Movie Review – Thor: The Dark World

While I enjoy most of the Marvel movies Stan Lee has been putting out for the past decade, this one is no exception.  The only problem is that I kept comparing it to Star Wars.

Combining Nordic mythology with space is awesome. I never would have imagined Norse gods and demons as aliens and/or having space ships.

Also, I enjoy the character development of Loki. Is he a bad guy? Seems like it. Is he evil? I can’t tell, but he is funny.

I think that’s the other thing I enjoy about the Marvel Universe, it’s not just an action movie, there’s a decent amount of humor in it.

Not to spoil anything, but I just might do that with the rest of my post.  You’ve been warned.

The main dark elf bad guy (whose name I cannot remember or pronounce) sounded like Jabba the Hutt. Seriously, at one point I thought he was going to say, “Bring Solo and the Wookie to me…”

Then later in one of the many battle scenes, Thor lost a hand…hello Luke Skywalker…and I thought, “Thor, I am your father!”

Plus, a lot of the explosions in space had a very distinct ILM sound.  I kept waiting for a Jedi to appear when the bad guys were attacking Asgard from their cloaked space ships.  Yes, I kept calling them Romulans.

All in all, it was a good movie. I wasn’t disappointed in braving the crowds at the Mall of America to see it.  And that’s saying something because that place is insane on the weekends.

 

Movie review: Kick-Ass 2

Even after watching the movie, I still can’t believe that was Jim Carrey in the movie. Bravo to the make-up artist who transformed him.  Regardless of how you feel about him, he is a good actor.  He’s definitely better than Nicholas Cage and I enjoy Nicholas Cage.

So, the movie. If you didn’t see the first Kick-Ass, you are going to be a little lost on the back story for this movie. It’s a continuation of the events of the first, so go see it.

The entire time I was watching Kick-Ass 2, I kept making comparisons to Mystery Men. Both movies have wannabe super heroes rampant through the story line, but where Mystery Men is funny, Kick-Ass 2 is violent. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the movie, but like the first one, the violence can get to be a little much as times, so if you’re squeamish, pass on these movies.

That said, there is some good action especially when Hit Girl was on the screen, however, I was getting a little tired of seeing Kick-Ass getting his ass kicked. While I get that his character is developing and growing up, it just got repetitive. Also, I’m glad we got more Hit Girl in this movie.  She’s the one who really kicks ass and I would love to see a movie just about her.

Overall, it was a decent movie. I enjoyed the comic relief from Donald Faison’s character and some of the other wannabe super heroes, but it was not to Mystery Men level.  Seriously, at one point I thought, “These guys need to find the Sphinx.  He’s terribly mysterious and can cut guns in half with his mind.”

A Monster of a Time

Sometimes the universe aligns in a strange, yet interesting way. Background: Most Friday nights I spend with my parents. Most of those Friday nights are spent shopping at the Costco in Folsom and then dinner afterwards at Islands. My youngest nephew is obsessed with monster trucks.

Tonight, for reasons unbeknownst to me, my sister and her two boys joined me and my parents on our usual routine.

Things went as you’d expect with 6 year old and almost 3 year old boys in your entourage. Actually, they were pretty well behaved. No one melted down, miraculously.

As we were leaving the parking lot of the shopping center, my dad spotted an anomaly, a giant school bus with huge CalTrans lights shining on it.

It was the Monster Kool Bus.

Monster Truck School Bus

This bus is insane looking. It’s like 13 feet tall and the boys were drooling over its power. They were offering rides and of course, my nephews had to ride it. Plus it was for a good cause. They are raising money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Multipe Sclerosis

It was only a few minutes, but how often do you get to ride around in a vehicle doing donuts in the Sam’s Club parking lot and not get chased off the property?

It looks like a local guy owns the big yellow monster bus. I perused the website www.monsterkoolbus.com and most of the past events were in Northern California. I think the guy said he gets 1/2 mile to the gallon, so his range of events is probably limited. The guys manning the vehicle were very personable. They seem to genuinely enjoy what they do. They even let me get on the bus and take a few photos.

Inside Monster Bus

I stayed behind and shot this video:

The Monster Kool Bus will be up in Folsom until March 6th, so there’s still time to get your adrenaline up and donate to a good cause.

Advice for the Graduate?

It’s the time of year when people are graduating from high school and colleges.  Why preschools or any other grades are included in the graduation phenomenon is beyond me.  I even saw cards specifically designed for a little kid’s graduation!  Wow.

Graduating is a big deal.  It’s the end of one large segment of your life and the beginning of a new one.  If you are done with school forever, say goodbye to homework and three month long vacations.  Also, meeting new people will be tough.  Well, you will have to put a little effort into it.  You’ll no longer have class as an excuse to look for a date.  Not that I got any dates from classes.

Remember back in the Stone Age when that song by Baz Lurhman was popular?  You know what I’m talking about…lots of people thought Kurt Vonnegut wrote the lyrics as a commencement speech, but it was really some random newspaper columnist.

Anyway, graduating class of ’12, like the gal said, “Wear sunscreen.”  All other advice you receive will probably be bunk.

It’s been 20 years since I graduated from high school, and the only thing I know is that I am more comfortable in my skin than I used to be when I was 18.  How I arrived at this state, I do not know.  Maybe as you get older you just don’t give a shit as much as you used to, but it’s kind of nice.  Maybe my brain is just smoother than it was because I had too much fun in college.

Here’s the thing, any advice given you won’t matter until you really get it.  Even the sunscreen advice will fade out of your awareness until one day you realize that you hate getting sunburned and you have no idea what that damage might be doing to your skin.  Suddenly, you are doing everything in your power not to age prematurely.

People will hand out advice to you like mints at a fancy restaurant.  You’ll take it, but won’t appreciate it.  You probably won’t even use it.  The real key is to figure out whose mints to take because they are the yummy butter mint kind you rarely find and whose disgusting stale wintergreen mints you should avoid all together.

The only thing I wish someone had told me when I was ready to go off to college or even the work force was that everyone is shy on some level.  Make more eye contact and smile when you do it.  Don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone when at a party or in public.  They are probably hoping someone will talk to them.

Oh…and the only reason most women join sororities…to meet guys.  Then again, fraternity brothers were never really my type.

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Getting more exercise or just becoming healthier is a pretty common New Year’s resolution. How many of you have already broken it two weeks into 2012?

I know I need to get more movement into my daily routine, but I’m not a fan of going to the gym. Aside from the fact that I’m pretty clumsy, I’m easily bored by mindlessly using machines or annoyed by the people in various classes.  I’m just not a joiner.

However, I’ve always been a big fan of yoga. I like the slow pace and the stretching almost always relieves me of any back pain I occasionally endure.

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I’m from the generation who grew up watching moms buy Jane Fonda tapes and work out in living rooms. Gaiam TV takes that concept to a better level.

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>Top Five Christmas Movies

>In no particular order, as always, these are my favorite Christmas movies. I try to watch them every year.  And yes, I’m well aware that your favorite movies are probably not on here.  If it has Jimmy Stewart in it, I sort of hate that movie.  It just doesn’t seem Christmas-y to me.

The Ref: Denis Leary stars as a burglar who happens upon Kevin Spacey and Judi Davis when he’s on the run from the law. It’s a dysfunctional Christmas for all. Glynis Johns and Christine Baranski are great in their supporting roles. Maybe I’m just partial to Leary’s rants. There’s just something about humorous ranting that I like. Shocking, I know.

Scrooged: I love Bill Murray. But who doesn’t really? I’m not a fan of the Christmas Carol story, but I like this version. Maybe because it has comic relief in it. Maybe because the cast in and of itself it great. Either way, it’s always on my to watch list.

Elf: “Buddy the Elf, What’s your favorite color?” I always want to answer my phone like that. The thing I really love about this movie, aside from Will Ferrell, is that it captures the essence of Christmas specials and movies. It makes me remember what it was like to be a kid at Christmastime and how much I enjoyed all the little things about it…like candy.

The Bishop’s Wife: If you haven’t see this movie, I suggest you rent it. Don’t get the stupid Ted Turner colorized version. You can watch a movie in black and white and enjoy it. Cary Grant is what all actors aspire to be like…or should at least. He’s classy, but can make you laugh.  Also, someone needs to tell Santa that I want those self-refilling wine glasses.

A Christmas Story: Everyone loves this movie and for good reason, it’s a good movie. I remember watching this movie in the theater. My parents and I were the only ones there. We could not stop laughing and still haven’t whenever we watch it. You will shoot your eye out kid.

(Bonus for Flavor) Ernest Saves Christmas: This is one of my guilty pleasures. I know I’m the only one who thinks Ernest P. Worrell was funny. Heck, I even watched the Saturday morning show he had on for a while, but this movie has a soft spot in my heart. My favorite scene: Ernest is driving his taxi and singing Oh Christmas Tree.

(What you should be watching this Christmas) The Mystery Science Theater episode where they watch Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. Aside from the comments about the bizarre looking Martian children, a guy in a bear suit who is supposed to be a polar bear outside Santa’s house, and of course Droppo, you get treated with a musical interlude: Let’s Have A Patrick Swayze Christmas. Watch the video and you will be singing it while opening your gifts or giving someone a roundhouse kick in a dive bar:

>It’s Christmas Special Time

>Have you ever really watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer? Santa’s not very nice. In fact, he should be put on the naughty list for the way he treats Rudolph. Of course, I still watch the show because I love the music. Except that sappy song Clarice sings. “There’s always tomorrow…” Blah. Now it’s stuck in your head.

It’s only fitting that I like that show because more often than not, my bangs flip up like Hermy’s. But, I don’t want to be a dentist, nor am I an elf. I’m a little tall and not magical enough by current standards.

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas…never on my queue to watch. It just seemed too scary to me as a kid, kind of like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

And Frosty the Snowman? I don’t watch cartoons during the holidays to make me feel sad. Tuesday night in and of itself will do that for me. I watch the cartoons to escape, to remember the joy of childhood and in the case of the Peanuts special, learn the truisms of life.

“I know nobody loves me, why do we need a holiday season to emphasize it?” Word, CB. Word.

Ok, maybe Charlie Brown and I need some Xanax or a happy pill to lessen the holiday blues, but watching The Year Without a Santa (until they go see Mother Nature) will also do the trick.

“Friends call me Snow Miser…whatever I touch….tends to snow in my clutch. I’m too much!”

Speaking of random Christmas Specials, have you seen the Claymation Christmas Special? Probably not unless you are my age and are cursed with my memory.

Please watch this version of Carol of the Bells. It’s my favorite:

Music is my happy pill apparently. Maybe that’s why I like Christmas carols so much.