I am a passionate fan of 80's kids’ movies. Goonies, Stand By Me, Explorers, Space Camp, Monster Squad, Cloak and Dagger, Labyrinth, and several others occupy coveted slots on my all-time list. While I enjoyed recent kids’ movies such as Harry Potter, Super 8, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, they never captured the magic of those older films.
Is it just me? There's a certain hollowness in the modern kid flick. Something missing. The movies follow all the formulas. However, like recreating your grandparents' heirloom recipes, an intangible quality is always missing. Is it the uber slickness that comes with an astronomical major motion picture budget? The high def, count-the-zits image quality? The computer generated effects? I really don’t know the cause. But the result is the notably absent charm that once oozed from the movies of my childhood.
"They just don't make movies like they used to.” Nooooooo! Am I becoming Granddad? If for nothing else, I search for the illusive, magical, modern kid flick to stave off my inevitable transformation into a jaded, grumpy old man. Netflix's insidious AI is well aware of my quest. And it is always happy to guide me through the harrowing wilderness of its immense catalog towards possible holy grails.
This morning I was distracted by a little, 2005 independent film called Twelve and Holding. Yep, fucking Netflix debo'd my free-time once again. Curses. Twelve and Holding, however, was just good enough—just awkward and quirky enough—to compel me to throw it out there: Is this the Great White Buffalo?
Wow. I am rusty at this writing thing. So, 2011 sucked donkey balls and I’m going to grade the resolutions that I made a one year ago on this day. Here’s a hint: I failed. This is why I hate New Year’s Resolutions. They are just further proof of how much I suck.
Obviously I haven’t written much of anything since March. I have a litany of excuses. My job workload picked up dramatically. I became a political activist. I acquired a taste for zombies. Awesome games such as Portal 2, Catherine, Dragon Age II, Skyrim, and Deus Ex demanded my fleeting attention. All of that is true, but none caused my flameout as a writer.
I blame Netflix. My name is Bobby and I am a Netflix Addict. I hate you Netflix and your stupid, amazingly accurate suggestions. You know my tastes better than I do. And for that, you must be destroyed. You know too much.
Ah, the loot. I love loot. Looty, loot, loot.
If you’re a Harry Potter fanatic heading to the Wizarding World for the first time, you should check your wallet with someone who’s less enthused to be there. You might get caught up in the atmosphere and try to buy everything you see. And this shit isn’t cheap.
All of the Harry Potter World merchandise is in-character. Most of the candy and toy packages feature a tiny, requisite Harry Potter logo on the back. Other than the covert logo, the packaging is true to the story. When you get home and sort through your haul, it looks like you apparated into the Harry Potter universe and scored some genuine Honeydukes treats and Zonko’s gags.
My Harry Potter fandom is about to reach epic proportions now that I am the proud new owner of annual passes to Harry Potter World, I mean, uh, Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure. I have been itching to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter since it opened last summer, but I heard horror stories about the crowds and decided to let the fervor die down before heading there myself.
The first time I actually researched the new Harry Potter attraction was a few weeks ago while trying to decide between annual passes for Disney or Universal. I prefer exploring theme parks without knowing too much about them beforehand. I‘m not even too fond of the maps—makes it more of an adventure. I pulled up a few articles and read about the sheer awesomeness of eating at The Three Broomsticks and browsing the dusty wand boxes at Ollivander’s Wand Shop. I was sold.
I recently began writing for Anime Maki, the anime/manga blog created by my former DVDTalk/AnimeTalk cohort, Todd Douglass. I just finished my first review for that site and am still in full-on anime geek mode.
There are many who claim to have no interest in anime, but underneath the veneer of indifference there’s that nagging curiosity in your mind. That little spark of interest could grow into a wildfire of anime addiction if you allow it to, but you’ve never taken the plunge. Today is the day you walk the path of the otaku (that’s Japanese for anime nerd). Allow me to guide you.
Some people have preconceived notions that anime is just giant space robots or those perverted Japanese bondage cartoons. Well, there is a shit-ton of that available. However, there are so many subgenres in anime, that there truly is something for everyone. This is why I’m floored when somebody tells me that they don’t like anime.
I have always had a special place in my heart for carnivorous plants. I love an underdog and it’s a fitting turn of events for
the once defenseless bottom of the food chain to bite back. I first learned about
them on Mr. Wizard’s World, an old 80’s Nickelodeon show
that aired on weekday mornings after The Mysterious Cities of Gold--the
finest hour of kid’s television programming ever. I tried to nail down a video clip
of that Mr. Wizard’s World segment, but Nickelodeon is stingy with their classic
shows. You can buy the DVD of Mr. Wizard’s World Season One, if you’re interested.
I actually had heard of Venus Fly Traps before I saw that episode of Mr. Wizard’s
World. As a kid, I subscribed to Boys’ Life magazine. No, I wasn’t a boy scout.
I only went to one Cub Scout meeting and thought the whole thing was retarded. For
what seemed an eternity, a group of us sat in a small, dim room with our parents and
made paper mache armor for no apparent reason. Oh, rad. Where the hell was all the cool stuff like learning
survival skills, building fires, tracking beasts, and pitching tents?
Recently, a strange game evolved from a combination of Netflix’s Instant Watch and my own comatose state of couch-potato boredom. I call it Netflix Randomness. Not that this game is at all random—the name just rolls off the tongue a little easier than Solitaire Movie-Geek Chicken.
Here are the rules to Netflix Randomness. You browse the Instant Watch listings until you find something that grabs your attention. It can be anything. The swerve is that this movie (or television show) must be one that you have never seen, never heard of, and would never watch under any other circumstance. Beyond that, every title is fair game. Once you have located a suitable target, the game is set and you’re in for the duration. And before you probe for loopholes, you have to pause the movie when you leave the room and you cannot play on your cell phone or laptop during the movie. Choose wisely.
This is all merely how I internally justify wasting hours of potential productivity by vegging in front of Netflix. The next evolution of this game will have to include stakes because there’s just not much incentive to sit through a real turd other than groaning about it on the internet.
For South Florida Bulls fans who know me, much of this post will be a review. But somehow I just never tire of driving these points home. USF fans are like my dog: quick to forget training lessons and they eat poop. It’s true. And not a light tongue flick, either. We’re talking 2 Girls, 1 Cup-style bathing in the steaming goop like it’s coming from Heaven’s own chocolate soft serve dispenser. With the 2010 college football season coming to a close, I would be remiss if I didn’t document my ever-growing hatred for the commuter college up the street.
The University of South Florida is a massive fucking school with like a million-billion students on a sparse campus, devoid of any character, notable landmarks, or adequate parking. Even with the vast swaths of empty grass fields, USF still has no football stadium of their own and resorts to thieving the Buccaneers’ stadium every Saturday. Opposing fans must wonder what that big pirate ship in the endzone has to do with cattle. Oh wait, that’s the real football team that plays here. USF is just the opening act.
This past Christmas was one of the best ever for gifts. I know, I know, it’s not
about the loot. Christmas is about family, friends, love, giving and gorging on
all the turkey, ham, stuffing, casseroles, pies, candies, cookies and popcorn tins.
Agreed. But I also love all the gifts.I think I like giving gifts more than receiving. Scouring the Toys R Us
aisles for the perfect gifts to give kids (and adults) is one of my favorite and
most cherished parts of Christmas. But damn if I don’t still love receiving heaping
piles of awesomeness as well.