Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The A-Team

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch an old movie from my DVD collection and rant about it.  I originally started doing this around 2 years ago as a bit for my podcast, but I stopped because that became too labour-intensive.  But, rather than my old notes go to wasted, and I've started posting it here on my blog.  My notes are currently winding through Christmas 2010/New Years 2011, which is why all the talking about Christmas.  Today, we get to a film I blew my gift cards on that year, The A-Team.  This review is originally dated January 23, 2011.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The World's Biggest Fast Food Restaurant

Because I love my greasy fast food, I'm always fascinated by stuff like this.

In order to meet the hungry tourists descending on London for the 2012 Olympics, McDonald's UK is getting ready to open up the world's largest fast food restaurant.

3000 square feet in size...two stories high...designed to serve 1200 people an hour.  McDonald's is bringing in 500 elite McDonald's employees from all across the UK to staff it, and 200 people will be on staff at all times.

McDonald's has been an official Olympic sponsor since 1968, when Team USA complained about the lack of cheeseburgers at the games in Grenoble, France, so McDonald's flew a bunch of cheeseburgers to them. 

This world's largest McDonald's has 20 tills and 1500 seats.  The expect to sell 1.79 million meals during the course of the Olympics and the Paralympics.  Apparently, 10% of all food sold during the Olympics will be McDonald's meals.

But what really blows my mind is, it's temporary.  It will have its grand opening the day after the opening ceremonies; July 29.  And then, on September 9, the day after the closing ceremonies of the Paralympic games, they close the doors and tear it down. 

Tales like this inspire me to some day write my book about the McBarge.  The McBarge was the temporary, floating McDonald's that McDonald's set up on the Vancouver waterfront for Expo 86.  It still stands as the busiest fast food restaurant in the history of ever.  Designed not just to feed the hungry tourists, but to showcase the latest and greatest in fast food technologies circa 1986.  And after Expo 86, just cast off, and left to rust in an inlet. 

But yeah.  I find this fascinating.

Here's the original article, where I got the pics and facts.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pigs vs. Dolphins

Once upon a time, not long ago, in the mystical, far away land of Seba Beach School, there was a little boy.  He was a quiet, studious sort, who never really figured out how to socialize.  He'd spend his lunch hours in the library, quietly reading, or in the science lab, where the science teacher would let him fire up the TV used for presentations and watch The Flintstones

Also, there was a princess, who was the angriest person in the land.  She rarely smiled, and only spoke in insults.  When she did smile, it was because she had just made a cruel joke at someone's expense.  Not even the boy, who worked hard to keep to himself, was spared from her wrath.  Her default insult for the boy was "the pig," as he did well in his classes, and therefore was "hogging" all the good grades to himself.  To her, good grades were a commodity that teachers handed out in small amounts, and truly "the pig" had more than his fair share.

But, if there was one thing the princess loved, it was dolphins.  Her eyes lit up when she spoke of those majestic creatures of the sea.  She occasionally had books on marine biology hidden between issues of Cosmo and YM, and did let slip once in a while her goal of becoming a marine biologist. 

One day, in a math class, the teacher was returning the latest exam.  As always, the boy had done very well on it.  As always, the princess had not.  She glanced over the boy's shoulder, saw his high grade, and muttered, "You're such a pig."

But something different happened that day.  The quiet boy was not quiet.  Instead, he decided to say something.  In one of those quiet lunch hours in the library, he had learned some new knowledge, and decided to share it with the princess.

"You know," he said.  "Some new studies show that pigs actually have higher intelligence than dolphins."  He narrowed his eyes to best steely gaze he could muster.  "Better a pig than a dolphin any day." 

A look of horror flashed across the face of the princess.  This was, quite frankly, the worst thing anyone could have said to her.  She gasped in astonishment at what was said, and stormed out of the classroom. 

It was the only time the boy ever stood up to the princess. 

They skirmished a few more times before high school was done, most notably when the princess led the charge to have the boy banned from graduation ceremonies.  She did achieve her dream of having a graduation ceremony without the boy, though, as she failed to get enough credits and had to graduate a year after the boy.

Time marched on, and this tale soon faded away, as most acts of high school bullying eventually do.  The boy is doing pretty good for himself.  The boy has no idea what the princess is up to, but hopes she finally let go of that anger and learned to be happy.

"OK, cut this crap, Cappis," you're probably saying right now.  "Obviously, you're the boy and this princes is some chick who spoke smack about you back in high school.  Be a man and get over it already!"  Well, for the most part, I am over it, but I was reminded of it the other day as I was surfing ye olde Internet. 

Thanks to this legal kerfuffle that's currently making headlines, I have finally discovered the web comic The Oatmeal.  And while I was perusing the archives, I stumbled across two very awesome comics that helped to make the boy's argument all those years ago.

So if you have a moment, I ask you to check out these two comics:

5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Face

5 Reasons Pigs Are More Awesome Than You

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hotel Transylvania Trailers

I wanted to blog about this when the first trailer came out back in the spring, but things got busy and I put it off too much.  The second trailer just came out, and that seems to be as good an opportunity to sit down and blog about Hotel Transylvania.

At the outset, the premise seems OK.  Dracula, tired of him and his fellow monsters always being hunted and persecuted by humankind, builds a luxury resort deep with in the mountains of Transylvania where he and his fellow monsters can just chill and relax without any humans bugging them.  Then, one day, one lost American backpacking across Europe stumbles into this hotel, and Dracula has to hide this human from all the other monsters lest he cause a panic among his guests.

I'm mildly curious about this one because the director is Genndy Tartakovsky.  Tartakovsky, of course, is the renowned animator who brought us such Cartoon Network classics as Dexter's Lab, Samurai Jack, and the original Clone Wars cartoon.  He's been working to get into movies for a while, now.  For a long time, he was working on developing a sequel to The Dark Crystal, and as a fun little side project, he storyboarded the action scenes in Iron Man 2.  This is his feature film directing debut.

Here's the first trailer.  I still want to show this one because I do love the shillouettes of the monsters packing up and leaving for the titular hotel.  The artwork is very Tartakovsky-esque.

The animation house behind this one is Sony Pictures Animation, which seems to be just bubbling under the surface when it comes to making good stuff.  I was pleasantly surprised with Surf's Up  and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, but I have to bring myself to see The Smurfs.

Even though the film is not one of Adam Sandler's Happy Madison productions, a lot of the Happy Madison gang shows up in the film.  Sandler himself voices Dracula, David Spade is the Invisible Man, Kevin James is Frankie (aka Frankenstein's monster), Steve Buscemi as Wayne (the wolfman) and Molly Shannon as his wife.  Andy Samburg is Johnathon, that average backpackers who stumbles into the place, and Disney kid Selena Gomez is Dracula's daughter Mavis.

Here's the second trailer which just came out, in which we get more of the plot, such as Johnathon and Mavis falling for each other.

Hotel Transylvania hits theatres on September 28.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Brave Review

So I saw Brave yesterday.  I had my doubts about doing it, having run into the city just last week to see Prometheus, but I'm about to enter another busy stretch at work that'll eat up my weekends, so I figured there was no time like the present.

After the powerhouse that was Toy Story 3, and the cash-in that was Cars 2, I was really looking forward to Pixar getting back on track with something new and original.  For a while now, I'd been reading about how different this was going to be for Pixar...their first fairy tale, their first period piece, and in our heroine, Merida, Pixar's first female protagonist.  I was reading online about a few hiccups in production (original director Brenda Chapman was bumped from the project a year or so ago), but Ratatouille had similar hiccups and it turned out pretty damn good.  My heart did sink a bit, though, as more and more trailers came out, and it started looking like more and more Disney princess cliches started creeping into the film. 

So Princess Merida is growing at odds with her mother.  The Queen keeps training Merida in the ways of being a princess in order to be a kind and benevolent ruler some day, but Merida would rather be out and about kicking ass and taking names with her bow and arrow.  That's an attitude she takes into the traditional tournament for suitors to win her hand in marriage, but she makes a spectacle of the whole thing, leading to a permanent rift between mother and daughter.  While Merida is out in the woods running it off, she happens upon an old witch who offers to cast a spell to change Merida's fate.  But the spell takes the form of a terrible curse placed upon Merida's mother, and now mother and daughter must put aside their difficulties in order to break the curse.

So, there is a lot of good in the film.  Since it is Pixar, the animation is gorgeous.  The music is good, the voice acting is good, and it does go to some dark places.  The climactic battle is brutal. 

That being said, though, the plot is a little weak.  There's a couple of great ideas for subplots that never get past the idea stage.  And I understand what some critics are saying when the film can't settle on a tone.  One moment we're having high drama between the mother and the daughter, then we're having wacky slapstick comedy.  The scenes with the witch border on having come out of Shrek.  The film switches from silly to serious at the drop of a hat. 

However, I did feel a little something by the film's end.  It wasn't quite the emotional wallop of Toy Story 3, but there was something. 

Check out my entire review at the main site

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fishing in the Discount Bin - G.I. Joe: The Movie

It's time for this week's edition of Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I go through all the old notes of a segment I was working on for my podcast, and post them to the blog so they don't gather digital dust.  We're into the last of a trio of films that a co-worker gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago, and it just happens to be one of my childhood favourites...G.I. Joe: The Movie.  This review is originally dated January 15, 2011.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monsters University Trailer

The one trend I've hated over the past 10 years is how animated films have become franchises.  It used to be just the one film, and that was it.  But now, as with any other film, if an animated film is a hit, they pump out sequel after sequel after sequel.  For examples, take a look at the Shrek and Madagascar films.  But, for this trend, I have no one to blame but my beloved Pixar, because they started the whole thing when they released Toy Story 2 in 1999.

For a while there, it looked like Toy Story 2 was going to be an anomaly, but then, when Disney bought out Pixar around 5 years ago or so, the Pixar sequel machine ramped up.  We got Toy Story 3, which turned out to be amazingly good.  We got Cars 2, which many wrote off as Pixar's first weak film.  And the trend continues next year, when we get the Monsters, Inc. prequel, Monsters University.

Not much is known about it so far.  The official plot synopsis says that it takes place around 10 years before Monsters, Inc., and it tells the tale of how Mike and Sully first met in college and became the life long friends we know them as.

I like that it's a prequel, so that way they don't have to deal with Boo.  See, on the running commentary for Monsters, Inc., the filmmakers say they were adamant that Sully never see Boo again after she's returned home.  But in test screenings, the audience was demanding it.  So, the filmmakers came up with the ending that we know as the compromise.  Sully sees Boo again, but the audience does not.  So, yeah.  The prequel will be Boo-free.

For the voice cast, John Goodman and Billy Crystal are back as Sully and Mike.  Steve Buscemi is back as the villanous Randal Boggs.  New voice cast members include former  Kid in the Hall and Pixar vet Dave Foley, and Pat itself Julia Sweeny.  And, since it is a Pixar film, John Ratzenburger is back as the Abominable Snowman.

Behind the camera, veteran Pixar animator and story man Dan Scanlon is directing it.

As is Pixar tradition, the first trailer will be in front of their next film, Brave, which comes out this Friday.  But the trailer went online today.

I should note that there are actually four different trailers out there.  The only difference between the four is the line that Mike mumbles in his sleep when Sully pulls back the covers.  Scanlon has said in interviews that they did this because, when they were recording the audio for the trailer, Billy Crystal starting tossing out so many great lines that they couldn't decide which one to use.  So they narrowed it down to four. 

Monsters University hits theatres on June 21, 2013. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Superman vs. the Elite Review

Well, DC Comics and Warner Brothers have pumped out another straight-to-DVD animated movie.  Is it just me, or is the straight-to-DVD animated movie market starting to wind down?  There aren't as many Disney sequels as there used to be, Marvel has stopped doing it...it's like DC is the only one left in town.  Anyway, I got my copy, so it's time to take a look at....

Superman vs. the Elite

Directed by Michael Chang

Starring the voices of George Newburn, Pauley Perrette, Robin Atkin Downes, Dee Bradley Baker, Catero Colbert, Melissa Disney, and Andrew Kishino.

Backstory:  The latest installment of Warner Brothers and DC's franchise of direct-to-DVD animated films seems to be a little more low-key than some of their previous releases.  The usual celebrity-filled voice cast seems to have been ditched for some hard working voice actors, save for Pauley Perrette, best know as the perky goth forensic scientist on NCIS.  I haven't seen as much coverage on this one as I have on the others in the past, and I completely forgot it was coming out until I was scanning last Tuesday's new DVD releases and saw it there.  When I saw it in the city, I knew, though, that I had to pick it up and add it to my collection.

Plot:  Taking its inspiration from the famous Superman story What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?, the story follows with a new group of superheroes arriving on the scene calling themselves the Elite, led by the charismatic Manchester Black.  At first, Superman is appreciative of this new group of heroes, and the Elite seem to reciprocate by appreciating Superman's training and guidance.  But soon, the cracks start to show.  The Elite show no second thoughts about using lethal force and killing the wrongdoers.  As the people and the media begin to glorify these new, lethal heroes for making sure the villains stay down, Superman begins to wonder if his brand of justice has grown passe.  But, as the body count at the hands of the Elite begins to rise, tensions begin to build between Superman and the Elite, and a showdown is inevitable.  Who will win when Superman faces off against the Elite?  Or will Superman become one of this new bread of lethal hero that the people seem to be clamoring for?

What I Liked:  The voice acting is top-notch.  George Newburn, who voiced Superman on Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, is a welcome return to the role of Superman.  The aforementioned Perrette makes a pretty good Lois Lane, too.  The plot does reach some neat philisophical and dramatic points as Superman wonders if he's still the hero the world needs, and the Elite truly are a different kind of villain that what we usually see in these.  And when the showdown occurs, there are some great action sequences.  And the music!  They recycle Superman's theme from the first film in this franchise, Superman/Doomsday, and it provides a neat little bit of continuity.

What I Didn't Like:  The animation style does take some getting used to in the one.  It's a little more cartoonish...Superman has a chin like the the Tick's.  And this franchise has gone on long enough that a formula is starting to appear.

Final Verdict:  I found it rather enjoyable and a good addition to the franchise.

3 Nibs

Bonus Features:  For bonus features on the Blu-Ray, you get a featurette on Superman's morality, a featurette on the Elite, a running commentary with the original writers of What's So Funny About Truth, Justice and the American Way?, a digital comic version of What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?, two bonus episodes of Superman: The Animated Series, a collection of photos for The Dark Knight Rises, and a sneak peak at the next one in the franchise, The Dark Knight Returns: Part 1.  I still can't believe they're going to attempt The Dark Knight Returns in this franchise.  It's such a good book, I can't help but worry they're going to mess it up on some level.

Oh, and I should also mention that I treated myself to the Best Buy exclusive version of the Blu-Ray, which comes with a little Manchester Black action figure. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Prometheus Review

My review for Prometheus is up!

Head on over to my movie reviews to check it out!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Another Day, Another Blown Paycheck

Well, I went off to the city today for a day of adventure and checking out the movies, but as I always do, I spent too much money, so it's time to recount my purchases!

First up, I never feel guilty about spending too much money in the city if I buy something I need.  So, first up, I bought another of those hard-to-find filters for my vacuum cleaner.  You might remember my last excursion to the city when I hoped to stock up on those filters, but only found one.  So today I was finally able to buy a second.  I think vacuum cleaner filters will replace socks as my go-to for my "thing I actually need that I must buy so I don't feel guilty spending a lot of money."

From there, it was off to Best Buy, to do what I always do in Best Buy:  stare longingly at HDTVs until the day I can afford one.  And while I was there, I also managed to pick up the latest DC Comics straight-to-DVD animated film, Superman vs. the Elite.  I hope to spend my lazy Sunday watching it, and as I always do, I'll review it for the blog, so watch for that in the next couple of days.  I usually avoid buying the Best Buy exclusives, because it's usually an extra $2 for some trinket that just gathers dust, but this time out, I thought, "Eh, screw it."  The exclusive you get at Best Buy is an action figure of Manchester Black, the villain of the piece.

Then I slipped next door to Michael's, the gigantic crafts and framing store.  I figured today would be the day that I'd finally bite the bullet and do something I'd been wanting to do for a long time.  I have a few movie posters that I'd always wanted to frame and hang up because, you know, I'm an adult now, so Scotch-taping them to the wall is probably not the mature way to display them.  And as I was browsing in Michael's, I saw that the gigantic poster-sized frames were on sale. 

First thing I did when I got home tonight was make sure the frames would work, and I framed some posters.

How can you tell I went to college in the 1990s?  Got the requisite poster of a 1990s indie film.  Last year, Kevin Smith had a big blowout sale at his online merchandise store, so I got the Chasing Amy poster for dirt cheap...probably still Smith's best film.  I swore, though, I wouldn't hang it up until I got the frame so I could show it off properly.  Now, whenever folks come to visit, Joey Lauren Adams will be staring at them.

Hands down, the teaser poster for Return of the Jedi is my favourite of the Star Wars movie posters.  Once upon a time, not long ago, there was a lovely little poster store in West Edmonton Mall called The Poster Centre.  I was browsing one day, and lo and behold, there it was, the teaser poster for Return of the Jedi.  So, I quickly snatched it up.  I was still in college at the time, so it hung in my dorm room.  It was hanging on my wall, stuck up with Scotch-tape, and I knew I wanted to get it in a frame some day while it was still worth framing.  So there it is.

Once that was taken care of, it's off to West Edmonton Mall, and a browse through HMV. 

Now, if you're my friend on Facebook, you'll see I've run into a bit of a routine.  Whenever I see the gigantic Blu-Ray set of The Lord of the Rings: Extended Editions for around $50, I post the link and say, "Ooo, that's a good price," and begin debating whether to get it or not.

And while I was in HMV today...ooo, that's a good price.

So I got it.  Seriously, that's the cheapest I've seen it outside of an Amazon.com one-day sale.  As for the films, I think they're good, but not great.  I've always been on the fence about getting the extended editions.  I mean, I've never been able to power through the books because they're so long and boring.  That's why I like the theatrical versions of the films...they've cut out the boring stuff.  I figure for the extended editions, all they did was put the boring stuff back in.  And, as I've blogged before, I'm not in a big rush to upgrade my DVDs to Blu-Rays because I don't have an HDTV to fully enjoy Blu-Ray.

But dude...the cheapest I've ever seen it.  So I got it.  Not sure yet if I'll spend my entire Sunday watching the trilogy, but I'm thinking about it. 

And then, it was off to the movies!  The movie I was after today, Prometheus, the big Alien prequel-spinoff thingee.  I'm starting to see what some trekkies are saying in that it's a bit of a ripoff of Star Trek V.  That being said, it's nice and spooky where it needs to be.  It does get rather gory in some places.  And there's still quite a few unanswered questions about the film.  It tries to tackle some big ideas, but doesn't quite pull it off.  I found it enjoyable nonetheless.  As always, there'll probably be a full review on my main site in the next day or so.

And that was my day in the city.  I didn't quite blow my whole paycheck, but I spent a little more than I wanted to.  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Highlander

Here we go again with Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch one of the many movies in my DVD library, and I just rant about them.  We`re into a spate of movies I got for Christmas back in 2010 from a friend of mine, hence the occasional reference I make to Christmas.  Today, we get to the cult classic Highlander.  This entry is originally dated January 8, 2011.

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Hot Wheels Toys

I was cleaning out my dwelling on Sunday when I stumbled across these.

A couple years ago, for Christmas, in lieu of a present, my parents said they'd help me out in getting a new set of tires for my car.  But still, for the thrill of finding something under the tree, they wrapped up this Hot Wheels gift pack and put it under the tree.

As I continued cleaning up the place, I did find a couple other Hot Wheels that found their way into my action figure collection.

I've blogged before that I'm one of the 12 people on the planet that think that Speed Racer is an amazing movie.  A lot of that film's merchandise was Hot Wheels-based.  So of course I had to get Speed Racer's trademark car, the Mach 5.

The original Batmobile?  And only 99 cents at Field's?  Yes, please!

I've got a couple more, too, but they're in storage.  (i.e. my parents' basement.)  The company Johnny Lightening once got the license to make a series of Monopoly-inspired cars, and I have the "Boardwalk Dodge Viper."  And being a Disney geek, Johnny Lightening also managed to do a Herbie the Love Bug that I also have. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

News of the Weekend

I spent my Friday night and Saturday night watching TMNT and Astro Boy for upcoming installments of Fishing in the Discount Bin.  Yeah, now that I'm posting the old entries on the blog, I've started doing it again.  I'm pretty much working three months ahead at this point.

Anyway, I thought it'd be neat to do TMNT and Astro Boy back-to-back because they were both made by an animation studio called Imagi Studios.  Imagi went under shortly after Astro Boy came out.  It was neat.  When it comes to superhero adaptations, they did one so right and one so wrong...I had fun writing those two entries.

Before they went under, Imagi Studios was looking to do a movie version of Gatchaman for their third animated film.  Gatchaman is the classic anime/manga franchise that was dubbed for North America under the name Battle of the Planets.  I'm not as madly nostalgic for this property as Ninja Turtles or Astro Boy.  My earliest conscious memories of Saturday morning cartoons involve Battle of the Planets, but my memories of the show are fuzzy at best.

Imagi's Gatchaman movie did have a good pedigree going into it.  Kevin Monroe, who directed TMNT, was slated to direct.  Legendary comic book and animation writer Paul Dini was hired to script.  But, when Imagi went belly-up, the project died.

But, before they went under, Imagi did produce a couple of trailers/animation tests.  And I finally found them on YouTube.

Trailer #1:

Trailer #2:

Ah, what might have been.

So here's what the geeks were geeking out about last week.

The one TV show that is not on DVD yet that the majority of geeks are demanding is the 1960s Batman starring Adam West.  As much as people want it on DVD, it's not available yet.  The most widely-accepted reason as to why it's not on DVD is because the series used so much pop music from the era, and with all the celebrity villains, and all the celebrities who poked their heads out the windows, and much more stuff like that, there's literally thousands of royalty deals that need to be worked out.

 Another popular theory is that 20th Century Fox, who made and own the show, and Warner Brothers, who currently own every aspect of the franchise, are just locked in some kind of epic pissing match.

Anyway, if you haven't clicked on the link above, it was announced last week that 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers finally made a deal that will allow Warner Brothers to start merchandising the heck out of the old Batman show.

Many are hoping this is a positive first step in finally getting Batman on DVD.  But for the time being, we`ll have to settle for Adam-West-as-Batman action figures. 

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Forbidden Planet

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch one of the many movies in my DVD collection, and, in the words of my best friend, "go off on it."  I started this on my podcast many years ago, and gave up because it was so labour-intensive.  So, I started recycling the notes here on my blog!

I give that preamble because we're into a spate of movies that I watched from Christmas 2010 through New Years 2011, hence all the references to Christmas and New Years.  We're into a trio of films that a friend of mine gave me for Christmas at that time.  And first up, the classic sci-fi, Forbidden Planet.

These notes are originally dated January 7, 2011.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Odds and Ends

As I blogged a few days ago, I got my complete, uncut version of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrack.  However, I just finished listening to disc 2.  Disc 2 is the digitally-remastered version of a little piece of Star Trek kitsch called Inside Star Trek.  This album was originally released in 1976.  It consists of recordings of Gene Roddenberry's sci-fi convention appearances in the mid-1970s, along with Roddenberry's thoughts and musings on making Star Trek.  Roddenberry also interviews Issac Asimov about sci-fi, William Shatner about playing Captain Kirk, DeForrest Kelly about playing Dr. McCoy, and a very awkward piece where Roddenberry interviews Mark Lenard, in character as Sarek, Spock's father, about Spock.

The fact that Leonard Nimoy wasn't interviewed about Spock shines a very interesting light on Star Trek lore.  I love hearing Leonard Nimoy's stories about Gene Roddenberry.  Nimoy's stories tend to take the piss out of everything.  See, most everyone associated with Star Trek will tell you about Gene Roddenberry:  the visionary science-fiction author with an optimistic view of humanity.  Nimoy, however, tends to tell stories about Gene Roddenberry:  the Hollywood producer who only had one big hit and set out to milk it for all it was worth.  Everything I've ever read about Star Trek says there was a lot of friction between Nimoy and Roddenberry, especially when it became the cult item it did throughout the 1970s.  Some say it came down to money...others say it came down to Nimoy simply wanting recognition for what he brought to the character of Spock.

My favourite story, though, about Roddenberry, the producer in it for the money, doesn't involve Nimoy.  It involves Alexander Courage, who wrote the classic Star Trek theme we all knew and love.  Well, what Roddenberry did, was he went behind Courage's back, and he wrote lyrics to the Star Trek theme.  That way, Roddenberry could claim 50% writer's credit on the Star Trek theme, and forever be entitled to the royalties.  Courage confronted Roddenberry about this, and Roddenberry reportedly said, "Oh, come on.  Let me have this, cuz I sure as hell ain't gonna make any money off this show."

But the tales of Roddenberry only being in it for the money...well, they humanize Roddenberry to me.  As I've learned in my short life, everybody has a different story about certain things.  Some folks will tell you that a certain person is the nicest person in the world...others will say that person is the devil incarnate.  Some folks will say that a certain vacation destination is the greatest place in the world...some will say it's a hellhole.

Some where, in between those two extremes, lies the truth.

The Baily Theatre is an icon of the City of Camrose.  It has stood for...I don't know how long.  My father tells me tales of my grandparents going to movies at the Baily when they were dating.  When I was going to college, it was the only movie theatre in Camrose at the time, so it's where I spent many an evening catching a movie instead of studying.

I was enraptured with the Baily as a movie theatre because it was the first movie theatre I'd ever been to in my life that had a balcony.  I was starting to think that balconies in movie theatres were a thing of the past, something that I would never see, but here was one.  Whenever me and my friends would go see a movie, I'd implore them that we sit up in the balcony, but most times, I'd be out-voted.

The Baily's days came to a close during my time at Augustana.  It was Christmas of 1997 when Camrose got its nice, shiny new 5-screen cineplex.  I dabbled a little bit in writing for the school paper, and my best friend was the editor of the paper, so shortly after the new cineplex opened, we did a news story on the new cineplex and what it might mean for the Baily.  As my best friend and I chatted, we knew that this probably meant the end for the Baily.  I still remember the last movie I saw in the Baily...spring of 1998.  On the last day of classes, me and my best friend went to see Lost in Space.  I came back in the fall of '98 to begin my final year, and the Baily was closed.

 But the Baily has been undergoing a transformation over the past few years.  New owners have acquired it, and they've been working to restore the Baily to its 1940s, art deco appearance.  They've turned it back into the multipurpose theatre it originally was, capable of all manner of live entertainment and movies.  I discovered this a few months ago, when an old college friend that I follow on Twitter tweeted that he was off the the Baily to see the legendary classic Citizen Kane.  I tweeted back, "If they ever do the original King Kong, I'm there."

I just found out they're showing the original King Kong TOMORROW NIGHT!!!!  Gosh darn it, I'm going to miss it.

I finally found the Baily's website and I see that, a couple of weeks ago, I missed the Beatles classic A Hard Day's Night.  Aw, man, that's another one I'd love to see on the big screen!

I've now got the Baily's website bookmarked.  I'll be keeping an eye on it...a road trip might be in my future.

Here's the Baily's website.

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I keep thinking that if I ever win the lottery, I might buy an old movie theatre and turn it into a revival house.  For those who don't know the lingo, a "revival house" is a movie theatre that specializes in showing older and classic movies.  There are many older films that I would love to see on the big screen.  Say what you will about home theatres and such today, but I still think there's something about the theatrical experience that can't be replicated at home.  And I'm not talking about 3D and vibrating seats.

"When you go see a movie, you're sitting in the dark for two hours with a bunch of strangers."  I had a co-worker who used that phrase to describe movies as being a lesser form of entertainment.  I read an interview with a director in which he used that phrase to describe movies as being a magical experience.  I'll let you decide what it describes.  

2012 is going to be a good year for Spielberg fans, as many of his classic films are coming to Blu-Ray this year.  It's been previously announced that the entire Indiana Jones films are coming to Blu-Ray this fall.  As part of their 100th anniversary celebrations, Universal announced a few months back that Jaws is finally hitting Blu-Ray this August.  And it was announced a week or two ago that E.T. will be hitting Blu-Ray this October. 

Of course, the first question everyone had was, "Will E.T. be the original theatrical version or the 2002 special edition?"  Well, we can rest assured that it will be the original theatrical edition.  It's kind of weird...in many interviews, Spielberg seems almost embarrassed that he made the special edition of E.T.  When asked about which version of the film is his "definitive" version of E.T., he's always quick to say the original theatrical version.  I do kind of hope the Blu-Ray includes the 2002 special edition...for historical completeness and all. 

I might wind up picking up Jaws, too, when it comes out.  I don't think I've ever seen Jaws from beginning to end...I always come in in the middle when its on basic cable.  But I do understand its historical significance.  It really was the first summer blockbuster.  The production model, the distribution model, every big event picture that we have today took its model from Jaws

It's also notable in that the Jaws Blu-Ray is also going to include the documentary The Shark is Still Working.  This documentary has become a legend in its own right.  A documentary about the making of Jaws, made and funded by die-hard fans, and they managed to interview absolutely everyone who was even remotely connected to the making of Jaws.  They say it's one of the most comprehensive documentaries about a film ever made. 

That's one thing I don't understand about Jaws.  It has a massive fandom.  It doesn't seem like the kind of movie that would have a fandom.  It doesn't have spaceships, it doesn't have dragons, it doesn't have the massive, developed internal universe that films with massive fandoms typically have.  But, there it is.  

And then there's Indy...not so sure yet about picking up the Indiana Jones Blu-Rays.  As I've blogged before, I'm not in a big rush to upgrade a lot of my favourite movies to Blu-Ray because I don't have the HDTV yet to fully enjoy them in hi-def.  But if you want to kick a few bucks my way to help my fund, I won't say no.