Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Backdraft

Here we are once again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  You know how it works:  I watch a movie I own and blog about it, because it gives some semblance of purpose to my life.  This time out, I'm doing Backdraft.  This is in my notes at March 15, 2019.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Ralph Breaks the Internet

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie and blog about it.  I've been doing this for eight years now, so if you haven't figured it out yet...well, thanks for stumbling across my blog!  Today, I'm doing Ralph Breaks the Internet.  I originally watched it and blogged about it on March 10, 2019.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The Phantom Menace at 20

Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace just celebrated it's 20th anniversary.  And if there's one thing that's making me midlife crisis hard this year, it's that fact.  Firstly, the prequels are now as old as the original trilogy when the Special Editions came out.  For all we know, if George Lucas were still running the show, we might be getting prequel special editions this year.

And secondly, it now means it's been 20 years since I finished college.  As I've blogged before, Episode I pretty much served as our grad party.  Most of my final semester in college was about the countdown to that film.  When that legendary trailer first dropped, I talked one of my professors into letting us use that newfangled projector in the lecture hall to watch it on the big screen.  Hell, being a physics major, a lot of my friends were computer science majors.  (You have to take a lot of math courses in both disciplines, so we wound up in a lot of the same math classes.)  The night that trailer dropped, their pals in the campus IT department noted there was a massive uptick in network usage that night.

Graduation from Augustana University College (now known as the Augustan Campus of the University of Alberta) was that first weekend in May.  I was back a week later to buy my tickets.  That's another advance in film marketing that Episode I brought about.  It was the first movie that did advance tickets.  Nowadays, it's par for the course that tickets for a much-hyped blockbuster go on sale several months before the release.  But, for Phantom Menace, tickets went on sale a full week before the film came out, and that blew minds.

Online ticketing wasn't a thing yet, either, so on the morning of May 12, 1999, I was at the Duggan Cinemas in Camrose at 9AM to stand in line for tickets.  They went on sale at 1PM.  And...I was already third in line.  But still, some friends came to hang out with me.  The soundtrack had come out a week before, so we were cranking up Duel of the Fates.  My only regret is that I didn't bring a) a chair, and b) my copy of Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, as playing it would have been a great way to pass the time.

Anyway, I got my tickets.  Got interviewed by the Camrose Canadian, as apparently coming all the way down from Entwistle made me newsworthy.

And then, a week later, on May 19th, I was back to watch The Phantom Menace.  And again, we stood in line for hours.  We all got tickets to the 7PM show, so we spent the whole day unofficially standing in line (the cinema wouldn't let us stand in line for the 7PM show until about 5PM or so), so "unofficial standing in line" consisted of hanging out the Duggan Mall in Camrose.

The moment came.  We all gathered in the theatre.  When the title came up, it was the first time I'd ever heard a movie theatre cheer.  And we watched the film.

I came out of the film having loved each and every single moment.  I thought it was just beautiful filmmaking.  But some of my friends...well, looking back now, I recognize the shock on their faces.  I remember asking one of my friends -- the Star Wars superfan who had devoured every novel and comic book -- I remember jokingly asking him, "So, how many books did it contradict?"

He just looked at me and said, "It's not that.  It's...it's...bah!"  And he walked off.

Here's another thing people tend not to remember.  Initial response to The Phantom Menace was ecstatic.  People loved it for its first few weeks of release.  The hatred and the backlash didn't really begin until after it had been out for a month, and people started seeing that it really didn't hold up on multiple viewings.  I wound up seeing in the theatre three times -- still a record for how many times I've seen a film in the theatre.  I saw it again on July 7, declaring it my birthday movie that year.  And I saw it again in January of 2000.  Me and my friend were going to see Fight Club but it wasn't playing at the loonie theatre anymore, so we looked at each other and said, "Episode I again?"  And we did.

And now, here we are, twenty years later.  It's the middle of a long weekend, so I figured I would sit down and binge-watch the entire prequel trilogy to commemorate.  I'd never done a binge-watch of the prequels.  Hell, it's even been ages since I did a binge-watch of the original trilogy.  I think the last time I binged the original trilogy was in the spring of 1999, as me and a few friends decided to do it to prep for Phantom Menace.  So, that's how I spent May 19, 2019.  I cleared my schedule.  Skipped all my exercising.  And watched the prequels.

What now follows is my twitter thread after re-watching Phantom Menace:

"In my prequel binge, just finished Phantom Menace.  News flash:  I don't hate it.  The countdown to Episode I dominated my final year of college.  That film is deeply tied to my nostalgia for those days.  Podrace is still pretty cool.  Obi-Wan vs. Darth Maul is still the best lightsabre fight.  Watching it again, I forgot how front-loaded it is.  The first 20 minutes is nothing but action as we get off Naboo.  And the first ever massive CGI armies climax that now dominates films.  So, yeah.  Phantom Menace.  I don't hate it."

Before tying into Attack of the Clones, I thought I'd take a break from the binging and order lunch.  Decided to treat myself to pizza.  I miss pizza.  It's not that I swore off it or anything.  When I started eating healthier a year ago and started doing more meal prep and such, I just don't think to order it anymore.  Since I tend to use apps to order online, I can track how often I order pizza.  I last did it on New Years Day, again, to fuel a day-off movie binge.

Anyways, I'm still enough of a small town boy that ordering food to be delivered is kinda foreign to me, so I had to leave my house to go pick up the pizzas.  Got the pizza from Dominos.  Only on the way over did I remember that Pizza Hut/KFC/Taco Bell had the tie-in for Episode I, so I guess I should have gone to Pizza Hut for historical accuracy.  Or get a bucket of KFC.

Man, the merchandise for Episode I.  I didn't really bother with the Pepsi cans, because it seemed like my corner store didn't have a wide enough selection.  Besides, with Doritos being my #1 snack, what I did collect a lot of was the mini trading cards in every bag of Doritos.  I used them to make a frame around my computer monitor.

Pizza in hand, I sat down with a couple of slices and fired up Attack of the Clones.  What follows if my twitter thread after re-watching:

"Attack of the Clones.  Easily the most problematic of the prequels.  10 years ago, a dead Jedi ordered the creation of a clone army, at around the same time the chancellor pushing for the creation of an army came to power.  Does this not raise any red flags?  The Anakin/Padme romance could have been played much better.  He goes from chill to rageaholic in the blink of an eye.  Does this not raise any red flags?  And forget Last Jedi not answering anything.  It's been seventeen years.  WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME WHO SIFO DIAS IS?  But there is still good.  The Jango Fett/Obi-Wan space battle...the monsters on Geonosis.  My method to make the prequels better is they should have been buddy cop movies, and we get a bit of that in the beginning.  But yeah.  Attack of the Clones.  I saw it back-to-back with the first Spider-Man."

And after that, it was straight into Revenge of the Sith.  My twitter thread:

"Revenge of the Sith.  Hands down, the best of the prequels.  People rag on them for their flat acting, but everyone's trying really hard this time to bring this to an end.  Some real artistry, too.  Anakin and Padme staring across the city pondering their fates...the Order 66 montage...the dual birth of the twins/birth of Darth Vader.  But still, "she's just lost the will to live," remains the laziest death in the franchise.  Oh!  And that opening space battle.  Almost James Bond-ian, the way they open with wrapping up their latest caper."

And that's how I spent my long weekend.  Revisiting the prequels and weeping for my lost youth.  I'm seeing a lot of the prequels in the real world right now.  Avengers: Endgame is still riding high, and reading all the interviews with the cast and crew, highlighting background details, really reminds me of that first month after Phantom Menace, when there was still nothing but love for that film.

Twenty years ago, for about a month, there was nothing but love Episode I.  We had a new Star Wars movie, I had just finished college...I had nothing but optimism for the future!  Whatever happened to that world?

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Hellboy Animated: Blood & Iron

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  You know the routine by now, I watch a movie and blog about it.  This timeout, I'm finishing off the Hellboy Animated films with Blood & Iron.  This is in my notes at March 2, 2019.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Hellboy Animated: Sword of Storms

And he we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  You know the drill...I watch one of the movies I own and blog about it.  Don't get much simpler than that.  Today I watch Hellboy: Sword of Storms.  I originally watched it and blogged about it on March 2, 2019.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Goonies

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie I own and blog about it.  You know the drill by now.  Tonight, we do the 1980s classic The Goonies.  This is in my notes at February 16, 2019.