Monday, August 31, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 96-99

I finished up all three seasons of DuckTales, which brought the total up a whopping 75 animated series eps!

I know I said after DuckTales I was done, but I decided that since I finished late afternoon Sunday, I might as well finish up everything. Besides, considering that I'm one day away from going at this for a hundred days, what's the harm in doing a bit more, right? I did the Disney's Magical Fireplace DVD first. I did it without the Christmas music and I noticed that it was running on and on, but I didn't realize that it was on a loop until about four hours in, so that pretty much wasted the rest of the afternoon and part of the night (that's what I get for spending too much time on YouTube when I'm supposed to be video watching).

I moved on to Fraggle Rock next. I only have the first season on DVD because they are so expensive and I never got around to purchasing the others. Apparently though, they have repackaged them and they are cheaper now, so maybe I'll get around to it in the next year. I made it about halfway through the season before the night ended and I forgot to count the episodes, so I'll just add this total when I'm finished. Hopefully, I will be able to finish up tonight and THEN I'm officially finished with this bloody challenge!

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 108
Full-Length Animation: 117
Mixed-Medium: 12
Animated Shorts: 432
Live Action Shorts: 2
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 247
Live Action Series: 26
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 14
Concerts: 3

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 93-95

It took me three days, but I managed to finish the second season of Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers. Granted, I was not paying attention to much to season 1, let alone season 2, but after the first couple of episodes of season 2, I started studying the packaging because I thought I had them backwards or the discs were labeled wrong or something. The season 2 discs started before all the characters met and they formed the Rescue Rangers, but I finally read the top of the box which said it included the first 5 pilot episodes. Why those weren't on the first series disc, I just don't know and I certainly don't understand why they felt the need to run them before the second season instead of having them in a bonus section (which neither season had any of). But anyway, another 27 episodes to add to the total (and a really short post to boot!).

I tried to start season 1 of Duck Tales last night, but I was spending so much time watching YouTube videos of Disneyland vloggers, I figured I'd wait until tonight. I want to give my full attention to the ducks!

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 108
Full-Length Animation: 117
Mixed-Medium: 11
Animated Shorts: 432
Live Action Shorts: 2
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 172
Live Action Series: 26
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 14
Concerts: 3

Monday, August 24, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 90-92

You might have noticed that I didn't post stitching progress Sunday night. That's because I had none. I somehow managed to scratch my cornea on Monday and haven't been able to wear my contacts. I can't see well enough with my glasses to function, let alone stitch, so I tried to spend the week researching trip stuff, but I ended up doing everything but.

I did manage to finish off the last of the non-series discs though, if nothing else. Friday I made it though the final DCOMS starting with Twitches and Twitches Too. I'm not really sure why I have these discs, I never really cared for the movies, but alas I do, so I watched them.



Same with Cheetah Girls 2. I'm not sure why I have the second one and not the others, especially since I liked 1 and 3 much better. I probably meant to get the other two and never got around to it.


I also found my Jonas Brothers: The 3D Experience Concert DVD and my Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Tour DVD. As much as I hate to admit it, I actually saw the Hannah/Miley tour live (with the Jonas Brothers opening for her), so both of these concerts bring back memories, both good and bad. I did notice that the Jonas Brothers concert had Demi Lovato in it singing some Camp Rock songs with them and it must have been after she and Joe broke up because the ice between them on stage was almost visible! Taylor Swift was also on the Jonas disc too, but I fast-forwarded through her part.



I started Saturday with a solid plan to spend the morning working on trip stuff, followed by a movie afternoon and starting the series that night, but ended up spending the entire day and a chunk of the night watching ghost videos and makeup tutorials (anything and everything other than what I should have been doing), so I only had time to finish up the final two movies starting with Sky High. In theory, this should really be a great movie and right up my alley...superhero kids go to high school and highjinx ensue. It's got two Kids In the Hall alums (Pleakley and Flik to us Disney geeks), Wonder Woman's Linda Carter, Bruce Campbell, and even Steven Straight (who I've had a crush on since The Covenant). But there are so many things about it that bother me, I can't see past them enough to enjoy the good stuff. Every time Kurt Russell even touches Kelly Preston (the parents), it almost looks like she's flinching. All I can think of when I see the lead, Michael Angarano, is Kristen Stewart and I don't like her (they used to date). And numerous other silly things that I can't seem to get past.


The Rocketeer is another one of those great Disney fan favorites, but like Tron, I just don't get it. I even fell asleep twice trying to get through this viewing and I didn't bother rewinding it a third time.


I have NUMEROUS Travel Channel type Disney World specials recorded as well as park specific discs I bought at Disney World, but I've decided not to watch these. I'm also not counting the Touchstone movies either. Same with the Disney Fireplace disc and my first season of Fraggle Rock (since I don't have the other seasons, it would be weird). I kind of decided that if I didn't draw the line somewhere, I'll be doing this forever! So Sunday, I started the beginning of the end. I finished the first season of Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers, all 27 episodes.

I'll finish up the second season of Rescue Rangers this week and hopefully get started on the Ducktales series, and then, I'm done!

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 108
Full-Length Animation: 117
Mixed-Medium: 11
Animated Shorts: 432
Live Action Shorts: 2
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 145
Live Action Series: 26
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 14
Concerts: 3

Friday, August 21, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 88 & 89

Believe it or not, I am actually FINALLY wrapping this all up. I should finish up the last of the live actions tonight, leaving nothing but the three series of Duck Tales and the two series of Chip n Dale Rescue Rangers (or at least I hope I don't find more hiding somewhere). Those might take a while to get through each season, so I think I've give a seasonal review instead of an episode by episode one (for no reason other than pure dee'ole laziness).

So, on Wednesday night, I did the other Jonas disc, I Heart Jonas. There were seven episodes of the first season on it and it got me in such a Jonas mood, I ended up spending the rest of the night watching as my favorite episodes from the second season of Jonas as well as my favorite Sonny With A Chance eps on YouTube. More than once I drifted over to iTunes tempting myself into buying them, but I managed to hold off.

Thursday, I completed the compilation discs with my Austin & Ally: All The Write Moves disc. There is a couple new discs at the Disney Movie Club of Austin & Ally I haven't got around to buying yet, but I'm sure I will at some point because this show always ranked up there with Jonas and Sonny for me. Besides, when I had my satellite turned off, Austin had just professed his love for Ally, he lost his record contract and everything was left up in the air. I have no clue what has been happening since. Oh, and there were seven eps on this disc too.

I managed one more movie, Freaky Friday, the newer one with Lindsey Lohan (I honestly had no clue I had so many of her movies on DVD...I don't even like her!). Having said that, I do prefer this version to the original for some reason. It might be the only Lindsey Lohan movie I can say I actually do like, but I'm pretty sure that it's Jamie Lee Curtis that makes this movie for me. I've always liked her.


Just a couple remaining stragglers and then on to Duckburg I go!

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 103
Full-Length Animation: 117
Mixed-Medium: 11
Animated Shorts: 432
Live Action Shorts: 2
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 118
Live Action Series: 26
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 14
Concerts: 1

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Disney Movies - Day 87

I decided I just couldn't take the remaining live actions I have left (at least not yet), so I started last night with my Sonny With A Chance: Sonny's Big Break Vol 1 disc. One thing you should probably know about the Disney Channel shows...they don't typically release them in their full seasons on disc. This really sucks because I do tend to watch and rewatch TV shows if I have the entire season on disc. Instead, you get a compilation video collection, much like the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse discs, of four or five random episodes. That's what this disc is. But, when it comes to Sonny With A Chance, I don't really care. It was one of my favorite Disney Channel shows ever and I hated that it ended, so I'll take what I can get! One of these days, I'm going to get them all from iTunes (which you can still do, or you can watch a lot of them on YouTube, but most of them are copyright infringers, so the videos don't stay up long), I just can't justify the added expense right now so close to vacation time. There were five episodes on this disc and I almost wanted to watch it again, but I needed to get to my other favorite Disney Channel show. I debated on posting a fan video of later down the season line when Sonny and Chad became "Channy", but I figured, since this one only covered season 1, I'd better stick to that:

There was also a short on this disc for the "season finale" of Mackenzie Falls and it is hilarious! But before I post the video, I need to give those that don't know a brief (if I can) description of the show premise so this will make more sense. You have two groups of kids who each have a show, one a comedy sketch show called So Random (which is where Sonny works) and a teen soap opera-type, way over-acted drama show called Mackenzie Falls (where Chad works). Both of these camps hate each other and it further complicates things when Sonny and Chad start dating. Most of the action takes place off camera and the relationships between the characters, but they do show pieces of whatever episode either side is working on that week. This clip is a piece of Mackenzie Falls.


Granted, I really loved Jonas, but the second season, which gained the moniker Jonas L.A. was SOOO much better! Those are also both on my iTunes wishlist, but of the two discs I have, both only cover the first season. I only had time to make it through one of the two discs I own, this one called Jonas: Rockin' The House Vol 1. I also don't understand why they always give these a "vol 1" title when they never release a second one, but still (the second Jonas disc I have has a completely different title). This one actually had seven episodes of the first season of Jonas, and I forgot how much I really loved this show! By the time I finished this one, I really had to control myself from going on iTunes and splurging. This one is a harder show to find a clip of, it's either full episodes, or the coupling videos which don't really start getting serious until season 2, so I guess I'll leave off a video for this series.

I have another Jonas show DVD, but again, it just covers the first season and not Jonas L.A.

Oh, and to add to my weirdness, of course I have the soundtracks to both of these shows as well. I still think that the Jonas L.A. album was one of the best that the Jonas Brothers ever did!

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 102
Full-Length Animation: 117
Mixed-Medium: 11
Animated Shorts: 432
Live Action Shorts: 2
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 118
Live Action Series: 12
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 14
Concerts: 1

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Disney Movies - Day 86

Good thing I was busy with trip stuff last night because I am seriously dragging the bottom of the proverbial Disney lake. When I was a kid, I never "got" Tron. I was a techy kid (or as techy as one could be in the 80's), but I still didn't get it. I saw it once, cataloged it as crap, and left it at that. Once the second one came out a couple of years ago, I thought, well, maybe I didn't give it enough of a chance and I would rewatch it before I watched the new one. Nope, didn't help. I know that movie has a huge following, but I just can't wrap my head around it. It may have been a technologically amazing movie for the time, but I find the graphics to be extremely cheesy and lazy with colored lines in a black world. The story doesn't make sense to me either. It's just a total loss.


So speaking of the second one, Tron Legacy, where I thought the first one was bad, this one makes the first one look good! Granted, the graphics are more clean and modern, but it's still lazy-looking to me. And there are large blocks of time where there is absolutely no dialogue at all, just weird sounds that wreak havoc on my subwoofer. I think these movies probably fit into a geek niche, like I'm a Whovian and others are Trekkies and whatever Star Wars people are called (what are they called?), but you usually don't see cross-mingling of these breeds. One is either a Star Wars or a Star Trek person. I'm a Doctor Who person. I'm sure there are Tron people out there. Basically, when they announced that the third movie was getting scrapped, all I could think of was "Yea! A DVD I don't have to buy!".


I was SO glad to be done with those, so I decided a nice short and sweet one would work good for the end of the night and I went with Ice Princess. Sweet, yes, but short, not so much. I never realized how long this movie was before. It's OK, not on my favorite list or anything, but I can tolerate it. And, as someone who is perpetually cold, even in 100 degree weather, ice movies don't really do it for me either.

All in all, it was a bum night, but on a positive note, at least these are done and they made for a short blog post!

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 102
Full-Length Animation: 117
Mixed-Medium: 11
Animated Shorts: 432
Live Action Shorts: 1
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 118
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 14
Concerts: 1

Monday, August 17, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 83 - 85

As I mentioned in my stitch post, I apparently missed an entire stack of discs and completely forgot about the numerous series I have on DVD, so I didn't get finished with my Disney Movie Challenge this weekend like I planned. No matter...I'll get through it eventually.

Friday started off with my last Disney Treasures DVD, Disney Rarities. There were seven Alice shorts on the disc (for those who don't know about the Alice stories, it's the first series that Walt & Co started animating back in the 20's in Kansas City).

There were also seven other shorts on disc one, but it was a pretty long disc, so I didn't get to disc 2 until Saturday.

There were twelve shorts on disc 2, including two Humphrey shorts. I absolutely adore Humphrey and have since childhood! Considering he was such a big part of my Disney life, I'm always surprised that so many people don't know who he is. He's all over Wilderness Lodge at Disney World (and he's in a spot or two at the Grand Californian at Disneyland, which I will be verifying soon). The best of the best, of course, is In The Bag, probably because of the song...it gets in your head and your singing it for months!


Then I went through my Have A Laugh discs. Most of these cartoons I couldn't count because I had already counted them in the challenge, all the Donalds and some of the others. Also, for some weird reason, these discs had a cartoon, then the next one would be a short version of the previous one. What was the purpose in that? By the last two discs, they started grouping them at the end, but again, why? Each disc also had these annoying BLAM! snipits. I think I kind of remember those from the old Disney Channel days, but that didn't make them any less annoying. Each disc had three of them, and I'm counting them as one short.

Each disc also included a music video of a popular song set to a Disney cartoon. Again, I found these incredibly annoying. Disc 1 had three I could add to my total, Disc 2 had two, Disc 3 had three and Disc 4 also had three. Hours were spent watching these discs for only a handful of viable counts, but hey, I can honestly say I have literally watched every single Disney disc I have once it's all said and done.

I had a few animation full-lengths to finish, so I started with The Aristocats. This one never floated my boat, so to speak...I always thought of it as a cat version of Lady and the Tramp. Several years ago, there used to be a Disney dating site called DisMates and it was during a time when I had just been divorced long enough to start thinking about maybe getting back out there again. I spent a lot of time on the site, made some really good friends, but had a very strange run-in with someone who called themselves by one of the characters in this movie, so I've been leery of it ever since because it reminds me of him. Now, enough time has passed that I realize I'm fine on my own and that ended up overall being a horrible experience, so I won't be doing that again anyway! But watching The Aristocats again after so long, I really did enjoy it. The animation is classic and the music is fantastic. I would probably say I like this one better than Lady and the Tramp now after this challenge.

There was also a short on the disc that kind of surprised me...I never realized that Figaro had his own short with his own title run. I always wondered how the poor little guy got tossed from Gepetto to Minnie Mouse and, although this cartoon doesn't answer this question for me, it's one of the earliest cartoons I've ever seen him as Minnie's.


I was scraping the bottom of the barrel, so the last major batch of full-lengths was the Winnie The Pooh movies. I used to have a lot more than I do now, like the Tigger one, and Piglet, etc. But when I switched from VHS to DVD, I just cleared a lot of those out (I give them to various co-workers) and never replaced the little ones. I am NOT a Pooh fan. I know, blasphemy, right? But I'm not and never had been. I just never got it. Even as a little kid, I thought it was way too child-like and beneath me. I didn't care for the animation and the characters all had some of my worst traits, like Pooh's weight, Piglet's chicken-ness, Rabbit's know-it-all attitude, Tigger's over-hyperactivity, etc, and I didn't like being reminded of all my shortcomings. And Heffalumps and Woozles scared me as much as the Pink Elephants in Dumbo, so another reason to stay away. I think I've come to realize that I had a childhood fear of elephants and just didn't know it at the time.

I watched The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh first. Beside all of the above, I also noticed how much Gopher's voice made my head hurt. I literally had a headache by the time the movie with over with and had to take a break for a while before I started the next one.

There was one Eeyore short on the disc as well as five "Mini Adventures of Winnie The Pooh". About the only good thing about these shorts was they were narrated by John Cleese and I've had a crush on him since A Fish Called Wanda.

I only have one other Pooh disc, called simply Winnie The Pooh. Thank goodness no Gopher, but I couldn't tell much of a difference between these two discs. They were different story lines (sort of), but I just kind of felt like I was watching a remake instead of a new movie. I also noticed that some of the Mini Adventures were included in this storyline, but I'm not sure of the extent or which ones, so I'm counting them anyway.


The only animation discs I have left were compilations, so I started with the Phineas and Ferb: The Perry Files - Animal Agents first. There were twelve episodes of the TV show on this disc (why can't Mickey Mouse Clubhouse do that?) as well as six Take Two shorts. Although I don't have all the Phineas and Ferb discs, I have a couple and I always liked the show. I would probably say that I'm a definite Perry fan and not so much Phineas and Ferb, but it's still worth watching.

It was really late, so I picked back up Sunday with The Perry Files. There were only seven episodes on this disc and one short, but still better than the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse discs, so I felt I got my money's worth.

And speaking of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, it was time to finish those up. I started with Minnie's Pet Salon, which was one full-length and four episodes. Mickey's Great Outdoors was next with five episodes, followed by The Wizard of Dizz (1 FL and 2 eps as well as 10 Bow Toons), and finally Minnie's Winter Bow Show (4 eps and 10 Bow Toons).

I'm not entirely sure some of these weren't repeats I had seen before or if I remembered them from watching when they were broadcast, or maybe even if they were just similar to ones I had already seen, but I wasn't paying close enough attention to say for sure, so I'm still going to count them.

Other than the TV series, that's it for the single disc animation videos...so at least I'm making progress! I feel like I should also mention that a lot of these discs, especially the D-Channel related discs have "things" inside the DVD case...from toys to jewelry to all kinds of knick-knacks related to the film. I have never taken any of these out of the DVD cases other than the Mickey's Great Outdoors because it came in a huge box with a Mickey TV remote and the box took up too much room. Every time I've opened these discs to play them through the challenge, I've been surprised by their contents that I had forgotten about. I may have never of watched some of these, but they have all been opened because I need the Disney Movie Rewards code inside. I get that code before the DVD or Blu-Ray ever comes close to the storage case.

But anyhoo, I still had some time before the night was over with, so it was time to jump into the live actions that I apparently had been avoiding so much I ignored them in my initial DVD search. First up, The Lizzie McGuire Movie. This actually wasn't that bad and I kind of remembered why I purchased it in the first place. I never watched the TV show, but I don't mind Hilary Duff that much. At least I don't have to see her naked breasts everytime I open the internet like I do with Miley Cyrus.


But then I made a tragic mistake for ending the night. The only Herbie movie I own is Herbie Fully Loaded. I'm not really sure why. I don't really remember liking the originals when I was a kid. If anything, a car who could feel, act and communicate was a bit too Christine for me and he scared me. This version is just pure crap. How they ever got that caliber of actors to be in it surprises the heck out of me (and by that I mean Michael Keaton and Matt Dillon, NOT Lindsey Lohan).

I was just really ready to go to bed after that and I'm afraid it won't be much better tonight with what is left. Oh well, at least the counts have gone way up again, especially the shorts and series.

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 99
Full-Length Animation: 117
Mixed-Medium: 11
Animated Shorts: 432
Live Action Shorts: 1
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 118
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 14
Concerts: 1

Sunday, August 16, 2015

IHSW #1 and TUSAL

I had such high hopes for this weekend, but my heart just wasn't in it. For every hour of stitching, I probably did four hours of Disneyland studying. On a positive note, I got a ton of trip stuff done though, so it wasn't a total waste of a weekend. I only worked on Alice and the B's and I left off here:
alice078
And only made it to here by mid afternoon today (before I officially gave up the goat):
alice081
As you can tell, I was even too busy doing other things to pull the thread all the way through.

It's also TUSAL time. I keep pushing the threads in my ORT jar down and it looks like they haven't grown, but they definitely have. Since I had a specific path this weekend, my ORT jar pic reflects it:
DSC05870

I also discovered yet another stack of Disney movies I haven't watched yet and I forgot all about the TV shows, so I am not even close to being finished with my challenge. I was really hoping to be done with it, but alas, not quite yet. Maybe another week or two.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 81 & 82

Sorry folks, problems at work have caused me to have some 20+ hour work days and I have been unable to post #801. I did manage to make it through two Oswald cartoons on my Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit series, but that was it for Wednesday.

Starting Thursday, I finished the Oswalds and watched The Ub Iwerks Story, a full-length documentary that was also on the disc and one of the early Silly Symphonies that I hadn't seen yet (at least for this challenge), The Skeleton Dance. Considering the age of this piece, it really is quite brilliant and advanced:


I also watched James and the Giant Peach and Frankenweenie. I've been putting both of these off because James freaks me out with the giant bugs and Frankenweenie wasn't a good movie to watch so soon after losing Zachary but, because I was busy with work stuff on the computer, I wasn't really paying attention to them, so neither one of them bothered me. I can say I watched the discs though, so they count! Besides, I'm dragging the bottom of the proverbial lake now, so I pretty much have to watch them.

If I have a "work free" weekend, I should finish what is left or at least will by Monday at the latest.

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 97
Full-Length Animation: 112
Mixed-Medium: 11
Animated Shorts: 352
Live Action Shorts: 1
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 84
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 14
Concerts: 1

On a side note, Joysze over at Random Ramblings is doing two International and Hermit Stitch Weekends this month, the first one being this weekend, so I will definitely be in hermiting stitching mode after this work week! If you haven't signed up yet, head on over there and sign up! When I have a definite goal to get to, the IHSW is the best way to achieve it and I'm really hoping I can get almost finished with this row on Alice and the B's, so from my lips to the powers that be's ears! It's also the only time I ever love Mondays because I can't wait to see how everyone else got on too.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Duran Duran Appreciation Day

Yes, I know that Duran Duran Appreciation Day was on the 10th and today is the 13th, but I wanted to wait to talk about my favorite band until I hit a very special milestone, my 800th post! I seriously cannot believe that I have rant and raved, obsessed, and shared my stitching 800 times! How crazy is that? I'm also within 40 some-odd days of my 4th Blogoversary and I hope I don't forget about it like I did last year.

But on with the the important stuff...Simon and the boys (oh, and fair warning, this post is probably going to be huge because it's filled with tons of video clips). I'm not sure of the exact date I first heard a Duran Duran song but I do remember it was early fall 1981 and it was the video to Planet Earth, so the details aren't apparently too fuzzy. I had crushes before, the earliest one I remember was probably Li'l Abner at Dogpatch USA (a long gone amusement park in northwest Arkansas), then Shaun Cassidy, and Andy Gibb, followed by John Schneider and, for a very brief moment, Michael Jackson. I'm not sure if it was because I was 10, almost 11 years old and those teen hormones were starting to appear or what, but I literally went completely and utterly gaga over Simon LeBon and I've been much been that way ever since (although there have been wains and ebbs throughout the years). I often catch myself laughing at the Beliebers (or whatever they are called), but honestly, I made them look normal back in the day. I scared my parents, teachers, and so-called friends with my behavior on more than one occasion (but I do that anyway, so it was par for the course).

But my "day" was way before internet and I lived in po-dunk Arkansas, so information was little and far between. I never ate lunch at school so that I could have money to buy magazines at the grocery store. There was a schedule I had worked out, so I knew which magazine arrived on which day. I sent a letter (by snail mail...I know, I'm old right?) to The Record Runner in New York City, they sent me a supply list, and I'd order special records of remixes or foreign versions that had B-side songs that couldn't be found anywhere else (and if you don't know what a record is, then I give up because I must be ancient!) . I started my participation in the Duran Duran fan club from an advert in the back of a magazine, and although I also wain and ebb with that, I usually keep it renewed. It's internet based now and I need to actually renew it again...I let it lapse. I have written Simon more letters than I care to admit to professing my undying love and devotion (although, not since my early 20's thankfully) and despite my age, one of my childhood nicknames, the melding of the Keebles and LeBon into Keebslebon is still used quite a lot by me today. I am, what is commonly referred to, as a Diehard Duranie.

The new album is coming out next month, Paper Gods, and I've already heard two of the songs from it (and, I'm sure if I really searched, I could find more, but I try to stay away from the illegal stuff), Pressure Off

and today they released the title track, Paper Gods:

I was blown away when I first heard this song this morning. It's rare that a Duran Duran song makes me go "ah, wha?", but it has been known to happen. I cried like a baby the day Wild Boys came out because it was so different and I was afraid they were "going rock" and I hated rock (I was a New Wave Princess and still kind of am). Eventually, I loved it, especially after the video came out, but that initial blow was enough that my 14 year-old crazy self could have very easily had a nervous breakdown or done something really stupid (I was prone to such in those days). Paper Gods is so very different and yet, after about the 10th or so play (it's been on a continuous loop all day), I really started to love it and now I'm a bit obsessed with it!

I read numerous articles in the past couple of days, from The 20 Struggles of Being a Fan in the 80's (very few of these applied to me) to their 20 greatest hits of all time. I NEVER agree with these lists. Granted, as an actual fan, my Duran Duran library to reference from is MUCH bigger than the usual album fare, but still. Most of them just read like someone went on Wikipedia, read Duran Duran's page, and wrote their story.

So, in honor of Duran Duran Appreciation Day, I'm going to give an album by album favorite list of my own with possibly a B-side or two thrown in for good measure (do they still call them B-sides?), starting with album #1, Duran Duran. I do have the original album (of course), but most people don't know that the version you readily get now that is commonly referred to as their first album is actually a re-release, so technically it's their third album with Rio in the middle. They re-released the first album to add Is There Something I Should Know. So if you have Duran Duran's first album and ITSISK is not on it, then you actually have their real first album, so congrats...you've got a collector's item! I'm getting off track again (hehe, off track? HA!).

Anyway, even though Planet Earth was the first Duran song I ever heard and the first publicly released video, it, as you can probably guess, is not my all-time first album favorite. That honor is reserved for Careless Memories. I just love F-You songs and this was the very first one I ever remember hearing.

As far as B-sides go, my absolute favorite from this album (and probably one of my favorite ones ever) is Late Bar. I found a very recent live version of it, and although it's not nearly as dark and heavy as the original (I was a very dark and heavy kid), it's still "got it".

With Rio, again, I don't lean to the mainstream releases, but rather, another song that they never released as a single, but did make a video for, Lonely In Your Nightmare. I wanted to find the original video, but too many people are obsessed with side-by-side comparisons of the different versions of the video. Any Duranie can tell you, there are as many different music video edits as there are versions of the songs. I bet I have over a hundred different remixes of Hungry Like The Wolf (my least favorite Duran song, FYI). I personally always preferred the version on the right, but focus on whichever side suits you.

For Seven And The Ragged Tiger, this was an easy choice. It's probably more about the video than the actual song, but New Moon On Monday started my love affair with all things French, simply because they speak it at the beginning. After 5 years of it in school though, it was an easily cured obsession. I think this video has more versions than any other. I know I have at least 10 in my collection, but my all-time favorite is the 17 minute movie version, because we get to hear Simon speak!!!

But you can't mention Seven without mentioning Secret Oktober. I don't know one Duranie who wouldn't list this one as, not only their top B-side, but one of their top 10 Duran songs of all time! I tried to find a good live version, but it was either the HOB version with Warren (it's bad enough we have to look at him later) or a fan recorded video where all you hear is the audience singing and shaky videos, so I'm going with just an audio version:

Technically, Arena is next, but it is a live album and not a studio album, so for the sake of brevity (yeah, right), I'm not going to do those because I have dozens of them. There was one studio song on Arena though, Wild Boys, but given a choice, I would still choose the live version of Careless Memories. But hey, this is my post, so why not?

After Arena, John and Andy split off into The Power Station and Simon and Nick dragged Roger off for Arcadia. As you can probably guess, Arcadia was my favorite of the two, it had more of a Duran sound, albeit a bit darker and heavier (but again, I was a dark and heavy kid). The Flame was my absolute favorite Arcadia song and the video had a very Clue-like feel to it. I just wish they would have made more.

They came back together to do the James Bond soundtrack for A View To A Kill and then disaster struck, Roger left first, and then Andy (which really wasn't that great of a loss, I never liked him anyway...that is until Warren came along, but thankfully we aren't there just yet). But hey, that left my favorite three, so all the better! When Notorious came out, I was at my obsessive worst. I literally burned through three cassettes of Notorious in the first year. My favorite song from this album was Meet El Presidente, probably because the line, "hell has no fury like a young girl's ego", it fit me perfectly! Of all Duran's looks, both the Arcadia era and the Notorious era wins out for me. I drew pictures of them ALL THE TIME (I still have a few somewhere) and by collection of Duran Duran posters and such was getting way out of control (I still have all of those too). I used to cut the little pictures and articles out of magazines and kept a scrapbook which turned into two, then three, and so on (and yes, I still have those too).


In rare Duran fashion, Big Thing came out a little more than a year after Notorious (usually, they go several years between albums). A Duranie is fully aware of Simon's innuendos about the size of his um...member (hate to freak out those that don't know, but that is what The Reflex is about), but this album was even more blatant. Sure, Simon can say that Big Thing is about fame until he's blue in the face, but seriously? "Get it up, get it out, get it in time, hang it up, hanging out, hanging on a big thing, move it in, move it out, move up the line, bang it up, bang it out, banging on a big thing"...you decide. My favorite song was actually Land.

They did release a Greatest Hits album after Big Thing and that one too had an unknown song on it. This is, quite possibly, the coolest song in the Duran library because it blends several songs together in one. See if you can pick out the separate songs (and the video clips are here to help). What was really shocking about this video was, at the end, it shows them walking as a five piece, with two new members. The music changed after that...Warren had arrived. I dog him a lot, most people only know him versus Andy since he was actually around a lot longer and present during the "Duran Revival" of the 90's, but I, as a diehard, saw the overall change in the band, not just the sound, but the attitude as well, and I didn't like it. You still can't convince me Warren wasn't one of the reasons why John left, but I'm digressing (yet again).

Liberty was next, and I've often said that it is my favorite and it is, but I do wish it had higher production values like all the other Duran albums. A lot of the songs have great rhythm sections and fabulous lyrics, but Warren's guitar playing and the over-simplistic production does take away from the songs quite a bit. Guess you guys already know my favorite song here, but how about the unplugged version for the video this time? Ladies and gentleman, the melodial Xanax that is Serious:

There are usually two different camps of Duran fans, those from the old days and those who start at The Wedding Album. Technically, it is actually named Duran Duran, but I find that so confusing since we already have two other versions of albums called Duran and most people refer to it as The Wedding Album anyway (as does the band). Again, while Ordinary World is a good song, it's not my favorite. That spot is reserved for None of the Above. There are several versions of this song and actually one demo version is actually my favorite, but I was unable to find it. I wanted to find a video with lyrics, because if any Duran song could be labeled my theme song, it's probably this one and the lyrics say it all, but Simon is pretty easy to understand, so you shouldn't have any trouble:

I also debated whether or not I should include Thank You in this list, but it was a studio album, even if it was an album of covers, so it does count. Some of them are really good, some of them are absolutely horrible (911 Is A Joke being the worst Duran song ever, even worse than Hungry). Believe it or not, one of my favorites from this album actually ended up being a single, Lou Reed's Perfect Day. When this video came out and I saw Roger playing drums, I bawled like a baby...I was so very happy! Unfortunately it was a one-off thing…at least at that point.

Lou Reed has been quoted on camera as saying he loves this version and he's also said he hates it, but his opinion means very little to me either way.

In the middle of recording Medazzaland, John left. My heart broke, but I still had Simon, so I held on. There are some great demos out there from that album, one even including John singing lead which is a pretty great F-You song to his ex-wife (I love him dearly, but singing is not his strong suit, even though I own every single solo album he ever did) . I did actually manage to find it on YouTube (gosh I love YouTube!):

but my favorite is Out Of My Mind. Definitely one of the top five coolest Duran videos ever because of the creepiness factor:

After Medazzaland, they not only lost John, but lost their record deal too. They switched over to Hollywood Records, which made me happy (Hollywood is a Disney company after all), but the album that came out was just kind of sad and Hollywood Records did a crap job of promoting it. Anyone who thinks that Liberty is bad, has never heard Pop Trash. It's my least favorite Duran album, hands down. There are a couple of OK songs, but I have to be in a deep Duran mood to listen to them. If I had to pick one though, I'd probably go with the French version of Someone Else Not Me, Un Autre Que Moi. Someone was nice enough to cut this version with the original video:

I think Pop Trash was the straw that broke the camel's back when it came to Warren...he was gone after that (it is still questionable whether he left on his own or he was kicked out) and back came John and Roger and then Andy. For the first time in over 20 years, I had my original five back and all was right in the world! The veritable icing on the cake was that the album that followed, Astronaut, on yet another new record label. It is quite possibly my favorite Duran album of all time second only to Rio and Liberty. The Astronaut tour was the first (and only) time I saw all five members together on stage. Maybe that is why it means so much to me. I was too young to go back in the day, and they never got close enough anyway. It's hard to pick a favorite from this album, but I'm going to try and go with What Happens Tomorrow.

The next album gets fuzzy. They had an almost finished album with Andy, but he decided to leave again. I was a bit nervous that Warren was going to come back, but thankfully, that didn't happen. They picked up Dom Brown pretty quickly, who is still with them today, but he's not an "official" member. I think they finally learned their lesson on that front. They trashed the almost finished album and pretty much started over. As the news started to come down about the new version, Red Carpet Massacre, I really got scared...they were working with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake. I like them both OK, but NOT on a Duran Duran album. That was the roughest wait of my life waiting for that album, but once it finally came out, I was pleasantly surprised and I really liked it. The general Duran community, however, HATED it...it was TOO modern and people accused them of trying too hard to be relevant. I still heard the funky baseline of John and the melodious lyrics of Simon, and that's all I need to be happy. But anyway, my favorite song from this album is one of the most hated by Duranies, Skin Divers:

All You Need Is Now was the next album and they went back to the Astronaut vibe. It has that old Duran feel with enough modern to survive and I loved it too! It actually has a lot of "sequels" to songs from the Rio album and the diehards were happy once again. The title song is by far my favorite and an often used ringtone on my phone.

Granted, there are the numerous solo albums from John as well as his Neurotic Outsiders work (and there was even a lesser known second Power Station album), the occasional single from Simon and various production jobs from Nick, but I branched off a bit too much with Arcadia, so I think I'll wrap up here. I will say, Simon's solo stuff is very Duranish, so I guess it's safe to say that Simon IS Duran to me.

Album-wise, we're back to the present, waiting for Paper Gods. If the rest of the album is half as good as the two songs they've leaked, I absolutely can not wait! I obsessed fanatically over my boys in the 80's, I counted on them to get me through life in the 90's, I stuck with them through the hard times of the late 90's, early 2000's and I celebrated with them when they got back to themselves in the time since. So happy Duran Duran Appreciation Day boys...this little Arkansas girl will always love you!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Disney Movies - Day 80

I finished up the Disney Treasures: Disneyland discs last night. There were two specials on the second disc, first was called Magic Kingdom: The Magic of Television and the second was The Disneyland 10th Anniversary Special. As much as I love these old documentaries about Disneyland, especially with Walt at the forefront, my head was killing me, so I didn't try to watch anything else, just Imitrex'ed myself and went to bed.

This is probably going to be the shortest post ever, but there is a very valid reason which shall be revealed tonight.

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 97
Full-Length Animation: 110
Mixed-Medium: 11
Animated Shorts: 338
Live Action Shorts: 1
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 84
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 13
Concerts: 1

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Disney Movies - Day 79

I had planned to finish the Disneyland series last night, but instead, my copy of Descendants came in so I had to watch it. It was actually so good, I ended up watching it three times total before bedtime and I didn't even start stitching! I also spent a night worry-free about Disneyland, which was a bonus, until it was time to go to bed and my head started running away again.

I dropped regular TV about the time this movie was getting made, so I really only knew the basic facts about it even...the children of the Disney villains wind up going to school with the children of the heroes and calamity ensues, but it ended up being so much more. In the first few moments, they broke out into song and dance, which was a bit of an eyeopener because I wasn't expecting a musical, but not shocking because it is a DCOM movie. This first song actually ended up being my favorite one of the entire movie. I may be anti-modern music, but techno is really nothing but more technical 80's music anyway and I really dug the vibe of this song, especially during the dance sequence.


As much as I was dreading Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent, she actually turned out pretty good and I also liked the song between her and Mal, her daughter:


There was also a really great ballad in there and it was enough to make me put the soundtrack in my wishlist:


There were other songs in between, and I guess I don't need to post them all, but each was surprisingly good, well, all except for the remake of Be Our Guest. So wrong on so many levels:


I was also a bit disappointed by the big ending song and I expected a bit more (although, considering what a big production it was, I'm not sure how). The music just felt off and the lyrics were a bit cheesy, even for a DCOM. But the dancing and backgrounds were amazing, so I didn't dwell too much on the lack of finale oomph.


Overall, I loved the bright 80's type colors of the movie throughout. The casting was also really good. I've always liked Dove Cameron even though I really didn't like Liv & Maddie (the start up movie was good, but the show, not so much). I didn't care that Aurora & Phillip's daughter and Cindy and Charming's son were horrible and that Belle and the Beast's son was the lead guy, but that's just my personal prince and princess preference interfering. The casting was pretty spot on, even down to Dopey's son who ends up having a crush on Evie, the daughter of the Evil Queen.

And speaking of the Evil Queen, for those who have seen it, they did make Kathy Najimy's face look like that on purpose, right? She really doesn't look like that now, in real life, does she..all stretched out and botoxed? There was one tiny comment when Snow White is playing newscaster and the Queen goes "she's definitely had work done" and Maleficent looks over at her like, "have you looked in the mirror lately?", but nothing else was said. If they did it on purpose, they really should have played it up more.

Overall, I think this has become my new favorite DCOM! I got excited in what little special features there were because they hinted at a sneak peak of a new Descendants movie, but it turned out to only be for an animated shorts series based on the movie. They apparently are planning a sequel though, and I'm kind of glad. I get that these are kids movies but they have romantic undertones and I typically see them as romances, so when the leads never actually kiss (even the completely innocent DCOM kiss), it kind of gets under my skin. It took three movies for them to kiss in High School Musical and even became a running joke in the movies...should I expect the same here, especially with Kenny Ortega again at the helm? Hopefully not. That naggy little romantic inside of me needs her fix! I don't know if it's my lack of maturity as an Asper or what, but I don't really watch these "young people" movies with an adult brain...I see two characters falling in love and I often have to remind myself that it's not cool anymore for me to think the guys are cute because they are technically young enough to be my kids!

Anyway, if you haven't seen Descendants yet, you have definitely got to check it out! I may end up watching it again tonight after I go back to the Disneyland series.

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 97
Full-Length Animation: 110
Mixed-Medium: 11
Animated Shorts: 338
Live Action Shorts: 1
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 84
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 11
Concerts: 1

Monday, August 10, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 75-78

In an effort to catch up, this post is going to be different in that I'm only going to be listing the days and the movies I watched instead of descriptions. I'm definitely winding down with this challenge and I just want it over with (well, that and I'm in trip planning mode now and I can't really concentrate on anything else). Besides, with these older ones, it gets harder and harder to find trailers for them and I'm kind of dragging the bottom of my collection now.

Thursday I watched, Now You See Him, Now You Don't and The Strongest Man In The World. I'm not sure why I started this series backwards, especially since I know what order they go in, but I figured I needed to finish it that way and, at least with these, it doesn't really matter anyway.

I finished the series on Friday with The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes and also finished my last Kurt Russell/Disney film, The Horse In The Gray Flannel Suit. Since I had some time left, I also watched Student Exchange.

Saturday was a full day, so I cleared out The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. I don't own Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but since it's not a Disney film, guess that's OK, but since Disney started the series, they at least should have seen it through, flop or not.

I watched Oz The Great and Powerful next, just to get it over with. Then I went in a different direction with Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue (the 1953 Disney version) and I debated watching the Rob Roy we all know with Liam Neeson, but decided against it, again, since it's not a Disney movie.

Escapade in Florence was next before I switched gears yet again and started going through my Animation Classics Collection discs. Most of the AC discs have shorts I've already viewed before, so I wasn't able to count them and I didn't get through them all on Saturday anyway, but here are the order I watched them in: Mickey and the Beanstalk, The Reluctant Dragon, and Wind In The Willows.

I started back in Sunday morning with the remainder of the Animation Collection: Mickey's Christmas Carol, Three Little Pigs, The Tortoise and the Hare, and The Prince and the Pauper. Luckily, I do have all these discs, so I finished the set.

Then I cleared through Mickey & Minnie's Sweetheart Stories, Mickey Mouse Season 1 (which are technically shorts and not series episodes, so the count will reflect such), Saludos Amigos (which is technically a short but it's long enough to fall into the full-length mixed medium category), The Three Caballeros, and the live action version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (or Monty Python does Toad as I like to call it).

To finish off the night, I started watching my Walt Disney Treasures disc set of Disneyland, but I didn't finish. I did get through Dateline Disneyland and The Disneyland Story, but I didn't get to get disc 2. I try to start on those tonight. Even though these were technically TV episodes of the Disneyland TV show, I'm going to classify them as documentaries since that is actually what they are.

Wow! That is it...four days worth of Disney movie watching cleared in one post. I probably should have been doing this all along instead of my long ramblings and endless video clips. Hopefully, I will be done by the end of the week and can go back into relaxing blog mode for a while. I'm sure you guys are more than sick of this mess anyway!

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 96
Full-Length Animation: 110
Mixed-Medium: 11
Animated Shorts: 338
Live Action Shorts: 1
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 84
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 11
Concerts: 1

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Stitching

It wasn't a good week for stitching last week...I spent two days down with a headache and I've been stressing over our trip most of the rest of the week. I ended last week here:
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And got to here this afternoon before I stopped:
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I guess I can say at least I finished Aurora, but I washed out on the spinning wheel and decided to spend the afternoon studying for the trip instead. I think it's time to switch stitching projects again. If I thought I could finish the row by the end of the week, I'd keep on, but I just don't think I can because of all the confetti in that spinning wheel area.

Switching to trip planning didn't help motivate me either. I think the more I look at stuff for the trip, the more freaked out I get. If I could handle not being prepared, I'd just give up the goat and fly by the seat of my pants, but I'm not built that way. With all the problems that I've been having the past couple of weeks with this trip, I've decided that I will probably never go anywhere else than Disney World ever again because apparently I suck at trip planning. At least I know Disney World well enough and the planning is all part of the fun. I am really hoping Disneyland itself is extra magical, because it's been hell on earth getting ready for it!

Bam doesn't like it when I'm not stitching, especially when I'm working on the computer because he can't get under my "desk" (which is basically just a sheet of plywood):
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Just goes to show that something so cute can still shoot knives from his eyes.

I'm also now really far behind on Disney movie posts thanks to my stupid head, so hopefully I'll be able to clear those up pretty fast. I should be completely finished by next weekend at the latest and I am SOOO glad! I never thought I'd miss regular TV, but I sure have been! I'd like to say that it will be a long while before I watch another Disney movie, but I know myself well enough to know better than that...give me a week and I'll probably be plopping Sleeping Beauty or The Avengers in again.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 73 & 74

There is obviously no method to my madness since I started Tuesday night's Disney movie bonanza Into The Woods, which seems a bit odd after the plethora of Christmas DVDs and animator documentaries. We saw this one in the theater, but I only went because James Corden was in it (I've been in love with him ever since his Gavin & Stacey days). I did actually end up really liking it despite the fact that it seems as though they sing the same song throughout the entire movie and, as a general rule, I don't care for Meryl Streep. But I will admit, this is probably my absolute favorite all-time role of hers. I do typically like to say that I don't care for the bastardization of fairytales where they are changed so much they are unrecognizable, but considering I am not only a Disney animation fan, but also a Once Upon A Time fan, that argument really doesn't hold too much water once I think about it logically.

And I've never been much of a Chris Pine fan either, but the song between him and Billy Magnussen is absolutely one of the most hilarious duets ever put on film!


After Into the Woods, I was in a princess mood, but I've exhausted all my princess movies...well, all but The Princess Diaries. I have always absolutely adored these films and have seen them both dozens of times. I'm still not sure why people don't like Anne Hathaway, but I always have and these movies are some of her best stuff (and I can't forget Ella Enchanted, but that's not Disney). Plus, these movies embody that sweet-natured wholesomeness that I really do prefer more and more the older I get. And even though Mandy Moore is a bad guy in this one, I still like her too...she's one of those people you just can't hate, no matter how evil a character she plays. I've always related to a lot of this movie as well because I worked very hard to be invisible in school (and still do most of the time). What few friends I had were just like Mia's and the popular kids behaved just like these do.


But, I do have to say, that The Princess Dairies 2: Royal Engagement, is one of those sequels that is actually better than the first one. Like I said, I'm not a Chris Pine fan, but I adore him in this movie, and despite the rather reserved kissing scenes (it is a Disney movie after all), there is real chemistry between him and Anne and I LOVE that in a movie. When I complain about movies like Maleficent and their over-pushy feminist views, this is the direction these movies should go in...there is no reason why you can't be a strong woman and get your prince at the same time.


I really wanted to watch Ella Enchanted afterwards, but it was too late, so I opted for listening to Darren Hayes' version of Strange Magic while I was getting ready for bed. I don't usually care for fan videos that just have a series of pictures, but it's Darren Hayes singing, so I make allowances. Duran Duran might be my favorite band, but Darren Hayes will always be my favorite singer, so let's interlude a bit.


Anyway, back on the Disney track...I was in a very weird mood Wednesday night and went in the classic direction, starting with The Gnome-Mobile. If there is one thing I love more than animated classics, it's Disney's live action classics. I watched this movie a lot as a kid because I could relate since my "imaginary childhood friend" was actually an entire colony of little people. The special effects in this movie are horrible by today's standards, but I barely notice because I just remember the good times of watching this movie as a kid:


Since I was on a roll, I went with The One And Only, Genuine, Original Family Band next. This is another one of those that I saw a lot as a kid but I never made one important connection in it until last night...Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn were both in this movie although they really didn't share screen time and they were both kids at the time (I didn't realize that she was older than he is). And a lot of people don't know that Kurt Russell was a Disney child star, but I've got a whole set of his Disney movies just waiting in the queue to be watched. I have also really liked Lesley Ann Warren, especially in her younger, Disney days, so this movie wins all the way around.


You really can't watch Family Band without watching The Happiest Millionaire. Although they are completely different characters, seeing Lesley Ann Warren and John Davidson falling in love as different characters is one of those "awwww" moments for me every time I see this one. As far as movie stars go, this movie is filled with some of the greats of the time, making it all the better. I do so love old movies, particularly of the Disney variety. I couldn't find a good trailer for this one, but I found the neatest clip of Walt himself talking about the movie and I think it's a good way to end this post!


MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 85
Full-Length Animation: 110
Mixed-Medium: 9
Animated Shorts: 289
Live Action Shorts: 1
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 84
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 9
Concerts: 1

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 71 & 72

I still had a couple of those two-disc combo packs, so I decided to clear them out on Sunday, starting with The Emperor's New Groove. Is it just me, or is this possibly the shortest Disney movie ever? It does have some great jokes and the animation isn't horrible (although it has the same characters styles as Atlantis, including the block fingers, so I felt like I'd been there and done that).


The second movie, Kronk's New Groove is surprisingly good for a sequel. Because they were made so close together, the animation style is at least similar and they were able to get the same actors. But with as Patrick Warburton as the lead in this one, I kind of had to keep looking up because I felt like I was in the queue line for Soarin'.


Like I said yesterday, I don't have many Christmas things and the ones I do have tend to be Disney related, so one of the last of my double-disc sets is Prep and Landing. I have never watched either of these and I didn't know that they were only 30 minute TV specials, I always thought they were full-length movies. The first one, Prep & Landing, isn't bad, but I don't see the need to watch it again. I don't know if they became the Christmas tradition the entire cast and crew were touting on the bonus features since I don't watch Christmas shows, but I could see where it would fit in with all the others.


The second one, Prep & Landing: Naughty vs Nice, I actually related to a bit (well, except for the whole Christmas theme). I grew up with that perfect younger sibling who is smarter, prettier, and cooler than me (and she still is), so I related to the elf brother's relationship. I also related to the naughty kid because I did a lot of mean things when my sister came to be and I blamed her for all that was wrong in my world.

There are a series of "Stocking Stuffers", which are basically shorts, so more for the total.

Thankfully, those were short because it meant I could finish the very last of the double discs, the Once Upon A Christmas series, starting with Mickey's Once Upon A Christmas. If this wasn't the Fab 5, I wouldn't give this movie the time of day, especially since I've already seen it. It's bad animation, the three-story compilation thing that I hate, and it's Christmas themed. But I don't know that anything could make me dislike a Donald Duck cartoon, so I gotta give it props for that.


The sequel to this one, Mickey's Twice Upon A Christmas is about as different as night and day. Although there is only a couple of years between these two discs, this one is full-on CG animation and it was the first time I saw the Fab 5 that way. Before you read the next line, you might want to sit down if you're not already...I actually prefer Mickey and friends CG to hand-drawn. Yes, you read that correctly. It's why I like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. CG does lend itself better in some situations than in others, especially if it's done right.


Thankfully, I only had one more Christmas-themed disc, Mickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed In At The House Of Mouse. This is really only a Christmas episode of the House of Mouse TV show, so it has the same story path that most of the House of Mouse episodes follow. For those that don't know, House of Mouse was a Disney TV show centered around a cartoon club that Mickey and friends operated. They showed cartoons, some old, some new, and there were often little stories going on between cartoons, but the coolest thing about this show was that every single Disney character since the dawn of time sat in the audience...everybody from black and white characters from Steamboat Willie to Chernabog to Ariel to Pecos Bill, to, well, just about everyone you can ever think of. Sometimes these characters even speak and a lot of the original actors offer their voices...James Woods as Hades, Jodi Benson as Ariel, Gilbert Gottfried as Iago, etc. I couldn't find a trailer, but I did find one of the cartoon clips and most of us have been watching this for years, no matter our age:

There was the premiere episode of the TV series House of Mouse on this disc too.

Finally, the Christmas discs were done with, and since I was in a House of Mouse mood, I went with House of Mouse Villains next. This is SOOOO much more my speed. I've always been more of a Halloween person than a Christmas person (well, except for the whole dressing up and trick-or-treating thing). Not only does this episode contain my favorite Disney cartoon ever, Trick or Treat, but it also has Lonesome Ghosts. It doesn't get any better than that! And, on top of all the cool cartoons, the villains are secretly plotting to take over the House of Mouse and villainy ensues. I love every minute of it! Again with a clip instead of a trailer, but it kind of gives an idea what the House of Mouse was like when they weren't watching the cartoons.


It was bedtime at this point, but I wasn't quite ready yet, so I watched two movies that I have owned since they came out, but again, never watched, starting with A Goofy Movie. Of course I know the characters in this because I am Disney obsessed, but I just never got around to watching them. Plus, the thought of a Fab 5'er having a kid is just weird...nephews are one thing, but kids? Eh, not so much. Where did Max even come from? Does anyone know that story?

There were two shorts on this disc, a Goofy and Max short as well as The Goofy Story, which really wasn't a short since it was so long, so I'm going to add it to the animated movie title counts.

As far as I know, there was only ever one sequel, An Extremely Goofy Movie, and I think I actually liked this one better.


I never got the thought of the whole animation troubles of the second gen out of my mind since Saturday, so I decided a definite path for Monday night, starting with Waking Sleeping Beauty. This movie makes me angry, depressed, hopeful, and more dedicated to my beloved animators and a company I've loved my entire life. It doesn't show some very important people in a not very nice light sometimes, but that's life for you. My interest in animation was at its peak during these years and I think that the events in this documentary are one of the reasons why my obsession with art died out. Granted, I didn't know the whole story back then, but I felt it in the animation that was coming out at the time and I just lost interest. I honestly feel that if you never see another Disney movie in your entire life, this movie should be it.


I needed a bit of a positive spin on my heroes, so I went with Frank and Ollie, a documentary about Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two of Walt's nine old men. As much as I worship Marc Davis, Frank and Ollie were the heart of the company in those days and this is just a sweet dedication to two of the greats.


I tried to get through another movie, but there were so many special features on these two discs, it pretty much ate my night away. I really am getting close to finishing though (I think).

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 79
Full-Length Animation: 110
Mixed-Medium: 9
Animated Shorts: 289
Live Action Shorts: 1
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 84
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 9
Concerts: 1

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Disney Movies - Days 69 & 70

I didn't post yesterday because I'm trapped in Disneyland hell. There is a reason why I've only gone to Disney World for the past 20 years, apparently I can't plan a vacation to anywhere else but. I'm trying to work through all the problems, but I guess it's safe to say that my road trip through the west next year is now off the table. But I don't want to bore you with my DL drama (well, except for the wonderful Heather over at Fantasy Cross Stitch, you might actually rue the day you ever offered to help this spaz!).

I started Friday night in a weird direction, with Saving Mr. Banks. I've watched this one before, but it's one of those kind of movies that once is enough. As much as I love the old documentaries about the studios and Walt, I don't particularly care for movies that make me cry. I start sniffling at the moment she arrives at the premier and am usually in full-on bawl mode by the end. I hate that. But it is a very good movie otherwise and the casting choices were just brilliant.


Watching Saving Mr. Banks meant there was only one way to go next, Mary Poppins. When I was a kid, I probably watched this movie just as much as I did Sleeping Beauty. Parts I loved, parts I didn't, but everytime it came on television or the video was popped in, I went into a trance in front of the TV. I laughed, often sang along, and was terrified of the bird woman who I always thought was named Tuppence Sabag (I misinterpreted the song). Because of my over-absorption of it as a kid, I haven't seen it much since I became an adult (although that verdict is still out on that notion that I am an adult). Friday night was probably the first time I'd seen it in many years and I still laughed, still sang along, and was still a bit creeped out by the bird lady, but I also realized that I haven't actually ever sit and watched it from the very beginning to the very end all in one go, so even after a lifetime of viewings, I had never really seen the movie before.

There are some amazing special features on my disc (I've got the 50th Anniversary version) including the original movie premiere and after party and it was just as enjoyable as the movie.

My next choice of movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, was very deliberate. If there is one saying that I've always hated, it's been "Christmas in July"...Christmas once a year is bad enough, I surely don't want to have to go through it twice, for whatever the reasons behind it. I didn't want to watch any of my Christmas selections in the month of July for that very reason, but after both Saving Mr. Banks and Mary Poppins, it was well into the morning of August the 1st, so I was safe to clear out the Christmas selections. I'm not a Christmas person at all and you won't find many Christmas-themed things in my house unless they are Disney related. An Asper kid and Christmas don't really make a good mix. It was always one of the most stressful times of the year for me having to deal with not only being shuffled around from one parent to the other, but dealing with that inevitable attention that comes when you open presents. I can literally even make myself sick thinking about it now. Luckily, I have finally managed to convince my family that we never have to do Christmas again. Last year was my first non-holiday season and I loved every minute of it, but I'm getting off track.

For all his oversaturation of Johnny Depp, I still worship Tim Burton and I think he's one of the greatest geniuses of our time. The Nightmare Before Christmas is his piece de resistance. It's brilliant, beautiful, creative, and best of all, Depp free! Danny Elfman gets just as much love from me, all the way back to his Oingo Boingo days, and no Tim Burton movie would be complete without the music of Danny, so knowing that he is the singing voice of Jack just adds that little extra bit of spark for me. I've never been that great of a stop-motion animation fan, but Tim does it so beautifully, I will often get lost in watching the facial expressions of the characters. Growing up in a house with a mostly deaf person, you learn to read lips too and it is very easy to read Tim's characters lips as though they were real people speaking. Only the original batch of Disney animators had that talent and Tim did learn from the best! I really can't give it enough praise, but this was the first time I had watched it since I got the Blu-Ray version and what a difference Blu-Ray makes for it! It's the prime example of why, if you haven't started already, you should upgrade your discs (at least some of them) to Blu-Ray. I'm not too jazzed about the upcoming 4K version...your eyes can only see so well, but I am a definite Blu-Ray convert.

Lock, Shock, and Barrel are right up there with my favorite Disney characters of all time and I totally applaud Tim for giving Paul Reubens (aka PeeWee Herman) a job when nobody else would.

On Saturday, my mood was a bit somber at first, so I decided it was finally time to get Bambi out of the way. From an animation standpoint, it is a breathtakingly beautiful film, but gee wiz, what were they thinking story-wise? It also started a long Disney tradition of killing off a character to add "depth" to the film. I personally think they kind of enjoyed killing things in that Game of Thrones (which I don't watch) kind of way. I always imagined the story meetings go something like this..."OK boys, here are all the characters in the movie, who should die?".

Speaking of story meetings though, there is an over an hour audio recording of the actual story meetings for the film in the bonus features and I think I enjoyed those more than the actual movie!

Then, of course, there was the sequel (or cheap-quel as someone aptly put it), Bambi II, which takes place in the days following his mother's death. As far as animation goes, this one isn't half bad...they made a conscious effort to make the characters and the backgrounds true to the originals, but the story is so long and drawn out and just plain boring, I couldn't wait for it to end.

I just grabbed the next disc in the stack, a combo disc of The Rescuers and The Rescuers Down Under, starting first with The Rescuers. This was another one of those that I haven't seen since childhood, but for a very different reason. When I was in primary school (ours ran from Kindergarten to 5th grade), on the last day of school we would always watch a movie and that movie was pretty much always The Rescuers. It's the last day of school, you're all excited, and your forced to watch the same movie you watched the year before...not my idea of a good time. Plus, I always felt that Medusa was the love child of Cruella Deville and Madam Mim, so I wasn't too impressed with her animation (these were things I noticed even as a young whipper-snapper).

I will say though, the opening sequences of the pastel drawings on black paper are quite extraordinary and I actually watched it twice because I was so mesmerized by them.

The Rescuers Down Under I have never seen, but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting (although it wasn't great either). That "new fangled" animation ruined a lot of it for me and the lack of the Rescuers themselves was a bit annoying (it seemed to center more around the boy and the poacher). But I have to give them props for getting the original cast back for the voices almost 15 years after the original. The more I watch these sequels, the more the change in voices seems to annoy me more than the animation style changes. And if I wanted to get ticky about it, The Rescuers Down Under was the first Disney sequel and it was responsible for the awful tradition that followed, so it already had red in its ledger for that reason alone.

For the first time in a while, there were shorts on this disc, one a Silly Symphony cartoon called The Three Blind Musketeers and the other was a full episode of Disney's True Life Adventure series called Water Birds. Those were the documentaries I watched as a kid, the ones with Silly Symphony type sync of music to animals and I actually stopped stitching for a while to watch the whole thing.

The next two-disc series I watched was the Atlantis one, starting with Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Parts of me really wants to love this movie. Despite the CG animation, the special effects on this are nothing short of brilliant and, although I'm not typically a comic book fan, I kind of like the comic book-type lines of the characters, it kind of added that sense of adventure to the story. This movie is how I wish the second gens would have started out animation-wise. Story-wise? Not so much. I felt too much like I was being bombarded from every direction by familiar scenes...20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Journey To The Center Of The Earth, Indiana Jones, etc. It's one thing to be influenced by movies, it's another to model yours exactly like your influences.


Atlantis: Milo's Return, on the other hand, is everything that is wrong with the sequels...major character voice changes, bad animation (the thickness of the character outlines changed from scene to scene, what was up with that?), the whole 3 story sequel issue, etc.

There was a ton of special features on this disc...probably more than any other disc I have and I'm still not sure why. It was literally hours and hours of the animators justifying their decisions about this film. I tend to think that when you have to over-sell something, you secretly know it's crap and you're trying to convince yourself more than the audience. Needless to say, I got bored after the first two hours and put it up.

I still had time for one more though, so I went with The Great Mouse Detective, the first Disney movie to use computers and the beginning of a long animation dry spell for me (but again, I was a 16 year old at the time, so it was probably going to dry up around that time anyway). This is actually a very good movie and I've seen it numerous times throughout the years. It's one I do actually need to get on Blu-Ray.

But this movie brings up a lot of passions for me as far as the animators go, but we'll get to that on Monday's viewings.

MOVIE TOTALS:
Live Action: 79
Full-Length Animation: 101
Mixed-Medium: 9
Animated Shorts: 283
Live Action Shorts: 1
Mixed-Medium Shorts: 3
Animated Series: 81
Mixed-Medium Series: 2
Documentaries: 9
Concerts: 1