TV show

Review of “Very CatDog Christmas” (1999)

Warning: Contains spoilers***

Cat and Dog are preparing for Christmas and go to the mall, where various animal children stand in line to sit on Santa’s lap. Santa is also the only human in that universe. Not long after, a VIP’s spoiled daughter, Rancine, whines about how she wants the CatDog. Dog convinces Cat to take the offer, but he doesn’t agree with it. So, Rancine cries while on Santa’s lap.

Shortly after, Santa is furious and cancels Christmas, where his sleigh erases every holiday element and decoration. Even CatDog’s Christmas tree is gone, so they get creative and try making their own. Then they realize that spending time with loved ones matters more for Christmas than the stuff.

This special interested me a bit when one of my friends wanted to play it at my 24th birthday party a few years ago. Like my guests, I found it odd that Santa was the only person in an animal world. I also found Rancine unlikable, not to mention that her dress is so short and her underwear shows. That’s not exactly age-appropriate for someone as old as her.

But the strengths include the morals and the engaging element of a childhood show. I think it’s a great special that everyone can enjoy. I would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

Writing

When it’s Okay to Turn Off Your Inner Editor

As people learn the writing craft, they discover how to word their sentences, what types of words and phrases to avoid, and what sentences engage readers the best.

Because of that, many folks will strive for perfection. That is one of the causes of writer’s block. There are times where you need to worry about producing the best work possible and when you can turn off that inner editor or critic.

I, myself, have been struggling to write while on lockdown for a couple of months. I discussed this issue on a forum, and one person suggested to just write more sloppily and polish it during the editing stage. I tried it and it really worked.

Aside from when you are working on a story and you develop writer’s block, there are other times you shouldn’t let an internal critic stop you. One example is free-writing. By that, I mean writing any thought that comes to your mind, no matter how silly it might seem. It’s a great way to revive your creative juices. For the most part, it has worked for me and I have written more easily after free-writing.

Another technique is to put your work aside and find other hobbies. Unless you are working toward a strict deadline, you can take a break from your story or whatever you’re working on. You are in control of telling your inner critic that you need a break from your writing. As you focus on other activities, the internal editor will be suppressed until you feel ready to return to your work.

In fact, taking occasional breaks from your writing may help you improve your works-in-progress. You come back as if you had a fresh new pair of eyes. Then you can see more room for improvement.

Obviously, the inner critic matters at times, such as when you submit your work for editing or publishing. But if you struggle to write as best as you can, turn off the imaginary editor and write in whatever way feels natural at that moment.

movie

This is “The Greatest Showman” Review (2017)

The story begins with a musical number sung by P.T. Barnum, and then goes back to when he was a kid. He meets a girl named Charity, falls in love with her, and she eventually becomes his wife.

Years later, P.T. and Charity have two daughters, Helen and Caroline. P.T. takes his family to a museum of stuffed figures, and then decides to open up a circus. He asks for unique people to perform in his circus. His fame picks up from there.

Despite the mixed reviews, I thought this movie was pretty good. The musical numbers were amazing, especially Zac Efron’s (who played Philip the junior assistant) voice having a little hint of Troy Bolton from “High School Musical”, even though he sounds nothing like Troy. Other strengths include the importance of family, but especially the acceptance of different people. I was impressed how P.T. longed for unique people, such as an exceptionally tall man as well as a very short guy, and a bearded lady. Although those people were often misunderstood by others, I admired how P.T. taught them to accept who they were and not to be ashamed of that.

Although this film had a good number of perks, there were parts that didn’t please me. One includes Charity’s father slapping P.T. when he was a child. Yes, it was a historical period, and I don’t think that would be okay today. Still. Another oddity was how Charity remained P.T.’s love interest from her youth to her adulthood. Maybe this was common in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. But it hardly ever happens these days. Most people lose touch with their childhood and high school friends by their 20’s.

Anyway, back to the review. When one of P.T.’s daughters (I can’t remember whom) performs ballet, I must admit that their recital was pretty fancy and unusual. After the show, the people are mingling in a rotunda and servants are passing around alcohol. But maybe that was typical then.

The movie also had many twists and turns. You’d have to see it to learn what they were.

I would give “The Greatest Showman” 4 out of 5 stars. Something about it wasn’t fully engaging. But it still kept my attention for the most part.  

fiction

Review of the Book, “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman

Warning: contains spoilers***

I don’t usually review picture books. But since I watched a video of my friend reading “Are You My Mother” and really enjoyed it, both the clip and the story, I will review the content. This book was actually a favorite of mine when I was little. Anyway, let me start.

A mother bird is sitting on her egg and figures that her baby will need food. So, she flies away to fetch something for her young. Then the baby bird hatches and leaves the nest to find his mom. He asks different creatures and even a boat and construction machine, which he calls a snort due to its sound, if they are his mother. Eventually, he finds his real mom and shares a bonding moment with her.

The story was nice and fun. I especially found it cute when the baby bird called that construction machine a snort. I told that to my friend and he found that funny. I also agree with him about how the baby bird doesn’t seem to understand genetics. Lol.

That being said, one flaw that stands out to me is that the mother bird wears a bonnet, even though she’s a wild animal. Unless she was released into the wild by a human and already had the bonnet on, it’s quite odd and unbelievable. Even if she found it, how would she put it on when she doesn’t have apposable thumbs?

Although this is the main purpose of the plot, I found it irresponsible for the mother bird to leave the nest and her baby alone. He even passed his mother when looking for her and didn’t know that was her. But maybe it is scientifically accurate for a mother bird to leave the nest and young to find it food before it hatches.

The story was still great. I think pretty much everyone has read it in his or her childhood. I would rate “Are You My Mother” 5 out of 5 stars.

movie

It’s Going to be a Good Evaluation of “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” (2004)

Warning: contains spoilers***

I first saw this film in a car ride with Girl Scouts many years ago. Then I watched it again recently and picked up more of the story, not to mention that being older also likely played a part. Anyway, let me start the evaluation.

A bunch of pirates have tickets to “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie”, sing the theme song, and enter the movie theater, which is close to a boating dock (pretty odd). Then it focuses on Bikini Bottom—only for there to be a police investigation due to a customer not having cheese in his crabby patty. SpongeBob saves the day by placing cheese in the guy’s sandwich and is cheered for as the Krusty Krab manager… but it was all just a dream. Nevertheless, SpongeBob looks forward to earning his position as the new manager. However, the prize is given to Squidward, and poor SpongeBob is heartbroken. Meanwhile, Plankton envies Mr. Krabs’ expanding business and steals not only the secret formula to the crabby patties, but also King Neptune’s crown. King Neptune angrily blames Mr. Krabs for it and freezes him with his rake. It is up to SpongeBob and Patrick to save everything.

As usual, the humor succeeded very much and I laughed my brains out throughout the film. I especially found the part where Patrick and SpongeBob ate so much ice cream and got drunk because of it. Other strengths include the songs, like “Now That We’re Men” and “Goofy Goober”, both the original and rock versions, and much more.

Speaking of rock, it’s unknown how SpongeBob got a supernatural guitar and costume when he freed the Bikini Bottom citizen being Plankton’s controlled slaves. I felt it was too much of a deus ex machina moment, which is when something saves the day with little to no believability and merely for plot convenience, just out of nothing. Other deus ex machina moments include David Hasselhoff taking SpongeBob and Patrick back to the ocean (and being a perfectly good swimmer and literal human motor) and when the water revived all the dead sea creatures in Shell City. Unless the sprinklers had magic in them, it was pretty unbelievable. Someone on YouTube made a good point. Except for Patrick and SpongeBob, who had just recently and briefly drowned in the air, pouring water onto dead sea animals would not bring them back to life. But maybe the water was enchanted, since SpongeBob and Patrick’s tears traveled to a nearby outlet and caused the emergency sprinklers to come on.

While focusing on the emergency, King Neptune’s daughter, Princess Mindy, told SpongeBob and Patrick that they were the only ones left who could receive the crown since all the other residents in Bikini Bottom have become Plankton’s slaves with their bucket helmets. However, King Neptune and his servants (at least one of them), were not under the curse of Plankton’s helmets. So, they technically could have contributed somehow. But King Neptune was too insecure about his baldness (or what he called thinning) to go out.

Which reminds me—it was not nice for the Bikini Bottom residents to freak out over King Neptune’s baldness. Not just because he was the ruler, but it’s also rude in general. You never make fun of or freak out over somebody being bald. What else is ironic is that the Bikini Bottom dwellers are sea creatures (except for Sandy), and none of them have hair. So, that would put them in the same boat as King Neptune, even if he abused his power. Mindy was right to ask him to use kindness and compassion. Like the YouTuber, Brooks Show, I have to agree that Mindy is a bit like Velma from “Scooby Doo”. Part of her also reminds me of Ariel and King Neptune as Triton in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” Their beliefs and relationship are quite similar.

Another part I would like to comment on include the cyclops, who is really just some guy in a diving suit. But I think he is an extreme psychopath. Brooks Show also made another good point that he didn’t have to be in that big suit once on land. When Patrick’s Goofy Goober underwear showed after SpongeBob believed that the two were just kids, Patrick ran away in tears without pulling his shorts up. I whispered, “Pull your pants up,” and then SpongeBob did the same. Funny.

So, that’s it for my evaluation. I would rate “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” 5 out of 5 stars. Do you agree?

movie

Let’s Get Kicking with This Critique of “Early Man” (2018)

I’ve always wanted to watch this film as the trailer engaged and cracked me up a lot. Then I saw it recently on my computer and really enjoyed it.

So, without further ado, let the critique begin. I’ll start off with the strengths.

1: The humor

I cannot keep track of how many times I’ve laughed throughout this movie. It was made by the same company who did “Wallace and Gromit”. The characters were fantastic, especially the main one, Dug, who was voiced by Eddie Redmayne. You probably know him from the “Fantastic Beasts” franchise.

Some of the funny moments include the giant duck, the rabbit, and the characters’ actions.

2: The rabbit

I can’t skip this one. The rabbit acted silly and excited, even when over a bonfire. It did a hokey pokey move while tied to a stick. Even though it’s a minor character, I still enjoyed the bunny.

3: The twists and turns

This film brought a lot of surprises. One example includes the giant duck. A not-so-bright member of the cave people tribe sees a duck from a distance, wants it for food, and hits it with a rock. Little does he and the others know that it’s a giant duck, which becomes of use later. I won’t say how.

Another surprise was when Dug is lost in the civilized village near a stadium, he sees an attractive girl named Goona, who ends up helping him and his tribe win the soccer (or football outside the US) tournament. I predicted Dug and Goona would become a romantic couple. Well, barely at most, which I admire since that feels a little cliched to me.

4: The importance of teamwork

When the cave people have to win a soccer game with the civilization nearby, after being banished from their valley, someone (I don’t remember whom) points out that what they possess is togetherness. I considered that a great moral.

Now onto the parts that I felt could have been better:

1: Chief is only in his early 30’s—about 32

What?! He looks so much older. I thought he was no younger than 60 at first. I get that the creators probably wanted to emphasize on how cave people didn’t live very long. I’m not sure if it’s prehistorically accurate for early 30’s to be elderly with old age signs during the stone age. But for today’s standards, it’s way too awkward.

2: Why are there cave people during the time the dinosaurs went extinct?

This, for sure, is prehistorically inaccurate. Humans didn’t come about until millions and millions of years after the dinosaurs perished. In the movie, though, unlike the tribe Dug belongs to, the humans during the dinosaur times had no speech. Still—I hope this doesn’t mislead children into thinking cave people and dinosaurs co-existed together. Nope.

3: Why does Dug’s pet pig sound like a dog?

He howls and barks, but never oinks. Unless that’s prehistorically accurate, it looks kind of sloppy. That being said, he and Dug do share a sweet bond.

4: Some hidden (or not-so-hidden) adult content

This movie is rated PG and is supposed to be family-friendly. However, there were a few moments that shocked me, such as when Dug slipped into the shower under a naked man’s legs. Of course, they don’t show anything that would make parents forbid their kids to watch it. Still, as an adult, I was pretty astounded by this. Hopefully, it glossed over children’s heads. There were a few other subtle, but mature moments as well.

Regardless of the even amount of strengths and weaknesses, I would rate this film 5 out of 5 stars. The humor is what really drew me in. And I would still gladly recommend it to everyone of all ages.

art

Collaborative Art Project: Medallions with Abstract Designs

In order to get through the pandemic without highly stressing out over it, my friend, “Veronica” (not her real name) and I are collaborating on different art projects. The first one we worked on were medallions with abstract designs. This was inspired by an assignment I did in college. In an art class (I was a fine arts major), we had to do a large series of small drawings. So, my professor suggested medallions for me.

When the pandemic happened and I was (and still am, big time) tired of not being in control of my life, my mom sent me an article, where it said that helping another and vise versa can improve your feelings. After thinking about ideas, this is what I came up with: collaborative art projects.

Because I was an art major in college, I had to learn a lot of vocabulary related to it, as well as how to critique forms of creative works. That is what I applied to when helping Veronica.

I drew a few abstract designs inside circles, and then finalized on this one to color.

The markers were old, so they were kind of faded. However, it also allowed me some room for dimension with the various (and unintentional) tints and tones. I also picked colors that I felt would go well with one another.

The same happened with Veronica. She also colored in the shapes that she felt went together well. The shapes reminded her of different objects, too. So, she picked hues based on what the elements looked like to her.

Another thing she did that I also used to do a lot was turn the paper when drawing and coloring. She said that she learned the technique in school. Below is her medallion.

She colored one section all maroon, which is when I taught her the idea of filling in each shape between the lines a different color. I also informed her about something the same professor told me about one of my projects later in my college career. If it were copied into a black and white replica, it would be all the same tone. I used it as a compliment on how Veronica paired the hues.

The message you can take home is that you can help someone close to you with anything that you’re strong in and that the other person may benefit from. Hopefully, this will work for my friend and I, as well as pretty much everybody.

fiction, movie

Harry Potter Mystery: Are Wizards Not as Concerned About Safety as Muggles?

One thing I noticed about the “Harry Potter” series is that wizards and witches don’t seem as concerned about safety as muggles do. It is constantly said that Hogwarts is one of the safest wizarding schools in the world.

However, like many, I kind of have to disagree. People have pointed out the numerous dangers Hogwarts has. There is the forbidden forest with deadly creatures that Harry and his friends are forced to go into for detention in their first year. There are also dangerous beasts in the school, such as the basilisk and the three-headed dog, a whomping willow on the grounds, and even the moving staircases. As fun as Quidditch looks, it’s also perilous. And let’s not leave out the Tri-wizard tournament. Yes, they had an age restriction. But even when Harry, who was underage at the time, was somehow entered (he didn’t do it), he still had to participate.

Regardless of the dangerous activities students can do without permission from their parents or guardians, they do need parental consent to visit the village, Hogsmeade, just a short, and safe walk from the school. People have pointed out how illogical that was. But that’s a different story.

Back to this. Although I don’t remember if it was stated in the book, in the “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” movie adaptation, the first-years don’t wear life jackets when on the boats to Hogwarts. The school also has the second task for the Tri-wizard tournament in the black lake, in February. Are wizards immune to hypothermia? Even if charms that prevent it exist (I’m not sure) and they’re in the black lake, there certainly couldn’t have been any in the pond Harry jumped into in “The Deathly Hallows.” And he took his clothes off, but came out okay.

It’s not just Hogwarts that doesn’t seem to be as concerned about safety as muggle schools or society would. In “The Chamber of Secrets”, Harry almost falls out of Ron’s dad’s flying car. If he just had his seatbelt on, that wouldn’t have happened. Plus, he was raised by muggles—the terrible Dursleys. As much as they despised him, they must have made him wear seatbelts in their car.

So, there you have it.

movie

That’s How You Know This “Enchanted” (2007) Critique Will Teach You My Thoughts on it

Warning: contains spoilers***

The story starts off with a princess named Giselle who longs to meet her prince, which is a usual fairytale. However, the evil sorceress and queen, called Narissa, forces Giselle into a place where there are no happily-ever-afters. That is real-life New York City. Giselle looks for help, and is found by a man named Robert. He lets her stay with him.

Now onto the moments I admired.

1: The musical numbers

The songs were fantastic. I enjoyed the “That’s How You Know” scene, especially the Calypso drumming moments done by the park musicians. The other numbers, such as the one at the beginning that Giselle sings, were also good.

2: The Plot Twists

One notable example is where Giselle rescues Robert from the Queen Narissa after she turns into a dragon. I appreciate fairytale twists straying away from the traditional approaches. In this instance, the princess rescues the male.

Another interesting twist is the ending. Although I didn’t think Nancy was so bad, Robert’s 6-year-old daughter, Morgan, doesn’t really like her. She enjoys Giselle more. So, Giselle ends up marrying Robert and Nancy weds the prince instead. I particularly loved when Nancy’s phone went off in the cartoon fairytale world and she acknowledged how she somehow received signal.

3: Giselle’s development

She starts off as a stereotypical Disney princess who acts very strangely, but grows into a different person when in the real-life world. She learns about dating, how love takes time, and develops feelings for Robert rather than the prince, whom she originally wanted to marry.

And now onto the parts that could have been improved.

1: Robert’s reactions to Giselle’s behavior in his apartment

Giselle does some pretty naughty things in Robert’s apartment, such as make clothes from his curtains, sing to call animals to do the chores, yet end up with bugs, rats, and pigeons, and more. But Robert’s reactions were too casual and relaxed. He would have kicked her out and reported her to law enforcement in real life. However, plot convenience mattered more.

2: Why did Giselle’s hair have to be cut?

When Giselle first appears, her hair flows to the waist and hip area. But when she goes to a ball near the end, it’s mid-back length. Yes, Morgan teaches her about neatness and makeovers. However, I don’t see the significance of Giselle’s haircut and why it needed to happen. I can’t imagine that it would have messed up the storyline had she not cut her locks.

I hope you enjoyed this critique. I would rate “Enchanted” 4.5 out of 5 stars.

fiction

Harry Potter Mystery: How Has Not One Muggle Felt Sorry for Harry When Growing Up with Abuse from The Dursleys?

For 10 years, from right after his parents’ deaths and until his 11th birthday, apparently nobody was nice to Harry, not even outside his home. His abuse was looked over at school and he was always bullied. Even the teachers didn’t seem to do a thing about it. I know Harry was born in 1980, so much of his childhood before Hogwarts was in the 80’s. Still, I have trouble finding something like this believable.

Yet, there were no new students or staff at Harry’s primary school who were horrified. No teacher wanted to help him with his stress or stand up for him when others bullied him. No student wanted to do the same.

Also, most people, especially in an area where Harry lived, don’t see the same people every single day. There would have been lots of visitors, new residents, deliverers, vendors, and many other people not native to Little Whinging or Privet Drive. And it seems that nobody has been appalled by how the Dursleys treated Harry. Not one individual has reacted with, “Oh, that’s terrible! Aw, that poor kid. I wish I could help him. I feel so bad for him.”

Unless there are charms that keep muggles from feeling sorry for Harry, I don’t find something like this too credible. There has to be kinder, empathetic, and even highly-sensitive people in the “Harry Potter” universe. Many muggles would have been upset to hear about how the Dursleys mistreated Harry. They would have felt sorry for him and even disgusted with how Dudley got spoiled. Even if that type of treatment wouldn’t have gotten the Dursleys in trouble with authorities at the time (not just because Dumbledore might have used magic to prevent that since Harry needed to be with a blood relative to stay safe from Voldemort, but also that the laws about child safety were different then, according to my research), Harry would have encountered at least a few muggles who said that they felt terrible for him and showed their sympathy to him. More would have said how sorry they felt for Harry in front of him, whether directly at him or to somebody else. A lot more would have said it out loud, but either not in Harry’s sight or would have thought it in their heads. At least a couple of muggles would have gone to the Dursleys and asked if everything was okay, and if they found out the truth, they would have felt horrible for Harry and showed it.

Lots and lots of people would have also ruminated and obsessed over how Harry got treated by his relatives, day in and day out. They might have even been down about it to others, talked about it a lot, and tried to do something about it, even if they couldn’t.

If the series were truly believable, Harry would have met or heard countless amounts of people who didn’t like how his relatives treated him and said how terrible it must’ve been for him, and how bad they felt for him. Maybe Harry would have even had a kind mentor nearby who wanted to check on him and be nice to him. Even in the 1980’s, before the Internet, the fact that Harry was abused would have made it to others, and a good number of them would have been horrified.