movie

It’s a Critique for “The Santa Clause” (1994)

Warning: contains spoilers***

Tim Allen plays a guy named Scott Calvin who has a son named Charlie. Charlie firmly believes in Santa Claus, but his dad is a bit rebellious against it. After an incident occurs, Scott Calvin has to become the next Santa Claus.

I haven’t seen this movie for years until recently. So, I picked up some new details. Here are the elements that pleased me and those I felt could’ve been better.

1: The plot

The storyline is similar to that of “Evan Almighty”, which was released several years later in 2007. The way Charlie and his dad got along progressed well. At first, Scott would be a bit tough on Charlie and then their relationship improved over time. The scene where Charlie is sad when his dad has to leave him as he has become Santa Claus was very emotional. Another element that felt believable to me was when Charlie’s mother and her boyfriend, Neil, were suspicious of Scott Calvin when Charlie was telling stories about him being at the North Pole. Scott Calvin was suspended from being with Charlie.

2: The humor

The movie was very funny. It had great dialogue and the characters’ decisions often cracked me up. I laughed throughout much of the film.

Now onto the parts that could have been portrayed better.

1: The characters’ reactions at times

When Santa fell off the roof, he died and somehow vanished. Charlie and his dad didn’t react strongly enough nor believably. In fact, they accepted it too much like it was no big deal. Um…Santa lost his life. And no one seemed stressed out about it.

Other examples of weak reactions include when a kid in Charlie’s class at school called a girl stupid for asking Scott Calvin if he made the toys. And the teacher was way to relaxed and gentle about it. She even smiled. A truly responsible and believable teacher would’ve gotten angry and said something like, “Excuse me, we don’t call others stupid. That’s not nice. Apologize to (whatever the person’s name is).”

And when Calvin gained weight as he was turning into Santa Claus, one of his co-workers commented on it and Scott seemed to casually accept that. Hey, other guy, that’s not your business that Scott was gaining weight. He should’ve known better.

2: Why do the elves look like human children?

Not only do the characters in the movie mistake the elves as kids, but so did I when I first saw it many years ago. The elves are apparently more than a thousand years old. So, why do they look like human children? Bernard, the elf who was involved with Charlie and his father, resembles a teenager.

I am pretty sure elves aren’t supposed to look like human kids. I think the portrayal of them in the movie, “Elf”, that came out years after in 2003, is far more accurate.

3: The bizarre special effects

Okay, okay—I get it. This was released in the 90’s, when special effects were still in their infancy. But seeing the shape changes for plot convenience, such as when Scott’s form alters so that he can fit inside a pipe, looked weird to me. It reminded me of something that would have occurred in a kiddie show, such as “Barney and Friends”. But whatever.

Regardless of the flaws, I enjoyed “The Santa Clause” very much. I would rate it 5 out of 5 stars.

TV show

Hold on Your Diapees, Babies, We’re Going to Analyze “Rugrats”

Anyone born in the 90’s probably watched, or at least heard of “Rugrats”, the show about talking-babies. Well—they also speak to each other, but never the adults, except Angelica and her peers, Susie and Edwin, and possibly a third kid. I can’t recall.

Anyway, there are many memorable moments. One is where Chuckie dreamt about what life would be like if he was never born and he had a guardian angel, which he called a garden angel. It was pretty sad since Tommy was stuck in the garage, his parents were slaves to Angelica, who was obese and would force Dee and Stew, the parents and aunt and uncle to her, to bring her cookies.

Speaking of which, there is a Passover episode, since one family is Jewish, and Angelica is told that she couldn’t have cookies during that time since bread isn’t allowed during that holiday range. Angelica pointed out that cookies didn’t have bread in them, but then learned and understood why she couldn’t eat them during Passover. Regardless of her lesson, that’s pretty mature for a 3-year-old. Most real children that age would unlikely understand that and throw a tantrum to get what they want.

In the episode where Angelica gets in trouble for playing in her dad’s study, she sneaks out, takes her little jeep around town, and then orders the babies to get her some cookies. Sadly, the box is too high for them to reach. So, instead, they give her dog biscuits, which she enjoys until she finds out what they are.

There was also an episode where the family goes somewhere where Reptar the dinosaur is, but the group goes to Goober, another character. What I found cruel, and would definitely result in penalties in real life, is that some staff grabbed Tommy’s Reptar toy from him, made him cry, and gave him a Goober doll instead. Not cool.

Another aspect that would usually be too mature in a children’s show is death. Chuckie had lost his mother before the events of the series began. In “Rugrats in Paris”, while on the plane, Chuckie looks out the window and envisions memories of his mother. Now here comes some spoilers***

Chuckie’s dad marries Kira, who becomes Chuckie’s stepmother, and Kimmy becomes his stepsister. From that point on, the intro theme updates and includes Kira and Kimmy. Then there’s the sequel show, “All Grown Up”, where the babies are older and in junior high. I’ve seen a little bit of it, but not enough to discuss my thoughts on the show.

Speaking of older, there was an episode about Tommy liking to be naked and Phil and Lil undressed themselves. Now that I’m older, I realize that that’s too inappropriate for kids.

Anyhow, I could go on and on about more memorable moments. But I’ve seen so many episodes, as well the specials and movies, that I feel it’s too much to list here.

While I watched “Rugrats” when I was younger, I have lost strong feelings about much of the premise and moments. However, the ones I discussed still stand out to me.

movie

It was “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and Won’t You Please Read My Review for this Movie (2019)?

Despite not watching the TV show as a child and not hearing about it till many years later, I saw this film with a bunch of friends and ended up liking it.

It starts with what probably was the opening to the TV program and introduced the latest Mr. Rogers, played by Tom Hanks. Mr. Rogers introduces different pictures and then focuses on a guy named Lloyd.

Lloyd has a wife called Andrea and a newborn named Gavin. They are going to attend a wedding. While there, Lloyd’s father says something unpleasing and Lloyd hurts him, which ends up becoming a fight involving a few other people. Lloyd ends up with a cut on his nose.

Lloyd’s editor assigns him to interview the children’s TV host, Mr. Rogers, and write a 400-word entry about it. But Lloyd doesn’t look forward to it. Nevertheless, he does it.

I was surprised by how the “Mr. Rogers” universe looked more like a toy universe instead of a real one. While I’m sure it was deliberate and meant to attract kids, to me, it appeared bizarre.

That being said, the show’s format was well-thought out and the lessons were great. Tom Hanks did an amazing job portraying Mr. Rogers, who happens to also be a distant relative of him. The real Fred Rogers would have been proud.

The characters were likable, but sometimes, I felt there were silent moments for a little too long as well as not enough emotional tension at times.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie and would rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

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I’m Out of the Unknown with this “Frozen 2” Review (2019)

The film begins with Anna and Elsa as little kids, around the ages they were when the first “Frozen” movie was released in 2013, but before Anna’s memories of Elsa’s magic were wiped. Their parents are telling them about an enchanted forest that was a place to visit, but then got hidden.

Many years go by; apparently three years have passed since the main “Frozen” film had ended. Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Kristoff, Sven, and everyone else in Arendelle is having a grand time. As the main characters play charades, Elsa hears a voice and eventually follows it. Arendelle ends up in trouble. Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf go with Elsa to the enchanted forest Anna and Elsa’s parents had told them about when they were small. They meet the natives there. Then things happen.

While I enjoyed the first “Frozen”, that one was more of a 4-star film for me as it wasn’t nearly as engaging as this one. Speaking of which, there are a few moments where the events from the first movie are being revealed. One is where Olaf acts out all the main parts in a funny way.

The characters have developed and changed as well, especially Kristoff. He is far friendlier and romance-worthy than in the previous movie, where he isn’t exactly the most favorable. There is a song he sings about separating from Anna, and I must admit, it sounds like a 90’s boy band song, such as one written by N-SYNC.

There are also a lot of twists and turns, some happy and some sad. I won’t spoil anything, though.

I would rate this sequel 5 out of 5 stars.

movie

It’s Anything but Ooky, “The Addams Family” Review (2019)

Warning: contains spoilers***

Morticia and Gomez are getting married, but the civilians are crashing their wedding as an angry mob. They move to a house on the top of a hill and have a Frankenstein-like servant.

Thirteen years later and the Addams couple has two children. Pugsley is being forced to train for a sword-fighting event he doesn’t seem to value and is pretty unprepared for. Wednesday is her usual grim self who tries to kill or hurt Pugsley.

But one of the family members discovers a commercial where a woman named Margaux Needler offers a service to renovate people’s houses in any way they like. Unfortunately, when the Addams family leaves their home and go out in public, everybody is afraid of them. Wednesday, however, befriends Margaux’s daughter, Parker, and attends school with her. Stakes raise from there.

I was surprised how short this film was. As a fiction writer myself, I was able to point out all the major plot points, which kind of made the duration predictable. Due to past movie-watching experiences, I kind of predicted that Margaux would turn out to be the villain.

One thing I found a bit strange was that the setting was changed to modern times, like this decade, despite how this was originally created in the mid-twentieth century. I understand the creators probably wanted to make this more relatable to young audiences today. But since it’s animated, they wouldn’t have needed to struggle with finding outdated technology as much as if this were live-action. I could be wrong, though.

That being said, there are many moments that I admire, such as when Wednesday brought the dead frogs in science class back to life. There was also a reference to “It” by Stephen King. One moment I found a bit strange was when Uncle Fester compared a certain woman’s breath to a baby’s diaper. I sure hope he meant a clean one.

Anyway, in spite of not being too familiar with the original “Addams Family” show, I enjoyed this just enough. Some of it wasn’t super engaging. Nevertheless, it was still, overall, a good watch. I’d rate this 4 out of 5 stars.

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It’s the Endgame of Avengers as We Know it (2019)

Twenty-three days have passed since Thanos wiped out the world’s population. The remaining Avengers get together to figure out how to fix the problem. The final idea is to go back in time to stop Thanos from succeeding.

The group tests the time machine until it works. They have to go to different years and different times. Of course, things go wrong while the people are in the past.

I found this film to be interesting, despite never being a huge Marvel Cinematic Universe fan. One scene I thought was funny was the one where the remaining people are testing the time machine and Scott, one of the guys, was their guinea pig. He became a child, old man, baby, and then returned to his actual age. It reminded me of that “Codename: Kids Next Door” episode where the delightful children had a special device that made one age forward or backwards.

It was three hours long. Although it was recommended that people not go to the bathroom during the movie, I actually had to. But I didn’t miss much.

Anyway, some scenes were amazing, some were intense, and a few were sad. Except for the time-machine experimenting moment, I didn’t get super-passionate about a lot of the story. And it’s probably because I’m not a big superhero movie fan.

I would rate this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars. I would still recommend it, though.

TV show

These are a Few of my Favorite “Bugs Bunny” Moments

As a child, I cared more for “Tom and Jerry” and used to laugh my brains out at that, which I can’t do anymore while viewing it. Anyway, I’m more into “Looney Toons” than “Tom and Jerry” now. That being said, I did watch some “Looney Toons” when I was a kid.

Anyway, here are my top favorite “Bugs Bunny” moments:

3: When Bugs is forced into an oven, but doesn’t suffer

Mac forces Bugs into an oven to roast him, but he comes out to gather more items such as water. Then he tries to fool Mac into thinking there’s a party to get him into the oven. Little does Bugs know that the party was real and he joins in with it.

2: The “Southern Bugs Bunny” scene

Mac calls Bugs a Yankee and lives like it’s still the mid-1800’s, when the civil war was happening. Bugs comes up in blackface (which I don’t like in general) and sings “Old Kentucky Home”. Shortly after, he sings “Yankee Doodle”. Despite the blackface moment, this clip was still great.

1: The “Hillbilly Hare” music video

It starts with a country singing scene on the TV in the cartoon. Bugs is even dressed in female attire while two bearded men are also dancing. Then Bugs unplugs the TV and plays his own song, where he tells the other guys to do silly, ridiculous things. And they listen, no matter how dumb or uncivil the instructions are. It was absolutely funny, but wouldn’t be humorous in real life. Nevertheless, this one is my favorite moment.

Do you have any favorite “Bugs Bunny” or “Looney Toons” moments?

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My “Cartoon Network” Analysis and Views on How it Evolved

If you were born in the early 90’s or before that, you probably remember these features of Cartoon Network, such as Cartoon, Cartoon Fridays, Cartoon Theater, Toonami, and possibly Toonheads Trivia. You may also recall when the logo spelled out the whole network name instead of just “CN”.

For me, Cartoon Network was at its golden days in the early 2000’s. It started in either 1991 or 1992 with old shows, like “The Flintstones”. When I watched Cartoon Network as a child, I would view shows such as “Dexter’s Laboratory”, “The PowerPuff Girls”, and “Johnny Bravo”. Some of my favorites also included “Ed, Edd, and Eddy” and “Tom and Jerry”.

Unfortunately, by the time I was finishing elementary school in 2004, the format and other details changed overnight. The logo became CN, the narrator for the channel was new, and there would be commercials after the shows’ opening themes and before the episodes began. There were also new shows that didn’t please me or others, especially the live-action shows. The channel also apparently got rid of Cartoon, Cartoon Fridays and replaced it with Hub-Hub Thursdays. Someone in a YouTube comment made a very good point when he or she said, “Kids stay up late on Fridays, not Thursdays.” Maybe it changed now—I don’t know.

Kids today probably appreciate and accept the shows and current format of Cartoon Network. I have no clue what it’s like now as I no longer watch live TV, thanks to having online video sources. However, I still prefer 2001-2004 Cartoon Network. Many people like the original classic version, too. But now I’ve moved on. Nevertheless, I’ll always consider the early Cartoon Network days the best.

movie

I’m Lonely in the Minority of Certain Movie Tastes

Some people like being in the minority of liking certain movies or other forms of entertainment. However, I don’t. I never did and probably never will.

One time, I came across an article with how to cope enjoying something most people hate or don’t like. I related so much to it, it was as if that author read my mind. He or she discussed how it could feel when you absolutely love something and look for others’ opinions, but find mostly negative reactions and how it hurts you.

In fact, many movies I saw in the theaters as a child did very poorly. I was unaware of their unsatisfactory performances then. I didn’t find out until recently. However, I drifted apart from those films, and, with a few exceptions, no longer have strong feelings about them. Some I just liked, but didn’t become obsessed with. So, it doesn’t bother me how badly those movies did.

The exceptions of unpopular movies I absolutely enjoyed and wished were more popular are “Shrek the Third”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (the 2005 one), and “Teacher’s Pet” (the 2004 cartoon). Well, maybe a little less with “Teacher’s Pet”. While I’ve fantasized about it being as popular as “Aladdin” or “The Lion King”, having an honest trailer on YouTube, and even being on Broadway, this year, I got bored with it. I couldn’t even make it to the end, which is ironic, because I used to be highly addicted to it. At age 10, I saw it in the theater and tried to see it again, but it was almost done. Once it was released on DVD, I would want to watch it every day. Even at age 17, when I was able to control my temptation to view it all the time, I still loved it. Despite finding it boring now, the strong feelings still stay with me. After I stopped at the 1 hour-mark, I had thought I’d lost my wish of it pleasing more people. But no—it came back.

I saw the original “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” from 1971 on video when I was little. I liked it. But once I saw the remake, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in 2005, I ended up enjoying that more. However, everyone else who saw both disliked the remake and favored the old one more. I still do appreciate the original adaptation, though. In fact, I think both versions are amazing and were done well. Still—I’m lonely feeling like I’m the only one in this world who liked the reboot more. I’m sure there are others like me, but probably not many.

For “Shrek the Third”, it wasn’t until recent years when I discovered how unpopular it is. There was a lot of negative feedback about it on YouTube. That confused me and made me think, “Shrek the Third” couldn’t have done that poorly, right? I mean…movies usually do have to have a certain minimum level of popularity for there to be another installment, right? Otherwise, “Shrek Forever After” wouldn’t have been released. But when I searched the film on Google, most overall ratings were three stars or less. And I absolutely enjoyed the movie very much. There is even a review on another post about “Shrek the Third”. I state that I loved it so much that I would give it beyond 5 out of 5 stars. Luckily, I have a friend who liked the film, too.

Other people have felt lonely being in the minority of liking things, such as Rebecca Black’s “Friday”, “Teen Titans Go”, or post-2004 “SpongeBob” episodes. So, if you ever experience feeling bittersweet about loving something, but being one of the very few, don’t give up hope. Someone might like the unpopular thing, too.

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A Great Experience at Governor’s Comedy Club

Not far from where I live, I went here last year for my friend’s birthday party. It’s kind of like a restaurant, but with some notable differences.

For instance, there are no windows inside. But I think that’s typical for comedy clubs, probably so that no one can peak through during performances. However, there were TV’s on the walls, but without sound. Most public places that have TV monitors won’t make noises.

The food tasted good, especially the steak and mashed potatoes. Of course, they had to have sophisticated choices since this was an 18+ venue. Speaking of which, it was kind of strange, but nice, being in an adults-only setting. That being said, when the comedy show was about to start, the announcer still had to remind people not to shout out at the performers and silence their phones. One guest at my friend’s party was videoing, and the manager had to tell him to stop.

The warm-up comedians and the main one, Gilbert Gottfried, were all great. After the show, everyone got to meet Gilbert Gottfried. I got an autograph from him.

So, would I recommend this comedy club? Yes, most definitely! It’s not in New York City, so it would probably be easier to get tickets to for seeing your favorite comedian.