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
I’m trying something new with an unboxing video. I was surprised to see the first Funko Disney Treasures box appear on my door and figured I’d record the kids opening it. Hope you enjoy and if you do, head over to the official site and sign up for a subscription!
For the first few years of my daughter’s life I knew, basically, everything she saw or did. As the one staying home with her, it was up to me to switch through movies — like all three Toy Story flicks in succession every day for a week — and do my best to ignore it so I wouldn’t be driven insane by pure repetition. Now that she’s older, our son’s got his own favorite shows and my folks live in town, I’m way less tuned into what they see, which I’m totally okay with.
When Moana came out last year, both kids were pretty excited and wanted to see it straighaway, as did my wife who’s a big Disney fan. I wasn’t as interested, so they went one day while I stayed home and watched football. They came home singing the songs and I soon found myself singing them as well after the soundtrack became the most requested CD in my wife’s car. Knowing a musical’s songs before seeing the show itself is an interesting thing because you get something of an idea about how the story works, but not the full picture.
That’s what I felt while watching the review copy of the Blu-ray we luckily received the day before Mother Nature dumped feet of snow on us. As I’m sure you know, this one comes from the same people who made Frozen and Inside Out, which are favorites in our house, with music by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. The story revolves around a young girl named Moana (Auli’i Cravalho) who has a special relationship with the ocean and wants to explore it, even though her father says she should just be happy with what’s around her, a bristle-worthy idea for her and too.
In an effort to stop darkness from spreading to her island, Moana plans to sail out into the ocean, find the demigod Maui (Dwayne Johnson) and make him return Te Fiti’s heart which he stole a while ago. Soon they team up and wind up facing everything from coconut pirates and cold-encrusted, David Bowie-esque crabs to giant lava monsters in an effort to make things right.
I was immediately taken with the look and feel of the film. The water looks amazing. I remember when CGI liquid looked like pixelated Jello, so it’s still impressive to see it appear so great on screen to the point where it’s even a character. I also really enjoyed the concerted effort the filmmakers made to make the film feel and look authentic to a Polynesian island culture. I’m far from an expert, but I did visit New Zealand as a kid where I saw some things that were definitely reflected in this film. It felt authentic and respectful and honest, all of which are pluses.
Story-wise, I wasn’t super into it at first because the general idea felt a lot like Brave as the young woman didn’t want to participate in her royal familiar obligation. This really clicked during the scene where Moana’s running around the jungle, sliding down vines and whatnot. It reminded me of when Merida races on her horse through the forest. I mentioned the similarity to my wife and she said the comparison wouldn’t last and she was right. Besides, the idea of wanting to live your own life and explore the world as you see fit are about as universal as it gets.
All in all, I really enjoyed the film. It makes great use of not only the culture it’s reflecting, but also epic journey conventions. Moana and Maui each face their own challenges along the way, wrestle with their goals and ultimately persevere. Plus, it sure looks pretty and The Rock’s great in everything!
I haven’t fully gone through the extra features yet, but I loved the “Inner Workings” short and the “Gone Fishing” one is fun too. I’m also curious about the “Warrior Face” deleted scene and the bit about the clothing because I have distinct memories of both of those from my brief stay at a Maori village as a kid.
Hi Gang, welcome to the 100th episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast. I have an awesome guest with me this time and it’s my amazing wife Emily! This episode follows a brand new format and I think it’s pretty snazzy! If you want to compare this episode the first one, you can listen to it here.
Here’s a behind the scenes look at the outline we were working on off of the big board:
And this is a picture of what my wife calls a Boyfriend Pillow, but what Target calls a Bed Rest Pillow.
Meanwhile, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is far more entertaining than Babes In Toyland.
I thought Adventures Time Season 5 was parentally informative, but Em’s still not a big fan of our 4 year old watching it. We’re both not sure about Monster High.
Book-wise, I’m a big fan of all three of these, even if Jack thinks books should all have touchscreens. Frozen Fever: Anna’s Birthday Surprise, Joy’s Greatest Joy/Simply Sadness and Oh, The Thinks You Can Think! are aces in my book.
Unfortunately, these two have seen better days, so I’m going to try cleaning them up with some Clearasil Stayclear Vanishing Acne Cream as suggested on this site. I’ll let you know how it goes.
This week’s Pop Poppa Seal Of Approval goes to Jack’s favorite toy, the Kid O Hide and Seek Discs!
For the past six years parents have been half-watching the misadventures of Oso, a yellow bear who works for an organization known as U.N.I.Q.U.E. (The United Network for the Investigation of Quite Usual Events). He helps children figure out basic tasks like brushing their teeth and cleaning their rooms using Three Simple Steps. Kids love how Oso struggles with the same problems as their cartoon counterparts, but upon repeating viewings, it has become clear to me that the world of Special Agent Oso features some incredibly disturbing and potentially disastrous elements. Let’s discuss the five most prominent, shall we? Continue reading
A few weeks back we celebrated our daughter’s fourth birthday with a lot of her friends from school. I don’t mind saying that it was a huge success and I take basically no responsibility for that. My wife was the mastermind behind the festivities from invitations to decorations and games, but she doesn’t have a blog and I do, so I’m the one who’s going to throw down some advice. Continue reading
For several months last year, I did weekly interviews with some of the people who make the Disney X D Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. It was a really fun experience that resulted in some fantastic interviews over on CBR. Thanks to some scheduling shifts, I’m not doing those at this point, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for this cartoon that started bringing all kinds of alternate universe Spideys into the mix. Of course, this makes for a great deal of fun toy opportunities that license-holder Hasbro has started fully taking advantage of with their Web-Slingers line.
A month or two back, I received a box of toys for review from Hasbro that included the basic Spider-Man figure, Agent Venom Figure with ATV vehicle, Iron Spider Blaster glove and the Trickshot Showdown playset. The overarching action feature for this line is a series of stretchy rubber webs that hook onto parts of the toys and launch into various targets. Even though my nearly-four-year-old tried to get me to open them up for weeks, we didn’t get to it until last week. I figured it would be fun to record the whole thing with my Flip camera and post the results which you can see here. I would have cut the nearly 10 minute video down, but every time I looked to edit, the kid started doing something cute.
Since recording the video, I’ve placed all these toys back in the box they came in (you can see it in the video) and Lu has taken them out to play with about once a day. It’s funny, she kept asking me what every little part was for — the sticker that looks like steps on the playset, the rubber webs, the shooters, the targets, the crane — but after I told her they’re just they’re to play with, she hasn’t been as caught up on those things.
As a long-time action figure collector and fan, I do have a few comments. First off, these toys look like they fell right off the TV screen which is crucial when dealing with toon-based toys. The figures themselves are a little stiff, but that goes away the more you play with them. The only one that wasn’t is the Venom ATV toy which, contrary to what I said in the video, doesn’t have much in the way of articulation. The knees are permanently bent, which I didn’t notice at the time. I know more joints equal more cost, but I personally love my Spidey figures to be as flexible as possible. Lu doesn’t seem to care about any of that, but it’s something I noticed.
I also love how the ATV rolls around on our carpet and the playset is super fun. Even without shooting the webs, this fairly simple set offers plenty of play potential whether your kid is like mine and just likes to have a setting for her figures to run around on or if you’re like me and want to bash through some doors and swing around. It actually reminds me of the classic Karate Kid dojo set that I loved as a kid.
I don’t know if I’m just inept or what, but the stretchy web things just do not work for me. I saw the man do them with ease at Toy Fair and figured I could do it myself, but that has not been the case. The kid’s gotten it a few times, but no luck on my end.
On another level, I wish this line had some female toys for my daughter to play with. This might be part of that age-old idea that female action figures don’t sell or might go back to the TV series (not sure if any female Spideys are on there), but it’s a bummer. I passed my daughter a box of JLU toys I’ve had for years and she immediately pulled out all the ladies and started playing with them, so clearly there’s interest there.
Even though I had some problems with these figures, I think that overall they are rad playthings for younger kids. They seem sturdy enough to withstand the kind of strenuous playing that younger kids can and should put their toys through. I’m seriously thinking about tying a string to them, sticking one end up high and just swinging them around!
We’re pretty big fans of Disney’s Tinker Bell movies and shorts in this house. I wasn’t sure what to expect when my daughter started watching Tinker Bell, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue and Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings almost non-stop on Netflix in the past few years, but I’ve come to find these bits of animated goodness to be packed with fun adventure stories with heart and compassion at the center of them. So, when The Pirate Fairy came out last year, we were all pretty excited to see what would happen in that one.
As anyone who watches any of the Disney channels knows, they do a stellar job of getting kids excited about these things months in advance, so by the time we finally did see it, it was a big deal. The same can be said of this year’s Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast which came out last week, but we haven’t seen it yet.
With all that in mind, here’s a variety of images and videos I’ve been sent along with the movie’s official synopsis if you haven’t seen anything about it. Like Christina Hendricks and Tom Hiddleston did in Pirate Fairy, Ginnifer Goodwin and Rosario Dawson both join the cast that includes regulars Mae Whitman, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symoné, Megan Hilty and Pamela Adlon.
The heartwarming story explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell’s friend Fawn, an animal fairy who’s not afraid to break the rules to rescue the NeverBeast before time runs out. The fairies meet Gruff who is a massive creature and the subject of an ancient Pixie Hollow myth. Hidden in a dark lair on the fringes of the fairies’ beloved home, Gruff is discovered by curious and empathetic animal fairy Fawn, who sees something special in his glowing green eyes. His penchant for stacking rocks mystifies Fawn and her friends—but Gruff’s true purpose is the real surprise.
Here’s a series of concept art pieces that give you an idea of what you the movie and Gruff will look like:
And now you can check out Nyx (Dawson) and her rad-looking Scout Fairies. Here’s hoping this gang gets a spinoff where they go on black ops fairy operations (or something).
There you have it. What do you think? Are you looking forward to NeverBeast as much as we are? I’m still not sure when we will get a chance to see it, though. As I mentioned above, the Blu-ray and DVD sets are available for purchase, but we usually don’t buy these movies because they wind up on Netflix eventually. I can’t quite remember how long it took for Pirate Fairy to debut on Disney Channel, but I’m sure we’ll know when as Disney Junior is on for several hours a day while our daughter plays and hangs out with her brother and grandma.
Here’s the Fluttershy Lu got along with the Horror Classic Funko Mystery Minis Jason Vinyl Figure I scored.
Meanwhile, if you want to check out Astro City, I highly recommend going to the beginning with Life in the Big City, but you can also pick up the book I just did called Through Open Doors. The Spider-Man issue I mentioned is actually Web of Spider-Man #81 and I reviewed it over on UnitedMonkee.com.
To see the Frozen elements in Big Hero 6, head on over here.
I called Aunt May Peter Parker’s grandma. Obviously this is a huge geek goof. It’s clearly his aunt. Please forgive me oh wrathful geek gods.
My review of *deep breath* My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Adventures Of The Cutie Mark Crusaders can be found here. *whew*
Miles From Tomorrowland is on the Disney channels all the time, but you can also give it a look on Watch Disney Junior.
I basically jump at the chance to get my hands on any review copy of a Disney movie these days. Not only do I love the long standing tradition of animation from the House of Mouse, but I also like showing these older films to my daughter who has a fairly set rotation when it comes to her movie choices. So, when I got an email about 101 Dalmatians: Diamond Edition, which hits stores today, I was easily excited.
Luckily, our 3-year-old was in an open-minded headspace when this set came in the mail because she was pretty jazzed to watch it (not something that happens all the time). She might not have been instantly familiar with this film from 1961, but she does watch a lot of Disney Channel which means she’s seen the interstitials featuring some of the puppies which convey messages like “wipe your paws” and “take a nap.” That was enough to get her in and we’ve watched the movie probably six times since then. It’s become a solid family favorite.
While watching the film, I realized that I’d never seen 101 Dalmatians all the way through, at least not in the past two and a half decades. I kept remembering plot points from Lady And The Tramp and possibly Oliver And Company, so the plot of this movie was mostly a nice surprise. We start off with Dalmatian Pongo narrating about his pet Roger who needs a mate. Soon enough he spots fellow dog Perdita and her pet Anita. Soon enough the two couples are married and puppies are expected. Enter the villain of the piece Cruella De Vil who wants the puppies to make a coat out of. She sends her thugs to steal them and when the humans can’t figure out where the puppies are, Pongo and Perdita use the Twilight Bark to convey word to other dogs. Thankfully, this works, and the parents go on an epic journey to get a whole lotta little dogs away from the baddies and back home.
I enjoyed this story quite a bit because it moved along quickly and didn’t lag. The marriage happens quickly, the parents get on the case as soon as possible and the movie doesn’t really slow down in the last 30 minutes or so as the long trek home kicks off. There’s even some pretty funny moments that have me laughing out loud — though less so, now that I’ve seen the movie so many times.
Here’s something I thought of while watching the movie that I want to run by you, faithful readers. Is Cruella De Vil the worst Disney animated villain around? I’m thinking she is because her whole goal is to murder the children of the protagonists. Who’s worse than that? Scar offed his brother in front of his kid, which is pretty bad, but this is basically mass murder, right? Let me know what you think in the comments.
Since this is a Diamond Edition, it’s packed with extra features, including a batch from the first DVD release. I haven’t had time to dig into those or any of the commentaries, but we did watch “The Further Adventures Of Thunderbolt” which is a fun continuation of the cartoon the dogs watch before their adventure continues. There’s also a cool episode of Walt Disney Presents called “The Best Doggoned Dogs In The World” from 1961. Canine-centric, the episode not only features videos of dogs walking on two legs that had me howling (puns!), but also a presentation of the film to get viewers excited. While watching the black and white episode, I realized it must have been a trip seeing ads for the movie on TV and then going to the theater and seeing the whole thing in color. Musta been pretty cool.
Anyway, I thought this film was pretty great and my daughter agreed. She didn’t seem too creeped out by the super-evil Cruella, but mileage may vary other kids. A good test is probably to show your kids her first appearance and see how they respond. She sure gets crazier, but that’s a good baseline for her scariness. If they don’t like that, it’s probably a good idea to hold off on more 101 Dalmatians until later.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 89 covers our continued sleep problems, plus costume and karate cuteness as well as my problem with stories like Mulan.
Can you handle the cuteness? To see Lu giving Jack and I check-ups check out the Photo Diary post from January 15th.
It took more looking around than I would have through, but I finally found a story about the Miss America contestant I was talking about. I’m not so sure about the article’s tone, but it seems like I got the basics right.
Am I being too sensitive about Mulan or is it better to wait and show our daughters material that includes stereotypes and long-held anti-women beliefs that in turn contradicts those idea?
Check out the Babes In Toyland post I wrote here.
WebMD has a solid post on Fifth Disease.
Littlest Pet Shop Season 1 gets a big thumbs up from me!
Babes In Toyland was the first live-action, big budget Disney musical and it’s completely bonkers. Annette Funicello stars as Mary, Mary Quite Contrary. She’s about to marry Tom the Piper’s Son — played by Tommy Sands — but the evil Barnaby (Ray Bolger) gets in the way so that he can get hitched to her himself. He hires ne’re-do-wells Gonzorgo (Henry Calvin) and Roderigo (Gene Sheldon) to toss Tommy in the sea. Instead they sell him to Gypsies. That’s the basic plot…for the first half of the film. After that, the movie completely switches gears as Mary, Tommy and her siblings wind up in Toyland helping the Toymaker (Ed Wynn) and his assistant Grumio (Tommy Kirk) create toys for Christmas with the bad guys waiting to strike.
As I said in a recent Photo Diary entry, I really enjoyed this Jack Donohue-directed movie the first time around. Then, I put it on for my parents and wife — all big Disney fans — to watch on New Year’s Eve and realized this story is poorly put together, all over the place and plain-old-nuts in many ways. That’s what I’m focusing on in this particular post, though I liked the film enough on the third viewing to also list some awesome moments in a post that will go up next week. Continue reading
I thought I’d talked about the Mickey Christmas specials I mentioned on Netflix, but apparently I haven’t. They are Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas and Mickey’s Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of Mouse, or as my daughter calls them Mickey Christmas Red and Mickey Christmas Blue.
Charlie and Lola, Vol. 2 and I can’t seem to find the exact Hello Kitty DVD after minimal searching.
If you’re curious about why I posted so little in October, you can check out all the links to what I wrote that month over on my pop culture blog UnitedMonkee.
I’m a big fan of Every Cowgirl Needs a Horse after reading it just the one time so far.
The movies I mentioned are My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Spooktacular Pony Tales, My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks and Planes Fire and Rescue which were all are great. Still waiting to watch Maleficent.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 79 covers Jack’s continued teething problems, Lu’s new school friend and me sharing my thoughts on the #HeForShe campaign.
Most of the horror movies I mentioned seeing were done during kiddo nap time, though a few were watched after everyone went to bed. If you only see one newer scary movie this year, make it Resolution!
The book I mentioned really enjoying on my phone is R.L. Stein’s Red Rain. Great stuff so far.
Disney’s Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition is fantastic. Pre-order a copy or just wait until it hits stores next week on Oct. 7th.
Here’s a video of Emma Watson’s UN speech as well as the blog post supporting stay at home dads by Aaron Gouveia over at Time.com. And, for a funnier view on the whole thing, read Dead and Buried’s “Just Say No To Parenting Equality.”
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 77 covers Lu’s first two weeks of school, the difficulties of going to the grocery store and a few words on the NFL-based child abuse cases.
The cartoon I mentioned is called Peep And The Big Wide World.
Speaking of arts and crafts, Tomie dePaolo’s book The Art Lesson is a personal favorte. Above you can see the cover as well as the title page of my version which he signed back in 1991. The song I mentioned is called “Flowers Are Red.”
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 74 recaps the last two weeks, including our trip to New Hampshire (Jack’s first long car ride), a solid house update and a special appearance from this week’s co-host, Lucy.
I should note that when I said I was thinking of going to the store on Tuesday, I said “alone,” but meant “with the kids.”
If you’re in the area, keep an eye out for Tumblebus.
Tomboy: A Graphic Memoir by Liz Prince is fantastic. A funny, witty, clever and emotional personal story that I think all parents should read. It gives an interesting look behind the curtain of a young woman dealing with gender issues.
When I got an email asking if I wanted to review the Blu-ray of Pixar and Disney’s Toy Story of Terror I digitally leapt at the chance. On one hand, it’s a delightful Halloween-themed TV special that we enjoyed this past October and on the other, it’s another Toy Story film that can be added to the rotation. One of the reasons I spent so much time thinking about the mythology of the series is because my 3-year-old daughter is a gigantic fan of the three features and I’ve seen them all about 30 times each.
This Blu-ray not only includes the Toy Story Of Terror special, but also a trio of shorts, fake toy commercials, commentaries, deleted scenes and a few behind-the-scenes featurettes, so there’s plenty of new material to add to your collection.
When it comes to the main feature here, Toy Story Of Terror really is a wonderful, kid-appropriate scare film that knows its horror history. We kick off with a campy black and white vampire film that’s supposed to look like something Ed Wood would have made — you can see the strings the bats hang from — and then the movie gets into haunted house territory as the toys go missing one by one in a creepy motel. Halfway through, our heroes find out what’s really going on, meet a new group of toys and from there it’s an escape film. This special balances all of that out incredibly well, which is all the more impressive when you think about the fact that it’s only a half hour long. Plus, as far as my three-year-old is concerned, it’s a tiny bit scary without hitting the “turn it of now!” threshold.
In addition to being the kind of high quality story and production you expect from Pixar, TSOT is also just plain fun. I’m a big fan of the genres touched on here, but obviously there’s very little crossover between that world and my daughter’s preferred entertainment. So, it’s cool to see elements that I really enjoy — and are thematically spot-on — in the shows she does watch. Also, it’s impressive that Pixar added in a whole new group of toys here that are just as fascinating and interesting as the stalwarts we’ve grown to know and love. The Combat Carls are fantastic and I pretty much squealed when I saw the LEGO Rabbit and Transitron do their things.
From there we moved on to the three shorts called Toy Story Toons: “Hawaiian Vacation,” “Small Fry” and “Partysaurus Rex,” each of which is set after the events of Toy Story 3. As with TSOT, all three of these not only fit right in with the look and feel of the Toy Story films, but also the quality. Shorts are the kinds of things that could be easily toss off, but these feel like they were crafted instead of churned out.
Speaking of the continuity of quality, how great is it that all of these new Toy Story cartoons feature the original voice cast? Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Wallace Shawn, Don Rickles, Kristen Schaal and Timothy Dalton all show up along with the other recurring and new voice actors like Carl Weathers, Stephen Tobolowsky, Ken Marino and Kate McKinnon. Everyone’s there to have fun, do their thing and it all just works out so well.
I haven’t made it through the commentaries just yet, but I have checked out the spoof commercials for the Combat Carl PSA, Old Timer and Transitron. As a longtime toy fan and someone who writes about toy commercials on a regular basis, these tickled my fancy. I was also surprised to find my daughter interested in watching the behind-the-scenes video called “Team Of Specialists” which not only tipped me off to the bat-string I mentioned above, but also how they studied a lizard for a major character.
All-in-all, if you or your kid(s) are Toy Story fans, you can’t go wrong picking this up and adding it to your collection.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 73 gives a few house updates and gets into important subjects like Plastic Man cartoons, the state of Scooby-Doo and how I turned a laundry basket into a baby bathtub.
Scooby-Doo! and the Witch’s Ghost, Scooby Doo and the Weird Water Park and Scooby-Doo and Aliens, Too! aren’t the best Scooby-Doo offerings ever, but Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is pretty fantastic. Check it out on Netflix.
Here you can see my makeshift kitchen sink baby bath. It’s just a smaller laundry basket with an inflatable, waterproof back rest. It won’t work once he’s a bit taller, but for now, it’s just the ticket. Also if you check out the Photo Diary from April 6th, 2011 you can see the pool noodle tub solution I mentioned.
The 59th episode of The Pop Poppa Nap Cast gives a general Jack update, details Lu’s birthday and also a daddy-daughter day co-opted by other kids!
If you’re at all interested in checking out any of the gifts I mentioned when talking about Lu’s birthday they are as follows: Melissa & Doug Cutting Food, Hot Wheels Mega Jump Track Set and Melissa & Doug Stacking Train.
Here’s the bubble-related video from Knocked Up, it’s a bit NSFW language-wise.
Captain Carrot And His Amazing Zoo Crew ran for 20 issues between 1982 and 1983. DC collected a few of the issues in Captain Carrot and the Final Ark, but they’re collecting the whole thing in an upcoming black and white volume called Showcase Presents: Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew TP.
And finally, here’s the video go Lucy meeting Jack for the first time.