Wednesday, January 31, 2007
This evening at home, Elias scraped his finger on a little nail that was starting to stick out of the wall. He got a little scratch mark and he started crying. The first thing out of his mouth (in between all the tears): "Next time I go to school I'll say 'Hi' to Ms. Carrie and she'll say 'Hi Elias, How are you today?' And instead of saying 'Great' I'll say 'Not so good...because I have a boo-boo!'" And then he sobbed uncontrollably for about 15 minutes.
The last two scenes in the play were a little more down to earth. One involved a guy (Brian Kaiser) having cyber-sex with a girl who ends up being his sister and the other was my lame attempt to be a little serious and romantic and end the show with a cute little skit about a nice guy (Gareth Kelly) winning the heart of a jock's girlfriend (Joy Watkins.) Then any actual sentiment I was able to work up was all tossed out the window for the final scene which was a musical number, just for the sake of having a musical number because I think all plays (and movies) should end with a good musical number.
The show was about an hour and 15 minutes long with no intermission. It was well received as people knew coming in that they weren't getting Shakespeare. Our scheduled short run of four shows was snipped to three when we cancelled the last show due to snow, but once again we all had a good time working on the show and pulling the whole thing off.
Those were great times, working with so many talented and fun people. It was alot of work directing my first play while also playing two roles in it but luckily in the second scene I was in one of my props was a magazine that I was holding. I ended up taping the script for the scene in the magazine and never really learning my lines, but with help I pulled it off.
One of the very talented people involved with the Down South Independent Theatre Company was Jen Wadford, who had worked on BARN OF THOUGHT and a sketch comedy show we had done years earlier called SUDS. Jen made costumes and props and kept everything together while the rest of us were trying to show off on stage. We also got alot of help and support from Catonsville Community College, where we produced the shows. Not only did they let us use the theatre for free, the drama department helped us out with lighting and other equipment for the theatre. Like I said, it was really a collaborative effort.
Here's a picture of all the females in the cast taken one night after a performance. The back row is: Terri McHargue, Carey Dillon in her musical number outfit, Julie DiPanfilo as the goddess Vesta, and Joy Watkins as Dawn. The bottom row is Ariel Tucker as Mrs. Johnson, Laura Keller as student #3 and Tammy Coffinberger as student #4.
The Down South Independent Theatre Company story continues this summer with the 10th Anniversary of our full-blown musical extravaganza SUNBURNED!
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Accepted is a fantastic movie that I wanted to see in theatres, but just caught it on DVD. It's a high school/college comedy - another one of my favorite genres. A high school senior who's been rejected by every college he's applied to fakes a letter of acceptance from a fake school to keep his parents happy. That lie turns into another lie, followed by another lie and pretty soon the kid is running a fake school with 300 students. Very funny...one of the best films in this mold since 1994's P.C.U. I think it made like $32 bucks at the box office when it came out last year, but it's worth checking out. It's funny all the way through and never gets bogged down with unnecessary things like plot or story!
Usually after I profess my love for crap it's hard to convince people something else is really good. WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR? is a fantastic documentary about the auto industry's lack of cooperation in producing zero-emission vehicles for the public. It's well told, in a fast breezy style. It's not pompous and artsy like so many other documentaries nor is it Michael Moore influenced like so many other docs. It's to the point and tells an interesting story with some surprising little side stories. If you wanna get all worked up about how government and big corporations are running this country into the ground you should take a look at this fine film.
Finally this week I got around to watching 2005's big screen adaptation of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD. And wow, what a steaming pile of garbage that is. I don't understand why they keep making movies based on TV shows, but they want to reinvent the show and give it a new twist. TV shows are loved for certain reasons, and when you make a movie that is obviously going to appeal to the shows original audience, but then you change the things the audience likes about show...you're going to make a horrible movie! They didn't stick to the characters of the original show. They had the same names, and they dressed the same...but they weren't the same characters. Second of all, the TV show wasn't vulgar and wasn't sexual!? I hate to sound like a grandparent, but why they thought a new version had to be filled with cuss words and sex jokes, I don't know why.
Another HORRIBLE movie I saw this week was NATIONAL LAMPOON'S PLEDGE THIS! staring Paris Hilton, but I guess I was pretty much walking right into that one!
Friday, January 26, 2007
The ad is promoting M&M's new website Become an M&M.com, which has something to do with making an M&M character of yourself. I went to the website and there was nothing about SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT there so I kind of lost interest...but the ad is cool! Next I'd like to see M&M's of The Golden Girls, the Police Academy recruits, and The Apple Dumpling Gang!
So then a couple of days later, I was strolling through the isles of my local Target and spotted a very cool Smokey and the Bandit T-shirt, with that trendy retro-vibe thing going on. Very Cool! Somebody out there that can fit into T-shirts such as this, please buy one and wear it for me! Seriously, if you wanna get one: Target doesn't have them on their website but I found this other place called 80's Tee's.com that has a selection of five different SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT t-shirts. What a great way to say "I Love You" to your valentine this year!
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Here's a sample of some of the high-brow comedy you'll find inside:
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Above you'll see some apples from Disney Farms. (You may remember an earlier post about Disney Farms Cars Grapes) I'm quite sure when I get my hands on a box of those, I won't be throwing away the box anytime soon. I guess Nemo is a good choice for Disney's drinking water, it just seems odd to have the words "Purified Drinking Water" next to a picture of two dirty tropical fish swimming in water!? However the Mickey ravioli's are a nice touch. They are shaped like Mickey's head and any food that you can shape into Mickey's head should be sold as such!
Below are more items you'll see on the shelves soon. Even a Disney character can't make oatmeal exciting in my book!
Monday, January 22, 2007
My wife called me from the grocery store the other day. "Honey, they've got a new Mickey Mouse cereal out. Should I pick up a box?," she asked. My answer, "Yes...and YES!" After several years with Kellogg's, Disney has now partnered up with General Mills to bring us all new breakfast treats that meet Disney's new standards in healthier choices for kids. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Berry Crunch is not as sugary sweet as it looks from the picture on the box. It's actually a kind of neat cross between Trix and Rice Crispies but after taking one bite you can tell it's not loaded with sugar like other similar cereals. I guess they spent most of their time coming up with the healthier cereal itself than the overall concept of what these little Berry Crunchies have to do with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse show, but who's complaining. As I've said before, you put Mickey Mouse on your box and it's in my shopping cart!
Along with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cereal, General Mills has also introduced Little Einsteins Fruity Stars and Disney Princess Fairytale Flakes (which could be read as a put down on Snow White and Cinderella!) The Little Einsteins cereal are kind of like star shaped Fruit Loops but again not as sweet. We passed on picking up a box of the Fairytale Flakes, but next time we're at the grocery store I'll throw a box in the cart when my wife is not looking and then blame it on my kids when we get home! Speaking of the kids, they both really liked the cereals. The Little Einsteins Fruity Stars actually came out on top. Tanner (1) likes them mixed in with his Cheerios and Elias (3) gobbles them down as well. They also make great on-the-run snacks for your little ones...a la' Cheerios. The Mickey cereal is fun too! It's very colorful, but a little too small for baby fingers. It's best enjoyed in a bowl of milk! Surprisingly on the back of each box, instead of advertising the latest Disney DVD or theme park ride, there are Fun Games and nutritional information. A good "box back" is important to the over-all cereal experience! Here's a scan of the back of the Clubhouse Crunch box...
Also in Disney cereal happenings, Kellogg's just unveiled some new premiums in some of their most popular brands. Inside specially marked boxes you can get a Get Up & Go Step Counter featuring Chicken Little, Stitch, or the main mouse himself! Each step counter also has the new all-encompassing "Disney Parks" logo too!
I was happy to find a Mickey in my box! Now, on my next trip to Walt Disney World I can measure how many steps I take in a day at the parks or I can loose the little thing on the first ride I get on!
Friday, January 19, 2007
Anyhow, back to the movie...as it also turns when it comes to house hunting for both the couples, Marcia and Jan both fall in love with the same house! But neither of them can't afford it. BUT if they pooled their money together they could buy the place and all four of them could live there! BUT here's the rub...Jan and her husband are real uptight "play by the rules" kind of people, Jan's husband Phillip is even a college professor! Marcia and her husband are kind of wild "eat ice cream out of the container" kind of people! And get a load of this, Marcia's husband is named Wally and he works at a toy factory. The friction that's going to happen when these two couples move in can't be contained in one two hour movie! So THE BRADY BRIDES continued their adventures as these two nutty couples trying to make a go of things in a crazy world they call 1981!
Sadly, THE BRADY BRIDES never lived to see 1982. After six episodes the show was cancelled and we wouldn't hear from the Brady's again until 1988's A VERY BRADY CHRISTMAS...which is also a fantastic little flick!
THE BRADY BRIDES is long overdue a deluxe DVD edition of it's own!
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Spoiler Alert! One of the best parts about being a daddy is that I've got some automatic movie going partners for the next 13 years or so. My older son is 3 years old right now, so that kind of limits the number of movies we can go see together but luckily I have the movie tastes of a 7 year old so that all works out well in the end! I hadn't been to the movies since early November and I had really been jonesing some theatre action so I took Elias to see CHARLOTTE'S WEB last night. Pretty good movie! It was Elias' first live-action movie (I think all he's seen are animated films) and he did really well following it and enjoying it. We had been reading a picture book version of the story at home so he was a little familiar with the characters. However our picture book only tells the story of how Wilbur the pig ends up at the farm he calls home. And I guess I saw the old 1972 animated CHARLOTTE'S WEB movie when I was a kid, but I don't remember anything about it (except that Paul Lynde played a rat).
So, we're sitting there watching the movie and it was entertaining and all, but I got starting to thinking, "Where is this going!?" And then they drop the bomb...Charlotte is not going to make it to the end of the picture! WHAT! Am I the only one who didn't know this going in? I think even Elias knew somehow! Fortunately there was no one else in the theatre last night, so I didn't have to do my usual "slumping down in my seat so I can wipe my eyes without anyone seeing that I'm teary eyed in a kids film" thing, like last year when we saw HERBIE: FULLY LOADED. (What!? Another story for another time!)
Anyhow, there's another movie coming out that I'm unexplainably excited for! There are about 4 or 5 old properties making their way back to movie theatres in the next couple of years. I'm really looking forward to the new POLICE ACADEMY movie this summer, and I can't wait to see what they do with next years SMURF movie, but this spring we'll get to feast our eyes on the brand spanking new TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES movie. Now it's CG, not live-action like the previous three films, but it looks shelltastic! Kevin Smith is even in it! There's been a teaser trailer out for a while, but they just released a full trailer with clips from the movie. Take a look:
Simply put: AWESOME!
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
The ride starts off when you and three of your buddies climb into a four person raft. Then your raft plummets down a 6-story drop into the mouth of this hell-spawn contraption where you slide around and around before you drop straight through a tiny little hole into a pool. NO THANK YOU!
First of all, I'm not a big fan of water slides, as it is! Ever since a trip to Sesame Place years ago when I wiped out on several water slides, I've been a little weary of the whole experience. Second of all, you shouldn't ride anything that big that doesn't have a track! Tracks are good! Third, when the raft tips over you've got three other people in there with you to knock heads with, get concussions, pass out, sink to the bottom of the pool and drown! Good Times!
I'll stick with Disney World's new Finding Nemo ride!
Monday, January 15, 2007
I guess it makes sense, people like donuts for breakfast and people like cereal for breakfast so why not combine the two worlds!? They've tried this several times and it never seems to stick. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be, Cereal R&D people. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be!
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Saturday, January 13, 2007
However, I think what we are looking for here is The Pointer Sisters' smash-hit song "Neutron Dance" which shot all the way up to #6 on the charts back in 1984. The song was one of a string of hits for The Pointer Sisters. Some of their other biggies included "Jump (For My Love)" and "I'm So Excited." But it was "Neutron Dance" that captured the hearts of movie goers in 1984 when it was featured in the hit motion picture BEVERLY HILLS COP.
For some, the song brings back memories of disco ball filled afternoons at Skateland, or perhaps dancing uncomfortably with one of your friends at a middle school dance. For me, I'll always remember that song from a play I was in when I was 12 years old. The play: THE ELECTRIC SUNSHINE MAN, a musical adaptation of Thomas Edison's life. I played Telegraph Worker #2, thank you very much! For some bizarre reason, the director decided to throw "Neutron Dance" into the show. I don't remember how it fit in to Mr. Edison's life, but I'm sure he would have been proud!
So, sit back...grab an Elio's Pizza Square and enjoy a little Pointer Sisters with us...
Friday, January 12, 2007
Pac-Man closed down his vitamin operation sometime ago. The Flintstones are still in the business as they have been since the original Flinstones show went on the air in 1960. (They were one of the show's original sponsors.) Other animated friends you'd find in the vitamin section of your local Walgreen's today: Spongebob, Dora, Winnie the Pooh, Bob the Builder, Thomas the Tank Engine, Curious George, Disney Princesses, Spider Man, Scooby-Doo, and even old-timer Bugs Bunny!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
This was the one group I liked that I dragged other people into liking! (CM, MM, BK...what up!?) Sadly, B*Witched went the way of so many other musical geniuses like S Club 7 and Stacie Q...nobody knows what the heck happened to them!
But we'll always have our memories, the fantastic CD they put out, and this music video...
Monday, January 08, 2007
The book dedicates a chapter each to two of Maryland's most famous parks. Glen Echo Park was a big deal back in the day. It is located in Montgomery County and even though the rides are gone, the park is still open and used as an Arts Center. Glen Echo was one of those parks that was the first in the area to get all the new rides. Check out this ride called "The Tub." Other parks called it "The Human Roulette Wheel" which is a good name for it because it looks like you're gambling with your life if you step foot on the thing. Have you ever seen something more dangerous!? They could have called this ride "The Inevitable Lawsuit". If this ride were around today, not only would you be strapped into the thing with a 12-point harness, it would be themed to Shrek and have a giant Donkey vomiting on you during the ride.
Maryland's other cherished amusement park was The Enchanted Forest. An entire chapter in this book is filled with photos of this great park that I loved visiting as a child. There's tons of great pictures of this Howard County classic. Here we see Little Toot passing through Mt. Vesuvius. Mt. Vesuvius was a giant mountain that sat in the back of the park. The only way to get to the mountain was to take a raft over to Robinson Crusoe Island, avoid being eaten by goats on the island, and take the bridge across the water to the Mount. Once there, you got to ride the awesome-est sliding board ever built. That thing went all over that mountain and it was just about the coolest thing ever built inside an amusement park. I can remember running back up the ramp on the side of the mountain over and over again to ride the slide.
Friday, January 05, 2007
The jokes went pretty much the same way as on THE FLINTSTONES. Instead of everything having a "stone" or "rock" in their name, the supporting players all had names like Mr. Evictus the landlord, or Gus's boss Mr. Tycoonus. There were plenty of jokes involving roman numerals. And, remember how Fred Flintstone used to wear a little sundial as a watch? Guy Holiday had a little hour glass as a watch...although I seem to remember Fred having one of those too! Anywho....great show that is so obscure even the most remote parts of the Kings Dominion parking lot were never named after characters from this show! It ran on NBC for one season in 1973 and that was it. I discovered it in my formative years on the classic USA CARTOON EXPRESS programing block on the USA Cable Network.
If this beauty ever makes it way to DVD, I'll make myself a great big Cesar salad and sit down and watch the whole thing...all 13 episodes!
Thursday, January 04, 2007
As every cartoon in the 70's and 80's was cashing in on one craze or another, I guess Wheelie came to be because of the success of another VW Bug, Herbie. Herbie and the original THE LOVE BUG became the number one grossing movie of 1969, so I guess kids were ready to eat up another similar car when WHEELIE AND THE CHOPPER BUNCH hit the air a few years later. Wheelie had one power that Herbie didn't have! Even though Wheelie couldn't talk, he could display messages on his windshield! (It was usually a heart to show his love for Rhonda.) Wheelie also had a bugle under his hood that he could extend out to play his battle cry of "CHARGE!"
When I discovered WHEELIE, he was already in reruns but that didn't matter. We loved that show to death! We never had any Wheelie toys or merchandise...I think my brother had a book and that was about it! Nowadays, no only would there be a toy for every car that ever drove a half mile on the show, there would be 17 different playsets for you to play with them on. The kids today think they've got it so great, but they'll never know what it's like to love Wheelie and that mean ol' Chopper Bunch
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
For me, this movie falls into a special category when it comes to the DTV sequels. It's beautifuly animated, the story was enganging, and it was an all around well done picture BUT it has absolutley nothing to do with the original movie! The original 1981 movie was about little puppy Copper befriending Tod a little...what do you call a baby fox...? Anyhow, the two become best friends until Copper is taken away and trained to be hunting dog. Then when he returns, both Tod and Copper have to deal with their new roles as hunter and the huntee. It's a very moody and touching film.
It's 2006 sequel...? Copper runs away from home and joins a professional all-dog singing act at the county fair. What!? Sorry, did you say he runs away and joins a band!? Yes, I did! It's a fairly decent movie and all, but they missed the theme of the original picture completely! It's kind of like the early 90's Disney cartoon series TALESPIN where the characters from THE JUNGLE BOOK were now airplane pilots!? Strange...but it worked, and so does this movie. Like I said, it was a pretty decent watch! It's even got Reba McEntire and my neighbor Patrick Swayze in it!
Next up from the Disney Toon Studios sequel factory: next months Cinderella III: A Twist in Time.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
2) Scary Movie 4
5) An Inconvenient Truth
6) Superman Returns
7) Talladega Nights
8) Monster House
9) Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
10) Open Season
11) Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan