Big Hero Six Review

BIG HERO 6Finally got to watch Disney’s newest animated movie Big Hero 6.

Not surprisingly, I loved it. And yes, that could be due to the fact that I’m biased toward Disney movies once again (I mean, who hasn’t been the last ten years?).

I think it’s great that Disney is expanding its universe into unfamiliar (to me, anyway) territories such as anime comics, which is what Big Hero 6 is based off of.

Who’d have known Anime could be so much fun and original? Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Disney took some major creative liberties to get it up on screen, but the fact that they’re reaching out and making unknown stories known, I think is a good thing.

Now about the movie itself. While it doesn’t linger long in your mind like Frozen did, and it’s not as emotionally gut-wrenching as Meet the RobinsonsBig Hero 6 delivers in all the ways a Disney movie should – with some new twists and extremely poignant scenes.

You’ll no doubt fall in love with Baymax and Hiro the moment they’re introduced, and the lesson about letting go is a really tough one to teach kids and teenagers, and I think Disney does a superb job of getting the point across and creative an avenue for parents to talk to their kids about death.

Lots of fun. Great visuals, tons of humor, and dark action make this an awesome film for your next family movie night. Keep ‘em coming, Disney. Share your thoughts of Big Hero 6 below.

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What I Learned From Michael Scott

With Christmas being over and taxes coming up, I figured it was time for a laugh. Sarabeth and I are currently watching The Office literally for the 4th or 5th time. Saturdays are our most stressful day of the week, so that’s the night we turn on the next episode and let go of all our worries and every time we have a really good laugh (it’s good therapy).

So below I have listed some things that we’ve learned from Michael Scott over the years, and perhaps you can list a few more…

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Don’t promise an entire class of kids that you’ll pay their college tuition until you have the funds to do so.

Don’t write an age-sensitive joke in a woman’s “bird-day” card.

Don’t conduct a meeting on obesity dressed in a fat suit.

If you’re going to fake-fire someone, make sure you have the punch-line right. (“You’ve been X’d, punk!”)

You can’t declare bankruptcy by yelling it.

Giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dead bird does nothing.

Clear it with your boss before you announce in front of the whole company what branch is closing down.

If you’re trying to catch the ice cream man, make sure you open the screen door first.

Don’t hold a roast in honor of yourself. It actually might hurt your feelings.

It is, in fact, a “dog-eat-dog world,” not a “doggie-dog world.”

Abraham Lincoln never said, “I will attack you with the north.” (Though it has long been our favorite Lincolnian saying in our house.)

If you’re going to a job fair to represent a paper company, you might want to have some paper with you.

Don’t hold the pizza delivery guy hostage just so you can get your discount.

Watch out for indoor ponds.

Just because someone says, “What’s up-dog?” doesn’t mean the joke’s over.

Feel free to add your own favorite Office moments.

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2015 Movies That Will Likely Kick Butt

A friend of mine mentioned that we need to take advantage of $5 movie nights more often, so that got me wondering what all’s coming out next year. Here’s a list of 2015 movies I’m super excited about and will gladly spend $5 or more to see in theaters. These are listed in order of release. (Click on the titles to be taken to the trailer.)

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In the Heart of the Sea

Ron Howard, one of the greatest directors of all time in my opinion, returns to what he’s best at doing in this story about a crew of whale hunters who set out to find the real Moby Dick.

 

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Tomorrowland

Brad Bird, a Toy family favorite (Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, M:I – Ghost Protocol) returns to Disney and directs a movie that is sure to garner reinterst in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland.

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Jurassic World

I have to be honest. I don’t care if this turns out to be as bad as the second Jurassic movie. The point is, it’s dinosaurs. And they’re chasing people. It comes out on Father’s Day and I told my wife that’s what I’d like to do that Sunday. She didn’t like that idea. I mean, I’ve been waiting 65 million years for this, amiright?

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Inside Out

It will have been two years with no new Pixar movie. I’m going to need this. As, I’m sure, every other Pixar fan in the world will as well.

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Pan

There have been some great Peter Pan movies in the past (Hook, Finding Neverland) and others that have fallen flat. But when I stumbled across this trailer, I’ve got to say, I can see this as being added to our growing Peter Pan collection.

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The Cobbler

With the exception of Reign Over Me, I have not been a fan of Adam Sandler since I became a grown-up (pun semi-intended). But this one actually looks promising with a pretty heavy strong emotional pull. To be honest, as a writer, I was pretty frustrated that I didn’t come up with this idea myself.

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The Walk

Good news!! Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, The Polar Express) is actually filming another live-action movie!! Hopefully he’s done with those ugly motion-sencored animated movies for good and sticks with what he’s actually good at.

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They had me at Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.

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Peanuts

I can get on board with this as long as they don’t try to make it all hip and modern.

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The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II

Good news about having to wait until Part I comes on video next year is that my wife and I won’t have to wait too terribly long to see this one. We just have to find a babysitter by then.

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The Good Dinosaur

What’s the only thing that can possibly be better than two Pixar movies in one year? A Pixar movie about dinosaurs, of course! (I’m gonna need a little boy in the family so I can have someone to share my dinosaur enthusiasm with.)

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Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

I’m not a huge Star Wars fan, per say, but I don’t hate the franchise, either (okay, the acting is consistently bad throughout). But with Disney and J.J. Abrams pairing up, I am 100% excited about this movie. I can’t see how it can possibly be bad.

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Mission: Impossible – 5

Hated the first two Mission:Impossible movies, but 3 and 4 rocked my world (this coming from a guy who doesn’t like action movies). Bring it.

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Movies to Drive Home the Holidays

I went and saw Dumb and Dumber To last week and, with the exception of adumb 2 couple of really awkward scenes, I really enjoyed it. So naturally I re-watched the original, being my all-time favorite comedy and found it just as funny as it was twenty years ago and Harry and Lloyd graced the world with their stupidity.

With Thanksgiving approaching, I made it a point to also watch another favorite, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. At about the part where Steve Martin’s rental car isn’t in the parking lot and he starts throwing a fit chasing after the bus, I realized, I’ve really been watching a lot of road-trip movies lately. 

And then it made me think how appropriate a road trip movie is this time of year since road trips promote closeness and conversation… Or highway pranks, burnt cars, being sideswiped by semi trucks, going a sixth of the way in the wrong direction… Well, many just a lot of laughs.

I know there’s plenty others out there, but these are the ones I find myself returning to on a regular basis. Share your favorite below!

The Best Road Trip Movies

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Dumb and Dumber

Best line: “If I know Mary as well as I think I do, she’ll invite us right in for tea and strumpets.”

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Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Best line: “Those aren’t pillows!” Read last year’s blog here.

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Tommy Boy

Best line: “Did you eat a lot of paint chips as a kid?”

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A Goofy Movie

Best line: “How many cups of sugar does it take to get to the moon?”

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Let’s Talk Dinos!

tyrannosaurus-dinosaurLast night I talked poor Sarabeth’s ear off about all the exciting dinosaur movies coming out next year.

The world of movies as we knew it changed forever in 1993 when Steven Spielberg released Jurassic Park. 

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the words “Jurassic Park.”

I was in the third grade, and my teacher, Mrs. Smart, I believe, must have read the book and must have heard about it being filmed from an evening news clip. She had just read us a story and proceeded to tell the class about the movie centered around a theme park with dinosaurs.

Collectively, I don’t think we were very bright, or we were all just deaf, because we didn’t hear her say the word “movie.” So we ambushed her with a load of questions like,

“When does it open?”jurassic park logo

“Will the dinosaurs move?

“Will it be next to Disneyland?”

And for about ten minutes, Mrs. Smart did her best to explain to us that it was a movie about a theme park.

In our seven- and eight-year-old minds, we couldn’t comprehend why anyone would watch a movie about a theme park when we could just go. 

Well, the next summer, I lost count the amount of times I went to see Jurassic Park with my buddies. And each time, I prayed the dinosaurs wouldn’t escape, but deeper still, I prayed that they would so I could experience that spine-tingling chill the movie still gives us all to this day.

man in boxYou’ll even see where Jurassic Park played a role in inspiring certain scenes in my book The Man in the Box. 

There’s no further agenda to this post except to express my excitement for all the dino fun we’re in for in the next 11 months, starting with a Toy Story television special about dinosaurs airing sometimes this holiday season.

 

And then next Father’s Day, we’ll be graced with Jurassic World, the fourth installment in the sharp-toothed franchise.

And later next year, Pixar is giving us an all new animated feature about …dinosaurs, calledRossGellerFriends413 The Good Dinosaur. 

I think I missed my calling as a paleontologist.

 

 

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Movies as Good as Pixar Movies

It doesn’t take much browsing on my blog to figure out that I’m a devout Pixar enthusiast (Disney included). But there are some movies made by competitors that come awfully close, if not hit right on target, to Pixar’s standards of excellence. Here are my favorite non-Pixar/Disney animated movies that you’re sure to have a good time with.

Shrek-2-card-2004-12Shrek 2 (Dreamworks)

I love the second installment of the Shrek movies. It’s hip, it’s fun, and the soundtrack is awesome. It’s a fairytale within a fairytale, and it doesn’t bash all the other fairytales like its predecessor does. And the pouty Prince Charming is just hilarious.

surfs_up_620x348_0Surf’s Up (Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia)

This one didn’t sit too well with critics and audiences far as I know, and I can’t understand why. It’s a very original animated flick told in the style of a documentary. Sarabeth says you’ve got to have a love for the beach and surfing to enjoy this movie, so she might be right. At any rate, I’ve always said it’s as good as a Pixar movie, if for anything, its originality.

1_0_2008_07_09_05_16_25_65625Horton Hears a Who (Blue Sky Studios/Fox)

This is a fun little movie based off of the Dr. Seuss classic storybook, which I hadn’t read before seeing it. It’s not as sophisticated as other movies, but it’s big, bright, and colorful. Definitely pulls out the child in me, and it’s no chore to sit down and watch it on a rainy weekend.

despicable-me-2-22543-1280x800Despicable Me (Illumination Entertainment/Universal)

There’s nothing truly awe-inspiring about this movie, but it’s fun – just flat-out fun, with a few quotable moments throughout. Another good one for rainy weekends. I think what draws me in so much is the adoption theme. That’ll get me every time.

81AjuXCw9UL._SL1500_How to Train Your Dragon (Dreamworks)

This one probably comes the closest to being on par with Pixar standards. It’s got everything you need to make an animated movie go from really good to exceptional – fast action, witty dialogue, no potty humor, emotional content, and the protagonists lose something dear in the end. I haven’t seen the sequel yet, but I’m sure excited to whenever we get around to it.

What are your favorite non-Pixar/Disney animated movies? 

7 Rules That Can Make “Dumb and Dumber To” Great

dumb-and-dumber-2-poster-fullYou’ve probably seen the Dumb and Dumber To trailer by now, and like most intelligent and level-headed human beings, you’re probably looking forward to seeing the movie as much as I am. You’d be hard-pressed to find an individual who doesn’t laugh themselves silly at the 1994 ultimate comedy of comedies, Dumb and Dumber. 

But, just as with every other anticipated sequel, we all have our concerns that it won’t live up to its predecessor. I’ve put together a list of 7 rules the Farrelly brothers should follow if they want their sequel to measure up to their ingeniously-dumb and whacky magnum opus.

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1. Little to no plot

The best recipe for a comedy is having very little to no plot. On the extremely rare occasion that I sit down for a comedy, I want to turn my brain off and watch well-written jokes – not follow a mediocre story. Just look at Napoleon Dynamite for a great example of how no plot can work wonders in a comedy’s favor.

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2. Lots of mindless tangents

Now, in order for anything to be filmed or written, there does have to be some sort of story. But, hopefully Dumb and Dumber To will keep it second priority like the original did, and not shy away from countless detours.

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3. Naivety with 21st century technology 

A lot has happened in twenty years, and it looks like one of the comic duo has squandered his time on a two-decade long prank being locked away from the outside world. Now, while I hope this movie doesn’t go all Blast From the Past on us, it would be nice to see what kind of dumbness can come out of Harry and Lloyd figuring out other people’s iPads and iPhones and Androids.

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4. Not being too crude

Part of the charm of the first movie was that it never really crossed the line into easy sexual innuendos or jokes. That’s a big part of what makes the movie a classic because it hardly falls prey to “easy” jokes. I’ll admit that the end of DDT’s trailer – the scene with the grandma – was a bit off-putting, but I did read somewhere that that’s the only awkward and cringe-worthy scene of the movie. But still, it’s the 21st century – our tolerance level has raised a bit, so we’ll see.

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5. Horrifyingly terrible acts done out of naivety 

Mary Sanson called the culprits who sold their dead bird to a blind kid “sick people.” Sick, yes. But also completely clueless, which is what makes Harry and Lloyd so much fun to watch.

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6. Overdoing adolescent boy fantasies

I think most boys have had dreams like Lloyd’s where he’s fighting off would-be perverts with no consequences and making nonsensical jokes at gatherings and being the life of the party for it. I think the sequel would do well to have another sequence like this one.

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7. Make no reference to 2003’s disaster, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd 

Let’s just pretend that one didn’t happen. And if we can’t, then we’ll readily forgive the writers if they can pull this one off.

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8. Welcome rude and ignorant comments

“Don’t you go dyin’ on me,” seems to be a favorite line from DD. True, it’s mean and extremely ignorant, but remember – the fun is in the cluelessness. In the case of Dumb and Dumber, ignorance really is bliss. (Oh, and if the victims get their payback, that’s nice, too.)

How do you think Dumb and Dumber To can be just as good as the original? Share your thoughts below!

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