Monday, April 29, 2013

My Little Bronies

Recently an alert reader named Sara sent me a message that simply said "Have you ever heard of Bronies? You should look into that. Also, your blog is awesome and you are hilarious and awesome." Or something like that.

Anyway, I accepted her challenge and took on the task of investigating the enigmatic "Bronies." I already knew a little bit about them, because of an episode of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, as well as numerous internet jokes and memes, but I admit that my perception was a bit off.

In my mind, Bronies were a small, but enthusiastic group of. . .shall we say "flamboyant" male fans of My Little Pony. I imagined them getting together regularly, dressing like their favorite member of the My Little Pony franchise and larping or reciting pony poetry or something like that. I imagined them as older, single, socially awkward beings living in their parents basement -- only achieving true happiness when they finally won the bidding war on that vintage Skydancer limited edition figurine with the misprinted cutie mark in mint condition.

In short, I pictured them like this:

So, imagine my surprise when I found out (through the tried and true truth factory of Wikipedia) that there are actually thousands of Bronies in the world. Yes, some of them participate in cosplay and go to conventions, but most of them are normal, well-adjusted human beings who are fans of the My Little Pony reboot series called My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, which is a little different from what I remember the old school My Little Pony TV series to be. This new version of My Little Pony is still for kids, but it features some elements that appeal to adults, as well. Apparently, many of these Bronies are just regular guys who enjoy clever humor and good writing -- no matter what the TV show is.

And, the more I read about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and it's fandom, the more intrigued I became in actually watching the show. Now, before you judge me, you should know that this series features humor aimed at adults. For example, there's a shout-out to The Big Lebowski, a pony that somewhat resembled Dr. Who (nicknamed Doctor Whooves by the Bronies) and a character whom the fans have named Derpy Hooves -- what's not to love about that? And while the creators of the show are aware and happy with the adult fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, they still aim to keep the show geared toward kids.

So I gave it a shot.

I wasn't comfortable watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on my own, so I made sure to include my kids on the first viewing. I gave this show my standard six-episode chance. I'll give any 20-minute sitcom six episodes to impress me. The 45-minute shows usually only get three episodes to get me interested. Anyway, after a little bit of a rocky start, I soon found myself chuckling at a joke in an episode. Then I started to actually enjoy the show. Now don't get me wrong, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is no Phineas and Ferb, but it's fun. I even watched two of the six episodes on my own, without my kids.

Am I a Brony? No. Not yet. Am I a fan of the show? Well, I've already recommended it to some people (one of which hated it) so. . .yes? Will I watch any more episodes? Maybe. I don't think I'll seek them out on my own, but I won't be so quick to walk out of the room if my kids turn it on.

So there it is, faithful readers. I'm a grown man (with kids) who enjoys watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (when my kids are watching it). Look what you've done to me, Sara. You made this happen:

I hope you're happy with yourself.

Monday, April 22, 2013

To Live Action and Beyond!

Live-action remakes of cartoons are rarely good. For every live-action version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (which isn't that bad), there's a live-action The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, The Smurfs, The Last Airbender, The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Garfield and sixteen live-action Alvin and the Chipmunk movies. I don't like those odds. If you're planning on making a live-action film based on a beloved cartoon from your childhood, do us all a favor and take your script, shred it, burn it, bury it, salt the ground it was buried in, pour gasoline on the ground and light it on fire and then extinguish the fire with holy water.

That is, of course, your name is Jonason Pauley or Jesse Perrotta. These two guys have raised the bar when it comes to fan-made YouTube tributes. These guys did a live-action adaptation of Toy Story, and it's pretty darn amazing. This isn't a sweded version of the movie, either. This is a full-blown, full-length, well-done version of an iconic animated film.

Check it out:

Yes, it's the whole movie, so I don't expect you faithful readers to watch it in its entirety now. However, the next time your children (or your spouse that acts like a child) wants to watch Toy Story, throw this one on and see if it does the trick.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to finish up my screenplay for my live-action remake of Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Five Movies I Didn't Finish

Faithful readers, I have a hard time walking away from a movie before it's over. I tend to watch films until the bitter end, even if it makes me miserable. I mean, I have watched both The Day of the Dolphin AND The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer in their entirety! And neither one of those movies should have been created, let alone watched. Nevertheless, there's always a part of me that needs to know how the story ends, no matter how dumb the movie may be. Also, when I'm watching a bad movie (like Lady in the Water), I just keep hoping that it will have some redeeming moment at the end (which Lady in the Water doesn't have), and it's that hope that drives me to the finish (and makes me finish movies like Lady in the Water).

However, out of the 4,815,162,342 films I've seen in my lifetime, there are a handful of movies I didn't finish. These aren't my worst hated movies -- after all, it's not really fair to pass final judgement on half-watched movies -- but here are some of the films that I found to be so bland or intolerable, that I stopped watching them and don't care to ever finish them.

High School High
I remember watching this one with my family at my sister's basement apartment when I was a teenager. We had no idea what we were in for, but soon discovered this movie is nothing more than one tasteless joke after another. I truly believe that the "inspirational teacher" genre needs to be mocked and mocked often, but this movie crossed the line too many times, and it wasn't humorous enough to justify us keeping it on. Jon Lovitz is a funny man, but this movie would not be useful evidence of the aforementioned statement in a court of law. And since I watched this movie back in the 90s, I didn't even have the internet resources to look up the ending and satisfy my curiosity. Maybe I'll do that now. Hold on one sec. . .
 . . .Yup. I'm glad we turned it off. That was stupid. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the worst movies in the world are comedies.

The Aviator
I feel somewhat ashamed of not finishing this one because it's a Best Picture nominee and it stars Kate Beckinsale. I hope that the lovely and talented Ms. Beckinsale can forgive me. However, after watching the first four and a half hours of The Aviator, I was bored and sleepy and decided to turn off the movie and do something more productive. My plan was to go back and finish this movie later, especially because of the potential of another Kate Beckinsale scene, but I never got around to it. There always seemed to be something more interesting to do than watch Leo DiCaprio brood at the camera. Personally, I preferred it when Howard Hughes was portrayed by John Locke in The Rocketeer.

Now, some of you out there may disagree with this one, but I found Dreamgirls to be utterly boring. So boring, in fact, that I didn't even remember watching it until I found it in my Netflix viewing history. To be fair, I'm not the target demographic for this movie -- I'm not black, I'm not a woman and I'm not entertained by two-hour music videos. This movie seemed to be nothing more than a showcase for the vocal chords of Beyoncé and Jennifér. Eddie Murphy boldly stepped out from behind Donkey's shadow and gave a dramatic, live-action performance. But who wants to see Eddie Murphy do serious drama? If I want to see Eddie Murphy not be funny, I'll watch . . .anything he did after 1988. I don't remember what, exactly, drew me away from the TV when watching this movie, but I do remember being relieved that I didn't have to finish it.

Post Grad
My wife chose to rent Post Grad. I agreed to watch it because it starred Michael Keaton, who is fun to watch, and Alexis Bledel, who is nice to look at. I fell asleep during this movie. I made it through about two-thirds of Post Grad before the lack of laughter dragged my eyelids down. This movie tried to be original, but it followed the predictable path of the rom-com to the point where I knew exactly where it was going -- which is why my brain no longer felt compelled to watch it. When I woke up the next morning, I asked my wife how the movie ended. She told me, and then apologized for wasting a Netflix shipment on it. I forgave her, and I also forgave Vicky Jenson, the director of Post Grad. After all, she was a storyboard artist for He-Man, (The Not Real) Ghostbusters AND Jem. My childhood thanks you, Ms. Jenson, but please just stick to drawing.

I will now explain to you the plot of Once: a street performer meets a girl and they sing together. Then they talk for a bit. Then they go somewhere and sing together. Then ***spoiler alert*** they go somewhere else and sing together. That's about as far as we got before my wife told me she was too ill to continue watching it, so we turned it off and went to bed. I sent it back to Netflix the next day without finishing it, but I did look up the ending on Wikipedia. ***spoiler alert*** They wander around and sing some more. Much like Dreamgirls, this movie bored me because it felt like I was watching the movie's soundtrack. This was just a vehicle to get people interested in the music of Glen Hansard, and to help people pronounce the name of Markéta Irglová (Won-HEET-Won-Dur). It's such a boring story that they don't even bother to name the main characters! Hansard plays "Guy" and Irglová plays "Girl." Other character names in this film include, and I'm not making this up, Guy's Dad, Girl's Mother, Bassist, Lead Guitarist, Man Watching TV and, of course, Heroin Addict. I do like the song Falling Slowly, but as far as the movie goes you could say Once. . .was enough.

So there you have it. There are five movies I didn't finish. There's nothing drawing me back to them, either, so unless any of you have some strong feelings toward any of these films and/or have a powerful rebuttal, I'll probably never finish them. . .except maybe for the one with Kate Beckinsale in it.

What about you, faithful readers? What movies have you stopped watching mid-way through and never finished? And do you think you'll ever go back and finish them?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Keep Calm and Manatee On

Recently a woman named Susan Clemens noticed something was a little strange when it came to a Mossimo women's kimono maxi dress Target was selling. In the standard sizes the dress color was listed as "dark grey," but when you selected the plus size, the color changed to "manatee grey." Ouch. Target claimed that it was a miscommunication, but I wrote apparel copy for three years, and I'm willing to bet that there's a copywriter out there still giggling about this "mistake."

However, I'm worried that Target's faux pas may cause some negative feelings toward the manatee. This majestic cow of the sea is an amazing creature and doesn't deserve those antagonistic glances. In fact, manatees are actually very concerned about your well-being and happiness. Don't believe me? Check out this website sent in by, alert reader, Jeff. It's called Calming Manatee and it features a series of pictures with manatees attempting to make your day better. And if the manatee that appears doesn't have a message that speaks peace to your mind, just hit refresh and you'll be treated to another.

Here are some of my favorite calming manatees:

There. Don't you feel better already? The site doesn't have as much variety as the Procatinator (nor does it have any music), but a manatee a day is sure to keep the blues away.

Although, if calming manatees aren't your thing, there are also comforting sharks:

Monday, April 1, 2013

I'll Stop the World and Melt With You

I know what you're doing right now, faithful readers. Wow. That came off creepier than I intended! What I meant to say was, I know what you're going through currently. For you see, today is the day after Easter, which means you have a bunch of candy (or, if you are a parent, your kids have a bunch of candy that is legally yours) that is just waiting to be eaten. But I also know that you, like me, realize that eating that much candy might make you sick and it could temporarily affect your perfectly toned six-pack.

It would be a shame to let all of that candy go to waste. So this week, I'm here to offer you a helpful suggestion that will allow you to "enjoy" the candy while still keeping comments such as "Didn't those pants used to fit you?" off of the table.

And here it is: Why not make an experimental film that deals with the destruction of your Easter treats? It sounds silly, I know, but take a look at this short film by a visionary team called Lernert & Sander, which is simply titled "Chocolate Bunny."




These are just a few of the words I found in a thesaurus to describe the events you just saw unfold.

Seriously, though, that was pretty fun, wasn't it? Doesn't it make you want to forgo eating all of that candy and, instead, melt it with a hair dryer?

No? You're still planning on filling that hollow chocolate Easter bunny with peanut butter?

Darn. I tried.

Oh well.

That does sound pretty good, though. . .

. . . . .excuse me, I need to go unplug my iron.