Tag Archives: Movie

Meeting The Ultimate Prairie Bitch – Alison Arngrim

Most people will remember Alison Arngrim as the wickedly evil bitch, Nellie Oleson, from the television series “Little House On The Priaire.” The show ran from 1974-1983 and since I was born in 1975 so much of my experience of “Little House” was in reruns in the early 1980’s when the show aired on one of the three channels my family had while growing up in the rural areas outside of Calgary. You see in Calgary, which sits in Canada’s Prairie region and the outskirts of Calgary didn’t look so different from the scenery of the show. Also Calgary is well known for the Calgary Stampede celebration where the entire city embraces it’s Wild West past and is home to Heritage Park Historical Village which preserves many Little House era buildings in a town like setting, so the “Little House On The Prairie” show didn’t seem quite so removed from the 1980’s I grew up in.

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Only At Wal-Mart Mamma Mia! Packaged With Xanadu

Wal-Mart is home to some interesting deals, and it seems they have a deal designed just for me, only problem is I already have both items they’ve packaged together. What they’ve done is get with Universal Pictures and packaged some of their movies together in little Wal-Mart exclusive packages usually for a great price. In this case, what was packaged together was Mamma Mia! The Movie with Xanadu.

No doubt the decision was made because Mamma Mia appeals to a musical audience that appreciates ABBA as that is the basis for the music in the musical. Olivia Newton-John headlines Xanadu as a very late 1970’s early 1980’s attempt to build on her amazing success in Grease with a musical like picture. What Wal-Mart and Universal execs probably didn’t realize the packaging of ABBA and Olivia Newton-John together is something that’s been done before. When ABBA won the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest for Sweden, Olivia Newton-John was also competing in the contest for England. And when ABBA were making a concerted effort to try and build their success in the United States, they appeared on one of Olivia Newton-John’s television specials along with Andy Gibb. So it’s not the first time ABBA and ONJ have crossed paths.

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Google Me – A Look Into One Man’s Experiences Googling Himself

Thanks to Netflix’s ability to stream movies directly to my television using their Instant Streaming technology, I took the opportunity to check out a really interesting documentary called, “Google Me.” The film is a look at what happened when Jim Killeen looked up his own name on Google and decided to see what would happen if he met the other people around the world who shared his name. The movie is a fascinating journey as Jim meets six other men named Jim Killeen from all walks of life.

What Jim found was more than six other Jim Killeen’s but was only able to get six of them to agree to meet with him and be interviewed on camera. Additionally he also asked each to submit to a DNA test so that ultimately it could be seen if any of the family blood lines for any of the men are related. What he found in his Google search ended up meeting an Irish Priest, a retired cop, a father of eight, a Scottish traffic engineer, a sexual swinger, and even an Australian CEO. As Jim gets to know each of these men, he becomes inspired to take it to the next level and not just have the experience of meeting the other Jim Killeens all to himself, he gets them all together and using Google, found the perfect place to do it, Killeen, Texas.

In the process of meeting these Jim Killeens and looking to create a film about the experience we also see Jim go through the trials and tribulations of securing permission from Google to do the film, and even teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and winning money on a poker circuit to be able to finish the film. Ultimately, this makes Jim Killeen a lot more of an every man as you can’t help but emphasize with him with every minor setback in the process and celebrating the triumphs as we discover how seven Jim Killeens from around the globe who most likely would never have met without a little search engine called Google.

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Paramount Builds Theme Restaurants Of Entertainment Properties

Following the great day at Disneyland to celebrate my friend Robert Shadbolt’s birthday, our group decided on dinner at Anaheim’s Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant. The chain of Bubba Gump restaurants takes it’s name and inspiration from the 1994 Forrest Gump film originally directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks in the title role. As a themed restaurant, Bubba Gump offers a seafood dining menu in addition to a themed gift shop and effectively offering a unique way to keep the spirit of Forrest Gump alive and well in the mind of consumers long after the original theatrical run of the film.

According to the press kit, Paramount Pictures originally approached Rusty Pelican Restaurants, Inc. about extending the brand of Forrest Gump into the realm of casual family dining. And by 1996, the very first Bubba Gump Shrimp Company themed restaurant opened it’s doors in Montery, California. The company specifically targets tourist destinations for their restaurants, such as the Anaheim location which is a couple of blocks away from Disneyland, and other locations including Universal’s City Walk in both Hollywood and Orlando, Times Square in New York, Pier 39 in San Francisco, and the Mall of America in Minnesota. Bubba Gump is Paramount’s most successful foray into themed restaurant licensing, but wasn’t the first.

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Xanadu Returns To San Diego Tonight For One Night Only

XanaduTonight is the night that Xanadu returns to San Diego. No, it’s not the fantastic stage musical that was here for two months last year. (That’s actually opening up tonight as well, but further up the road in Costa Mesa.) Tonight, it’s the Original Motion Picture version of Xanadu starring Olivia Newton-John and Gene Kelly that is playing here in San Diego.

The movie is notoriously known for being a bad movie, as it has a very loose plot, but despite the fact the movie bombed originally, it’s soundtrack was a massive hit for the record label. The collaboration between Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) and Olivia Newton-John (ONJ) on the title track, Xanadu has made the song one of Oliva’s biggest hits. Filling out the rest of the album are more fantastic songs by ELO and ONJ. Wisely, the songs weren’t put on the album in the order in which they appear in the movie, they were placed so that one side was the ELO side and the other side was the ONJ side. As the both acts draw different audiences, it made sure the fans of each artist could enjoy the work of their favorite if they weren’t as big a fan of the other.

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Seeing Election For The First Time

ElectionLast night I got together with some friends for what we call “Economy DVD Night” where we get together at the host’s home in order to view a DVD of a preselected movie. It essentially serves as an excuse to get together more often by not always choosing to meet out at restaurants and having to spend a bunch of money just for the sake of getting together.

The rules of Economy DVD night are simple:
1. Everyone eats on their own beforehand… don’t bring anything.
2. Come as you are, even if you’re in work clothes or sweats.
3. The host will provide the basics: movie, drinks and a snack.
4. After the movie, everyone cleans-up after themselves (then gets out of the hosts’ hair!)

Last night’s host, my friend Jason Murillo, decided to feature the movie “Election” featuring Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick. I had never seen the movie before. To be honest, when it was originally released, I thought the trailer looked the kind of movie I wouldn’t enjoy. Reese wasn’t yet the major star she is today, and it just looked like retreading high school memories which I certainly didn’t want to do at the time. And I don’t consider myself enough of a Matthew Broderick fan for his presence in a movie to get me to see it. But since Jason stated the movie is one of his all time favorite movies and it is a black comedy, I thought why not come check it out.

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Toy Story Double Feature In 3-D

Toy Story Double Feature in 3DSurprisingly, I’ve never actually seen either “Toy Story” movie before. And oddly enough, I actually do have both movies on DVD. I picked up the first Toy Story movie when it was reissued as a 10th Anniversary edition, and the second one either at the same time or shortly thereafter. But I’m guessing it might have been a buy both get a better discount kind of deal. But both DVDs are still shrinkwrapped to this day. I know the first one at least had to have been good based on the fact it spawned a sequel, but it also launched Pixar into the mainstream and I have enjoyed several of their movies over the years.

I don’t know why this seems to be true for me, but I never seem to find the Pixar movie trailers interesting enough to ever want to see the movies when they happen to be playing on the big screen. I had never seen any of them on the big screen, not “Monster’s Inc.”, not “Finding Nemo”, not “Cars” not even “Wall-E” or this year’s “Up” and yet, ultimately I’ve been told how great and wonderful they are, and I’ve checked them out on DVD and ended up buying them. I will probably even get “Up” when it comes out next month. All of the ones I’ve seen ended up being extremely good, so I just don’t quite get why their trailers strike me as lame and I don’t see them in the theaters.

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Raymond Aaron Adds A Video About The Power Of Mentoring

Raymond AaronLast week I mentioned that one of my mentor’s, Raymond Aaron, posted a free video that teaches how to eliminate procrastination in your life. (Click here to read that blog entry.) This week he’s added a new video that teaches about why it’s important to have mentors in your life and how you can achieve amazing things with the help of a mentor.

You might be thinking that you don’t need a mentor, but think about it for a moment. Every sports team has a coach, every movie and television show has a director, and every ship has its captain. Why? So that they can guide their team, film, show, or vessel successfully from the start to finish. Do you think Donald Trump has mentors? You bet he does. Anytime you want to learn something, you’re best bet is with the guidance of a mentor. But don’t let me try to sell you on the value of a mentor, hear about it from one of the world’s best success coaches, and he’s even going to teach it to you for free.

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Jesus H. Christ – An $18 Movie Ticket For Star Trek in IMAX

Star Trek - The IMAX PosterYou know movies are getting to be expensive when it costs about the same to see it on screen as it does to buy the DVD when it comes out. Talk about fleecing the hell out of consumers. In this case, it’s the insanely expensive ticket to see “Star Trek” this Thursday night on an IMAX screen at the Regal Cinema in Escondido.

I’m hoping the experience will be good because this will be the first mainstream movie I’ve seen in IMAX since “Spider-Man 3”, a couple years ago. At the time it was the premiere feature at the Edwards Cinema in Mira Mesa which was just opening it’s IMAX theatre. Basically it converted one of it’s largest theaters into an IMAX auditorium. And I caught a 6 am showing of the movie (the third screening since the midnight premiere showing) and I was a little underwhelmed by the IMAX experience. It could just be that “Spider-Man 3” was a not quite the best film, but I do think the auditorium contributed to the experience, as I felt the screen was just not size wise up to par for an IMAX experience. All my previous IMAX experiences have been at theme parks with these giant larger than life screens, and this screen just felt average. Not quite the sensory overload experience I was hoping for.

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RENT Gets Paid In San Diego With Anthony Rapp And Adam Pascal

RENT Tour With Adam Pascal & Anthony RappOn March 11th, I caught “The Broadway Tour” of Jonathan Larson’s Epic masterpiece, RENT, hit San Diego’s Civic Theatre. I went with my friend Louie Taylor. Part of the main reason I wanted to go see RENT was because the main draw of the tour is that it has been billed as featuring original cast members, Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal who would be reprising their roles as Mark and Roger respectively. An unadvertised bonus is that another original cast member, Gwen Stewart, is also reprising her role in the tour as one of the ensemble players as a variety of characters and featured solo vocalist during “Seasons Of Love.”

As the first tour since RENT closed on Broadway in September 2008, it seems all the more poignant to see such a high profile tour with Original cast members Rapp and Pascal on board. They’re no strangers to coming back to the roles that made them Broadway stars as they both were part of the original workshop shows, transferred the show to Broadway and then later to London, then recreated their roles in the film version of RENT in 2005, and then for a limited engagement in Summer 2007 returned to Broadway according to BroadwayWorld.com. These roles have been a part of their lives off and on for the last 15 years. In the interview in the Playbill handed out at the performance Adam Pascal suspects “when we’re done with this tour, I have a strong suspicion that this will be it for me and RENT. At some point I am going to be too old to do the part.”

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