Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Of Little Legos and Giant Robots

Just because I'm on staycation right now, doesn't mean I'm going to stay home the whole time.  I wanted to see the city!  I love how quiet and deserted the malls are on a weekday afternoon, so of course I had to take advantage of it.  But this time out, I was not content for my usual old West Edmonton Mall.  I wanted to see new sites!  I wanted to see new stores!  I was once again making the perilous journey...to the south side!

For those who remember, about a year ago was when I made my last disastrous journey to Edmonton's south side.  I went to a comic book store I used to love, only to find that it had closed down and moved.  By the time I got back to my car, I saw I got my first parking ticket.  So it just sucked all around.  But, there's a notable new shop at Edmonton's Southgate Centre that I wanted to see.  I gathered up my courage, and once again, I was off to the south side.

I've blogged before about how, now that I live closer to the city, I'm still adjusting to the new travel times.  When I left Westlock, I figured I'd be arriving at Southgate Centre just as it opened at 10AM.  But, lo and behold, I got there at 9:30.  I considered waiting in my car and listening to the radio, but when I saw that the mall's doors were open, I figured I'd wait inside.  So, I just hung out in the mall, waiting for all the stores to open.  It was really interesting being in the mall for that half  hour.  There were janitors cleaning up the place.  There were people rushing off to work and getting their stores open.  And there were people just like me, hanging out, waiting for the stores to open.  Most surprising was there was a tai chi course being taught in the mall's halls.  Wandering around, I accidentally stumbled into one.  Such a lively place so early in the morning. 

But the magic hour soon came, and at 10AM, there was clatter throughout the mall as hundreds of stores threw open their shutters.  The shopping was ready to begin!  But before I went to the one shop I wanted to see, there was some other shopping to do.  First stop was HMV.  It was Tuesday, after all...new DVD day.  My planned purchases for that day were G.I. Joe: Retaliation and the latest DC Comics/Warner Brothers straight-to-DVD movie, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.  Just perfect for spending the rest of my vacation in front of the TV.

Another thing I recently read about was the Shaw store.  Shaw, the cable TV/satellite/Internet provider, is launching their own chain of retail stores.  Getting my cable TV and Internet from Shaw, I thought I'd stop in and see what this store is all about.  Right away, I was greeted by a very friendly clerk.  After I informed her that I was already a Shaw customer, she started asking me about Shaw's Go Wi-Fi service.  Apparently, what Shaw's doing, is they've created their own network of Wi-Fi hotspots all across the country.  And if you're a Shaw customer, it's free to access these spots.  So the friendly clerk showed me how to get my iPhone on their wi-fi network, and to download their special app to locate the hotspots.  It's pretty neat.  I see most of Westlock's downtown is covered, too, so free wi-fi when I'm out walking.

But with that happy little bonus, it was time for the main reason of my journey.  What brought me back to the south side?  The LEGO Store.

Like many corporations these days, LEGO, the world's favourite building toy, now has their own chain of retail stores.  Edmonton's first, and Alberta's second, opened up in Southgate last month.  Having fond memories of LEGO from my youth, I wanted to check it out. 

Licensed properties really has become LEGO's bread and butter over the past few years.  Basic blocks seem to be non-existent.  The old days of three LEGO themes -- Town, Space, and Castle -- are long gone.  Every LEGO set seems to be based on a movie now.  I was looking at the display of Marvel Comics/Iron Man 3 LEGO sets when one of the friendly clerks approached me and asked if I was a Marvel or a DC guy.  I admitted I was more of a DC guy, and she started directing me to the Man of Steel and Batman LEGO sets.  I told her that I was just there to see the shop out of curiosity, and she let me browse.  Very friendly clerks. 

And of course, I had to see their wall.  When I first heard about the LEGO Store, one of the things that caught my eye was that they sell LEGO bricks in bulk.  Their back wall is covered with bins, and in each bin is a different kind of LEGO brick.  If I remember right, it was like $15 for a small cup, $30 for a large cup, and you can just fill it with whatever bricks you need. So if you're building a scale model of Mt. Edith Cavell in your backyard, the LEGO Store can gladly give you all the bricks you need.

With these stores, they have their own set of exclusives, so I was looking at some of their exclusive LEGO sets.  LEGO really is expanding from being a simple children's building toy to a full-blown hobby, as a lot of their LEGO Store exclusives are incredibly intricate models that run a couple hundred dollars.  I guess that's my main complaint.  I was hoping to get a small LEGO set of ~$10, just as a souvenir of this trip, but there were none in that price range.  Lowest priced one I spotted was $20.  I was thinking about raiding the "build your custom LEGO figures" station (a three-pack of LEGO figures you build yourself runs around $12), but being the middle of summer vacation, and this primarily being a children's toy store, the crowd of 6-year olds around it was pretty thick.  So I left empty-handed.

But it's still free to take pictures!  So I snapped some photos of their LEGO exclusives in their front window.

Here's one of their Lord of the Rings exclusives, Saruman's Tower.

Saruman's Tower from Lord of the Rings...in LEGO.

And here's the upscale Town LEGO movie theatre:

The Upscale LEGO Town movie theatre

And with that, I'd seen everything I'd wanted to see at Southgate Centre.  Creature of habit that I am, I was on the freeway, back to the west, and off to West Edmonton Mall.  Nothing I love more than a lunch at the food court.  Sadly, though, my food court lunches have been thrown into a lurch lately.  Creature of habit that I am, I'd usually hit the Taco Bell.  But, the Taco Bell has recently closed.  Hitting the food court is now is like the days of my youth that I once blogged about:  the freedom to have anything.  When Mom would slip me $10 and say, "Get whatever you want!"  The choices I have, now that one of my habits has died.  I was craving poutine, so I hit New York Fries.  And I had regular poutine, not their designer poutines with pulled pork or butter chicken or all that.

Made a quick stop at Chapters, as there's a book out that I wanted to get my hands on.  My hero, "Weird Al" Yankovic, is the latest celebrity who's trying his hand at writing children's books, and he just released his second, entitled My New Teacher and Me!  So, of course, I had to get a copy for my shrine to all things Al. 

And then, movie time!  What film was I off to see?  Well, who can resist the appeal of giant monsters and giant robots that is Pacific Rim?  I had one last free movie pass kicking around that I wanted to use, so I went up to the clerk and presented it.  "Are you sure you want to use that?" the clerk asked.  "It's hot ticket Tuesday.  Tickets are 40% off today."  I was taken aback.  I didn't know the Cineplex chain had brought back Hot Ticket Tuesday.  I used my free pass anyway, because if I didn't, it would get stuck to my fridge and unused for another year.

Pacific Rim Movie Poster

So how was Pacific Rim, the giant monsters vs. giant robots movie from the director of the Hellboy movies?  I thought it was OK.  I'm not going crazy for it the way most of the Internet is.  Near the end, I started realizing that it's pretty much just Independence Day, if giant monsters were the aliens' weapon of choice.  And on top of that, I know it makes the CGI easier, but why do all the fights take place in the rain at night? 

That being said, GIANT MONSTERS VS. GIANT ROBOTS!  It was fun. 

My complete review is up, so swing by my main website and check it out.

And that was one day of my staycation.  I'll probably be doing more stuff as the week goes on, because there's so much left to do! 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Jem and the Flintstones

So, a few weeks ago, after I discovered that I'd watched every known episode of Robot Chicken twice thanks to my PVR, I thought it was time to stop recording it and replace it with something else.  That's when I noticed that TeleToon Retro was showing the first episode of Jem.  Since the beginning is a perfect jumping-on point, I decided to start watching Jem.

For those who've forgotten this gem of the 1980s (pun completely intentional), Jem follows the adventures of Jerrica Benton, president and CEO of Starlight Music.  She also runs the charity Starlight House, a foster home for orphaned girls.  But by night, Jerrica becomes Jem, the world's greatest and most beloved pop star.  She accomplishes this transformation through Synergy, a sentient AI developed by her father that changes her appearance though highly realistic holograms, using the holographic projects concealed in her earrings.

Only three others share this secret:  her bandmates Kimber, Aja, and Shana.  (And Raya starting in season 2.)  As a "wink wink, nudge nudge" to how Jerrica transforms into Jem, they name their band the Holograms.

The typical episode follows Jerrica/Jem as she balances her dual identity and battles with rival band the Misfits for top 40 supremacy.  While the Misfits do it though lying, cheating, and all manner of dirty tricks, Jem and the Holograms do it through kindness, generosity, and fair play, and always win the day.  (I was going to say honesty, too, but because of the whole dual identity thing, that makes honesty kind of hypocritical.)

I was going to wait until I'd seen the entire series before jotting down my thoughts on it, but I saw one episode recently that's been sticking with me.  It's called Glitter and Gold.  This must be one that troubles Jem fans.  I remember back in the early days of the Internet, my best friend (a much bigger Jem fan than I) was on one of the first Jem message boards, and they were already deconstructing this episode.

The episode opens with Jerrica hard at work, supervising some of Starlight Music's new acts, and the tabloids are still posing the question, "Where is Jem?"  Apparently, Jem hasn't been seen in some time, and the Jem and the Holograms haven't put out an album in "forever," as one character puts it.  And whenever someone questions Jerrica about the whereabouts of Jem, she gets testy and quick to change the subject.

Right there, I want to see the "Jem No More" story.  I want to see what happened that made Jerrica decide Jem needed to disappear for a while. 

We do get some hints of this when Jerrica converses with Synergy for some advice.  Turns out she gave Jem a break because she was actually getting jealous of Jem and all the fame and attention she receives.  "I know it sounds strange, but I'm actually jealous of myself," she confides.  And this jealousy is personified in Rio.  Oh, did I not mention Rio?  Rio is Jerrica's boyfriend, and Jem's road manager.  While trying to stay faithful to Jerrica, Rio finds himself mysteriously drawn to Jem, especially when Jem occasionally returns his advances.  As the series goes on, you'll eventually see there's no logical reason for Jerrica to keep her dual identity a secret from Rio.  And, at this moment, she starts to think that way.  She has Synergy whip up a holographic simulation of Rio so she can practice revealing her true identity.  The simulation ends with Rio losing his shit and going on an angry rant about how he doesn't like liars.  Jerrica, assuring herself that this is just a simulation, resolves to tell Rio the truth.

Meanwhile, Kimber of the Holograms, absent-mindedly made two different dates with two different guys at the same time.  The two guys start brawling, and interrupt Jerrica and Rio's tender moment.  Once they get to the bottom of things, Rio goes off on Kimber about how he doesn't like liars, and his angry rant is pretty much exactly the same as Synergy's simulation.  Traumatized by this, Jerrica changes her mind about revealing her true identity, and this frustrates Rio and he storms off, being sure to kick over a houseplant on his way out to express his anger.

Back in the plot, this big chain of record stores has announced its annual "Glitter and Gold" contest.  Whichever band is the first to have an album go gold though this chain of stores wins.  The Misfits are already in the contest, but with Jem MIA, there's currently no other pop star that can offer realistic competition.   Jerrica and the Holograms show up to pitch some other Starlight Music bands for the contest, but before they go in, they overhear the Misfits going on and on about how overrated Jem was anyway, and how Jerrica must be a pretty crappy manager for driving the #1 pop star in the world into hiding.  Still angry with Rio, and hearing both of her good names being trashed by the Misfits, Jerrica can't stand it anymore.  She Hulks out, transforming herself into Jem, and announcing that Jem and the Holograms will be competing against the Misfits in the Glitter and Gold competition.

Jem and the Holograms quickly pump out a new album.  Wanting to make sure that they get into the competition without a hitch, Jerrica personally supervises the final shipment of albums.  But the Misfits' hired goons show up to hijack said shipment, and Jerrica is saved by Rio, leading to their reconcilliation.  And Rio assures Jerrica by saying, "Just because I get angry sometimes, doesn't mean I don't stop caring."

And see, this is why this episode is sticking with me.  I'm no relationship expert, but doesn't this just seem like all the hallmarks of an abusive relationship?  He gets mad at her, punches around the furniture, and then comes back with bullshit like, "Hey, even though you make me do these horrible things, I still love you."  Maybe that's why Jerrica keeps her dual identity from Rio:  she's developing a split personality to deal with the abuse.

And then the rest of the episode follows the Glitter and Gold contest as Jem and the Holograms and the Misfits watch the album sales to see which of their albums will be the first to go gold.  It all comes down to the wire, with all the stores in the chain selling out, and Jem and the Misfits are tied at 499,999.  Rio tries to make the grand romantic gesture by buying the final Jem album, but he's disqualified for being a Starlight Music employee.  We then get a fake-out when a customer buys one of each album.  The next album sold will be the tiebreaker.  But there's only Misfits albums left!  So Rio quickly returns his album so there's a Jem album back on the shelves.  The Misfits hard-sell tactics backfire, the final Jem album is sold, Jem and the Holograms win, and Jerrica/Jem has resolved her dual identity for another week.

This episode is just very unusual, especially in the way it tries to develop the Jem/Jerrica/Rio love triangle.  As I said, Rio just comes across as an abusive jerk, which adds a somewhat disturbing element.  Other than that, the final Glitter and Gold competition just seems, well, typical of the stuff on the show.  I don't know man, it's just...weird.

There's two TV shows I was literally raised on.  And what I mean by that is they were on at the same time, every day, and I watched them at the same time, every day, from my earliest conscious memories of television to when I became a legal adult at age 18.  And those two TV shows are The Flintstones and M*A*S*H

About 10 years ago, semi-delirious with the flu, I jotted down that The Flintstones was the greatest TV series ever made, and if they ever released it on DVD, I'd totally buy it.  So a couple of weeks ago, I saw that Amazon.ca's Deal of the Day was The Flintstones: The Complete Series, for the low, low price of $40.  I could not say no to that.  I know own every episode of The Flintstones.  It arrived back on Friday, and I spent a good portion of my weekend watching random episodes of The Flintstones.

Some of the ones I watched:

The Drive-In - Sick and tired of workin' for the Man, Fred and Barney quit their jobs and go into business for themselves, buying a drive-in restaurant.  But of course, they have to keep this from Wilma and Betty until they start making money at it, cuz they know they'd freak out.  But of course, Wilma and Betty grow suspicious when Fred and Barney start auditioning young women for Water Buffalo play.  In reality, they're hiring waitresses.  Who sing and dance.  Who doesn't love this song?

The Hit Songwriters - Another episode I remember fondly because of the music.  Fred, sick and tired of workin' for the Man, is inspired by the love poems that Barney writes for Betty, and tries to turn them into hit songs.  Bring in a cameo by legendary composer Hoagy Carmichael to help bring Fred's idea to fruition, and we do get a good song.  As Mr. Carmichael tells Fred at the end of the episode, only one out of every 5000 published songs becomes a bonafide hit.

Little Bamm Bamm - The one where the Rubbles adopt Bamm Bamm.  There's a surprisingly large amount of drama in this episode.  Jealous of all the attention the Rubbles lavish on Pebbles, Fred angrily tells them to "get their own baby."  The Rubbles head home, and have a tearful conversation in which it's heavily implied that they can't have children.  They wish upon a falling star for a child of their own, and the next morning, Bamm Bamm has been left on their doorstep.  Thrilled that they have a child of their own, but knowing that they have to do this properly and legally, the Rubbles take Bamm Bamm down to child services to see about adopting him.  Child services takes Bamm Bamm, and after all the necessary paperwork, decide to adopt out Bamm Bamm to the billionaire Stonyfellers.  Betty and Barny decide to fight this in court, but they're horrified when the Stonyfellers hire ace lawyer "Perry Masonry."  (I once read one TV critic write that what made The Flintstones so famous in its day was it was one of the first shows to do pop culture references.)  The Rubbles lose, and Barney walks away, suicidal.  However, at the end of the case, Mr. Stonyfeller reveals that his wife is pregnant.  This news causes the Stonyfellers to relinquish their claim to Bamm Bamm, leaving the Rubbles free to adopt him.  Fred stops Barney right before he attempts suicide, the Rubbles adopt Bamm Bamm, and they live happily ever after!  Seeing a suicidal Barney is somewhat shocking, and there's a lot of pathos.  And that makes it a stand-out episode.

So, yeah.  There's going to be lots of Flintstones ramblings in the near future.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Quigley Down Under

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly look at one of the many movies in my collection.  This week, we get to a fondly-remembered western from 1990, Quigley Down Under.  This is dated in my notes at November 2, 2012. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

I'm so pleased to finally be able to share this year.  Back on October 27, 2012, when I'd finished writing this entry of Fishing in the Discount Bin, I took a step back and though, "Wow.  This is the bitterest thing I've ever written."   Today, for my weekly peek at one one of the movies in my video library, we get to Steven Spielberg's magnum opus, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Monday, July 15, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks Trailer

I haven't taken the time in a while to blog about a trailer and just geek out over it, but I thought I'd do that today with the trailer for Saving Mr. Banks.  I'm fascinated by the stories behind the making of movies, and being a Disney fan, it's doubly neat when we get to see the Disney creative process.

Saving Mr. Banks is all about the making of Disney's Mary Poppins, and the feud that arose between Walt Disney and Mary Poppins' creator P.L. Travers over the making of the film.  Long story short:  Travers wanted the film to some dark, faithful to her original novel, and historically accurate to the book's Edwardian setting.  And Disney wanted to make, well, a Disney film.  As is the way with most Hollywood biographies, it looks like the tale was whitewashed somewhat, as in real life, Travers was still bitterly disappointed with the final film and refused to allow any of her other works to be filmed.

Also briefly touched upon in the trailer is that a good deal of the film is a biography on Travers, focusing on her childhood and her relationship with her father.  Her father was the basis for the character of Mr. Banks in Mary Poppins.

For the film, Disney has assembled an all-star cast.  Disney is being played by Tom Hanks.  Travers is being played by Emma Thompson.  B.J. Novak (still best remembered as Ryan on The Office) and Wes Anderson film regular Jason Schwartzman play legendary Disney songwriters the Sherman Brothers, Paul Giamatti plays Travers' assistant Ralph, British pop star and actress Victoria Summer plays Julie Andrews, and, in flashbacks, Colin Farrell plays Travers' father.  Behind the cameras, the director is John Lee Hancock, who directed The Blind Side, aka that football movie that won Sandra Bullock her Oscar.

It looks interesting.  As I said, I'm curious as to how much Disney has cleaned up the tale to make it more, well, Hollywood.  Plus, also, thanks to Mad Men and the like, I'm just starting to love that whole 1960s aesthetic.  I'm very, very curious.

We don't have a movie poster to share yet, but we do have this first official picture from the film.  Walt Disney gives P.L. Travers a personal tour of Disneyland in an attempt to win her over.

Walt Disney and PL Travers tour Disneyland.  Disney, played by Tom Hanks, gleefully waves hello to the crowds.  Travers, played by Emma Thompson, looks unimpressed.

Saving Mr. Banks hits theatres on December 13.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Birthday Tunes

So, it was my birthday a week ago, and to treat myself, I went on a bit of a shopping spree on iTunes, spending 5 whole dollars!  As you know, I love film scores, and some times, soundtrack albums consist of just 1 totally awesome piece of score, and 11 crappy pop songs.  And then I realized, thanks to iTunes, I could buy that 1 piece of awesome score and skip the rest.  So I decided to finally go for it and grab a few that I'd been eying on iTunes.  And since I feel that music must be shared, I'm sharing my purchases on my blog.

What did I get?

Opening Titles from Crocodile Dundee - composed by Peter Best

Always love this.  It has a great "descending into wilderness" vibe to it.

The Captain America March from Captain America - composed by Alan Silvestri

Alan Silvestri is one of the best composers working today.  Of course, I still fondly remember his stuff from the 1980s, believing his Back to the Future score to be the stuff of legend.  With the glut of superhero films, I was waiting to hear him tackle a superhero theme, and I got my wish when he did the music for Captain America.  For some reason, The Captain America March -- which is the end credits music for Captain America -- didn't appear on the actual soundtrack album.  Too bad, because it's when Silvestri's "Captain America Theme" sounds its biggest and most heroic.

Can You Dig It? (Main Titles from Iron Man 3) - composed by Brain Tyler

In my opinion, though, there aren't a lot of great superhero themes out there, as most movie music just start to sound the same after a while.  So I was pleasantly surprised by Brian Tyler's music for Iron Man 3.  While it wasn't anything spectacular, at least Tyler finally gave us a good heroic theme for Iron Man that I could pick out of the score.  And Can You Dig It?, the variation of Tyler's Iron Man theme that plays over the end credits, is big and jazzy and beautiful.

007 - composed by John Barry

John Barry did the music for the majority of James Bond films, and is long accredited with creating Bond's musical style.  For the first James Bond movie he composed in its entirety, the second Bond movie From Russia With Love, Barry created a special "action theme" to accompany the James Bond films' biggest action sequences.  He called this theme 007, and he slipped it into most of James Bond scores, ending with Moonraker in 1979, as he felt the theme was starting to sound kind of dated.  That being said, 007 has firmly established itself as another piece of iconic James Bond music.

Finale from The Lone Ranger - composed by Hans Zimmer;contains exerts of The William Tell Overture composed by Gioachino Rossini.

For my birthday movie this year, I saw The Lone Ranger, and as I said in my earlier review, what really made the film for me was the climactic train chase.  What really enhanced the scene is it's in the only time in the film that The William Tell Overture (pop culturally known as "the Lone Ranger Theme") is used in a gigantic, epic way.  And of course, Hans Zimmer and his team do their thing to it to turn it into a modern day action score.  I'll probably wind up buying the entire soundtrack for the Lone Ranger, as I did enjoy Zimmer's score for the Sherlock Holmes films, and Zimmer's score for The Lone Ranger does come across as Sherlock Holmes sampling William Tell.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Avengers

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly look at one of the DVDs I own.  Thanks to how long it takes me to transfer an entry from my notes to the blog, we seem to be getting into the big summer blockbusters of last year.  We now arrive at the biggest superhero movie of last year, The Avengers.  This entry is dated in my notes at October 15, 2012.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Lone Ranger Review is Up! (And some various other ramblings)

Well, it's that time of year again.  It's my birthday, and that means the annual tradition of my birthday movie.  Just my thing...been going to see a movie on my birthday ever since I was 11 years old.  And earlier in the week, my parents called me up and said, "Hey, wanna meet up in Spruce Grove so we can buy you dinner, take you to a movie, and shower you with presents?"  How can a guy say no to that?

I don't frequent Spruce Grove that much, preferring to go straight into Edmonton, but it's become my parents' main hub, so it made sense to meet them there.  And watching a movie in Spruce Grove meant going to their newish Empire Theatres multiplex on their East end.  (I say "newish" because I think it's like three years old, now.)  I'd driven past it enough times, so I was eager to kick the tires on it.  It's almost an older-style multiplex.  I mean, it doesn't have the curved screens and stadium seating like you'll find in the newer gigantic multiplexes that you find in Edmonton.  It reminded me more of the theatres I frequented in my childhood and teen years.  It was a little nostalgia-inducing.  And it was few bucks cheaper than Edmonton, too, so it just might become a regular haunt.

So how was The Lone Ranger?  I've always had a soft spot for the character.  My earliest conscious memories of television are reruns of the ol' Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels show.  YTV showed the old cartoon in its early years, and I remember watching it.  I was kind of excited when it was announced that Disney got the rights to the character and they were putting their Pirates of the Caribbean team in charge.  But the the stories started.  It was a troubled production.  They shut down the film for a few months while they figured out how to reduce the budget.  There was a leaked early script that said the Lone Ranger and Tonto would be fighting werewolves.  But the final product is here.

And...it's actually pretty good.  There's some great action scenes.  I mean, the climactic train chase is a showstopper.  It's a beautiful action scene. 

That being said, the film does get rather strange.  There's killer bunny rabbits.  The villain, Butch Cavendish, is a cannibal.  One of Cavendish's gang appears to be a transvestite.  Silver, also, has his own eccentricities, always mysteriously appearing on rooftops and in trees and such.  Whenever it got into stuff like that, it loses me. 

And how about Johnny Depp as Tonto.  Many described Depp's take as "Capt. Jack Sparrow in the Old West," and I'd say that's a fair description.  Over the years, to politically correct the Lone Ranger, they've made Tonto more of an equal partner rather than a sidekick.  This film takes things one step further, where the Lone Ranger is a city boy who's kind of new to the ways of the West, and Tonto becomes his mentor to forge him into this mighty instrument of law and order.  But Johnny Depp gets so Johnny Deppish, that sometimes it ventures into that strangeness I mentioned above.

Armie Hammer is good, though, as John Reid/The Lone Ranger, coming home from the big city to be the new states attorney, and soon quickly learning that there's more to justice in the Old West than what can be done in the courtroom.  It's fun watching his evolution from the city slicker to the legend of the Old West.

So, yeah.  I liked it.  But it just gets so darn strange at times. 

I've got a complete review over at my website, so click on over to read that.

I think I threw my parents for a loop at the end of the film.  At the end of the film, we were approached by this guy on his way out.  He addressed me, my parents, and, well, pretty much everyone sitting in our row and issued the challenge:  "I don't suppose any of you know what the name of Tonto's horse is?"  I shocked him and my parents when I responded with the right answer.  "Wow," said this random stranger.  "I was telling my wife that I was probably the only guy in the theatre who knew that."  So, yeah.  A vast knowledge of useless trivia can be handy from time to time.

After the film, it was time to indulge my father in one of his eccentricities, in that all movies must be followed by an ice cream treat.  Rather than Dairy Queen, though, Dad took us to the Marble Slab Creamery.  I hadn't tried them before, but I had read about them, when they were aggressively expanding about 5 years ago.  They specialize in hard ice cream, and their gimmick is once you've chosen your ice cream, they spread it out on a marble slab (oh, so that's where they get the name) and they mush in your "mixins," things like nuts and candies and good stuff like that.  I decided to sample their "Raspberry Cheesecake."  They've got cheesecake-flavoured ice cream, and then they mush in raspberries and and graham crackers.  It was very good.

I'll have to try them again, someday, because I noticed they actually had green tea flavoured ice cream.  I hadn't seen that since Japan.  I was hesitant to choose that because I didn't know what a good "mixin" would be to go with that.   But next time, I shall be more adventurous!

Now, you might be wondering why this all went down on the day before my birthday instead of my birthday proper.  Well, I've got a work thing to be at today.  That's one of the things that sucks about being a grown up.  When I was a kid, and my birthday was right there at the stat of summer vacation, it was so awesome because I had the day off and could do whatever I wanted.  But now, work and such and having your birthday be a day off is so few and far between. 

But hey.  That's life.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Spy Who Loved Me

Welcome back to Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly watch of something in my DVD collection, followed by a blog ranting about it.  Today, we return to the world of James Bond with The Spy Who Loved Me.  This is dated in my notes at October 13, 2012.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Where Has The Whale Gone?

The Whale Statue in West Edmonton Mall

A few years ago, West Edmonton Mall was blessed by being one of the few places in Canada to get a full Victoria's Secret store.  One hitch, though.  With all these ladies fashion places, they need a place for the bored husbands and boyfriends to sit.  So, as part of West Edmonton Mall's renovations, their beloved whale statue/fountain was removed and a seating area put in its place.

Here's the blog entry I wrote about it at the time.

So, a couple days ago, I was at West Edmonton Mall, just hanging out, catching Monsters University, and as I roamed those sacred halls of commerce, I took to twitter to share my thoughts.

So yesterday, I decided to do exactly that.  I went poking around West Edmonton Mall's website until I found their media contact numbers, and I sent them an e-mail wondering how things are going with the whale statue.  At the time, we were told the statue would be refurbished and put in another section of the mall.  So, I asked, "How's that coming?"

Today, I received a response from Sheri Clegg, one of the Mall's media relations people.  And here's what she had to say:

"The whale remains in storage while renovations to the Mall continue.

At this time no decision has been made as to where the whale will be relocated although a number of options are being considered."

So they're still working on it.  Patience is still called for, and once again I'll be able to toss pennies into the whale fountain.

Oh, wait.  They got rid of the penny.  So I'll toss in nickles.  The value of my wishes will go up accordingly.