Family Movie Night: Honey I Shrunk The Kids (1989)

As a kid, I was a huge Honey, I Shrunk The Kids fan. Now that I think about it, it might have been the first kids-in-a-crazy-situation movie that I saw and loved. I’d go on to fall for movies like Goonies, The Gate, Monster Squad and Cloak & Dagger, but it may have all started with this film (or maybe it was E.T.).

The movie stars Rick Moranis as hapless inventor Wayne Szalinski who just can’t figure out how to make his shrinking ray work. Much to everyone’s surprise, a stray baseball accidentally hit through the attic window by one of the next door neighbors leads to both Szalinski kids — Amy (Amy O’Neill) and Nick (Robert Oliveri) — getting shrunk along with the two neighbor boys Little Russ (Thomas Wilson Brown) and Ron (Jared Rushton). Smaller than ants, they wind up having to struggle to get across the backyard into the house and back in front of the shrink ray in hopes that Wayne can fix them. Continue reading

Advertisements

The Joys Of Smurfs: The Lost Village

Last weekend I found myself unexpectedly sitting in a theater watching Smurfs: The Lost Village. My daughter had been invited to one of her kindergarten classmates’ birthday party and I went along, thinking that I would simply drop her off and maybe hang around for the food-and-cake portion. Instead, on the way there, she asked if I could stay and I didn’t really have anything better to do, so I stayed. Continue reading

Photo Diary: March 2015 Part 3

Still very slowly working my way through these. Here’s the latest batch. More will go up…later.

I don’t usually do this, but here are a few links related to these posts. My action figure review went up on CBR and focused on three of the latest Greg Capullo Batman figures from DC Collectibles.

Here‘s my review of The Giant Mechanical Man which I really enjoyed. I also eventually finished that run on Amazing Spider-Man. It’s one of my favorites and I wrote about it on my pop culture blog.

You can read my Geek.com posts on my author page. That’s been a really fun gig!

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 25

pop poppa nap cast logo

The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 25 runs the gamut, talking about two different kinds of Spider-Man, enjoying That 70s Show with Lucy and The League on my own and lots and lots of free plugs for Netflix.

famous covers spider-man nap time

Apparently you can still buy Famous Covers Spider-Man and Electro 2-pack on Amazon!

I reviewed the first two seasons of FX’s The League over on UnitedMonkee.com. The fourth season hits Netflix on September 3rd and the fifth season kicks off on FXX the next day.

To read the full 10 Ways Living With A Toddler Is Like Being In Prison, head on over to HuffPo.Itchy_&_Scratchy_&_Marge_33

I’m embarrassed to say that I referred to Marge as Maggie while talking about The Simpsons episode “Itchy & Scratchie & Marge.” Let’s blame it on the cold, shall we?

uncle ben amazing spider-man

The Pop Poppa Of The Week is none other than Uncle Ben as played by Martin Sheen in The Amazing Spider-Men, a film I reviewed over on UnitedMonkee.com.

pocoyo

Peep Pocoyo and his pals above.

netflix-logo

To see the Disney cartoons I mentioned, check out Walt Disney Animation Vol. 1: Mickey And The Beanstalk and Vol. 3: The Prince & The Pauper.

For more of me check out UnitedMonkee.com, MonkeyingAroundTheKitchen.com, Comic Book Resources and @PoppaDietsch on Twitter.

Six Reasons The New Mickey Mouse Shorts Are Fantastic

mickey donaldI’m not sure about your kid’s viewing habits, but when mine isn’t watching a Disney DVD or Blu-ray, she’s got her eyes glued to the Disney Channel. She started off as a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fan which lead into her watching and enjoying all the other animated offerings the network has including Sofia The First and Doc McStuffins.  She’s even become quite familiar with the live action shows like Good Luck Charlie, Jesse and the rest. In the past month or so, Disney unveiled a series of new shorts featuring classic characters like Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy. At first I wasn’t sure what to think because the cartoons looked so different than what I’m used to, but I’ve got to say, I’ve become a huge fan and here’s why in a handy list format!

1. It’s Made By Quality Creators

I did a little looking around and discovered that the new Mickey Mouse shorts are executive produced and directed by Paul Rudish. Rudish’s isn’t a name I knew at first glance, but one look at his resume and you understand why these mini-toons are so good. He helped create Dexter’s Laboratory. And Samurai Jack. And The Powerpuff Girls. And Star Wars: Clone Wars. Rudish also put together a solid writing staff that includes Ramon Sanchez (Count DuckulaTales From The Crypt), Derek Dressler (Kick Buttowski), Aaron Springer (Samurai JackSpongebob Squarepants) and Clay Morrow (Dexter’s LaboratoryChowder). That’s a lot of talent that have come together to create a series that mixes the old and new in terms of the visual, audio and thematic side of things, concepts that make up the rest of the list.

2. It’s Not Mickey Mouse Clubhouse

mickey mouse clubhouse

All due respect to the long-running show that my toddler and millions of others could watch all day long, but the sugary sweet niceness of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse doesn’t exactly go out of its way to be even remotely entertaining to the parents who find themselves watching along. Plus, as good as that show looks with its computer generated animation, it’s so great seeing Mickey and his pals drawn in a more traditional animated style. If you’re worried that your kid might not understand the difference between the two, take this bit of anecdotal evidence into consideration: my two year old loves both versions.

3. It Looks New

daisy minnie mickey

Speaking of the new style, I like it. I get that the more exaggerated look might not appeal to everyone, but I’m glad Disney took a chance on something we haven’t seen before. And, trust me, we’ve seen a lot of different takes on these characters, so that’s saying something. This reminds me of the spirit Walt Disney had where he was always looking for new ways to do things. Whether intentional or not, this shift in style is an homage to Walt.

4. It Sounds Familiar

Since they decided to take a chance on the look of the series, it makes sense that Rudish and company decided to go with the classic-sounding voices for stars Mickey, Donald, Minnie and Goofy. While the looks of the characters have changed over the years, the voices have stayed relatively the same or at least similar. We’re used to seeing different versions, but we’re not used to hearing wildly different takes. It’s important to have some kind of connection to the legacy of these characters that’s recognizable. In this case, it’s the voice actors who happen to be the same folks who do Clubhouse, aside from Mickey performer Chris Diamantopoulos who replaced Clubhouse‘s Bret Iwan as the titular rodent.

5. It’s Funny!

I can’t tell you how rare it is for me to actually laugh at something seen on Disney Channel. Sometimes there are cute little moments on the cartoons or the occasional so-incredibly-stupid-it’s-laughable gag on one of the over-the-top live action shows. But, these new Mickey Mouse shorts keep me in stitches the whole time. If you’re a fan of the old Disney cartoons, classic Looney Tunes shorts or any of the shows the staff worked on previously, then I can almost guarantee you’ll get a kick out of Mickey and the gang.

6. It’s Not TOO Nice

Going back to the first point here, these shorts aren’t squeaky clean. The one I just saw, called “Stayin’ Cool,” found Mickey, Donald and Goofy trespassing on several different locations for a perfectly selfish reasons: beating the heat. The characters aren’t dark and gritty by any means, but Mickey’s back to his more mischievous roots which you can see if you go back and watch older Mickey cartoons. It’s another nod to the past that also honors what came before it.

The shorts run on Disney Channel at random times, but you can also head over to the Disney Shorts YouTube page to watch all the ones that have been released.

TV Talk: Fraggle Rock – Meet The Fraggles

fraggle rock meet the fraggles

Over on my pop culture blog UnitedMonkee, I’ve talked a bit about my history with Jim Henson and The Muppets. I only realized after watching The Muppets film that most of my knowledge of that franchise actually came from Muppet Babies instead of the classic Muppet Show. I was just too young to really get into it and my world didn’t involve reruns of that show. And yet, it’s fairly impossible to be my age and not have at least a tangential relationship with the man’s work. I might have missed out on Dark Crystal and Labarynth as a kid, but like I said Muppet Babies was super influential, I was a big Sesame Street fan and also dug Fraggle Rock.

So, when the fine folks at Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment sent out a mass email asking if any recipients would be interested in reviewing Fraggle Rock: Meet The Fraggles or Fraggle Rock: 30th Anniversary Collection. Even though it had been ages since I saw the show, I jumped at the chance and was delighted to get a copy of Meet The Fraggles in the mail. I wanted to get this review up earlier, but my incredibly picky two-year-old refused to watching anything past the first episode for want of most established favorites like Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the umpteenth viewing of Brave and Cinderella.

So, I took some time out today while she napped to finally sit down and really get into this six episode collection — “Beginnings,” “We Love You, Wembley,” “Boober’s Dream,” “Red’s Club,” “Mokey And The Minstrels” and “Gobo’s Discovery” — which spans the show’s first few seasons. “Beginnings” launched the series, but also spawned about a million memories in my brain starting with that iconic opening theme song. All of a sudden, I was sitting in front of the gigantic, ridiculously heavy TV set my parents had in the living room until it died years later watching Jim Henson’s latest world come to life.

The beauty of this show is how complex and full it feels. This world is so gigantic and multi-scaled that it’s a wonder in both story and scale. Of course you’ve got your Fraggles, but there’s also the human world right outside Fraggle Rock as well as the giant Gorgs, tiny Doozers and whatever the Trash Heep is. There’s so much going on that you’re always moving from one scale size to another which varies the dramatic impact of the episode and scene. But, there’s also all kinds of technically wizardry going on behind the scenes. There’s a huge musical number in the first episode and I found myself just sitting back in awe at the Busby Berkeley-like production. So many Fraggles were up and doing their thing, plus a whole legion of Doozers. This DVD doesn’t have any extra features, but I would absolutely love to see a documentary or featurette about how this show was put together.

I also appreciated how the show’s writers tackled issues. Kids deal with a lot of wild feeling as they grow up, not all of which are covered as well on Disney or Nickelodeon these does. In the episode “Red’s Club” Red wants to start a club to help people, but the other Fraggles vote Gobo as the club’s president. This leads her on an ill-advised jaunt as she first starts her own club and then teams up with a Doozer who she keeps endangering just so she can help her. So, the episode doesn’t just deal with jealousy, but jealousy that comes from a very positive place and the ways it can get morphed.

I really enjoyed this six episode jaunt down memory lane and will continue to try and get my daughter to watch it. I think there’s not only a lot of entertainment to be seen in there, but also a lot of artistic greatness that will somehow ooze its way into her brain.

Pop Poppa Recommended Watching: Louie

I’ve known about Louis C.K. for a while now. I used to be a big watcher of Comedy Central way back in the day when they would show all kinds of clip shows consisting of clips from various stand-up performances. He’s also been on Conan O’Brien’s various shows and has been around for a while. Even so, it took me awhile to actually sit and watch his new series on FX called Louie. For some reason I thought it was going to be kind of gross. And it probably is depending on your views, but there’s a lot more going on than a few gross or inappropriate bits and that’s truth.

I’m getting a little ahead of myself. The series it self follows Louie, a divorced stand-up comedian living in New York City and taking care of his two daughters when they’re not with his wife. Episodes revolve around everything from comedy club hecklers and trying to get a date with the woman who works at his local pharmacy to his awful mother and trying to recapture his youth. These issues are not dealt with with anything nearing kid gloves. In fact, what makes Louie such an amazing show is how gut-wrenchingly honest it is, while still being really damn funny.

I can’t necessarily relate to all of the trials and tribulations that Louie goes through in the first season (which is on Netflix Instant, though not two just yet), but things like balancing fatherhood with non traditional careers and the things that being a dad does to your brain are pretty universal as far as my thinking goes. It’s not really an easy series to explain and I know it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (especially if you use phrases like “cup of tea”) but if you don’t mind feeling a little uncomfortable while laughing (and not in a Michael Scott kind of way where he fuels awkwardness) I highly recommend giving the series a shot.