Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Surley You Knew Leslie Nielsen Was Awesome

For a guy like me, who loves silly movies, Leslie Nielsen was a screen legend. He passed away Sunday at a hospital near his home in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. He was 84.

Instead of just write a list of all the movies that he was in that I love, I thought we'd turn to the wonderful world of YouTube to illustrate some highlights from his career.

My favorite movie of his, is probably everybody's...and the film he is most famous for: Airplane! (1980). And here is one of the most famous comedic lines in all of motion picture history...

Another film, so near and dear to my heart is Spaceship (1983). It was actually originally titled The Creature Wasn't Nice, then later renamed Spaceship for VHS to cash in on Airplane. Then again later on, it was renamed Naked Space to ride the on the coattails of The Naked Gun series. By any title, it's one of my all time favorite flicks...

Another favorite of mine has got to be Repossessed (1990) - a spoof of The Exorcist.

Then we have Wrongfully Accused (1998) - a parody of The Fugitive.

Mr. Nielsen has appeared in alot of these parody/spoof films - some fantastic, others horrible. More of the great ones include:

Dracula Dead and Loving It (1995)
Spy Hard (1996)
Mr. Magoo (1997)
Scary Movie 3 (2003)
Scary Movie 4 (2006)
Superhero Movie (2008)

and of course who can forget The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad (1989), The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear (1991), and The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult (1994). They were all based on the super-short lived TV series Police Squad! from 1982.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's a nifty old newsreel of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, probably from 1964.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Week In Movies

Best Worst Movie (2010) I'm not really into the whole "so bad it's good" thing when it comes to movies. So, it's hard for me to fully buy into a documentary all about how much people love a particular bad movie. The movie in question is Troll 2, and quite frankly I was disappointed enough in Troll 1 that I wouldn't need to see Troll 2 no matter how good or bad it was. The thing is, when I like a movie which is considered by many to be crap - I genuinely like it. When I watch something that is considered "so bad it's good" I'm usually quite bored with it. Plan 9 From Outer Space is horrible, plain and simple. It's not fun to watch - it's crap! Others I find, just like to jump on a bandwagon of enjoying something stupid so they can put it down or laugh at it ineptness. Myself, I like to laugh at things that are supposed to be funny. That all said, Best Worst Movie is an interesting look at how Troll 2 took on a life of it's own. What's more interesting in the film is to see how it's given some people who stared in the film and then later went on to live rather normal lives, a little taste of celebrity. Not rated; has some PG-13 cursing.

The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos (2008) This new round of Disney nature documentaries needs to find a new voice. The playful charm of Disney's 1950's era True-Life Adventures is missing in these new movies. I thought the narration in Earth was a little dry, and Oceans voice-over was so grandiose it was ridiculous. This bird entry into the series, which skipped theatres in the states and was dumped on DVD this month, takes the narration to incomprehensible heights. These are pink birds: flying, standing on one leg, having flamingo sex, and getting eaten. The narration is delivered as if the viewer is seeing the outside world for the first time. Every image captured in this film is accompanied with so much narrative urgency that it becomes exhausting after 20 minutes. These flamingos lead a similar existence to a certain group of penguins who made a movie a while back, except their tale was a little more exciting. This project seems forced. Rated G even though it contains some mildly intense moments and disturbing shots of baby flamingos getting eaten. There is also a brief flamingo one night stand illustrated.

Daffy Duck's Quackbusters (1988) The fifth and final big screen compilation of classic Warner shorts mixed with new animation was one of the final vocal performances of the legendary Mel Blanc. He provided the voices of almost all the Looney Tunes stable of characters since the 1930's and by 1988 he understandably could not match the voices he had recorded so many years earlier. I believe some of the post production on this film was done with out Mel and as a result, Daffy Duck has three different voices throughout the picture. However, old Looney Tunes shorts are so perfect that a sampling of them in any format is still good stuff. This film also features a few newer shorts that were made in the 80's including The Ducksorcist and Night of the Living Duck, which are alone worth the price of admission. Rated G.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Red-Nosed Rip-Off

Usually it's hard for me to write a review of a video game because there is just so much in a game and I don't know what to include in a review and what to leave out. However, reviewing Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (just out on Wii and also DS) should be a piece of cake as the title contains maybe 15 minutes of content. You would think that a video game which has licenced one of the most iconic films in this country's holiday psyche would be rich in detail and pay tribute to that original 1964 television special. You would be wrong. Even though this game advertises itself as having something for the kids and also the parents who grew up on the special, the makers of this game have made very little effort to include much of the show in their game version.

Let's get this out of the way first; this is a mini-game collection consisting of only four games! Which, I believe, makes it a "mini mini-game collection." The games can be played individually or in a story mode. Story Mode simply takes the four games and links them together with footage of Sam The Snowman (the TV special's narrator) waddling towards the screen trying desperately to link the four games together in some sort of narrative way. The animation of Sam is recycled four times. The biggest crime of all here, is that there was absolutely no attempt to duplicate Burl Ives' voice as the Snowman. Again, Burl Ives' voice in the original special is perhaps one of the voices most associated with Christmas. Even my four year old son, who hasn't seen the show since last Christmas, beat me to the punch pointing out the new voice was a fraud.

Upon hearing the "new" Sam the Snowman I was worried to hear how the voices of the other characters would be butchered, however not a single other character in this game ever utters a word. The only dialogue in the game comes from a generic elf and Santa Claus...and anyone can pull off a convincing Santa impression.

The games in this holiday collection are decidedly simple to appeal to the youngest of players, but some of the games are so simple and lack any sort of competition or challenge that anyone old enough to pick up a Wiimote will find it hard to stay engaged.

Each of the games can be played as single or double players and that's nice to keep the fighting down with the little ones. First up, Rudolph and Co. have to bounce packages into Santa's bag or get the decorations to the tree. There's a game just like this on last year's far superior We Wish You A Merry Christmas game. Next, is a game which sort of plays like a mini-version of Just Dance where you have to mimic the movements illustrated on the screen to help kneed dough to make Christmas cookies. As with most Wii games based solely on movement, the register of movements is questionable.

The third game has you helping to paint toys. This game seems to not require any skill as the points seem to magically appear regardless of how you play. Finally, you hop on Santa's sleigh and toss presents onto the rooftops. Here is the disc's only challenge as it did take a bit of precision timing to drop the gifts into the small chimneys.

There are a few references to the original TV special sprinkled throughout the title. Some of the toys from the Island of Misfit Toys pop up, and the Abominable Snowman makes several appearances. But overall, this game belongs on the naughty list for not really living up to the franchise which it represents. I imagine most people will be disappointed with this quick cash grab. You'd be better off not being invited to play in these reindeer games.

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Mom Was Awesome

I couldn't go on doing this blog without taking a moment to talk about my mother. My mom was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor, glioblastoma, in April of this year. Even though the cancer had some immediate complications, Mom continued to live her life to the fullest extent that she could. She continued to travel with friends, get her final affairs in order and be an awesome friend, mother and grandmother to those who depended on her - all while receiving treatments and chemotherapy for her condition.

My mom concluded her battle with cancer when she passed away on Monday, November 8, 2010. She was 65 years old.

The reason this blog reminds me so much of my mother is because she was always the biggest supporter of the time I've spent on this silly little website. Everytime I spoke with her, she would make it a point to tell me how much she enjoyed all the previous posts since the last time we spoke. She would mention each post individually and tell me what she liked about it. Mom would even compliment me when all I did was simply post a video from YouTube. She was only disappointed in me if I didn't have a Classic Commercial Sunday waiting for her when she logged on each weekend.

She often made suggestions for future topics, but her favorite contribution (and mine) to Wonderful World of Blog is when she would find something in hidden away in her home that she knew would make great blog fodder. Often when I would return from a visit to her home, I would have a bag of stuff from her and tucked away in the bottom would be an envelope with pictures of an amusement park, some old toy I once loved, or an article or newspaper clipping that she knew I would enjoy. I still have a pile of stuff sitting here that will provide many more blog posts for months to come.

My mom has been such an important part of my life for the last 37 years, It's hard to imagine how I'm going to get along without her. I could never capture in words what she's meant to me all these years, but at least here at WWoB I wanted to acknowledge her passing and her ties to this little project of mine. Her presence is woven throughout the last five years of posts on this website, and her spirit and warmth will continue to guide me through everything I do.

I love you Mom.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Black Friday at Mega Mart

Outstanding SNL skit lampooning every commercial that will air this week...

(after a real commercial)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Photo Quiz

Why am I running this photo today?

A) Because it features my little brother (in the stripped shirt) and his buddies on their 8th grade field trip back in 1990.

B) Because the one kid is wearing a Lowenbrau beer t-shirt at age 13 on a Catholic School field trip.

C) Because the picture features a glimpse of walk-around character Quick Draw McGraw circa 1990 Kings Dominion.

The answer is C, of course.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

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