“A masterpiece of American moviemaking. A moving and memorable 12-year epic of family life that isn’t quite like anything else in the history of cinema.”
– Andrew O’Hehir, SALON
Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, BOYHOOD charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before. Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay’s Yellow to Arcade Fire’s Deep Blue. BOYHOOD is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting.
This past weekend Disney Channel released the latest Phineas and Ferb special: Star Wars!!! If you haven’t seen it yet, I will try not to spoil too much, but basically if you’re peripherally familiar with the plot of Star Wars then there won’t be too many surprises. The special Phineas and Ferb Star Wars episode aired on July 26th, but since I have a certain cable provider, I actually was able to see it early on the 19th with friends. We are all Star Wars fans and came out of the viewing wanting to watch it again. I’ve since seen it two more times in the last week in which I’ve also worked 50+ hours and gone out of town for the weekend. Yes, it’s that good where I’ve fit it in.
Star Wars should be something that most are vaguely familiar with if they have inhabited this planet any time in the last 35 years or so. The fine folks over at Phineas and Ferb previously did a good job with the Marvel special episode and you can read Shelley’s review of that here. For me, as much as I enjoyed the Mission Marvel special, this Star Wars one was absolute perfection. There is singing, dancing, parodies of things from both sets of trilogies, but primarily focuses on the happenings of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
From the opening scene, you recognize that this is going to pay homage to the original Star Wars film, but with a Phineas and Ferb twist. Instead of the crawl being preceded with “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” we get “A couple summers ago in a galaxy far, far away.” Then we get the title Episode IVa: May the Ferb Be With You before a comedic interpretation of the crawl that sort of reminded me of the fun in the Monty Python and the Holy Grail opening credits in its style. To further prove that this is going to be poking fun at Star Wars, the crawl ends with the claim “and none of this is canon so just relax.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. For those rabid fans who can get a little too caught up in accuracy, take a chill pill and enjoy this for what it is, a fantastic parody.
Only a couple of minutes in we get a fun cameo from Adam and Jamie from Mythbusters as a couple of Stormtroopers at the Empire Administration Offices. I won’t spoil the other jokes that follow this scene, but pay careful attention to a computer screen in the office and a certain ad. The basic premise of the special is most of your favorite Phineas and Ferb characters leading somewhat parallel lives to those of your favorite Star Wars characters. Agent P is working as a rebel agent who actually is the one who give Princess Leia the Death Star Plans, Phineas and Ferb are farm boys on Tatooine who are friends with Luke, Doof Darthenshmirtz is a lower level Darth, but is actually the one who invented the Death Star … as a nutcracker.
The musical numbers are some of my absolute favorites of the show. The songs in order are “Tatooine” sung by Phineas and Ferb, Candace’s imperial army recruitment song “In The Empire” with Buford and Baljeet, Vanessa’s “I’m Feeling So Low” from the Cantina, Doof’s “Sith-Inator,” and another song from Vanessa over the end credits called “Rebel, Let’s Go!” My favorite was definitely “Tatooine” with so many Star Wars in jokes and references it is absolutely hilarious. I may have to break down and actually buy this soundtrack of the four songs because they are great.
Some of the scenes and lines are shot for shot and line for line recreations from the Star Wars films, but also some of my favorite moments are those little things they sneak in the background that I only caught on the second and third viewing. Look for Jabba making a cameo during a musical number, Boba Fett and his shopping basket, jokes about Greedo or Han shooting first in the Cantina, some things that may explain what happened to Luke in the garbage smasher while he was underwater and more including that time that Jar Jar almost got blamed for everything.
There are so many fantastic jokes and one liners that harken back to the
original, but I will do my best to restrain myself and just share a few. In Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi is talking to Luke when they first arrive and he says, “Mos Eisley Spaceport … never will you find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” To take it up a level the Phineas and Ferb animators put a banner when the boys arrive at Mos Eisley that says, “Mos Eisley Spaceport now with 14% more scum and villainy.” It is just the little things like this that make me appreciate how well the adaptation was done. Another one of the best lines was by the Cantina MC telling Figrin Dan and the Modal Nodes that it was pretty good that there was only one death and dismemberment during that set referring the to arm Obi Wan cut off the guy at the bar and Greedo being carried out after being shot by Han.
Watch this over and over again as you will catch the awesome things going on in the background. You will see more parallels than the Luke-Leia, Phineas-Candace, Han-Isabella, Millennium Falcon-Centennial Chihuahua, etc. Have you seen Phineas and Ferb Star Wars yet? If not, what are you waiting for? It is on demand from most cable providers on the Disney XD channel or app and it will be aired again on August 4th, but check your local listings to make sure you don’t miss this great episode (my favorite ever) of Phineas and Ferb. I hope you “never look a gift Tauntaun in the oral cavity” and May the Force (or Ferb) Be With You!
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is the perfect place to visit with the start of the new school year just around the corner and many summer camps ending, as parents are looking for fun but educational experiences to round out summer vacation.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers an interactive learning experience that kids will love. From the earliest days of America’s storied space program, Kennedy Space Center has captured the world’s imagination as the epicenter of mankind’s greatest adventure. Today, at the Visitor Complex, kids can learn about the past, present and future of the space program and the role that STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects play.
Here are the top 5 fun learning activities/attractions at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex:
Guests experience the inspiring accomplishments of the U.S. space shuttle program at the unique $100 million, 90,000-square-foot Space Shuttle AtlantisSMattraction (see image below), where visitors get nose to nose with a real spaceflown orbiter. Space Shuttle Atlantis is displayed as if floating in space – the only space shuttle orbiter in the world exhibited this way. Guests also can train on various realistic simulators: take a simulated spacewalk, land the space shuttle on the shuttle landing facility, operate the robotic Canadarm or dock with the International Space Station. Shuttle Launch Experience, part of Space Shuttle Atlantis, is an incredible journey of vertically launching into space and orbiting Earth aboard the space shuttle. Guests also strap in for an all-too-real simulation, which immerses visitors in the sights, sounds and feelings of a space shuttle launch, including simulated weightlessness.
The new Great Balls of Fire interactive exhibit opened this month and allows guests to discover the risks that asteroids, comets and meteorites present to our planet. The exhibit explores how we keep track of near-Earth objects while examining the effects of possible impacts. Within the Great Balls of Fire exhibit is Asteroid Encounter, where guests can climb aboard a “spaceship” and blast off to the asteroid belt and Jupiter while compiling data about asteroids and comets. Guests also can explore what would happen if one of these celestial bodies were to hit their hometown, determine Science Fact or Science Fictionof Hollywood movie clips and much more.
KSC Up-Close Explore Tour gives an insider’s view of the U.S. Space Program, from the launch sites of today at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to the past and future of space exploration at Kennedy Space Center. The KSC Up-Close Explore Tour includes up-close views of the massive, 525-foot-high Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) (one of the largest structures in the world) and the Shuttle Landing Facility. The tour stops in between the Kennedy Space Center launch pads for a close-up photo opportunity, in front of the VAB, and on the NASA Causeway where guests are surrounded by a panoramic view of launch pads at Cape Canaveral that are currently accommodating rocket launches by NASA, SpaceX and the United Launch Alliance.
The Apollo/Saturn V Center features dramatic multimedia shows and numerous hands-on displays that provide visitors with an inspirational and exhilarating look into America’s bold quest for the moon. Guests relive the historic launch of Apollo 8 at the Firing Room Theater, then marvel at a monstrous 363-foot long Saturn V moon rocket, the most powerful rocket ever built and one of only three Saturn V rockets in existence. The Apollo Treasures Gallery showcases treasures from the Apollo moon missions, including Apollo 14 Commander Alan Shepard’s spacesuit and the Apollo 14 Command Module, Kitty Hawk. July 16 marked the 45th anniversary of the lift off of Apollo 11, which landed the first humans on the moon.
Also new at the Visitor Complex are hands-on, science-based “Activity Adventures.” The activities, each lasting from 90 minutes to two hours, provide guests the opportunity to launch a water rocket (Rockitz), create and then land a rover on “Mars” (Rover Lander Drop) or race a jet car (Super Jet Cars). See image below.
Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3-11. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers annual passes starting at $75 + tax for adults and $60 + tax for children ages 3-11. Space Shuttle Atlantis, Shuttle Launch Experience, Apollo/Saturn V Center, and Great Balls of Fire are included in daily admission.