Friday, April 29, 2011

My Week In Movies - Behold The Bear

Yogi Bear (2010) I enjoyed the "real world" antics of Yogi and Boo Boo even more the second time around. I think I was able to relax about if they were going to screw up this movie or not, and sit back and enjoy what I knew was an enjoyable flick. Yogi Bear isn't phenomenal, but it's a really well done family film adaptation of a beloved classic cartoon series. The movie manages to maintain being funny throughout and not interjecting potty humor or a single curse word. My only two complaints about the movie are that the interaction between the human actors and the CG bears doesn't look too convincing. It looks as if they decided to change the height of Yogi after the filming had taken place. Ranger Smith seems to over shoot looking directly at Yogi. In the film's defense, it appears that there was a conscious effort to keep human/bear shots to a minimum. My biggest complaint however, and there is no excuse for the absence of the classic Yogi Bear theme song. It would have fit perfectly into the ending of the film, but for some reason it is nowhere to be found. Other than that, a really fun film that is good for kids and adults. Even my wife laughed twice before she fell asleep 14 minutes into it!

Rio (2011) I happily went and saw Rango and Hop but had to be talked into seeing this animated bird comedy. I ended up enjoying it way more than the other two animated flicks I had seen in theatres this year. Rio's story isn't all that fresh. A domesticated bird and a wild bird from the jungle end up captured together and must escape the bad guys. It plays as a buddy film and there are lots of great musical numbers sprinkled throughout. The humor is light and breezy and the visuals are impressive. There's a few too many characters but they are all given something fun to do. The bulldog character is probably the most unnecessary, but he's voiced by Tracy Morgan so you can't complain.

Country Strong (2010) I should mention first off that I came to watching this country music melodrama at the hands of my wife who very rarely shows interested in any particular movie, so when she said she wanted to see it, I was up for a viewing. We both agreed half way though it that it's pretty lame. This is basically a Lifetime Movie with a good cast. Gwyneth Paltrow plays a country singer just out of rehab. Tim McGraw is her manager/husband. I liked Leighton Meester as a younger star who is brought on tour to open for Gwyneth's character, although her character seemed to be an unnecessary (and ugly) slam at the likes of Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift. Tim McGraw is a really good actor, I've liked him in everything I've seen him in - and he's really good here. He's just not given all that much to do. This is a pretty bad film with a few enjoyable musical sequences but they don't make the entire experience worthwhile.

Doctor Detroit (1983) My friend Kevin had been quoting this 80's comedy quite a bit lately. I'd never seen it. He thought I should, so I did. Dan Aykroyd is a nerdy college professor who ends up becoming the pimp for a group of high priced call girls. In order to stand up to the city's crime boss, Aykroyd creates the alter-ego Doctor Detroit - a whacked out old guy who speaks with a slur, wears neon yellow and green and dons a metal hand. The character is pretty crazy and all sorts of mishaps happen as Danny tries to juggle his double life as an uptight professor and the world's greatest pimp. Again, this is one of those films that if I had seen when I was younger I would probably love but seeing it for the first time almost 30 years after it was made - it was just so-so. Sorry, Kevin!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Summer Movie Preview I

Loved One, hated Two, sat-out Three, Number Four has mermaids...I'm in!

Great cast!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Week In Movies - I Like Horse Movies More Than Actual Horses

Secretariat (2010) Let's face it - there are only so many stories you can tell involving a horse and if the horse doesn't talk that just cuts your storytelling possibilities in half. There's just about nothing new on display here in this Disney biopic about the Triple Crown winning horse and his owner. Every scene and plot device has been seen before in one horsey movie or another. It's a well made film and it gets by on it's charm, thanks mostly to John Malkovich as an eccentric horse trainer, but in the end it offers nothing new. They could have tightened the film up a bit by chopping off 20 - 30 minutes too. As Disney films go, this sits in that weird position of being too fluffy for most adults yet too sophisticated for most children. Rated PG for some mild language.

George of the Jungle (1997) As far as cartoon-to-live action movie translations go, George of the Jungle is at the top of the heap. The original source material is treated with respect and faithfully reproduced with real people in the real world...that's the most you should ask from a movie based on a cartoon show. I remember seeing this in the theatre when it came out and thinking it was absolutely wonderful and hilarious. Perhaps it's another sign of getting older and grumpier but watching it for the first time in at least 10 years it wasn't as funny as I remember it. It's still a good movie, I just don't know if I would consider it the comedy masterpiece I did when I was 24. Relatively inoffensive, this is however a good choice for a family movie night. My kids enjoyed it. Rated PG for poop jokes and elephant urination.

The Giant Claw (1957) Thanks to the same neighborhood kid who got my son hooked on Godzilla, we had to watch this camp classic sci-fi film about a giant bird that terrorizes the planet. The first half of the film is spent watching the characters try to figure out what some mysterious UFO is. Since going into this picture, the audience already knows it's a giant bird there's not much tension built up. When they do discover that it's a giant bird, it's hard to take any of it seriously when the creature is constantly referred to as "The Big Bird." What's worse, Sesame Street's Big Bird is a more realistic bird than the creature in this movie. The wires on the flying creature are clearly visible in almost every shot and the thing flops around on screen like a marionette operated by a drunk guy. My youngest son fell asleep about 15 minutes in while the older one lapped up every second of it. Not rated, typical 50's sci-fi with little to scare the most timid of viewers.

Spring Break (1983) Four guys spend a week in Ft. Lauderdale looking for girls in this T&A comedy classic. The bad news: at 104 minutes, this teenage sex comedy is way too long. These sort of affairs should never exceed 85 minutes. The good news: along with the usual spring break hi jinks on display there is also a super silly subplot involving corrupt politicians. I love it when these type of movies fell they need to have a "real story." Also, somebody gets a pie in the face - that's always good for a laugh. However, the verdict is still out on the wet t-shirt contest scene that literally eats up 20 minutes of this film's run time. Guess what? It's rated R for language and nudity.

Blondie Has Servant Trouble (1940) Let's talk about the Blondie films for just a second. This is the 6th of 28 movies based on Chic Young's very popular comic strip about the Bumstead family; Blondie (played by Penny Singleton who later went on to play the voice of Jane Jetson,) her ditsy husband Dagwood, their son Baby Dumpling and family dog Daisy. Yes, I said there were 28 movies in this franchise - all produced between 1938 and 1950. How awesome is that!? As much as Hollywood loves sequels, we hardly ever go above a part 4 nowadays. The Blondie movies are silly slapstick with simple situations, light laughs and good hearted fun. In this 6th instalment, Blondie and Dagwood end up spending a weekend in a haunted house - for reasons I didn't quite pick up. At the mansion there are met by two servants who turn out to be no-so-good guys. This is classic haunted house stuff here with eyes peeking through pictures on the wall, hidden doorways and people covered with bedsheets mistaken as ghosts. The Bumsteads also meet Horatio Jones, a black character who reminds you just how different racial attitudes were in the 1940's. Although not meant to be offensive, Horatio runs around the haunted house bug eyed, screaming for help speaking in an exaggerated style closely resembling a caricature of a slave. He's even referred to as "the colored guy" several times - not out of hate, which is just the oddest thing in the world to see. Keeping in context that the culture was completely different back then, this is a fun little movie.

Blondie Plays Cupid (1940) One of the more famous/popular of the Blondie films because it features legendary actor Glenn Ford in one of his earliest performances. In Blondie #7, the Bumsteads decide to vacation in the country for the 4th of July weekend because Blondie doesn't want Dagwood and Baby Dumpling to blow their heads off with firecrackers. After Dagwood gets his hand stuck to a freshly painted chair the family hop aboard a train for the country. It's one crazy mishap after another until Baby Dumpling is at the wheel of a runaway car. Can you imagine the hilarity?! Another fun instalment in this vintage series.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Movie or Crayon

Years ago when I worked for the Crayola company I hosted a game show for a company event. I recently found the note cards for a game in the show that must have been sitting in a sports coat pocket for seven years! Anywho, the game was called Movie or Crayon and I thought I'd share it with you. It's pretty simple: I read off a list of names and contestants had to guess if they were movie titles or Crayola crayon colors. Sound fun? Here's the list and I'll post the answers in the comments section...

  1. Tickle Me Pink

  2. Pretty In Pink

  3. Banana Mania

  4. Wild Strawberry

  5. TimberWolf

  6. Soylent Green

  7. Bittersweet

  8. Outer Space

  9. Blue Lagoon

  10. Burnt Sienna

  11. White Fang

  12. Men in Black

  13. Pink Panther

  14. Carnation Pink

Feel free to print this out and play it at parties!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Classic Commercial Sunday - #60 Burgers!

According to the user who uploaded this video: "Gino's Hamburgers was a fast-food restaurant chain founded in Baltimore, Maryland, by Baltimore Colts defensive end Gino Marchetti and running back Alan Ameche. It was an East Coast regional fast food restaurant and had 359 company-owned locations when they were acquired by Marriott Corporation in 1982. Marriott discontinued the brand and converted locations to their Roy Rogers Restaurants chain."

Friday, April 15, 2011

My Week In Movies - Slow Week For The Movie Nerd

Revenge of the Nerds (1984) I saw this movie at a party in the 6th grade. That was 26 years ago, so I was due for another screening of this comedy classic. The problem with the popular box-office hit slob comedies like this and Porky's and that I've watched so many rip-offs and knock-offs over the years that when I see the original, it feels like it's all been done a million times before. Still, this underdog story has it's funny moments and I'm sure if I had seen it six dozen times in my formative years it would have a special place in my heart. The cast includes Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Timothy Bussfield (who I loved as the bad guy in Sinbad's First Kid) and a very early appearance by James Cromwell (credited as Jamie Cromwell.) There's also some great racial humor on display here that simply wouldn't fly in today's PC world. Bottom line, however, they just don't make `em like this anymore. Rated R for language and nudity.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Funny or Die Beats "Weird Al" at Twitter

Airplane! Slots - Striker Rich!

This might be the coolest thing ever in a casino - a slot machine based on the movie Airplane! It neatly captures the characters from the film in cartoon form as well as other moments from the movie and some universal icons of air travel. One of the nice touches on the wheels is the tray of already eaten poison fish. (I had the lasagna.) Auto pilot Otto serves as the game's Wild Space. There are plenty of chances to interact with the machine in bonus games, none of which I hit while I played. I did however win $10.00, and since I was only fooling around with the machine to see how it all worked - I cashed out and bought a sandwich with my winnings! Below are a couple of videos of the game...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

edTunes: Volcano

Continuing my roll out of my 5 favorite musical acts, I loves me some Jimmy Buffet! How can you not dig the philosophy of J.B. of laying on the beach, sipping on a big fruity drink and just taking it easy. I played alot of Jimmy Buffet when I DJ'ed on my college radio station. Every Friday morning we would announce the "Countdown to Happy Hour" and play my favorite Buffet song, "Volcano". There's alot of great song from Jimmy Buffet and everybody has their favorite, but I gotta say Volcano is mine. Here's Jimmy Buffet and his Coral Reefer Band performing the song on Fridays - an ABC sketch comedy show from the early 80's. This performance aired May 8, 1981.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Atlantic City is Allegedly Always Turned On

I had a blast in Atlantic City, NJ this past weekend with my good friend Kevin. As I mentioned Friday, we went up to see one of our comedy idols Don Rickles perform live at the Borgata Casino. The show was fantastic as expected. He performed in The Music Box theatre which is a small 1,000 seat auditorium. Before Rickles came out, singer Tony DeSare entertained with classic tunes and voice that was at times a dead ringer for Frank Sinatra. He put on a very entertaining set, singing some modern songs like Prince's Kiss and also Springstein's Fire - both in a jazzy new arrangement. When Don Rickles took the stage, the crowd was on their feet to welcome the entertainment legend. Mr. Rickles sang, danced, told jokes and most importantly yelled and ridiculed the audience. It was a fantastic evening. I snapped a handful of pictures, as nobody was really enforcing the "No Flash Photography" rule. He never did get around to picking on Kevin and I, as we had hoped. But we still laughed ourselves silly.

I'm also giving a "thumbs up" plug to two places we ate at: The French Quarter Buffet at Showboat and the Fiesta Buffet breakfast at Tropicana. Both of these venues are high quality buffets with plentiful choices of very good food.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Read This Post You Hockey Puck

It's long been a dream of my buddy Kevin and I to see legendary comic Don Rickles perform live. Tonight we're heading up to Atlantic City, NJ to finally make that dream a reality. What would be the icing on the cake is for Mr. Rickles to direct a couple of his hilarious insults in our direction. And with 5th row tickets, we're hoping we've got an above average chance of making that dream also a reality.

Here's Rickles on Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday night, obviously in the area for his gig this weekend in NJ.

There's tons of great clips of Don Rickles online. Below is the video for Mr. Warmth performing at Ronald Regan's second inaguration in 1985.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

My Week In Movies - It's A Bunny and He Talks

Hop (2011) Even though the television ads show the scene where the Easter Bunny poops out jelly beans, this family comedy is pretty much free of any other bathroom humor. Unfortunately, it's pretty much free of any humor at all. There's a few chuckles here and there, but most of all this film about the Easter Bunny coming to Hollywood to break into showbiz is pretty lackluster. The kids enjoyed it, and in the end that's all that counts. It's not painful to sit thorough - it's just not very enjoyable. There's a few nice cameos in the film, including a surprise by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. After all, if there's one guy that knows about bunnies, it's Hef. Rated PG for some mild rude humor.

Due Date (2010) From the folks who brought us The Hangover comes this reworking of the classic "everything that can go wrong will go wrong" road trip movie. Story wise, it's very similar to Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis made a good team, but it's mostly the latter that provides the jokes in this comedy. This is a good vehicle for Zach Galifianakis and hopefully he can continue to find roles like this that show off his comedic talents. It's Rated R for language, and a brief sexual situation involving one person.

Screwballs (1983) Here's another ultra-silly sex comedy that somehow slipped by me in my teenage years. It's a classic in the genre and was just released on DVD so I was excited to finally get a chance to see it. And honestly, who wouldn't be excited about seeing a movie with a Strip Bowling scene in it? In so many of these movies, the story revolves around guys trying to get lucky with girls. Whether it's their first time or not, it's almost always about landing in the sack. Screwballs sets it's sights a little lower. Five guys in detention make it their mission to see snobby classmate Purity Busch's bare breasts before the end of the school year. Oh, those boys try and try but never quite succeed. Needless to say, their efforts do pay off before the end of the film. Just to drive home the fact that this movie is only about guys seeing a girls boobs, the second the prized cleavage is revealed - the credits begin to roll. Classic! Rated R for non-stop profanity, sexual situations and of course, nudity!

The Love Bug (1969) The kids asked the other night if we could watch the original Herbie movie, and after wiping the tears of joy from my eyes, I of course agreed. They didn't watch Herbie Rides Again with me the other week (they opted for an evening with their good friend Lego Batman instead) so this was their first exposure to a Herbie movie. They loved it and it honestly brought me great joy to see how utterly delighted they were when Herbie took off driving himself around and making everyone crazy. The kids laughed and squealed through the whole movie and when it came time for the climatic race at the end of the picture, they were on the edge of the sofa cheering Herbie on. Even though this movie is 42 years old (and certainly a product of it's time,) like most Disney movies it holds up incredibly well for today's kids. There are a couple of talky scenes in the middle but for the most part it's free-wheeling fun from start to finish. Movie perfection! Rated G, there is quite a bit of drinking - some of it necessary to explain the events in the story. However, it's all pretty innocent...and awesome!

March Movie Count: 23
Best New Viewing: Ramona & Beezus
Best Rewatch: The Love Bug
Worst Movie: *imps
2011 Movie Count: 57

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Cinematic A to Z

I've been seeing this on a few other blogs and as always I thought I'd jump in; a visual presentation of favorite movies for each letter of the alphabet. This list does not represent my favorite movie for each letter, but they are mostly movies that I love. I tried to stay away from titles that I talk about alot. In some cases, I had to get a little creative for some of the more difficult letters. When you're done reading, waste a half hour of your life trying to come up with your own list. Enjoy!
A is for Adventures in Babysitting

B is for Bananas

C is for Center Stage

D is for The Day The Earth Stood Still

E is for Easy A

F is for Fraternity Vacation

G is for The Gnome-Mobile H is for Hey There, It's Yogi Bear
I is for The Island at the Top of the World

J is for Josie and the Pussycats

K is for The Kentucky Fried Movie

L is for Love at Stake

M is for The Muppet Movie

N is for National Lampoon's Class Reunion

O is for Once Upon A Crime

P is for Police Academy 3: Back in Training

Q is for Quarterback Princess

R is for Rustlers' Rhapsody

S is for Spaceship

T is for Twilight Zone The Movie

U is for UHF

V is for A Very Brady Sequel

W is for The World's Greatest Athlete

X is for Xanadu

Y is for Young Doctors in Love

Z is for Zenon, Girl of the 21st Century

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

The Quotable Alf

"If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If it's run over by a car, you don't want it."

"I learned one thing about eating jigsaw puzzles : an hour later, you're hungry again."

"When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Many are called, but a few are chosen. And you can't get anything done by standing here talking cliches."

"I don't want to be an orphan! I saw "Annie!" Orphans have to eat gruel and tap dance with mops!"

"Did you say I should get hair in the peanut butter, or I shouldn't?"

"I never met a cat I didn't like!"

"Hey, you crawl under people's houses, you hear things."

"Trust me on this one, I've been wrong so many times before."

"Don't look back. Something might be broken." (quoting his Grandpa Satchel)

"Hey I'm still young. If I'm not married by the time I hit the big 4-0-0, then I'll panic."

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