voiced by Linda Cardellini). It looks like a dull summer for the twins, but they soon find out that there is quite a lot of strange goings on in the little town.
This show has that right mix of humor and adventure every family program ought to have. It's written in a way that can engage people of all ages without pandering to anyone.
The voice actors were chosen masterfully, especially in Mabel Pines. I can't imagine anyone else but Schaal (who also voiced Trixie in Toy Story 3 and plays Mel in Flight of the Conchords)playing the bubbly, effervescent Mabel.
This show also features DIY voice acting from Hirsch, a seemingly common occurrence in animated shows today (Regular Show creator JG Quintel voicing Mordecai and High Five Ghost and Adventure Time creator Pen Ward voicing Lumpy Space Princess as well as a myriad of side characters). Hirsch shows quite a bit of range voicing miserly Stan and obvious Soos.
Gravity Falls is also able juxtapose the supernatural and the normal growing pains of adolescence. On a nearly weekly basis, the observant and intelligent Dipper finds a way to crack a mystery involving gnomes and crystals that change an object's size, yet he can't muster the courage to ask his crush, Wendy, on a date.
There are a lot of TV shows and movies that try so hard to reach that sweet spot where they can appeal to kids, parents and young adults, but fall painfully short. Gravity Falls, though, hits that spot brilliantly.
Like his fellow CalArts alumni Quintel and Ward, Hirsch's product is one made out of love and care and it's made clear in every episode. Most impressively, though, is that it gives me a reason to watch the Disney Channel.
The Avengers (2012)
The Avengers Lives Up to the Hype
***This may include spoilers***
Let's make something clear: there's nothing wrong with special effects. Not every movie can, or should, be as low key as My Dinner with Andre. Sometimes, big explosions are necessary to advance the plot. The problem is that blockbusters tend to be high on special effects but low on story. The Avengers, though, found a way to balance both beautifully into a fun and engaging film
I'm not an expert on the Marvel universe, so I went into this film with only rudimentary knowledge of the heroes involved. I can't vouch for the accuracy of their portrayals by their actors. I still found myself interested in them and their stories. Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson reprise their respective roles and played them perfectly, while Mark Ruffalo appeared as the third man to pay the Incredible Hulk in a decade and probably the best of the three. All six played their parts appropriately well, though Downey stole the show with his larger than life portrayal of Tony Stark that may define his already impressive career as an actor.
Every good superhero movie has to have a good antagonist and The Avengers delivers with the manipulative, quick witted, cocky, yet insecure, Loki played by Tom Hiddleston. The tension between him and his adoptive brother Thor, made for a fascinating and sometimes heart breaking sub plot in the middle of a rock 'em, sock 'em action movie like this one. Loki's inferiority complex and obsession with power was a perfect contrast for Thor's maturity and desire for peace, not only in the world, but with his brother.
The Avengers did have a bit of a predictable story, but it worked in this instance. Sometimes that predictability is comforting and helps one immerse him/herself in the universe of the film. You find yourself actively rooting for the heroes and scowling whenever the villain appears on the screen. That stark contrast between good and evil can inspire groans, but if executed properly can reach an innocent, juvenile side of us that doesn't need complex anti-heroes or thought provoking character studies. Sometimes we just want to see good triumph over evil against extremely unlikely odds. This movie does just that. Don't be surprised if you catch yourself walking out of the theater feeling like a 10 year old kid wanting nothing more than to be your favorite of the six heroes.
While this isn't a modern day classic like the Dark Knight, it's a solid superhero film that lives up to its immense hype.
Oh, and when you go, don't forget to stick around after all the credits are finished. You're in for a surprise.
The Goodbye Girl (1977)
Not perfect, but still enjoyable
I hate rom-coms. I really do. I hate their predictability. I hate the two dimensional characters. I hate how dated they usually are (I'm looking at you, "You Got Mail"). I just can't stand them. Every so often, though, a romantic comedy comes along that doesn't keep my eyes rolling for an hour and a half. One where the characters aren't cardboard cutouts of actual human beings. One that's actually able to pull at my heart strings and let out the inner romantic. The Goodbye Girl is one of those movies.
The complaint I had with the film was the Lucy McFadden character played by Quinn Cummings. To be fair, I thought she showed a good range of emotions and as the movie progressed I actually started to like her. At the start of the movie, though, she was not a welcomed presence. Her over precociousness made her seem like a Tatum O'Neil wanna be. Lucy McFadden is kind of like taking a dip in a pool really early in the morning. At first, it feels harsh but it warms up to you as you stay a little while longer.
The movie does have a lot of the clichés we've come to hate about rom-coms. It has the "strong woman" with the heart of ice. It has the quirky love interest that melts aforenamed heart of ice. It has the wildly unlikely circumstances leading up to the wildly unlikely romance and the big city backdrop, but somehow it just works. I don't know why or how, but it just does. I thought Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason had great performances and I thought Elliot Garfield and Paula McFadden were likable characters. Is it my favorite movie of all time? No. Is it a bit of an Odd Couple rip off? Yes (though I guess that sort of thing works for Neil Simon). Did it give me that warm, fuzzy feeling rom-coms are supposed to give you (but so often fail to do)? Absolutely.
The Muppets (2011)
"The Muppets" is a family film in the purest sense of the word
Like many people, the Muppets were a big part of my childhood. I watched Sesame Street in the morning, Muppet Babies in the afternoon, and Muppet Show reruns in the evening. The Muppets are a national institution in the United States and beloved the world over. As most know, they came from the mind of Jim Henson. Henson's sense of humor was that perfect balance of the crass and the innocent, the surreal and real, the sly and the whimsical. He knew how to entertain kids and adults simultaneously, an uneasy feat most in the film and television industry can't master. In short, Henson knew how to make family entertainment. That's why the vast majority of products worked and remain staples in American culture two decades after his death.
After Henson died, the Muppet name didn't hold the same weight. Henson's presence was missing in the Muppets' last full length feature "Muppets in Space" and it showed. For a decade, the Muppets were virtually out of sight and, barring die hard fans, out of mind. Then in 2009, the Muppets went viral with their rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody and re-entered the consciousness of the general public. With 20 million hits plus, the video was an obvious smash but it was only a lead up to a new full-length feature, released two year to the day of the Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody video.
By the time I put my money down and got my ticket, I knew the film was in good hands. I've seen many of the aforenamed videos on YouTube and that wry, yet goofy, Muppet-esque humor was there. I knew if the same people involved with the video made the film, it was going to be a treat.
The film's main protagonist is Walter, a puppet living in a human world. His brother, Gary (played by co-writer Jason Segal) has always been there for him. The two are close to the point of borderline codependency and even well into their thirties, they've lived under the same roof. Walter is a full blown fan of the Muppets, and has been since his adolescence.
At the same time, Gary is in a very, very long term relationship with school teacher Mary (played by Amy Adams) who longs for the day when Gary finally proposes and cuts the emotional, inch-long chord binding Gary and his brother. Their relationship is further strained when Gary brings Walter along with him and Mary on a trip to Los Angeles, a trip that was supposed to be a romantic getaway for Gary and Mary. Gary and Mary take Walter on a trip to, what Gary considers, hallowed ground: the Muppet Studios. What was once a small, though busy, film studio has since become a dump since the Muppets went their separate ways. While sneaking into Kermit's old office, Gary learns that an oil baron plans on tearing down the lot and digging for that sweet, sweet black gold. The three vacationers find the residence of a certain Kermit the Frog. After Walter, Gary and Mary explain the situation to Kermit (and a lovely musical number) the plucky little frog sets out to find his friends and save a place they once called home.
The film is filled with so many celebrity cameos, sight-gags, sneaky jokes, and solid musical numbers that ranged from hilarious to touching, it would take more than the allotted 1000 word limit to explain it all. Then again, isn't that was a Muppet movie is all about? The pacing is quick and the run time is short, and yet the characters were able to develop beautifully. The movie routinely broke the fourth wall and made numerous references to pop culture, but didn't force jokes as other family films are wont to do. The Muppets even had a few good laughs at themselves through the film and yet they reminded the audience of what made them such a beloved entity. It was obvious Jim Henson's hand was over "The Muppets" (and if one looks carefully, they will see Henson's face in the movie twice). This film is a gem of this autumn/winter season and is a must see for Muppet fanatics and newbies alike.
The Princess and the Frog (2009)
By Jove...it's actually GOOD!
I've said my share of disparaging words against the Walt Disney Company, and let's face it; they've put out more than their share of garbage over the years. It seems as if Pixar has been pulling their dead weight for the past decade as they've put out offensively bad DTV releases and pumping their money and resources into their sub par T.V. station and musical acts (though I will say that Lilo and Stitch, as well as The Emperor's New Groove, which I consider to be one of Disney's funniest releases). Yes, it seemed that all hope was lost for the Mouse and that anything original and thought provoking associated with the Disney name would have that cute little bouncing lamp right along side.
Imagine my surprise when I saw The Princess and the Frog yesterday. Surprise nothing! I nearly went into a shock induced coma. This was a brilliant film, something truly worthy of Uncle Walt's iconic signature. This film had all the makings of a Disney classic: great story, great characters, great music, and of course, great art.
One thing I always give the Walt Disney Co. credit for is their masterful art work in their features, even the less than stellar ones. This has, especially, been the case the past 20-25 years. Some of the same artists that worked on the more recent classics like The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast worked on Princess and the Frog. I was told after the film that the same man that drew Belle (Randy Cartwright) drew for Tiana, and you can tell. The art in general in this movie is extremely impressive. Not only are all the characters well drawn, but the backgrounds are breath taking, very reminiscent of Hunchback of Notre Dame. They seem to take you into a painting of the location without losing it's touch with reality. Also, the use of different art styles stood out, especially the "Almost There" number, which was drawn mostly in the Art Deco style.
Randy Newman's score left the biggest impression on my after the film was over, though. I think this is the first time a Disney feature used, primarily, North American music styles like jazz, ragtime, southern gospel, and even zydeco. Of course, like any great Disney feature; Princess and the Frog had it's signature musical number: the previously named "Almost There". With a great tune, appropriate lyrics, and of course, the voice of Anika Noni Rose; I'm sure (and I hope) this will become another Disney standard. Unlike some Disney films, there wasn't that dreadful "Oh dear merciful God, when is this going to end" number. Every song was thought out, appropriate for it's setting, and just...good. Kudos to Randy Newman, who will hopefully get an Oscar nomination (at least) for this film.
Then, of course, there's the high water mark for not only Disney movies, but for movies in general, especially animation films: characters and story. Movies can have an amazing score and even good animation, but if the story flops and if the characters are insufferable, then it's going nowhere. This movie, thankfully, had neither problem. There was no character that you wish would just go get himself or herself bent. Everyone served his or her purpose in the movie.
Like many of the newer Disney movies, The Princess and the Frog had a, well...Princess character that was blue collar and hard working.Tiana is young woman from the slums of New Orleans, whose sole purpose in life is to open up a successful restaurant serving authentic Louisiana cuisine. Of course, the man puts her down and she finds herself sunk. I will say that I'm VERY proud of Disney for not shoving the race issue down our throats and, at the same time, for not avoiding it all together. This was seen in the scene where the land lords of the building she's looking to purchase.
At the same time, a lazy hedonistic prince comes to New Orleans looking for a (Rich) bride since his monetary supply has been cut off by his parents. He sets his sights on a bona fide southern belle named Charlotte, Tiana's foil and best friend. The Prince and his reluctant English servant (what prince would be complete without one) get sidetracked by a voodoo man/street performer named Dr. Facilier aka "The Shadow Man", a slick deceitful crook with his own silhouette as a side kick (and yes, they are able to make it work). Dr. Facilier says both Prince Naveeh and Lawerence will get what they both desire most (money and a life without servitude, respectively). Louis is turned into the Prince (or at least, given his body) while Naveeh turns into...a smiley frog; which as we learn throughout the film is mucus.
Naveeh meets Tiana after she changes clothes (and after her dreams of owning her own restaurant). Tiana, who is less than fond of frog, tries to kill our hero; but later finds out that this is a frog with a difference...he can talk. After Naveeh sees a copy of a print version of, appropriately enough, the Princess and the Frog, he asks Tiana (Who is wearing a tiara at the time) to kiss him, believing that she is, indeed, royalty herself; though he later finds out that she is a waitress. He promises that after she kisses him, something she is far from enthusiastic about, he will make her dream of owning her own restaurant a reality. Well, she does kiss him, but there's a bit of a SNAFU: she turns into a frog herself. The two of them must find a way to become human again. Along the way, they meet a cavalcade of characters including a trumpet playing alligator (and yes, they are able to make it work somehow) and a Cajun firefly named Ray.
The Princess and the Frog, a movie (I hope) that is destined for greatness.
The Wedding Singer (1998)
The accumulation of my greatest fear and my fondest wish
So, the Wedding Singer is a new personal favorite of mine after I saw it for the first time this weekend. It followed the typical Adam Sandler film: the main character is introduced, his world comes crashing down around him, he meets a love interest, has a new found purpose in life, misunderstanding between him and love interest, world comes crashing down around him again, he redeems himself somehow, happy ending /Sandler Movie. At the same time, this movie hit a special chord with me. I didn't laugh particularly hard at it (though it was funny) and the acting/writing wasn't all that stellar. Heck, I'm not even a huge fan of 80's music. I did, though, see a lot of parallels between myself and the Robby character, and I think, in some strange way, the movie was a dramatization of my greatest fear (being left at the alter at my wedding by my bride to be) and my fondest wish (finding the special someone).
This film had what a lot of other Sandler films lack: heart. There was no shortage of heart in this film. This is a character that tried to make a decent living and tried his best to make the people in his life, whether they were family, friends, or clients, happy. He gave music lessons to old women for meatballs. He looked out for wedding patrons that weren't having a good time. Most of all, though, music was the passion of his life.
Of course, though, it wasn't without the usual Sandler film traits: random cameos, people hurting themselves, douche-bag antagonists, and of course, an adorable love interest; but it's still a film worth viewing at least once.
Take the Money and Run (1969)
Wit + Cinematic Anarchy = Classic Woody Allen
Woody Allen...the short, red headed, Jewish guy with big glasses and a dirty mouth. Without a doubt, one of the best comedians, writers, and directors of the last century. In this movie, you really got a good look into the mind, or at least the sense of humor, of Allen.
Take the Money and Run was one of the first mockumentaries that would become famous with the Christopher Guest films. This is a genre I'm particularly fond. Mockumentaries, when well done, are absolutely ridiculous, but are presented in the utmost seriousness. Unlike most other genres of comedies, they mock the madness that is human nature right out there in the plainest way possible.
I think the thing that really makes this movie is the sheer number of sight gags, recurring jokes, and just general Allen-esquire humor that are sprinkled throughout the movie. Who could forget Virgil Starkwell as the lone cello player in the marching band? I know I laughed every time Starkwell's glasses were shattered to pieces by a host of different neighborhood bullies and thugs. Furthermore, who else but Woody Allen would devote a whole scene to a bank robbery that failed due to poor handwriting.
Those are only a few of gags and general insanity that make this movie a pure joy to watch. The love story does kind of drag the movie down, but even that brings with it a plethora of humor. This is a movie I'd suggest to anyone with a tongue in cheek sense of humor that likes a bit of silliness.
Bringing Broadway to the People
Before the TV movie musicals explosion of the later 90's and early 2000's, there was Cinderella, a Rogers and Hammerstein adaptation of a classic fairy tale. In the 1950's, color T.V. was the new thing and everyone wanted to show off their capabilities. This was also a time when art of all kind was for show on commercial television.
Not to be outdone by rival NBC, CBS announced that they would get the legendary team of Rogers and Hammerstein to write a for-T.V. musical based on the beloved tale of Cinderella. The show would use such talent as Howard Lindsay, Dorothy Stickney, Edie Adams, and a young up and coming Broadway star named...oh...what's her name...Julie something or other, I think. I'll remember later. You've probably never heard of her, anyway.
Though only black and white kiniscopes exist now, the show was filmed in glorious color and live in a cramped studio. What we'd find out later is that this was shown in front of the biggest audience at that time.
ANDREWS! Of course.
I've seen all three televised version of Cinderella, and I can say that the original is, without question, the best of the three. It had the one quality all great musical performances have...engagement. I was absolutely sold on everything that happen throughout the musical. Only the best shows and performances can do that. Andrews showed the country why she was a mighty force on Broadway and why she would become a beloved actress the world over. The old, familiar faces and the new people from different places, this was a meeting of all of them. I only hope we can see this again on the small screen again in the near future.
The Beau Brummels (1928)
A brilliant vaudeville routine
When one thinks of vaudeville, one thinks of...well, nothing at all. It's a dead art form of several generations before this and nearly forgotten all together. If you watched the Turner Classic Movies network between 9:45-10:45, you got a reminder. One of the better reminders (if not the best) came from Shaw and Lee. Dry as a desert, but one of the funniest short subjects I've ever seen. Great songs, side splitting dialogue, and all with a straight face. This one of things that made vaudeville great. If you like silly, but dry humor, this film is definitely worth a look and (shockingly) a listen! What will those Warner Brothers think of next?
Reign Over Me (2007)
A bitter-sweet look at family, friendship, and coping
On September 11th, 2001, millions were killed; but 2,819 lives ended in an especially gruesome manner. They were the victim of a plane hijacking by extremists whose sole mission was to destroy buildings, but more importantly, people. This film takes an in-depth look at four people whose lives were cut short by this disastrous event and one man whose life was shattered by the loss of their lives.
Charlie Fineman (played by Adam Sandler), a former dentist living in New York, loses his wife and three children on September 11th as they were on their way to Los Angeles. Emotionally annihilated by the events, he eventually loses touch with everyone who reminds him of his former life; including his in-laws and his best friend (played, respectively, by Robert Klein, Melinda Dillon, and Mike Bender). He goes into completely denial and does his best to forget about his former life. This continues until he runs into his old college friend Alan Johnson (played by Don Cheadle) who Fineman doesn't seem to remember. The two begin to catch up, but Fineman believes Johnson was sent by people from his former life to persuade him into finding help. Slowly, but surely, Fineman regains his trust for Johnson.
While all this is happening, Alan Johnson's life is going down the wrong path. He is a self man (dentist) who helps start a dental practice. One day, a patient of his named Donna Remar (played by Saffron Burrows) attempts to make a move on him, telling him that she would like to perform oral sex for him. This is an unwelcome surprise to Dr. Johnson since he is a married man with two children. As he is coming home from work on a particular workday, he sees his old friend (Fineman) and tries to flag him down. He is unsuccessful, but he gets another opportunity and persuades Fineman to get a come of coffee with him to catch up, despite the fact that Fineman doesn't know who he is.
One of the most interesting things about this movie is its use of music as a motif. One of Fineman's physiological crutches is music, particularly Springsteen and other classic rock artists. When Fineman is asked to open up about his past or to talk about things he finds unpleasant, he puts on his earphones and drowns out the world with things his music.
When the film was over, I had me thinking: how would I cope with the loss of my family? How would I deal with such a tragic events. It's something we don't really think about too often. We always think they'll be there and we often take them for granted, whether we intend to or not. We usually realize how important they are when it's too late; and a blow like that can destroy someone physically, emotionally, and physiologically. I really don't know how I would be able to deal with something like that. Would I face the problem head on, cope, and move on with my life or would I just put my headphones on and block the world?
There's funny, there's funny-funny, and then there's dumb-funny
"That was something else." Those were the words I uttered as I left the theater. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby was, indeed a strange, and unique film. It's the story of a none too bright man from the state of North Carolina and his passion for going really, really fast. His struggle against a rival from Froggyville (also known as France) and his no so real battle with a paraplegic condition. There's heartbreak, there's excitement, and last but not least COUGARS! The movie starts out with the birth a boy...a very special boy whose story would be told for generations on end...little baby Jesus. Wait, no...sorry. Got ahead of myself. No, it was the birth of little Bobby Ricky who was born in the back seat of a Camero (?). Thus, our story can continue. We see Mr. Bobby's childhood progress during the first few scenes/ whether it be stealing his mom's car or having his deadbeat dad show up for career day high as a kite in March in Chicago. It is during the situation with his father that his life motto is created: "If you're not first, you're last". That motto would carry him to one of the greatest career's in the history of stock car racing history; but, as they say "The bigger they are, the harder they fall" While his magical, but bizarre career was going wonderfully (He would always finish first and his best friend Cal Naughton, Jr. who was played by the Academy Award Nominated John C. Reily) The film's antagonist enters. A dastardly Frenchman named Jean Girrard, one of France's top formula one racers, comes to America to challenge Ricky Bobby (and, in the process of challenging him, breaks his arm like a twig). Though with a broken arm, Bobby accepts the challenge and they're both off to the races (literally). The races changes both of their lives drastically. For Girrard, he becomes a superstar for Bobby...well, he crashes and goes into obscurity. He loses his wife, his home, his best friend, and the little bit of sanity he had left. The only one who can save him is his deadbeat father Reese. Though you probably wouldn't believe it by my review, Ricky Bobby is a hilarious film. I suggest it to anyone with a sense of humor and a love for the random/stupid.
My brain hurts
Star Wars is perhaps one of the most influential movie franchise of the 1970's. It captured the imagination of billions of people around the world, (including moi) for 28 years. But the unfortunate side of a successful is over exposure that is sure to follow. Star Wars was the epitome of over saturation, and no example of this was more obvious that the infamous "Star Wars Holiday Special".
Until two day's ago, I never had the slightest notion that anyone in their right mind would make a variety program in a galaxy far, far away. I knew that back then, Star Wars was big, to the point of insanity, between the breakfast cereal and the bedroom drapes and that God awful disco version of John Williams' score from the original film. I thought I had seen it all, but I was mistaken. To think that someone sat down and came up with the idea of this monstrosity and someone very important at CBS thought that it was half-way decent.
I find it hard to believe that George Lucas allowed these people to show this this piece of dog excrement. Perhaps old G.L. was brainwashed by Bruce Vilanch and his cronies. Perhaps he was knocked out and put in a closet somewhere with a filthy rag down his throat, feed only stale bread and lukewarm water. I don't know what happened, but it happened, and it makes me very sad.
I have a few questions for the people that are responsible for this special (that turned out to be quite special).
First off, WHAT THE F&%# WAS THE DEAL WITH THE WOOKIES? The little one (I think his name was lumpy or dopey or doc, I can't remember right now)looked like some sort of cross between Gary Coleman and Robin Williams. The mother spent most of the special looking at picture of Chewie and cooking. Not really looking after the little spawn, are ya? Finally, there is my favorite, the grandfather with the gray fur. This little pervert spent a good 7 minutes whacking off to to hologram of Diahann Carroll. That's right, Diahann Caroll, the star of the ground breaking T.V. series "Julia". But I think the biggest "WTF" about the show was the fact that about 2/3 of the thing was wookie talk, WITH NO SUBTITLES TO BOOT. Could someone please remind me why I'm not allowed to know what's their saying. The weirdest thing about the thing is that they can understand English (apparent when Mrs. Chewie was talking to Luke about something).
Question number two: Why the heck is the pace so slow in this special? When I watched a bootleg copy on the internet, it was only supposed to be an hour and thirty five minutes long (approximately) but, in their galaxy, 1:35=9 hours. The pace was so slow, I could actually feel the hate building up inside of me.
Question Three: The musical numbers...why? That's all I really have to ask about them. Not only did they drag on and on AND FRIGGIN' ON, but the song were sung by people with sub-par talent (with the exception of Jefferson Starship, but their set was still horrid). During the Carrie Fisher and Bea Aurthur numbers, I was almost driven to tears because they absolutely butchered John Williams' work. "The Life Day Song"? Give us a break, please. Or even better, chop our ears off with crooked swords so we won't have to listen to it.
In closing, if you looking for a mind-numbing good time, check out "The Star Wars Holiday Special". How mind numbing is it, you ask? My head really hurt after I watched the thing and I think my I.Q. dropped 40 points. This is one of those things you watch to make "MST3K" style comments about.
May the force be with you! Especially if your watching this, because your going to need all the strength you can get.
Robin Hood (1973)
An interesting film from the post-Walt era
Disney's Robin Hood (1973) was the second film released after Uncle Walt's death (the first was the Jungle Book-1968). I've always liked this film for Different reasons. When I was younger, I liked it because, well...it was Disney. Everything Disney was right in my eyes. Robin Hood was one of my favorite films as a small child. Recently, I saw it again on television after not seeing it for a very long time. Now I have a whole new set of reasons for why I thoroughly enjoy this film.
Ken Anderson did something quite special with Robin Hood, he combined the elements of a traditional animated Disney feature with some creative ideas of his own.
One element of both Disney animated features and shorts where the use of animals instead of people where telling an unoriginal story. The story of Robin Hood had been told in many live-action movies (with Earl Flynn's performance still the standard). In the Disney film, the animators used the obvious choice of a fox for the role of Robin Hood. Maid Marian had to be a Vixen (because inter-species love is really weird). A bear was a good choice for Robin's right hand man, because as we all know, fat people make perfect sidekicks.
Another Disney tradition upheld was the great animation. Ever since Snow White, Disney has been the standard for great animation. Though other animation studios tried to duplicate Disney, they we're seldom successful. The animation in Robin Hood was no exception.
Robin Hood was also a very original film for Disney. The film started with a Rooster that sang folks song and was kind of a hippie. In most movies about Robin Hood he was kind of this God figure that was untouchable. In this one, Robin Hood was just a regular guy that only wanted to help his people out. He had his dreams and ambitions and faults like everyone else.
In closing, Robin Hood is a great family film. Children, teenagers, and adults can enjoy it. 8 out of 10 stars.
The Incredibles (2004)
Pixar/Disney, you've done it again
Of all the great films Disney and Pixar have put out, I think this may be in my top 3, if not my favorite. The Incredibles was a great film that took a fresh look at the world of superhero's, one that didn't just have one, but had a full family. It's good to see that C.T. Nelson is still working, I though he did a great job as the voice of Mr. Incredible. With a supporting cast of interesting characters, its quite hard to not enjoy The Incredibles.
So, this film is about a family in your normal suburbia who may seem average (i.e. father with a job, mother at home, mischievous son, emo daughter)but actually have a very interesting secret. The film begins about 20 (?) years before the plot really starts to thicken. The great Mr. Incredible has saved the day again, but it would be the last time he would do it as a bachelor. That night, he and his Fiancé (Elastigirl) would wed. After that happened, he did a routine saving, at least that's what he though. He saved a man jumping out of a building. Everything was wonderful, that is until he found out the man was trying to commit suicide. The man slapped him with a lawsuit and superherioisim was made illegal.
Well, Mr. and Mrs. Parr (aka Mr. Incredible and Elstigirl) had to settle down to a normal life. Mr. Parr, though, still had those "superhero urges" and still wanted to fight crime. So on Tuesday's (it was Tuesday, right?) they went out looking for someone to save. This put the Parr marriage in jeopardy, but tried to control it. That is, until he received a strange call that asked him to join this special union of superhero's (which is really a trap). Will Mr. Incredible take the bait (of course he will, duh).
You have got to see this film, you will love it. Would I lie to you?
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Saw Pulp Fiction today, and the only think I could say after it was...wow. 2 and a half straight hours of brilliant, but quite bloody. This was one of the best movies ever made, but also, maybe the most disturbing film of the 90's. This enforces my hypothesis that Q. Tarintino is a sick f**k, but a brilliant one.
One other thing I noticed about the film was the number of "f bombs" dropped. Its like the only word people can say in L.A. is the "f" word. Language wise, this film made a George Carlin show look like Mr. Rogers. It made South Park look Tiny Toons. I'm not saying that profanity is all that bad, its just...did it really need so many? So
anyway, I would not suggest Pulp Fiction to the weak at heart or those partial to hard language, you will not believe your ears. Apart from that, see Pulp Fiction, its a great movie.
Johnny Bravo (1997)
It was so good!
You know, I was a HUGE Johnny Bravo fan. It was an extremely witty animated program that (like Garfield and Friends, Anamainiacs, and Tiny Toons) was kind of a "satire 101" for my generation. I remember when I would look forward to every Friday night at 9 (?) because Johnny Bravo would come on. This blonde Elvis wanna be charmed the country with his hilarious attempt at love, then getting something shoved down his paints or a hard object over his head.
Then 2000 rolled around and with a new century came new characters, thus the demise of the Johnny Bravo I know and love. It was almost reincarnated as this awful mindless program that made Johnny look almost retarded. Of course they would put old Johnny Bravo in re-runs, for a while, but then they stopped. About a year ago I entirely gave up on The Cartoon Network (with the exception to Family Guy, Futurama, Aqua Teen Hungerforce, Sealab 2021, and Harvey Birdman: A.A.L). The station that once brought classic and sometimes kind of edgy original cartoons, is now a mindless output system of mostly substandard anamie cartoons.
So in conclusion, please bring Johnny Bravo to its former, FUNNY self.
Muppets Tonight (1996)
Where did it go?
Okay I was just a little kid when this series premeired, but I do rememeber that the show was extremely funny. Its just a darn shame that they canceled it as quickly as they did. This remake of the Mumppet Show was witter and maybe even better than the Mumppet Show (please don't stone me for that comment). But I think my one line summary said it all, where did it go?
So the question is, why in the world did ABC cancel this program? The answer is very simple, the people at ABC are idiots. There's no way around it, they have no idea what there doing! They we're 4th place for a while, THEY WE'RE BELOW FOX FOR ST. PETERS SAKE! First the Critic, then Muppets Tonight 2 years later, its just a shame.
So in conclution, The American Brodcastic Co. should have let this show run, because if they did, it would have been a hit! But oh well, maybe they'll have it on DVD one day.
Adapation of the classic book by C.S. Lewis. I myself love the works of C.S. Lewis and belive he brillently told the story of Jesus Christ in a way that the smallest child can understand. Clive Lewis also was a deep intlectual, in case you did not know. He wrote books like Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters to explane the Christian way in a higher level. But anyway, I'm getting off topic.
I wasn't alive when this special was on PBS, but I did get an opportunity to see it though because my church library had the tape of it in stock. I very much enjoyed it, even though it was not as good as the book. Just a few minutes ago, I saw the 1979 anamaited verison, that wasn't so hot. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was a good T.V. speical that they should really re-run some time soon. Thats all I really had to say about it, I wish I could give you more, but theres not really much to be said quite frankly. It was good, but it wasn't that good.
The Godfather (1972)
Simply The Best
The Godfather is one of those movies that come around once ever so often that leave you in awe of it's greatness. Its a story of so many demintons, twists and turns and yet, it's not hard to follow. The Godfather is a film where it's hard to pick the bad guys from the good guys. It's a story of how even the most innocent of people can take part in the most despicable actions if the right pieces come to place. It's a story of family, love, hate, and murder. Mario Puzo's The Godfather is a sure fire classic that wont disappoint.
So The Godfather is about this Mafia boss named Vito Corleone (The Late Marlon Brando) who is a Italian immigrant who came to this country during the early 20th century (as you will see in part II). So he's in the gambling racket in New York and has many crooked politicians and other people of power right in his pocket. He has 2 Sons: Micheal (Al Pacino)and Sonny (James Cann). Sonny is his right hand man who is hier as head of the family, Sonny is the epidiemy of the hothead who is impossible to talk to with out pissing him off. During the film while at a tollbooth in Jeresy he's trapped like a rat in a huge boobytrap and is shot many times, thus his demise. And of coarse there's Micheal who is the innocent one of the family. A war veteran and college boy, Micheal has his hands clean of any blood, at least for a while.
One day while getting some fruit, Don Corleone was shot 5 times in the back by a man who he refused to do business with. To say the least, the brothers where not happy. So squeaky clean Micheal comes up with a plan to kill the men who tried to kill his father (by the way, Vito came though). He invited the two men to an old style restaurant in The Bronx to "talk". While they were talking, Micheal asked to go to the bathroom. While he was there he grabbed the gun that he hid behind the toilet, he took it out and killed them both. the plan went as planed, but Micheal had to go to Italy until the whole ordeal had cooled down.
Some assorted stuff happened (like his brother death) while he was gone but when he was in Italy, he met he future wife Appellonia. They were married for awhile until she died because of a car bomb. Soon afterwards, he gets word of his brothers death and returns to the states. Soon after he returns his father strokes out making him the new "Don". Here, you can really see Micheal change from a kind innocent man to a cold hearted mafia man who kills his brother in law, despite the objections of his sister.
One of the most cruel and ironic movies ever, The Godfather is with out a doubt the best film ever made. There will never be another one like it, this film had it all. a 10/10 all the way!
The Producers (1967)
What A Film!
I saw The Producers about a week ago and I loved it! This '68 classic by Mel Brooks (his major film if I'm not mistaken) made me laugh so hard my sides hurt. The whole thing with the Nazis, only Mel Brooks could pull that off, sheer brilliant, Brooks can not be a mere mortal! *Spoilers possible* So, this film is about a man named Max Bealistock (played by Zero Mostel) is a failing Broadway producer who depends on rich old frisky woman to give him money for sex. In short, Max hates his whole life and is constantly looking for new ways to get lots of money, and fast, So he hires an accountant named Leo Bloom (Gene Wilder). While looking though the books, he found a loophole, if the play is a flop, they can make more money. Unfortuntly, Leo said it out loud and Max could not help but go though with this brilliant but yet wrong plan.
So they go on the look out for the worst scrip ever and they find it! To quote Max "It's practically a love letter to Hitler." So they went to the residents of a one Franz Liebkind (Ken Mars) who is a major Nazi. He agrees to direct it, and they go on the look for the ideal Adolf with there super fruity casting man Roger De Bris (Christopher Hewett)and found in the stoner of the century: L.S.D. (Dick Shawn). The play is set to be a big flop, and the classic showstoping number "Springtime For Hitler" helped matters, but in a bar across the street, celebrating there big accomplishment, there met with a big surprise.
This is one of my favorite films ever! I would suggest it to anyone. Please see The Producers, you will love it!
A Mighty Wind (2003)
Christopher Geust has done it again!
I saw A Mighty Wind recently and I couldn't stop laughing. Christopher Geust and Co. really out did themselves on this project. This new mocumentry from the people who brought you Spinal Tap, Best in Show and Waiting for Gufman is sure to leave you on the ground laughing like a mad man.
As some of you know, folk music was really popular in the 60's and many folk groups where created because of it, this is the story of 3 of these groups. All of them had 1 thing in common, they were all founded and made famous via Irving Stinebloom the head of a major record company. Unfortunately, it was his time to go, and he checked out. His son who now is in charge of the label wanted to have a special in tribute to the passing of his father. So he gets the 3 major folk groups, The Main Street Singers (now the new main street singers), The Folks Men (you may know them better as same 3 guys who played Spinal Tap), and the duo Mitch and Mickey (broke up in the late 60's). Hillarity insues as various sub plots take place during the film, but in my opinion, the best one is the one about Mitch and Mickey. During the 60's they we're THE couple in folk music, but an unfortunately recording room incondent in the late 60's they disbanded. Mickey went on to other things while Mitch went completely insane. So when they got the invitation to play in public television special, rough waters are excpetcted.
A Mighty Wind is a a 4th testoment to the brillents that is Christopher Geust and Co. Most of the film was improvised, and they still managed to keep it funny. The whole cast was hilarious, and its got great music. I myself am a fan of Guest and Co. movies, and I hope they make more. So in closing I give Mighty Wind a solid 9 out of 10.
The Show of the 90's
Sinfeld is one of the most brillent programs of all time. Even though I was not alive when the show premiered in 1990, I watch it on TBS and syndication and I can't stop laughing. The show that was the antithicis of Martin (another show I enjoyed)put NBC on top and kept it there for 9 great seasons
The show about nothing took place in New York City and revolved around a comedian named Jerry Seinfeld and his group of friends: George Castansa, Eliane Bennis, and Cosmo Cramer. George, who was a life long friend of Jerry is a wash out, a two bit, lying, little loser. For a good portion of the show he lived with his parents and just had nothing going for him you can also look him up as Art Vandale the architect (one of George's Alias'). We also have Eliane Bennis who is Jerry's ex-girlfriend. Eliane works in a publishing company for her eccentric boss Peterman. Eilane is someone you would just hate to know, the qunticential "itchbay" (pig latin). She will stab your back in a heartbeat if she gets the opportunity. Kramer...is Kramer. He's a really weird guy who won't leave Jerry alone and constantly bursts into his apartment. Kramer's hair looks like he put his finger in his mouth and stuck in it a electric socket, and hes always trying to cook up some weird scheme.
Seinfeld is with out a doubt one of the best sitcoms of all time and has a rule that could have saved many a shows: No hugging and no Learning! Thank God for Seinfeld, that show saved NBC.
The funniest film this year (so far)
I saw Will Ferrell's new film Ancorman today, and was in stitches from beginning to end. I already knew that he was a comedy genius, but this is his best work ever (sure beats Old School). Unfortunately, when I saw the movie, there were some idiots sitting behind me yacking on there cell phones, but that did not stop me from enjoying it.
So the plot of Ancorman is that there's this man named Ron Burgundy, who basically the James Bond of San Deigo Journalisam. He and his news team buddies are the top of the heap in the rating, life is good. Unfortunitly for the boys, A new anchor person from Ashville, NC comes to The city of Saint Deigo, and this particular person (to everyone surprise) is a woman. Now in the 70's, a woman anchor was un-heard of (except of coruse for Barbra Walters who was on the Today show during the 60's and 70's). Anyway, everyone on the news team was pretty peeved about it, but all tried to get a piece of her (If you know what I mean) Veronica (played by Christina Applegate) is a womans woman trapped in a mans world who's trying to make herself respected in a mans world.
The whole film will make you laugh so hard, you'll spit the popcorn out of you mouth. I give it 3 1/2 stars and suggest it to anyone over 13 who loves good comedy and music from the 70's. You stay classy IMDb.
The Land Before Time (1988)
OH GOD, MAKE IT STOP!
To quote Strong Bad, "HOLY CRAP, MAN!" This movie was so awful I wanted to throw up! These... things really took the sting out of the terror giant that is the dinosaur. With there cutesy songs and nauseatingly cute voices and faces, it made a whole generation sick!
Okay, the basic plot of all of these film's (9 if I'm not mistaken) is that this little ancient reptile (forgot his name) and his little friends go on adventures. There always met by these obstacles, might it be larger preitors or something, but they always pull though with the power of team work (Yeah!). I would not suggest this film to anyone but little kids, but I didn't like it even when I was a small child, so just don't see it period, you'll be a better person, trust me!