Tag Archives: Star Wars

Under The Boardwalk Documentary Showcases Monopoly

If you were asked to name the first board game that comes to mind, would that game you name be Monopoly? Arguably, Monopoly is the most celebrated board game in the history of board games. It has recently had its 75th anniversary and there is no sign of it’s popularity slowing down. Monopoly is as much part of pop culture as it is a board game. And there are so many ways to play the game, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone these days that hasn’t heard of the game. With a game as popular as Monopoly, you almost have to wonder why it took so long for there to be a documentary about it.

What is it about Monopoly that has made the game such an enduring success for so many decades? San Diego based filmmaker, Kevin Tostado decided to find out. Not only did Tostodo explore the history of the game, he traced the enduring legacy of the game in popular culture, met with serious collectors that like to collect just about anything that the Monopoly brand has licensed, and even spoke to a winner of the million dollar grand prize in McDonald’s annual Monopoly game. Perhaps the highlight of Tostado’s exploration of Monopoly was following some of the game’s most competitive players through the 2009 international championships, where every four years the national champions from over forty countries compete in hopes of being crowned the newest World Monopoly Champion. Kevin Tostado compiled his findings and presents an extensive look at the world of Monopoly in his new movie entitled “Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story.”

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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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The Return Of Captain Eo

On a recent visit to Disneyland with some friends, we took the opportunity to see the return of Captain Eo, which Disneyland brought back as a tribute to Michael Jackson due to Michael’s death last year. The attraction is billed as the “Captain Eo Tribute” as opposed to just Captain Eo. And the attraction is replacing “Honey, I Shrunk The Audience” 3-D attraction which I think is what originally replaced Captain Eo in the first place when Disneyland pulled the attraction.

The attraction starts out with a “pre-show” which Disneyland highlighted was the original pre-show from when Captain Eo first premiered back in 1986. And I think the pre-show just really showcased how attention spans have gotten considerably shorter, as the pre-show just dragged on and on and on endlessly where the footage would have been sliced and spliced considerably more if it was being made for today’s audiences to keep the pace moving. It showcased some of the casting, the rehearsal process, and the making of Captain Eo. The pre-show was also hammering down the notion of how landmark Captain Eo is as a collaboration of Michael Jackson (arguably at his peak of popularity), George Lucas (still hot off the heels of the success of his original Star Wars Trilogy), Francis Ford Coppola (a legendary director) and of course, Disney. Okay, we get it, big names bring big expectations.

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Celebrating Robert’s Birthday At Disneyland

A couple of weeks ago, I received an invitation via Socializr.com from Mike Trueblood inviting people to come celebrate the birthday of his partner, Robert Shadbolt at Disneyland. The date was for January 15th, a Friday, which normally I wouldn’t be able to do because Friday nights start my week of work at the casino. But that could be easily fixed with a time off request for a night off. I don’t usually get the chance to use my pass with friends as most of my friends have Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 type jobs and I work the middle of the night inclusive of weekends, so I jumped at the chance to share a day at Disneyland with Mike and Robert.

My requested night off was approved and I changed my “Maybe” to a definite “Yes” that I would be attending and was able to coordinate some details with them ahead of time when I saw them both at the bar on Wednesday night. The rough plan was that the guys would be there at 9 am and that I should call them around that time to coordinate locations. I was planning on being there early, but I was coming from my parent’s home in Temecula instead of from San Diego as they called me for some help setting up their brand new television for use in their home entertainment system. My folks wouldn’t let me leave in the morning without breakfast first, so I didn’t get to leave as early as I wanted.

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Ugly Sweater Party & Bea Arthur In Star Wars

Ugly Sweater Party 2009Last night I attended an “Ugly Sweater Party” at the home of a local friend, Mike Kurtz. The premise of the party is that you’re suppose to find an ugly sweater or sweatshirt to wear to the party. You have the option of buying something new that’s hideous or comb the racks of the local thrift stores to find something ugly. It’s just a fun excuse to have a great theme party.

The party is also a pot luck of sorts and I brought some cookies. I didn’t have time to make some sugar free ones so I just bought some pre-made cookie dough packages from the supermarket and baked those up for the party. Pretty quick and easy. Some people did some creative things, such as one person brought a whole plate of olives that were creatively stacked and stuffed with some carrots and cream to look like penguins. Mike and his partner Ian had wonderful meatballs for the party.

To compliment the theme of ugly sweaters, one of the worst television holiday specials ever was screened. It’s the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special. It’s so bad that George Lucas has said if he had the time and a hammer he would track down every bootleg recording of it and smash it. And yes, it was horrible. I’m amazed they got the original actors to consent to making this steaming pile of crap holiday special. The sets looked terrible. The costumes were pretty bad, especially the Wookies that made up the rest of Chewbacca’s family. Even the animation for the cartoon segment introducing Boba Fett was bad too.

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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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Spending My Birthday At The Disneyland Resort (Part 2)

Grizzly River RaftingAs I made my way out of the Disneyland Park to meet up with both of my parents and my grandfather outside of the Rainforest Cafe in the Downtown Disney area, I realized I should have just gone over to Tomorrowland and gotten on the Monorail to ride over to the Downtown Disney area. What I ended up doing was heading back to the main entrance of the park, exiting through the entrance plaza, passing through the exit of the security check lines, and then having to basically walk the entire distance of the Downtown Disney area because I forgot the Rainforest Cafe was on the far side of the Downtown Disney area. And I also forgot it’s parked right next door to the Monorail station.

Normally I don’t mind the walk but after having done the previous day at Knott’s Berry Farm and all morning in the park in close to 100 degree heat, my legs were starting to get rashes from all the walking, so I was a bit sore by this point in the day. I was surprised I made it over to the Rainforest Cafe before my parents and grandfather. The Rainforest Cafe is near the parking lot and I was coming on foot from the middle of Disneyland and having to walk through the entire Downtown Disney area just to get there. I didn’t end up having to wait too long though, it was just a matter of trying to find a somewhat shady spot as the mid afternoon heat was really starting to take its toll.

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Rifftrax – Mystery Science Theater 3000 With Modern Movies

I was never much a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or MST3K as it’s known by its fans), because I just didn’t want to suffer through really old movies. However, I loved the concept behind the idea, where basically an additional added commentary or making up some added dialogue to scenes in movies could make for a fun evening. However, for a relatively low budget comedy show that relies on movies to make the effect work, the only way it could be achieved was through licensing very cheap movies, hence the reliance on older than dirt, long forgotten movies no one could give a rats ass about.

The comedy writing team behind Mystery Science Theatre 3000 consisting of Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett, have reformed and now thanks to the Internet, are now no longer limited to shitty old movies with dirt cheap licensing fees. They can now put their attention on big budget Hollywood epics that recently got released on DVD, or really, the types of movies you’re more likely to want to watch anyway.

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Star Trek Original Series Season One 50% Off At Amazon

Star Trek The Original Series Season 1 Blu Ray Box SetAmazon.com is having an incredible sale on the First Season Blu-Ray Box set for Star Trek: The Original Series. Amazingly they are offering it before it’s release on April 28th, 2009 for 50% off the list price. I don’t know how long the sale price is going to last, but it’s probably the lowest it’s going to be offered for a while.

The Original Series finally hits Blu-Ray after the failed attempt by Paramount to go HD-DVD exclusive. The previous HD-DVD release of the first season of Star Trek only had the brand new digitally enhanced versions of the show, where all the special effects had been replaced with brilliant new CGI versions. (Think how George Lucas did with the original Star Wars movies, except the Star Trek folks exercised far better restraint on adding extraneous crap to the episodes). The episodes look as if they were made today.

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Susan Boyle – The Newest Poster Child For The Law Of Attraction

Susan Boyle Proves Britain's Got TalentIf you ever needed to see a poster child for The Law of Attraction at work Susan Boyle is it. As April 11th started, the world outside of Susan’s hometown of Bathgate, a rapidly growing town in West Lothian in Scotland had no knowledge of Susan Boyle. By the end of the day all of Britain was a buzz with Susan Boyle and within days, the world is all a buzz with Susan. In less than a week’s time she’s gone from an unemployed, lonely woman with a cat named Pebbles, to instant celebrity even rumored to have been invited to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show and in talks for a record deal with Simon Cowell’s record label all thanks to a song from the musical, “Les Misérables” called “I Dreamed A Dream”, Simon Cowell’s “Britain’s Got Talent” program on ITV, and the magic of YouTube.

Neil Midgley of Britain’s Telegraph described Susan’s unassuming appearance as a “podgy woman with a frumpy frock, a wiry hairdo and heavy brows” leaving the audience and probably the judges to assume Britain was about to be treated to a performance to be mocked much like William Hung‘s appearance on “American Idol” in 2004. With the audience snickering and the judges barely able to hold back their laughter at the notion this woman who wants to sound like Elaine Paige. Well perhaps it’s just better to watch what happened. Play the video below and witness for yourself what happened in seven minutes on “Britain’s Got Talent.”

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