Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Here we go again, on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie and blog about it.  It's just that simple.  It's time to start plowing through one of the bigger trilogies of the past few years.  It's part I of The Hobbit trilogy, An Unexpected Journey.  This is in my notes at April 11, 2015.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Tusk

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about one of the movies I own.  We get to one of my favourite directors, and his most recent opus, Tusk.  This is originally in my notes at March 8, 2015.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Let's Listen to the Star Wars Christmas Album

At the start of the month, I was perusing some of those "geek gift guides" that many websites put together, I discovered that Amazon was releasing an exclusive limited edition version of Christmas in the Stars, aka the Star Wars Christmas album.  I immediately thought to myself, "I must have this."  A couple of mouse clicks, and a week later, I had my copy.

The Christmas in the Star album cover...drawn by legendary Star Wars artist Ralph McQuarrie!

Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album isn't viewed with as much revulsion as its television counterpart.  The album is viewed more as a curio of its time, and celebrated for its kitsch value.  Whereas the TV special gets all the heat, the album was allowed to exist mostly unnoticed.  I first heard about it in the mid-1990s.  I read an article in the paper listing some of the more unusual Christmas albums ever produced, and it was near the top of the list.

Here's a great article I discovered last year detailing how it came to be.  The short version is this.  There once was a record producer called Meco, who had great success with a disco cover of the Star Wars theme.  Naturally, he approached George Lucas about doing another Star Wars album.  Since one of the quickest and easiest cash grabs is the Christmas album, Meco pitched a Christmas album.  Lucas signed off, and they got to work.  Pretty much the only cast member they could afford was Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, so the album revolves around droids.  It hit stores in time for the holiday season of 1980 and sold quite well, but sadly, the record label went bankrupt before they could do a second run, and it quickly faded into obscurity.  It was re-discovered in the mid-1990s when legendary record label Rhino released it on CD as part of the Special Editions hype.

Needless to say, this has been my holiday jam this year, so I thought I'd just take a moment to go through it track-by-track.

1.  Christmas in the Stars

Our kick-off to the album.  It's our standard "rushing around, getting ready for Christmas" kind of song, as C-3PO rattles off his Christmas list.  It also sets up the loose plot for the album, as R2-D2 and C-3PO introduce us to a group of toy-making droids (whom I'll refer to from here on out as "The Droid Choir") frantically making toys for the mysterious "S. Claus."   It's big and broad and evocative of TV specials of the era.

2.  Bells, Bells, Bells

In this one, R2-D2 hears some Christmas bells, and beeps that he's unfamiliar with this thing known as a "bell."  So, C-3PO bounces into this little ditty describing all the different bells of the world.  It's kind of funny as we learn how many simple concepts are alien to R2.

3.  The Odds Against Christmas

As we all know, C-3PO loves to calculate the odds, so here he calculates the odds of Christmas being Christmas.  It's full of silly rhymes and is kind of mellow.  I find it rather "meh."

4.  What Do You Get a Wookie for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?)

This is the one track I remember being specifically mentioned in that article where I first learned of the Star Wars Christmas album.  That title alone raises eyebrows.  This one is sung by the Droid Choir, as they try to figure out what to get our beloved Star Wars characters, but are stumped when it comes to Chewbacca.  If there's one thing I learned from the songs on this album -- this one in particular -- the only thing that rhymes with "Wookie" is "Cookie."  This is a classic, cash-in kids song, full of silly voices and silly rhymes and general silliness.

5.  R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas

And here's where the album gets its biggest claim to fame.  C-3PO presents his Christmas presents to R2-D2, which is a choir singing Christmas wishes to R2.  And the soloist in that choir is a young man named John Bongiovi, now better known by his stage name Jon Bon Jovi.  As the legend goes, his cousin actually owned the recording studio where they cut this album, so his cousin pulled some strings to get the young Bon Jovi on the album, in the hopes it would lead to his big break.  It's officially Jon Bon Jovi's first professional recording.  It's a fun song, as the kids sing about how much they love R2.  I wonder...has any late-night talk show host reunited Jon Bon Jovi with R2 and 3PO to preform it live?  Sounds like something Jimmy Fallon would do.

6.  Sleigh Ride

After hearing his song from the children, R2 is intrigued by this concept of "singing."  So, with some new lyrics to Sleigh Ride, 3PO tries to teach R2 how to sing.  Hands down, this is my favourite one in the album.  I don't know how much involvement Ben Burtt -- the sound effects guru of Star Wars -- had to do with this album, but they sure get R2 beeping in time with the music just perfectly.  I loved watching the Droids cartoon when I was a kid, and I can't help but imagine this a segment in a never-produced Droids holiday special.  It just captures the characters of R2-D2 and C-3PO so perfectly, and in a Christmas song, and it's so bouncy and fun.

7.  Merry, Merry Christmas

Another one by the Droid Choir, as they sing about some of the toys they're building for kids all across the galaxy.  Ya know, it's cute things like a baseball that throws itself, and a toy robot that falls asleep.  And even though it's about 17 years before it's time, even Harry Potter's invisibility cloak gets a mention.  Much like track #4, it's pure kids album fodder, with silly rhymes and silly voices.  Oh, and as a callback to track #4, we find out that you get a Wookie a brush.

8.  A Christmas Sighting ('Twas the Night Before Christmas)

Seeing as to how S. Claus always come when the Droid Choir is in low-power mode for the night, the Droid Choir begins to doubt the existence of S. Claus.  But, C-3PO restores their faith with the tale of how he saw S. Claus one year, and 3PO reads his own rendition of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.  The classic poem isn't drastically re-written to make it Star Wars friendly, and makes me curious to hear Anthony Daniels do a straight version of the poem.  It doesn't reinvent the wheel too much, which is nice.

9.  The Meaning of Christmas

Oh!  It's time for Linus to call for the spotlight and tell us the true meaning of Christmas.  But instead of Linus, the mysterious S. Claus finally shows up.  And in our big twist, it turns out that S. Claus is actually the son of Santa Claus.  (He explains that there's far too many children in all the galaxies for his father, so he helps out.)  Of course, this is a rare opportunity, so 3PO asks S. Claus to explain the true meaning of Christmas.  It's funny...reading that article that I linked to up above, the producer's original concept was to have Yoda read the story of the birth of Christ.  Two things happened that nixed that idea:  Frank Oz couldn't do it, because he was deep in production on the next Muppet movie, and George Lucas vetoed the idea, because he wanted the main religion in Star Wars to be the Force, not Christianity.  So, S. Claus tells us the true meaning of Christmas is your standard Christmas special stuff:  generosity, kindness, peace on Earth, stuff like that.  The longest track on the album at 9 minutes, this could have easily been cut down.  But, with its huge orchestral backing, it almost sounds like a rejected Disney renaissance power ballad.  

All in all, like most Christmas albums, it's fun, but mostly forgettable.  But let's just focus on the fun.

Hey, look!  Someone posted it on YouTube, so here it is for your enjoyment.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

So. Star Wars.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Well, the day has come.  Three short years ago, our collective jaws dropped when it was announced that Disney bought Lucasfilm and they'd be giving us Episode VII in 2015.  It's been three manic years of Internet rumours and speculation, and the it is finally here.

Even though it's only been out for two days, I feel like the last person on Earth who's finally gotten around to seeing it.  I've gotten tweets and texts from people who were there at the midnight shows, sending me gushing reviews.  But the only ones I was looking forward to were from my two best friends.

One currently lives in France, where it premiered on Wednesday, and she's already seen it twice.  I saw all the prequels with her.  Her succinct review:  "I liked it...but it was no Jupiter Ascending."

The other is spending his Christmas vacation in Japan.  I really wanted to know his opinion, because during the prequels, he was the biggest Star Wars fan going.  His thoughts?  "It feels like the first half of a movie...but it's a great first half."  I was a little stunned when he said he actually preferred the prequels a little bit.  What he loved the most about the prequels was the world-building.  He was inspired by those films to read all the novels and comic books and play all the video games because he wanted to know more about this gigantic world that had been created.  He was dying to know the back story of every cool-looking background character with just two lines of dialogue.  But Force Awakens...not so much.

So I bought my ticket online a few months ago for the Scotiabank Theatre in West Edmonton Mall...the same theatre where I saw all the prequels.  What can I say?  I'm old and set in my ways.  It's just not a Star Wars movie unless that 30 foot tall Yoda hanging from the ceiling is watching over me.

Because of the Disney buyout of Lucasfilm, I was wondering what we'd get to start it off instead of the 20th Century Fox fanfare.  I was surprised that it was just the Lucasfilm logo and silence.  And then...the classic John Williams music.  The title.  The opening crawl.  And I felt the same giddiness I had in 1999 when I first saw The Phantom Menace:  "Holy crap.  It's a new Star Wars movie."

I was surprised at how much more emotional this film was.  I never really noticed the wooden acting in the prequels that much.  But in the Force Awakens, are new characters are so loose and they're talking like real people and the have real struggles and desires...the characters feel real.

I love our new characters.  Rey, who's searching for her place.  Finn, who has a crisis of conscience.  And even our villain, Kylo Ren, who has the struggle that he's not really as evil as he wants to be.  How crazy is that?  A bad guy who's upset that he's not completely bad.  

I felt the same joy I did with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull:  the joy that Harrison Ford showed up.  He's not Mr. Sleepy-Mumbles, as he is in all his film these days.  He is Han Solo again, and it's magical.  And when Carrie Fisher comes back again as General Leia.  The nostalgia goes up to overdrive to see them again.

Do I have quibbles?  Yeah...the plot is very reminiscent of Star Wars, or A New Hope to some.  Same problem I had with the prequels, and even The Hobbit when compared to Lord of the Rings.  In franchises like this, there seems to be that desire to match up the story beats with the corresponding film in the previous trilogy.  And this matches just a little too closely.  And it's great to hear John Williams do new Star Wars music again, but there's no catchy new theme that I find myself humming.  (But to be fair, people had that complaint with Return of the Jedi and the prequels...save for Duel of the Fates.)

But when we got that traditional iris out at the end and the end credits start rolling, I did something that I did not expect.  Something that the prequels never did to me.  I started crying.  I started crying, you guys, from a Star Wars movie.  I did not expect to get that invested in this film.

It's just so good you guys.  So good.  Star Wars is back.

4 nibs.  My more traditional review is up on my website.

What follows is the traditional rambling BS I blog when I get home from a day in the city, so feel free to check out now.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Robin Hood (the 1973 Disney Animated one)

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about one of the (too) many movies I own.  We return to the realm of Disney animation with their 1973 talking animal version of Robin Hood.  This pops up in my notes at March 7, 2015.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Star Trek Beyond Trailer

Wowie wow!  There have been so many great new movie trailers released over the past few weeks, as they all jockey for a slot in front of The Force Awakens.  Every time I think, "I'm going to sit and blog about this one!" another one comes along and I think, "OK, I'll wait until they're all released and just blog about all of them!"

Here's my brief thoughts on all of them:
But one finally came along where I have to put fingers to keyboard and blog about it.  And that's Star Trek Beyond.

Even though I'm all obsessed with the new Star Wars coming out this Friday, my first fandom is still Star Trek.  In fact, it's because of Star Trek that my hopes for The Force Awakens are somewhat...tempered.  "I have faith in J.J. Abrams!" one of my friends commented.  My response to that was, "Yeah, last time I did that I got Star Trek Into Darkness."

OK, here's my thoughts on the Star Trek reboot.  I love, love love the 2009 reboot.  I swear, there's more raw emotion in that pre-credits sequence than in all of the Next Generation films.  When I saw it in the theatre, and Michael Giacchino's score swelled, and we saw the Starfleet logo filling the whole of the screen, I got goosebumps.  Finally, my beloved Trek was getting the grand, epic big screen treatment I knew it deserved.

And a lot of that is thanks to J.J. Abrams.  He admits, he knew nothing about Star Trek when Paramount gave him the project.  All he knew was it was the thing with Kirk and Spock.  So when Paramount asked him what he'd do, he said, "Kirk and Spock...and how they met?"  Brilliant!  That's a story that's never been told, and a fresh perspective on the material.

But, I loathe Star Trek Into Darkness.  I was willing to forgive it.  I was willing to go along with it.  But then...one moment happened that pulled me out of the film completely.  You know the one I'm talking about, right?

Yup.  The death of Kirk and Spock yelling out, "Khan!"  What could have been a clever twist on a classic scene from The Wrath of Khan was executed horribly.  What happened was they took one of the most poignant death scenes in Star Trek, mashed it up with one of its cheeziest moments, and dropped it into the film with all the subtlety of a Family Guy cutaway gag.

What we discovered about J.J. Abrams was, like a lot of directors who don't know what to do with Star Trek, all he did was give us a half-assed rehash of Wrath of Khan.

So he got wooed away by Lucasfilm to work on that other franchise with "Star" in the name.  Good.  After the Into Darkness debacle, some new blood was needed.  And we found a new director in Justin Lin, who gave us The Fast and the Furious 3, 4, 5, and 6.  OK...not the typical director we were hoping for.  But hey...he's got blockbuster experience.  And they got Idris Elba to play the villain!  He's good in everything!  Simon Pegg, Scotty himself, and a bonafide super-fan in real life, got drafted to write the screenplay!  He's got geek-friendly writer cred.  He's one of the creators of Spaced, after all.

Cautious optimism was winning the day!  But then, it dropped.  The first trailer for Star Trek Beyond.

No. No. No. No. No.

This is not Star Trek.  Where's the Kirk struggling with rigors of middle age, like in Wrath of Khan?  Where's Picard, struggling to not get consumed with vengeance, like in First Contact?

There's none of that.  Instead we get...dirt bikes?  DIRT BIKES?  A dirt bike race in a Star Trek movie?  Witty one liners?  Random guys punching random aliens? 

This is not Star Trek.  This is Big Dumb Science Fiction Action Movie #378.

Star Trek Beyond rapes my childhood on July 22.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

News from Markworld: 2015 Edition

As always, here is my annual Christmas newsletter that I send out with my Christmas cards, lest those friends whom I've drifted apart from may be googling my name one night, wondering whatever happened to me.

News from Markworld: The Chaos in a Box Newsletter

Good day,

Mark Cappis here, with his annual holiday form letter letting you know all the exciting things that happened to me in the year just ended, 2015!  An ancient curse says, “May you lead an interesting life.”  In that case, I must be blessed, for my life in 2015 was quite uninteresting.

You’ll still find me up in Westlock, Alberta, as the afternoon host for 97.9 the Range.  That’s just half of my job, as the other half is the music director for the Range and our sister station 93.5 Prairie-FM in High Prairie.  (“Music director,” for those who don’t know the radio biz, is the guy who actually picks the music a station plays.)  The job still throws the occasional challenge at me.  For example, we’re getting ready to switch to a new computer system, so I’ve spent the past few months starting to pave the way and get everything ready for it. 

In other news, I finally got my car paid off, and with that, am finally debt free.  The question now is whether to start building up that debt again by taking on a mortgage and buying a house, or just continue enjoying my little ol’ 2-bedroom apartment. 

Did manage to get in a bit of a summer vacation, as I accompanied my parents to the Whitehorse Wildland Provincial Park south of Hinton.  Did some hiking, enjoyed the Rocky Mountains, and just enjoyed being in the wilderness.

Perhaps my greatest personal triumph, though, was finally rebuilding my website, chaosinabox.com.  While it was originally made with the finest HTML that 2003 had to offer, it was starting to get rather dated.  So, with the help of a friend, I installed WordPress (the Internet’s favourite DIY web design software), and burned off two weeks of unused vacation time rebuilding chaosinabox.com.  You can actually listen to my podcast streaming at the website now.  I recovered and re-posted all of my movie reviews, extending back to 1998, and you can now search and re-read my original blog, which ran from 1999 to 2006.
All in all, it was a quiet year, spent in manic anticipation of the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.  It’s in theatres now, and by the time you read this, I’ll probably have seen it three times. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and May the Force be With You!


Me on vacation

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Begin the Blitz

Well, that's become the tradition for me, hasn't it?  Spend a day in the city, and sit to blog about it.  I'm not really sure I need to get into it that much, because I'm sure that your days in the city are pretty much the same these days:  time to do the Christmas shopping.  I'm not as far along as I'd like to be.  It seems like my past few Saturdays have been filled with Christmas functions I needed to attend on behalf of the station.  What's this?  Another thing where I have to look pretty and sit at a table that the station got through one of its sponsorship deals and eat free food all in the name of the Company?  My job is so hard, you guys. 

Well, as fun as those are and as good as the free food is, they do eat up a lot of the Saturdays I'd spend Christmas shopping.  However, I have been lucky this year in that I've been able to take care of a lot of my Christmas shopping locally.  It's always those one or two things for those hard-to-shop-for people that task me, though.  So, off to the city for me, and as always, straight to West Edmonton Mall.  As Mom figured out when I was younger, if you can't find it at the Mall, you probably can't find it at all. 

As I roamed the Mall, growing more and more crowded in these days leading up to Christmas, I was almost at peace.  Whenever I went to the Mall this past year, it was always with an infinite sadness.  I'd see so many nice things I wanted, but I know I couldn't afford because of my circumstances, but not this time.  Maybe it was because I was so focused on Christmas shopping that I didn't have time to fret.  Maybe I have a yuletide faith that things will work out in the end.  Maybe I was able to relax because, as I went down my list, I realized I'm further along than I actually thought I was.  Either way, this particular round of Christmas shopping was almost relaxing. 

Anyway, Christmas shopping is mostly done.  Just two items left, and if I can't find them in Westlock, I can snatch them up next week when I'm back in for The Force Awakens

But before Star Wars, an appetizer.  I do so love the animated films of Pixar, and this year we've been blessed with two Pixar films!  After Inside Out came out this summer and had us all going, "Pixar is back!" would they be able to continue the streak with The Good Dinosaur?

In an alternate timeline where dinosaurs and humans co-existed, we're introduced to a family of farmers...who are apatosauruses.  The youngest one on the farm is Arlo, who's nervous and jittery and afraid of everything.  While endearing at first, it starts to get annoying as Arlo gets older.  His dad takes him out hunting one day to hep Arlo get over his fears, but Arlo falls into a swift-moving river and is swept miles and miles downstream.  Now, it's up to Arlo to make his way home.  Joining him is a caveboy he names Spot, and they embark on an odyssey that takes them through many natural disasters, some fanatical pterodactyls, assisting some T-Rex ranchers, and even overcoming their personal losses.  Will Arlo finally conquer his fears and make it home?

There's a lot of clever ideas at play.  At its core, this film is a Western, and there's a lot of Western tropes at play.  I mean, typically in films like this, they make the herbivores the good guys, and the carnivores the bad guys.  But the fact that they make herbivores just humble farmers and turn the usually villainous T-Rexes into kindly cowboys is just nice.  This is also easily Pixar's most photorealistic film.  It takes place in mountainous terrain, and I swear, it looks just like pictures of the Rocky Mountains. 

That being said, everything about the film is so basic.  It's a fairly basic plot, Arlo goes through a fairly basic character arc.  While Inside Out was criticized for being a little too complicated for kids, this goes completely in the opposite direction, and winds up being too simple.  It's almost like a bunch of fun Arlo and Spot vignettes that they strung together into a film. 

Yeah...at the end, I had the same problem with Brave.  It had a lot of great ideas, but they didn't gel into a great movie.  3 Nibs.  Complete review on the website. 

Well, the requisite blog about the city is done.  Time to get back to the Christmas preparation.  A Sunday of Christmas cards and Christmas movies on Netflix is in order!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Big Hero 6

Here we go again with Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly blog about one of the movies I own.  Time for Disney's lovely animated superhero flick Big Hero 6.  This is in my notes at March 1, 2015.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Independence Day

Holy moly, I've hit my 200th installment on Fishing in the Discount Bin!  My DVD/Blu-Ray database program tells me I have 800 films, so I guess this means I'm 25% done.  And for the big 2-00, what better than one of my favourite films, Independence Day.  This is in my notes at February 28, 2015.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Fifth Element

Here I am, rockin' out again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about one of the many movies I own.  As my friend told me when he suggested I do it, "Just rant about why you like it."  Well, sometimes I have movie that I don't like that much, such as today.  The Fifth Element.  This is in my notes at February 14, 2015.

Rather than the typical movie poster, this is the collectible tin that inspired me to buy it.

There are certain movies I buy on home media just so I can maintain my status as an alpha geek.  A good example:  The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition.  I'm quite happy with the theatrical versions, but when I finally saw the Extended Edition in the discount bin, I thought, "Hey!  I should get these, cuz I'm a geek."  Just went through that again with my recent purchase of The Fifth Element

I remember when it came out in the summer of 1997, The Fifth Element really didn't grab my attention.  But when I was back at university that fall, the damage had been done.  "How can you call yourself a geek when you didn't go to see The Fifth Element?"  said my peers.  For a stretch there in the late 1990s, at least until the 1-2 punch of The Matrix and Episode I in 1999, The Fifth Element was regarded by many to be THE hottest new sci-fi universe on the block. 

I eventually got around to renting it.  When I saw it, I thought it was pretty good, but it didn't strike me as anything remarkably new or mindblowing.  But still, there's a faction that regards it as THE sci-fi movie, so when I saw in the discount bin, and in a collectible tin to boot, I figured it was time to snatch it up. 

French director Luc Besson was starting to make his mark on the world stage with his gritty, tough action films coming out of France, particularly La Femme Nikita.  He made his debut in Hollywood (and discovered Natalie Portman) with Leon:  The Professional.  And as I've blogged before, eventually a talent reaches a point where they get a blank cheque to make whatever passion project they choose.  Besson got his blank cheque, and he dug out this sci-fi epic he'd been writing since he was 16 years old. 

In the 23rd Century, during a great planetary convergence, out comes an orb of pure, unmitigated evil.  And it's heading straight for Earth.  In order to combat this evil, a great super-weapon must be gathered, using 4 stones representing the four elements, and a fifth element, a supreme being, in order to blast away this evil.  The task falls to New York cabbie Korben Dallas, when the supreme being, Leelo, literally falls into his lap.  With Leelo in tow, Korben is off to recover the stones and save the world.

But, what really does make this movie unique is its striking visual style.  A friend was telling me about the first time he showed it to his sister.  His sister is a massive, massive Star Wars fan, and her mind was blown at seeing this huge flying car chase, with people skydiving between the cars, a full five years before Lucas did it in Attack of the Clones.  The sight of this futuristic New York really is something else.

This is kind of a last hurrah for good ol' practical effects, too.  CGI is used sparingly in the film, using model shots for most of the space scene, and animatronic puppets for most of the aliens.  I was totally diggin' it.  Even though this movie was made in the 1990s, the model work looks more 1970s.  A great classic sci-fi vibe to it all. 

And the acting is...well.  Korben Dallas is played by Bruce Willis, and it's Bruce Willis doing his standard action hero bit.  Milla Jovovich, in the role that really made her acting career, is Leelo, and she brings just the right amount of adorableness to it...this supreme being, kept in stasis for centuries, and alien to our ways.  Gary Oldman was stunning as the villainous Zorg.  Hard to believe just 10 short years later he'd be Commissioner Gordon.  And Chris Tucker as radio announcer Ruby Rhod.  If you thought Tucker was annoying in the Rush Hour movies, here he turns it up to 11.  And as annoying as he is, I do like the idea of a radio announcer who saves the world. 

So, yeah.  While it does have an incredibly unique visual style, The Fifth Element really doesn't bring anything new to the space opera genre.  But still, it's in my collection now, and my alpha geek status is secure.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Does the Podcast Still Work?

Whoa!  Where does the time go?  As I explain on November Special: Testing 1 2 3, I’d hoped to bring the podcast back in September, but then I ran into server troubles.  But, it looks like things are back to normal…except for the fact this is the time I’d be slowing down because Christmas gets big and busy.  But I thought I’d toss one off to make sure that things do in fact work.  So, what’s in this test-cast?
  • I explain my reservations about The Force Awakens and why I’m trying to stay cautiously optimistic
  • My thoughts on the announcement of a new Star Trek series and how it’s going to be exclusive to a streaming service we’ve never heard of.
  • I share my Force Friday adventure…which I’ve already blogged about
  • Talk about the holiday blockbusters I’ve already seen
  • And various ramblings about Marvel’s Netflix plans.  (As I write this, I’ve only seen the first three episodes of Jessica Jones and it looks good, gang.)
So give a listen to November Special: Testing 1 2 3!

Head over to the main site to give it a download!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Stripes

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I rant about one of the many movies I own.  Today, we get to the classic Bill Murray comedy StripesThis is originally in my notes at February 13, 2015.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Hulk Vs

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch and ramble about one of the movies I own.  This time out, we get into one of the direct-to-DVD animated films that were popular around 10 years ago, with Hulk Vs.  This shows up in my notes at February 8, 2015.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Cheat Day

Dude, have I really not treated myself to a day in the city since August?  I see the last movie review I did over on the main site was Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation back during the August long weekend.  No, wait.  I had a dentist appointment in September, and since I had the rest of the day after that, I went into West Edmonton Mall for a look-see.  But as for my typical "spend the whole day screwing around, spending too much money, and seeing a movie,"...yeah, I haven't done that since the August long.

As I said back then, my movie watching had kind of dropped off, because we were into the movies that I only "kinda sorta" wanted to see.  But with the Christmas blockbuster season starting up, things are going to start picking up again movie-wise.  And on this particular day, I was off to see the latest in the James Bond pantheon, Spectre.

Since I bought my tickets online to see the new Star Wars movie a few weeks ago, I figured it was time to experiement more with buying my tickets online.  This time, though, rather than print off the tickets, I chose the "pick up at the theatre" option.  Once the tickets were bought online, and all the ticket confirmations were e-mailed to me, I thought, "Gee, Cineplex, you have this wonderful app.  Why doesn't this sync to the app and you just send everything to my phone?"  And then I checked my app to see that that's exactly what happened.  You've thought of everything, modern technology!

Had to gas up my car before heading to the city.  I know, stopping for gas doesn't sound very notable, but I'm doing it in a way that's very new to me.  I've joked about this on the air.  When I was home for my summer vacation back in August, my Dad sat me down and said, "Son, I think you're old enough to have this now," and he gave me...my very own card for the UFA Cardlock.  So I've been filling up at the UFA lately.  It's good, if you live on a tight budget like me.  As my Dad pointed out, on average, the UFA tends to be 10 cents cheaper than the typical gas stations.  And they recently upgraded their system so you can pay with debit now, making it just like any other pay-at-the-pump set-up.  I feel like a true Alberta prairie boy now.

It was an uneventful drive into the city.  As I blogged many years ago, I minimize the guilt of spending too much money in the city if I buy at least one thing I actually, genuinely need.  And lo and behold, I was in need of some new underwear.  Got the new tighty whiteys picked up, and then I saw some shirts on sale that I liked.  Christmas decorations are now on sale at most places, so I picked up some replacement bulbs for my patio lights.  It's frustrated me all summer.  I've got some burnt-out bulbs on my patio lights, but since they use the same bulbs as Christmas lights, I had to wait until now for replacement bulbs to go on sale.  Anyway, bulbs are bought, and next summer, my patio will be glowing once again.

Had to stop at Best Buy to feed my technology addiction.  I think I've blogged about this before, but I'm starting to price out a new Blu-Ray player.  I've run into a problem with a few of my Blu-Rays.  After the loading screen, the screen goes black and the disc refuses to play.  I've googled the problem, and it says I need to install the latest updates for my Blu-Ray player.  I googled my make and model, and discovered the last update was released three years ago.  So it may be time to upgrade.  And it's a good time to, too.  I bought my Blu-Ray player 6 years ago, when Blu-Ray was all new and exciting.  I paid $300 for it back then, but now, they've really come down in price.  I can get a really good one for around $80.  I won't buy one today.  I'm thinking in January, when I'm flush with Christmas cash and Boxing Day sales are still in swing.

For there, to my beloved West Edmonton Mall.  I entered that cathedral of consumerism and was getting ready to get down to business when I got a text from my mother.  Turns out my parents were in the city that day as well, and my mother had a hunch that I was probably in the city too, to catch the new James Bond movie.  Plans were quickly made to have lunch.  It was good to have lunch with my parents, as we decided to go to a real restaurant, rather than the usual food court fare.  I tend to avoid real restaurants these days, because I feel there's less judgmental eyes on me in a fast food place.  When you're alone in a fast food restaurant, you're a weary traveler, looking for a bite before resuming the road.  When you're alone in a real restaurant, you're a friendless, dateless loser.

When my parents resumed their journey, it was time for Bond!  Went to the theatre to pick up my ticket.  I brought up the bar code on my phone, went to the special kiosk to get my ticket, but the bar code wouldn't scan.  Not to worry...just enter the code that came with the bar code, and the machine printed out my ticket.  Quick, easy, and painless.  And it was time for James Bond to return!

Spectre Movie Poster

I quite enjoyed Spectre.  I geeked out hard at the end of Skyfall.  At the end of Skyfall, it was like the reboot that started with Casino Royale was complete, and it was time to get back to some good ol' classic Bond adventures.  And here, more of the classic Bond elements are on display.  He gets out of jams with gadgets from Q.  The classic gun barrel sequence is back at the beginning.  The villain has a lair inside a crater.  Bond has some cheezy one-liners and action sequences.  This feels more like the classic Bond films than any of the other in the Daniel Craig run.

That being said, the attempt to try and tie all the previous films together seemed a little forced.  I know we've all got to have cinematic universes and a continuity to our films, but I highly doubt that the villain we meet in this film has been orchestrating things since Casino Royale.  They also add some new wrinkles to the terrorist organization known as SPECTRE and its boss Blofeld that seemed totally unnecessary.

Don't get me wrong, Skyfall is still the best of the Daniel Craig run.  But I liked this particular outing for Bond.

I give it 3 nibs.  Full review on the website.

After the film, had to do some browsing in HMV.  It's that time again.  With a new Bond film in theatres, that means all of the Bond films have been re-released on Blu-Ray at bargain bin prices.  I decided to get myself the "James Bond in Asia" double feature.  First up, from the Sean Connery era, You Only Live Twice, which primarily takes place in Japan.  I remember the last time I saw it on TV.  I was home for Christmas about a year ago, and there was a sequence that takes place at Himeji-jo, Japan's largest castle.  In the Bond universe, Himeji-jo houses the training facility for the Japanese secret service's platoon of ninja commandos.  Watching that sequence, I boasted about visiting the castle in my time in Japan.  My Dad excitedly and seriously asked, "Is it just like the movie?  With all the ninjas running around?"  "No, Dad," I said.  "It's just a tourist attraction these days."

And, to complete the double feature, I picked up, from the Roger Moore era, The Man With the Golden Gun.  I once tweeted that Bond films of the 1970s seemed to involved plopping Bond into whatever film genre was popular at the time.  For example, since Hong Kong kung fu films were popular, they dropped Bond into one and got The Man With the Golden Gun.  It's long considered to be the worst Bond film ever, but Christopher Lee steals the show as the villain, the international assassin known as Scaramanga.

I had to feed another of my addictions.  My top collectable for this past year seems to be the Funko ReAction figures...action figures designed to look like the mass-produced toys of the late-1970s/early-1980s.  It seems like every time I stop by my favourite collectables shop in West Edmonton Mall, they've got a new batch I covet.  This time, it's from my current favourite TV show, The Flash.

A photo posted by Mark Cappis (@chaosinabox) on

Since my parents were kind enough to cover lunch, I had a little extra in the budget for supper, so I headed off to Fatburger.  I see they opened up that one in the West Edmonton Mall food court, but I decided to take the long way home and stop at the one in Spruce Grove.  I'm still new to the Fatburger experience, but I wanted to try something on their menu they call "Nacho Fries."  They take fries and then cover them with ground beef, nacho cheese, tomatos and jalepenios...kinda like Taco Bell's Fries Supreme.  I quite enjoyed them. 

And I will admit, tipping is one of those adult skills I have yet to figure out.  I'm assuming it's good at Fatburger when the clerk and the kitchen staff all scream out "FAT TIP!" after you tip, correct? 

Then I put the travel tunes on in ol' Bessie Lou and headed home for Westlock.  It was a good day...a day long needed...a day that hadn't come around in a long time. 

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Wayne's World 2

Here we go again with Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly blog ramble about a movie I own.  I finished what I started last week with Wayne's World 2.  This shows up in my notes at February 7, 2015.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Some Halloween Songs for Halloween

I've been toying with doing something like this for a while.  I've come to the realization that I don't do much with my Facebook fan page, aside from plugging my blog and cross-posting my tweets.   So, this past week, I thought I'd try something.  With the countdown on to Halloween, every day, I'd share one of my favourite Halloween songs.  And now that Halloween is here, I thought I'd compile everything on the blog.  So, here's the Halloween songs I shared.

This is Halloween

I love the film The Nightmare Before Christmas.  I always looked forward to the Halloween show of my old college radio show, because it was the only time of year I could get away with playing the soundtrack.  That’s why it pleases me so when, I look at the music charts I use at work, and see “This is Halloween” climbing the list of most-played Halloween songs.  The charts actually list three distinct versions that are in rotation.  The first one, credited to “The Citizens of Halloweentown,” is the version from the start of the film that we all know and love.  The second one, credited to the song’s composer Danny Elfman, is actually an early demo version that Elfman recorded, and has been released on several Elfman compilations.  (Elfman has called this release mildly embarrassing, as it’s just him messing around with his keyboards and singing all the parts.)  And, for the film’s 3D re-release in the late-2000s, Disney got Marilyn Manson to cover it.

The Devil Comes Back to Georgia – Mark O’Connor and Friends

We all love “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” but did you know it has a sequel?  In the early 1990s, champion fiddle player Mark O’Connor conceived a sequel in which the Devil challenges Johnny to a re-match, and this time, the prize up for grabs is the soul of Johnny’s infant son.  O’Connor’s sequel was a country music event.  O’Connor performed Johnny’s fiddle solos, with Marty Stuart singing Johnny’s parts.  For the Devil, original “Devil Went Down” performer Charlie Daniels did the fiddle solos, with Travis Tritt singing the Devil’s parts.  And Johnny Cash is our narrator.

March of the Martians – Harry Brueur

When released in 1969, the album “The Happy Moog” was a bargain bin release, billed as a “Moog synthesizer album for children.”  But one track, “March of the Martians,” has particular significance for Canadians of a certain generation.  For you see, “March of the Martians” was used as the theme song for the cult classic kids show “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.”

Transylvania Twist – Bobby “Boris” Pickett 

In the perennial Halloween classic “Monster Mash,” Dracula laments, “Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?”  Well, capitalizing on the success of “Monster Mash,” Bobby Pickett produced a whole album of Halloween novelty songs, and he was sure to finally give us the Transylvania Twist.  I love it, because it sounds like every cheesy made-for-TV sound-a-like circa 1964.
It’s a Monster’s Holiday – Buck Owens

Over in my day job, I’ve been trying to track down more Halloween songs to fill out the music library.  And it’s been tough.  While there’s a lot of great country classics concerning ghost stories and such, nothing has the recognizability of a Monster Mash.  Finally, someone pointed me towards Buck Owens’ "It’s a Monster’s Holiday", and I was like, “This is it!  Our country music Monster Mash!”

And that's it!  Happy Halloween, all!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Wayne's World

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch one of the many movies I own and go a-bloggin' about it.  Next in the queue, the 1992 comedy classic that briefly sparked a trend of turning old Saturday Night Live bits into movies, Wayne's World.  Originally in my notes at February 1, 2015.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

So. A New Star Wars Trailer.

I've gotta get my podcast back up and running.  Too much of my nerdy proclivities are starting to leak into my day job.  Back on Wednesday, I spent far too much time talking about Back to the Future.

Last Wednesday, October 21, was officially "Back to the Future Day."  For those who are wondering why, it's because that date -- October 21, 2015 -- was the fantastic, far-off, futuristic date that Doc and Marty traveled to in Back to the Future Part II.  Plus, 2015 is the franchise's 30th anniversary, so it was a good excuse for the 30th anniversary party.

On Wednesday, a good chunk of my show was dedicated to talking about Back to the Future.  I just love that movie so much.  As many have pointed out, the entirety of the Back to the Future franchise now takes place in the past, as it was meant to be.  When franchise co-creators Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale came up with their time travel movie, they knew they didn't their heroes to go to the future because all movies set in the future always get it wrong.  "But Mark," you're saying, "The whole end of the first film where Doc takes Marty to the future!"  Well, Zemeckis and Gale never had any plans for a trilogy or a franchise back when they made the first one...they just thought it'd be a cute joke to end with.  So when the studio wanted a sequel, Zemeckis and Gale were all like, "Well...guess we gotta go to the future.  Painted ourselves into a corner with that ending, didn't we?"

But we're not here to talk about Back to the Future.  We're here to talk about the new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie poster

When that poster first broke the day before the trailer, my first reaction was, "OH MY GOD THAT'S SO COOL!!   It's kinda cluttered, though."  A friend on Facebook remarked that he loved my enthusiasm tempered with pessimism.

And as I explained...I've been through all this before, with a little film called Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace.  As much as everything gets me excited, there's a little voice in the back of my head going, "But what if BB-8 is the new Jar Jar?"

Another comment on Facebook told me to put my faith in JJ Abrams.  Last time I did that, I got Star Trek Into Darkness.  So, yeah.  I'm starting to temper my enthusiasm a little.

Which is strange.  I'm not one of those who felt massively burned by the prequels.  I'm a bit of an Episode I apologist, actually.  I didn't feel burned by the prequels until I saw the Star Wars: The Clone Wars movie.  That movie is so bad,  you guys.

That might be why I haven't bought my advance tickets yet.  I'm getting old and paranoid, guys.  As much as I want to be there on opening day, it comes out in the middle of December, and there'll probably be 4 feet of snow outside, and I'll have to drive into the city on icy roads with my crappy tires.  Fear is starting to consume my life.  Fear of driving on icy roads with crappy tires.  Fear that The Force Awakens is going to disappoint.  Fear of getting out of bed most days.

But still, there's enough in these trailers to get one want to get out of bed.  We still don't know these new characters.  Who is this woman Rey, and why is she so prominent on the poster?  I subscribe to the theory that they're going to reveal her last name to be Solo, and she's Han and Leia's daughter.

And why haven't we seen old Luke Skywalker in any of these promotional materials yet?  You know that when he appears in the film, it's going to be a big reveal.  A growing theory is that he's actually going to be revealed to be evil...which would be cool.  One of the oldest fan theories is that the film is going to be "The Search for Luke" and he doesn't show up until the last 15 minutes or so.

And what's that Death Star-looking thing in the poster?

Anyway, on to the trailer!

Not gonna lie...I kinda like the last trailer better.  The way it builds up to the reveal of Han and Chewbacca at the end with "Chewie...we're home."  This one, though, finally gives us more glimpses of our new characters, and even though it's just a couple of lines, we're finally getting impressions of who they are and what they're about.

Although, my heart did quicken when they started reinterpreting the "Han Solo and the Princess" theme in the trailer.  Reminds me of another tweet I saw:  "I really hope the film has more to offer than nostalgia." 

My excitement is getting tempered as the day draws closer.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes out on December 18. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Canada Vignettes: A Love Story

Here we go again with Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly blog the latest DVD/Blu-Ray/VHS I've recently re-watched.  I continue going through stuff I bought from the National Film Board, Canada Vignettes: A Love Story.  This is in my notes at January 17, 2015.

Canada Vignettes: A Love Story

Sunday, October 18, 2015


Well, still haven't finished tuning up the website since my server crash a couple of months ago, so that means ramblings that usually go in the podcast go where they used to go...this blog!  I really should get on that, thought.  Holiday blockbuster season is right around the corner, so I'm gonna wanna start posting movie reviews again.  And let's not forget a little film called Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  You know I'll be getting a few podcasts out of that.  Anyway, until then, let's blog!

First up, let's talk about Legendary Pictures and their upcoming daikaiju cinematic universe.  Legendary Pictures made last year's American Godzilla reboot, which I thought was pretty good.  Last year, they also announced that they were working on Kong: Skull Island, a King Kong prequel/reboot all about King Kong and the island from whence he came.  Didn't take much for people to go, "Dude...does this mean they're gonna do King Kong vs Godzilla?"  Well, no, because while Legendary was making the films, King Kong is still owned by Universal and Warner Brothers has the American rights to Godzilla.

Well, that is, until Legendary dotted the necessary i's and crossed the necessary t's and made things all copacetic with the various movie studios.  And this past week, they announced their grand cinematic universe plans:

March 10, 2017 - Kong:  Skull Island

June 8, 2018 - Godzilla 2

2020 - Godzilla vs Kong

The connecting thread in all these films is going to be Monarch, the shadowy organization we saw in Godzilla that's been monitoring giant monsters.  They're actually going to be building quite the cinematic universe for this.  It's already been announced that for Godzilla 2, they secured the rights to such famous Godzilla rogues as Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. 

And I am thrilled.  I really enjoyed last year's Godzilla reboot, and if they can keep that momentum going, this is going to be good.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Leonard Maltin's Animation Favourites from the National Film Board of Canada

Here we go once again with Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch one of the many movies I own and blog about it.  Time to get to one of my more esoteric purchases, Leonard Maltin's Animation Favourites from the National Film Board of Canada.  This originally appears in my notes at January 16, 2015.

Leonard Maltin's Animation Favourites from the National Film Board of Canada

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Here we go again with Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about the latest Blu-Ray I just re-watched.  This time out, I get to one of the...most disappointing superhero reboots of recent times, 2014`s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  This is in my notes at January 4, 2015.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Guardians of the Galaxy

Here we go again, Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch one of the movies I own and blog about it.  Today, we watch the movie that was going to ruin Marvel...until it didn't.  Guardians of the Galaxy.  I originally watched it and jotted this down on December 14, 2014.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Never Say Never Again

Here we go again, on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly ramble about a DVD or Blu-Ray I own.  It's time to dip my toe in the world of 007 once again with the unofficial James Bond film Never Say Never Again.  This is in my notes at December 7, 2014.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Stuff for the Podcast...IF I HAD ONE

Well, I was hoping to be bringing back my podcast at around this time, but, as it happens, life got in the way.

As I shared on Facebook a few weeks ago, I got a frantic text from my best friend.  He's kind enough to host chaosinabox.com for me.  And the text said, "SERVER'S CRASHING!!!!  BACK UP EVERYTHING NOW!!!"  Luckily, I was able to get everything backed-up, and my best friend had a new server lined-up and everything back online the next day.


Now I'm just futzing about with all those little things that come with a server move.  Fixing dead links, re-uploading images I used, stuff like that.  Well, at least when I completely redesigned the website to use WordPress back in the spring, all that stuff is easier now.  It's just finding the time to do it.

Working on my website is a real "falling down the rabbit hole" thing with me.  I'll put it off for the longest time, and then, on a bored Sunday afternoon, I'll go, "Well, I got nothing better to do.  I'll just do this one thing to the website."  16 hours later, I'm wondering where the day has gone.  It's like most things, right?  You got a roll, and you don't wanna stop.

So, yeah.  I've got to find the right bored Sunday afternoon to just sit down and get that done.  Obviously, this isn't it, because I'm blogging instead of clicking over to the site and working on it.

And the podcast will be back once the site is back up to 100%.

So the new trend these days are "box subscription services."  It's kind of an update of the ol' "Book of the Month Club" concept.  You pay your subscription fee, and once a month, they send you a box full of stuff.  I've seen them online for shaving products, healthy snacks...all kind of stuff.  But, me being me, the one that catches my eye the most are the monthly boxes of nerd-friendly merchandise.

The one that seems to sponsor most of the podcasts I listen to is Loot Crate.  A co-worker got a one year subscription to Nerd Block for his birthday.  He was raving about it in the office and trying to get me to sign up.  "Mark...the note inside this month's box says that next month is all Star Wars stuff!  Sign up now and you'll get the box full of Star Wars stuff!"

And that happened to be the same day they announced Star Wars: Smuggler's Bounty, the official Star Wars box subscription service.  Why settle for just one box full of Star Wars stuff, when you could get a box full of Star Wars stuff EVERY MONTH?  And Smuggler's Bounty is being run by Funko, the makers of those Pop! bobbleheads that are a popular collectible right now.  One of the selling points of Smuggler's Bounty is 2 exclusives Pops in every box.

And I will admit, that signing up for one of these is awfully tempting.  But, you've seen me lament in this blog lately that money's been awfully tight for me this year, and this definitely falls into the category of a "want" and not a "need."  Plus, at the end of the day, it's a box of stuff.  More stuff that I need to find a place for.  Now, I'm not getting all like my sister, who's all about the downsizing these days and minimizing clutter, but I am starting to ask myself how much more stuff do I really need?

So as much as it breaks my heart, I think I'm going to have to say no right now.

I'm so glad that season 3 of Batman: The Brave and the Bold is finally on Netflix!  I love the weirdly meta final episode Mitefall!

For those who missed it, Batman: The Brave and the Bold was the Batman cartoon that ran from 2008 - 2011.  Figuring it was finally time for the Dark Knight to stop being so dark, it drew more from the Silver Age of Comics, being a more lighthearted adventure show.  Taking its cues from its namesake comic, each episode featured Batman teaming up with another hero from the DC Universe.  It was kind of DC's deep cuts, as several very obscure C-list heroes started showing up to team up with Batman, like OMAC and Uncle Sam.  But the true scene-stealer was Aquaman, who was reimagined into a blustering, high-seas swashbuckler.

But when season 3 was announced to be the last, they stopped with the deep cuts and started with the greatest hits, and we finally got team-ups with Superman and Wonder Woman.  Batman and Superman threw down in the episode Battle of the Superheroes!, when Superman, infected by Red Kyptonite, goes on a crime spree, and Batman has to take him down.  Although, Superman's crime spree seems to be nothing but a collection of the greatest covers from Superdickery.com.  Remember this viral site, where it collected the best Silver Age covers of Superman acting like a total dick?  The site even gets a shout out as the staff at the Daily Planet discuss Superman's rampage:

Jimmy Olson:  Yeah, Superman's turned into a real di--

Lois Lane:  (interrupting Jimmy)  DIFFERENT person.

But as I said, I was looking forward to the weirdly meta finale Mitefall!  A recurring character was the omnipotent imp Batmite, watching Batman's adventures from a parallel universe and becoming Batman's biggest fan.  However, because of his powers, Batmite is aware that Batman: The Brave and the Bold is just a TV show, and he's grown bored with it.  He yearns for a dark and gritty Batman cartoon of yore, like Batman: The Animated Series.  So, using his semi-phenomenal, nearly-cosmic powers, Batmite starts warping Batman's reality in the hopes of making Batman: The Brave and the Bold jump the shark so it'll get cancelled.  And it's up to the teleporting and fourth-wall breaking Ambush Bug (special guest voice, the actor who literally jumped the shark in that Happy Days episode, Henry Winkler) to alert Batman as to what's going on and save the show.

The thing is, that's really why Batman: The Brave and the Bold was cancelled.  The network execs got tired with it and demanded a new Batman cartoon that was dark and gritty like the old ones.  So The Brave and the Bold was cancelled to make way for Beware the Batman.

So, yeah.  Batmite starts throwing in all kinds of shark-jumping cliches, like super-obvious toy tie-ins, introducing annoying kids, and recasting Aquaman with Ted McGinley (special guest voice Ted McGinley).  And in our big twist ending, Batmite is successful, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold gets cancelled.  Ambush Bug appears to Batmite and reminds him that there's no place for Batmite in dark and gritty Batman cartoons, so all Batmite did was ensure his own demise.  And at that, Batmite fades from existence.

And then, Ambush Bug throws a wrap party in the Batcave, inviting all the heroes that appeared on the show back for one last hurrah.  And Batman talks directly to the camera, telling the children of the world that even though his show won't be on anymore, Batman will always be there for them.  The end.

It's a great show, and worthy addition to the lore of Batman animation.  Binge watch it today!

You know you're getting old when you tell someone your favourite Disney animated film is Fantasia and they think you're talking about Fantasia 2000.

The incident happened when I was at a co-worker's party a couple of weeks ago.  They saw that I recently posted on Facebook that I just bought Hercules and Mulan on Blu-Ray, and we got to talking about the Disney Renaissance.

But the bigger question is why did I buy Mulan?  I always had this weird thing with Mulan.  Back in the 1990s, when the Disney Renaissance was in full swing, Mulan was the only one where I got swept up in the hype.  I'd just been introduced to the Internet and was following its development online.  Hell, on my computer, I'm pretty sure I still have the official Mulan wallpaper I downloaded from the official Mulan website back in 1998.  It was the only soundtrack album in that era I've bought.

But after all this time, I can't figure out why, out that second golden era of Disney animation, Mulan  is the one that I glommed onto.  So, when I saw the Blu-Ray was dirt cheap on Amazon, I finally snatched it up.

And I snatched up Hercules because it was also dirt cheap, and buying the two got me the free shipping.

So after watching Mulan, I still can't figure out why that was the one film that captured my attention.  If anything, it struck me as a strange attempt to duplicate Aladdin.  We've got our hero masquerading as another person as a way to get out of her traditional societal roles, we've got the manic stand-up comic voicing the sidekick.

Don't get me wrong...it's a good movie.  But I want to go back in time to 1998, burst into my college dorm room, grab my college self by the shoulders and ask, "What is it with you and this movie?"  Because 17 years later, I have no freakin' clue anymore.

And Hercules is good, too.

Let's end things with the song of the show:

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Wind Rises

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch and blog about a movie I own.  This time out, we get to famed animator Hayao Miyazaki's final film, The Wind Rises.  This originally appears in my notes on November 23, 2014.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Netfllix Nonsense - Strange Magic

I was a little surprised when I was scrolling through the new releases on Netflix to see that Strange Magic is already available.  Since I was mildly curious about the film when it hit theatres back in January, I knew it'd be the perfect thing to watch on a Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Compleat Al

Here we are again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch and blog about one of the many DVDs/Blu-Rays that I own.  This time out, I fill in another gap in my Weird Al collection with Weird Al's 1985 straight-to-video opus The Compleat Al.  This is originally in my notes at November 22, 2014.  

Friday, September 04, 2015

Force Friday...Three Days Early

The current trend of collecting action figures as a hobby was kind of a spin-off of the comic book boom of the 1990s.  When Todd McFarlane got the idea to form his own toy company to ensure the quality of Spawn action figures, other comic book companies started following suit, and soon, action figures were occupying shelf space in comic book stores.  That's when I started collecting. 

Despite my constant obsession with all things Star Wars, my first fandom is still Star Trek.  When Playmates Toys unleashed their Next Generation figures, which dominated the 1990s, that was my gateway.  With this renewed interest in action figures and Star Wars, Kenner knew it was time to revive their Star Wars license.  After picking up a TNG figure, I saw the Star Wars figures and thought, "May as well get Luke.  I always liked Luke."  Then I picked up Boba Fett.  "That's my favourite villain.  I've got my favourite hero and villain.  That should be good."  Then they released Jedi Knight Luke (clad all in black as in Return of the Jedi), and I thought, "OK, that's Luke as he starts the saga and ends it.  I should be good."  Then they released Ewoks (I kinda liked the Ewoks) and then Emperor Palpatine (Well, I've got two heroes, should get two villains), and then OH MY GOD, THEY'RE ACTUALLY MAKING PRINCESS LEIA IN THE GOLD BIKINI???  And that's when I realized I was down the rabbit hole. 

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Garfield's Halloween Adventure

Here on Fishing in the Discount Bin, I love that I seem to be posting stuff I wrote up a year ago.  Halloween is still less than two months away, but here we've got a Halloween special, Garfield's Halloween Adventure.  This is originally in my notes at November 2, 2014.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Transformers: Age of Extinction

Welcome to Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I ramble about a movie I own.  I made a very important discovery when I watched Transformers: Age of Extinction:  I'll forgive just about anything if you give me a Dinobot.  This is in my notes at October 19, 2014.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Netflix Nonsense - Battle Royale

So I told a friend of mine I was going through the Hunger Games franchise on Netflix to see what all the fuss was about, and he immediately responded with, "So...did you ever see Battle Royale?"  To which I replied, "Next on my Netflix queue." 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Ghostbusters II

Here we are again, with Fishing in the Discount Bin, as I bloggity blog about some movie I own.  It's time for another classic from my childhood.  While I don't think it's as awesome as when I first saw it, I still think it's better than most people give it credit for:  Ghostbusters II.  This appears in my notes at September 28, 2014.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Netflix Nonsense - The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I

Well, if there's one thing I hate to do, it's leave a franchise unfinished, so let's return to Netflix to finish catching up on the global phenomenon that is The Hunger Games with the second-last film, Mockingjay Part I

Sunday, August 16, 2015

All That Disney and Star Wars Stuff

So,  your Facebook feed has probably been lighting up with the news that Toy Story 4 is happening or that a massive Star Wars Land will be coming to Disneyland.  All this news is breaking because D23 -- the official DisneyCon -- happened this weekend, and as such, Disney made all kinds of announcements about what they've got coming up.  Rather than share each and every story on my Facebook page, or tweet my thoughts on it, I thought I'd just sit down and ramble on the ol' blog.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Godzilla (2014)

Here we go again with Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly blog about one of the movies I own because, really, I've got nothing better to do.  Today, the king of the monsters returns!  Godzilla, the 2014 American-made reboot.  This was originally in my notes at September 28, 2014.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Netflix Nonsense - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Well, I'm continuing my journey through the global phenomenon that is The Hunger Games to see what all the fuss is about.  I found the first one to be quite good, so lets see if that momentum continues into the second film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Now and Again: The Complete Series

Here we are again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly blog about something in my movie collecting that I've watched.  This time out, we get to one of my favourite "Brilliant-but-cancelled" TV shows, Now and Again.  This originally appeared in my notes at September 26, 2014.

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Get Out and Do Something

I'm fighting a cold.  Just when I thought I was over it, it came back.  I just went into the city last week and spent too much money.  I fully planned to just spend my long weekend on the couch, doing nothing, binging on The Hunger Games franchise on Netflix.  Facebook has their new "On This Day" app, where they show you your postings from a few years ago.  On Monday morning, I clicked that app, and I saw I posted this about three years ago.

"I really want to get out and do something this long weekend, because I just realized that this is my last free weekend until about the middle of September."

I'm pretty much in the same boat again.  I think Labour Day is going to be my next free weekend.  So I took a shot of Buckley's for the cold, payday has come and gone so there's a little bit of money in the bank.  And Mockingjay - Part I isn't leaving Netflix anytime soon.  I put some gas in ol' Bessie-Lou and I was off to the city.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Netflix Nonsense - The Hunger Games

As you've probably noticed, for the past few months, I've taken advantage of the streaming video services to fill in some notable gaps in my personal film viewing history, and binge on certain franchises I'd never watched.  Back in November, I poured through every Rocky film.  Coming home from Mad Max: Fury Road, I figured it was finally time to go through the Mad Max franchise.  And so, when I recently noticed that the first three Hunger Games films are on Netflix, I decided it was finally time to see what all the fuss was about.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Final Targ of the Season!

U62: The Targ

My season finale!  August is shaping up to be a busy month, so it’s time to take a step back and focus on what’s going on in the real world.  But before I walk away, I pump out one last one, Episode 8.17: Kinda Sorta.  So what’s on the agenda for this one?
I hope this’ll keep you satisfied until September rolls around, and I can start pumping things out on regular basis.  So listen, and enjoy!

Go listen to it at the main site!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Captain America: The Winter Soldier

It's Fishing in the Discount Bin time again, as I blog about one of the movies I own.  This time out, we get to the super-awesomeness that is Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  This showed up in my notes at September 14, 2014.