Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

A Relatively Quick Summary of Psychonauts Pt. 2

June 21, 2021

(Continued from last time)

Raz rushes to save Lily by descending into the depths of Lake Oblongata in a bathysphere, throwing caution to the wind. He finds a strange bubble of air under the surface which allows him to combat the giant Lungfish in its own habitat. The Lungfish tries to kill Raz over and over but he manages to outsmart the beast. With the Lungfish temporarily knocked unconscious, Raz is able to enter its mind.

When you come to, you find that you are suddenly gigantic. In a role reversal, you are now a kaiju in Lungfishopolis, towering over tiny versions of the Lungfish. The citizens flee in terror from you and the military tries to attack you. However, you are contacted by a rebel force inside of the creature’s mind. These forces work with you to fight through the city. You arrive at a tall tower which turns out to be a mind control device. It is guarded by a personification of the device in the form of Coach Oleander as a kaiju. After destroying the Coach kaiju and the device, the Lungfish is free. Introducing itself as Linda, it offers to ferry you across the lake.

You arrive at an island in the middle of the lake and at the gates of the Thorney Towers Home for the Disturbed, an abandoned asylum. The place may have been abandoned by the original owners, but the Coach and his assistant Dr. Loboto are in control now. One of the first things that you notice is that the place is littered with jars that contain the brains of your fellow campers. At this point, you can rescue the brains and bring them back to Ford to be reinserted in their bodies, earning your fellow campers grudging respect. Back at the island, you find the gate locked but an odd man named Boyd is standing in front of the gate acting as a security guard. You enter his mind.

You find yourself in a house with Boyd who is in full-blown conspiracy theorist mode. When you exit the house, you immediately figure out that there is a huge conspiracy at play. The suburban neighborhood looks sunny and nice but it is soon clear that everything is manufactured. Everything and everyone is watching you. You encounter strange spindly men in trenchcoats and fedoras. They are obviously trying to act like normal people but failing at anything resembling ordinary behavior. You also encounter little girl scouts who seem a little too defensive when you question them. You navigate a strange mystery and eventually battle the Scout Leader and awaken Boyd’s dormant alter ego, the one Coach groomed for violence.

Back in the real world, Boyd is broken free of Coach’s influence and is back to his destructive ways. He unlocks the gate for you, allowing you to slip inside while he starts to try to burn the place down. You discover that some of the patients are still around and one of them is guarding an elevator that will lead you up into the tower where Coach and Loboto have Lili. Luckily, this ex-patient is nearsighted so all you have to do is assemble a vague Loboto costume from items that the patients have. The first patient whose mind you enter is Gloria, a faded ex-actress who clings to her memories of show business and suffering from bipolar disorder.

Raz finds himself in a huge theater with a cast of misfit actors on stage and a long-suffering stage manager just off stage. The audience is empty except for Gloria’s inner critic, a big bully who constantly insults whatever efforts are going on stage. Raz befriends Gloria’s inner performer, the part of her that delights in acting. There is also a Phantom in the theater who ruins any performance that Gloria’s inner actress takes part in. You get the actors on stage to reenact scenes from Gloria’s childhood to help to understand her and to gain access to the catwalks where the Phantom creeps. When you finally confront the PHantom, you realize that it is the critic. You battle the critic and defeat him, causing him to shrink and allow Gloria to stop being so hard on herself, freeing her from her doubt and pain. She still has bipolar disorder, of course, but it is a little easier to shoulder now.

You next enter the mind of Fred, a hapless guy who is locked in an internal battle with his ancestor Napoleon Bonaparte who seems to represent Fred’s lack of confidence. When you arrive in Fred’s mind, you find Fred and Napoleon fighting over a board game. You are able to shrink down and enter the game in order to help Fred win. You help recruit soldiers and a carpenter to act as his army. Along the way, you convince Fred to believe in himself and give him a little push to confront his ancestor (a split personality) and gain a measure of freedom and peace.

You next enter the mind of Edgar, a hulking painter who is blocked by trauma from his past. His mind looks like a Spanish villa done up like a blacklight poster. The place seems to be one long street and a giant bull is continuously running through the level, threatening to clobber you. You must navigate alleys and sewers to find ways around the bull. You can also utilize art itself to form useful objects, doors, and ladders to continue the level. You have to fight four luchadors to obtain access to the final boss. In the middle of a bullfighter’s ring, you pierce the bull with spears. It is only then that you find out that the bull is Edgar himself and represents his own anger that he can’t move past. You find out that his girlfriend left him for another guy in high school and it destroyed him, turning him from a jock to an artist. When you defeat the personification of the guy who stole Edgar’s girlfriend, it shows Edgar how pathetic his ex and this guy were and how silly it was to fixate on all of it. He forgives them and forgives himself.

Free to continue into the tower, you travel to stop Coach Oleander and Loboto’s plan and rescue Lili. Once there, you are able to rescue Lili along with Sasha and Milla, impressing your Psychonaut heroes. Coach Oleander is not done and puts his own mind into an even bigger tank which Raz has to fight. Raz has a tough fight against the tank and defeats it, exposing Coach’s brain. Both Raz’s and Coach’s brains end up in the same tank and Raz is sent into a mixture of his own and Coach’s nightmares.

You awaken in The Meat Circus, a mix of the Coach’s childhood being bullied by his butcher father and Raz’s childhood growing up in a traveling circus. It seems they both had overbearing fathers. The two blend together to create a huge vertical level with a sinister edge which Raz much climb. Along the way, you encounter Coach as a child and repeatedly protect him against threats to allow him to be happy, something his father never allowed him to be. Finally, you confront Coach’s father but he teams up with a memory of Raz’s overbearing father to create a dangerous behemoth that takes all of your skill and power to defeat. At the last moment, Raz’s actual father mentally projects himself into the mix and helps Raz save the day. It turns out he was only tough on Raz because he was worried and protective but he is proud of his heroic son.

With the day saved, Raz is made into a full-fledged Psychonaut, fulfilling his dream. A future romance with Lili seems all but certain and his relationship with his father is on the mend. As things wrap up, they get word that Lili’s father has been kidnapped and Raz, Sasha, and Milla spring into action to save the day once again.

Media Update 6/17/21

June 17, 2021

Rachel Gets Strange

Strange indeed. This movie is a very awkward but intensely interesting low-budget movie. The story is that the titular Rachel is still dealing with being left at the altar by her fiance and is suddenly ready to shake out of it. What follows are spoilers but frankly, there is no spoiling this movie. It is about the journey and not the destination. She is convinced that she needs to sleep with somebody to reenter her life. Much of the movie is spent with her trying to find a stranger to have sex with. Awkwardly. Then, at the 11th hour, vampires attack. Yes. Vampires. Jennifer June Ross plays the lead and she owns the role and the movie as she embodies a very awkward and sarcastic character. Ben Huber plays one of the possible men and has a lot of sitcom humor energy. The rest of the cast is pretty quirky and weird and very captivating. The movie really sucked me in and I did not even care that the promised vampires had not arrived yet. I was just taken in. I recommend this movie.

Sex Education

This had been on my list for quite some time. This show is a British production about a young man whose mother is a sex therapist and how that impacts his social standing and changes the school he attends. The show stars Asa Butterfield who is great at playing a deeply troubled yet intelligent and good guy. Gillian Anderson is, of course, brilliant as the sex therapist mother and just really makes the show. Emma Mackey plays the tough, resourceful partner in crime of the main character. I really liked the performances of a lot of the other kids in the school as well. I especially liked Ncuti Gatwa, Connor Swindells, and Aimee Lou Wood. The humor in the show is great offbeat and purposefully awkward but it feels very real to how teenage life felt. As you would expect, it hinges a lot on sex so if that is not your cup of tea then it might be too awkward. I recommend this show.

Bonding

I was interested in this show as part of an ongoing search for accurate shows or movies about the BDSM community. Unfortunately, this is yet another production that is not really all that accurate. However, it is pretty funny. The episodes are also about 15 to 17 minutes long so it is easy to binge. Zoe Levin is very funny as a professional dominatrix who is also a graduate student in psychology. Brendlan Scannell is arguably the star of the show as the nervous failed standup who signs on to be a dominatrix’s assistant. The comedy is very good but I think I will give it a pass because the sex humor is very juvenile and the BDSM is innacurate.

Music of the Week:


The Chainsmokers – Don’t Let Me Down

Seether – Betray And Degrade

The Sunday Estate – Fight Me

Illogic x Odd Nosdam – Right the Ship

Mashup of the Week

iWillBattle – Don’t Bring Me Down, I’m Levitating

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Sex and Comedy”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I started watching Trial By Media Season 1
I watched Longshot

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 6

June 14, 2021

Lily Tomlin

Who knows where Lily Tomlin was headed after attending a technical high school and then getting into Wayne State University in her hometown of Detroit. However, she auditioned for a play and that was it. She had been bitten by the showbiz bug and she changed majors. She graduated from college and started to do stand-up comedy, hanging around in Detroit before she headed to the New York City scene. She decided to continue to study acting at the HB Studio. She got onto the Merv Griffin Show and then the Garry Moore Show which primed her for the biggest upswing in her career. She landed a part in the cast of Martin and Rowan’s Laugh-in where she developed several memorable characters and honed her craft. Her success with Laugh-In also got her a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live. Meanwhile, her movie career also picked up as she was cast in Robert Altman’s Nashville which got her an Academy Award nomination. She was in tons of other hits like 9 to 5 and All of Me. Her career has continued to flourish and she is still a very big star.

One of the reasons that Tomlin would be perfect for The Muppet Show is that she already had experience with Sesame Street at the time. She sang and signed the famous song “Sing” on the show along with other appearances. At the time she was a renowned comedian who also had singing and acting chops which would serve her well on the show. She had worked on one of the most famous television variety shows in history which would be excellent preparation.

Cold Opening: Scooter comes in to give Lily her warning but apologizes when she’s on the phone (a little bit like Ernestine) but when he leaves she reveals the phone isn’t even plugged in.

Guest Arc: Sam the Eagle is on the warpath again, trying to make the show more classy. He has doubts about Tomlin but she promises to be on her best behavior and ends up mocking him.

Guest Acts:
“Dancing Queen” (Abba) with Miss Piggy and full-size Muppets who can dance
Lily has a scene with Sam the Eagle where she pretends to be as dour and serious as he is (a la The Consumer Advocate Lady)
“The Last Duet” (Manilow) Lily does sign language while singing and Animal struggles to keep up so Sweetums steps in.

Donald O’Connor

It is hard to pin down exactly where Donald was born since his parents were a vaudeville team and were always traveling. It is agreed that it was somewhere in Illinois and probably in Chicago. Apparently, his parents started his dancing career at 13 months by holding him by the back of the neck as he wiggled around to the music on stage. Unfortunately, a lot of his family died during his early childhood leaving him with only his mother and an older brother. The three formed a dancing act and Donald got to be really good at dancing without any formal training. In fact, he never did go to school at all. He made the jump from vaudeville to film when he was hired by Paramount mostly to play kid parts and, of course, to dance. He then moved to Universal where he was quickly paired with Peggy Ryan as their version of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. The Andrews Sisters were usually along for the ride as well. Not long after he came back from the War, he had a much-celebrated role in Singin’ In the Rain. He continued on Broadway, film, and television until his death in the late 90s.

Obviously, O’Connor would be great for the Muppet Show because of his experience as a performer and also his many skills. While he was not the dancer in the 1980s that he was in the 50s, he still knew how to dance and sing and he had great comic timing. On a side note, Singin’ In the Rain is one of my favorite musicals. O’Connor was a legendary performer in musicals on stage and screen and was great at adapting to the needs of their show.

Cold Open: Miss Piggy brushes past Scooter as he gives the warning and spills coffee on Donald.

Guest Arc: Miss Piggy is excited to sing with Donald but spills coffee on him and tries to make it up throughout the show but keeps accidentally injuring him. In the end, he promises that there is no problem between them.

Guest Acts:
“Make ‘Em Laugh” with Fozzy and Gonzo
“Merrily Song” with Kermit at Rowlf’s piano
“It’s Delovely” with Ms. Piggy

Jerry Orbach

Orbach’s dad was born in The Bronx and his father was a vaudeville entertainer. He never performed on stage with his father but he did eventually leave college at Northwestern University a year early to pursue acting. He studied at the legendary Actor’s Studio under Lee Strasberg. He made his way onto Off-Broadway and Broadway. He quickly made a name for himself in tons of shows and was in the original casts for The Fantasticks, Chicago, and 42nd Street among many other shows. He started work in television and film working as a regular on Murder She Wrote and Dirty Dancing. He had his last major singing role as Lumiere in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. After that, he was cast in the role he is now more known for as Detective Lennie Briscoe in Law and Order.

Orbach would work for the Muppet Show because he was a Broadway legend who was just starting to work more on film. He has a brilliant singing voice and a charm that served him very well in his career. Although he was starting to take on more serious roles, I think he would relish the chance to have some musical fun with the Muppets.

Cold Open: Jerry goofs around with Pops, putting on that charm

Guest Arc: The Muppets are excited when they hear that a Broadway scout will be at the show so they get Jerry to help them out. It turns out to be band info that Scooter heard.

Guest Acts:
“Lullaby of Broadway” with Rowlf, Kermit, Fozzie, and Piggy
“24 Hours from Tulsa” (Bacharach) with Lubbock Lou and his Jughuggers
“Razzle Dazzle” with the Electric Mayhem

Media Update 6/10/21

June 10, 2021

Raya and the Last Dragon

Walt Disney Animation Studios has been very strong in the past decade and so I was excited to check out the latest movie. This movie is an original story and not based on an existing story like many Disney movies. The movie draws on southeast Asian cultures such as Korea, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Phillipines, and more but it takes place in a fictional land. It is a feudal story that takes place in a dystopia after a great disaster. The lead is played by Kelly Marie Tran who is so good at being a strong warrior, a sarcastic joker, and a loving person. She is opposed by Gemma Chan, a fierce yet highly charismatic young woman. Akwafina plays probably her best role to date and was instantly likable and a lot of the heart of the movie. They are joined by Benedict Wong, Izaac Wang, and Thalia Tran. The movie is absolutely gorgeous (as Tangled, Frozen, and Moana were) and the animation is so fluid and fun to watch. The story has a lot of heart but also a lot of comedy for a story set in a dystopia. I recommend this movie.

Kaboom

I am not really sure how to describe this movie or begin to explain it. It is billed as David Lynch for the Coachella Generation and that feels strangely correct. The movie is a mish mash of David Lynch, Donnie Darko, a sex comedy, and a dash or two of John Waters. The movie stars Thomas Dekker who plays a young queer man who is definitely too much in his own head. He stumbles onto a mystery and becomes absorbed by it. His partner in crime is played by Haley Bennett who was my favorite as a sarcastic no-nonsense character. They are joined by Juno Temple who plays a young woman who appears to be ditzy but is way smarter than she seems. Roxane Mesquida is great at playing a totally insane character. There are a lot of great side characters who just deepen the mystery and made me laugh or tilt my head to the side in confusion. I had no idea where the movie was going next at most points and I really enjoyed that feeling. I recommend this movie.

D.E.B.S.

This movie pretty much caught me by surprise. I was expected a fun little girl power spy movie but instead I got way more than I asked for in the best way. The movie follows a paramilitary school for young women called D.E.B.S. (Discipline Energy Beauty Strength). Sara Foster plays a young woman on the verge of graduating who is questioning a lot of things in her life. Much to her surprise, she ends up romantically entangled with a super villain played by Jordana Brewster. The two of them are so good together and a lot of the movie was just me marveling at how well they managed that relationship. There were plenty of other fun actors in the movie as well. The movie very much felt like a gayer version of the Josie and the Pussycats movie. It is a movie that is really campy and easy to discount but once I watched it, I saw a lot of to love. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

My Best Friend’s Hot

Castration Squad – A Date Wth Jack

PVRIS – Hallucinations

The xx – I Dare You

Mashup of the Week:

GC Mashie – How You Like Confidence

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Pride 2021”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
i watched more Elementary Season 4
I watched more of The Irregulars Season 1
I started watching Monsters Among Us Season 1

A Relatively Quick Summary of Psychonauts Pt. 1

June 7, 2021

Psychonauts is the story of Razputin, a young boy who was born with psychic powers but was forbidden by his father from using them. He grew up idolizing the Psychonauts, a team of elite agents with psychic powers. He decides to sneak away from home to attend a psychic summer camp run by the Psychonauts to achieve his dream of joining the team. When he appears, they decide that he can participate in activities at least until they can call his parents. He is introduced to the other weird kids at camp most of which do not initially want anything to do with the weird new kid.

You officially start the game by heading from the cabins to Coach Oleander’s treehouse for Basic Braining. He introduces the main theme of the game by pulling you into his mind. When you regain consciousness, you are in an obstacle course that the Coach has prepared in his mindscape. The course is themed after a war zone in keeping with the Coach’s seeming obsession with the military. He berates you through the entire level as if he were a drill sergeant, insulting you to get you to work harder. As you navigate the course, you get comic relief from your fellow campers and you start a rivalry with bully Bobby Zilch and meet the inquisitive Lili Zanotto. While most of the others struggle, you are able to navigate the course. You also learn the psychic power of throwing a telekinetic punch. When you are the first to reach the end of the course, you get the first inkling that something might not be as it seems. A corner of Coach’s mind reveals that he has a secret. You see a glimpse of an odd blueprint.

After that, you get to explore the campgrounds for a bit and interact with your fellow campers. You get handed a list of items scattered around the camp for a scavenger hunt. This hunt will take most of the game to complete since you need certain powers and upgrades to find some items. You meet a strange man who is the camp’s janitor, chef, ranger, and waterfront manager. You are told that Psychonaut Sasha Nein wants to see you. It seems that you impressed him while navigating Coach’s mind and he wants to put you through some advanced training/experiments.

You travel to Sasha’s lab and he officially introduces himself and shows you his Brain Tumbler machine. The machine allows you to enter your own mind. You enter a landscape that reminds Raz of the traveling circus he grew up in. However, when you enter a circus wagon, you end up in a much stranger place that does not look like your mind. Curious, Sasha asks you to explore more. You encounter Censors, little creatures that try to eliminate rogue thoughts. When the Censors become too much for Raz, Sasha pulls him out and tells him that he needs to find Ford Cruller to be issued permission to be trained in marksmanship.

At this point, you are pointed to the camp’s ancient fast travel system which leads you to Ford Cruller, former Director of the Psychonauts. He is the guy who you have seen serving in all of the odd jobs around the camp. His psyche has been shattered in battle and he is confined to his lab with various personalities slipping out to watch over the camp. Ford takes a shine to Raz and teaches him more about the Psychonauts and grants you permission to learn a long-distance telekinetic attack.

You travel back to Sasha who pulls you into his mind. His mind is very ordered and provides a course to practice your new long-distance attack. Sasha carefully lets Censors loose in his head to give Raz some shooting practice. Unfortunately, Raz gets impatient and floods the place with censors which leads Sasha to briefly lose his fastidious control. This eventually leads to the escape of the Mega-Censor, a giant beefy censor who rampages across Sasha’s mind. Sasha steps in to help out but is ambushed which leaves Raz to fight the Mega Censor alone. Once he does, he is then clear to use his new marksmanship badge outside of Sasha’s mind. Sasha sends you back into what you are sure is not your own mind now where you battle to a mysterious tower. To get to the top of the tower, you will need additional training.

You head to meet Agent Milla Vodello who brings you into her mind for training in the use of the Levitation power. Her mind is a mix of a pinball machine and a never-ending party as the free-spirit as a contrast to Sasha’s more uptight personality. This is the mind where you learn pretty much the rest of your movement tech in the game as you learn how to float on currents and move at high speed on a ball of energy. At this point, your fellow campers start to encourage you. Except for Bobby Zilch who makes a return appearance to race Raz. With the Levitation badge, Raz can reach the top of the tower.

At the top of the tower, Raz finds himself inside of the blueprint that you glimpsed in the Coach’s mind earlier in the game. It was a blueprint for a tank and you witness a fellow camper get his brain sucked out and placed into the tank which makes it a robot with psychic powers. After beating the tank, you realize that a man named Loboto has teamed with the Coach to create these tanks to take over the world. You head to rendezvous with Lili who has been conducting her own investigation only to watch her get kidnapped by a giant Lungfish.

Media Update 6/3/21

June 3, 2021

Hell House LLC

I do not usually watch found footage movies but this one was definitely worth it. The movie is about a crew of young people who run a business called Hell House LLC. They travel around the country and set up haunted houses in rundown real estate. They are working in the town of Abaddon, New York when their fake haunted house turns out to maybe be actually haunted. I liked how understated all of the scares were and everything seemed to be practical effects. Our cameraman is played by Gore Abrams who is witty enough to like and genre savvy enough to show us stuff we should be worried about. The other stand out was Ryan Jennifer who plays the main female cast member who gets to act super weird and gets the bulk of the actual acting scenes. The story is pretty straightforward and the tension gets ratcheted up at a very good pace. The characters are dumb as doornails but sometimes that just makes for a great horror movie. I recommend this movie.

Haunt

A bunch of bored college students decide to head out to a haunted house on Halloween and find one in the middle of nowhere. Everything seems fine at first as they are asked to sign releases before entering but things are not as they seem. The movie stars Katie Stevens, a young woman with a dark past who has to lead her friends out of danger. Lauryn McClain is a standout as more of a party girl friend who is also a strong leader. Will Brittain is very good as the strapping young good guy who just wants to protect everyone. The villains are great at being absolutely sinister but also a little offbeat comedic. The movie was executive produced by Eli Roth but thankfully his stink is not on it too much but I can definitely see a little of his torture porn in the mix. There is a thick tension all of the way through the movie and it takes a while for the reveal to fully land. I recommend this movie.

Waxwork

This one was more of a horror/comedy movie. A couple of bored college kids decide to attend the opening of a Waxwork in town. (Here that term means a spooky house with wax figures in horror tableaus). However, it turns out that the exhibits are portals to realms where some of the worst figures in horror are real and dangerous. The movie stars Zach Gilligan who is a troubled yet good-hearted young man and kind of the leader of his group. Deborah Foreman plays the nerdy girl with hidden depths. Michelle Johnson plays the hot yet icy young flirt. David Warner is great as the creepy waxwork owner. Among other monsters, Miles O’Keefe’s Dracula and John Rhys-Davies’ werewolf definitely stand out with powerful performances. The movie is delightfully goofy but also pretty scary in places, a perfect blend. The movie is written and directed by Anthony Hickox and does well as a second-generation director. It is a classic eighties horror movie. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Cissie Redgwick – Gimme That Swing

Stolas – Bellwether

Ladybeard – Deadlift Lolita

Clean Bandit – Baby

Mashup of the Week:

Ruined Music – Mr. Brightside, You Know It’s True

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Scary Attractions”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
i watched more Elementary Season 4
I finished Conspiracies

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 5

May 31, 2021

S06E13 Buck Owens

Born in Texas, it was no surprise that Buck Owens grew up to be a country and western musician rather than any other genre. Owens was self-taught, learning both how to sing and how to play the guitar, horns, mandolin, and drums without instruction. He then added the steel guitar to his repertoire, a somewhat rare instrument to master but it was definitely about to make its mark on the country scene. He ended up quitting school before graduating from high school to help out at the family farm and work on his music career. He got his own radio show and became a regular musician at a couple of Arizona bars. A truck driver job brought him closer to California where he started playing as a session musician for Capitol Records, allowing him to play with legends like Tennessee Ernie Ford, Wanda Jackson, Tommy Collins, Tommy Duncan, and more. He teamed with musician Tom Rich and his career took off and he put out hit after hit.

Owens would be great for the Muppet Show because he had a peppy, uptempo sound even when he was playing something sad. He co-hosted the television variety show Hee Haw so it has been proven that he can carry his own weight on television. He and his band, the Buckaroos, often wore flashy costumes and had a lot of showmanship so he could probably take anything the Muppets could dish out. His easy demeanor would make him a great straight man for the wacky Muppets.

Cold Open: Buck shows up to check in with Pops. A herd of cattle stampedes through backstage and he proclaims that he is going to be right at home.

Guest Arc: Buck arrives to find that the denizens of the Muppet Theater are experiencing a crisis of confidence. Buck sets about to instill a little less anxiety and talk the Muppets into feeling better about themselves.

Guest Acts:
“Act Naturally” with Fozzy
“I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail” with a tiger and a bunch of cowboys
“Hello Trouble” with Gonzo

S06E14 Debbie Reynolds

When Debbie Reynolds was starting her career, she was almost immediately put in the center of a fight between two companies. Talent scouts had spotted her at the Ms. Burbank contest and were obviously impressed and so it was that Warner Brothers and MGM did battle for her contract with MGM winning out. They put her in a string of movie musicals which led her to her big break in Singin’ in the Rain, a pastiche of older Broadway shows and movies. She was only eighteen at the time. She kept working in movie musicals for MGM including The Unsinkable Molly Brown which earned her an Oscar nomination. She had her own television show in the seventies but quit after one year because she refused to have cigarettes advertised on her show. She went on to have a great career from there, guesting on a lot of television shows and doing voice work for cartoons. She also was introduced to a whole new generation through her appearances in the Halloweentown franchise for Disney.

Reynolds would have been perfect for the show. In 1983 she would have had a career for over thirty years and plenty of experience to draw on. She also had a lot of energy in her career and was a true triple threat. On a personal note, Singin’ in the Rain is my favorite musical. She would later have a lot of experience in voice acting which would serve her well in understanding the unique techniques at the Muppet Theater.

Cold Open: Scooter comes in to give Debbie her warning and she is watching Gonzo and the chickens dance.

Guest Arc: Kermit thinks some of the Muppet performers have started to fall short on their dancing skills. He enlists guest Debbie Reynolds to tap dance them through things a bit.

Guest Acts:
“Belly Up to the Bar, Boys” (Meredith Wilson) with a bunch of rowdy monsters
“Good Morning” (Brown/Freed) with Kermit and Fozzy
“Where Did You Learn to Dance?” (George Stoll) with Sweetums and Miss Piggy

S06E15 Donna Summer

Donna Summer got her start in her music career when she left home for New York City and joined a blues/rock band Crow. When that did not work out, she auditioned for the musical Hair and was hired for the Munich production. She stayed in Germany and did a few more musicals. She started to tour a bit and recorded some German versions of popular songs from the United States. She partnered with an Italian producer who helped kick her career into a higher gear. She did more recording in Europe and appeared on European television shows. With the song “Love to Love You Baby” (which she co-wrote) she really started to take off globally. Her career took flight from there and she was eventually one of the queens of Disco through the seventies with hits like “Hot Stuff”, “I Feel Love”, “Last Dance”, and more. Because she had such a varied background, her disco music was the cream of the crop and she was able to easily transition when Disco was murdered by childish people.

Donna Summer would be perfect for the Muppet Show because she truly was a musical genius. She wrote or co-wrote a lot of her songs and put new spins on things that she covered. She learned German while working in Germany and was willing to take a lot of chances. That shows that she can really go with the flow. On top of that, her energy had a white-hot intensity which also had an easiness to it which would really serve the show.

Cold Open: Donna arrives to check in with Pops and is notified that they are installing something to make her feel more at home. Gonzo suddenly plummets from above and then a disco ball lights up the room. Donna thanks Gonzo.

Guest Arc: Robin asks Donna why people hate Disco and Donna tells him that that music just keeps evolving and keeps making people feel things. She sets out to show Robin and the rest of the Muppets that the Beat still lives.

Guest Acts:
“Hot Stuff” with a bunch of firemen
“On the Radio” with Miss Piggy
“Last Dance” with the whole cast

Media Update 5/27/21

May 27, 2021

The Mitchells vs. The Machines

When I heard that the Producers who worked on Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse were making a new movie, I got excited. Those are Producer/Writer/Directors Lord and Miller who previously created the Lego Movie among other things. Add on to that Mike Mianda was getting to direct his first feature film after previously writing and directing episodes of Gravity Falls. The movie is about a dysfunctional family who decides to take a road trip across the country to deliver the daughter to college and to heal the rifts in their family. Unfortunately, they are in the middle of a global machine uprising. The movie is glorious quirky, heartwarming, and really funny. Abbi Jacobson is the star of the movie as the daughter going off to college and the artsy, confident young woman. Danny McBride plays the dad, out of touch but with a good heart. Maya Rudolph plays the mom, an awkward but fun woman who is just trying to keep the peace in her family. Mike Rianda himself plays the little brother, a shy lover of dinosaurs who has a really kind heart. Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, and Beck Bennett steal a lot of scenes as robot voices. I recommend this movie a lot.

Psycho Goreman

This movie kind of defies explanation and even the trailer kind of does not do it justice. The movie is about a brother and sister who are digging a hole in their backyard when they find a glowing gem which they take. However, the object under their feet starts acting up causing them to flee. The next day they discover an actual alien in the warehouse near their house who has just finished murdering criminals. The alien is a hyper-violent warlord but the kids are saved when they discover that the gem allows them to control him. From there we get a story that I found hard to predict. The movie is hilarious but also extremely gory. A lot of the humor comes from the hyper-violence and the awkward humor of having somebody who calls for your blood under your magical control. The special effects, costuming, and some of the music reminded me of Power Rangers production design which made it all the funnier. This movie is definitely not for the faint of heart but if you can stomach gore, this offbeat comedy is for you. I really love the Director and want to see more of his stuff. I recommend it.

Suburban Gothic

I decided to watch this movie on a whim on the strenghth of the cast and I was not disappointed. The movie is about a young man who moves back into his childhood home with his parents only to find that the ghosts he remembered from his childhood might be real. The main character is played by Matthew Gray Gubler who does a great job as a sarcastic, eccentric guy with a good heart and a sharp wit. He joins forces with the always delightful Kat Dennings who is her usual deadpan, sarcastic self and has great chemistry with Gubler. Gubler’s parents are played Ray Wise and Barbara Niven and are absolute psychotic fun. They are joined by a really fun cast including appearances by genre actors Jeffrey Combs, John Waters, and Ray Santiago. The movie is offbeat and fun. The movie is just as much about having to deal with your parents and your life when things don’t work out as it is about ghosts. The hauntings are not very scary and are instead experimental film strange. The movie definitely works and I recommend it.

Music of the Week:

Alex Lahey – On My Way

Mimi’s Band – I’m the Heckin’ Best

Morcheeba – Big Calm

Yungeen Ace – Demons

Mashup of the Week:

Meadow Stargazer – Something About 21 Guns

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Inhuman Danger and Comedy”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
i watched more Elementary Season 4
I watched more Prodigal Son Season 2
I watched more Conspiracies
I finished watching The Sons of Sam

Journey to the Savage Planet

May 24, 2021

I had been wanting to play this game since I had previously seen gameplay. The goofy tone of it really resonated with me and I like a game with a lot of movement tech. The plot of this one is that you have been hired by Kindred Aerospace who tout that they are the “4th Best Interstellar Exploration Company”. The company seems shady from the get-go and their CEO is a bit too excited about the planet you have been sent to. In fact, he seems very unstable in general. You have signed on to a deal to launch you into space at planet ARY – 26. You are to see if the planet is suitable for human life. If possible, you are to either refuel and return with data on the planet or die on the planet (after a long life or not). If you return, you will receive your pay. If you do not return, well, their investment did not work out and your family will mourn.

Of course, the story really begins with your ship crashing on the planet. It does not look too bad but materials will be needed to fix it and replacement fuel must be found. The alien world is not immediately hostile but it does not take long to realize that you are outmatched and outnumbered. Luckily, your ship comes with a sarcastic robot sidekick and two 3D printers. The sidekick is your only real interaction with Kindred technology and your “guide” on the planet. It really does not know much more than you but it can scan local flora, fauna, and technology. This allows you to utilize the first 3D printer to upgrade your technology. The second 3D printer is for when you die. It “reprints” your body and gear back at the ship in the event of your death. There is also a fast-travel teleport system that makes it clear that it’s killing you every time it works. Yay!

The main mechanic of the game is to use the unique plant life on the planet to combat lifeforms and access new areas to collect resources. There are many plants that give you useful projectiles like bombs, acid, and electric shock. You also have a somewhat trusty sidearm and various high jump and double jumps. Some of the lifeforms on the planet are dumb and easy targets but the rest want you dead as soon as they see you. The game is really fun to move around in and the environments are pretty stunning even on a low graphics setting. There are quite a few fun puzzles but a lot of it is moving and dodging various hazards. You can go heavy combat or you can run away a lot until you’re forced to fight. Either way, you’ll find the resources you need and the mysterious secrets of the planet’s history and culture.

You also get absolutely crazy cutscenes like this:

Media Update 5/20/21

May 20, 2021

Annabelle Comes Home

This is kind of the culmination of the Conjuring movies that I admittedly have not watched yet. This is the equivalent of the Conjuring Avengers. The plot follows the eponymous doll being brought back to be stored at the Warren’s house and interacting with their collection of haunted items. I thought it was actually a pretty interesting movie especially if you like things like Warehouse 13 or SCP. The movie stars Madison Iseman as a babysitter who works for the Warrens, she is earnest and immediately easy to like. McKenna Grace plays the Warren’s daughter and is good at playing a put upon, depressed, yet very clever young girl. Katie Sarife plays the impetuous best friend who crashes the party and provides comic relief and moves the plot along. I really liked the acting and the story of magic items being far too concentrated together. I recommend this movie even though, as I will continue to point out, the Warrens were parasites.

Annabelle: Creation

No Warrens in this one. This flashes back and gives a bit of Annabelle’s origin story (sort of). The movie follows a group of orphans and their nun caretaker who are taken in by a couple. It turns out the couple has a terrible secret and that causes the orphans to be terrorized by the titular demon. I actually liked this one a lot better as it felt tighter and it was easier to get to know and care about the characters. The special effects are brilliant and there were a lot of surprising moments for me. Talitha Batema stars as the one girl who is more of a misfit than the others because of her handicap. Her best friend is played by Lulu Wilson, a somewhat flippant but likable kid. Stephanie Sigman plays the nun who is their caretaker, a no- nonsense, tough woman who is also very loving. Anthony LaPaglia and Miranda Otto play the couple who let the children into their house and do very well at playing vaguely sinister but also very sad. The rest of the cast is spot on as well. I recommend this movie as well.

Insidious

This movie follows a family who moves into a house and are suddenly haunted by all sorts of weird spooks and demons. It causes a rift in the family and everybody is at their wit’s end before they call a medium. I felt like this movie could have been done better. It is definitely creative but messy and paced weirdly. I have read that director James Wan was already thinking of the Conjuring movies while he made this movie and it shows. They could be a shared universe if the stars aligned. It is a shame because the movie is written by Leigh Whannell who has written some good movies in Upgrade and The Invisible Man. The movie stars Rose Byrne who plays a mother who is a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown even before the spooky stuff starts. Patrick Wilson plays her inconsistent and standoffish husband. Lin Shaye eventually comes in as a kindly and wisecracking medium who immediately made the movie better. I abandoned this movie about 3/4s through and I do not know if I will watch the sequels/prequels. I do not recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

Bowling For Soup – Getting Old Sucks (But Everybody’s Doing It)

Evanescence – Feeding The Dark

Witch – Good Girl

Mungo’s Hi Fi, Eva Lazarus Ft. Max Romeo – Babylon Raid

Mashup of the Week:

Bronze is Bored – The Kid’s Don’t Lie

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is James Wan does Possessions
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
i watched more Elementary Season 4
I watched more Prodigal Son Season 2
I watched more Bob’s Burgers Season 11
I watched more Conspiracies
I started watching The Sons of Sam


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