Category Archives: Entertainment

The Muppets – The Review

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:


 

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My Favorite 5 Songs From The 60’s

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:

Top 5 Dylan Songs

Top 10 Favorite Operas

Top 10 Disco Favorites

Top 13 Favorite Singers

Top 19 Favorite Classical Pieces

And now, on with my list, from #5 to #1:

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.


 

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Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows Finale Review

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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Dylan’s 70? My Top 5 Dylan Songs

As I say about blogging, sometimes you get inspiration from reading other people’s blogs and then commenting on them in some fashion. In this case it’s the blog of a local young guy who not only works for the local newspaper, but is a DJ. He has an interesting connection with all types of music, even music that, in my strange opinion, I would never expect him to know; it shows there are some younger people with an appreciation for older music.

Anyway, his name is Geoff Herbert, @deafgeoff to us here because he’s also legally deaf, and his post was titled Chillin’ like a villain: My all-time top 5 Bob Dylan songs, only he had 6 songs instead; kids, can’t count. lol Of course, he has some of these from movies and some of these with other people singing; I can’t roll like that. I’m giving you Dylan, the best of him and, well, him anyway. lol So, here we go, not necessarily in any particular order.

Just Like A Woman

I think this is the first Bob Dylan song I ever heard, from the Blonde on Blonde album, and though he had this really weird voice, there was something about this song that captured my imagination.

Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright

This is the first of two songs in a row from the album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. It was also in a movie called American Pop, along with the next song. This is one of the most musical songs Dylan ever put out, very catchy tune.

A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall

As I said above, same album and same movie. This was probably one of the best albums he ever put out because I liked almost every single song on it.

Forever Young

Of all things I couldn’t find this one on YouTube, but I find it elsewhere. This song is from the album Planet Waves, and I sang this version of the song at a wedding, believe it or not. It’s not a love song but the bride, the sister of a friend of mine, heard me play it and requested it for her wedding; who was I to say no?


Bob Dylan-Forever Young(from The Last Waltz)

Melody | Myspace Video

Tangled Up In Blue

Well, I guess I did end up putting them in order because this is my favorite Bob Dylan song of all time, and it’s the “newest” song on my list. What a great story this song is, and some of the lyrics are classic, one of the best songs lyrically I’ve ever heard. I have to admit this isn’t my favorite version of this song, but it seems that no one has created a video with the original so it’ll have to do. At least it’s Dylan live.

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Easter Smiles

I debated about whether or not to pop something up for Easter or not. I’m not religious, and, dare I say, I’d be considered a heathen in some circles. Let’s suffice it to say I’m a nonbeliever and move on.

That doesn’t mean I look down on anyone who’s celebrating today as a holiday; not in the least. It does say that I take secular look at the day instead, To me, it’s a day for kids and family and smiles; I don’t see anything wrong with that sort of thing.

Unfortunately I don’t have any kids, but I did talk to my mother and she’s as content as mothers can be for the day. And I’ve done some of those things over this holiday weekend that I enjoy. I watched the Ten Commandments, watched some Sound of Music and some Wizard of Oz (how’d those become holiday things).

But the one thing I totally missed this year was the Peanuts take on Easter. I don’t know if it was on or not. Doesn’t matter; thank goodness for YouTube. I wish those of you who believe a wonderful holiday. For those who don’t, or for those who just want a smile or two, I offer this:

 

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