Saturday, July 30, 2011

My Week In Movies - Some Traveling Music Please

Blue Crush 2 (2011) I was really looking forward to seeing this new direct to DVD movie. I love the first Blue Crush movie, and even though this is a sequel in name only I'm a sucker for silly DTV cash grabs and couldn't wait to see it. I'm not sure why I like the original Blue Crush so much, but whatever it is - it's not in this follow up. A girl goes to South Africa to follow in her dead mother's footsteps and surf all her favorite spots. Along the way there is one cliche after another. There's even some ultra-ridiculous subplot involving elephant poachers. I guess everything in South Africa comes back to poachers. Way too long, nothing interesting and by the time the film arrives at the obligatory surfing competition climax it's overstayed it's welcome by at least 45 minutes. A sad excuse for a film to carry on the distinguished Blue Crush name. (I hope they make another one!)

The Three Stooges Go Around The World in a Daze (1963) As I've mentioned before, I'm not a huge Stooges fan but something draws me to their movies. This outing has the threesome traveling across the globe with their rich employer in a loose adaptation/sequel to the original Jules Verne classic Around the World in 80 Days. The funny thing is, this picture isn't all that funny but it's a pretty good movie none the less. It has an interesting story to follow even though it doesn't really give Larry, Moe and Curley Joe too much to do. There's one scene where they get to do a routine but other than that it's mostly just slapping and knocking on the head - as usual. Apparently at this point in their careers, The Three Stooges were mostly a kiddie act and their films played for matinee audiences. Daze plays more like a good hearted adventure flick than a slapstick comedy. Sony Movie Channel is currently running a nice HD print of the film.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The End of the World is One Step Closer

This is a real toy. I saw it for sale in Target this weekend. The people who made this should be as ashamed as the people who are going to pay Casey Anthony for her movie/book rights. Ugg!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

edTunes - Party Rock Anthem

My wife LOVES this song right now. I think it's ok, but the video is crazy fun! This video is so much old school goodness it reminds me of the hours I killed in my youth watching stuff like this on MTV all day.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Homemade Smurfberry Cookies

The other day while we were out driving in the woods, we came across this very rare Smurfberry bush. We pulled over and smurfed a small basket full of the ripe berries. Sure Smurfberries are delicious to eat just by themselves, and of course we made some yummy Sarsaparilla with a handful of the berries but I was looking for something a little extra special to smurf. So I went up in the attic and dug out my great great grandmother's Smurf recipe book that she had discovered in her backyard among a patch of mushrooms....during World War I?!?

Anysmurf...the fact is Saturday we had a rare occasion where we had two social gatherings to go to so I decided to get a little creative and whip up some Smurfberry Cookies, since I can't stop talking about Smurfs. I had looked up a few Smurf cookie recipes online but they were all way too complicated so I just created my own. You can make these too. Here's what you'll need:

  • 3/4 cup butter (softened)

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 1/2 cup flour

  • 1 tsp. vanilla flavor

  • blue food coloring

  • Pomegranate Craisins

  • Smurfs Breakfast Cereal
This recipe is simple to smurf. First, smurf the butter and sugar together and then add the vanilla. Then start to mix in the flour while adding dabs of blue food coloring. You'll want to wait till your mixture is mostly white before adding the coloring or you'll be adding blue to the buttery yellow and it won't look right.

While the mixture is forming into dough, sprinkle in the Craisins. I suppose you could use any ol' berry or fruit for this recipe. I went with Pomegranate Craisins because it's a flavor most people wouldn't identify right away and Smurfberries should taste unique and not just like blueberries or what have you. (I'm smurfing a story with these cookies people!)

While kneeding the dough, continue to add in as many Craisins as you wish and drops of food coloring. I added the blue coloring a little at a time because I didn't want the shade of the cookies to be too dark. I ended up adding enough so that the dough wasn't entirely blue, there were some swirls of white in there as well. I liked this look as it actually helps sell the visual idea of the blue and white design of the Smurfs.

Then at the last minute I had the idea to add a coating of Smurfs Cereal to the top of the cookies. Pour a little bit of cereal into a bowl, then when you roll small balls of dough for the cookies press them down into the cereal to pick up a few for a little crunchy blue and white coating on top.

Make sure your balls of dough are pretty flat to begin with. The dough didn't expand out as some recipes do and the second batch of cookies came out much better and cookie like than the first batch which is pictured above. Bake the cookies on a greased cookie sheet for 8 1/2 minutes at 375 degrees.

When they are done, let them cool for a smurf bit and then you'll have yourself a Smurfalicious Batch of Homemade Smurfberry Cookies. I think the Craisins did a good job as far as looking like a Smurfberry baked into a cookie and the light blue color swirled with the white evokes images of the Smurfs. The Smurf cereal on top is just a nice unique touch and another way to work the Smurfs into the cookies.

I made two containers of the cookies to take to our two parties. I also added in a bed of blue and red Stauffer's Smurf Crackers which are kind of hard to find in I went to their factory in York, PA and bought some directly from them. (Is that sad?) (That was a separate adventure and nothing to necessarily do with my homemade project.)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Week In Movies - Go See Winnie The Pooh

Winnie The Pooh (2011) Just seeing the joy-filled expressions of innocence on my 7 year old's face during a screening of this Disney "reboot" was worth the $21.50 I dropped on tickets alone. This new Pooh Bear movie is a magical delight of simplicity and childhood fun. There's nothing modern, crude or cynical about this movie, just 69 breezy minutes of old fashioned fun. Taken directly from chapters of the same book the original Disney Pooh Bear cartoons were based on, three sections of the book Winnie The Pooh are blended together to form a less episodic, stream of conscious following in a day in the life of the residence of the Hundred Acre Wood. Winnie The Pooh is easily the best kids film to come out of Hollywood in a LONG time and also one of the most fun times my kids and I have ever had at the movies. Do yourself a favor and go see this movie!

Hall Pass (2011) As far as stupid comedies go, I really enjoyed this raunchy romp about two dudes who are given a week of from their marriages to pursue "other interests." The only problem with this flick is when Owen Wilson and Jason Sudekus are given their freedom it takes them a few days to get reved up to go out on the prowl for women. It also takes the movie a little too long getting reved up to the laughs and interesting situations. Still, it's a good time and if you like a good R-rated comedy you're sure to find plenty to laugh at.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) I really enjoyed this classic sci-fi flick, which I had never seen before. The mystery of what is happening to all the people in town is slowly revealed with alot of tension and suspense. By the time the movie rolls around to the third act, you can't help but be on the edge of your seat with anticipation. There's a reason certain movies have become classics and this one displays a certain intelligent style of storytelling that you just don't see anymore.

Abbott and Costello Go To Mars (1953) You know you're in for a good time at the movies when the opening credits reveal... "And Introducing The Miss America Beauties." A handful of real life beauty pageant queens play the inhabitants of a distant planet where Bud & Lou happen to accidentally land in a rocket. The ladies make Lou their new king while Bud stares on in disbelief. Some good laughs are to be had once the picture gets rolling. This was the duo's second to last film.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

edTunes - Super Bass

Three things:
1) I don't want to like this song, but I do.
2) This video has way too many close ups of shirtless men for me.
3) At no point in this song do I have any idea what she is saying.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

My Week In Movies - Unintentional Winona Ryder Double Header

Black Swan (2010) Whaaaaat? Did you see this movie? What is going on here!? Here's the thing, there's a particular scene in this've probably heard about it. Let's just say it's a love scene. It's like the film makers knew that everybody was going to be talking about this scene and only people who saw the movie in the first week or two weren't going to know this scene was gonna happen. So, when you watch the movie's like the whole first hour is just building and teasing you leading up to this girl/girl love scene. They know you know it's just don't know when. It's very manipulative that way. Then after the love scene, the whole third act is just bonkers - bananas - and you're not really sure what' really happening and what's a dream. It's kinda crazy. I guess it's a good movie, I mean it was nominated for Best Picture and all...but it's just all so freaky. Oh, what's it about? Natalie Portman is a ballerina who becomes way too obsessed with her craft. Obsessed to the point where she gets it on with another girl and then all hell breaks loose. Oh, and Winona Ryder is in it too.

The Dilemma (2011) First of all,what a horrible title. Couldn't any movie be called "The Dilemma," isn't that just another way of saying "The Plot?" Anywho, you got Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Connelly as a couple and Kevin James and Winona Ryder as their best couple friends. Vince ends up spotting Winona cheating on his best friend and then spends the rest of the movie trying to decide when or if he should tell James about the infidelity. Here's the thing, when you put Vince Vaughn and Kevin James' bankable names above the title - you're expecting a certain something. Both Vaughn and James have an on-screen persona that they stick to pretty well. Here, they play those "characters" once again, and they are pretty funny in it, but they are all stuck in the script of a drama. By the end of this picture the heavy story weighs down what should have been a pretty outrageous comedy. Did I mention Winona Ryder is in it?

The Light In the Forest (1958) I've seen this movie before and really enjoyed it. It's an above average Disney outing about a boy who must leave the Indian family who raised him and go back to the white family he came from. Not only does the boy have a hard time adjusting, so does the town who don't take kindly to injuns hanging around. This is an intelligent film that shows that there is a good and bad side to everybody and that there are always two sides to a story.

Classic Commercial Sunday - #71

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's No Smurfberries

The other day I was pretty smurfed off when I went to not one but two grocery stores and didn't find a single bit of smurf merchandising for the new movie. I mean Smurfs are blue - that's like the big thing about them. How easy is it to just put out a blue version of whatever product you make and slap a Smurf sticker on the package and stick it out there!? Well, apparently there IS a Smurf cereal out there...I just haven't found it yet. Now I have to spend the whole weekend going to the other grocery stores in the area looking for it. Great!

The strange (yet cool) thing about this cereal is that's it' almost like Post Cereal is saying, "Hey! We realize the filmmakers smurfed up the design of the Smurfs."

"So flip the box over and here's the way the Smurfs are supposed to look!"

Well played, Post. Although If I were a cereal executive (and I so should be) I would have just put Smurfberry Crunch back out on the market. It too would be available in two versions: the kind that doesn't make your poop turn purple and the retro box which does do the trick.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Places To See Old Movies: The Majestic

There's few things I love more than getting a chance to see an old movie in the theatre. Movies are made to be seen in a theatre - and even though nowadays you can recreate the theatrical experience at home - nothing beats a good old fashioned movie up on the silver screen.

I used to go see alot of old movies. The Baltimore area where I grew up was home to a number of venues that offered vintage flicks on a regular basis. The number of theatres that show classic cinema is dwindling. Baltimore is now an hour away from me, not to mention the time constraints of being a parent and having a family and all that other grown-up stuff, I just don't get out to many movies at all - yet alone old ones.

The Majestic Theatre in historic Gettysburg, PA is about as old as theatres get. It originally opened in 1925. When I moved to the area in the early 2000's, the theatre was a twin screen cinema that showed current Hollywood fare. The theatre was delightfully untouched since perhaps the 50's. It was also kind of a run down theatre and when a super-de-dooper Stadium Seating 16 screen cineplex opened up down the road, the Majestic's days were numbered.

Somewhere around 2005, the theatre rejuvenated itself with a complete overhaul. They renovated the entire property in order to make it look more like the original 1925 theatre. It's a really cool place to see a movie or even a show. They have live theatre here now as well.

They have two screens which now show art house releases and every summer The Majestic hosts a lineup of classic films which they show every Wednesday night in their main performing arts center theatre. I've been lucky enough to make it out to one of these events for the past three summers. Last night, I took my 7 year old to see Invasion of the Body Snatchers from 1956. I had never seen it, although it's always been on my radar as it's referenced in Gremlins. My son Elias, the budding film nerd, was all about seeing some classic sci-fi/ he was excited to see his first black and white movie in the theatre. (I told you he's gonna be a movie nerd like his Pops!)

A cool thing at the theatre is where the two art-house screens are. In the concession area there are floor to ceiling replicas of vintage movie posters on the walls.

Elias was very happy to see The Blob represented. It's one of his favorite movies (which I enjoy too.)

Attached to the theatre is a cafe. It used to be a stuffy "fancy" cafe but since I've last been here they've turned it into a more laid back flatbread cafe called Flats, where you can pick up a pretty good flatbread pizza before the movie. We had just enough time before the show to scarf down a quick classic cheese flatbread.

This simple pizza met with Elias' approval!

The classic films are held in the performing arts theatre which has been classically themed to reproduce the feel of an early 20th century theatre. Of course, any theatre that looks old fashioned on the inside looks like The Muppet Show theatre to me!

No advertisements for the new season of TNT dramas before the movie. Nice Touch!

Here's the fanciest Emergency Exit you'll ever see. It looks like The Muppet Show, doesn't it?

There's also a balcony in the theatre.

I guess I should try out a balcony seat at least once. I like to sit close to the screen, so I always feel like I'll be back way to far if I sit up there.

It's a beautiful theatre, and I'm glad they run the old films in the summer. Any chance to see a classic is great. Elias and I both enjoyed Body Snatchers very much even though he was a little disappointed it wasn't scary. I tried to explain to him that things people found scary in the 1950's don't necessarily scare us anymore.

The ticket prices are fair ($6.00 for the old movies) and the concession stand prices are way lower than the mall movie theatre. My only complaint with The Majestic is that it's such as shame to have a beautiful theatre like this and then use a video projector to screen the movies. It's disappointing because it just looks different -it's not a true movie going experience. In fact, at last nights screening they had the wrong audio track on and the Spanish subtitles and dub were playing for the first 3 minutes. It sure took them a while to shut it off and fix it. Finally, they started the movie over again - in English!

Friday, July 08, 2011

More Vintage Kings Dominion

Oh, Ed! Will you ever stop scouring YouTube looking for old videos of your beloved Virginia amusement park Kings Dominion? The answer, my friends, is no! Feast your eyes on this spiffy 8mm film I dug up on the YouTube featuring tons of great old 70's style amusement park fun.

First off you'll see the Rebel Yell with some great shots of Lake Charles and the King Cobra roller coaster by it's side. The lake has since been filled in to make way for the water park and the King was at Jolly Roger in Ocean City, MD for a while. I'm not sure where it is now, I bet I could find out. (And will!) There's also some neat footage of the sky ride and the view of the park from said sky ride. You just don't see bucket-style sky rides like that anymore! And there are some gorgeous shots of the Lost Mountain as well as some footage of KD's Giant Slide. And it's a really big Giant Slide. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Trail of the Dutch Wonderland Trip Report

If you're keeping score, you're actually behind on two Dutch Wonderland trip reports. My kids are just loving the park so much that they ask to go every week, and since it's all paid for and it's one less day of the summer I have to fill with activities - I'm all for it. Plus, this park really brings out the best in my kids. They get along so well when we're at Dutch Wonderland and they just have a blast going on rides, exploring the park and playing.

We went two weeks ago for Duke The Dragon's Surprise Birthday Party. This is an annual event which is held in the water park, Duke's Lagoon. Duke came out for his regularly scheduled 2:30 pool side appearance and there was a big crowd waiting to shout "Surprise!" and sing Happy Birthday to him. They also had cake and ice cream for everyone who attended. In addition to that, they put out a huge spread of food - FREE! - to all guests. They had burgers, corn dogs, chicken, fish, shrimp, waffles, pasta salad, cole slaw, potato salad, beans, chips, juice and soda. It was crazy! We ate well and it was certainly a nice treat for the ol' wallet. We had a lot of fun that day, but I forgot to bring my camera - so who cares about a play by play, let's skip to the next visit.

I was planning on taking a week or two off from going to the park, but the kids were so excited to go again so we ended up there Friday of last week. The park was pretty crowded but we managed to get through the day without any really long wait times. Some of the rides had a 10 - 15 minute wait time instead of their usual 5 minute wait time. It was nice to have a full track of cars for the Bumper Cars. Since it was kinda hot out, the line for the Double Splash Flume was a bit longer than usual, but it moved briskly.

I did make a point to snap a photo of one of DW's newest rides, Kite Flight. The kids had shied away from this ride on our first couple of visits, but eventually got up the nerve to ride it and now it's one of their favorite rides in the park. As you can make out in the picture, you lay down on your tummy on this ride to sort of simulate the experience of hang gliding. Certainly not as convincing an effect as Disney's Soaring but it's still a pretty cool ride. It takes you soaring up and down around in a circle reaching a height of 17 feet. I rode it once and it made me kind of dizzy. I've sat out additional rides so far but the boys will ride it two or three times in a row. They flip for it!

Next we have me probably not setting a good example for my children, but I could do alot worse. One of the most popular rides in the park is Dragon's Lair which is a very slow, relaxing boat ride around a lagoon. A feature of the ride, added recently, is a huge mountain and a cave where Duke lives. Inside the cave, you ride past a giant egg with colors that match Duke... kids ask every time why Duke the boy dragon has laid an egg. I tell them not to read into it so much, I don't think Duke's backstory has really been fleshed out all that much. Maybe the mom dragon is away...I don't know, but anyhow when you ride past the egg it's sitting in a nest. Somebody has tossed a plastic Easter egg into the nest with Duke's egg. (I'm pretty sure it's been there a while.) So I had the idea that we should try and start a new park tradition and see if other people will start throwing eggs into the nest. The kids loved the idea of course and we tried to make a mental note to dig up a plastic egg at home and bring it on our next visit. Then later we remembered there is a Chicken Laying a Prize Filled Egg machine at the monorail station. So, we had our egg supply right there in the park!

Mission accomplished! We added the yellow egg in front, you can also see the blue egg in the nest. The picture is a little blurry since you can only snap a shot from a moving boat. So, if you're a DW fan - get yourself an egg and add it too Duke's collection. I'm sure he would be most pleased!

Like every other parent, I had midway games. Rip-Offs! The only time I'm likely to drop a few bucks on one is when it's either kid oriented and they win a prize every time or when you can buy a bucket of balls (or rings) so that everybody can have a turn tossing a couple of rings/balls at the game. Elias really wants a full sized Minion from Despicable Me. They have them in a giant sized claw machine which I'm not spending a dime on, but they also had them in a game where you had to land a wiffle ball in a colored hole. So, I dropped five bucks for a basket of balls so both the kids could have turns and so I could toss one of two "skilled" balls at the game. First toss of the game, Elias lands a ball in a blue medium hole. The Minion is a large, but if we scored one more medium we could trade up for the large. Of course, we didn't win anything else with our remaining basket full of balls. Instead of getting the character from one of his favorite movies...

...he gets Shrek. Elias shares my complete indifference to the world of Shrek, and he was not quite as thrilled with his win. We'll try again another visit to trade up to the Minion.

In the back of the park they have two free floating boat rides that cruise around the waterway system along the farmlands at the rear of the property. One cool experience this last trip, on the Lady Gay River Boat the captain slowed the motor down and let Tanner take over in the driver's seat. He was really steering our boat and was really proud of himself when he was done!

Well Played Dutch Wonderland

And finally, are you ready for some big time Theme Park nerdiness? I love when they have little road signs on Antique Car rides. Guess what? Dutch Wonderland added some to their Sunoco Turnpike ride. They are so cool!

Loves it!

Both trips: nothing but a great time!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

My Week In Movies - Hot Summer Flicks

Wet Hot American Summer (2001) Just a helpful tip for any young filmmakers out there: if you want to guarantee at least one person sees your movie, include a scene where a grown man talks to a can of vegetables. Have the can's lid serve as it's mouth for speaking purposes. If you do this, I will be certain to watch your film and enjoy at least the scene with the talking prepackaged produce. In addition to a talking can of vegetables, this great summer camp spoof sports an incredible cast including Paul Rudd, Amy Pohler, Elizabeth Banks, Janeane Garofalo and Molly Shannon...just to name a few. The film plays as both a summer camp flick and a slightly off-center parody of such flicks. I saw it ten years ago when it came out and really enjoyed it, I finally got around to watching it again and enjoyed it just as much. Approaching it's tenth anniversary, Wet Hot has achieved somewhat of a cult status. Available on Netflix streaming.

North Shore (1987) Gotta admit, I'm kinda psyched to see Blue Crush 2 which is out on DVD now (I'll wait for my Netflix DVD to show up) but in the meantime I queued up this 80's surfer flick which tosses up a handful of surfing movie cliches and offers nothing much new in the process. Nia Peeples costars as the attractive local Hawaiian who catches the eye of the visiting surf wannabe. You might remember Peeples from her stint hosting Nia Peeple's Dance Machine which was on right after Arsenio Hall. No? You don't remember Nia Peeple's Dance Machine. Well, then you have absolutely no reason to see this movie.

The Jungle Book (1967) This has got to be one of my all-time favorite Disney films. I knew we were due for a screening when I was helping my kids pick up the playroom the other day. "Put the Mowgli figure back on the shelf," I said to one of my kids. "What's a Moogy?," he responded. I knew then that I had failed my children as a parent. The Jungle Book is near the top of my list for it's great songs, awesome voice work and it's swinging 60's score and lingo. Even though this might be one of Disney's most dated animated films, it still plays like a timeless world of it's own.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Trailer Tuesday - Annie Hall (1977)

Perhaps the greatest romantic comedy of modern cinema, and the I'm pretty sure the only Best Picture Oscar winner I have in my DVD collection...

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Classic Commercial Sunday - #69 B-12

The other night we had the most enjoyable time sitting out on our deck and playing Battleship with the kids and just candles to light our waters. Anywho, this vintage ad for the classic game shows the exact same edition of the game that we have. It was mine growing up and I'm pretty sure my mom had picked it up at a yard sale. It's in perfect condition and I'm sure made of a much higher quality of material than if you were to purchase one today!

Saturday, July 02, 2011

My Week In Movies - Kneel Before Mater

Cars 2 (2011) I think the folks at Pixar are just so darn smart that we as the American movie going public just don't know exactly what to make of this action-packed sequel. Usually a sequel flip flops elements of the first film or just offers up a similar experience to the original. Cars 2 is unlike any other sequel ever made. It's a completely different film from the 2006 original. This is an action picture, a spy thriller inhabited by the world of Cars. We've certainly never seen a spy movie with an all automobile cast and dare I say we've never really seen a sequel that is a different genre than it's original. Cars 2 is funny, action packed and quite clever with it's storyline. It's not the heart tugging kind of picture UP or Toy Story 3 is, but Cars was never really about the heart strings. This is just a good solid entertaining picture which is actually quite above the heads of the kids who will want to buy the toys based on every single character and scene in this movie. For a G rated flick, there is an awful lot of drinking in this movie. It's never really said what anyone...or anycar? is drinking, but it's implied by the way the drinks are presented. None of the characters get drunk, or abuse alcohol - it was just something I noticed while watching the movie. There is also little if any reason to see it in 3-D. We saw a flat 2-D screening and the visuals are simply amazing at the lower ticket prices.

It's A Bikini World (1967) There exists a movie with the beyond awesome title "It's A Bikini World" and I have only now seen it in my 37th year on this planet! That's a crime against humanity, I tells ya! The film involves the extremely cute Deborah Walley as a beach bunny who meets stuck up jock Tommy Kirk. He likes her, but she wants nothing to do with him. So....he puts on a pair of glasses and tucks in his shirt and pretends to be his own imaginary brother. Wouldn't ya know it, she falls for the fake brother. Then some wacky hi-jinks ensure, wait a minute...nothing really wacky happens. She figures it all out pretty quick and then forgives him and then run off into the surf together. As with any film made between 1962 and 1967 with the words BEACH, PAJAMA, PARTY or BIKINI in the title, a large amount of screen time is devoted to showcasing the rock n' roll bands the kids are so fond of.

Superman II (1980) It's amazing that there are kids out there today who haven't seen a Superman movie. When I was little, if you happened upon a Superman movie on TV you dropped what you were doing and watched the rest of it. It's not that we were big Superman fans, it's just something you did as a kid in the early 80's. The plot of Chapter 2 involves some bad guys coming to Earth and refusing to rest until they make Superman kneel down before them. Sounds kind of gay, eh? It's alot less goofy than the first Superman movie where he flew around the globe so fast he reversed the direction of the Earth's rotation. There's a perfect balance of humor and action in these older superhero movies that today's onslaught of comic picture could take a lesson from.

June Movie Count: 14
Best New Movie: Drive Angry
Best Rewatch: Superman II
Worst Movie: The Roommate

2011 Movie Count: 103
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