This is something different from me. Ode To Joy is actually a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1800, but most people know it as the 4th movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the one he wrote when he was totally deaf. It has been performed in multiple ways throughout history, and it’s a piece I absolutely love.
It’s in that vein that I’m doing a video post of different ways the song has been performed. Some are goofy, some are eclectic, and some are outstanding; okay, in my mind they’re all outstanding. Yes folks, it’s the same song over and over, but something amazing with each one.
Let’s start with something funny, Beaker from the Muppets:
A flash mob performance:
How about hearing it via 10,000 voices?
A commercial with David Beckham
Pete Seegar’s folk music version with English lyrics; love this:
The Saturday the movie John Carter opened, I went to the 3D matinee version with my friend Scott because, well, we each really had nothing else to do. I went into this pretty much blind, not knowing anything about the storyline except it involved someone from the United States who, in the 1800’s, somehow ended up on Mars; that’s it. I also knew it was written by the same guy who wrote Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs. I haven’t seen many Tarzan movies and I never saw the TV show either, but I did have this one question; why didn’t Tarzan have a beard? lol
The basic premise of the movie is that a man named John Carter is a prospector who also has a gruesome family past he’s running away from. After somehow getting himself into and out of a mess between some cavalry morons and an Indian tribe (yeah, I know, someone’s going to call me on not using “Native American”, but if I won’t use “African-American” and I’m also part Cherokee…) and, with the commanding officer in tow after he’d been shot, escapes to a cave where he encounters an alien with something glowing in his hands and is immediately transported to this vast desert, which he later learns is Mars. Because of gravity differences he is stronger than the norm and has leaping ability beyond comprehension, and thus becomes the hoped for savior for two different groups of Martians, one hoping he’ll save them from the great white ape (sheesh!), the other hoping he’ll save them from annihilation.
The star of this movie is Taylor Kitsch, whom I’ve never heard of, but that’s his picture above. His co-star is Lynn Collins, and she’s just stunning, and in this movie she’s not always wearing a lot, which my buddy Sire would love. Turns out I’d seen her in X-Men: Wolverine as his love interest in the movie, though I couldn’t remember that while I was watching it.
For what it’s worth this movie was a lot of fun to watch. Not having any preconceived notions of what was to be expected based on the books, I thought it was visually stunning to see, very funny, aliens that looked like what I was hoping for (I mean, green 4-armed Martians; very cool) and some beautiful landscapes and skyscapes that showed its $300 million plus budget. We laughed a lot and the audience made those group sounds at all the right places, and to me that’s what this kind of movie is for. It won’t win any Academy Awards except maybe in some technical design category, but based on the makeup of the people who judge for the Oscar, it’s probably not happening.
Critics have beaten it up for being uneven. Just how “even” is a movie like this supposed to be? It’s received a 51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which pretty much means you either like it or you don’t, obviously. I’ll just say that it was much better than the previews led me to believe it’d be, because I wasn’t going based off what I’d seen. But I’m glad I went and if you have a sense of humor and love visuals you’ll enjoy this movie as well. And if you’d like to see another review of the same movie go see what Karen of Blazing Minds had to say.
Nobody is a bigger Muppets fan than I am. I can’t count the number of posts I’ve done on them on this blog, or the number of videos I’ve shared. Heck, I’ll probably be sharing one at the end of this post. Last weekend I went with my friend Scott to see it in Rochester; this is my review of the movie.
The storyline begins with new characters, a couple of brothers where one of them is a Muppet (go with me here) and one human, and his very cute girlfriend. The humans were played by Jason Segal and Amy Adams. The Muppet brother, named Walter. doesn’t see himself as a Muppet, just a misfit in the world, but he considers himself the biggest Muppet fan and really wants to be one of the gang. When Gary (Jason) decides to take Mary (Amy) to Los Angeles to celebrate their 10th anniversary of being boyfriend and girlfriend, Mary thinks it’s to get engaged until Gary tells her that Walter’s coming as well so that he can take him to visit Muppet Studios.
When they get there, the studios are decrepit, and when Walter goes off on his own, he overhears a conversation by a rich oilman who’s planning on buying the theater and drilling for oil that’s underneath, telling everyone else that he’s turning it into a museum to get his hands on the property. Walter, Gary and Mary go off looking for Kermit, who they find living in his mansion alone, tell him what’s going on, then finally convince him to try to get the gang together to put on a show to raise $10 million to save the theater and the studios.
That’s the basic premise; I’m not going to say how it all ends except to say that, in an odd way, it ends just like one might expect a Muppets movie to end, but without what I’m calling the type of quirky goodwill and smiles that I expected. As a matter of fact, I have to truthfully say that I was letdown by this movie a lot, and that’s depressing to me.
Jason Segal had a hand in helping to write the movie, and supposedly he’s a major Muppets fan as well. However, I felt like he missed just what the Muppets were all about. After all, he wasn’t born until 1980, which means he wasn’t even alive when the TV show or the first movie came out. Not that people can’t become fans of something later in life, but I think his age made him miss just what the Muppets were all about.
This movie missed all the stuff that made the Muppets funny. There were no corny jokes except by Fozzie Bear. There were no running gags. There were no puns. There were no surprises such as being in the wrong place at the wrong, or right, time. There was a robot, and none of us could figure out where that came from, and the robot drove the car. None of the newer Muppet characters were named in the movie, and only one, Pepe, the giant prawn, got a true scene in the movie.
And there was a lot of sadness in this movie, way more sadness than happiness. Walter was sad that he couldn’t find his place in life. Mary was sad because she didn’t think Gary would ever see her as a woman. Kermit was sad because everyone had disappeared and he didn’t even have the dream anymore; this was probably the most depressing thing of all because it’s always been Kermit who believed in everything. Miss Piggy had moved on, but she was sad because she and Kermit hadn’t ended up together. Everyone else had failed in life except for Gonzo, who was rich, powerful and respected in plumbing yet yearned for show business (what he does was probably one of the few truly Muppet inspired gags of the movie).
And the music… well, I liked the opening song, but I’d have to admit I wasn’t enthralled by much of the rest of it, though there was a nice touching scene of the gang doing Rainbow Connection. When the first movie came out I went and bought the album the very same day and played it incessantly for weeks (well, when my roommate wasn’t in the room at least lol).
This wasn’t a bad movie, just not what I expected from a Muppet movie. As much as the critics panned and fans stayed away from Muppets From Space, I actually thought that movie had some charm and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Will this movie actually spark interest in the Muppets again? I’m not sure, and that’s disappointing. It could have been so much more, and I’m not sure the updated version had the same spark as what I remember (and I have the movie, another movie, and the 1st 3 seasons on DVD so I know lol). I hope so, but if it happens I also hope someone remembers what made them what they were in the first place. By the way, this was a nice tribute to Jim Henson, as they made sure to show pictures in the background with him and Kermit; nice touch. Okay, yes, here’s a video:
Tomorrow I’ll be doing a live presentation and I’m going to be spending today rehearsing and getting ready for that. Since the last post was so long I decided it was time for a shorter and more fun post again. So, following along the lines of other musical posts I’ve done, I decided to share my top 5 favorite songs from the 60’s, which some of you have no recollection from, and the rest might have other songs to highlight instead.
Before that, though, I’d like to share some of my previous posts, in case you’re new to the blog or just missed them:
5. Happy Together, The Turtles – I can’t even tell you why I always liked this song. Maybe it was the relatively simple melody. Maybe it was the fairly non-threatening lilt in the way Flo & Eddie (it was 2 guys by the way) sang together. I couldn’t tell you, but it makes my top 5.
4. Daydream Believer, The Monkees – I remember this song for many reasons. One, of course it was on the TV show. Two, it helped close out 4th grade for me, and man, was that a grade that just had to end! I remember a party at school near the end of the school year where this song played a few times and, because of the show, I could sing along with it and it brought comfort to me. Yeah, I missed the love song part of it, but so what. lol
3. Soul Man, Sam & Dave – My mother bought this album when we first came back to the United States from Japan back in 1966 and for the next 20+ years it was the first song she played every single Friday night; yup, you read that correctly. It was the first song on the album, and it was a great one; always made me smile, and still does.
2. Sugar Sugar, The Archies – This was a cartoon and on the cartoon the characters had put together a band. In the 3rd season of the cartoon they released their second album, and the main single from the show was this one, which ended up going all the way to number one.
1. I Want You Back, The Jackson Five – This was the first #1 song of 1970, but it was released in 1969. I’ve told this story before, but the day my dad left for Vietnam the Jackson Five showed up on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time and performed this song, and they and Michael Jackson himself were my favorites from that point on.
Almost two weeks after the movies opened in the United States, I’m finally ready to write my review. Okay, spoiler alert; I loved it so much I saw it twice!
You know, often you go into movies after you’re read the book knowing exactly what’s going to happen. Since they broke this book up into two movies and since the first book stayed so close to what happened in the book, I thought I would know what was coming in this one as well.
For the most part… I was wrong. Sure, some things followed the book fairly well, but one has to imagine that it must be difficult allowing the types of speeches and conversations that happened in a book that was almost 1,000 pages long to translate word for word into a movie would be, well, a headache. So, the movie takes many liberties in the movie and totally changes some things around to keep the action going; after all, they wanted the movie to be able to appeal to everyone and not just Harry Potter fans.
Even so, many of the action scenes took place differently than they do in the book, just like in the 6th book. That’s okay as well because I understand for spacing purposes you’d lose a lot if you expanded the field of battle as well. However, in the book the battle between Mrs. Weasley and Bellatrix LeStrange goes on much longer than it does here, and in the book Voldemort has a long battle with many wizards at once, which doesn’t happen here.
Harry’s entrance into the castle goes much different in the movie than in the book, and his encounter with Professor Snape in the movie never happened in the book. And some people might recognize that Malfoy has one friend different than the same two friends he had in the first six movies. That’s because the actor who played that part got arrested a couple of times for drugs and they had to replace him. Of course, one of the actors still in his role never quite developed physically into the behemoth he was supposed to be so his part always had to be written differently from the books.
And the kiss… yes, the kiss between Ron and Hermoine. Actually, this is why I had to go to the movie a second time because I missed it the first time. They moved it around in the movie and, because they didn’t have it when I expected it to come, I went to the bathroom; major mistake! Glad to see it the second time around and it made sense putting it where they did once I saw it again.
In general, this was enjoyable; then again, when I know it’s going to be something I like, I’m an easy grader. I saw it the first time at the midnight showing, 3D, and the second time a week and a half later in a regular theater, where the guy gave me the senior discount; maybe I shouldn’t shave before I go to any movies anymore. lol The theater was packed the second time as well, and almost everyone that reviewed this movie has said it’s fantastic, and it’s gotten a 96% positive review from Rotten Tomatoes; those folks usually hate everything. Even Roger Ebert gave it 3 1/2 out of 4 stars; when’s the last time that happened for a film that people actually saw?
I’ll be waiting until both movies come out together before buying this and, as long as it is, I hope the movies include way more footage. Yeah, I’m a glutton for punishment, but I really want to see more, just as I did with the Lord of the Rings trilogy when I purchased it. Great stuff. Don’t be a curmudgeon; go see this!
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