Monday, December 28, 2009
While this movie is brief, clocking in at just around an hour, it is a beautifully animated film considering the direct-to-DVD budget this project must have had. The film does not have the obnoxious fast and furious pace that so many animated movies do. There are several moments in the film where the soundtrack is nothing more than the characters talking. And the characters are actually given some mature roles to carry. As dumb as this might sound...and adding to the fact that these cartoon characters are in their 70's...you actually come away from this picture feeling like you know these beloved characters a little better. The Goofy segment in particular is filled with some emotional moments that really humanize the Goofy character. I always enjoy when cartoon characters are treated in a mature manor, and Once Upon A Christmas does a good job of giving Mickey and the gang more to do than run around and get hit with pies.
Ernest Saves Christmas (1989) [PG] If I haven't already decided it before, I think it's official this year that Ernest Saves Christmas (the 2nd of 9 Ernest movies) is my absolute favorite Christmas movie. It's such a well done movie with so many great little touches and a heart warming Christmasey story that I can't think of a Christmas flick I love more!
In this comedy, Santa arrives in Orlando, Florida to find his replacement. Upon his arrival at the airport, Santa meets up with cab driver Ernest. Ernest ends up getting involved in helping Santa find the new guy for the job. As I've said on numerous occasions, and I'll say it again: When you mix Ernest P. Worrell with a holiday only good things can happen! This film has it's heart in such the right place that I don't know how anyone could watch it and not at least crack a smile. And the best part about it, as with all the Ernest films, there is absolutely nothing objectionable for the kids to see. It's a great family picture. I was excited to share it with my kids this year. At first they didn't know what to make of Ernest, and let's face it - most people don't, but before long they were laughing along with this fine holiday classic!
Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000) [PG] Oh...this movie is sooooo bad! This entire movie feels like such a giant poop on the grave of poor ol' Dr. Seuss. He would have hated this movie! The original animated television special of this story was the only filmed adaptation of Seuss' work that he liked - and that had to be, in part, that it stuck so closely to the book. But this live action offering adds so much unnecessary, boring, pointless shenanigans to the Grinch tale that it's just painful to watch. Jim Carey is funny as the Grinch, and he has a few really good moments but when you watch this film you gotta be wondering if everybody involved thought they were making a good movie. Seriously folks, given the choice between this movie and a sea-sick crocodile...I'd take the sea-sick crocodile!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
As a die-hard Disney fan, I was surprised that I had never heard of this ritual. I was so intrigued by it that I actually went searching on line and found a few photos related to the tradition...
Every year a different actor plays the role of Walt Disney and introduces the show. It's nice that even though Sweden has only had television since the late 50's they too have upgraded their broadcast system to HD.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Prancer (1989) [G] I've always felt like this was my own little discovery in the world of Christmas movies. During it's initial release it got lost in the shuffle competing with The Little Mermaid. I saw it on video the following year and really enjoyed it. It's the story of a little girl who finds a lost injured reindeer which she believes is Santa's. It's a nice simple sweet story that I've always enjoyed. In 1989, who could remember the last time a live-action, non-Disney movie came out that was rated G!? I showed it to my kids the other night. Tanner fell asleep during the FBI warning. Elias was very interested in the story and really liked it, but he wouldn't fully admit that he was into it because it didn't have any superheroes or any bad guys.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947) [NR] I didn't grow up watching this every year like so many other people have. In fact, I saw it for the first time last year. I really liked it, again enjoying the simplicity and sweetness of the story. It's also cool to see a film which is so mature (and maybe even sophisticated) with the basic theme of believing in Santa Claus. As with so many other films from the black and white days, Miracle is filled with wonderful performances from both the main cast and so much of the supporting cast. The new DVD and Blue-Ray release of this film contain both the original black and white version and a colorized version. I assume that the colorization process has been improved in the years since Ted Turner went crazy with his Color Machine, but didn't we as a nation decide shortly after the process began that colorizing old movies was something that just wasn't in the best interest of anyone!?
Elf (2003) [PG] I know to alot of people this is required holiday viewing each year. I was a bit disappointed when I saw Elf in the theatre six years ago, and watching it again for the first time since I have to say it's still not a really good movie. As with almost any Will Ferrell flick - there are at least a few parts where I laughed out loud...quite hard I admit. But overall, this holiday film just doesn't do it for me. I wanted the kids to see it because I thought they'd enjoy it and they did giggle and laugh at most of it. For me, this film's crowning achievement is the casting of Bob Newhart as Papa Elf. Hopefully it will be at least another six years before I get the holiday urge to see Elf again.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989)[PG-13] I'm a huge fan of the Vacation films. It makes me feel old to realize that this holiday classic is celebrating it's 20th Anniversary this year. I can vividly remember winning tickets on the radio to a preview screening and can remember sitting in the theatre and just laughing myself silly along with everyone else. Perhaps this movie is the Christmas classic that it is because it was the first Christmas movie with a little edgier and darker humor. Anywho, I was a little disappointed when I discovered that my DVD of Christmas Vacation was not widescreen. Then I was more bummed when I checked my other Vacation DVDs and my copy of the original 1982 movie is also not in widescreen. How longer must I live in the dark ages! Heck, I don't even have a DVD of Vegas Vacation...I still have the VHS. Quickly, I added The Ultimate Vacation Collection 4-DVD set to my list for Santa. If you wanna watch Christmas Vacation filled with commercials and slightly edited - AMC is running it almost every day this month!
Friday, December 18, 2009
Not only did I indeed get the Charlie Brown record listed in the #1 spot, I still have the record. In fact, it's sitting on the shelf no more than 10 feet from where I'm sitting now. Good times! (I can still recite the whole thing for you if you like!) As you may know, I have a pretty good memory of my childhood and I know somewhere along the line we had a drum set and a Lite-Bright...but other than those three things I'm pretty sure not a single other item on the front of this list ever made it under my tree. There are four more items on the back side of this list (which I didn't bother to scan) and it does list a Star Wars Twin-Pod Car which I do remember having.
The next list is from the following year, 1981...
I did like me some records back in the day! Pink Panther Party Time & Smurfs All-Star Show were two records that Santa did leave for me in 1981! Sadly, both of those records have not survived over the years and that's a shame because I'd love to hear the Smurfs album again. (I'm a pink toothbrush...you're a blue toothbrush...) If I recall correctly, my brother got the Dukes of Hazzard Etch-a-Sketch set which were little plastic sheets you put over the Etch-a-Sketch screen and play games with. I'm pretty sure I ended up getting the Smurfs set, which was just as good I'm sure. Both years I asked Santa for a Mighty Mouse Punching Bag. I'm gonna assume I saw that in a Sears catalog or maybe a TV commercial because it's kind of random...but the bottom line is I never got one. I love me some Mighty Mouse though!
Who knows!? Maybe I did get some things that I just don't remember but either way we always had fun on Christmas morning and I have plenty of warm, fuzzy memories that I hope I'm creating for my children now.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Anywho, the kids get a much bigger kick out of seeing Santa in his cabin than at the mall. This year I was very proud of my boys as they both wrote their own letters to Santa Claus.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
When the game starts up you'll find yourself in a warm and cozy living room all decked out for Christmas. There's a roaring fire, a Christmas tree, and even a radio playing Christmas carols. In one section of the room, you'll find the disc's game collection. There are six different games that can be accessed, each one a slight variation on a classic video game. Deck The Halls is a puzzle game where you match 3 ornaments of the same kind on a moving grid. Hot Chocolate has players taking and filling drink orders for thirsty elves. Candy Cane Lanes is almost identical to the bowling game in Wii Sports except with a Christmas overlay and elves instead of bowling pins. In Santa's Sleigh you'll catch and deliver presents to homes on Christmas eve. Present Catch is a clever updated version of Pong and Reindeer Games (my favorite, and pictured below) lets you fly a reindeer high into the sky. The games are all easy but also addictively fun to play and can be enjoyed by even the smallest members of the house.
In addition to the games there are also a few activities. There's a place to write an electronic letter to Santa, a sticker book for creating various Christmas scenes, and Elf Hunt which is a fairly elaborate version of one of those Look and Find Books neatly adapted to the Wii. Back in the living room area of the game you can actually go in and decorate the Christmas tree, throw logs onto the fire and roast marshmallows and tune the radio to your favorite Christmas song.
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
See Paul pitch his sauce here.
Monday, November 23, 2009
I spent five days and four nights in the hospital but I've been home now for a little over a week. Everyone that I encountered at both Hanover Hospital and Hershey Medical Center were absolutely amazing and helpful and I owe a huge thanks to everyone involved that saved my life!
You hear the term "life-changing event" tossed around quite freely, but two weeks ago I did have a life-changing event. Not only did sitting on Death's doorstep open my eyes to the way I take care of myself but hugging and kissing my children good-bye and knowing full well that it could possibly be the last time I ever see them again is an experience I will NEVER forget!
Among other (more important) things, it made me think that I might not want to return to writing this blog. But, keeping up with this silly blog is a very important creative outlet for me and it's something that I enjoy doing alot so after a brief break from it, I'm happy to return to the Wonderful World of Blog. Besides, who else is going to share with you Miley Cyrus Muffins or pictures of old Flintstones junk!?
Before all this heart attack stuff happened, I had a contest running on WWoB courtesy of the fine folks at General Mills. I didn't get the chance to promote the contest as much as I had hoped but we'd like to announce Jason as our lucky winner. He'll receive 4 free movie tickets to the flick of his choice plus a free box of General Mills cereal. You can get your free movie tickets by purchasing specially marked boxes of General Mills cereal.
And also, if you've been wondering...the only movie I've watched since the last instalment of "My Week In Movies" is Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment (1985), which I watched on a laptop computer in my hospital room. I probably would have watched another movie or two but the TV in my room was in the wrong aspect ratio and I tried...but I just couldn't sit through a movie where everyone was all squished.
Last, regarding my hospital stay, I've already thanked people on Facebook but I want to again say thanks to my visitors (and great friends) Kevin, Mike, Amanada, Diana, Tad, Grant, Mr. Corley, Andy, and Chad. And most especially my wonderful wife, Jennifer, who made the 1 1/2 drive from our home to the hospital numerous times during my stay. I couldn't be luckier to be alive and have such an incredible family!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
Bob Newhart - Chicago, Il Cable outfit TV Land installed this "interactive" statue of Bob Newhart as his character Dr. Bob Hartley from the 1972 - 1978 sitcom "The Bob Newhart Show." Dr. Hartley was a Chicago psychologist so here you can lay down and tell your problems to Dr. Bob - even though he won't really help you out...because he's a statue! They originally installed this statue in front of the actual building that was used as Dr. Bob's office exterior on the show. Later, they moved to piece to Navy Pier - a major tourist attraction a mile away.
Popeye - Crystal City, TX This fine country of ours actually hosts four different Popeye statues. This one here was erected in the small Texas town that claims to be the Spinach capital of the world. I think what makes this statue extra special is the fact that it sits smack dab in front of City Hall. There's another Popeye statue in Chester, Il - the home of Popeye creator E.C. Segar. There are two more in Arkansas. But Crystal City IS the spinach capital of the world and to prove it they hold an annual Spinach Festival...which just happens to be this weekend! Get your airline tickets!
World's Largest Catsup Bottle - Collinsville, Il Another score for the great state of Illinois. The problem with any "World's Largest" is that it's not really what ever it's supposed to be the "world's largest" of...I mean, that's not a real catsup bottle - it's a water tower. Which I guess also makes it not a statue...but a water tower, so why did I even bring it up? Either way, that's a 100,000 gallon water tower which I assume means it could also hold 100,000 gallons of catsup. The way my kids use catsup on everything, we'd need one of these giant bottles of the red stuff to get us through a month! The World's Largest Catsup Bottle even has it's own website!
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Here's a coffee ad from the days when commercials were like little movies:
and from Jim Henson:
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Here's another way you can get your mitts on some free movie tix. To get the word out about their new See A Free Movie Tonight! promotion, General Mills is giving one lucky WWoB reader a Movie Moments prize package featuring Four Free Movie Tickets and a Free Coupon for a General Mills Cereal! (The movie tickets are good at almost any theatre in the country.) All you have to do is leave a comment (or send an e-mail) telling us about the first time your parents took you to the movies or the first time you took your kids to the movies. You don't have to get real creative, just a sentence or two will do. We'll pick a winner at random from all the entries received before 11:59pm Friday, November 13, 20009.
This isn't me sending you something I got out of a cereal box, folks! This is a real prize package provided by the good folks at General Mills. We're your favorite website for stuff about movies and breakfast cereals, now the two worlds are colliding. WWoB is taking a little step up in the Internet universe, how do ya like that!? Maybe now someone will listen to my idea for a Count Chocula movie!
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
I don't post these pictures because of some crush on Hannah Montana, I just think it's hilarious how much stuff they'll plaster her face on. Every once in a while a property will come down the pike that gets merchandised to death...I don't think New Kids on the Block, Pokemon, or Britney Spears ever had their own line of juice. Miley Cyrus is a trailblazer, folks!
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Astro Boy (2009) Based on one of the first anime series, this American update of the tale of a robotic boy is pretty standard kiddie fare. Fairly bland with too many characters, too much fighting and generic story points. This might have been the first time I took the kids to the movie theatre and didn't hear a peep out of them the entire time, but then again I was asleep for a good portion of the second act...so who knows what happened!
Casper (1995) I remember thinking this was a really great movie when it first came out. The first part of the film is filled with some really great cameos but it turns out there really wasn't much to it after that. It's an enjoyable film but 14 years later, and oh so more mature, it just wasn't that great! My kids loved it.
Back to the Beach (1987) Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello made a large number of Beach Party movies in the 1960's. These silly movies were nothing more than flimsy plotlines to string an endless number of musical performances by some of the up-and-coming singers of the day. The "Beach" films are made up mostly of silly dialogue, rock n' roll, and sustained shots of girls in bikinis wiggling their rear ends. Back to the Beach revisits the spirit of those films twenty years later with Frankie and Annette all grown and with kids of their own. This movie is the very definition of wacky and tacky, and of course, I love it. This is one of my personal "oft-quoted" movies.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
It's been reported that a nice deluxe DVD set of the original Mighty Mouse cartoons is scheduled to be released with a brand new CGI-movie that Nickelodeon is producing. In the meantime, in between time, it's just been announced that Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures! is going to show up on shelves on January 5, 2010. My least favorite of the three different shows, it's still a great show with a really warped sense of humor and plenty of jokes thrown at adults to make it even more fun. It will be a welcome addition to my DVD library.
When the show originally aired, some people were uneasy that a Saturday morning cartoon for kids was being produced by a studio that formerly turned out X-rated cartoons. Some media watchdog group accused the show of featuring a scene where Mighty Mouse snorted cocaine even though it was clear he was just smelling a flower. (I've seen the clip, he's smelling a flower!) Besides, why would Mighty Mouse need to do cocaine!? He doesn't need any drugs to beat up cats! He's Mighty Mouse!? Duh!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Check out this website for: Popeye Village, a tourist attraction in Malta built around the village that was constructed for the movie.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Toy Story/Toy Story 2 Double Feature in 3-D (1995,1999,2009) Nothing pops out of the screen at ya in this double billing on the classic animated movies, but it's still alot of fun to see Buzz Lightyear, Woody and the whole gang up on the big screen again. By donning 3-D glasses, the world of Andy's bedroom comes alive like nothing you could imagine. It's as if you were standing right there with the toys watching this all happen. The 3-D effect gives the movies a clarity so crisp you can make out every tiny little detail the filmmakers put into both of these wonderful movies. This new double feature is fun because 1) you get to see both of these great movies for the slightly-elevated price of one 3-D movie, 2) it's great to see any older movies get a re-release and 3) there's a really nifty intermission between the films. The intermission is filled with trivia, animation tests, a neat soundtrack that gives the illusion that the Toy Story gang is sitting in the theatre with you and other surprises. I was disappointed that we missed two minutes of the intermission while we did a bathroom break - but I would have been more upset if we missed any of the second film because my kid had to go potty! They should have included an intermission from the intermission.
The Toy Story/Toy Story 2 Double Feature in 3-D has been held over from it's initial two week run. If you haven't seen it yet, you've still got time! You'll also have a chance to see Buzz and Woody in 3-D again when Toy Story 3 opens next summer.
Bring It On: Fight To The Finish (2009) There's four main components to every Bring It On movie. (This is part 5, by the way!) It starts out with a dream sequence, there's some mention of the fabled "spirit stick", the characters use words like "cheer-tastrophe" and "cheer-tatorship", and they all end as some big giant Cheerleader competition. I've really enjoyed the goofy charm of the first four instalments in the Bring In On saga. Sadly, this fifth chapter trades the silliness for a slightly more serious tone. All the above elements are in place, but dragging out the almost identical story line for the fifth time is starting to show it's age. True, I'm not the target demographic for these films, but even a 13 year old is going to feel the storyline is old and tired. Christina Milian must switch schools and go from her championship Cheerleader squad to the new school's squad who doesn't know what they are doing. Within 5 minutes of seeing the new squad, she's voted team captain and then proceeds to bring the ramshackle team to National Victory. The team is made up of about 20-25 cheerleaders, but only 5 of them ever speak in the movie. That about sums up how "auto-pilot" this movie is. Maybe it's time to hang up the pom-poms Bring It On.
Balto (1995) The true-life story of the origin on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog race is the basis of this hand-drawn animated feature. Having been flooded with computer animation for so long, it's nice to go back and watch one of the hand crafted cartoons from the previous decade. I really enjoyed this film when it came out in theatres and had always wanted to see it again. My kids love all things dogs, so they wanted to see it. There's quite a bit of childish slapstick, physical humor but over all it's a really well done movie. The "celebrity" voice cast dates the film a bit, with Kevin Bacon, Bridget Fonda, Bob Hoskins, and Phil Collins. (What ever happened to Bridget Fonda?)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Vintage Halloween Photos
My Halloween Costumes
Halloween Weekend Movie Suggestions
Mr. Ed's Barn of Thought 11/2/94
How The Grinch Didn't Save Halloween
Monday, October 19, 2009
So, as the title of this post suggests, this got me thinking about some other great cameos in movies and it was an excuse for me to make a list.
Chevy Chase in Sesame Street Presents Follow That Bird (1985)
My other all-time favorite cameo comes from another Muppet filled motion picture and it's one of my all-time favorite movie stars. Chevy Chase was the number one box-office star when he appeared in this big screen venture for the timeless children's show. Chevy plays a news reporter on television who first breaks the story that Big Bird has run away from Sesame Street...or Sesaim Street as he pronounces it. In just a few brief moments on screen he is hilarious. After a remote spot from on the scene reporter Kermit the Frog, Chevy returns to do the weather: "And now for the weather. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood....A wonderful day in the neighborhood. Won't you be...my neighbor." It still makes me laugh!
Ethel Merman in Airplane! (1980) At a mental hospital: "It's Lieutenant Hurwitz. Severe shell-shock. Thinks he's Ethel Merman." "You'll be swell, you'll be great. Gonna have the whole world on a plate. Startin' here, startin' now. Honey, everything's comin' up roses..."
Pee-Wee Herman in Back to the Beach (1987) Back to the Beach is the 20 year later follow up to the popular Beach Party movies of the 60's. It stars Frankie and Annette as grown-ups with kids of their own. It is a fantastic motion picture you must see! It has a bunch of great cameos in it, most notably Don Addams, Bob Denver and Alan Hale Jr. all playing off their TV personalities. But the best cameo has got to be Pee-Wee Herman, who appears out of nowhere, for no reason at all, sings Surfin' Bird, and then flies off into the sky on a rocket powered surfboard. Brilliance!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Loose Screws (1985) Imagine a film spoken almost entirely in double entendre. It's kind of like a Mad Magazine comic that goes on for 75 minutes. In this Canadian classic, four guys get sent off to a boarding school where they decide to devise a point system for all the girls in the school and then see who can score the most points hooking up with the girls. Yes, it's as tasteless as it sounds. The boys all set their sites on the new French teacher, 100-point Miss Mona Lott. Get it, Mona Lott? Everybody's name in this movie is a pun/entendre...but that's the only one I can publish here at WWoB. None of the guys ever do hook up with Miss Lott, but at the graduation ceremony at the end of the movie a statue comes to life and blows marijuana smoke all over the place causing Mona Lott to do a striptease in front of the whole student body. Oh Canadians, you guys have all the fun!