Bio: Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.
Posts by JPRoscoe:
Game Name: Super Mario 64 DS
Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
Release Date(s): November 21, 2004 (US)/December 2, 2004 (Japan)
ESRB Rating: E
Princes Peach has been kidnapped by Bower who is using the castle’s paints as portals to his worlds. It is up to Mario to free Peach by collecting stars to open the worlds and locate Bower’s hiding places. Mario isn’t alone this time. With the help of Luigi, Yoshi, and Wario, Mario will succeed or Princess Toadstool and the Mushroom Kingdom will fall into clutches of Bowser and his stooges forever!
Super Mario 64 DS (スーパーマリオ64DS or Sūpā Mario Rokujūyon) is a 3D platformer which is remake of N64’s Super Mario 64 released in 1996. The game was released to critical acclaim and expanded aspects of Mario 64.
Super Mario 64 was a classic. I got my Nintendo 64 in college and Mario 64 with it. I devoured the game and located all the stars (plus found Yoshi on the top of castle). I loved the game for all its glory and for its faults. Super Mario 64 DS is a nice return to a fun game.
The movie basically ported Super Mario 64 to the DS. The game added a few tricks and jobs with the other characters, but since it has been so long since playing the original game, it all seems relatively new (though some of the trickier stars feel fresh in my mind). Having finished, Super Mario 64 however it does feel sometimes tedious to replay and collect the starts again. It is the addition of the new characters that I wish Mario 64 DS had embraced the new characters more and made them more diverse and usable.
The game still suffers from camera problems. One of the most frustrating aspects of Super Mario 64 was the camera and I had hoped that the issue had been cleared up a bit more. Sometimes you just can’t get the camera where you need it to be to see something and moving around forces you to fall to a horrible death. I think the camera has improved a little, but not to the level I had hoped.
Super Mario 64 is a classic and Super Mario 64 DS is a great port of the game for a new generation of players. I feel that Super Mario Galaxy took the Super Mario 64 model and improved upon it. This game didn’t really take the game to the next echelon or reach Super Mario Galaxy which it easily could have. Still, Super Mario 64 DS shows why Nintendo was king of the platformer…whether in a 3D or 2D world. Mario rules!
Movie Name: Tower
Release Date(s): March 13, 2016 (South by Southwest)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
On August 1, 1966 a shot rang out on the campus of the University of Texas and a pregnant woman named Claire Wilson and her boyfriend Thomas Eckman fell. It was the start of an afternoon of terror as the shooting and death continued from the tower. With no end in sight, it was up to police and citizens to stop the gunman and end the horror. Stories of survival arose and horror can bring out greatness.
Directed by Keith Maitland, Tower is a documentary feature about the shootings on the campus of the University of Texas in 1966. The film premiered at South by Southwest and is a combination of interviews and animated recreations.
The shooting at Texas took place almost ten years before my birth. It was one of those real life horror stories you grew up with. It was sometimes a cautionary tale (aka “he’s going to end up shooting from some tower”) or a story of how bad and rocky the ’60s could be. Despite knowing the basics of the day, I didn’t know much about how the day unfolded and Tower is a good way of telling the story without elevating the killer Charles Whitman.
The documentary really focuses on the heroes and citizens who were caught in the crosshairs. The movie questions the ideas of heroes and shows that even the toll on these people is great. The movie had a nice balance of events of the past and events of today (though I could have seem more of what happened to people…like Rita Starpattern who stayed with Claire and died 1996).
The day showed people what they were. You had people that run and hid and you had people that stood up and did what they felt was right despite chances of harm to themselves. If you haven’t been in a situation like that you can’t judge how you’d act (even the people who didn’t act). The movie shows both “heroes” and people paralyzed with fear.
The movie’s visuals are basically done through rotoscoping (a process of animating live actors who are filmed). It works and the movie does some interesting moments near the end with a combination of rotoscoping and real video. It is a cheap and affordable means to “go back in time” and it is effective. I also like the uses of black-and-white and color.
Tower is a good look at a dark moment in American history that shows despite danger and horror, people will endure and rise. An interesting side note was that the statue of Jefferson Davis (which became a safe haven for those hiding from the shooter) once again became controversial and was removed in 2015 due to the push to remove Confederate statues…leading to questions if the statue took on another role after the deaths that should be remembered. The documentary is worth seeking out and is available for streaming.
Jonah (Jonah Ray) just wants to do his job as a space miner when he walks into a trap by Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) and Max aka TV’s Son of TV’s Frank (Patton Oswalt). Now, Jonah is trapped on Moon 13 and being subjected to the worst movies that Max and Kinga can find. Can Jonah survive Kinga and Max’s plans with the help of his robot friends Gypsy, Cambot, Crow, and Tom Servo?
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return—Season 1 is also called Mystery Science Theater 3000—Season 11. The series was crowdfunded but picked up by Netflix. The series was positively reviewed.
Mystery Science Theater 3000 was totally a college show. I’d watch it Saturday afternoon after I woke up and worked on the computer. The shows were sometimes great and sometimes they were so-so. The new MST3K is much like the original in that some stuff works, some stuff doesn’t.
The writing is the key to MST3K, but it also is the downfall for MST3K. As said in the song, “they can’t control when the movies begin or end” and they also can’t control the movie. The movie is the key to most of the MST3K moments and MST3K: The Return has so-so movies to work with. Movies like Cry Wilderness are perfect but I also really enjoy the basic Avalanche. There are a number of movies that kind of work, and I feel that some movies miss joke opportunities…but to be honest, that is the case with most of the MST3K episodes. It is luck of the draw and the writing follows (and attempts to make a real plot like the marriage storyline don’t really matter).
I don’t really have a problem with changing out the lead. MST3K did it first with Joel Hodgson (who cameos a couple times in this season) and Michael J. Nelson…I can give Jonah Ray some leeway. I actually prefer Felicia Day to Pearl (Mary Jo Pehl who also appears) and Patton Oswalt is a good TV’s Frank replacement. Original stars Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett appear though Hampton Yount, Baron Vaughn, and Rebecca Hanson play the new Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo, and Gypsy. The season also features cameos by Neil Patrick Harris, Jerry Seinfeld, Erin Gray, Wil Wheaton, Joel McHale, and Mark Hamill.
The visuals remain in sync with the original series. That adds to the original style. Gypsy now hangs from the ceiling and Tom Servo can fly. I actually wish they had used the flying Tom Servo a bit more because it seemed gimmicky when he would do it since it wasn’t used enough…Gypsy was always annoying.
I’m glad Mystery Science Theater 3000 is back. There is always so much potential for the series and I wish that the series would pony-up money for at least one of episode of the series so we got a bigger movie like they did with MST3K: The Movie. I think criticism of the series is more from people who were used to the original series because there was a lot of criticism with “Mike” episodes when he started. Ok, we all know Joel was better but once we got used to Mike it was still ok…I hope Jonah gets the chance to latch on to the new viewers (if he is back after the finale) and look forward to season 2.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:
1.1 Reptilicus Release Date: 04/14/17
Receiving a distress call Jonah (Jonah Ray) comes to Moon 13 and finds himself trapped by Kinga Forrester (Felicia Day) and Max aka TV’s Son of TV’s Frank (Patton Oswalt). With Crow and Tom Servo, Jonah is forced to watch Reptilicus (1961)…a Danish kaiju movie. Jonah is now part of the great experiment and the horrors of Reptilicus could break his mind.
1.2 Cry Wilderness Release Date: 04/14/17
Kinga and Max serve up another stinker to Jonah, and Jonah, Tom, and Crow must survive the family Bigfoot movie Cry Wilderness (1987)…is Bigfoot real?
1.3 Time Travelers Release Date: 04/14/17
A portal in time is opened in Time Travelers (1964) and Tom Servo, Jonah, and Crow are forced to watch the adventure into the future.
1.4 Avalanche Release Date: 04/14/17
Crow, Tom Servo, and Jonah watch the Rock Hudson/Mia Farrow disaster film Avalanche (1978)…if only an avalanche could end Jonah’s suffering.
1.5 The Beast of Hollow Mountain Release Date: 04/14/17
Cowboys battle dinosaurs as Kinga and Max force Jonah, Crow, and Tom Servo to watch The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956).
1.6 Starcrash Release Date: 04/14/17
The Hoff stops by Moon 13 when Tom Servo, Crow, and Jonah watch David Hasselhoff in the Star Wars rip-off Starcrash (1979).
1.7 The Land That Time Forgot Release Date: 04/14/17
Doug McClure teams with Nazis to explore The Land that Time Forgot (1975), and Jonah, Tom Servo, and Crow must survive Doug McClure and the dinosaurs.
1.8 The Loves of Hercules Release Date: 04/14/17
Kinga and Max subject Tom, Crow, and Jonah to the husband and wife team of Jayne Mansfield and Mickey Hargitay in The Loves of Hercules (1960).
1.9 Yongary Release Date: 04/14/17
South Korea presents their finest kaiju in Yongary (1967) but Crow, Tom Servo, and Jonah can’t feel the love.
1.10 Wizards of the Lost Kingdom Release Date: 04/14/17
Sword and sorcery rule in the ’80s B-Movie Wizards of the Lost Kingdom (1985) which is sure to drive Jonah, Tom Servo, and Crow crazy.
1.11 Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II Release Date: 04/14/17
With Wizards of the Lost Kingdom failing to push Jonah over the edge, Kinga and Max throw the sequel Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II (1989) at Jonah and the robots. Kinga has an idea for a plot twist!
1.12 Carnival Magic Release Date: 04/14/17
Kinga announces her plans to marry Jonah as she submits Jonah, Crow, and Tom Servo to Carnival Magic (1981)…a movie about a magic talking chimpanzee named Alex.
1.13 The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t Release Date: 04/14/17
It’s Christmas as Kinga and Max are “celebrating” with The Christmas That Almost Wasn’t (1966), but for Jonah, Crow, and Tom Servo a movie about the war on Christmas won’t cheer them up.
1.14 At the Earth’s Core Release Date: 04/14/17
Kinga and Jonah prepare for the big wedding day, and Jonah finds himself, Crow, and Tom saddled with Troy McClure and Peter Cushing as they explore At the Earth’s Core (1976).
Game Name: Animal Crossing: New Leaf
Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
Release Date(s): November 8, 2012 (Japan)/June 9, 2013 (US)
ESRB Rating: E
You are headed to your new town, but a case of mistaken identity when you arrive makes you mayor of the small burg. With the town looking at you for leadership, not only must you build and maintain your own home, but you also must provide your fellow villagers with a town that they can be proud of. Spend your days and nights fishing, catching bugs, digging up fossils, and building up your town, but if things get too stressful, you can travel to a nearby tropical island for a siesta or visit other towns and friends…the world is yours!
Animal Crossing: New Leaf (とびだせ どうぶつの森 or Jump Out Animal Forest) is a simulation game released for the handheld Nintendo 3DS. The game is a follow-up to the Wii game Animal Crossing: City Folk from 2008 and features online play and an updated Amiibo connectivity (in a patch/rerelease called Animal Crossing: New Leaf—Welcome Amiibo).
Animal Crossing is like the light version of games like SimCity and role-playing games. The series is relaxed gaming where you honestly can do what you want. In spite of this, I find myself stressing out in a Pokemon type panic…I got to get everything available to my character which means a lot of time and effort. Unfortunately in Animal Crossing, time and effort can lead to boredom.
Despite loving the concept of Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii, I quickly tired of the game. I didn’t feel that there was enough to do in the town and the whole “city” was a waste of space. Animal Crossing: New Leaf has a little of this but does improve on the format. As mayor, you get to actually tweak your town a bit and in the process, you gain more goals which changes up the gameplay a little. In addition to this, the island which opens up relatively quickly also gives you something else to do…but the whole game boils down to fishing, collecting bugs, digging up fossils, and buying paintings to fill the museum. People who like creating and customizing rooms and such like with Minecraft probably won’t find the freedom that they find in Minecraft, but still might enjoy that aspect of the game.
The game also revolves around your “people”. I find myself ignoring the mundane conversation with the characters, but I do enjoy joining in on seasonal festivities. I wish that the AI for the game were a bit tighter and that you could befriend/anger people a little more than the game currently allows…at least R-Rated talk is permitted even if the characters don’t really react much to it.
The 3D nature of the 3DS does also help the style and design of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. The rounded world in the game does get some nice depth of field and really does give the world a rounded approach. The character designs are rather bland, but I do like all the different creatures you can catch (though many duplicate previous Animal Crossing critters).
Animal Crossing: New Leaf is a worthwhile time-killer game. It is a game that takes up more time than it should and doesn’t provide the payout you might wish for the commitment but there is something exciting about reeling in a new fish or stalking a new bug. I would like to see more from Animal Crossing, but I also wish that Animal Crossing would give back more to its players with more interaction, more variety, and more adaptability for the world…if I want to terraform the whole city and rebuild, I wish I could have that option…unfortunately, it is limited. Animal Crossing: New Leaf was followed by a spin-off game Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer in 2015 for the 3DS.
Movie Name: Hell’s Belles
Studio: American International Pictures
Release Date(s): April 16, 1969
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Dan (Jeremy Slate) has won a prize motorcycle during a race, but a fellow racer names Tony (Michael Walker) feels he deserves the bike. Tony steals Dan’s motorcycle but the leader of a biker gang named Tampa (Adam Roarke) “swaps” him for the bike. Dan is determined to get his motorcycle back…and suddenly finds him teamed with Cathy (Jocelyn Lane) from the gang when Tampa “swaps” her for the bike. Tampa might have picked the wrong man to mess with.
Directed by Maury Dexter, Hell’s Belles is a motorcycle action movie. It was double billed with The Wild Eye (L’occhio selvaggio).
After the release of Easy Rider, motorcycle movies proved to be a popular genre at the theaters. Easy Rider had a lot of class and style, but many motor cycle movies were grindhouse style cheap films. Hell’s Belles falls into that category, but due to the story, it doesn’t necessary appear “cheap”.
Hell’s Belles suffers from the characters. It tries to make complex characters that show moments of kindness and fairness throughout the course of the movie, but instead of making them endearing, it just makes them not very likable. Dan is wronged, but he takes it too far. Tampa is “the bad guy”, but he occasionally does the right thing for his gang. Cathy shows pity for Tampa at the end, but in her pity she seems actually weaker…she should have just gotten a ride with Dan and sent for help.
The acting is rather average. No one is awful, but also no one excels. The actors combine with the script to miss some great opportunities. William Lucking as Gippo the “slow” guy of Tampa’s group should have been a touchpoint for the audience, but he isn’t written correctly to get any emotion from his death. The relationship with him and Tampa isn’t developed enough until after he dies. Gippo in this sense is like most of the characters.
The movie doesn’t look too bad. It is obviously cheap and the “special effects moments” like the avalanche and gas station fire obviously didn’t have a lot of money put into them. The movie was smartly shot in the desert and the do some nice uses of the expanse and open land.
Hell’s Belles isn’t the best movie, but it also is a nice fit in the biker niche. It isn’t quite down-and-dirty enough to feel like a grindhouse, but it also isn’t quality enough to feel like a non-B-Movie. Hell’s Belles could have benefited from being a soft-core skin flick to give it some teeth, but the movie instead feels middling as a biker pic.
Larry Sanders (Garry Shandling) has a modestly successful talk show. With his co-host “Hey-Now” Hank Kingsley (Jeffrey Tambor) and his manager Arthur (Rip Torn), Larry tries to bring in the stars while balancing his home life with his wife Jeannie (Megan Gallagher). Larry has issues and people like his assistant Beverly (Penny Johnson), his booker Paula (Janeane Garofalo), and his writers Jerry (Jeremy Piven), and Phil (Wallace Langham) are there to clean up Larry’s messes.
The Larry Sanders Show—Season 1 aired from August 15, 1992 to November 7, 1992 on HBO. The series was well received and gained a cult following. It was nominated for Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Sanders), Outstanding Support Actor in a Comedy Series (Tambor), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Torn), Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series (Dana Carvey “Guest Host”), Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series (Carol Burnett “The Spider Episode”), Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Comedy Series (“The Hey Now Episode”), and Outstanding Individual Achievement in Writing in a Comedy Series (“The Spider Episode”).
I loved It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and found myself wishing I had HBO when I heard he had a new series airing there. When The Larry Sanders Show began airing on HBO, it was a rather new thing to have new shows on HBO (along with shows like Tales from the Crypt). The Larry Sanders Show doesn’t disappoint though it has dated a bit.
The show is a rapid half-hour series. The writing is tight and I can imagine that most of the episodes could have (and maybe should have) been even longer. Sometimes it feels like the episode is getting in the swing when it abruptly ends…it is still solid, but it always leaves you wanting more. Shandling was hands on with the series and does receive writing credit on many of the episodes.
Shandling also is perfect. Much like It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, it feels like Larry Sanders really is just Garry Shandling and play up events that occurred with him in years of stand up and “celebrity” life. He’s back up by a great supporting cast with Jeffrey Tambor and Rip Torn and the supporting characters of Penny Johnson, Janeane Garofalo, Jeremy Piven, and Wallace Langham which continue to develop through the course of the series. Guest stars for the season include David Spade, Robin Williams, Robert Hays, James Karen, Cindy Morgan, Dana Delany, William Shatner, Jon Lovitz, Carol Burnett, Dana Carvey, Herve Villechaize, Mimi Rogers, Michael Richards, George Foreman, Peter Falk, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Mull, and Richard Simmons…sometimes playing themselves and other times playing roles.
The show unfortunately wasn’t as top quality as HBO’s later series. The shooting style of the show looks good, but the actual quality of the series (every time it is released) never seem great quality. It is too bad with the guests and the writing.
The Larry Sanders Show is a quick watch and the first season is one of the shorter seasons of the series. The series is pretty topical and many of the jokes might go over the heads of younger viewers. It is sad to know that Garry Shandling is gone, but revisiting The Larry Sanders Show is definitely worth the trip to honor a great comedian…he just might not be for everyone.
The Larry Sanders Show—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:
1.1 The Garden Weasel Airdate: 08/15/92
Larry (Garry Shandling) is pressured to do commercials during the show by the network who demands he make up for sagging ratings. When Larry is considered “mocking” the Garden Weasel during the broadcast, he and Arthur (Rip Torn) face off against the network.
1.2 The Promise Airdate: 08/22/92
David Spade breaches protocol by appearing on Leno before Larry Sanders and Larry questions if he can bump him from the show.
1.3 The Spider Episode Airdate: 08/29/92
Larry is forced to face his fears when a spider-wrangler is booked on the show. Passing the duties off to Hank (Jeffrey Tambor), Larry thinks he’s gotten out of the problem…until he’s challenged by Carol Burnett.
1.4 Guest Host Airdate: 09/05/92
Dana Carvey fills in for Larry despite Hank’s request to substitute. When Dana proves to be popular, Larry worries Dana could be become a competitor.
1.5 The New Producer Airdate: 09/12/92
Arthur’s out from an emergency appendectomy, and Larry’s friend Jonathan Litman (Ian Buchanan) fills in for him. Jonathan’s got new ideas for show and it throws the staff into a panic.
1.6 The Flirt Episode Airdate: 09/19/92
Mimi Rogers appears on the show, and Larry’s flirting causes problems at home when the flirting is obvious.
1.7 Hank’s Contract Airdate: 09/19/92
Hank’s trying to get a new contract, and Larry might be forced to put himself on the line to keep Hank under contract.
1.8 Out of the Loop Airdate: 10/03/92
Larry realizes he’s out of touch with his staff and worries that he’s not connecting. Jerry (Jeremy Piven) is having sex with a showrunner Sally (Kimberley Kates), and Larry finds that it’s creating a distraction.
1.9 The Talk Show Episode Airdate: 10/10/92
Jeannie (Megan Gallagher) is threatening to leave Larry, and Larry finds that he can’t discuss the issue because he’s doing a show.
1.10 Party Airdate: 10/17/92
Arthur is invited to Larry’s for dinner by Jeannie, and the invitation spike a demand to be invited to the party by the other members of the staff.
1.11 The Warmth Episode Airdate: 10/24/92
Harry worries that he has an image problem when his likeability rating is lower than he expects.
1.12 A Brush With (the Elbow of) Greatness Airdate: 10/31/92
Larry Sanders accidentally knocks a woman named Carol Biederman (Suanne Spoke) into a magazine rack and a video surfaces putting Larry in a bad light. PR man Norman (David Paymer) has an idea for Larry and how he should handle the situation.
1.13 The Hey Now Episode Airdate: 11/07/92
Larry worries that Hank’s time is being monopolized by his freelancing and orders him to stop using “Hey Now” anymore…creating a rift between them.
Movie Name: Salem’s Lot
Release Date(s): November 17, 1979-November 24, 1979
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
There is something wrong in Jerusalem’s Lot. When a strange man named Richard Straker (James Mason) moves into the old Marsten House, things begin happening in the town. People start to disappear, and strange deaths begin to occur. A writer named Ben Mears (David Soul) arrives in town and his fascination with the Marsten House lands him in the middle of the strange occurrences . When he meets a woman named Susan Norton (Bonnie Bedelia), he teams with her and a teenager named Mark Petrie (Lance Kerwin) who also lost friends. Who is Straker and his unseen partner Barlow?
Directed by Tobe Hooper, Salem’s Lot was based on the popular Stephen King novel from 1975. The movie was originally a mini-series and aired from November 17, 1979 to November 24, 1979 on CBS. It was well received and a shorter version was given a European theater release (under the title Salem’s Lot: The Movie).
Salem’s Lot was only the second adaptation of Stephen King’s work (the first being the critically acclaimed Carrie in 1976). This was also the first mini-series adaptation by King which became a trend in his writing (especially in the last twenty years). The style allowed for most of the novel to be adapted and only a few characters storylines were altered much. Barlow was also changed and came to resemble the classic Nosferatu vampire. One interesting change was a slight name change. The city is known as Jerusalem’s Lot or ’Salem’s Lot for short. To prevent any confusion on the title, the movie is simply Salem’s Lot (minus the apostrophe).
What is surprising is how scary Salem’s Lot is. The movie was like many of the made for TV horror films of the ’70s and actually had a bunch of jumps. For some crazy reason, my parents allowed me to see part of Salem’s Lot when I was young and it gave me nightmares. I don’t know if it was on its first run, but it was before I turned five. The window scenes (where the vampire children try to get invited in) alone were really horrific and “creepy dead kids” have scared me ever since.
Salem’s Lot is quite dated in style and look and includes a cast you would expect for the time (a mix of TV and older movie stars). The movie has that ’70s feel but it works for it. The soft focus and sun flares give it an old style creepiness and the impressive Marsten House alone makes the movie look like it had a bigger budget than most of Stephen King’s later mini-series.
’Salem’s Lot is simply a good story. It would be hard for the story to get screwed up, and Hooper doesn’t screw it up. The movie and the novel were both influential because it was a modern vampire story that hadn’t been seen at that time. Movies from The Lost Boys to Near Dark have benefited from ’Salem’s Lot. The mini-series was even considered for a TV series that never developed. The movie was followed by a poor sequel Return to Salem’s Lot in 1987 and another mini-series in 2004.
Movie Name: Mary Poppins
Studio: Walt Disney Productions
Release Date(s): August 27, 1964
MPAA Rating: G
Jane Banks (Karen Dotrice) and Michael Banks (Matthew Garber) find their father (David Tomlinson) is too busy working at the bank and their mother (Glynis Johns) is driven by issues like women’s sufferage. When their request for a perfect nanny falls on deaf ears, their note manages to find its way to Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews). Mary has a way of changing the perspectives of people, and with the help of her friend Bert (Dick Van Dyke), Mary Poppins could change the lives of the Banks in ways they never imagined.
Directed by Robert Stevenson, Mary Poppins adapts the stories of P. L. Travers which first appeared in 1934. The film was critically acclaimed and a fan favorite. It was nominated for thirteen Oscars including Best Picture, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Director, Best Scoring, Best Sound, and Best Adapted Screenplay were lost (mostly to Best Picture winner My Fair Lady), and Mary Poppins won Best Actress (Julie Andrews), Best Original Song (“Chim Chim Cher-ee”), Best Substantial Original Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Visual Effects. It was selected for preservation in the National Film Archive by the Library of Congress in 2013.
Mary Poppins is perfect. The story is fun and has a lot of spirit. It feels episodic, but it still manages to carry on an overall themes. The attempts of Disney to bring Mary Poppins to the screen were difficult with Travers objecting to the “Disney-fication” of her character and the story (which was chronicled in Saving Mr. Banks). Despite Travers complaints, Disney made magic with Mary Poppins that you could argue resulted in one of his best films.
The cast’s great chemistry and the snappy songs are set in a great looking world. Everyone wants to live on Cherry Tree Lane (despite the constant explosions of Admiral Boom). You want to climb the rooftops of London with Bert and feed the pigeons outside of St. Paul’s Cathedral with the old woman. You want Mary to be your nanny and take you for adventures inside the animated world of chalk drawings and to take tea on top of the ceiling with Uncle Albert…It is a magical world.
Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke work great together. They seem to play off each other and feel like a real couple (despite not even being a “real couple” in the movie). Dick Van Dyke also plays a duel role in the film as the evil Dr. Dawes Sr. (credited as an anagram Navckid Keyd). Julie Andrews was actually was supposed to be Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, but then was replaced by Audrey Hepburn…Andrews got the last laugh by beating Audrey Hepburn for Best Actress. Van Dyke and Andrews are backed up by a great cast of supporting character actors (and many Disney favorites) like Dave Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Karen Dotrice, and Matthew Garber as the Banks family, Reginald Owen as Admiral Boom, the former Bride of Frankenstein Elsa Lanchester as the previous nanny, Jane Darwell as the pigeon lady, and Ed Wynn as Uncle Albert. The cast helps bring the movie together and raises it from a simple kids’ film to something more.
The music like many of Disney’s musical films is great. The songs are catchy and range from face pace (“Step in Time”), to peppy (“A Spoonful of Sugar”), to clever (“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”) and to sentimental (“Chim Chim Cher-ee”). There are songs for everyone, and they are easy to remember and recite.
Mary Poppins says it herself; she’s practically perfect in every way. Mary Poppins is one of Disney’s best films (animated or live-action). It is also the first film I can remember seeing in the theater. I was amazed by the movie and at the time (late ’70s) by the special effects, and I think it can be credited for helping me love movies. Mary Poppins can still be enjoyed by all and shouldn’t be missed.
Indy Comic Con 2017 is on! Running from April 14-April 16 at the Indiana Convention Center, the convention featured artists, vendors, and celebrities. The convention continues to morph and change in its fourth year and it seems to grow each year…I hope a decision to have it over Easter weekend won’t come back to bite the promoters…I look forward to the next year. Click on a pic for a bigger view!
Comic Name: Green Lantern: New Guardians
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tony Bedard
Artist: Tyler Kirkham/Harvey Tolibao
# of Issues: 7
Release Date: 2012
Reprints Green Lantern: New Guardians #1-7 (November 2011-May 2012). When Kyle Rayner finds himself a magnet for all the rings of the Lantern spectrum, he becomes the central interest of Oa and the Guardians of the Universe. Kyle also finds himself the target of all the Lanterns and discovers him forced to work with Arkillo, Bleez, Fatality, Saint Walker, Munk, and Larfleeze to survive. When the New Guardians seek out the cause reason behind Kyle’s new found power, they discover the Orrery…and learn that the reason behind their gathering is darker than they expected!
Written by Tony Bedard, Green Lantern: New Guardians Volume 1: The Ringer Bearer is part of DC Comics’ New 52 relaunch after Flashpoint. The series features art by Tyler Kirkham with additional artwork by Harvey Tolibao.
The New 52 was a real spark when DC decided to relaunch all of their titles…again. With so much to choose from, there were some really strange titles and many of the “Lantern” titles were on the odd side including Green Lantern: New Guardians.
I always felt sorry for Kyle Rayner. He was a lame Green Lantern that wasn’t as cool as Hal Jordan, John Stewart, or Guy Gardner. He always felt like a desperate attempt to modernize the character. This apparently was obvious to many people, but in creating a sad-sack of a Green Lantern, they also created fans. Here in the New 52 universe, Bedard works to make Kyle Rayner more relevant.
Despite Kyle being the “leader” of the New Guardians, I do find it interesting that Larfleeze is actually the New Guardians’ boss. The team-up has a bit of the Avengers with Larfleeze playing the Loki role of bringing the unlikely heroes together. Books where there are built in enemies on the team don’t always work…especially when half the team is “good” and half the team is “bad”. It will be interesting to see how they keep having the team work together to advance the story without it seeming tedious.
The story feels like seeds of things to come. Green Lantern: New Guardians isn’t the most flowing of stories but it mostly serves as an origin piece. The first four issues of this collection probably could have been condense or expanded, and I wish that they had done more with the Orrery before the arrival of Invictus. Regardless, the story keeps moving and it could lead to a fun ride with some tweaking. Green Lantern: New Guardians 1: The Ring Bearer is followed by Green Lantern: New Guardians 2: Beyond Hope.