A Subatomic Spoiler-Free Look At Ant-Man

antman

Big things come in small packages, and that’s something that’s always been true for the hero Ant-Man. The movie adaptation of the hero’s origin, Ant-Man, opens in theaters today,  is a definite treat for the Marvel Cinematic Universe fans who might not have been as impressed with Avengers: Age of Ultron, but were huge fans of Guardians of the Galaxy.  It is the final film in “Phase 2” and as staunch fans will catch on this is with good reason, as Ant-Man will be heavily connected to many aspects of the MCU going forward – some that might not come to any fruition, and others that are going to take us to DEFCON 1.

This is a story about Scott Lang, who in comic books was the 2nd Ant-Man, and the movie sticks with that theme.  He is a self proclaimed “cat burglar” who has just gotten out of prison, and through a series of events ends up breaking into a home where he comes into possession of a suit that he can use to shrink down to a size where he can ride an ant like it is a horse.  Hence his name… get it… Ant-Man.  In a way similar to the comic book also, he is doing this for his daughter… though the circumstances are a bit different.

Comic book fans like myself, those who are familiar with the history of the Avengers have been wondering just how Ant-Man would fit into the MCU.  After all in comic books, the original Ant-Man was Hank Pym, and he was one of the founding members of the Avengers, before Captain America, Hawkeye, or Black Widow were ever members.  In comics he is the guy who created Ultron, not Stark. He has also been several superheroes including Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, Wasp, etc.  So the big question for this group was just how were you going to fit this diverse a character back into the mix?

In short, this is handled extremely well.  The pieces of Pym’s story are brought in piece by piece and at just the right times.  In this way you can see the parallels between the growth of both Lang and Pym in the movie.  One thing that this movie helped me with is the Ultron that was presented in Age of Ultron – as I struggled with that interpretation.  Missing was the psycho-drama element of the Pym vs. Ultron struggle – and Ultron was turned into all the worst elements of Tony Stark instead.  Here, in place of Ultron, we have Yellowjacket – who unlike comics is NOT Pym (no spoiler here, this was all over the trailers), and as is true to the MCU is different yet analogous to his Earth-616 (soon to be zero?) counterpart.  As a result he takes on many of the personality traits of Ultron from the comic books.

There is the contingent of people who have been wondering why they should care about a dude who can shrink and talk to ants.  Well because when a dude with a bow and arrow or a gal with a guns and martial arts can stand tall against the likes of a Hulk, everything else in between can work, and a tiny dude can stand tall too. However, in case that’s not enough there are elements added to this movie that are there to help you through this particular issue.  Each a piece of the puzzle to set up so much of what will be “Phase 3” of the MCU.

While I’m sure you’ve already been taking your kids to see the MCU movies, I wanted to say that for younger, even Pre-Teen audiences, this might be the most approachable of all the films to date.  Cassie Lang being the differentiating factor there.  Because there are a lot of elements of the story that are there to make a young girl work within its context younger kids may relate better and understand more of the story.  That said, there are still guns, stuff gets blown up, crimes occur, and people die.  Overall this is a super fun movie, full of a lot of what makes comic book drama great.  MCU fans are going to want to see this.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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A Peek Inside Inside Out

Inside_Out_(2015_film)_poster

For countless centuries humankind has strived to unlock the mysteries of the mind, only to discover is that while we can speculate and conclude, we may never truly know what goes makes us all tick.  That’s not to say we don’t have an idea of how we work, after all we’re the ones who live this life and somehow we get through just fine without truly knowing how we do it.  What we generally find is that, at the end of the day, the cliche is true, “we’re all human”.  Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up) takes all these swirling notions, and… emotions and turns them into the beautifully clever movie Inside Out.

In Inside Out, Docter sets out to answer for us that ageless question of, “What’s going on inside that head of yours?” Great effort was made by Docter to take concepts by both Freud and Jung and combine them into something easily digestible by audiences, as their concepts are often quite convoluted, conflicting, and complimentary at the same time.  That’s not an easy task, some people spend their entire thesis trying to sort such things out.  To do this he reached back to one of his earlier works that many might be familiar with Cranium Command.

To do this the movie is set inside the mind of Riley, an 11 year old girl (based on both Docter himself and his daughter) whose life is drastically changed when her family moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.  Much like Cranium Command, Riley’s mind, and similarly those of her parents, dogs, cats, etc. are all controlled from a control room, Headquarters, by her emotions Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust.  In fact, even the teaser poster for the movie resembles the logo for the closed attraction. Their job is to help define and maintain Riley’s personality.  They do this by creating and storing core memories which drive the aspects of that personality.

Unfortunately, after moving, Riley’s once “perfect” world starts to fall apart under her and she has to learn to cope with the changes and learn to incorporate them into who she is, rather than let them ruin her life.  As Riley’s world starts to fall apart, so do the core aspects of her personality, depicted as floating island “lands” from a theme park, including a familiar “hub & spoke” design where Headquarters is the Hub.  Those lands crumble, and fall into an abyss of lost and forgotten memories.

The emotions look to Joy, their leader and Riley’s first emotion, to solve the problem.  From there things start to go wrong as Riley’s core memories are rejected by the system in Headquarters and through a series of mishaps both Joy and Sadness are whisked off with those core memories to long term memory with no way back to Headquarters.  Leaving Fear, Anger, and Disgust in control.  From there things turn sour for quite a bit for both groups, and this reflects to Riley in the real world.  Thankfully with the help of one of Riley’s imaginary friend Bing Bong things eventually get fixed, and Riley learns to accept, and move on.

Inside Out great, if not fantastic.  While I wouldn’t consider it Pixar’s best work it is near the top.  It’s extremely clever, with some amazing throw away lines mostly at Jung’s expense.  Everyone who has grown up, become a teenager, lived through a life altering change, etc. should relate to this movie.  In other words, pretty much everyone on the planet.  Something so relatable is really the pinnacle of every artist, and this might come to be known as Docter’s pinnacle work.  Go see Inside Out, you’re going to enjoy experiencing these emotions.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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Take a Trip To Jurassic World With Jeremiah

Many thanks to Jeremiah Good for attending the Jurassic World preview, and for bringing us a review of one of the most awaited sequels!

Jurassic World Poster

Jurassic World opens today, and is by far the best ‘dinosaurs brought to life’ film you will see this year!

 

At this point in our time on this planet you know if you are a Jurassic Park fan or not, so I won’t do a hard sell but I will say SEE IT.
The plot of the film is predictable. Dinosaurs break loose, they eat people, and our heroes Chris Pratt as Owen and Bryce Dallas Howard as Beth work to save as many guest as they can…well mostly just Beth’s nephews who are out among the dinosaurs. But as always the plot of the film is not why you’d go see Jurassic World so much as the awesome dinosaurs, who are very plentiful.
httpv://youtu.be/aJJrkyHas78
I have loved dinosaurs since I was a little kid and this film really highlights what would happen if/when a way is found to clone them, they would be cool for a few years and then put in petting zoos. Being a theme park person watching this film struck a chord with me because it points out that a park is only as good as its latest attraction, in this case a genetic hybrid of a T-Rex and a few other animals (always a ominous thought) called an Indominus Rex. Of course the next big thing, as we’ve seen time and time again with new theme park attractions, might still have some bugs to work out even if those bugs are one of the smartest dinosaurs ever created by man or God which to the nearly 22,000 guest on Jurassic World can only be a problem!
While I wouldn’t call Jurassic World a perfect film, I would call it a great summer popcorn flick! As a “reviewer” I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the one biggest flaw in this film, the humans! I realize this film is all about the dinos, but I really had a hard time remembering the names of most of the characters. Unlike Jurassic Park where before you even see the first dinosaur in full, you are introduced to everyone and given enough information to know who they are, what they do, and why they are there in Jurassic World you have about 10 minutes of set up before all you care about is seeing the next dino. Now none of that will change my mind on this being the perfect sequel to the original film and seeing it at least 2 more time before I buy it on blu-ray!
22 years ago I saw Jurassic Park and dreamt of visiting and Jurassic World made my dream even bigger!
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A Look At Tomorrowland

tomorrowland

Walt Disney was always looking toward the future, and it showed through in so much of what he gave to the world.  He designed the original Tomorrowland in Disneyland to allow guests to be able to participate in a glimpse of what the future had to offer in order to provide them a positive outlook on what was to come.  His goal being simple, inspire hope.  In the movie Tomorrowland, Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof have taken that goal and weaved it into a modern tale where hope and despair are at odds, the world is losing, and it needs to be saved.

You can’t look at the world today and deny the underlying statement of the movie that we live in a very negatively driven society.  The movie does paint that view very dark for much of the movie, basically stating that there is no hope, as the world marches ever forward to it’s end.  They even go so far as to put a Doomsday Clock into the movie that counts down toward that end, one which defines the dark side of the movie and providing it a voice that ever counts down.

With that said, the negativity of things as shown in the movie, and the impending doom of the Earth, as mentioned above, despair is not the message of the movie.  The message is actually hope.  The message of the movie is provided to us through the main character Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) who is intended to be that embodiment of hope.  This is in stark contrast Frank Walker (George Clooney) who is a man who has become so obsessed with the impending doom that he is lost in despair.

This dichotomy carries through the movie from it’s opening where Frank and Casey are shown to be telling us the story of the movie, right until it’s speech at the end.  The message is simple, despite all the darkness there can be hope.  The interplay between the concepts built into Casey and Frank carries much of the movie.  Casey keeping it fun in a way, while Frank is keeping it real – despite all the unreal things he’s doing on screen.

With a plethora of science fiction themes like alternate realities, killer robots, and a steampunk trip to the moon the movie really does carry well throughout most of it.  There’s actually a point in the special effects where I got goose bumps because so much crazy awesome was happening on screen that it was hard not to sit back and think “Wow!”.  Cool concepts when well executed really do help me enjoy a movie more.  You don’t have to really understand how they do X or Y or Z in Tomorrowland, and they don’t take the time to explain it to you.  These combined help the movie not get stuck in exposition, despite that the entire movie is a flashback.

Parents should know that this movie does have quite a bit of in your face violence.  Almost at time for the sake of violence rather than having a purpose.  So this might not be a great film for younger viewers, but keep in mind we’re talking something along the lines of Men In Black or Revenge of the Sith.  The movie is honestly not for everyone, even families may be split. There are some definite lull points that may actually bore some viewers.

That said, I really enjoyed the core story of the movie.  I love the idea of a group of scientists that have, for quite some time, toiled away in another reality so they can expand and grow their knowledge freely for the good of mankind.  It does work to inspire hope, and that’s a good message to put forth.  On the downside it does suffer from the same problem that Damon Lindelof works generally have, the journey through the movie is way better than the end game of the story ever is.  But, I had expected that going in.  It also is a very well constructed story that is both entertaining and fun.  For a more in depth view of Tomorrowland, check out episode 234 of the Disney Film Project Podcast in a few weeks.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

 

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#PetTales Pet Care Products When You’re On the Go

Disclosure: I received products to review and compensation for this post, however all opinions are my own.

#PetTales Pet Product Party

It’s #PetTales Party and Giveaway!

I was able to attend a #PetTales Party with some great friends where we had the opportunity to learn about some great new pet products from some wonderful companies that are perfect when you are On the Go!

Bags on Board

#PetTales Pet Product Party Bags on Board

With picking up dog waste ranking high on every pet parent’s list of least favorite chores. Bags on Board is introducing several new items, available at Petco, that promise to make the process easier and less unpleasant.

Bags on Board Hand Armor (100 Bags – MSRP $13.99)

Oversized waste pick-up bags with handle ties that are two times thicker than regular bags.

Bags on Board Fashion Dispenser (MSRP $9.99)

Soft Dispenser made from durable, stylish fabric in green chevron and blue diamond patterns that can easily be attached to anything from a dog’s leash or harness to a purse or baby stroller.

Bags on Board Waste Pick-Up Refill Bags (140 ct – MSRP $13.99)

have an increased size, now 9×14 instead of 9×12, are available in brighter colors and updated trendy patterns, and all 120 ct refill packs have an additional 20 bags free!

Green Pups by Bags on Board Refill rolls (120 ct – MSRP $16.99)

Green Pups waste pick-up bags are made using cycleWood Solutions’ patented technology, Xylomer – a bio-resin material made with natural, plant-based lignin which breaks down faster than regular plastic.

Make sure you keep up with Bags on Board on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Simple Solution

#PetTales Pet Product Party

The new line of products from Simple Solution ensure pet parents deliver the right amount of stain and odor products, while enhancing  effectiveness with focused-use formulations.

30 Day Absorbent Cat Litter (9 lbs MSRP $10.99 / 15 lbs MSRP $15.99)

Deigned for busy cat parents looking for a hassle free litter their kitties will love! The only litter that stay odor free for 30 days is made from super absorbent, lightweight pure attapulgite clay combined with an exclusive odor-eliminating technology.

The Simple Solution Urinary Health Risk Indicator and Cat Litter Attractant are two products that are sprinkled into the 30 Day Absorbent Cat Litter.

#PetTales Pet Product Party Out and Simple Solution

The Simple Solution Platinum Line of Cleaners (17 oz MSRP $8.99) is a unique combination of proprietary formulas with Pro-Bacteria, enzymes, and Oxy penetrate deep into the carpet fiers and carpet pad to lift tough stains. Plus, this product line can make cleaning 10x faster at removing typical pet stains than the standard stain and odor sprays.

You can keep up with Simple Solution on Twitter and Facebook to find adorable photos of pets and their families and new product information.

Vet’s Best

#PetTales Pet Product Party Vet's Best

With pet parents increasingly demanding products made with natural ingredients instead of potentially harmful chemicals, Vet’s Best, available at PetCo, is adding five new products to its existing line of natural flea and tick solutions. Each new product is made with natural extracts such as peppermint oil and clove extract that is free of harsh pesticides. They really do smell great!

Flea & Tick Outdoor Fogger (14oz MSRP $17.99)

With one-touch application for treating outdoor areas such as patios, kennels, or a pet’s favorite shady spot in the backyard. The fogger uses a powerful spray for outdoor areas needing treatment.

Fea & Tick Wipes (50 ct. 6×8 wipes MSRP $14.99)

Used for applying directly to the area where a pet attract pests, these wipes can also be used around the home on everything from counters to furniture. The container includes a convenient wipe-dispensing cap.

Flea& Tick Spot-On Treatment (0.6 oz MSRP $19.99)

This Spot-On Treatment is a safe alternative to chemical-based topical treatments. Pet parents control the dosage by applying the treatment with a dropper between their dog’s shoulder blades; it kills and repels fleas and ticks naturally. Spot-On works on any sized dog and includes 3-8 applications, depending on the size of the pooch.

Flea & Tick Home & Go Spray (3.6 oz MSRP $11.99)

This 360-degree spray protects bedding and furniture and can also be used for on-the-go pet application. The spray kills fleas, flea eggs, and ticks on contact. As a bonus, it also repels mosquitos.

3-Piece total Treatment & Protection Kit (MSRP $39.99)

This offers everything that is needed for solving flea and tick problems in the home and on the pt. The kit includes a Flea & Tick Spray Shampoo (8 oz) to cleanse pets of an existing infestation; Flea & Tick Home & Go Spray, and Flea & Tick Spot-On Treatment.

Make sure you find Vet’s Best on Twitter and Facebook!

Out!

#PetTales Pet Product Party Out!

For doggie bath time to be a more pleasant experience, pet parents want a shampoo that’s quick and easy to apply all over their pet’s body – and a product that lets them extend the time between baths, while still keeping their dog fresh and smelling great. These awesome OUT! products can be found at Walmart.

Easy Spray Shampoos (9.2 oz MSRP $6.99)

OUT!’s uniquely -designed and environmentally-friendly “easy Spray” cans allow pet parents to hold their dog with one hand while using the other to apply a gentle, continuous spray all over their pooch’s body – even the hard-to-reach underbelly. The easy-to-grip can makes dog bathing fast and easy.

Body Mists (6.3 oz MSRP $5.99)

Formulated with special odor-eliminating properties, the Body mists leave dogs smelling fresh and clean, allowing pet parents to extend the time between doggie baths.

Out! Product news can also be found on Twitter and Facebook!

And now for the fun part!

The #PetTales Giveaway

#PetTales Party Giveaway

We are giving away one (1) #PetTales Party Prize Pack which includes Four (4) $3 off coupons for Out! Petcare Products, Four (4) $2 off coupons for Bags on Board Products, and Barron’s Dog Training Bible. This contest open to Residents of the United States who are eighteen(18) years and older. Void where prohibited by law. We use rafflecopter to choose one lucky winner at random, and each & every contest entry will be verified. The winner of our contest will be contacted by email (so be sure to double check your entry) and will have 48 hours to respond to the email or a new winner will be chosen. Any questions? Contact shelley@onthegoinmco.com

#PetTales Pet Product Party Out!Entering to win is SUPER EASY!

All you have to do is leave a comment below about which #PetTales Party Product you are most excited to try by Midnight EST on March 19, 2015.

Good luck!!!

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A Cinematic Journey Into The Woods

into_the_woods

Based on the Stephen Sondheim play of the same name, Into the Woods is Disney’s big holiday movie for 2014.  The play itself is a tale about morality, vice, desire, and virtue.  Based on the concept that each fairy tale is supposed to teach us or our children a lesson to help them in life.  However the twist here is that several fairy tales collide to create the pillars of a whole new story where the object lesson is centered around the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.”

I have to be perfectly honest here, before seeing this movie I knew very little to nothing about it.  Having never seen the play before or read much about it, never having heard the songs, I was going in blind.  There had been some brief discussion with my Disney Film Project Podcast co-hosts which contained a great deal of excitement from our own Rachel Kolb, who happens to be a huge fan of the play and knows a great deal about it.  When I’m in this situation I try not to come in with too many preconceptions.

The core story is about a Baker (James Corden) and his Wife (Emily Blunt) and their desire to start a family.  However they quickly learn that they have been cursed by their next door neighbor who happens to be a Witch played by Meryl Streep who really steals every scene she’s in.  Wanting to break the curse, and be able to have a child, the Witch assigns them to retrieve 4 seemingly normal items and bring them to her in 3 days time.  The trick however is that this sends them on a collision course with the fairy tales Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel. 4 items.  4 stories.

The problem however is that the wishes of each of the major characters – the Baker, his Wife, the Witch, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack, and Rapunzel – have consequences.  Each of their stories plays out somewhat as you know them, but it’s what happens after this that matters.  But the wishes themselves are just allegorical wrappings for the choices the characters continue to make throughout the story.  And how they have to learn to take responsibility for those choices.

There is a lot of commentary that discusses the difference between the musical and the movie, from the removal of songs, to the changes of plot elements.  While not having seen the play, I’m guessing this serves 2 purposes; the shorter time a movie has to tell a story, and that some things that work on stage do not work as well on film.  While this is a somewhat dark story that has some moments that you may need to either explain or gloss over to your children, this is still a family film.  I might consider the age and maturity of any pre-teen children before seeing this film with them.  This is a very solid movie, based on a well constructed story, that I greatly enjoyed watching.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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Holiday Gift Ideas: Wonder Forge Games

Disclaimer: I was given games by the Wonder Forge Company to create this post. All opinions are my own.

Wonder Forge Logo

In my search for Holiday Gifts I am always on the lookout for products that recall memories from our trips to the Orlando Theme Parks, and Wonder Forge has some great games for the whole family!

What I really appreciate about Wonder Forge games is that they are extremely high quality and they really pay attention to every detail!

Wonder Forge Palace Pets Detail

When you open the game boxes, you will notice that there is place for everything! If you are anything like me you try to keep your game pieces organized, and the good folks at Wonder Forge have created packages that have holders for cards and package dice in zip top bags. It makes clean up a breeze, because it is easy to see if you are missing anything.

Wonder Forge Frozen Slides Detail

Also the pieces, spinners, and dice are full of details are a great size that easy for little hands to manage.

Let’s take a peek at some of the games that I was sent to review!

Disney Pictopia: The Ultimate Picture Trivia Game

Wonder Forge Disney Pictopia

While I am sometimes wary of trivia games to play with Zoe, but Disney Pictopia is the perfect mix of questions for the whole family!

Disney Pictopia has 1,000 questions with pictures covering the the World of Disney from Disney Jr. and Disney XD to the Disney Parks to films that players use to place a wager based on their knowledge of those images.

We really enjoyed that there were individual and group questions!

Disney Pictopia: The Ultimate Picture Trivia is now added to our normal rotation for Friday Family Game Nights!

Frozen Surprise Slides

Wonder Forge Frozen Surprise Slides

Frozen Surprise Slides is a really fun take on the classic slides and ladder game that we all really had a blast playing.

The game play is cofortably familiar, but as you journey high into the Arendelle Mountains with some of your favorite friends things can take a twist as paths and your scenery can change with a flick of the spinner.

I love that Marshmallow, the troll’s secret glen, and skate past Wandering Oaken.

Our only issue was deciding who got to be Olaf!!!

Royal Pet Salon

Wonder Forge Royal Palace Pets Salon

Zoe’s absolute favorite games was the Disney Palace Pets Royal Pet Salon Game!

In this 3D Royal Pet Salon, you move your super cute pet from room to room looking for products that are hidden within the rooms that are fit for a Disney Princess.

I think that this game would be especially fun at a sleep over or playdate!

Disney Junior Super Stretchy

Wonder Forge Super Stretchy

 

I may have thrown my back out playing the Disney Junior Super Stretchy Game, but it was a blast.

Disney Junior characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake and the Neverland Pirates encourage you the whole family to get moving.

Make sure that you set this up in an area where you have lots of space and that is not too slippery.

We were laughing so hard it was hard to make our next move, but I thought that was a good problem to have!

Dr. Suess Charades

Wonder Forge Dr Suess Charades

We play a lot of charades in our house, and Dr. Suess Charades is a fun ‘Suessian’ twist on this classic game!

I really enjoyed that the cards had both the words and illustrations making even the youngest player confident enough to join the fun!

While I was initially worried that Zoe would have a hard time with the Suess character, I was totally wrong as she was very in to the game!

Ultimate Spider-Man Trickshot Duel Action Game

Wonder Forge Ultimate Spider-Man Duel Trickshot

I didn’t want to leave out the boys, and Wonder Forge didn’t either because the Ultimate Spider-Man Trickshot Duel Action Game rocks!

Green Goblin hatches an evil plan to break Spider-Man’s arch-enemies out from behind bars on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. Face off in the game arena as Spidey or Green Goblin and fire discs to take out your opponent’s hero or villain pucks. Last one standing in the Helicarrier arena is the winner!

It is important to note that you do ‘shoot’ discs in this game, so we found that playing on the floor worked better than a table since we had to pick up pieces on a few occasions.

2014Wonder Forge Pictopia Detail

We really had a ton of fun playing all of these wonderful games from Wonder Forge, and I can’t wait until our next Friday Family Game Night to play them again!

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A Heroic Look At Big Hero 6

big-hero-6

It’s become evidently clear that the purchase of Marvel by Disney has turned out to be a huge win for the company, especially when it comes to the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  One of the tasks set by Bob Iger upon purchase was to search through the Marvel catalog to find out what else might be available for adaptation.  Don Hall discovered Big Hero 6 and ended up pitching it to John Lasseter.  Some of the characters had to be dropped due to their movie rights being owned by Fox, and many aspects of the characters were adjusted, but the focus remained on the relationship between Hiro and Baymax.

Due to some contention about live action vs. animation it was decided that Big Hero 6 would be set in its own universe rather than be part of the MCU and thus was born the amalgam city of San Fransokyo.  It’s nice to see creativity on this level and a step toward taking ownership of characters that, while interesting, never really integrated well into the Marvel Universe in the first place.  Each of the characters was reborn as something rooted in their original version, yet they were all now joined together with a common origin instead of having the diverse backgrounds they have in comics.  And they’re all better for it.

The movie itself is a really interesting and enjoyable take on the superhero origin story.  It has a flair to it, much the same way that Wreck-It Ralph did 2 years ago.  Disney is showing a very gratifying trend that takes them away from their “safe zone” of animated movies and starts to etch out new and exciting concepts and creations. And that’s a good thing – diversity of design shows an ability to grow and adapt that once once thought lost to the company.  One thing to look for is that at least 2 of the characters, Aunt Cass and Honey Lemon, look like modified models of prior characters Helen Parr and Lucille Krunklehorn.

I will say that while really great and enjoyable mind candy to a huge superhero fan like myself that Big Hero 6 does not have quite the “Wow!” Factor that Wreck-It Ralph did.  But it does make up for that with a very solid and well engineered story.  So instead of the wild ride that was Wreck-It Ralph at times, what you get is something a bit more grounded.  And that serves the story well, and makes the movie better for it.

The characters in the movie are really strong.  Hiro is a stereotypical teenager – sassy, smart mouthed, quippy, mopey, angsty, etc.  It’s all in there.  He suffers a lot of classic “superhero origin story loss” both on and off screen.   And when he loses his footing in the world he lashes out, and his super friends (see what I did there?) have re-ground him.  The story itself is very procedural, much like any TV crime drama where, and thus it has an endgame that very easy to piece together.  But that doesn’t make it bad, because the intricacies of getting to that point aren’t as obvious as the point itself.  So the fun is the journey in between.

So when you head out to see Big Hero 6, prepare yourself for a little slice of awesome. Your entire family is very likely to find something to make them both laugh and cry in this movie.  The same can be said for it’s opening short Feast which every dog lover on the planet will “totally get”.  Vinyl is in again. Fah-la-la-la-la.

In addition to doing the web design and programming for the On the Go in MCO website, Todd Perlmutter is a host for the Disney Film Project Podcast.

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Bring Home Maleficent Today

Maleficent DVD Blu-Ray

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Maleficent for this review. All opinions are my own.

Disney’s beautiful and wicked Maleficent is available today on Disney Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand platforms.

Maleficent is my absolute favorite Disney Villain, and when this movie was announced I was beside myself. I was even more excited when I had the chance to meet her this year at Disney’s Social Media Moms!

Maleficent Disney Social Media Moms

If you haven’t had a chance to see Maleficent, here is a quick synopsis.

Explore the untold story of Disney’s most iconic villain in this wickedly fun twist on the classic “Sleeping Beauty.” In an unforgiving mood after a neighboring kingdom threatens her forest, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) places an irrevocable curse on the king’s newborn daughter, the Princess Aurora. But as the child grows, Maleficent finds herself becoming fond of the girl. And as the conflict between the two realms intensifies,Maleficent realizes that Aurora may hold the key to peace in the land. Journey beyond the fairy tale in this soaring adventure that is “visually arresting, brilliantly designed” (Andrew Barker, Variety).

httpv://youtu.be/_pgmFAOgm5E

The Maleficent bonus features are amazing! I especially enjoyed “Building An Epic Battle” where we get a glimpse into how King Henry and Maleficent‘s opening battle scene was created using gigantic wire rigs and elaborate choreography. 

The bonus features differ based on which release you purchase of Maleficent, so here is a quick comparison of what you will find!

Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD/SD & Disney Movies Anywhere

  • From Fairy Tale to Feature Film – Reimagining Maleficent for a new generation
  • Building An Epic Battle –Creating the clash between Maleficent and King Henry’s Forces
  • Classic Couture – Examine Maleficent’s spellbinding head wraps and jewelry.
  • Maleficent Revealed – Explore the layers of extraordinary special effects.
  • Aurora: Becoming A Beauty – Elle Fanning reveals her lifelong love of Disney’s original animated classic.
  • Deleted Scenes:

– “Stefan In King’s Chamber”

– “Pixie Idiots”

– “Diaval asks about the Curse”

–  “Pixies Seek Asylum”

–  “Suitor”

  • And More!

*Digital bonus offerings will vary per retailer

DVD 

  • Aurora: Becoming A Beauty

Maleficent is an interesting and visually stunning retelling of a story that we all love with the villain we all love to hate, and if you haven’t seen it yet I would definitely give it a viewing!

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Planes: Fire & Rescue Has An On-Time Arrival For The Holidays

Planes: Fire & Rescue

Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of Planes: Fire & Rescue for this review. All opinions are my own.

Planes: Fire & Rescue releases today on Disney Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand platforms and you are going to want to fly out and grab one! Planes: Fire & Rescue features action, comedy, memorable characters, and never-before-seen bonus features.

In this installment, Dusty Crophopper, the world famous racer, has joined an elite fire and rescue unit and learns what it takes to be a true hero. 

PLANESFIRE & RESCUE” is a new comedy-adventure about second chances, featuring a dynamic crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from raging wildfire. When world-famous air racer Dusty (voice of Dane Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteranfire-and-rescue helicopter Blade Ranger (voice of Ed Harris) and his courageous team, including spirited air tanker Dipper (voice of Julie Bowen), heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter (voice of Wes Studi), ex-military transport Cabbie (voice of Captain Dale Dye) and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.

httpv://youtu.be/Vr2yt5_X9ro

Each release of Planes: Fire & Rescue is a little bit different, so here is some information on what you can expect to find on your copy.

Blu-ray Combo Pack, Digital HD/SD & Disney Movies Anywhere

  • Exclusive Animated Short – “Vitaminamulch: Air Spectacular”
  • “Welcome to Piston Peak! – This mock-umentary promotional piece shows off all the highlights of the acclaimed Piston Peak National Park and its aerial firefighting team.
  • “CHoPs” TV Promo – An in-world TV promo with announce.
  • Air Attack:  Firefighters From The Sky – This high-energy, music-driven behind-the-scenes piece takes an inside look at the real smoke jumpers and firefighters who attack wildfires from the air as Director Roberts Gannaway and Producer Ferrell Barron take us through their journey in making the film.
  • Spencer Lee Music Video “Still I Fly”
  • Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Introductions:

– “Honkers”

– “Dusty’s Dream No More”

  • Animated Shorts:

– “Dipper”

– “Smokejumpers” 

*Digital bonus offerings will vary per retailer

DVD 

  • Spencer Lee Music Video “Still I Fly”

Exclusive DMA Discover Content:

  • Animated Shorts:

– “Blade Ranger”

– “Piston Peak”

Zoe and I really enjoyed Planes: Fire & Rescue! I thought that this movie had a better feel than the first movie, which doesn’t happen often, and the bonus features were a lot of fun!

For little ones that love cars, planes, trucks, and more this is a great holiday gift or stocking stuffer!

 

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The Simpsons: Tapped Out App Review

SimpsonsIf you are anything like me, you may have caught at least a few episodes of The Simpsons marathon on FXX. The channel is playing all 552 episodes of The Simpsons in order. I’ve watched The Simpsons since the late 1980s when it debuted as part of the Tracey Ullman show.

All this got me thinking about the only game I’ve ever played on my phone on a regular basis: The Simpsons: Tapped Out. Shelley actually got me started playing it a little over a year ago and I don’t think I’ve gone more than a few days once or twice in the past year without playing. The app is available for free on iOS and Android devices at this time. There are plenty of in app purchases that you can spend your money on if you so desire though. The headline in the app store is that the game is life-ruiningly fun. Preach on.Photo Aug 27, 7 21 46 PM

The basic premise of the game is pretty simple. Homer accidentally blew up Springfield and it is up to you to rebuild it however you wish. There are tasks you can accomplish to unlock buildings, decorations, characters, and even earn (fake) cash. It is a very similar concept to the game the Sims. One of the great things about this game is that it is produced by the writers of The Simpsons show. They will have updates with new characters, story lines and fun Easter eggs from episodes shortly after they air. You can also earn donuts for leveling up, special tasks and randomly in the game. These donuts can be used to purchase premium items in the game, or you can also purchase donuts for real cash to get those hard to get items.

Photo Aug 27, 7 25 19 PMOnce you start playing, you can buy more land, houses, and all sorts of other fun things that any Simpsons fan should love. It has great throwbacks to one time characters like Rex Banner, and most all of your favorites. As you continue to play, your town can grow and you can even invite others to be your neighbors. The benefit of having neighbors is typically twofold: 1) you can visit your neighbors to get extra cash, experience points (which help you proceed from one level to the next), and friendship points (these provide you with different gifts as you achieve a new level); 2) during different overlays, you need neighbors to be able to steal things, attack, plant items that will accrue money and points for you, etc.Photo Aug 27, 7 26 54 PM

The different overlays throughout the year are some of my favorite times to play. Since I’ve been playing, we’ve seen different overlays of the Simpsons for Whacking Day, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and my favorite, the Stonecutter’s overlay. Right now the current missions are based around barbarians and have a medieval theme to them. These all help to keep the game fresh by introducing new characters, buildings, special prizes, and more.

Photo Aug 27, 7 30 47 PMI will warn you, this game is addictive. My friends at work will often walk by me on a break and know that I’m playing this game. I’ve got dozens of friends who play, which helps out as far as neighbors, but they will also keep on you if you haven’t played in a while (I’m looking at you, Cheryl). I play The Simpsons: Tapped Out for probably half an hour at most each day, but you can spend as much or as little time you want playing. Tasks can vary from seconds to days depending on your characters, and some missions require multiple characters to complete them simultaneously. If you have plenty of free time on a day, you may set your characters on shorter missions because you can send them for more right away, which will earn you more money and more experience points. If you’re going to be unavailable for a while, send them all on 8, 12 or 24 hour tasks.Photo Aug 27, 7 36 06 PM

I highly recommend this game if you are a fan of the Simpsons. There is a lot of flexibility in the game to devote a little or a lot of time playing. The goals are constantly changing, which keeps it interesting. I love how they incorporate stories from throughout the past 25 years, but also almost always bring in stuff from new episodes every month. It is a fun game that allows you to exercise some creativity in the design of your town. And if you don’t like it, you can start over from scratch, just keep in mind some of the buildings may need to be rebuilt as opposed to just pulled out of inventory. Have you played The Simpsons: Tapped Out? I know Shelley, Todd, Cheryl, Jillian and I all play. If you want us to be your neighbors, leave your username in the comments below and we’ll try to add you if we aren’t at our limit. Let me know what you think of this game.

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Holy Guest Stars, Batman!

Batman box setIf you grew up like me watching the Adam West version of Batman on tv, you may have heard that the series is being released on blu ray and dvd later this year. This show has been at the top of my list (along with The Wonder Years) of series I’ve been hoping to be released for years now. Who doesn’t love the campiness of the Pow! Sock! Blam! Zap! Splat! onomatopoeia that came along with Batman and Robin laying waste to the villainy that plagued Gotham City?

This classic series ran from 1966 to 1968, but has lived on in pop culture and in syndication for the decades since.  I have owned Batman: The Movie for years, which was also released in 1966, but wasn’t put out on dvd until 2001. The Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder have long been some of my favorite super heroes and I cannot wait to buy this box set of all 120 episodes with bonus features when it is released on November 11th.

What I thought I’d take a look at today is some of the awesome guest stars, usually in the forms of villains, that graced the small screen in Batman’s two year run. Some became series regulars, but others were only in a single story arc. To the Batmobile!

Some of my favorite roles of guest stars were simple cameos in the form of what is commonly known as the Batclimb. This is when Batman and Robin must scale the side of a building for one reason or another, and out of one of the windows pops a celebrity, or Kato and the Green Hornet thanks to Bruce Lee and Van Williams. This is how we encountered acting legends like Edward G. Robinson, pop culture mainstays like Dick Clark, singers Don Ho and Sammy Davis Jr., tv regulars like Art Linkletter, Werner Klemperer as Colonel Klink from Hogan’s Heroes, and Jerry Lewis.

Sammy Davis, Jr.
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Art Linkletter
Art Linkletter
Edward G. Robinson
Edward G. Robinson
Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis

Fans of stage and screen may appreciate some of the parallels like Gypsy Rose Lee and also Ethel Merman who was famous for portraying her on stage in Gypsy. Mary Poppins fans might spot Mrs. Banks actress Glynnis Johns and one of the maids for the Banks family who was played by Hermione Baddeley. Stars of tv and music from the 1960s were pretty prevalent in the show’s almost three year run. Jerry Mathers aka Beaver Cleaver had an uncredited role in one Batman episode. Alan Hale Jr., the Skipper from Gilligan’s Island, showed up too.

Jerry Mathers
Jerry Mathers

Women who were popular at the time had brief roles in Batman as a variety of lethal ladies. Zsa Zsa Gabor played Minerva in two episodes, which I had not seen until this year. Shelley Winters, probably best known for her roles in A Place In The Sun opposite Montogmery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor, and the 1970s disaster flick Poseidon Adventure, also put in time as the villainous Ma Parker. Singer Lesley Gore, diva Joan Collins, stage and screen legend Tallulah Bankhead, and later Bond girl Jill St. John made appearances on Batman as well.

Check this out: Tallulah Bankhead was directed in the film A Royal Scandal by Otto Preminger. He was one of the actors who played Mr. Freeze, and he fathered a child with Gypsy Rose Lee. And as we already have learned, Gypsy was played on stage by Ethel Merman. And all of them were guest stars on the show! Holy tangled web of stars, Batman!

Tallulah Bankhead
Tallulah Bankhead
Otto Preminger
Otto Preminger
Gypsy Rose Lee
Gypsy Rose Lee
Ethel Merman
Ethel Merman
Vincent Price
Vincent Price

There are so many more stars who made their way to Batman over the years, but I can’t list them all here. I will list a few more of my favorites though. Tv host Steve Allen, tv/film actor/director Rob Reiner, the voice of Fred Flintstone Alan Reed, Honeymooner’s star Art Carney, Gomez Addams/Patty Duke’s ex husband/Sean Astin’s father John Astin, classic film character actor Eli Wallach, Liberace, Milton Berle, actors Roddy McDowall, Cliff Robertson, James Brolin, master of macabre Vincent Price, and Nat from Beverly Hills 90210 Joe E. Tata.

These guest stars don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the fantastic list of people who acted on Batman from 1966 to 1968. I tried to highlight some of the more popular names, and ones that I found fun connections between. I didn’t even get into some of the most popular characters like Cesar Romero as the Joker, Burgess Meredith as the Penguin, Julie Newmar/Eartha Kitt/Lee Meriwether as Catwoman, Frank Gorshin as the Riddler, Victor Buono as King Tut, and tons more.

Hope you enjoyed this look back at some of the famous faces the Dynamic Duo encountered in their time on screen! For those who get the Independent Film Channel (IFC), Batman is airing six or seven times a day every day right now. Check your local listings for times. Tune in next week – same Bat Time and same Bat Channel for more fun! I will leave you with this one parting image, as all things should end, with the Batusi.

Batusi

 

 

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Treviso Restaurant at the Ringling Museum

10602892_10152573235175837_293550673_nRecently I found myself at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota and took the opportunity to dine at one of their restaurants, Treviso. Situated in the welcome center at the museum, Treviso features primarily Italian inspired fare. The restaurant is open for lunch daily in the summer from 11am – 3:30pm and for dinner Thursday – Saturday from 4:30 – 8pm.

While I was waiting for the rest of my party to arrive, I opted to have a late lunch at the restaurant I’d passed by on many previous visits. I was very glad to take the time relaxing after having spent several hours in the museum already. I arrived around 2pm and took a look at the menu finding myself curious about the soup and sandwich combo. Apparently this was a popular idea because Treviso was already out of the stacked sandwich that made up half of the combo. The chicken and sausage gumbo sounded good, but I didn’t want to get it on its own, however other diners said it was very good.

I chose something on the menu that intrigued me and wasn’t something I’ve often seen elsewhere. The Modena Pizza is a flatbread pizza with gorgonzola, balsamic vinegar, roasted pears, mozzarella and caramelized onions. Since I was solo, I sat at the bar where service was prompt and attentive. The pizza was very good with a really nice balance between the savory flavor of the mild cheeses and the sweetness of the pears, onions and balsamic. To balance it out a bit more I decided to add a glass of a nice dry prosecco to my meal. It was a perfect pairing.

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If you get a chance to check out Treviso at the Ringling, I highly recommend it and I can’t wait to get back here on my next visit. Have you been to the Ringling or Treviso? What did you think?

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Movie Soundtracks That Rock

If soundtrackyou’re anything like me and several other millions of folks, you’ve already seen Guardians of the Galaxy and probably recognize how awesome the soundtrack is. I asked Todd before the movie came out if there was a connection to all the seventies music in the film because the songs were so prevalent in the trailers. Obviously, for those who have seen Guardians, you know what an important part the music on the soundtrack plays to our hero Peter Quill, a.k.a. Star-Lord.

Since I got the soundtrack a couple of weeks ago, it has been pretty much on repeat non-stop for my hour long commute each way to work, while I mow the lawn, etc. According to a post today on Comicbook.com, the soundtrack is number 3 on the Billboard Top 200 already. Not too shabby for a compilation of songs 30-40 years old, but in all fairness it does feature classics from the Jackson 5, David Bowie, Marvin Gaye, and who could forget Blue Swede. Ooga chaka ooga chaka. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I may also be listening still as I write this.

This got me thinking about some of the film soundtracks through the years that have stuck with me and I could listen to them ad nauseam. So I decided to compile a list of some of my favorite soundtracks that I enjoy listening to still today. Theses are in chronological order because I could never put them in an order of best to worst or most favorite soundtrack. I set some basic parameters for myself as far as not including movie or Broadway style musicals with primarily original songs. I wanted to focus mostly on kick ass compilations of existing songs that are inextricably linked to their films. When you hear these songs, I hope you envision the movies from which they come.

 

Saturday Night FeverSaturday Night Fever (1977) – The first soundtrack I recall from my childhood. Granted the movie came out a couple years before I was born, the awesomeness of this soundtrack has not deteriorated over the decades. It was very Bee Gees heavy with some other disco era gems including A Fifth of Beethoven, If I Can’t Have You, Boogie Shoes, and Disco Inferno. This album is consistently in the top 10 list of album sales of all time.Footloose

Footloose (1984) – You know I had to include this for a couple of reasons: 1) it is a great 80s filled soundtrack and 2) the Guardians tie in. What would we do without Kevin Bacon as Ren liberating the poor souls who aren’t permitted to dance? Of course the title track from Kenny Loggins is probably one of the better ones, but this fantastic collection also included Let’s Hear It For the Boys, Waiting For a Girl Like You, and Hurts So Good.

Top GunTop Gun (1986) – I will confess something. Harold Faltermeyer’s Top Gun Anthem is on my running mix. Who doesn’t get pumped up by that instrumental music? Just me? Okay, so moving on. I challenge anyone to hear Danger Zone or Take My Breath Away and not picture this movie. Plus, Loggins’ Playing With the Boys always makes me picture the beach volleyball scene. And you’ve got classics like Otis Redding’s Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay, Jerry Lee Lewis’ Great Ball of Fire, and who doesn’t want to be serenaded by a group of Naval officers singing You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling by the Righteous Brothers?Dirty Dancing

Dirty Dancing (1987) – This may be the movie soundtrack I am most familiar with and have worn out my original cassettes of both the first soundtrack and More Dirty Dancing so I had to get them on cd too. The classics from 1963 era Catskills, NY include Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons’ Big Girls Don’t Cry, Will You Still Love Me by the Shirelles, Wipeout by the Surfaris and a couple dozen others including a few original songs. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen Johnny rescue Baby from the corner, but it probably isn’t a tenth as many times as I’ve listened to these two soundtracks.

CocktailCocktail (1988) – I know this is the second Tom Cruise movie on the list, but I can’t help it. My mom had this soundtrack on cassette growing up and we’d always listen to it in the car. I love that this introduced me to Don’t Worry Be Happy, revisited my love for the Beach Boys with Kokomo, and Hippy Hippy Shake and Tutti Frutti are just fun songs to balance out some of the darker tones of this film.Bodyguard

The Bodyguard (1992) – Mostly dominated by the powerhouse voice that belonged to Whitney Houston, this soundtrack did immensely better than the movie. Whitney’s version of I Will Always Love You to me surpasses the original by Dolly Parton. The soundtrack also included I Have Nothing, I’m Every Woman, and Run To You as a base to solidify Whitney’s dominance of the charts. This is one of the top selling albums of all time also.

SleeplessSleepless In Seattle (1993) – I love this movie and this soundtrack so much! It has some of my favorite artists like Harry Connick, Jr., Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong. It features a good mix of pop, jazz and standards with some country mixed in from Tammy Wynette and Gene Autry. I think it matches the humor and romance of the film perfectly.Dazed

Dazed and Confused (1993) – I have to admit that this is the soundtrack I was immediately reminded of when I first saw the list of songs on the Guardians soundtrack. The 1970s rock and pop is near and dear to my heart and includes great music from the likes of Kiss, Black Sabbath, Skynyrd, War, Foghat, Frampton and many others between the two disc album.

Reality BitesReality Bites (1994) – What angsty teens/twentysomethings at the time don’t recall the greatness that was Ben Stiller, Ethan Hawke and Winona Ryder in this flick? To me, I have to admit, the film didn’t resonate with me nearly as much as the soundtrack, but it is still a really good movie. My Sharona, Tempted, Baby I Love Your Way, and Stay are just a few of the songs that stick out from that summer of 1994.Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction (1994) – Misirlou, Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon, You Never Can Tell, Son of a Preacher Man, Jungle Boogie, Let’s Stay Together. These aren’t even half of the songs compiled by Quentin Tarantino for this masterpiece of a film and soundtrack. If you don’t picture John Travolta and Uma Thurman dancing at Jack Rabbit Slim’s to Chuck Berry when you hear that song, then I imagine you haven’t seen this movie.

Parent TrapThe Parent Tap (1998) – I know I am probably in the vast minority here, but I actually (slightly) prefer the Lindsay Lohan version to the Hayley Mills classic. Don’t get me wrong, I love them both, but this soundtrack is much better in my opinion. With classics ranging from George Thorogood’s Bad to the Bone, to songs from both Nat King and Natalie Cole, to Do You Belive In Magic from the Lovin’ Spoonful, this one just makes me happy. The music is very upbeat and puts a smile on my face.Love Actually

Love Actually (2003) – Another one that is in heavy rotation for me, I adore this movie and its soundtrack. Love Actually is one of my favorite non-Christmas Christmas films and has a fun ensemble cast. Some of my favorite songs include the heartbreaking Songbird by Eva Cassidy, Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell, and now I can’t not picture Hugh Grant dancing to the Pointer Sisters’ Jump when I hear that song.

Pitch PerfectPitch Perfect (2012) – One of the most recent films in memory that grabbed me with the music on the soundtrack. This one I almost didn’t include because it is a borderline musical with the characters singing frequently to further along the plot, but it is my list and I’ll keep it. Cups has become a pretty big hit making it to mainstream radio, and that’s just one of the songs on the soundtrack I have played dozens of times over. I love Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone, Rihanna’s Don’t Stop The Music, Starships by Nicki Minaj, the Pool Mashup of Nelly’s Just A Dream and Bruno Mars’ Just the Way You Are. Then you go and throw in my favorite Miley song with Party in the U.S.A. and I’m sold.

 

This list is in no way comprehensive, but it does include some of my favorites over the past thirty plus years of movie soundtracks. I tried to stick with albums that had at least four or five songs each that would be recognizable to the general public. I will say as far as directors go, Tarantino tends to be pretty spot on with his choices of songs for his soundtracks to accompany his films. I have both Kill Bill albums, Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs in my collection, but I will also admit he is one of my favorite more contemporary directors.

I threw the question out to Twitter and Facebook to see if anyone else had any albums they thought of and got responses of Swingers (which includes a pretty eclectic mix of standards, disco and some country mixed in), Boogie Nights (which is pretty disco heavy, but I always think of Melanie’s Brand New Key when it is mentioned. Also has crossovers included on the Guardians and Love Actually and Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, so this one’s pretty solid in my book), Reservoir Dogs (which I cannot hear Stealers Wheel’s Stuck in the Middle With You without picturing *that* scene, and also has Hooked on a Feeling), Get Shorty (which is mostly Booker T and the MGs), Can’t Hardly Wait (featuring mostly late 90s pop, but also mixing in some G’N’R and Run DMC for good measure), and Jackie Brown (which I was not very familiar with even though I’ve seen the movie), and The Wedding Singer (which features two albums of 80s awesomeness). For the record, I resisted including Jerry Maguire’s soundtrack (even though it is awesome) because I thought three Tom Cruise films in my list of 14 might be a bit excessive.

Hopefully you have enjoyed this look back at some of my favorite movie soundtracks of all time. What are some of yours? For your convenience I’ve included links to all the soundtracks on my list. Are there any that I’ve missed that you think are seminal in pop culture these days? Let me know in the comments what you think.

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Phineas and Ferb Star Wars Review

Phineas and Ferb Star Wars
all images copyright Disney

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.leia projection

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.

TCANDACEhe 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.136067_0234

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!

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