Tag Archives: disney

Daily Discussion with BQB – Why is the Star Wars Franchise in the Dumper?

Hey, 3.5 readers.

BQB here.

“Solo” did poorly at the box office, though strangely, I enjoyed it quite a bit.

Meanwhile, the latest saga films, “Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi” were commercial successes, but the fans aren’t happy.

“Rogue One” did well commercially and in my opinion, is the best of the four new films.

I do believe this is partly “Star Wars fatigue.”  Absence makes the heart grow fonder and when 10-20 years passed between sequels, you really got excited to see a new film.  I was 20 when “The Phantom Menace” came out and while today, I think that movie does not hold up, at the time, I was just so excited to see light sabers being whirled around on screen again.

Say what you will about the prequels, but they did, absent an occasional hiccup, at least attempt to follow the pre-established rules of the universe.  Plus, the characters were put into peril, so the stakes were high.

Sure, you know faves like Yoda or Obi Wan weren’t going to buy the farm, but faves like Mace Windu or Qui Gon Jinn were kicking the bucket so the peril made you grip the edge of your seat.

Cliffhangers and new threads meant something.  When new questions popped up, you’d get answers.  Maybe not answers you wanted but you got something.

Here in the new saga films, there’s a lot of jerking us around.  Too clever by half writers saying, “Ha!  Fooled you!” and not realizing that if there’s no payoff we are losing interest.

So, if we’re getting a new film once a year, plus the films aren’t paying off for the super fans, I don’t know, this doesn’t bode well for the franchise.

I think either they should have cast new actors to play Han, Luke and Leia (younger actors) and start a new three part saga right after the end of “Return of the Jedi.”

Either that, or they should have put it far into the future and just wracked their brains to create all new characters, perhaps some older aliens who live longer coming in from the old films, but a whole new setup with heroes and villains.

Instead, they tried, just as King Solomon once did, to split the proverbial baby and as we all know, babies don’t split well, they are much better off intact in one piece.  A future that was just an homage to the past didn’t bode well.

My two cents.  What say you, 3.5 Jedis?

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Movie Review – Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

I can’t believe it took me a week to see this flick.  Maybe my reputation as the Internet’s greatest nerd is ill-deserved.

BQB here with a review of “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Where did the past 10 years go, 3.5 readers?  I remember watching “Iron Man” in 2008, thinking Marvel was really onto something here and, well, if only I could time travel back 10 years, take the seat next to me and give myself some advice on how to negotiate the next decade.

Oh well.  No use crying over spilt milk.

Speaking of not crying, we have a seasoned cast of superheroes now, and damn, there are a lot of them.  You’ve got the Avengers…the various hangers-on who help the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the assorted interlopers who mingle in these worlds…you’ve got a lot of characters.  Is it too many?  Maybe not.

After all, this film is our reward for sticking with the franchise for so long.  Once you watch the individual films, as well as the group get-together films, you spend a lot of time with these characters, getting to know what makes them tick, and thus films like this are possible, i.e. where the individuals come and go, make their entrances and exits and you understand their motivations by now.

There was a brief moment in the beginning where I wondered if this whole spectacle hadn’t jumped the shark.  Maybe it’s just because I’m getting older but when you really think about it, I mean, seriously…you’ve got a man in an iron suit, a Norse God, a green monster, a patriot, a computer man, a witch, wizards, a spiderman, a cat man, a flying guy, another guy in an iron suit, a lady assassin, a band of space pirates and their talking raccoon…WTF?  How do these all fit together?

At one point, I was like, “Wow.  There are way too many Avengers.  Like seriously, I can’t keep up with all these Avengers.  There is a ridiculous amount of superheroes on screen right now.”

Somehow, Disney/Marvel makes it all work.  In past movies, we’ve been teased with an impending Thanos (Josh Brolin) attack and it pays off big time here, as he’s the villain to end all villains, the big bad that the Avengers et. al. will have to throw everything at, including the kitchen sink, the toilet, the toilet paper, the plunger and so on.

It’s an intergalactic battle royale featuring different planets, different locations on Earth, different bands of heroes duking it out with different bands of Thanos’ cronies, all in the name of gathering the infinity stones, which the infamous ne’er-do-well hopes to use to engage in acts of evil-doery across the cosmos.

There are touching moments, hilarious moments, humor, laughter, suspense and I don’t want to give it away but Disney/Marvel does go in quite an unexpected direction, one that defies the typical ending of these films and perhaps when all 3.5 of you have had a chance to see it, we can discuss it further.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.  Kudos to Disney/Marvel for keeping this franchise alive, still going strong, still being as magical as ever.  Thank you to all the actors who didn’t let fame go to their heads and bail on their recurring characters.  It’s been quite a ride and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Daily Discussion with BQB – What’s Your Favorite Ride in Disney World?

Hey 3.5 readers.

Your old pal BQB here.

I’ve picked up stakes this week and moved BQB HQ to Orlando, where I have established a temporary BQB HQ.  If you see a nerd walking around with an alien and a yeti…that’s probably some other guy.

In the mean time, what’s your favorite thing to do at Disney World, 3.5 readers?  Your favorite ride or your favorite other activity…what is it?

To be honest, as I get older, the whole place loses its appeal to me.  Maybe the older you get, the less you believe in magic, I don’t know.  I mean it’s all very pretty and it’s impressive and so on.  And the Yeti and Alien Jones dig it, of course.

I don’t know if this counts as an activity, but I think “The Earl of Sandwich” in Disney Springs makes the best sandwiches.  They make a good meatball and a good Thanksgiving sandwich and I always get the Thanksgiving.

Anyway, what say you, 3.5?

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Movie Review – Coco (2017)

Who knew skeletons could be so adorable?

BQB here with a review of Disney/Pixar’s “Coco.”

You know, 3.5 readers, I don’t usually do a review of kids’ movies, but this one moved me a bit, so here we go.

Miguel is a young boy who dreams of becoming a famous musician, as famous as Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), this fictional version of Mexico’s answer to Elvis.

Alas, his family has put a long, long, longtime ban on music due to the fact a musician in the family once caused great heartbreak for all.

Blah, blah, blah, shenanigans ensue and Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead, where the deceased “live” albeit in skeleton form.  Miguel is still alive and obviously, does not belong here, but he’ll have to solve some mysteries about his family’s past in order to return to the land of the living.

There’s a lot of bright colors and the plot was a little better than usual, IMO, for a kids’ movie.  But there was one takeaway that stood out.

You see, we learn that it’s possible for the skeletons to die a second time, i.e. to disappear without a trace.  The skeletons live and prosper and are happy…for as long as the living remember them.  Once the last person who remembers the formerly alive skeleton dies, and there isn’t anyone else around to tell stories of the dead person when he/she was alive, then the skeleton ceases to be.

Ergo, whether it’s “The Land of the Dead” or Heaven or whatever afterlife you envision, we’ll never know for sure what happens when we die.  Theology tells us we live on.  Evidence tells us we become worm food.  However, you can at least take steps in this life to make sure you are remembered fondly and tales of your deeds will be passed down throughout the generations.

The thought is bittersweet – it provides motivation to get out there and live and love, to be productive and helpful and friendly in the hopes that no matter what happens after this life, you will at least be remembered by others.

But the downside is the average person, even with the best intentions and the most follow-through, probably, at best, can’t achieve something that allows them to be remembered past a few generations of their family.

Doubt it?  Think fast.  How many of you are able to tell me the name of your great, great grandfather or mother?  Tell me in the comments how far back in your family tree you are able to recite.

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Movie Review – The Florida Project (2017)

Adulting is hard.

Sadly, kidding (child-ing?) is getting even harder.

BQB here with a review of “The Florida Project.”

I’m not totally sure what the point of this film was.  It’s not exactly plot driven.  It meanders quite a bit.  Large chunks of the film are devoted to young child actors around six years old, saying lines that I’m not sure they’d ever really say if there wasn’t someone, I can only imagine but not confirm, hanging off camera promising candy or toys or something.

Obviously, the overall intent is to give the world a glimpse into what life is like for the poverty stricken, as well as the lives of those whose job it is to take care of them.

On the strip leading to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, there’s a series of tourist traps – hotels, discount gift shops, all catering to folks who are visiting the House of Mouse on a budget.  The film doesn’t quite explain it well but there was a time, before Disney developed the ever loving crap out of its property, when tourists who wanted to save a buck would go have fun at the parks then stay at a cheap, non-Disney motel.  Today, Disney has a vast array of hotels catering to almost every type of budget.

So, if this film is to be believed, many of the strip motels have turned into sad, depressing welfare slums.  Once such establishment is “The Magic Castle,” where young mother Halley (Bria Vinai) lives on a weekly cash basis with her six year old daughter, Moonee (Brooklyn Prince.)

Sidenote – if your name is Brooklyn that’s like, a guarantee your parents were all like, “this kid is becoming a child actor!” right?

The film strings together a series of shenanigans.  Moonee and her young pals from the motel wander about aimlessly, spitting on cars, throwing dead fish into pools, harassing paying customers and generally making life miserable for Bobby, the motel’s overworked, underpaid, vastly put upon and long suffering manager, played by Willem Dafoe, whose presence, honestly, is the only thing that makes the film watchable.

Covered with tattoos and constantly high, Halley is unemployed and unemployable, making money by begging tourists for cash, occasionally running scams to bilk them out of money and yes, even turning tricks.  You get the general sense that she wants to do right by her daughter but are unsure if it’s just that impossible to pull herself out of the proverbial hole she’s in or if she’s so drugged up she’s not able to help herself in any way.

It becomes clear that poverty is inter-generational, though whether bad parenting leads to poverty or poverty causes bad parenting is sort of a chicken vs. the egg argument.  Halley’s life sucks and you are led to feel sorry for her and realize there are so many people trapped in such difficult circumstances.

At the same time, we see other parents in the motel who are similarly poor, yet they stay off drugs, work menial wage jobs and are actively attempting to better their lives and instill morals in their kids, making the most of the little they have.

Amidst this mess is Bobby, who might have one of the most thankless jobs I’ve ever seen.  He works tirelessly, fixing broken equipment, painting, repairing, moving heavy stuff and the second something goes wrong, the tenants he’s given thousands of passes to on their mistakes rip his head off and raise hell over the slightest problems.

I’m inclined to think that Bobby is every adult in your life who a) wasn’t your parent but b) had a job that required him to help you and c) yelled at you for something bad you did or some rule you broke and you think he’s just an asshole because all you saw was the stern facade.  You didn’t see how he returns to his office and looks so pained because he knows you’re suffering and yet there’s little he is able to do to help you.

Despite a rule that prevents tenants from staying too long and becoming permanent residents, Bobby helps Halley circumvent this rule by moving her every so often to a different room within the motel.  Moonee raises hell and drives other guests nuts, constantly breaks things and makes more work for Bobby.  Meanwhile, Halley’s extracurricular activities bring all kinds of heat for the motel.

In short, Bobby could throw this problem customer out on the street any time and improve his life 100 percent and yet, he refuses to do so, putting his own job on the line because his gut tells him that something bad will happen if he doesn’t bend the rules and let Halley and Moonee stay.

If this a spoiler, then so be it, but literally, at no time, does Halley ever show any kind of acknowledgment that she understands Bobby is doing her a favor.  Halley makes all sorts of demands for Bobby to overlook the rules, let it go that she’s late with her rent, forget that she’s doing all sorts of bad things or that her unsupervised kid is driving everyone nuts.  Yet, when Bobby asks Halley for just a little bit of help in complying with the rules, she freaks out, leading to a used maxi pad being slapped on his office window in one gross out scene.

SIDENOTE  – I’ve seen tampons and pads being thrown at helpless victims in too many films now.  Is this something women dream about doing all day long now?  Whenever someone pisses them off, they just want to whip out their bloody cooch covers and whip ’em at some poor, unsuspecting schmuck?

Mixed feelings.  It’s more of a learning experience/acted out documentary than a fun movie.  There are some emotional parts though.  Poverty is hard and nearly impossible to break out of.  Good parenting and/or harping on kids to do the right thing can increase the chances of breaking out of it.

Perhaps there’s some irony that all these kids are suffering and are poor when just down the road there’s a theme park where wealthier parents dump tons of cash on toys, candy, rides and fun for their little brats.

But ultimately, the most I got out of it is that there are probably a million Bobbies out there – low level business employees who see people suffering hardships all day, who may come across as hardasses laying down rules but also are never thanked when they bend the rules and put their jobs and livelihood on the line to help those in need.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Not sure the film itself is Oscar worthy though Dafoe’s performance is and he is overdue for some recognition.

 

 

 

 

 

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Disney/Fox Deal

Hey 3.5 readers.

Disney is buying a large chunk of the Fox entertainment empire, their studio parts mostly.  For movie buffs, that means Marvel characters owned by Fox can now work with characters owned by Disney and that’s already led to talk on the Internet about Wolverine becoming an Avenger, which would be cool.

I’m not sure how well they will fit together though.  Disney is wholesome whereas Fox has been naughty.  Disney is Mickey.  Fox is Bart Simpson.  Disney is Frozen.  Fox is Deadpool banging his prostitute girlfriend.  So, will these two parts be able to work together without ruining each other?  The world needs wholesomeness AND edginess so I worry about these commingling.

What say you, 3.5?

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Universal’s Dark Universe Series

Hey 3.5 readers.

Did you all hear about this?  I did not until I caught the Mummy today.  Check out my review if you haven’t already.

Apparently, Universal is trying to bring its treasure trove of monster flicks back into the modern age, kicking it off with “The Mummy” with Dracula, Frankenstein, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bride of Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera, the Wolfman and so on  to come later.

One can only assume they’re trying to compete with Disney’s Marvel universe and Warner Brothers attempt to recreate the Disney/Marvel success with their Justice League films.

Do you think “Dark Universe” will be a hit for Universal?  Will other studios try to cash in on the expanded universe phenomenon?

My one caveat might be that while Marvel and DC appeal to kids, i.e., the viewers that will most likely nag their parents into buying Marvel and DC merchandise, I’m not sure there’s a huge market for a Mummy lunch box.  Then again, maybe Universal can pave the way for cinematic universe films for a more sophisticated audience.  The Mummy was actually a good, solid first installment.  It didn’t knock my socks off but it didn’t disappoint me either.  It left me curious as to what Universal has in store for us next.

Discuss, 3.5 readers.

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Movie Review – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

Arr!  Avast ye scurvy 3.5 readers.  Trim the main sail and batten down the hatches, fer it’s off to Davey Jones’ locker with ye, arr arr, yo ho ho and a bottle of rum and so forth, arr!

BQB here with a review of Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Men Tell No Tales.

3.5 readers, it feels like it was just yesterday when the first Disney Pirate film came out.  The year was 2003 and I was a young man, filled with vim and vigor and a head full of crazy ideas like “life is fair” and “good things happen to good people” and “the world is a great place” and “hard work always earns a just reward and so on.”

We hadn’t yet entered into the whole “reboot” nonsense, yet sequels were still prevalent, and even then Hollywood was often lampooned for a lack of originality.  Even in those days, if one type of film scored big, then you’d soon see a hundred more films just like it.

I didn’t expect much out of that movie.  It was, after all, named after a ride at Disney World, and if video game movies always sucked then a ride based movie would surely suck.

But suck, it did not.  It was an original, creative, fun adventure that propelled Johnny Depp into super stardom with his ingenious take on pirate Jack Sparrow.  Pirates were the rock stars of their day, Depp would opine, and so with a Keith Richards impression, a blockbuster movie franchise was born.

The second and third films were fun, though for me, it was hard to recapture the first film.  It was a time in my life when I felt inspired and I was seeing a film that was inspiring.

The series carried on sans Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley), the lovebirds that were inevitably being saved by or were saving Jack.  2011’s On Stranger Tides was, to me, an OK film, but somewhat forgettable.  Other than Salma Hayek was in it, I couldn’t really tell you what it was about.

This go around, the stakes are raised and Disney apparently felt a need to bring their A game to keep the profitable franchise afloat.  Disney makes mad, crazy cash off these pirates, not just with park rides but also with Disney Cruises featuring “pirate night” where pirates take over the cruise liner and Jack Sparrow saves the day.  Thus, these pirate movies will be milked for all they are worth and then some.

In this, the fifth film of the series, young Henry Turner, son of Elizabeth and Will, seeks to remove a curse from his father’s head.  To do it, he’ll need the legendary trident of Poseidon, Greek God of the Sea, but naturally, he’ll have to team of with Jack Sparrow to lead the way.

Throw in Henry’s love interest Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), a plucky young lady scientist whose intelligence is often seen as a sign of witchcraft by the film’s non-stop avalanche of dullards, villains Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem as a ghostly undead pirate) and fan favorite Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and you’ve got a worthy film that’s a fun ride and will definitely keep audiences interested in as many sequels as Disney deems necessary to dish out.

Still, as I sat there watching it, I yearned for 2003, a time long gone by, a time where the world had yet to say no to just about every last hope and dream I had, and watch that original film – a new kind of adventure the likes of which had yet to be seen on screen, as seen through the eyes of a person who still believed in the general goodness of the world.

Sorry to sound like a bummer.  The good news though is that as I looked around the theater, I saw wonder in the eyes of younger viewers, the same wonder I once had.

I guess the good news is that every time a flame in someone’s heart burns out, another flame is lit in someone else’s heart somewhere else.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Worth a trip to the theater. I do miss Will and Elizabeth though as they were key to the original films’ success.  I don’t want to give it away, but the movie left me with some hope that those two might return in the inevitable sixth installment.  I hope I’m not wrong.

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Top Ten Favorite Disney World Restaurants

mickey-mouse-1776689__480

Ahh, Disney World.  Loved it when I was younger.  Don’t quite get why people continue to flip out about it way into their adulthood now that I’m older.

Except for the food.  OK.  I get the appeal if we’re talking about the food.  Disney World isn’t just about the rides.  It’s about stuffing your face, for Mickey Mouse puts out one damn fine spread.

Sure, you’re already being charged an arm and a leg for your room, for park admission, for souvenirs, for that bottle of water that you don’t want to take out a loan for but you break down and get it anyway because it’s so damn hot…all that could make you go for some of Mickey’s cheaper fast food options.

But hell, if you’re down there and opening your wallet anyway, you might as well treat yourself.  Ready for BQB’s Disney restaurant recommendations?  Cool.

From BQB HQ in Fabulous East Randomtown, here are my Top Ten Favorite Places to Eat in Disney World:

#10 – The Earl of Sandwich – Disney Springs (Formerly Downtown Disney)

Why the heck did they have to change Downtown Disney to Disney Springs?  I know they really built up the place in recent years, but “Downtown Disney” sounded cool and hip whereas “Disney Springs” sounds like I’m going to get a massage or something.

Anyway, this is the area where Disney visitors can do mad shopping and crazy eating.  While this list will be mostly devoted to sit down restaurants, I must add it because I love it and I try to get there at least once during a Disney sojourn.

Usually, other dummies in my party will be shopping, spending hours comparing one Mickey shirt to another or some other such stupid activity, so I will sneak away and get one of the Earl’s fantastic sandwiches.  They must be good, since the Earl invented them, after all.

I’ve had their meatball sandwiches and their Thanksgiving sandwich with turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing.  The former was great but the latter is what I get every time and probably always will from now on.  Have fun looking at the Mickey shirts, dummies, BQB is getting a sandwich.

#9 – Le Cellier Steakhouse – Canada – Epcot

Oh Canada!  My home and native land!  True patriot love…and something with maple syrup on it!

You gotta get yourself a reservation here.  Actually, important tip.  You pretty much need to get yourself a reservation at any restaurant that’s worthwhile in the House of Mouse.

Delicious steaks that taste like they were cut straight from the cow’s butt.  And cheese soup.  Mickey and I have something in common: we both love cheese and we often walk around in our shorts with no shirt on.

#8 – Boma – Animal Kingdom Lodge

The cool thing about Disney World is it has its own transportation system, so even if you aren’t staying at one particular hotel, you can still visit another one if there’s something cool there you’d like to check out.

In this case, I recommend you check out the breakfast buffet at Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Come for the eats, stay for the Guava juice.  Mmm, that’s good guava!

#7 – Beaches and Cream – Disney Beach Club

Disney has a super expensive, ultra swanky hotel called Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club.  One part is the Yacht Club.  One part is the Beach Club.  I stayed there one time as a youngster and felt like I was frigging Thurston Howell or something.  Funny, back then, I said, “When I’m an adult I’ll have so much money I’ll be able to stay at places like this for months on end!”

But yeah, now I just run a blog for 3.5 readers, so that never happened.  Boo!  Up your nose with a rubber hose, failed life plans!

Anyway, you don’t have to stay there to eat here, though yeah, get a reservation.  It’s a cool little 1950’s style Ice Cream Shoppe.  Stop watching your waist line.  Eat ice cream.  You’re on vacation.

#6 – AMC Fork and Screen Theaters – Disney Springs – West Side

Some people may not count a movie theater as a good place to dine but what do they know?  As a movie buff, I think the AMC theater at Disney Springs – West Side is one of the best theaters I have ever visited and no matter how packed it gets, I have yet to have to suffer neck pain by sitting up front.

If you don’t get the dining option, they have those fabulous seats that are like mini-couches you can recline in.  Plus, they have those Coca Cola Freestyle machines where you can push all sorts of buttons in order to flavor your carbonated beverage to your personal desire.  Such a fun way to put yourself on the path to diabetes.

If you do choose the dining option, you get a pretty cool place to sit, and a menu and a call button.  Watch that movie, hit that call button, and your waitress will just bring you all kinds of food, popcorn, soda, snacks, she’ll pretty much put a funnel in your mouth and cram it all down your cake hole until your movie is over if you want.

#5 – Crystal Palace – Main Street USA – Magic Kingdom

Great buffet.  There are several character breakfasts where you can eat Mickey shaped waffles and have Mickey and friends come to say hello to everyone at the table.  This is a pretty good one as you can start your day early at the Magic Kingdom and then get off to the rides. ‘Ohana, located at the Polynesian Resort, is my other favorite place for a character breakfast.

#4 – Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show

Speaking of the Polynesian Resort, this place is basically like stepping into Hawaii.  They have a luau dinner show with hula dancing, all kinds of awesome tricks, many of which involve fire.  I mean, tricks with fire, people, what more do I have to say?  You’ll definitely need a reservation.  You can’t just walk right into this one.

#3 – STK Orlando

This is a fairly new one and I was a little iffy on it at first.  It’s totally hipster.  Like imagine a restaurant invented by a dork with a fedora with a neckbeard and this is the restaurant you’d get.  The lighting is low, the ambience is trendy but the food is pretty tasty.  All kinds of steaks with different options to get your steak, plus other food as well.  I don’t know if it was just our waiter who made the experience great and perhaps you need that exact waiter to make it a good experience, but he was like a food genius who could tell you every little thing about the food.  Kids probably won’t like it though.

#2 – Rainforest Cafe – Animal Kingdom

Sure, they have them all over the country, but if you haven’t been to one yet, you should go to this one.  Good food.  Automatronic animals doing wacky things.

#1 – T-Rex – Disney Springs

Who doesn’t love dinosaurs?  The kids will love this one.  All kinds of automatronic dinos wreak havoc as you shove prehistoric themed food down your pie hole.  Just don’t become the T-Rex’s dinner.

HONORABLE MENTION:

There’s a fantastic ice cream place in France in Epcot I love.  I usually have to go there once.  I blame Epcot for my fatness.  They swore they were going to teach me about science and the world but they just made me fat.

Also, one time, many moons ago, I ate lunch at the ESPN Club on the Boardwalk and got to see the taping of a live sports radio show while doing so.  Not sure if they still do that but I assume so.  I ate something called a “Dinger Sandwich” which was a word I was surprised to see on the menu and I made fun of it for the rest of the trip but apparently it is a golf term.  Worth checking out if you are into sports.

Coral Reef at Epcot – eat, watch the fish, sometimes a diver will even swim by.

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Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2

I am Groot.  I am Groot?  I am Groot!

What’s up, 3.5 Groots?  BQB here with a review of Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2.

The Guardians are back and better than ever in this, the 15th film in the Marvel cinematic universe.  Can you believe it, 3.5 readers?  Fifteen interconnected films in nine years and that’s just the Disney side of things.  Other studios are still putting out Marvel’s other works, like X-Men.

This go-around, the galaxy’s most jerk-tactic heroes are back and better than ever.  When Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) engages in some epic schmuckery, he puts the Guardians on the bad side of a vengeful high priestess, causing the gang to go on an intergalactic adventure to yes, once again, save the galaxy.

Along the way, Peter Quill aka Star Lord (Chris Pratt) meets up with his long lost father, Ego (Kurt Russell).  Drax (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Yondu (Michael Rooker) all return.

Meanwhile, Vin Diesel comes back as the voice of the one, the only. Baby Groot.  Yes, he’s a tiny tree and he steals the show.

I love this franchise.  It’s space opera with a sense of humor.  Outside of Star Wars and Star Trek, this series is one of few, if any, modern attempts to do this genre right.  Action, humor, heart – it’s got it all.

One thing that surprised me.  “Shit” is said – a lot.  The word “douchebag” is thrown around freely and oh yeah, there’s a scene with robot hookers.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love all that shit.  I mean, shit, I’ve been waiting my whole life for some scientist to get up off his lazy ass and invent me a robot hooker.

I’m just surprised that Disney is dipping its toe into these waters.  The film goes right to the edge of PG-13, hovers its toe just over the line only to quickly pull it back.

Somewhere in a musty boardroom in Disney HQ, I can picture a group of nerdy writers figuring out just the right formula necessary to make these films edgy without causing Walt Disney’s frozen head to spin around in its freezing chamber.

God, I do love a good Walt Disney frozen head joke.

It’s a brave new world of filmmaking, I suppose.  Disney realizes there are adults who grew up loving cartoonish movies that push the envelope, so Guardians is their way of appealing to them.

I’m mildly worried that parents might look at the talking raccoon and the cute little tree and think it’s cool to take a little kid to this film.  And while it’s nowhere near as risqué as the Fox/Marvel Deadpool collaboration, I personally would follow that PG-13 guideline.

Let me put it this way:  it’s nowhere close, at all, whatsoever, to being the dirtiest film ever made.  In the great history of cinema, it’s pretty tame.  However, it might be the dirtiest film Disney has ever made, and for a company that spews wholesomeness out of every orifice, that’s saying something.

Teenagers will be fine.  Kids might end up warped.  Don’t worry about the adults who are into this sort of film.  They became warped a long time ago and it is too late for them now.

STATUS:  Shelf-worthy.  Worth a trip to the theater.  The Summer movie season is here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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