Posts Tagged ‘Muppets’

Media Update 7/11/19

July 11, 2019


Defunctland

I am one of the biggest fans of amusement parks who also does not really like going on rides. I did not like them as a kid and I have shied away from them ever since. However, I am a huge nerd when it comes to the construction and design of amusement park rides, attractions, and haunted houses. Recently, I discovered this YouTube documentary series which charts the rise and fall of amusement park elements and whole parks. It explores the creation and destruction of rides and attractions that range from the nostalgic to the super obscure. The show tackles all of the creative, bureaucratic, and logistical decisions that led to each subject and their demise. For example, the series charts the entire career of Michael Eisner, a household name from my childhood. While the series is largely Disney-based so far, it also covers Six Flags, Cedar Fair, and some more obscure independent parks and attractions. There are also two companion series in the form of DefunctTV and podcasts. The podcasts are often hour-long interviews with people like puppeteers, Imagineers, urban explorers, cultural historians, and many other experts in their fields. DefunctTV is a series of deep dives on now-defunct television shows, usually involving puppets. They are currently telling the entire history of the Jim Henson Company from Sam and Friends currently up to the Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss and everything in between. I definitely recommend this series.


Slasher

I love horror movies and the slasher movie is part of the popularity and longevity of the horror genre by giving the genre a boost in the seventies. This show is a tribute to that subgenre with each season exploring a different story about a costumed serial killer. Each season also has to do with the main characters having to deal with the buried past and what happens when that past comes back to haunt you. I am currently on the first season which concerns The Executioner and it definitely feels like a comfortable tribute to horror. There are elements of The Silence of the Lambs, Scream, Halloween, Sleepaway Camp, and Prom Night. The show definitely has both horror and mystery elements as the main characters try to figure out who the killer is and who will be targeted next. As a horror buff, I do not find the show to be very scary as the jump scares are not frequent. However, there is definitely quite a bit of gore in some of the kills. Not insane amounts but a few so far have surprised me a bit. The show has a great ensemble cast but a special shout out to star Katie McGrath who struggles between playing detective and running from her past believably. I definitely recommend this one too.


Agatha and the Truth of Murder

It took me a long time to do so but recently I finally read some Agatha Christie books and now I see why she is so iconic. While not all of her books are for me, I recognize that she is one of the true giants who helped grow the Mystery genre. A while ago I discovered the famous tale about 11 days that were missing from Agatha Christie’s life. She had apparently blacked out and could not remember where she had been for nearly two weeks. This urban legend has now been proven false by historians. The truth is that Christie checked into a spa for that time while trying to mentally deal with her failing marriage. This movie tells a story trying to fill in those 11 days by sending Christie on a real-life murder case. The story dips into the real reasons behind her disappearance but in a more fanciful, positive way. The movie starts slowly with a lot of nods toward Christie’s early career. I was about ready to give up on the movie but then it kicked into gear and I ended up really liking it. It plays with a lot of Agatha Christie tropes and archetypes but also real-life criminal investigations. Ruth Bradley is a great, spirited Agatha Christie who learns how to turn things around in her darkest hour. I recommend it.

Music of the Week:
Billie Eilish – ilomilo

Logic – 1-800-273-8255 ft. Alessia Cara, Khalid

Blue October – How to Dance in Time

Chloe x Halle – The Kids Are Alright

Ed Sheeran – BLOW (with Chris Stapleton & Bruno Mars)

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Digging Up the Past”
– I watched more Game of Thrones Season 3
– I watched more Arrow Season 7
– I watched more How to Get Away With Murder Season 1
– I watched more Losers Season 1
– I watched more The Flash Season 5
– I finished Legends of Tomorrow Season 4
– I started watching Star Trek: Voyager Season 3
– I started watching Designated Survivor Season 3

Media Update 12/21/17

December 21, 2017


The Christmas Prince

The movie that caused a flurry of tweets after Netflix announced that several people were watching this movie daily. I had already wanted to check this movie out but that weird public shaming convinced me for sure. I wanted to see it anyway because it stars Rose McIver, the star of iZombie. This will apparently start a new tradition of me watching random Christmas movies starring genre television stars. (See last year’s Dear Santa viewing). Anyway, the movie follows a reporter who goes undercover to investigate the royal family of the fictional country of Aldovia. It’s basically England without all of the baggage. The movie is cheesy but also very sweet and it has a coherent and good story for the holidays. Since I have been watching Season 2 of The Crown this week, this movie definitely resonated with me. McIver is great as the young, hungry reporter who figures out there is more to the story and her story than she thought. The child actress, Honor Kneafsey, did a great job at playing a much more complex character than most of the cast. Ben Lamb, who played the titular prince, also did a good job of being an interesting person and not the usual cookie cutter prince we see in these movies. I am so glad that Netflix produced this instead of it ending up on Lifetime or Hallmark where it would have been both inane and forgotten. While it is not a perfect movie, I found myself laughing and smiling and even shouting at the screen (in a good way) all through the movie. I definitely recommend it for those looking for a holiday movie that is light on an actual holiday.


Psych: The Movie

This movie is a Christmas gift from the old gang to all the Psych fans. While the Christmas season does not really affect the plot at all, the movie soundtrack does include several Christmas songs. Really, this movie is the long-awaited closure that was not needed but I definitely welcomed. The end of the series was kind of playfully open-ended but you could kind of guess what happened next. However, when I heard about this movie I was all in. The character of Shawn Spencer was a guy who I loved from the beginning but at one point, I believe that the writers let him stagnate a bit and not grow up. This movie works to fix that a little bit. But more than that, it was absolutely a love letter to the loyal fans that have stuck with this show for so long. There were cameos from some of the greatest guest stars and the whole cast from the series returned. On top of that, one of the cameos was from WWE superstars John Cena and there was a bigger part for Charlotte Flair (Wooo!). They brought back a lot of the old running jokes but they definitely played with them, as the characters have always been pretty self-aware about those bits of comedy. This was a fun romp through the new setting of San Francisco and we got to see some growth from the beloved characters. I am happy to hear that creator Steve Franks has four other stand-alone movies planned as this movie felt kind of like a new beginning of sorts. I recommend it to fans of the original series and if you have not watched Psych go track it down.


A Christmas Together/Rocky Mountain Holiday

These are the two holiday specials that John Denver did with The Muppets at a time when I was not born/a baby and when the original cast was still alive. I am not knocking the new cast at all but it was the original cast that first captured my attention. John Denver also has a special place in my heart because of his relationship with the Baltimore Orioles when I was a little kid. I knew there was at least one John Denver album done with the muppets but I had never known there were actually two television specials. A Christmas Together is a show about John and the Muppets trying to put together a Christmas special and, like an episode of the Muppets, it has both backstage and performance pieces. The performance visuals can be a bit trippy which matches Denver’s warbling vocals. The special ends with the story of Jesus’ birth with puppetry cute enough for me not to complain.  The second special has a lot more lively music and there is more Muppets-style humor.  It also has way more Muppets puppetry (muppetry?).  I prefer the second one since I like upbeat music more but both are pleasant and nostalgic.  Of course, only the first is actually a Christmas special which I did not realize until I cued the second special. I guess it’s just a summer holiday special.  I recommend them both.

Music of the Week:
Dru Hill – This Christmas

Joyce Chu – Merry Cold Christmas

Billy Idol – Yellin’ At the Xmas Tree

Ariana Grande – Wit It This Christmas

Amon Amarth – Viking Christmas

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Fun Christmas”
– I started watching Longmire Season 3
– I started watching The Crown Season 2
– I kept watching Blue Exorcist
– I watched more Fate/Apocrypha
– I watched a lot of GTLive and Game Grumps
– Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope that you find some peace this week

Top 11 Fictional Jobs I Might Want

February 18, 2017

I am currently working at a paralegal internship and soon I will get undoubtedly get a job in the legal field. This got me thinking about where I might have ended up if things had gone differently. Of course, they have gone differently in the past, leading to my rather eclectic list of former jobs. But I started to think about my favorite television shows and movies and the jobs fictional characters have. What if I could have any job even a fictional one? Here is a list of the top 11 fictional jobs I might want.


11. Grim Reaper
(Dead Like Me)

In the world of Dead Like Me, dead people who are not ready to pass on can be chosen to act as reapers which is way more peaceful than you would expect. With a simple touch, a reaper takes a person’s soul just before they die. Doing so makes sure that the person feels no pain when they die which helps with their transition to the next step. One of the cool things would be that I would suddenly be in a peer group that included a mish mash of different people from very different time periods. So, I could hang out with a young hippie from the sixties along with an ex-thug from the twenties. It would be a very rewarding job. Everybody has to die someday and, in the world of Dead Like Me, people are destined to die at a specific time and place. So, without any reason to think I could prevent death, I would want to make that experience as comfortable as possible. If possible, I would want to be assigned to the accidents and misfortunes department like the characters of Dead Like Me. The big downsides are that I would never see or talk to my friends and family again and I would have to die to get hired. Those are huge downsides.


10. Stargate Program Researcher
(From Stargate SG-1)

One of my favorite aspects of watching Stargate SG-1 is watching the team encounter new worlds with new cultures and civilizations. In the movie and on the television show, I admired Daniel Jackson because he was using years of study to help unravel ancient mysteries that had to do with both peaceful and hostile aliens. I would love to work with a lower priority SG team so I could get off Earth and explore the ruins of alien cultures that influenced cultures back on my home planet. Of course, things are bound to get dangerous with the Goa’uld and other hazards but that would be a risk that I could live with in order to do such important work. Of course, I do not know how well I would do in a military system. Daniel Jackson was afforded certain freedoms and exceptions that I feel I would not receive as Jackson was one of the first people to crack the stargate technology. I think I would learn to adapt but obviously, it would not be my first choice.


9. Auror
(From Harry Potter)

While I am much more interested in defending people than prosecuting people these days, I do recognize the importance of law enforcement. In the world of the Potterverse, Aurors are basically a magical version of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They use magic and their wits to track criminals who are abusing magical abilities or using forbidden spells. I feel like an Auror book or movie should be in the making. Fantastic Beasts broached the subject but it was only the B-plot but the theme in Harry Potter was that authority is not to be trusted. I think I would be a great investigator but I have already read too many mystery books and movies. The Aurors in America seemed pretty uniform but they were also given a lot of leeway in the way they investigated crimes. In England, I would have been a Ravenclaw but here in America, those qualities would carry over. I would know the spells I needed to defend myself and disable fleeing or combative criminals. It would be a dangerous job but I would think with proper training I could manage things. One might be afraid of a Voldemort or Grindelwald situation but those situations seem to be few and far between for the wizarding world.


8. Jurassic World Tour Guide
(Jurassic World)

Jurassic World exists 22 years after everything originally went to crap in the first movie/book. It is a pristine theme park where you can observe a lot of dinosaurs in realistic settings with little to no danger. These behemoths are kept at bay by state of the art technology and qualified professionals. The only reason that goes badly is the reason it always went badly: somebody gets greedy. If that had not happened, the park was an efficient machine that was more nature preserve than zoo although there was plenty of allusions to zoos and aquariums. There is also the issue that the things in the park are not real dinosaurs. They are featherless hybrid creations but if I was watching their T-Rex in action, I would not really care. The awesome power of these creatures would be so interesting to be around all the time. Watching people’s faces as they see one for the first time would be amazing. Learning everything I could about them so that I could explain to park visitors would be pretty cool too. Even working perfectly, there is plenty of risk working at Jurrasic World but I guess I would hope that the technology and safeguards would work.


7. Theme Park Writer
(From Westworld)

I love writing. I could not keep myself from writing if I tried. When I do not write, it just floods my imagination especially when I am trying to sleep. Westworld is a theme park where robots are programmed to carry out live action roleplay with human park guests. If the guest wants to be a good guy, there are bad guys to kill and people to save. If the guest wants to be a bad guy, there are good guys to kill and dastardly crimes to commit in a safe environment. There are technicians who work on the robots but there are also writers and designers who make the storylines. I would love to spend my time doing that. Taking the same characters and repurposing them for slightly different stories would be so much fun. Of course, there are the dangers of the robots gaining sentience but that would not really be my problem unless they came after me. There are some ethical concerns but really, as far as I would know, the robots are just fancy animatronics in cowboy clothes. It would give me a chance to write stories with good guys or bad guys in the lead role.


6. Watcher
(From Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

In the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, magic is real and has been unleashed in the world. There are demons, vampires and other nasty things that are more than ready to prey on human beings. Magical warrior women (and girls) known as “slayers” are tapped to fight these creatures. Of course, suddenly becoming a supernaturally strong is not enough to fight evil successfully. Knowledge is power and these slayers are backed up by “watchers” who teach the slayer about fighting the undead. Watchers are usually bookish types, the Q and M to a slayer’s Bond. Among other things, I have been the bookish type. I love to research things and read up on things to arm myself against the world. In this scenario, I would be using that passion to examine eldritch threats to the human populace. I would be helping to guide a young woman in combat, usually without having to do any of the fighting. The only problem I would have is that I would be largely helpless if my charge was killed. Of course, I could study magic to negate some of my relative physical weakness.


5. Space Cowboy/Smuggler
(From Firefly)

The crew of the Serenity spaceship takes a lot of less than savory jobs on the very outskirts of civilization. Of course, they take a lot of the riskier jobs because they do not want to run into the Alliance for two big reasons. If I was serving on a different ship, we would probably not be taking jobs that were quite that dangerous. Sure, there would still be rough jobs and there are always Reavers out there but there should not be dangerous black ops operatives or as many sketchy jobs. I am not inexperienced with firearms (which I would hope not to use). The job also seems like it would include a lot of downtime between jobs. When you pick up a load of cattle and have to fly it to another planet, there’s some rest time between destinations. Of course, there would always be the risk of being arrested by the Alliance but they are pretty corrupt. It would only be the worst offenses that we could not pay our way out of.


4. Mystery Shack Employee
(From Gravity Falls)

Gravity Falls is a little town in Oregon where strange things are happening. There is also an extradimensional tear and a lot to do with what appear to be Old Ones. Did I mention that this is an all ages show? The show follows a brother and sister who are twins who are staying with their Grunkle Stan for the summer. Stan owns and operates a tourist trap called the Mystery Shack which is kind of a museum of the weird. Some of the exhibits are real but most of them are not. Every day would be an exercise in both creating art projects and writing imaginary lore about supernatural creatures. I would have to keep customers safe from the real supernatural creatures and objects in town but that would be fun. Reading the journals would be all I did during lulls when I was not selling cheap trinkets to visitors. The residents of Gravity Falls are pretty dumb but are also kindhearted so it would be a pretty pleasant place to live.


3. Dal Riata Bartender
(From Lost Girl)

I have worked in the service industry before although it was only for a few months as a summer job just before college. It was often a long day of working on your feet with only the hope of enough pay to handle your commitments. However, most people were nice enough and those who were not eventually left and you usually did not need to deal with them again for a while if ever. The people watching was very interesting as I saw tables with all sorts of compositions. The regulars were often the nicest people I could meet and I also felt supremely satisfied at the end of a good day’s work. The Dal Riata is a bar exclusively for faekind in the world of Lost Girl. It is a way station where those with faerie blood can stop in and rest and relax without having to hide what they are. If you think that faeries are all glitter and sparkles, you would be wrong. Faekind is often incredibly dangerous even with powers meant to be beneficial to humankind. However, the reason I would want this job is because the Dal Riata is basically Switzerland. It is the one zone in town where fighting amongst the Dark and the Light is forbidden. So, I would get to meet all sorts of interesting creatures while being protected by an ancient truce. Of course, that would mean I would have powers of my own but that is just an additional bonus.


2. Muppet Crewmember
(From the Muppet Show)

If you look back far enough in this blog, you will know that I used to work in professional theater. I still have an undying love for the theater even if I have moved on professionally. The atmosphere backstage is controlled craziness. It may look crazy but everybody knows where they are supposed to be and they have practiced every minute over and over. Of course, the Muppet Show is more of a vaudeville show which has more elements of improvisation and chaos. The show almost never goes as planned except when it does. While there are definitely a lot of interruptions, huge expensive-looking musical numbers often go off without a hitch. In addition, the show continues to book hugely popular human celebrities even with a reputation for those guests getting abused. We do not see a lot of crewmembers beyond Scooter, Gladys and Kermit as many performers double as crewmembers and vice versa. However, I would love to be a crewmember on The Muppet Show. First, I would be a muppet which means I would be nigh impossible to kill. Second, I would get to work with really cool celebrities and my coworkers would be absolutely insane in the best ways.


1. Librarian
(From The Librarians)

Having recently watched The Librarians, I was totally jazzed about the main characters of the show. That is actually the show that gave me the idea for this list. A couple years ago, as I was spending days putting up campaign signs, I was told that my great memory for details especially of literature and film would serve me well in a new profession. I briefly considered studying to become a librarian. Of course, this show is about Librarians who travel the world and collect magical artifacts and save the day. They do so by using research and intelligence, two things I love to use. To be in the field and put the details of legend, mathematics and art history to practical use would be amazingly fun. Of course, every adventure has the possibility of incredible danger but I would have the satisfaction of knowing that I am saving the world on the regular. Also, I get to hang out with Santa Claus and see and experience the wonder of magic.

Media Update 9/24/2015

September 24, 2015


A Night at the Museum 2

At one point Ben Stiller was certainly a big thing in Hollywood. His star has cooled as of late but I remember a time when it felt like he was in everything. A lot of it sucked but some of it was decent. He also helped introduce us to a lot of quality actors and comedy writers. I remember seeing A Night at the Museum and being charmed by it. It mostly involved Ben Stiller being exasperated and sarcastic while dealing with exhibits coming to life after dark in a museum in New York City. It allowed them to cast big name actors as historical figures. The movie was funny enough where a guy rises to the occasion and saves the day against seemingly impossible odds. In the sequel, they up the ante by having the whole Smithsonian come alive. From ten minutes in until the end, the movie races along to solve a conflict. However, the pacing is really weird. At multiple points in the movie there is a deadline and the characters treat this as urgent until they need to stop and do a comedy bit. As the movie goes on, the stops and starts get a little annoying. However, most of it is pretty good and anything that includes Amy Adams and Robin Williams can’t be too bad. Although, points off for another cartoonish Hank Azaria villain. If you’ve got a lazy Sunday afternoon, give it a try but otherwise you can give it a pass.

 


The Muppets (2015 ABC Show)

I was a huge fan of reruns of the Muppet Show and I loved a lot of the old Muppets movies and liked some of the others. I actually loved Muppets Tonight, especially the appearances of Garth Brooks and Penn and Teller. When The Muppets (2011) came out, I loved it instantly. It felt like they had taken the old, zany joy of the show and brought it into the new century. It was what stuff like Muppet Wizard of Oz failed to do. Muppets Most Wanted was good but not as good as The Muppets but still definitely good. Then I heard that people were boycotting the new show because it was “lewd”. It was time to definitely check it out. The show follows the Muppets backstage at a fictional show and in their personal lives. It’s shot documentary style which I guess is similar to The Office even though I never really watched that show. It feels more like 30 Rock actually. The show is good. It made me laugh out loud which is exactly what I wanted from it. I’m also interested to see the Muppets have a plot beyond the running time of a movie too. I got oddly invested in these puppets social lives mostly because the people behind the Muppets have always been really good at imbuing the characters with life. I’d recommend you check it out.

 


Gotham

I can’t remember if I’ve spoken about Gotham before or not. I know I have spoken about how I saw Batman (1989) at age 7 and it most likely altered what I liked for the rest of my life. I will be a lifetime fan of Batman even if they stop producing Batman stuff at some point. I’ve spoken about all the great Batman stuff I’ve seen and consumed. With all that said, it was a no-brainer that I would check out Gotham. I have to admit I was a little skeptical of a Batman show set before Batman. The show primarily follows Jim Gordon and Harvey Bullock trying to solve crimes in Gotham City. The show also follows Bruce Wayne trying to find out who killed his parents as he didn’t get a good look at them in that alleyway. There is a third storyline that follows organized crime in Gotham. The breakout character is that of The Penguin, a young man who is slowly climbing up in the city. The acting is really good. Donal Logue (Bullock) and Robin Lord Taylor (Penguin) are definitely the standout actors but kudos to every single person I’ve seen on the show. The writers sprinkle a lot of fun stuff for the die hard fans while also taking it in a new direction that pretty much everyone can enjoy. Check it out.

 

Awesome Links:
You Made A Dinosaur, Morty!
Bananacres
Dredd Savage: Igcognito
Tupperware Remix Party – Take On Me
Dokken – Dream Warriors

 

Updates:
– More Halloween is in place. I must consume more Halloween.
– I saw the new Crimson Peak trailer. I will consume this also.
– I’m saddened that both Silent Hills and Pacific Rim 2 are canceled. Poor Guillermo.
– Youtube’s new Gaming section is brilliant and providing great new livestreams
– Batman v. Superman will probably be the first Batman thing I don’t see

Supernatural Televison 2

October 30, 2014

Here are couple more supernatural shows that I was able to dig up and sample.  Now that I mention the word “Supernatural” yes I realize that that show exists.  It is really good but my experiment here was to watch some stuff that was new to me.  That is why I’m not talking about Buffy, Angel, Supernatural, Charmed and a whole whost of good supernatural/creepy television shows.  I mean I could go on and on about how much I liked the Mockingbird Lane pilot but I’ll spare you guys that for now.  Onward.

Penny Dreadful (2 Episodes in)

I am an avid reader.  I have been a big reader since I was really young and some of the books I remember enjoying during summer reading were the classic horror novels.  I ripped through books like Dracula, Frankenstein, The Invisible Man and the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  So imagine my excitement when they combined all those sorts of horror stories and added a dash of history of the day to make the story feel a little more authentic.  I still don’t know what to make of this show but it really is captivating and spooky and I really like it.  I can’t fully understand the plot yet but a lot of it looks like it is supposed to be a mystery so they are still pussyfooting around certain things.  It’s an incredibly powerful show with plenty of gore and foreboding so check it out.  Come for the Billie Piper and stay for the naked Frankenstein Monster.

The Strain (1 Episode in)

Holy shit.  This show scared the ever loving bejeezus out of me several times.  Leave it to Guillermo Del Toro to creep me out to a level where I kind of needed a hug.  Instead I had to settle for episodes of the Muppet Show (also a cure for the Woman in Black).  The show weaves together a lot of common fears like: harm to children, worms, disease, blood and the darkness  into a very scary tapestry.  We get Sean Astin who is always a good thing to happen to us.  We also get David Bradley who has acted in a lot but most recently as William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time.  I don’t recognize anybody else but that’s not a bad thing.  It seems to have a solid cast who will have to deal with a supernatural/biological threat or something.  I definitely recommend watching it but with the lights on.

Sleepy Hollow (3 Episodes in)

I have found my new show to binge watch.  I started to watch this show and did not want to stop watching it until all of the episodes were behind me.  Still, I wanted to sample more shows and movies at the same time so I was torn.  There’s plenty of time to watch the rest of it anyway.  The show follows a version of Ichabod Crane who kills the Hessian mercenary but that mercenary also turns out to be the first horeseman of the Apocalypse.  Thrust into the modern age, the two of them and a police detective are locked in a fight for the fate of the world.  Even with all that the show feels very personal and vaguely true to the original Irving story. I’m not a stickler. I definitely recommend this one.


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