Roads Go Ever On and On

Hobbit

It’s funny the way certain things take on big meanings.

Tolkien, The Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, and Peter Jackson’s adaptation are such things for me. I was eleven when my father handed me a paperback copy of The Hobbit, not long after I finished the Narnia books and promised that I would love it.

I did.

Then (as were the rules) I read the original trilogy in a rush before The Fellowship Of The Ring came out. My world and imagination came to life.

Eleven years ago, the day my Uncle Billy died, my sister and I hid from our grief in a dark movie theater and watched The Return of The King. For three hours we were somewhere else, feeling something else, safe.

The weekend after my first college finals, I marathoned the movies with my new friends, learning to be OK with loving genre.

Last year, out of work and depressed my father insisted that I come out with him and see The Desolation of Smaug. “If you don’t come with me, I won’t go, and we’ll always regret it.” He said, he pushed to go to the IMAX instead of basic and I’ve never been more grateful

When my Uncle Mark and Uncle Richard got married I read, “Roads Go Ever On and On,” at their reception.

These stories are important to me, I guess is my point. So, I really can’t objectively review The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. I loved it. I love this world. I will always love this world. It can’t touch the Lord of The Rings movies, it can’t touch it’s source material. It can’t even touch it’s first chapter, which I really adored. But for two and a half hours tonight, I was in Middle Earth again, and happy to be there.

So, there’s that. Sorry this wasn’t really a review. The movie still gets ranked. There was an Orlando Bloom swordfight. Which was awesome. I also didn’t cry, not even once, so it wasn’t that good.

There’s that.

  1. Top Five
  2. Guardians of The Galaxy
  3. Big Hero 6
  4. Mockingjay: Part 1
  5. Interstellar
  6. Godzilla
  7. Birdman
  8. Chef
  9. The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies
  10. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  11. The 100 Foot Journey
  12. The Judge
  13. How To Train Your Dragon 2
  14. Lucy
  15. The Boxtrolls
  16. Jersey Boys
  17. Maleficent
  18. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Trailers:

Ohhh, the trailers. The wonderful, wonderful trailer.

Kingsman: Yes please. Please more Colin Firth as a stone cold badass. All of that.

Jupiter Ascending! Remember at the beginning of movie season when I talked about this movie ALL THE TIME? And then it got pushed back and my heart broke? Yeah, so there’s that. It still looks awesome, and hey, we got more plot now! There’s weird mystical reincarnation happening. (Please be hit. If only because then I’ll PROBABLY have an easier time selling my manuscript if reincarnated intergalactic royalty becomes a thing people want to you know, consume or whatever…)

Ummm…were there others?

HAHAH! JOKES!

See The Force Awakens trailer in IMAX, if you can swing it, do it. It’s amazing and stunning and I can’t wait for this movie. We’ll talk about it this time next year.

Terminator: Genysys, despite it’s truly dumb title, had an awesome trailer. It looks like Arnold is in it organically, which is kind of cool.

Jurassic World also very cool in IMAX.

I will not see The Walk. I am deathly afraid of heights, and just the trailer made me want to throw up. It’ll probably be a good movie though, because Robert Zemeckis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. (I’m now picturing an awesome alternate universe where JGL was Marty McFly…head canon accepted.)

Kim Possible: Season 1 Episodes 5 & 6

Hey guys! It’s time for this week’s Kim Possible recaps! Hooray!

Kim Ron Rufus

Season 1 Episode 5: “Downhill”

Ugh, DNAmy….not my favorite KP baddie. She’s fine. I mean, she’s not terrible, she’s not The Bebes level of stupid, but she’s just not up to snuff with the rest of Kim’s rogue’s gallery. Anyway, let’s talk about the actual episode.

Kim, Ron, Bonnie and the other kids are headed out on the school ski trip. Kim is mortified when Bonnie asked The Dr. P’s to chaperone at the last minute and she’s having trouble dealing with her parent’s constant oversharing about her childhood foibles.

I’m not a fan of this subplot, because while I generally love Kim vs Bonnie action, and I also love that Kim is a deeply flawed as a hero she’s a little too shallow and unlikeable here. She’s straight up insensitive to Mr. Dr. P at several points and while in the end, Mrs. Dr. P pulls out the win, by calling Bonnie’s mom (classic) it’s still just not Kim’s best.

The other plot however consists of Ron and Coach Barkin going big foot hunting because, they’re the best. While on the hunt they encounter a woman named Amy, who takes an immediate shine to Barkin. Turns out she’s a crazed genetic scientist who is creating animal hybrids, to resemble “Cuddle Buddies,” one of which went wrong and has been mistaken for a snow beast.

There’s lots of fun snow action, and there’s absolutely some fun Rufus action. (He’s turned into a genetic combo of himself and Barkin at one point, which is pretty great.) But overall this isn’t one of my favorites. Amy’s fun because she’s got that whole “Cute and cuddly but still TOTALLY NUTS” vibe but also, her subsequent appearances (when she’s pursuing Drakken) are a lot more fun than this one.

Episode 6: “Bueno Nacho”

So, I’ve noticed that Drakken and Shego are basically showing up every other episode. I’m not going to complain about it, because they’re great, but I mean, we’re 6 episodes in and we’ve seen them three times. It’s pretty amazing.

This is a big episode, as far as world building is concerned. We’re introduced to a lot of stuff, but we’ll get there later. Kim is determined to get a trendy new leather jacket from Club Banana, but she doesn’t have the money. When her parents shoot her down for a loan they then suggest that she get a job at Bueno Nacho. She does, and applies for Ron against his will.

Turns out, Kim? Not great as a fast food employee. This is one of the first times that we see that Kim is not really a great team player. It’s something that I always related to her on. Ron on the other hand, is fantastic at this job. Kim resents it and snaps at him several times and even quits, when the quickly promoted to assistant manager Ron refuses to let her off shift to go on mission.

The mission? Drakken has stolen a giant drill which he installs in the largest wheel of cheese in Wisconsin. Shego, meanwhile, has the jacket Kim wants and that doesn’t help Kim’s focus.

One of my favorite aspects of this serious is how unabashadly girly it is. Kim and Shego rag on each other’s style, but mainly, they’re ready to kick each other’s butts. The trash talk they through at one another just happens to be extremely gendered, not in a bad way at all.

In the end, Kim and Ron work together after forgiving each other for their bad behavior and kicking butt (also melting the cheese.) Kim didn’t earn enough for the jacket but Ron bought it for her, because he’s a really good friend.

Nacos And Booyahs!

  • We meet DNAmy, who I’ve mentioned is not my favorite. But she is voiced by Melissa McCarthy. SERIOUSLY? Best. Voice. Cast. Ever.
  • “Downhill” also presents us with Cuddle Buddies, a Beanie Baby stand in that Kim was once obsessed with. Her favorite was Pandaroo, who I imagine is half panda and half kangaroo and probably all adorable.
  • Barkin is willing to cut Ron and Rufus in on his bigfoot reward, and also has a side deal with Wade. I like the idea that Barkin is in contact with Wade, for his own financial gain.
  • Mrs. Dr. P. is my new favorite character this time around. When she calls Bonnie’s mom, it’s pretty genius.
  • In “Bueno Nacho” Ron invents The Naco, we also learn how truly excellent he is at customer service.
  • “Bueno Nacho” also introduces us to Club Banana, Kim’s favorite store and “The Puppy Dog Pout,” which is her most manipulative facial expression.
  • Wade hacked into Kim’s diary and her bank account. If Wade ever decided to use his powers for evil, they’d have all been screwed.
  • “Is that a large cheese covered building?” “Gosh no, you’d be surprised how many people think that.” The Giant Cheese Wheel lady is also Nicole Sullivan! She does double duty here.
  • “Phase two of my plan, which you did not guess…” I’ve also been watching Futurama lately, so I’m drawing many Drakken/Bender parallels.
  • We also meet Ned, the manager of Bueno Nacho. He is Ron’s nemesis as we move forward, which says so much about Ron.
  • Rufus actually saves the day here, with his sick button pushing abilities and his love of cheese!

So that’s this week! See you next week!

What’s your Top Five?

Top Five

I’m really not sure where to begin when it comes to Top Five which might be my favorite movie of the year so far. (But unless it’s Sweeney Todd level of disappointment, everything comes down to Into The Woods.) I mentioned in last week’s “Things I’m Obsessed With,” that Chris Rock has been capturing my attention in a big way lately, so I was really looking forward to this movie.

The plot (such as it is) concerns comedian Andre Allen (Rock) on the day that the movie meant to legitimize him (Uprize, which tells the story of the Haitian slave rebellion) is opening and a journalist, Chelsea Brown (Rosario Dawson) who is shadowing him to do a piece in The New York Times. Allen is also three days from marriage with his reality star girlfriend Erica (Gabrielle Union, who I forgot how much I LOVE).

There were a lot of things about this movie that I loved, it’s full of hilarious actors and comedians that I really adore, Jerry Seinfeld’s cameo is a particular treat, a sweet romantic comedy plot that feels instantly classic without being dumbed down, and a vision of New York that feels actually familiar. When in cafes and restaurants, it’s crowded and loud, it’s multicultural and clean, hotel lobbies look otherworldly and beautiful, there are food trucks, all that stuff.

Chris Rock wrote and directed this movie, which is probably why it feels like his stand up expanded out into a world. (As did Everybody Hates Chris a criminally underrated show.) It deals with Andre’s anxieties about staying relevant as a sober, rich, famous, black man, instead of a drunk, broke, anonymous, black boy. Chelsea is whip smart, independent and grounded. Erica is shown as a little bit desperate and shallow, but never stupid or shrewish. Andre’s life long best friend is his bodyguard and provides some of the biggest laughs.

If you’re not into largely shapeless character comedy, then you’re not going to be into this. But if you are, then it’s going to be the best thing you saw all year. (Seriously)

  1. Top Five
  2. Guardians of The Galaxy (You had a good run at the top there)
  3. Big Hero 6
  4. Mockingjay: Part 1
  5. Interstellar
  6. Godzilla
  7. Birdman
  8. Chef
  9. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  10. The 100 Foot Journey
  11. The Judge
  12. How To Train Your Dragon 2
  13. Lucy
  14. The Boxtrolls
  15. Jersey Boys
  16. Maleficent
  17. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Trailers:

Into The Woods: I actually cried. Real tears, not just choked up.

Get Hard: Why did no one pair up Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell before? I’m not sure I’ll like this movie but GOOD LORD is that a good move.

The Wedding Ringer: Also, probably not my thing. But probably sorta cute. Also, is Kevin Hart in everything? I don’t object, but wow.

Annie: I GET IT! You’re going to be wonderful and I can’t wait to see you.

Selma: I’m a sucker for Civil Rights era historical movies. I love ’em.

Men’s Voices

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about male voices.

I don’t mean voices in the sense of “saying something.” I’m not talking about men saying something, that’s not what I mean. I mean the physical men’s voices, men’s singing voices.

This started when I put together my playlist for writing during National Novel Writing Month. There were women on that playlist.

But not many.

The songs that inspire me were written and have been sung by men.

And the range of voices is also interesting.

Aesthetically, there’s no overlap between Brian Stokes Mitchell and Bruce Springsteen, except for that they both make me feel like I need to make something. I feel equally ready to take on the world when I hear “The Impossible Dream” and “Promised Land.”

That playlist is insanely important to me. What I write to is insanely important to me. But it felt off to me that I was walking into this project with men’s voices in my head, except that they’re the ones that inspire me. I grew up listening to these voices and I’m grateful for it.

There was a lot of Paul Simon on that playlist too.

I mean, what could possible make you want to get up and make something beautiful more than the lyrics of “Graceland” in that soft little voice of his? It’s a thing of beauty.

I like the range of men’s voice and glory in them. I’ve never fallen for a guy who couldn’t sing. It just hasn’t happened to me, there’s something about it that I just love. I can sense nuance in men’s voices more, as opposed to women’s where I know what I like, and if the don’t fit in that I can appreciate it, but I’m not going to like it.

I know it’s kind of weird.

I would post the playlist, but it was 7 hours long, so I’m guessing you don’t actually want that.

But it included a lot of Ragtime I can tell you that much.

“Wheels of A Dream,” man, it’ll make you want to change the world.

Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now: Christmas Time Edition

Hey all! It’s a lazy blog day! Things I’m obsessed with right now (Some one them are Christmas-y others, not so much):

  • Michael Buble’s Christmas. This is a perfect Christmas album. His interpretations of “Santa Baby” and “All I Want For Christmas Is You” are brilliant reinterpretations of traditionally feminine songs. Particularly when he asks, “Santa, buddy, fill my stocking with Canucks tix, for kicks, throw me on the first line.” Adorbs. Also the original, “Cold December Night,” is probably my favorite artist specific Christmas song, except…
  • Jimmy Buffett’s “A Sailor’s Christmas” which actually might be my favorite Christmas song ever. It’s a beautiful little ditty where Jimmy puts his special talents to work on Christmas, a sweet ballad about Christmas in The Caribbean.
  • Chris Rock’s New York Magazine interview. I’ve mentioned growing up in a comedy house before and 90’s SNL was a big part of that. I’ve always loved Chris Rock, but GOD this is so good. Read it.
  • All the Into The Woods trailers. Just all of ’em. I can’t wait to see this movie. (Still not sure WHEN I’ll get to it. My Christmas week is pretty packed, but I need to find space for Into The Woods and Annie…)
  • My family’s inter cousin secret Santa, which for my mom’s side I’m running this year. This is less now that the drawing side of it is over and it seems like everyone got their names without incident, but for a good week, I was EXTREMELY preoccupied by it.
  • The Legend of Korra season 4. OMG, it’s so good. I even liked the much maligned clip show. Because I mean, it was lame, but they did a good job commenting on fandom with it. (Mako’s section dealt with shipping, Korra’s with ALL THE FEELS, and Varrick and Bolin’s with headcanon.) And we’ve seen awesome moments from both Katara and Toph, so I’m hoping we get something from Zuko and Spirit Aang at some point in the final two episodes.
  • Speaking of my new favorite fandom, The MarySue’s Avatar: The Last Airbender Newbie Recaps, having just felt all of these things just a few months ago, along with the “HOW DID I NOT ALWAYS KNOW ABOUT THIS?” aspect of them, they’re a fun read.
  • The brand new Wolf-Pop podcast network. Paul Scheer’s little pet project is pretty amazing. So far, I have 3 of their podcasts in my regular rotation (the only station that has more is Nerdist, because it’s Nerdist), Denzel Washington Is The Greatest Actor of All Time, Period With W. Kamau Bell and Kevin Avery, which analyzes each of Denzel’s performances and is just brilliantly funny, Maltin On Movies with Leonard Maltin (duh) and Baron Von, where they pick a new release and a theme related to it each week, and choose three movies in that theme to discuss, one that they love, one that they hate and one that was a “sleeper” that most people wouldn’t think of. And then finally Crybabies, in which Susan Orlean & Sarah Thyre talk about pop culture things that make them cry. I relate very strongly to this. (And fits into my ongoing, listen to more podcasts hosted my awesome ladies project, double win!)
  • Any “Geek Girl Gift Guides” and not just because of the alliteration because I just love almost all of the merchandise shown in them.

So that’s what I’m loving these days!

Sailor Moon Check In: Friends!

Hey guys, as is always the case during Crystal weeks, it’s time to talk about where I stand with Sailor Moon at the moment.

Sailor Moon

Manga

No Manga. Yeah. Here I am, not reading Manga.

Original Anime

I haven’t watched this week, buy GUYS! An and Ail are gone and I’m going to miss them but luckily Chibi-Usa, showed up, who is really, really creepy. She has a deeper voice than Usagi and weird red demon eyes and is all hypnotizing everyone. I’m not OK with it. But I am going to miss An and Ail.

Sailor Moon Crystal

So, I had a lot of trouble tracking this episode but there were a lot of fun senshi moments, like when they destroyed a diamond ring with their magic sword and stuff. Also, Luna was all “FRIENdSHIP FOREVER” and fought brainwashed Tuxedo Mask/Endimion who brainwashed Makato to lead him and brainwashed Motoki to the command center and

YOU DO NOT MESS WITH MAKO-CHAN BITCH!

Sorry, that part made me quite upset.

But really it was great. I really liked this episode a lot, because Usagi finally stepped up and Minako stopped being such a pain in the ass.

Other Stuff!

My brother and sister’s coworker and Mom’s trainer Kat was a black cat for Halloween and her friend was a sailor and halfway through the evening they decided that they were Sailor Moon and Luna. So that’s a thing that you find out when someone randomly shows up at your house and you share a bottle of wine with her. This is a person who is now in my life forever, thanks. It was also nice to see the looks on everyone else in my family’s faces when she started, “well, see, my friend was a sailor and I was a cat…” and I practically screamed, “OH MY GOD WERE YOU LUNA?” Because I do catch them off guard occasionally but I mean, this was excessive. Also, I am now obligated to go to her “Goody Glutes” class every week, which is good for my body (and my ass) but also, UGH, because I usually can’t walk for like a week after I take her class…

Anyway, sorry, this was a lame one. I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a lot of wine and I’m pretty sleepy. So that’s what you guys are getting this week.

More on Chibi-Usa’s terrifying demon eyes in the coming weeks. Because they are really, quite scary.

Here’s The Sitch: Kim Possible Episodes 3 & 4

Hey all! So it’s taking everything in me not to just binge right through the whole series, but really, pacing myself is turning out to be a good thing.

Kim Ron Rufus

Season 1 Episode 3 “The New Ron”

Guys, I can’t even begin to explain how much I love Senor Senior Jr. He’s probably my favorite character, except that they’re all my favorite character.

But the plot of the episode. Kim convinces Ron that he needs a new haircut and when it gets him the attention of a group of senior girls he decides he needs to upgrade his look. The titular “New Ron” is vain and haughty, and Kim realizes that she probably made a mistake trying to change her friend.

That’s the high school subplot. The main plot, concerns, while Ron makes Kim take a field trip to France to pick up some hair gel (all part of the general UGH that is The New Ron) there’s a blackout. It turns out, reclusive billionaire Senor Senior Senior and his son, Junior, have been sucking energy to power their private island.

What put them over the edge was Junior’s truly epic sun lamp. Because Junior is fantastic.

When Ron points out how perfect the island is for supervillainy, Senior decides it’s time for them to take up a new hobby.

They begin draining more power and hold Europe hostage, which is fun, and their schemes are always the most fun because they’re usually about getting Junior famous. But this time they just want more private islands! Kim and Ron go to fight them, and the resulting action is really fun. There are lasers, barbed wire and of course, “spinning tops of doom.”

In the end, Ron goes back to normal, loses the affection of the seniors, but keeps his essential Ronness.

Season 1: Episode 4 “Tick, Tick, Tick”

I get the feeling that this episode was meant to be a pilot and they gave one with a bit more mythology instead. But this is a fun one anyway.

Kim’s crimefighting has been causing her to be late for school and this lands her in detention with Coach Barkin, which she is none to happy about. In her own words “cheerleaders don’t get detention.” This statement confuses just about everyone.

The detention subplot is fun, but doesn’t really go anywhere, except that Ron and Wade keep sneaking Kim out.

The main mission comes when a bug scientist in South America has his lab burgled by none other than Shego and Drakken, who, even though we’ve seen her fight them before, this is played as their first meeting. I don’t mean that this is a bad thing, it’s just hard, when you’re watching straight through.

Anyway, Drakken took the designs for a “nano-tick,” which will provide him with basic mind control. It’s a fun little story that much better than their first appearance establishes their pattern: Drakken is incompetent and frustrated, Shego is the best, but disinterested, except for the fighting part.

Kim gets stuck with the “nano-tick,” and it brings Drakken and Shego to the detention classroom and drives Barkin bonkers. Kim and Ron win. (Hooray!) and Drakken gets blown into the sky.

Another win for our girl:

Boo-Yas & Nacos (Also Known as Stray Thoughts)

  • In “The New Ron” we find out that Mrs. Dr. Possible is a brain surgeon when she serves the family “brain loaf.” Kim is disgusted, Jim and Tim think it rocks.
  • It is revealed that the Possibles have a launching pad in their yard, which the boys use to blow things up.
  • Also, Mr. Dr. P, when ostensibly giving Kim advice about Ron, actually tells her a story about “Pinky Joe” a lab rat he was fond of in grad school. Mr. Dr. P liberated him and gave him a mecha suit. I like to think the only thing that kept him from becoming a super villain was Mrs. Dr. P.
  • In other Mr. Dr. P news, he’s voiced by Gary Cole! How fun!
  • Senor Senior Senior is voiced by Ricardo Montellban, because again, best show ever.
  • When Kim asks the seniors to unplug the tanning bed, Junior responds with “But if I am to be a teen pop sensation, I need a robust tan.” This is why I love him.
  • “Has he gotten better trousers?” Junior, deeply concerned about Ron’s pants.
  • Ron’s new look no longer features pockets so Rufus gets dropped. It’s very sad and though Ron is still concerned about him, but it’s awful.
  • Kim’s detention buddies, Vinnie, Big Mike and Junior, are pretty great.
  • Barkin has blond hair here, the only time it happens.
  • We go to Bueno Nacho for the first time! It is promptly blown up by Drakken, but it was nice to be there!
  • “Your Mr. Barkin seems tough but fair.” Mr. Dr. P does not understand Kim’s angst, like at all.
  • The Middleton High sign “Detention: Room 12” and “Detention: Still Room 12”
  • The bugs cause another Wannaweep flashback for Ron.

The Surprising Virtue of Ignorance

Birdman-Poster

I don’t go to see a lot of “films” the movies that I like tend to be “flicks” or “fluff.” I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I went through an indie film phase in high school and basically decided that it wasn’t for me.

Lately I’ve been having a sort of weird Newsroom-ish fight with myself about my hobbies. I’m a smart person. I’ve always been smart. I’ve always liked to read, and study and work when it came to the things I love. But the things I love aren’t high art, they never have been and I don’t want them to be.

So what does this have to do with Birdman? I’m not really sure, but something, because I’ve been thinking about this a lot more since seeing the movie.

I’m not exactly sure what Birdman was trying to say about art, or if it was just trying to paint a portrait of a man on the edge, but it got me thinking a lot.

The plot, such as it is, is about Riggan Tomas, a movie star who played the superhero Birdman for three films, who has dedicated the past ten years to getting his self written, directed and starring adaptation of a Raymond Chandler short story on Broadway. He’s also dealing with his ex wife, current wife (who is also starring in the show), and his daughter, who post rehab is working as his assistant. He enlists a theater darling to be his costar, who as it turns out, is kind of a nutjob.

The movie is a dark comedy masterpiece and if you know anything about theater it’s hard not to recognize a lot of it. Michael Keaton plays our hero, which has its own resonance. Keaton take on Batman paved the way for the wonderful world we live in now, where we get 3 superhero movies a year minimum.

Edward Norton, on the other hand, um, you got the feeling he was making fun of his own persona as artist control freak.

Emma stone was amazing, but to me this entire movie belonged to Zach Galifinakas. His role as Riggan’s manager and producing partner was amazing and he gave a flawless performance.

This isn’t a movie that’s doing anything new, watching Keaton have a breakdown after giving his life to art is, if anything kind of trite, but Michael Keaton’s particular gift for selling different kinds of madness make it a little bit more special, it’s a bit of stunt casting that does it’s job well.

Also, I really couldn’t help but think that if Riggan had told Mike (Norton) what was going on, he would roll his eyes and say, “Yeah, yeah, I am Joe’s big fat Broadway flop, can we move on?”

So yeah, that’s where we are.

  1. Guardians of The Galaxy
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. Mockingjay: Part 1
  4. Interstellar
  5. Godzilla
  6. Birdman
  7. Chef
  8. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  9. The 100 Foot Journey
  10. The Judge
  11. How To Train Your Dragon 2
  12. Lucy
  13. The Boxtrolls
  14. Jersey Boys
  15. Maleficent
  16. The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Trailers:

I wasn’t planning on seeing the The Immitation Game, but god damn does it not look fabulous.

There were a few others. Many of which looked pretty interesting. It’s hard to believe that movie season is wrapping up in the next few weeks. But here we are.

I’m Flying!

Peter Pan Live

Last night, Mary, Mom and I headed to my Aunt Mary’s to settle in and watch Peter Pan Live! with Bobby and Mary. Musicals have always been a big part of any family viewing time for us. (I’ve mentioned before that my initial love for the genre came from a bedtime reprieve to see the end of West Side Story,) and Peter Pan is special because Peter Pan just is special, especially to kids who love musicals.

Mary and I joke about my cousins Jake, Tommy and Bobby being the little brothers that we never had but being way better because they didn’t live with us. Anyway, those boys loved Peter Pan. Jake was Captain Hook for Halloween like seventeen times. But enough about those boys.

Peter Pan Live seemed to learn every possible good lesson from The Sound of Music Live, which was nice, because I think it would have hurt my heart to see it butchered that way. Peter Pan is far from a perfect musical, but it’s a charming one and a much better choice for this kind of event than the more serious Sound of Music.

Let’s talk about the man of the hour.

Allison Williams really delivered as Peter. It’s hard to compete with Mary Martin in people’s minds and hearts, especially the people that love Peter Pan, but Williams did a credible job. She was maybe a little too feminine, but she was clearly just having so much fun with Peter, when she started “I’m Flying” and “I won’t Grow Up” her face was alive with glee. It would have been easy for NBC to buck tradition and give this part to a dude. (I’m sure Chris Colfer would have been delighted in fact…) But I’m glad that they didn’t. I’m glad that in one of the weirdest but most wonderful musical theatre traditions, the Boy Who’ll Never Grow Up was in fact played by a grown woman.

The only person on that stage (soundstage? Where do they shoot these things anyway?) who was having more fun than Allison Williams was Christian Borle. My god, the man was giddy, and a while it was kind of a waste to make him Smee, he was great, and I really, really liked his take on Mr. Darling.  Also, his arms were distractingly large. When did THAT happen? He didn’t have those during Smash did he? Now I have to watch Smash again to check.

Speaking of the Darlings, Taylor Louderman did a credible job with Wendy, but kind of primed the argument of the difficulties of theater actors doing television, because, those “BIG EXPRESSIONS” you’re trained for when doing a musical on stage make you look insane with a camera on your face. But John and Michael were adorable. Especially Michael, who I wanted to you know, child snatch. (A crime apparently known as “kidnapping” in some circles.) And Kelli O’Hara was, no surprise, completely flawless (the Audra MacDonald Award for perfection in an NBC musical extravaganza goes to her)

All 3 ensembles, pirates, Newsies, um, I mean Lost Boys and Indians were great, the choreography was fabulous. Neverland was fantastically designed.

Now, into the Walken of it all…I um, didn’t get it. Here’s the thing. I get that he’s Christopher Walken, we were going to get a Christopher Walken performance, but he was so tonally out of sync with the rest of the production that I couldn’t buy it. Everyone else was in this earnestly and sincerely and the material itself is a little cheesy and campy, so it comes off that way, but he was giving a what looked to me like a self aware camp performance which is a TOTALLY DIFFERENT THING. But whatever. I also just love watching this man dance, and always have.

Minnie Driver’s final cameo was lovely as was her costume.

Also, I know I live in one of the weirdest households in the country because we were all raving about “the wigs! The wigs were FANTASTIC!” We were also thrilled you could see the wires. In the stage direction for Angels In America Tony Kushner insists that you see the wires when The Angel descends upon Prior Walter’s bedroom, because theatrical magic is different than movie magic and seeing the strings is a part of that.

So next year is The Music Man, apparently? This is confirmed, or whatever? I want to see Christian Borle as Harold Hill but I know that they’ll need a name, (NPH, PLEASE!!!!) and he’ll also make an excellent Marcellus. As for Marian, as long as it’s someone who can sing soprano I’ll be happy. Someone online mentioned Laura Osnes and while I would love to see that, it’s highly unlikely unless she gets some major mainstream exposure in the next year.

I’m glad that this is a thing, these live musicals. I’m glad that people are watching them. I’m glad that this one was good. Maybe the next will be great.

Trailers, Trailers, Trailers

So last week was kind of a big deal for trailers right?

I mean, there was one for some movie about space and another about some movie about dinosaurs.

Haha! See how I am with the jokes?

Both the Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Jurassic World trailers took the internet by storm recently.

Both are pretty amazing, as trailers go. They give us stuff to salivate about in the movie, but don’t, you know, give away the movies. Let’s talk about each one individually though.

Jurassic World.

Guys, can we just for like a minute be thankful for the fact that Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and That Awesome Little Kid from Iron Man 3 are in this movie. I mean really? And that Bryce is playing bad ass lady scientist? I mean REALLY! And Chris Pratt seems to have some sort control over the raptors.

Yes, such is the power of Andy Dwyer/Star-Lord that he controls the raptors of Jurassic Park.

Also, that slow piano version of the theme is just so, so, so creepy.

I kind of love it all the ways it’s possible to love a movie trailer.

And then.

I mean, and then!

And then Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The thing about new Star Wars movies is that I’m never NOT going to be excited about them. I can’t help myself, I love this franchise so much. I’m not saying that Episode II isn’t a giant steaming pile of dog turds, or that I don’t have more chemistry with my cell phone than Natalie Portman has with Hayden Christiansen, I still went out of my way to see that movie opening weekend. (Also, I was a 13 year old fangirl, what precisely do you expect of me?) I’m not saying that looking back on it Revenge of The Sith doesn’t have a Sith-load (heh) of problems, but good God, was I weeping as Obi-Wan and Anakin fought each other. I really, very badly can’t wait to see the future of this galaxy, far, far away…

OK, so trailer.

What’s with all the lightsaber hate? Seriously, I saw it and immediately though, “Badass! Brienne of Tarth…uh I mean, Darth Whateverhernameisinthismovie…is going to kick SO MUCH ASS with that badass looking lightsaber!”

And there’s some kind of R2 unit with a wheel, and a guy dressed as Storm Trooper running on Tatooine and rebel pilots and Millenium Falcon and MIND MELTING WITH ALL OF THE STAR WARS AWESOME!