Friday, August 28, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
To say the art work is inspired by Walt Disney's 1951 film adaptation is a slight understatement. The scenes and characters depicted on the walls are clearly lifted right out of the famous cartoon. That's not to say that the artwork isn't beautiful. The whole attraction (as well as the park itself) looks like it just got a fresh coat of paint the morning of our visit!
The path leads out from the cave into a huge maze of playing cards. The maze is quite large, but the wrong turns are short so you never really get lost. My kids had a blast running through the deck of cards and thinking they were completely lost.
Storybook Land's Alice in Wonderland is a completly original and charming attraction tucked into the middle of a charming little park. It's a shame more amusement parks don't have similar low-tech experiences for families.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Aliens in the Attic (2009) I was really surprised that my kids chose this over the fighting gerbils of G-Force. Aliens is exactly the kind of late summer no-brainer film that I love. The plot: some kids find some little aliens in the attic of their summer home and fight them. Done! It's as simple as the title implies. This film wastes alot of talented people like Kevin Nealon, Andy Richter, Tim Meadows...it even kind of wastes Ashley Tisdale. The only one who gets anything to do worthwhile in this movie is Doris Robberts (Ray's mom from Everybody Loves Raymond) who is involved in a Matrix-style kung-fu battle royale thanks to the mind-control devices of the aliens. In the end, this is mindless fun - harmless for the kids. Not very funny or exciting yet not all that bad either.
When Comedy Was King (1960) Starting in the late 1950's and going on through the 70's, movie audiences were reintroduced to Hollywood's stars of the silent era through a series of well produced documentaries/clip films. This is the second of these pictures and I found it to be incredibly entertaining and very informative. Several silent movies have been taken and re-edited with music, sound effects and a narrator who helps move the stories along while giving a history lesson about the films and their stars. While I'm sure some silent film purists find this presentation blasphemous, I thought it was well done. The music and sound effects added to the films, and the narrator knows when to shut up and just let the films speak for themselves. I was introduced to quite a few Hollywood legends that I had never heard of before and laughed myself silly at the film's final sequence: the 1929 Laurel & Hardy silent classic "Big Business". Honest to goodness, they just don't make `em like that anymore!
Spy Hard (1996) When I originally saw this in the theatre I didn't think much of it, but after the recent slew of "less than stellar" parody films that have come out - it's a real gem. When you're doing a parody film you can't go wrong with Mr. Leslie Nielsen. He's made a career out of staring in these kinds of films and he's always a welcome face on my movie screen. Here, he plays Agent WD-40 who must save the world from an evil bad guy played by Andy Griffith. Again folks, you just can't go wrong with Andy Griffith...in anything. Visual gags, word play and slapstick are all on display here as well as some movie parodies and shots at Hollywood celebrities. The silliness comes first in this movie and the lame jokes about Michael Jackson's hair catching on fire and other outdated references are kept to a minimum. The best part about this movie is the opening title sequence which parodies the opening musical sequence from the early James Bond films. Whereas the Bond films always featured a song by a popular singer of the time, Spy Hard's theme is song by none other than "Weird Al" Yankovic - who also appears on screen in the segment. Good Stuff!
Friday, August 21, 2009
The park never happened. The negative people won and for a long time I was pretty bummed about it. Years later, my sadness over the event grew when I found out that Maryland's Great America was to be the ultimate theme park. Here's an excerpt from a 1978 book called FunLand U.S.A. by Tim Onosko:
How sweet does that sound!? I figure I would have gotten a job there when I was a teenager and would have worked my way up through the ranks over the years and today I would be Vice President of International Affairs for the Six Flags Corporation. But the good people of the nearby brand new city of Columbia pushed the amusement park people away, and today - standing where rides, shows and attractions should be standing is a run down old shopping mall and a prostitute-infested truck stop.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I have to say, it was a very soleful experience. The Shoe House was built in 1948 by Mahlon Haines, a local resident and shoe salesman who eventually opened a whole chain of shoe stores in PA and Maryland and became a millionaire in the process. He built the giant shoe as an advertising gimmick, he also built it as a fully functional house although he never lived there. He was, however, a very generous man and offered the Shoe House to friends as a Honeymoon suite. We toured the home, which didn't tie us up too long. The house is five levels and includes bathrooms, a kitchen, bedrooms and everything else you'd need to feel comfy in a giant shoe. Inside, all the rooms are decorated with loads of shoe knick-knacks and furnishings that people have sent in over the years.
In case you were wondering, this 61 year old gigantic shoe does not smell as one would think.
A few weeks ago I had the chance to lay my eyes on another huge Roadside America legend that I had only read about. Standing at six stories tall and just outside Atlantic City, NJ is Lucy the Elephant, another building built to look like something other than a building. Lucy was built in 1881 as a gimmick for a new real estate venture, when that business failed the giant pachyderm was used as everything from a hotel to a bar! You can climb a very small spiral staircase in Lucy's rear legs to a large room in her tummy. From there you can peer out her eyes or take another flight of stairs up to her howdah and look out over the Atlantic Ocean. There's even a little eatery next door called "I Love Lucy's", get it?
As soon as we got there, the battery on my camera died. I was only able to snap this one picture with my son in front of Lucy to prove that we were actually there! (He's eating a Lucy chocolate lollipop!)
If you want to read more about either of these attractions we suggest visiting your local library, or head on over to the official Roadside America website and visit the Haines Shoe House page or the page about Lucy the Elephant.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
One of the new attractions at Ocean City that we were looking forward to checking out is The Pirates Plunder Museum and Gift Shop on 26th St. With all the same ideas repeated over and over in Ocean City...it's nice when something original and different opens up. This little museum is small and doesn't have a whole lot to offer but at $3 bucks a head (kids 10 and under are free) it's worth the price. There are plenty of pirate artifacts on display such as weapons and treasures, and there is a bounty of information to be had in this small space. Who knew Blackbeard the pirate had a home and a wife right here on the East Coast of Maryland!? The museum offers lots of photo opportunities and it even has a small theatre that runs a very fascinating National Geographic film about Blackbeard. There's a large gift shop attached with all sorts of pirate goodies to take home including toy weapons which happens to be the very favorite item of one of my own little crew members and believe me, he left a happy little pirate! And yes, in case you were wondering, the soundtrack to Pirates of the Carribean was playing the entire time we were there!
Of course, eating plays a big role in a visit to the beach. For me, and many others, nothing is better than a serving or three of Thrasher's Fries. I also visited the wonderful Dough Roller for my beloved Pizza Omelet and traveled over the state line into Delaware for my newest favorite pizza in the world: Grotto Pizza.
I also established two new food traditions; a Peanut Butter Fudge and Banana milkshake at Dumsers and Kohr Bros. banana frozen custard with chocolate sprinkles! That's flavor country, my friends. We also hit up other favorites like The Bonfire, Tequila Mockingbird, Phillips Seafood, Big Peckers and Harpoon Hanna's. Oh, and the kids dragged us into at least a dozen Candy Kitchens.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Storybook Land has a small train that runs through the park, similar to the train you'd find in most small amusement parks. The neat touch here is that near the back of the park, the train rides through a large shed where hundreds of toys are on display. It almost looks like Santa's workshop. It's a really cool out of ordinary surprise.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
I don't give a crap about vampires, but EW did do a nice job in a sidebar giving props to such legendary vampires as Grandpa Munster, Count Von Count from Sesame Street, Elvira and even the all-puppet Dracula spectacular at the end of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Well played EW....well played! They also have a list of 20 Greatest Vampires. But would you believe that in all this hype about vampires they forgot to mention a few great blood-sucking movies from my home video collection!?! So now we present WWoB's list of 5 Best Vampire Movies:
Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995) EW lists Count Dooku as the best on screen Dracula of all time, but for my money you can't do better than Leslie Nielsen. Actually, when you're doing a spoof movie it's kind of lazy casting to put Leslie Nielsen in your lead role - but who's complaining!? Mel Brooks gave us this funny take on the Dracula legend almost 15 years ago...and he hasn't make another movie since! It's a shame, even though Dracula isn't anywhere near Mel Brooks' funniest pictures - it's still a good film with some really solid laughs. This film also has one of Harvey Korman's last big screen performances.
Once Bitten (1985) Before Ace Ventura, even before In Living Color Jim Carey stared in this very good film about a high school student who gets seduced by an older woman (played by Lauren Hutton) who turns out to be a vampire. At one point in time, I probably considered this one of the best movies of all time. It's really good. Also, the late great Cleavon Little appears in one of his last big screen roles.
The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone (1979) The Flintstones and the Rubbles go on a game show and win a trip to Rocksylvania. Once there, they stay at Rockula's castle where, just as the title suggests, they meet Rockula and Frankenstone. It turns out that Rockula has a thing for Wilma, but when Wilma's not interested Rockula and Frankenstone try to kill Fred in the hopes of changing Wilma's mind. OK...this isn't really a movie, it's a TV special! But of course I'm going to squeeze the Flintstones into the list if I can!