Star Wars Fan Films

In order to convince my young Jedi Knight in potty training to sit on the toilet to do his business, rather than the preferred standing position, I have taken to showing him short films on my phone. As an avid young fan of Star Wars, he frequently asks to watch Star Wars. Thanks to my mad YouTube searching skills, I have stumbled upon a few gems as he sat patiently waiting for something to happen. So here are a few of my favorite odes to Star Wars:

Here is a fast one by a kid with LEGOs

And the prequel trilogy version… even more hilarious

And of course who can resist a good old Dance competition. Thanks Disney.

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Noot-Noot!!

I haven’t had a lot of time to post lately, but I know  that I need to get back in the groove. In the meantime, I want to leave you with one of my favorite animation shorts that Thomas is totally into right now. Pingu is a Swiss claymation television series that is currently streaming on Netflix. Next time you see Thomas, ask him what a penguin says.

A mouse took a stroll through the deep, dark wood…

“A gruffalo? What’s a gruffalo?” “A gruffalo! Why didn’t you know?”

This phenomenon of a children’s tale has somehow escaped the United States entirely. The catchy rhymes and witty storytelling have made “The Gruffalo” a sensation in the UK since 1999. Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated
by Axel Scheffler, the book has been translated into 40
different languages. When I went to the UK this summer, I picked up a copy and quickly it became one of Thomas’s favorite books.

Last Christmas,  Magic Light Pictures produced a half-hour animated
special based on the book and BBC aired it in the UK. And now the short film has qualified, along with 33 other films, to be considered in the category of Best Animated Short for 2010 Academy Awards. Members of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will vote to narrow it down to the five nominees for Best Animated Short Film Oscar. Pretty cool.

Comic-Con 2010: RiffTrax Panel

Rushing  straight downtown after work, I manged to score street parking closer than Wednesday night and hop in line for the RiffTrax panel roughly an hour and a half before the scheduled time. Luckily, I jumped in line when I did, as many people behind me did not make it in.

The program started with clips from previously riffed movies including Avatar, Lord of the Rings, and Twilight. The crowd roared in favor of “team what-the-hell-is-this-sparkly-vampire-bullshit.”  Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy, all from the original Mystery Science Theater 3000, joined by moderator Veronica Belmont, exchanged short quips before launching into a live riffing of a black and white 1950′ educational film called “Buying Food.” The movie explained the dangers of impulse buying (really, who can ever eat three pints of oysters) while Mike, Bill and Kevin indulged us in their take on the film. The subtle and sometimes very direct humor  really come straight from our own heads. The boys are just better at vocalizing it for everyone’s benefit.

Much of the rest of the session was reserved for opportunities for the audience to give 20 second (or so) pitches for movies the team could riff. Immediately, there was a rush to the mic, a scuffle and a victor. The first up threw out a clear crowd favorite, The Last Airbender. Later another guy displayed his pure passion for needing this movie riffed. I swear he was going to bust into tears. Spoiler alert: this is one of the movies chosen to be done in the next year.

Other movies people shared including 2012, Sex in the City, Black sheep, Cold as Ice, and the remake of Clash of the Titans. A number of children’s movies received shout outs including Disney’s Pocahantas, Mighty Morphen Power Rangers, Super Mario Brothers and Hook. The latter came with boos from the crowd and chanting of “Rufio, Rufio!” Several movies I had never heard of and subsequently didn’t even write them down.

Some of my favorite moments included:

  • The suggestion of  Passion of the Christ came with the question, “Too soon?”  The look on the panels faces seemed to indicate the time will never really be right for that.
  • Some girl offered to take her top off for her suggestion to be used. I don’t even remember now what she was pitching.
  • Someone else suggested Jonah Hex to bid a final farewell to Megan Fox’s career.
  • Blade Runner was pitched to some serious boos and the guy dug himself deeper with continuing his pitch. He should have feared for his life after stepping away from the mic.

In the end, the panel chose 2012, Clash of the Titans (remake), The Last Airbender, and the 1973 SciFi classic, B-rated movie, Zardoz. I think this year will be an awesome year for riffing but considering I haven’t seen any of the chosen movies, the first time I see them, they will be hilarious. Thanks for making my world my “three pints of oysters.”

What I Learned Today… peaches and puns

There are some punny one liners in James and the Giant Peach.

I’m not sure if this is a first to brag about, but I finally saw the Disney version of James and the Giant Peach. In attempts to avoid another night of Finding Nemo (aka Elmo Shhh… translated into Nemo Fish while the real Elmo is just Elmo), Fraggle Rock or Lilo and Stitch, I hit up the Netflix instant movies. Vaguely remembering seeing James and the Giant Peach as a children’s theater production at the Casa del Prado theater in Balboa Park, I pressed play hoping for the best. Or at least something tolerable.

I amazingly never read the book, but in true Roald Dahl style, the movie was sufficiently dark and disturbing. James’ parents die almost instantly in the beginning by a roaring rhino and then large insects aid and abed his escape from his creepy, abusive aunts’ cottage, in a quest to reach the big apple… a great pun in itself.

Here are a couple of my favorite lines from the movie. And since shamefully I don’t own the book, I am not sure if these were Disney adaptations or genius work of Roald Dahl. 

As the Brooklyn accented, cigar smoking Centipede dives into the icy waters to steal a compass from an old ship (trying to redeem himself from the royal F*#% up of landing the giant peach far from New York), the Grasshopper declares “He’s committed pesticide!”

Running from the aunts the Earthworm exclaims, “She won’t be coming down here with the spray. She’ll be coming down here with a shovel. It happened to my brother. Split him right down the middle. Now I have two half-brothers.

The music seemed forced, although I seem to recall the play being a musical too, which means I can’t really blame Randy Newman entirely. The combined forces of Roald Dahl’s writing and Tim Burton’s directing and the use of stop motion animation, made this movie more than tolarable. Great for me because I think the kid liked it too.