One of my fondest memories from childhood was watching The Muppet Show on Sunday evenings. I felt like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and company were a part of my family and we grew up together. I bought each season of the show as it was released on DVD and love reliving some of my favorite sketches such as Pigs in Space and guest stars like Harry Belafonte singing the Banana Boat Song (Day-O). So when it was announced that a new Muppets movie was coming out, I was cautiously optimistic that some of that comedic magic and poignancy from my youth might be recaptured. Luckily, I was not disappointed.
The first time I saw the Muppets I laughed almost uncontrollably at some of the cameos (ahem, Dave Grohl). While I was apprehensive about the introduction of a new Muppet, Walter, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey we as the audience experienced and the film was as a whole very satisfying. Some of my favorite moments included Animal trying to stay “in control” of his emotions, Pepe and Miss Piggy’s Dirty Dancing homage and the throwbacks to the original show like the theater at the studios and Kermit’s Rolodex.
While the movie is primarily a family friendly comedy, there were some touching moments that did cause me to shed a few tears. When the Muppets first revisit the Muppet Studios as a group and enter the theater, it totally tugged at my heartstrings seeing something I loved so much as a child in such disrepair. The moment that really resonated with me was when the Muppets played Rainbow Connection at the telethon. Being a huge fan of the original Muppet Movie, and many of the subsequent movies, this just was the right amount of a fresh take with a nod to the previous movie to strike a nice balance for me.
And if you are a super-fan of The Muppets like I am, the Wocka Wocka Value Pack is the way to go! Included in the pack is a Blu-Ray disc, DVD, a digital copy of the movie, and a digital download of the soundtrack. How can that be wrong???
Another of my favorite aspects of the film that I appreciated even more on the second viewing was the soundtrack. While I didn’t completely love every single song, I did immediately run out to purchase the soundtrack after seeing the movie the first time. As I mentioned, Rainbow Connection is a huge favorite of mine and has been since I was little. The other song I loved was Life’s A Happy Song. Accompanied by a great song and dance number that reminded me of That’s How You Know from the Disney film Enchanted, it was one of the most memorable moments that bookended the movie. Which is another reason that the Wocka Wocka Value Pack of The Muppets rocks, because it comes with a free digital copy of the soundtrack!!!!
There are so many awesome Bonus Features on The Muppets it is insane. Bonus Features include The Longest Blooper Reel Ever Made (In Muppet History––We Think), Scratching The Surface: A Hasty Examination of the Making of Disney’s “The Muppets”, Explaining Evil: The Full Tex Richman Song, and A Little Screen Test on the way to the Read Through. And if you didn’t absolutely love the The Muppets before, you will after watching these features.
Also on the Blu-Ray disc is a feature called Disney Intermission where when you pause the movie the frame doesn’t just freeze, it shows something special…I really don’t want ruin it…It is just that cool!!!
Overall, I loved the Muppets and found it completely enjoyable. I came out of the theater feeling very much like Life’s A Happy Song and wanted to go back for more. The second viewing was just as much fun, and yes, I cried the second time around, even knowing what was going to happen. I hope that you all felt the same sense of nostalgia mixed with a fresh take on some of our favorite characters from the Muppets. Go out and grab this movie on Blu Ray or DVD to experience this great family friendly film with amazing clarity that was not to be found back when the original was released in the 1970s.
As are many people, I am a HUGE fan of Samantha Brown (@samanthabrown) from the Travel Channel. I remember the first time I ever saw her on tv. I was at my friend Suzanne’s house and she just happened to have the tv on the Travel Channel as background noise while I was visiting with her and her triplets. An episode of Great Hotels came on, the one about the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago (yes, I even remember which episode it was from a over a decade ago), and I was instantly captivated. There was just something about Sam (as she often refers to herself, making her immediately more accessible) that sucked you in. It is a certain je ne sais quoi, but I will try to articulate. She reminds me slightly of my best friend in that she is very approachable and friendly. Sam has an affable quality and isn’t afraid to laugh at herself or others when the situation warrants. She doesn’t mind making a fool of herself and likes to have a good time. On tv, she appears to be about one of the most down to earth people that you just want to be friends with, and she is in person too. I know because I had the pleasure of meeting her in the fall of 2010. And it all happened through the magic of twitter.
So Sam was one of the first celebrities I followed on twitter. I love following her globetrotting adventures as I have watching her numerous series from Great Hotels to Girl Meets Hawaii, Great Vacation Homes, Passport to Europe, Latin America and China, as well as all of her specials on the Travel Channel. I still think the Great Hotels series is my favorite since she visited WDW on more than one occasion to cover episodes on the Grand Floridian, Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge. On top of this Sam has had more than a handful of Disney specials and continues to work with Disney on a regular basis cover the launches of the new cruise ships, Aulani and co-hosting the Disney Parks Christmas Parade in 2011. She is very endearing and can talk to just about anyone.
Anyways, I would tweet her every once in a while and never got a response until I realized that my account was set to private and she couldn’t see my tweets since she doesn’t follow me. Then, one day, after my friend Mary Jo Collins (@mojodisney) got a response from her, I decided to tweet Sam. Amazingly I got a reply! I couldn’t believe it. I was actually interacting with my favorite tv personality. I was in seventh heaven. Of course, I didn’t just let it go at a simple one time chance tweet, so I continued to tweet with Sam every so often and then, it happened. She confirmed she was coming to Disney World to film for a special. Here is how the conversation went:
So that is how it all came about. Through the wonders of social media I was able to meet one of the coolest and nicest people. For her to take time to say hi to me from her busy shooting schedule for the filming of the special Best Places I’ve Ever Been: Disney Memories, was completely amazing. Sam was very gracious and did keep me posted, just like she said she would. As she was escorted in by Cast Members and producers, a line quickly formed in the UK to meet her. I had been hanging out with one of my twitter friends, Susan (@marypoppins68), whom I had just met merely minutes before, when I got the message and we headed to the UK. If it weren’t for Susan, I wouldn’t have the awesome picture of me and Sam because I couldn’t get my silly blackberry to stop tweeting to be able to take a picture. I was next in line and then the CMs tried to whisk Sam away, but I protested (politely) telling Sam that I was @floridamingo with whom she had been tweeting. Immediately, Sam said to the CMs that she had a few minutes and insisted on getting a picture with me and we spoke for a few minutes. I couldn’t believe she did that just for me! After we met, she did have to get back to work and I snapped a few pictures of the filming. When she and her friend were on a break I approached Sam again and mentioned a few drinks she might like since it was during the International Food & Wine Festival and we all know she occasionally enjoys an adult beverage. She seemed to appreciate the tip and I went on my merry way with my mission accomplished.
I set out to meet Samantha Brown and I did just that. Despite the fact that I had two other trips planned for later that month, I booked a trip just for this opportunity. No, I’m not a stalker, I swear, but I really appreciate producing quality entertainment that is also somewhat educational and lets the rest of us live vicariously through it. It was an awesome experience and I actually spoke with Sam on another occasion as a call in guest during a fundraiser by the Be Our Guest Podcast crew. To be able to speak with her again was very cool and she even seemed to remember me (or at least pretended for my sake). For someone to put forth that effort for there fans is rare and I respect how gracious and friendly Sam was during both our in person and phone conversations. I can’t wait to see the next series or special that she has coming up as well as her continued association with Disney.
Here is a link to the special Sam filmed that day. She is up first so don’t be scared by the length:
I thought that it was time to show the boys some shopping love, especially since there is some great Park Merch out there!!!
The summer t-shirts and such are super cool, and have a kind of Hollister feel to them. I am a huge fan of how summery this line is!!! Its also worth noting that the shirts are definitely lighter weight than the regular shirts, which is great for those hot summer days.
And you cannot deny the absolute coolness of the retro shirts and hats!!! I think I am going to HAVE to get the red hat!!! I think that Disney is definitely striking the right cord and tapping into the right characters. Who doesn’t love the Big Bad Wolf???
I also threw in a few Vinyls…just cause!
I hope you enjoy window shopping with me for the boys!!!
I was a little skeptical going into John Carter, as I had never read Edgar Rice Burroughs’ 1917 novel and the trailers were not indicative of anything that hasn’t been done and overdone before. But I was happy to find that John Carter was a fun adventure movie filled with action, humor, great animation, and even a love story. But was it the huge blockbuster Disney had hoped for in the epic adaptation of an almost 100 year old sci-fi novel?
The movie begins with a comical montage of scenes where Carter, a former confederate Calvary man turned “crazy” prospector, has a run in with a union Colonel trying to recruit him to fight the Apaches in the Arizona territory. This series of scenes, some of the funniest of the movie, shows Carter’s series of attempts to escape. After escaping the union soldiers, and a run in with some Apache warriors, he finds himself in a secret cave of gold face to face with a mysterious cloaked figure. Following a scuffle, he awakes in a strange barren land where the real adventure begins.
From here it is your classic story of an outsider thrust into a strange world. Due to the density of his human bones and the gravity on Barsoom, John Carter soon realizes that he can jump great heights and has amazing strength. And from this point on the movie follows Carter’s exploits as he learns about the new worlds, their civil war, and eventually becomes their champion.
The story has all of the pieces of a great adventure move, compelling characters, a good story, great action sequences, and even some well placed laughs. The length of the film made it a little difficult to get through because it dragged some in the middle, but overall it was fun, exciting, and definitely worth the price of the ticket. Going into the film I was a little skeptical, but I came out wanting more. I am definitely looking forward to the next installment.
Starting this Month, every Friday I will feature a new TrenD Report or new merchandise line in or around the parks! I am really excited to start doing these on a more regular basis!!!
With that being said…Let’s get window shopping!!!
This week’s report shows all of the love that Minnie has been getting (which I am sooo excited about, since she is my favorite character)!!! Also, we’ll see some really neat retro ear hats and Evil Queen merch!