Thursday, December 22, 2011

Toy Tinkers (1949)

Do you remember a few years ago I told you about Sweden's Christmas Eve tradition with Donald Duck? No!? Well, you should click here and read it! Anywho, here's a Donald Duck Christmas Cartoon to make your spirits bright...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Week In Movies - Put It Over There, Greaseball

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) After Ernest, this is my second favorite Christmas movie! Last year, I shared the TV edit with my oldest son and he liked it. My younger son, Tanner, seems to have a better crafted sense of humor already so I was eager to show it to him too. He laughed alot and at all the right parts a 6 year old should laugh at. This is a movie that has seemed to pop up on just about every channel for the holidays. I have the DVD, but the TV-version basically cuts out the cursing and a couple of off-color jokes and then it's pretty ok for a family to sit down and watch. I taped it off CMT first, and even though it was in HD, the picture was only centered in the middle of the screen. TV Land shows a full screen version, but we don't get TV Land in HD. We finally went with ABC Family, which is showing a nice widescreen HD print with the curse words simply muted and a few minor snips around PG-13 jokes.

Friends With Benefits (2011) Justin Timberlake is such a talented fella. He's not only a good actor, he's a gifted comedic actor and he shines here in this tale of no strings attached sex with a friend. My major beef with this flick is that it pretends to mock all the contrivances and cliches of romantic comedies and then go ahead and follows the exact same path of 300 romcoms before it. Still, the cast is quite good and the film moves along at a brisk pace. The highlight of the movie in my book is a film-within-the film; a dead on parody of a romantic comedy that is seen on TV a few times staring Jason Segal and Rashida Jones. This would have made a much more interesting feature film.

March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934) Here's an ancient production of the classic Babes in Toyland story, this one most notable for featuring Laurel & Hardy. While the film is all around pretty good, when Laurel & Hardy aren't on screen the film quickly sags. There is also a depiction of the Three Little Pigs played by midgets in pig costumes and it's pretty terrifying, as is a monkey in a Mickey Mouse costume.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Macarena

I've always wondered how close we were to getting a Macarena movie. That song was huge and then instantly hated by anyone who didn't like fun in their ears. Well, we never got a Macarena movie...which I hope would have involved a young group of kids saving their local youth center by holding the world's largest Macarena Dance Off to raise funds...but we did get this great spin-off holiday song to cherish for years to come:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yogi's Home Up North

Here's (what appears to be) a promotional photo of the Hanna-Barbera gang outside of the Yogi's Cave attraction at Canada's Wonderland, a sister park to Kings Dominion. I swiped the picture from the amazing Flickr feed of user Mr. Flintstone. Canada's Wonderland opened in 1981 in Ontario and featured similar attractions to those found at KD and Kings Island. By the time I made it to Wonderland in 1986, Yogi's Cave had been transformed into Smurf Cave. Of course, at the time, that was OK with me! Here's the write up about the Smurf attraction from Wikipedia:

A funhouse-like cave building that featured scenes of Smurfs in their "natural" habitat. This attraction was actually converted from Yogi's Cave in Yogi's Forest (1981–1983) before the area was changed to Smurf Forest for the 1984 season. Also featured near the end of the cave was a section of Gargamel's house where Gargamel would be playing his organ. Gargamel's house was formerly the Ranger's Cabin during its use in Yogi's Cave. Smurf Village was removed and replaced by an arcade until 1998 where it housed Meet-and-Greets with the Rugrats. Currently it functions as a gift shop and mini-arcade in the Zoom Zone area.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

He-Man + She-Ra + Christmas = Awesome

One of the crown jewels of my VHS collection has always been He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas Special, which I taped one random Saturday afternoon off Baltimore's WBFF 45 long after He-Man & She-Ra were a thing on any kid's radar. I was more than stoked to find this great Christmas special released to DVD and sitting on the shelf for me at Wal-Mart for a mere $7.50! Of course I picked it up and now it will be a treasured keepsake of Christmas memories for our family to share for generations to come!

If you've never witnessed the pure holiday magic of He-Man & She-Ra: A Christmas's about 40 minutes of the muscle-bound duo fighting creatively named creatures like The Snow Beast, The Beast Monster, and the Manchines. He-Man tosses off his one liners which aren't really puns, he just kind of says things with the delivery of a joke, even though there is no joke to be had. I'm not sure how She-Ra managed to fight so many bad guys in her show and this special seeing as how her outfit is skimpier than stripper. I spent hours watching the She-Ra show when I was a kid and perhaps that is why later in life I developed an affinity for strippers....but anyhow...Orko ends up getting beamed to Earth and then he brings back two kids who share the traditions of Christmas with everyone on Eternia. Nasty ol' Horde Prime doesn't like Christmas so he sends Skelator and Hordack to find the kids. When the kids end up with Skeletor..what happens is possibly the greatest couple of minutes in all of filmed Christmas entertainment history...You gotta click here to see it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Week In Movies - I Like Christmas

Good Luck Charlie, It's Christmas (2011) I find the Disney Channel's Good Luck Charlie to be the most tolerable of their kiddie sitcom stable. This feature length Xmas outing is even more tolerable without an audience screaming with forced laughter after ever other line. The made-for-TV movie find the show's family split up at the start of a trip from Chicago to Palm Springs. The dad and the boys end up at Grandma's by plane while the oldest daughter and mom travel much slowly by a variety of ground methods. This ain't a holiday classic, but it's a pretty good TV movie with some holiday cheer and a few solid laughs. It's easily accessible for anyone not familiar with the show and for anyone with Disney Channel as I'm sure it's running just about every day between now and December 25.

30 Minutes of Less (2011) Solid comedy with a solid cast including the always fantastic Danny McBride, underrated Nick Swardson and Parks & Recreation's Aziz Anzari along with Jesse Eisenberg; all tied up in a crazy heist involving a bomb strapped to Eisenberg's chest and he has 10 hours to rob a bank for the bad guys or they'll blow him up. With a nice breezy run time of under 90 minutes, this comedy is action packed and pretty darn funny.

Ernest Saves Christmas (1988) Seriously, I could not love this movie an ounce more! Easily my favorite Christmas movie, it's also gotta go on my list as one of my all-time favorite films. I've written about it at least twice before. Once, two years ago when I first shared it with my kids and there is also this lengthier, nerdier article I wrote back in 2006.

Scrooged (1988) This is another one of those movies - beloved by America - that I just don't get. Released to theatres less than two weeks after Ernest Saves Christmas, I've just never got this modern Bill Murray take on A Christmas Carol. I saw it way back on either VHS or HBO and didn't care for it all. The last couple of years I've been meaning to take another look at it and I gotta say I was actually pretty bored with it. There's an impressive cast but it just doesn't do anything for me. Murray's speech to the camera at the tail end was pretty impressive but other than that I found it to just be an awful bore.

Christmas in Connecticut (1945) I always wonder how uptight people really were back in the black and white days or if it's just the rose-colored lens of the cinema. When an old woman sees an unmarried man and woman walk into a bedroom at 11:00 at night and then she goes totally nuts and quits her job because of it...well, it's hard to follow along with a movie like that. There's some pretty silly stuff that happens in this flick, but all in all you can't really beat classic Hollywood's depiction of post-wartime Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Good iGrief

This is one of those things where I would seriously consider buying an iPad just so I can experience this...

Friday, December 09, 2011

Walking In A Dutch Winter Wonderland

In December, Dutch Wonderland transforms itself into Dutch Winter Wonderland. Not only is the park decorated with lights and other such Christmasy stuff but there's a few new attractions as well. The Christmas time park is open for the next two weekends and then also the week after Christmas. At $12.99, it really is a good bargain for a Christmas attraction! The admission price is fair just to get in and see the park's main attraction: The Royal Light Show. The Light Show is a display of thousands of Christmas lights blinking and twinkling to the rhythm of seasonal music. The show just about literally envelopes the audience. When seated in the viewing area, the lights dance not only in front of you but on every side of you including behind and above. It's a great spectacle and nothing like the neighbor down the street who has a couple of lighted trees synced to Manheim Steamroller. This is good stuff! As if that wasn't enough... kids LOVED the new Polar Playground attraction. A semi-outdoor pizza joint in the park has been turned into a wonderland inside a wonderland. The walls depict Arctic scenes of penguin life while hundreds are soft foam "ice cubes" are waiting for kids to play with, build and use their imagination. Elias and Tanner easily killed 45 minutes having a blast inside this seasonal setup. They loved it. We ended up going back to it two more times through out the night. The park did a real nice job of transforming an existing space into something completely different.

Santa's Reindeer-In-Training are also on display in the area usually reserved for pony rides. I guess it has been a while since we've been to an attraction with real live reindeer because my boys flipped when they were standing face to face with Santa's real reindeer. We even got to see a little reindeer scuffle!

Entertainment options during the Christmas season include the live show "Jingle Bell Rock." This is a simple 10 minute show with two very talented dancers knocking out a few Christmas tunes and a few bad jokes. Unlike other shows at DW, this one appeared to be lip-synced however the dancing was a couple of levels above the summer shows. Either way, I can never seem to make it to the Radio City Music Hall Spectacular so this will have to do for me for now.

In the large Mill Stream Eatery in the back of the park, they have set up a Train Display and Gingerbread Houses. You can vote on your favorite Gingerbread House, which were all designed by local kids and organizations. This Smurf Village was one of the more elaborate displays and got a vote from all three of us! The Mill Stream is also open for business as usual adding Baked Potatoes with Chili and Cheese on top! Didn't try one, but if I make it back this season I just might have one!

Another neat little touch were there little houses set up in nooks and crannies of the park, each depicting a little Christmas scene inside. Nothing too elaborate, but it reminded me of the kind of things shopping centers used to do at the holidays when I was a kid.

Duke and The Princess were both decked out in their gayest apparel. Neither of my boys will go anywhere near the Princess if I've got a camera on hand, but Elias did cooperate for a snapshot with Santa Duke. In addition to all the Christmas fun, the park also has a dozen or so of their rides open. There's a list of the available rides on the park's website, but we were very happy to find a lot more that weren't on the list open for business. The kids were delighted to take another spin on the Turtle Whirl, and we took unplanned voyages on the Astroliner and the VR Voyager. Again, a nice little bonus touch DW!

Of course, this trip didn't cost us a dime (except for some Kettle Corn and a round of Shooting Gallery) as DW includes the Halloween time and Christmas event with their season passes. We're hoping to hit up the park one last time before our passes expire on December 30. Even if you're not a season pass holder, Dutch Winter Wonderland is a top notch Christmas attraction worth every penny.

Monday, December 05, 2011

My Month In Movies - November

As you may have noticed (but probably didn't) the My Week In Movies feature has not been seen as of late. It's been a busy month here at the WWoB offices and the updating has fallen behind. Not to worry! I've been keeping track of all the movies I've seen and now I'm here to report to you in one giant swoop for the whole month of November. Here's the quick rundown...

The Muppets (2011) A
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas (2011) A
Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2011) A
Halloween (1978) A
Taladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2005) A-
Bad Teacher (2011) A-
The Man Called Flintstone (1966) A-
Spy Kids: All The Time In The World (2011) B
Exporting Raymond (2010) B
Machete Maidens Unveiled (2010) B
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (2011) B-
The Muppets Wizard Of Oz (1995) C
The Teacher (1974) C-
Captain America The First Avenger (2011) C-
Turtle: The Incredible Journey (2010) C-
Tomboy (1985) D
Pick Up (1975) F

November Movie Count: 17
2011 Movie Count: 189
My goal for the year has been 200 movies. I think I can make it!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rock-Afire Explosion Lives

If you don't remember The Rock-Afire Explosion, there were the band that played at Showbiz Pizza Place before Chuck E. Cheese and pals moved in and took over. This video of the band is not simply somebody playing a modern song over old footage of the show, this is a whole new show programed by a dude in Georgia who bought an entire unused show from the original manufacturer and set it up in a garage in his backyard. There's a documentary about him, the band and the entire Showbiz Pizza Place operation now available on Netflix simply called The Rock-Afire Explosion. It could not be an ounce more fascinating!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Trailer Tuesday - Rome Adventure (1962)

This was one of my mom's favorite movies that she spoke of often...

Monday, November 07, 2011

My Week In Movies - October Week 4

Zookeeper (2011) Is this movie funny? If you like Kevin James then yes, it is funny. Is this movie good? It's good along the line of Kevin James falling down, talking to animals, getting shot in the face with porcupine quills, and more falling down kind of way. The thing with this movie is this: If you're going to do a film with a bunch of talking animals, the animals should be a little more a part of the action of the story. The various zoo animals help Zookeeper James win the girl of his dreams by giving him advice on how to do well with the ladies. That's all they pretty much do, give advice. They just talk. There's not much else the animals are given to do. The only animal costar who gets any real screen time is a gorilla who does have a pretty hilarious scene when Kevin James takes him to a T.G.I.Friday's. But that's the thing, if the other animals were all given something funny to do besides telling their buddy that the best way to sweep a female off her feet is to pee on a tree...this might be a much better film.

The Freebie (2010) I really enjoy actress Kate Aselton on FX's The League. So when I heard that she not only stared in a movie but she also directed it, I was in. It's a pretty captivating tale about a very happy young couple who decide to both take one night off from being married and go have a meaningless fling. The story unfolds out of order, which can be a confusing device but it is handled well here. This is an independent film, with some shakey camera work, mello soundtrack, lots of talking and a pretty surprising ending. Netflix Streaming

V.I. Warshawski (1991) For some reason, this movie is entertaining as all get out. It's probably the same reason people slow down to see a car accident. This detective picture is a wreck of a film. Kathleen Turner made took on the role of private detective Warshawski at the height of her career, hoping to turn this into a franchise for herself. Instead, it tanked her entire career. In 1991 she was the biggest female box office draw and this flick single handily ruined her career. I remember loving it when it came out, I even saw it at the theatre. It was a little tough to get through now, but like I said - it's weirdly entertaining.

Student Bodies (1981) Before Scream or Scary Movie, this unassuming flick was the first movie to really parody the (then-new) slasher film genre. The Breather is going around killing any high school kids who are about to have sex. He uses the standard weapons for his murders: paper clip, rubber chicken, eggplant. It's obviously sillier than it is witty, but the jokes come one after the other and there are more hits than misses. There's actually zero gore, nudity or sex but there is one scene which they point out in the movie was only added to get the coveted R rating. This is good stuff worth seeking out. I have a really old VHS copy of it, but Netflix has the DVD in their library.

It Happened At The World's Fair (1962) I arrived at this movie hoping to see some glorious footage of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. There is some neat documentation of the event, but it's all wrapped up inside one of the slightest plots I've ever seen in a movie. We start off with Elvis flying a plane. Way up there in the sky, he spots two attractive girls driving a car so he zooms his plane down to the road to meet them. They turn him down, so he walks down the road to a girl's house, sings to her - makes out with her and then her father comes home and literally tries to shoot him. Elvis flees the scene and gets into a fight with some thugs trying to steal his friends money. They beat the crap out of the bad guys and take off in the plane. When they land, the sheriff takes their plane away because they owe money on it. So the boys hitchhike. An old Chinese man and his 6 year old granddaughter pick them up. They are headed to Seattle. So Elvis, his buddy and the 6 year old pile into the back of the pickup truck, sing a few songs and arrive in Seattle. The King of Rock and Roll ends up taking the little girl all around the World's Fair. Elvis meets a nurse and fakes being sick to get her attention. The little girl runs away. They beat up a mobster and then Elvis leads a marching band through the fair. All in a day's work for The King!

Everything Must Go (2011) When Will Ferrel uses his comedic senses as back seat to dramatics, it works. This is a pretty good tale of a fella who looses it all (job, wife, car, dignity) within a few days. It doesn't take place in the 70's, and it's not about sports so it just might be Ferrel's most original film yet.

Beetlejuice (1988) I saw Beetlejuice the day it hit theatres 23 years ago and didn't really care for it. I was only 15 at the time, but I didn't understand the story at all, I thought Beetlejuice was not in it enough and I actually found it quite vulgar for a PG rated movie. Well, my oldest fancies himself a Tim Burton fan (he did make Batman after all) and has been wanting to see Beetlejuice so we settled in to watch it the other night, with the stipulation that I reserved the right to turn it off at any point if it was inappropriate. Well, most of the vulgarity is over kids heads (except for an only-in-the-80's use of the F word in a PG rated flick) and I actually enjoyed it this time around. The stellar cast and the creepy feel, plus even if he's not in it enough - Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice is as fantastic as comedic performances come.

Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) I know this is a modern classic that has legions of fans, but I still don't get this movie. In fact, I find it down right boring. The opening number is great and then it just looses my interest very quickly. I know I'm alone on this, but a real snoozer!

October Movie Count: 17

Best New Movie: Bridesmaids

Best Rewatch: Serial Mom

Worst Movie: Village of Giants

2011 Movie Count: 172

Muppet Monday - All Depends On You (1977)

By the way, this 2 1/2 minutes of video is more entertaining than all of the last 20 years of television combined!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

edTunes - I Wanna Go

I love this Britney song, it's been getting heavy rotation on my iPod. I just saw the video for the first time yesterday and it's really good. First of all, it has a great sense of humor that most music videos don't dare have. She's got some comedy chops. Second, it doesn't hurt that Brit-Brit looks fantastic in it!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

edTunes - Time Warp

In my opinion, the first half hour or so of The Rocky Horror Picture Show is pretty brilliant and then the rest of the film is a gosh-awful mess of a waste of time. I do love this song though. I made sure this was a staple at every high school dance my senior year...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Week In Movies - Last Week: Caught Up!

Bridesmaids (2011) As you are probably already aware, this is a top notch comedy with a stellar comedic cast. Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Melissa McCarthy all found perfect roles to jump start their film careers. The film does have a story and some heart, it also has well developed characters. There's some stretches where the film isn't that funny and pays more attention to the storyline, but there are many scenes that are comic masterpieces that make the film as a whole an instant classic.

Serial Mom (1993) John Waters' take on true-crime dramas has got to be way up there on my list of all-time favorite movies. It had been a while since I'd seen it, but was thrilled to find it in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart recently on a 4 film Dark Comedy Set. (The other three flicks in the pack are worthless.) Kathleen Turner plays a Maryland suburban housewife who just happens to get a thrill out of killing. She goes on quite a killing spree, knocking off anyone who upsets her or members of her family. There's some gross-out humor and grizzly deaths but the gore and violence is kept to a minimum. The movie's sense of humor is "dead on" perfect. I easily find this to be one of John Waters' best movies. One of the fun things about watching a movie filmed around where you grew up is the sense of familiarity in all the settings. In fact, one of the scenes takes place in a shopping center parking lot across the street from the theatre I saw the film for a second time.

Jack and the Beanstalk (2010) What starts out as a clever twist on the classic fairy tale soon drags on and on and reminds me of why we don't watch direct-to-dvd flicks all that often. There's a handful of stars to be had in this family film, including the great Chevy Chase - whose name is on publicity material but only pops up in one scene in the film. Gilbert Gotfried has a big part as a goose turned into a human. It's fun to see him in a lead role for once. There's also Christopher Lloyd as the teacher at a school for nursery rhyme & fairy tale characters. On the black board behind Lloyd you can see the plans for the Flux Capacitor. Good times!?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trailer Tuesday - Night of the Creeps (1986)

Whenever this announcer was used in a trailer, you knew 95% of the cast was going to end up dead...

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Week In Movies - October Week 2

Still playing catchup...

Gidget Goes Hawaiian (1961) I'm a big fan of the Gidget franchise and this is probably my favorite entry. James Darren returns as Moondoggie but the cast rest of the characters are recast. The ultra-adorable Deborah Walley takes over the title role, and comedy legend Carl Reiner steps in as her father. The second film is a more polished affair than the first, with some fairly elaborate musical set pieces. My favorite thing about this film is when a vicious rumor about Gidget starts to spread through her circle of friends. Somebody starts making up lies that Gidget is sleeping around with several guys. Even though the word "sex" is used a few times earlier in the film, they never come right out and say "Gidget is sleeping around." Instead they skirt around the issue by using phrases like, "had an unfortunate incident" or "spent time with boys that way." Pretty funny how innocently they would handle a situation like that 50 some years ago.

Murderball (2005) Here's another film I saw on the "50 Docs To See Before You Die" program and decided to check it out. It's about full contact Rugby at the Paralympic Games. These athletes strap themselves into souped-up wheelchairs and beat the hell out of each other on the court. It's a pretty intense sport and the film makes it all more intense by making the players human and showing them all beyond the game. It's an in-depth, unflinching look at the life of a paraplegic on and off the playing field.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My Week In Movies - October Week 1

I'm way backed up on updating this feature. It's been a busy couple of weeks here at WWoB headquarters.

Munster, Go Home! (1966) I wouldn't consider myself a giant Munsters fan, I enjoy the show well enough but never a rabid fan of the series. I am however a serious lover of all movies derived from TV shows, especially when they star the original cast. It was a little more common back in the 60's for TV casts to make the leap to the big screen. This full color feature film reunited the cast (minus Marilyn) and debuted in cinemas just a month after the black and white series went off the air. The story takes Herman Munster and his family to England where Herman is heir to a family fortune and mansion. I don't think a frame of this movie was actually filmed in jolly ol' England, but it's still a lot of fun.

Abbott and Costello Meet The Invisible Man (1951) A pretty solid entry for the boys as they play detectives who help a boxer clear his name of murder. To hide from the cops, the accused man takes a potion that turns him invisible. There's some connection to the original story of The Invisible Man, but this flick is mostly an excuse for Lou to scream and yell at spooky invisible things happening all around him. It's good stuff, I tell you!

Village of the Giants (1965) Here's how this terrible movie goes: Dancing, mud wrestling, giant ducks, more dancing, giant duck BBQ, yet more dancing, giants, giants dancing, tension-free battle with giants, and midgets. Horrible, horrible teenage sci-fi flick from the Beach Party era.

Doug's First Movie (1999) I "dug" this movie when it first came out but watching it now with my kids it plays pretty much like the Saturday Morning cartoon that it is. The animation is television grade but the story does pan out comfortably into 70 minutes. Doug and his buddy discover a monster living in a nearby lake and in the process of trying to protect him they uncover a plot to pollute the town's water supply. OK, never mind...this flick is pretty good. The kids like it, and that's what's important.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

My Week In Movies - In a Train or In a Bed

Cedar Rapids (2011) I wasn't expecting much from this office place comedy but I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I'm naming this the best new movie I saw this month. The film follows the antics at a regional insurance convention. Sounds fun, don't it?! The cast is great with Ed Helms as a guy who is uncomfortable leaving his hometown to go to the convention in the big city. You just can't seem to go wrong with John C. Reilly as a crazy loud mouth associate who actually has quite a loyal heart. I was most surprised with Anne Heche, who I usually find to be somewhat of a talentless hack who's been riding off Ellen DeGeneres's gay coattails for the entire duration of her career. Heche is funny, sweet and sincere in this role as another convention attend who has more than one side to her personality. The other lead character is played by Isiah Whitlock Jr. who I'm not familiar with but was apparently in the HBO series The Wire. He's very funny in this picture too. Together, the ensemble make great friends and the film's story of friendship is a refreshing overtone to this cute, funny movie.

One Day In September (1999) There was a show on Current TV (yes, that's a real thing) that was counting down the 50 Documentaries You Should See Before You Die. I made it through all 5 hours of the show and had pleasantly seen a good number of the films featured on the show. There was also a list of films that I wasn't familiar with that looked really good. This was one of them. The Oscar winner for Best Documentary of it's year, this edge of your seat doc takes a look at the hostage situation that played out over the course of less than 24 hours at the 1970 Munich, Germany Olympic Games. I thought the film itself was a little disjointed and hard to follow at points, but the true life story itself could not be more gripping. The style of the film shifts from journalistic to cinematic at strange times and looses some of it's momentum in the process. But this is an excellent documentation of the horrible incident that occurred on that day and it's as action packed and intense as any cop drama you'll ever find.

Barely Legal (2011) With Netflix Streaming, I'll click on random movies and give them 5 minutes of my time to see if they can win me over. Usually, these modern day sex comedies are all horrible - shot on video and filling large portions of their run time with gratuitous shots of semi-pretty girls in various stages of undress. Barely Legal won me over in the first couple of minutes with a script that indicated there was someone with a sense of humor sitting behind the keyboard. Three female friends who all share a birthday decide they are all going to loose their virginity on their upcoming 18th birthday. While this is kind of a tired plot, it's the first time I've seen it done with the girls as the heroes of the movie. They throw a party and spend the next 90 minutes running into all sorts of problems that stand between them and the sheets. It's technically a bad movie. The production values are very low, the acting is not very good at times and the whole movie takes place inside one house. But there is some clever dialogue, a couple of really good visual gags and a good sense of humor that keeps things rolling along smoothly. If you're interested in seeing a Wii controller inadvertently used as a marital aide, then this is the film for you. This is the closest I've seen somebody nail the vibe of an old school 80's T&A flick in quite some time.

The Train Robbers (1973) There's a few names from classic Hollywood that will bring me to a picture without knowing much else about the movie. Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant and John Wayne to name a few. So, when I saw that John Wayne co stared with my current classic movie crush Ann-Margret, I was on board. Even though Wayne didn't really make comedies, he's such a fun presence on the screen. I especially love his movies from the 1970's where they have a touch of classic Hollywood mixed with modern cinema. The Train Robbers is great and has an old fashioned feel to it, even for 1973. Wayne and his buddies escort Ann-Margret to the hiding place of stolen gold which her dead husband was responsible for. She plans to turn the gold in to clear her hubby's name and The Duke and Co. split the reward money. Along the way, there is some good old fashioned shoot-outs, chummy cowboy banter and the star attraction: the beautiful Mrs. Ann-Margret.

Carnal Knowledge (1971) So then the following night, I followed up The Train Robbers with another Ann-Margret picture, Carnal Knowledge. This is a tale of two buddies played by Jack Nicholson and Art Garfunkel. The film follows them through four different stages of their lives. Starting in college and ending after each of the guys is divorced, the segments of the film represent the different stages of love throughout one's life. Candice Bergen plays a love interest in their college years. I've always loved her in Murphy Brown and other movies I've seen her in young or old. She's great here. Later on in life, Nicholson meets up with Ann-Margret who at first is supposed to be older than him but quickly she looks as lovely as ever. There's a bit of nudity on the part of Mrs. Margret here which I wasn't expecting...but I can't say I'm complaining either. The film is slow at times. It actually reminds me of some of Woody Allen's more serious pictures as far as style and pacing. It feels very influenced by Annie Hall and Manhattan, except that Carnal Knowledge was made many years before those two.

Vanishing of the Bees (2009) My wife seemed disappointed in me that I invested an evening watching a documentary about honey bees. Little does she know the effects of the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder. A few years ago, beekeepers started discovering empty beehives with no trace of dead bees to be found. Not much is known about the disorder but there are many theories most of them leading to the way mankind has treated this planet. Cinematically, there's not much to BEE had in this documentary, but the information here will have you BUZZING with anger and alarm.

September Movie Count: 24
Best New Movie: Cedar Rapids
Best Rewatch: The Muppet Movie
Worst Movie: Paul
2011 Movie Count: 155

Monday, October 03, 2011

Coolest Mini Golf Hole Ever!!!

Don't ya hate when you plop down your hard earned bucks to play a round of mini golf and then the course is totally uncreative? I mean, if you don't have at least a windmill and a loop-de-loop hole, I think people are entitled to their money back! Lilliputt Mini Golf in Grand Lake, CO. would not hear a complaint from me. Feast your eyes on this super elaborate hole which is worth the price of admission alone:

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Photo: Ke$ha at Walt Disney World

Ke$ha at Disney World
( GENE DUNCAN, THE WALT DISNEY CO. / April 21, 2011 )
Pop singer Kesha Sebert, known professionally as Ke$ha, poses with the White Rabbit from "Alice in Wonderland" at Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista.

Friday, September 30, 2011

My Week In Movies - You Go, Simba!

The Lion King 3D (1994/2011) Man, it's great to have a classic Disney animated film back up on the big screen. It used to be standard operating procedure for Disney to rerelease it's animated features to theatres every seven years, but when home video caught on and Disney saw the money to be made from VHS sales, the practice faded out. So now it looks like Mickey has found a new hook to bring people back to the cinema to see old movies - 3D. The Lion King was reprocessed into 3D and has since made close to $70 million at the box office. The effect is neat and the movie looks better than ever back on the silver screen and with all the noticeable detail that 3D glasses allow. Some scenes of the film, like the opening and the stampede scene, are simply breathtaking in digital three dimension. Overall, the added effect doesn't do much to the film - it's already a masterpiece of filming that doesn't need any gimmicks to make it an incredible movie going experience. (OMG! I'm all about some 3D Little Mermaid soon!)

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop (2011) This documentary picks up shortly after O'Brien's legendary boot from The Tonight Show. Unable to appear on TV for six months, Conan O'Brien packs up as much of his show as he can and takes it on the road for an exhausting tour of concert dates across the U.S. The film provides an interesting backstage look at the concert tour, as well as serves as document of the concert itself. You also get to see a less polished portrait of the talk show host than any network TV show would ever allow. This is basically a concert film, and like any concert film you're going to enjoy it most if you're a fan of the subject. If you like Conan, this is fun way to spend 90 extra minutes with Team Coco.

Prom (2011) Yes, I must watch every film to carry The Walt Disney Pictures banner! The last big hurrah of the high school social calendar is the centerpiece of an innocent and slightly sappy teenage romantic drama. Even though Prom is an event for 17-18 year olds, 13-14 year old girls is the target audience for this flick which highly romanticizes the event almost putting Prom on the same level as a wedding. It's almost like Romantic Drama 101 for preteens. There's not much original material on display here, with several very familiar storylines overlapping and intertwining. But the movie has it's heart in the right place and is completely free of swear words or sex, which is refreshing for a high school movie.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Another masterpiece...the first masterpiece from Walt Disney's animation studio, Snow White is a perfect blend of silly cartoon fun, theatrical suspense and perfect storytelling.

Paul (2011) I found this silly sci-fi spoof to be dreadfully boring. Two geeks on holiday to the states to visit Comic-Con, run into an alien in the desert and bring him aboard their RV for a standard "running from the government guys in black SUV's" adventure. There are some clever homages to classic science fiction properties spread throughout the movie, but the simple act of having a cartoon alien drop the F-word every other sentence does not carry a picture.

George Washington Slept Here (1942) I've been wanting to see this one for years. A great classic comedy with Jack Benny and Ann Sheridan moving from the city to an old home they just bought in the country. The house is a bit of a fixer upper and as the weeks go on it becomes more of a fixer upper. This is a great vehicle for Jack Benny who gets to stay close to his TV character and even tosses off a few references to his show in the movie. Good stuff with plenty of laugh out loud moments.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Baltimore WNUV 54 Community News and BTV Ad

I found this ultra-nerdy clip on YouTube the other day I thought I'd share with ya'll. It's a few minutes from a Baltimore station that I logged many, many hours with in my youth. They don't really do these simple Community News bits anymore on the ol' tube but it looks positively ancient compared to TV nowadays. Second is a quick ad for BTV - Baltimore's Top Videos, a weekly music video show hosted by DJ's from the now defunct B104 FM. The DJ in this ad looks like he's dressed for a shift operating Space Mountain.

Monday, September 26, 2011

edTunes - Polka Face

I haven't cared much for "Weird Al's" recent animated videos as they just seem to simply illustrate the lyrics of the song but the new video for his polka medley "Polka Face" is really neat. There's a bunch of visual styles on display, plus there is visual humor independent of the song.
"Weird Al" Yankovic - Polka Face
JokesJoke of the DayFunny Jokes

"Weird Al" Yankovic's new concert film debuts this weekend on Comedy Central.

Friday, September 23, 2011

My Week In Movies - Piranhas Are Better Than Sharks

Shark Night 3D (2011) Folks, this is one horrible movie. It's not scary. It's not funny. It's not campy. It's not gory. It's not very interesting. It's about a group of college kids who go on a trip to a beach house and then they all get eaten by sharks. The sharks look only slightly more realistic than the special effects in a made-for-TV movie on SyFy. The plot involves one of the absolute dumbest motivations for a bad guy ever! The 3D is just about as unnecessary as it can get. Not once do the filmmakers use the 3D gimmick to their advantage. I thought this was going to be silly over-the-top fun like Piranha 3D, but I was wrong. The only thing this film has going for it is the beautiful Sara Paxton in the lead role and former American Idol star Katherine McPhee as one of her friends. Even the fact that the entire cast is in bathing suits for the majority of the running time can't excuse the existence of this poor film.

Pom Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011) With is third film, Morgan Spurlock seems to have hit the same wall the Michael Moore has - he thinks his films need a gimmick. While Moore constantly tries to cram an in-your-face stunt into every one of his movies, Spurlock too feels the need to duplicate the pattern of his first movie (Super Size Me) and put himself into the middle of the subject he's investigating. In this instance, the subject is product placement in films. That's an interesting topic that hasn't been exposed in a documentary yet, however Spurlock takes it a step further and spends most of the film trying to find real sponsors to finance his film through advertising. It's a gimmick that works some of the time, but chunks of the film with him meeting with various potential clients seemed forced. The expose is at it's best when it uncovers the truth behind advertising in movies.

The Muppet Movie (1979) There are just so many reasons why this is one of the greatest movies ever made. First of all, it's a perfect example of how to take a television property and translate it to the big screen. The Muppet Movie has all the elements of comedy, music and heart of The Muppet Show - just blown up on a bigger scale in set in the real world instead of a theatre. The Muppet's first big screen outing is also the most perfect example of the right way to do cameo appearances. Just about every speaking role by a human in this picture is played by someone famous. Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin, Lee Marvin, Mel Brooks and even Orson Wells all pop up throughout the colorful adventure. The music in the film is all top notch including the now-standard Rainbow Connection and one of my all-time favorite songs, Movin' Right Along. Compared to today's family films with loud pratfalls and even louder flatulence, Kermit the Frog and Company's silver screen debut is an old fashioned, good hearted time at the movies.

Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday The 13th (2000) I'm not quite sure what the deal with this film is. It's seems to have a pretty decent sized budget and it's competently directed but it was just dumped on to TV and video when it was released. Perhaps it was upstaged by the higher profile Scary Movie. Anywho, this is a pretty good parody film which riffs on mostly Scream but also I Know What You Did Last Summer and then about 50 other movies. When Dawson and his friends at school start getting mysterious notes, they are all written on "From The Desk of the Killer" stationary. Now, that's funny right there. I don't care who you are! Unlike the more recent parody films that have been released, this one actually makes fun of all the movies it touches upon. There's actually a pretty funny Grease scene in here. You would think with a staring lineup of Coolio AND Shirley Jones this would have been a big hit - Oh, Hollywood! Netflix Streaming

Going In Style (1979) This older comedy came highly recommended from another blogger so I thought I'd give it a try. It's about three elderly gentlemen who are bored with their lives so they decide to spice things up and rob a bank. Their disguise is pairs of Groucho glasses, which seems to be about the only funny thing in this movie. Dreadfully slow and kind of depressing - I didn't enjoy this at all. George Burns is such a pleasure to watch doing anything...but this caper film just wasn't up my alley. Netflix Streaming

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Week In Movies - When Will I Learn That RomComs Aren't Funny

Something Borrowed (2011) The biggest problem (for me) with this romantic comedy is that it isn't that funny. I realize it's a rom-com, but ya still gotta give a little in the com department! Ginnifer Goodwin and Kate Hudson play best friends, Hudson is engaged, Goodwin sleeps with the groom-to-be, all rom-com hell breaks loose! John Krasinski (Jim from The Office) plays another friend who doesn't really fit into the picture but that's ok, because he's just playing the exact same character as Jim. He even mugs to the camera in one part! Ginnifer Goodwin is a good actress and I think she's down right pretty yet this is the third movie I've seen her in where she is supposed to be the "not hot" one. Does she look not attractive to anyone? Hollywood can be so lame when they still have to cast an attractive person to play a supposedly unattractive person.

Your Highness (2011) The joke of this movie is, "Let's make a big budget sword and sorcery film with lavish sets, costumes and special effects and then just drop the F-bomb every other sentence." And how long can that last, you might ask? By my count it only took 21 minutes before it was obvious that was going to be the only joke in the movie. And it can't really hold 100 minutes of film! Sure, there's also a Yoda-type puppet character who seeks manual gratification and a scene involving a centaur getting his freak on...but how funny can that be? Danny McBride is a great comedic actor and he's pretty good here, but it's not the best thing he's appeared in. James Franco is always fun in my book and he looks like he's having a good time. The biggest question in the casting is why in the world is Academy Award winning actress Natalie Portman doing in this penis joke filled romp. The fact that Portman chose to do this silly movie is just one of the reasons why she's such a great actress. Still, it's a horrible movie.

Not Quite Hollywood (2008) This is a crazy, fast-paced, kinetic documentary about the Australian film industry. The folks Down Under have only been making movies since the 1970's and they've felt they've always lived in the shadow of Hollywood. With different attitudes about sex & violence than the States, Australia has produced some wild & crazy films. This doc is loaded with clips and interviews and focuses on three popular genres of film: sex comedies, horror and action films. This is great fun and a wonderful exposure to some less popular films you might be interested in tracking down. Available on Netflix Streaming.

Cougar Hunting (2011) Having seen so many bad movies lately, I sat down the other night with every intention of watching something with a good story and good word-of-mouth. However, me being me...I ended up watching a recent low-budget sex comedy called Cougar Hunting, ladies and gentlemen! Thank you very much. Even though this was obviously filmed on consumer grade equipment and edited on someones laptop, it's a pretty decent film. Three friends decide to escape their dead-end lives and move to Aspen where they hear easy, available older women are plentiful. Each of the three guys gets into their own adventure. Actual name actress Lara Flynn Boyle has a role as the mother of one of the guy's new girlfriends. Yes, she tries to sleep with him. And Vanessa Angel, who played the Kelly LeBrock role on the Weird Science TV show also pops up in a strange role. It's a fairly well done movie with more heart than raunch.

Dirty Work (1998) One of the greats in the genre of Silly Movies! Norm MacDonald (in his only staring vehicle to date) and Artie Lange are two down-and-out guys who start a revenge for hire business. They go around a pull pranks on people and get paid for it. There's a minimal plot about raising money for a heart transplant and also something to do with an evil land developer (yeah!) But honestly, who needs story when you have a plethora of dead hooker jokes! The cast includes Chevy Chase, Jack Warden, Don Rickles & Christopher McDonald. This was also the feature film directorial debut of Danny Tanner a.k.a. Bob Saget. Awesome movie!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Finally, A Post About Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments

Folks, in case you didn't know... I loves me some Christmas tree decorations! Every year there are a few Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments that catch my eye, and I always intend to share them here and always forget. So this year I'm doing it, even if it's a little early for Christmas posts.

My favorite ornament this year is easily this really cool Caddyshack one. Mr. Gopher taking control of a subtley Christmas colored golf cart would make a fine addition to the South Family Christmas tree. This one is called "Pro Gopher" and it pretty darn cool. I don't think they've done a Caddyshack ornament before so that just makes this one all the neater. As every guy, I love that movie. When I was little, I used to keep my eyes peeled for it to come on regular TV so I could watch it because it was R rated and I just wanted to see that Gopher puppet so darn bad!

Last year, Hallmark did a National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation ornament of the Griswold's Home decorated with thousands of twinkling lights. When you push the button on it, the house lights up and it plays the Hallelujah Chorus. I was thrilled to score one as a gift last season and it's a fine centerpiece of our tree. This year, Hallmark captures the opening scene in the movie when Clark and family trek out into the wood and take home the biggest tree they can find. This keepsake also plays the theme song from the Christmas movie. In the end, you just can't go wrong with the Family Truckster immortalized in ornament form!

This is the other new ornament this year that I really like. I love when stuff is based off specific old Mickey Mouse cartoons. "Clock Cleaners" captures the iconic scene from the 1937 cartoon of the same name. This is one of the best vintage Mickey toons and this ornament is a real doozy. When you turn the little crank in the front, Mickey and Donald sway back and forth working on the clock while they whistle the same song used in the film. Goofy is on the back side, also animated. Really cool piece, but at $34.99 I don't see it being added to our tree this year.

Finally, this Smurfette ornament isn't necessarily all that exciting, but it's pretty cool that the Smurfs have been included in the line-up this year, and it's a real smurf not a 3D movie Smurf. Smurfette will only set you back $9.95 so she's a little easier to hang on your tree than the clock tower. Hopefully somebody else will put out a more gender neutral Smurf ornament. We ain't got a Smurf on our tree!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

My Week In Movies - Her Head Is A Big Mac

Under The Yum Yum Tree (1963) Here's how I arrived at watching this movie. Over the summer I rewatched the fantastic Disney film The Light in the Forest, the love interest in that movie is played by a young Carol Lynley. She's extremely beautiful in the film and sadly, that's enough for me to go find more films with her in. This swinging 60's sex comedy has an impressive cast surrounding Mrs. Lynley - so I was in. The film stars Jack Lemmon as a apartment complex landlord who likes to rent his rooms out to pretty young girls and then eventually have his way with them. Only in the 1960's could peeking at a girl in her shower be considered delightful. Anywho, Carol Lynley (adorable here as well) moves into the building. Of course, Lemmon goes to work on her right away. What Lemmon didn't know is that Lynley is sharing her apartment with her boyfriend played by Dean Jones, veteran of many Disney comedies. The young couple are taking a dry run at marriage and seeing if they can live together without sleeping together to see if they are truly compatible. Jack Lemmon does everything in his power to keep the two apart. The cast also includes Paul Lynde and Imogene Coca as the building's married handyman and maid. They are fantastic together and alone. You simply can't go wrong with either of them. This flick is briskly paced and pretty funny for a 48 year-old comedy with a running time near two hours.

Vampires Suck (2010) This is the first time I've rewatched one of these recent parody flicks. It wasn't as bad the second time around. This flick, from last summer, takes it's aim at the Twilight movies and as such is more focused than the other films in this series. By sticking to the Twilight plot and not trying to combine the stories of 50 different movies like Epic Movie and Disaster Movie did, the film plays out like a silly vampire flick. Yes, in one part a vampire looks at the girl and sees her head as a Big Mac. That's comedy folks!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Yeah For The New TV Season!

When I was younger (and only slightly nerdier) the arrival of the new Fall TV Season was a big deal in my little lonely universe. I'd pour over the TV Guide and just imagine how awesome all the new shows were going to be. I'd plan out each night of the week for my optimal viewing pleasure. Nowadays, the return of new shows to Network TV isn't quite as exciting as it used to be. Lucky for me, it's also not as jaw-droping awesome to me as it used to be. But for the first time, in a long time...there's a handful of shows that I'm looking forward to checking out this season. I'm sure most of them will be cancelled before Christmas and the rest of them I'll loose interestet in shortly after New Years but I'm actually kind of excited about a few new shows...

The Playboy Club Mondays 10-11 PM Premiers September 19 on NBC
Ok, I've become a big fan of the Playboy Universe not because of naked girls but from watching my beloved reality series The Girls Next Door. Playboy is so much more than nakedness and when I started to read about the life of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, I discovered that he's an incrdibly fascinating man who is responsible for more change in this country than most people will ever give him credit for. The real life Playboy Clubs were a chain of night clubs that popped up in hot spot cities in the 1960's. They weren't strip joints but sophisicated hang-outs that promoted the finer things in life. The clubs disappeared over the following decades and have only recently started to make a comeback. The clubs of the 60's were legendary and the new series The Playboy Club seeks to reinvent some of that mystery and magic. I'm really looking forward to getting into this show.

Whitney Thursdays 9:30-10 PM Premeres Sept. 22 on NBC
Whitney Cummings is a very funny comedian. I've become a fan of her work through her appearances on the Comedy Central Roasts as well as her own comedy special, plus she's pretty darn funny on Twitter too. When I heard she was getting her own show I was pretty excited and then more so when I discovered that it is a traditional multi-camera sitcom. At one time, NBC was the king of sitcoms and they haven't launched a good straightforward laughtrack driven sitcom in a while. The premise is simple, Whitney and her boyfriend live together and are happy with their lives but don't feel the need to get married. Sounds like a fun addition to Thursday nights, even if it's taking 30 Rock's timeslot.

Pan Am Sundays 10-11 PM Premiers Sept. 25 on ABC
I'm quite sure more than one 60 minute show is going to be too much for me to juggle in a single season, but this period drama about globetrotting stweardesses looks like it might be alot of fun. It's kind of covering some of the same ground as The Playboy Club, so much so that the promo also uses an iconic Frank Sinatra song...

2 Broke Girls Mondays 8:30-9 PM Premieres Sept. 19 at 9:30 on CBS
CBS has always had a strong Monday night comedy line-up. They are adding this promising new sitcom right between How I Met Your Mother and Two And A Half Men, that's a pretty nice slot. This is another traditional multi-cam sitcom with a traditional premise: privalaged girl meets underprivalaged girl and they both have to work and live together. Classic. The cast includes Kat Dennings, whom I've enjoyed in a number of movie roles lately. The show was also co-created by Whitney Cummings, so it's got that going for it too. Which is nice.

Suburgatory Wednesdays 8:30-9 PM Premiers Sept. 28 on ABC

This one doesn't look that great...and it doesn't look like it's going to last very long either but it's totally in my wheelhouse. This comedy looks kind of like Clueless mixed with MTV's Awkward. It also boasts Jeremy Sisto in the cast, who is one of the very few males actors that I can say I enjoy his work.

What new shows are you looking forward to?
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