Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, May 16, 2016

Big City Exploits

Well, the frequency of my blogs about exploits in the big city is about to increase, as we're entering the summer blockbuster season.  As I've said to others over the years, about my only career goal is to eventually get to a market with a movie theatre, just so I'm not looking at a 1-hour drive whenever I want to see a movie.  Oh, how nice it would be to just hop on the bus and go to the movies after work!  But then, which such convenience, I would be deprived of the chance to have adventures!

Like this one.

It began like any other.  Having recently spent $1000 in repairs to my car, I am somewhat paranoid about how well my car will perform on the highway.  I always spend a few minutes before hitting the road checking the tires, checking the oil, checking everything I know how to check, and then gently petting the dashboard and saying, "You gonna get me there and back, sweetie?"  Yes, I talk to my car.  I blame it on having seen Herbie the Love Bug too many times when I was a kid.  And besides, as Dr. McCoy said to Data about the starship Enterprise, "Treat her like a lady, and she'll always bring you home."

I went on down the road, and made it to city limits with nary an incident.  First stop, some of the big department stores.  As I've blogged in the past, I don't feel bad about spending a lot of money in the city as long as I buy at least one thing I need.  And I was in need of a new pair of shorts.

Let me be blunt:  I hate pants.  Pants suck.  And now, in these warm summer months, whenever I get home from work, first thing I do is ditch the respectable and grown-up pants, and put on some nice comfy shorts.  But, my penchant for evening walks is not nice on the shorts, and I'm wearing out too many pairs.  I found a pair I liked, at a price I liked, and tossed them into my cart.

Now.  Onto foolish purchases.  Over to toys for Star Wars action figures!  With The Force Awakens still going strong, there's lots of new product to collect.  And through my websites, I heard that they finally released the one figure I'd been wanting:  Force Awakens Han Solo.  (Trying really hard to stop calling him "Old Han Solo.")

And not only did I find Han Solo...but Force Awakens Leia!

A photo posted by Mark Cappis (@chaosinabox) on

Again, as one of my websites pointed out, it should be General Leia, and not Princess Leia, but whatever.  And Han's got his parka from when they launched their assault on Starkiller Base.  Perfect!  The only thing that gave me pause is, as you can see in the photo, they're part of the "Black Collection," which is their pricier, geared-to-collectors action figure line.  But still, they were the last ones on the shelves, so they're mine now! 

Next up, because it's just not a trip to the city without picking up a new Blu-Ray, had to grab Deadpool.  I kinda liked Deadpool in theatres, as did most of the world.  The X-Men pantheon of films, Deadpool had the lowest budget, but was the highest grossing.  And besides, with so many superhero films these days, I think the world is primed for a great superhero spoof.  And with The Tick becoming an Amazon original, the next best thing is Deadpool's constant, fourth-wall breaking commentary. 

But I hate how superhero films get so...reactionary to whatever's popular.  Deadpool was rated R, so right away it was announced, "Well...Batman v Superman is going to have an R-rated director's cut!"  I still believe the only reason why we're getting Suicide Squad is because Guardians of the Galaxy hit big, so DC wanted their own quirky super-team.  *grumble grumble*  Don't chase the trends, and just do what's right for the characters. 

I had trouble finding the other Blu-Ray I wanted, so I decided to head on down to HMV in West Edmonton Mall.  Whenever I go to HMV, I just have to take a moment to look around and ponder how much it changed.  When its current location opened up in 1999, it was considered game-changing.  All two levels was nothing but CDs.  There were isolated rooms dedicated to country music, rap, EDM, and each one had that style of music playing on the speakers.  There was an on-site DJ looking after it all.  But these days, the rooms are gone.  The store is, like, 25% CDs, 25% movies, and 50% pop culture collectables.  But still, it's got one of the wider selections of movies out there, and I find it's one of the better places to go to for harder-to-find stuff...at least in the mainstream.

Except for this one I was looking for.  A clerk asked me that classic question, "Are you finding everything alright today?"  And rather than shun human contact like I usually do and mumble, "Yeah, I'm fine," I decided to take advantage of this offering of assistance. 

"Yeah, I'm looking for the new 20th anniversary edition of Independence Day.  Do you have it?" 

The clerk took me over to the sci-fi films, where they had the regular version of Independence Day, but not the new 20th anniversary edition.  So, off to the customer service desk to check the computer.  The clerk punched in some numbers, and there was much hand-wringing, and another clerk took a look, and more hand-wringing, and finally the manager was called over, and the manager spoke to me.  "Umm, yeah, it came out last week, but we just didn't order it in for some reason."  Don't know why there was much hand-wringing and summoning of the manager over that, but hey, I worked retail.  Customers b cray-cray. 

The manager asked what was new about the 20th anniversary edition, so I got to give the manager the sales pitch to order it in.  The 20th anniversary edition of Independence Day has all the previous bonus features of every other DVD and Blu-Ray release, along with some new ones to promote Independence Day: Resurgence.  It finally has the director's cut -- with 10 minutes of extra footage -- in hi-def.  And, of course, the digital copy.  The manager seemed suitably impressed, and asked if I'd like the store to call me when it comes in.  I explained that I lived outside the city, so I'd try again next time I'm in town. 

Besides, it was kind of good that they didn't have it.  I was already fretting having spent too much money on the Star Wars figures.  And going through the Blu-rays in my "to-watch" pile, I've got Deadpool, and I just got a free copy of the Jungle Book from Disney's rewards program, and I'm re-watching every Batman movie, so there's a lot on my plate.  Well, actually, on my coffee table, because that's where I keep my "to-watch" pile.  A co-worker recently remarked that he was stunned that I have yet to see such recent Oscar winners as Whiplash and Birdman.  It's because I can't stop buying Blu-Rays and construct "to-watch" piles.  Trust me, though, Whiplash and Birdman are in my Netflix "to-watch" pile...which I'll get to, someday. 

And speaking of "to-watch" piles, #1 on my theatrical "to-watch" pile was Captain America: Civil War.

Civil War is so much fun you guys!  I love seeing Spider-Man in this.  Spider-Man alongside the rest of the Marvel universe is just sooooo right.  And Tom Holland, our new Spider-Man, is so good. 

That's what I like about this film.  It's an ensemble.  It's got a huge cast of characters, but no one feels wasted.  Each one has a purpose.  Each one has an arc.  Each one has a moment to shine and showcase their powers.  Perhaps the best one, though, is Black Panther.  His introduction is the major subplot, and he comes across really well. 

The main plot:  because of all the collateral damage that our heroes have caused in their previous films, it's felt that they need some kind of oversight to make them accountable.  Hence, the Sokovia Accords, which would turn the Avengers into a task force, answering to a special UN committee.  Tony Stark/Iron Man is in favour, as he still feels a lot of guilt over having created Ultron and pretty much caused the damage we saw in the last Avengers film.  Steve Rogers/Captain America is against it, because he doesn't want the Avengers to be turned into a tool of shifting political agendas.  Aggravating the situation is when Cap's old friend and sidekick Bucky, turned into the HYDRA operative the Winter Soldier as seen in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, is implicated in a terrorist attack.  Cap goes rogue to bring in Bucky alive and get to the bottom of things, and Iron Man is sent to bring him in.  With their own teams of Avengers loyal to their cause, can Captain America and Iron Man survive each other?

SPOILER WARNING.  No they can't.  When these two do have their final fight, it's so hearbreaking, because you know it's one of those fights that friends have that there's no coming back from.  And when the villain and his plot is revealed, it's so simple and so brilliant. 

But it's still fine.  The right wisecrack and the right moment.  Ant-Man's revelation of his new powers.  "Did you ever see that really old movie The Empire Strikes Back?"  My favourite Easter egg comes early in the film, when Tony Stark is giving the commencement address as MIT.  The directors -- the Russo Brothers -- did a lot of episodes of Community, so it's fun to see that MIT has a very familiar dean. 

I really enjoyed it.  I give it 3.5 Nibs.  Full review on the website. 

It was a good day in the city, and now, it was time to head home.  The car looked OK, and I gently asked her if she'd take me home, and she did.  It was a good day, a good adventure, and I saw a good movie. 

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