Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Men in Black

Rolling along on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie, I blog about it, because I'm nostalgic for the joys of writing book reports in elementary school.  Today, I file my report on Men in Black.  I originally watched it and wrote this report on November 26, 2017, because that's the kind of keener I am.




Monday, April 16, 2018

The Thaw

I've mentioned it to friends, and I even tweeted about it.  I was feeling a little off in March.  March was a month that was full of movies that should have been right up my alley -- A Wrinkle in Time, the Tomb Raider reboot, Pacific Rim Uprising -- but my desire to go see them was non-existent.  That did change, though, with Ready Player One.  I'd been reading about the book online for a while, I was hoping to read it before going to see the movie, but I never got around to it.  I wasn't able to see it the weekend it came out, because that was Easter and I was doing family stuff.  Last weekend was no good, because I was on location.  But this weekend...this weekend, I was ready.

Headed off to the city bright and early on Saturday morning.  Before heading off to the movies, though, I had to hit the department stores to get some of that grown-up stuff.  I can never seem to find pants in my size, so when I find some in my size, and on sale to boot, I pick 'em up.  So I have new pants.  Can't go to work without pants!  I learned that one the hard way....

Of course, had to check the toy section, too, as we're getting closer and closer to Wookie Weekend.  For those just joining us, ever since Disney bought Star Wars, Disney has had massive retail events for the when the new Star Wars toys that tie in to the next Star Wars movie go on sale.  For our main saga films (that's Force Awakens and Last Jedi), they called it "Force Friday."  For Rogue One, they called it "Going Rogue."  And, for Solo, they've called it "Wookie Weekend."

Now, Wookie Weekend is this Friday, April 20, but you never know.  Clerks have been known to make mistakes and get the stuff on the shelves early.  Which is what I found at Toys R Us.  They had the LEGO sets out, they had the vehicles out, but they didn't have any of the figures out yet.  So it looks like I'll still be making a quick trip into the city on April 20 after work to see if there's anything left.

Then I made it to West Edmonton Mall in plenty of time for my movie.  Sometimes, I just like to wander around West Edmonton Mall, do a little people watching, and take in the ambience.  Plus, I've also recently discovered this cool YouTube channel called Best Edmonton Mall that's dedicated to telling the history of West Edmonton Mall...closed down attractions, editorials on recent changes, stuff like that.  I had to tweet them my appreciation because, in their video about West Edmonton Mall's bronze whale, they used my pictures of the whale being dismantled, and gave me proper credit.  Those pictures are from this ancient blog entry, in case you're wondering.

Anyway, one of their videos was about some recent changes to Galaxyland, so I decided to take a wander through Galaxyland and just take it in.  As always, when I go through Galaxyland, I take a moment to stop at the former location of the Drop of Doom and sigh wistfully.  About my only regret when it comes to West Edmonton Mall was I was took chicken to try the Drop of Doom back in the day.  According to one of my friends at school, if you wanted to see something really neat, you'd put a penny on your knee at the start of the ride.  When they dropped you from the top, thanks to the differing terminal velocity of the penny, the penny would slowly rise from your knee until it appeared to be floating in mid-air just in front of your face.  And then, when you curved at the bottom to coast to a stop, the penny would smack into the ride car, just past your head.

The last time I actually did Galaxyland -- like,ride the rides and stuff -- had to be in the early 2000s.  It was those hazy days when I'd just finished college and hadn't figured out what to do with my life yet.  It was my nephew's birthday, so I was meeting up with my brother's family and my parents for a birthday celebration.  I noticed one of my old friends from college working there, and since there was no line at the ride she was staffing, I excused myself for a bit and went over to say hello.

I remember chatting with her, and our conversation was interrupted by one of the loud airhorns or bells or something like that that signified the start of the ride.  "How can you stand working here?" I asked her.

"I can't," she replied.  "Gave my two weeks notice this morning."

With that trip down memory lane finished, I left through Galaxyland's main entrance and back out into the mall.  Wound up doing a little more reminiscing.  I remembered when West Edmonton Mall first opened back in the mid-1980s, the mall boasted that it had three McDonald's.  And we're not talking food court kiosks, we're talking full restaurants.  There was one right across the main entrance from Galaxyland, one was on Bourbon Street, and the third was in the Phase III food court...the one closest to the Deep Sea Adventure.  Now, the mall has only one...a food court kiosk in the Phase I food court.  That's the one closest to Galaxyland.

Now that I was done being nostalgic, it was time for the nostalgia-fest that is Ready Player One.

Ready Player One poster


In a dystopian not-too-distant-future, the main escape from the drudgery of real life has become OASIS...a virtual reality MMORPG where imagination is your only limit.  When the creator of OASIS, James Halliday, passes away, he announces in a pre-recorded video message that he hid an Easter egg in OASIS, and you need to find three keys in order to access it.  The first to find the Easter egg will win Halliday's personal fortune and complete control of OASIS.

Our hero is Wade Watts.  In OASIS, he goes by Parzival.  Like many, he's dedicated his life to tracking down the Easter egg.  When he's the first to find the first key, he draws the attention of allies -- like fellow egg hunger Art3mis -- and enemies, particularly the corporation IOI, who wants to dominate OASIS so they can ramp up its monetization.  Before long, all out war is brewing between Parzival and his allies and the IOI corporation in both OASIS and the real world for control of OASIS.

I really enjoyed the film.  You've probably seen the commercials and TV spots, where see OASIS is crammed full of pop culture references and is a mash-up of all kinds of pop culture stuff.  "Forrest Gump for Gen X" is how I saw one blogger describe it.  But I'm pleased to report that, much like Wreck-It Ralph, the nostalgia is merely sprinkles on top, and not necessary to understand the plot.  That being said, the plot is a pretty routine "hero's journey" kind of tale, with heroic heroes and slimy villains.

Oh, and the Iron Giant fought Mechagodzilla.  Which was awesome.

So,  yeah.  I really liked Ready Player One.  I give it three out of four nibs.  Full review on the website.

And before departing from the mall, I made a quick stop through Sunrise Records.  They finally had a Blu-ray in stock that had been on my Amazon wish list forever, and I finally thought, "What the hey?" and picked it up.

A post shared by Mark Cappis (@chaosinabox) on


Ghost World.  The critically acclaimed 2001 movie, based on the indie comic by Daniel Clowes.  It's the movie that pretty much made Scarlett Johansson famous, which is kind of weird, because Thora Birch is the star.

Birch is Enid, recently graduated from high school, what modern society would call a hipster, and is kind of drifting through summer, trying to figure out what next to do with her life.  Johansson is her best friend Rebeca, who's going through a similar malaise.  Enid soon falls in with a super-nerdy record collector played by Steve Buscemi and...that's all I know, really.

I've actually never seen Ghost World.  I just know that, when it came out in 2001, most of my friends at the time were raving about it.  It seemed to perfectly capture that post-college confusion of "What comes next?" that we were all going through.  So when I saw that Criterion released an edition back in the fall, I just looked at it and thought, "I want this."

 Grabbed it off the shelf, went up to the clerk...and I swear, this clerk was Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons.  He sees that Blu-ray cover and he starts going off about some little Brazilian animated film that he describes as being super-weird, and I'm like, "Yeah, thanks, can you finish ringing me up please?"  When I left the store I started wondering about it.  I wonder if he, too, has never seen Ghost World, and based on the Clowes' artwork on the Blu-Ray cover, assumed it was some indie animated film?

Anyway, as I finish writing this up on Sunday morning, sitting down and watching Ghost World is my Sunday afternoon plan.  So if you'll excuse me, it's off to the rest of my weekend! 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Cars 3

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie and blog about it, because why not?  As I do love Pixar, this entry tackles Cars 3.  I originally watched it and jotted this down on November 12, 2017.

Cars 3 Poster



Thursday, April 05, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Coraline

Moving right along with Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I watch a movie I own, and blog about it.  This one is in my notes at October 29, 2017, which is why it mentions Halloween being right around the corner.  And what movie did I watch to get me in a Halloween mood?  Coraline.





Thursday, March 29, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Spider-Man: Homecoming

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  Watchin' movies, bloggin' about them, because I have a bunch of movies and a blog.  Today, we're cracking open Spider-Man:  Homecoming.  This is in my notes at October 22, 2017.




Thursday, March 22, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Wonder Woman

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie and blog about it, because everyone needs a hobby.  Time to roll out one of the big hits of 2017, Wonder Woman.  This is in my notes at October 22, 2017.




Thursday, March 15, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, as I watch a movie and blog about it. Time to dip into one of this past summer's biggest blockbusters, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.  This is in my notes at August 27, 2017.





Thursday, March 08, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Escape from New York

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch one of the DVDs or Blu-Rays I own, and then blog about, so it feels like I actually accomplish something when I sit at home watching movies instead of going out and having a life.  Today, we roll out the 1981 classic Escape from New York.  This is in my notes on August 26, 2017.





Monday, March 05, 2018

Backblog

Well, I've had a backlog of things I wanted to blog about (a backblog?) and now that it's a snowed-in kind of weekend, may as well finally get around to blogging about it.

I went into the city about a week ago.  Didn't do much of note.  And besides, the main purpose of blogging about my days in the city is plug the review of the latest movie I saw.  So, I went into the city a week ago to catch Black Panther.

Black Panther poster

Black Panther is awesome, you guys.  I mean, I'm on board for pretty much anything Marvel does at this point, so I knew I was going to like it.  Taking place shortly after the events of Captain America: Civil War, our hero, T'Challa, is returning home to Wakanda to officially be crowned king.

But, the nation of Wakanda is at a crossroads.  Thanks to the country sitting on a massive deposit of vibranium -- the fictional metal that Captain America's shield is made of -- Wakanda is actually the most technologically advanced country in the world.  But, they have chosen to hide this fact for centuries for fear that their technological wonders would fall into the wrong hands.  The wrong hands being our villains, the international arms dealer Ulysses Klaue and soldier of fortune Erik Killmonger.  And it's up to T'Challa, the Black Panther, to protect Wakanda from these threats and best plot a future for Wakanda.

This is a film with a very beautiful supporting cast.  The true scene stealer is Shuri, T'Challa's kid sister and Wakanda's chief scientist.  She's responsible for a lot of Wakanda's technological marvels, and she's the Q to T'Challa's James Bond.  And their sassy brother/sister banter is just perfect.  Also fun is M'Baku, leader of the Jabari tribe, who never pledged loyalty to the throne of Wakanda.  While he is a grim and serious defender of his people, M'Baku also has just enough of a sense of humour to mess with his rivals.

And lets not forget our villain, Killmonger.  It seems with Killmonger, Marvel is on their way to beating their villain problem, as they finally take the time to develop Killmonger and give us motivations for his villainy.  He's a great villain with a plan that's not so evil, when  you see things from his point of view.

So, yeah.  I don't need to tell you to go see it because it's kicking all kinds of butt at the box office.  I give it 3.5 out of 4 Nibs.  Full review on the website.

Oh, and while also in the city, I broke down and bought the first in the latest from Lego in the Marvel Micro Minis collection.  These little tiny Lego kits feature two go-karts piloted by a Marvel hero.  I wound up collecting all of last  year's, and I got the first for this  year's, which is Thor vs. Loki.



I like the tiny detailing in these sets.  As you can see in the Thor vs. Loki set, the go-karts are modeled after their helmets.  I went to the dentist back on Thursday, and afterwards I picked up Star Lord vs. Nebula, so of course, their go-karts are modeled after their respective ships in Guardians of the Galaxy.  And then, some highlights from last year's series, Wolverine's is modeled on the Blackbird, Thanos's is modeled on the Infinity Gauntlet, Spider-Man's is based on his infamous Spider-Mobile....  They're just cute.  Kinda makes me nostalgic for the legendary Muppet Babies Happy Meal Toys from the 1980s.




So, what am I binging these days?  As my morning guy brought up on the air the other day, I've signed up for Netflix, CraveTV, and Amazon Prime Video.  "How do you keep track of everything you're binging?" he asks.  Well, it's tough.  I'll add something to my list, then when i go back to watch it seven months later, it's gone.  So, yeah.  You can probably blame me for the cancellation of Sense8, because that's been high on my list for a while now, but I haven't gotten to it.

Well, the main reason I finally signed up for Amazon Prime was for two of their originals.  First up was The Tick.  Ben Edlund gives us the third TV iteration of his superhero spoof, and this time out, he gives us a semi-serious take on the material.  Don't get me wrong, the Tick is still the Tick, and it still skewers many superhero tropes, but it's got a pretty serious plot going on and gives Arthur some pretty serious issues to deal with.  I kind of wish they stuck with what they were hinting at in the pilot, which was making the Tick the Tyler Durden to Arthur's nameless narrator, but it's still good.  Part 2 of season 1 just dropped, and I'm about halfway through that second half.

After that, the other original that I wanted to check out, American Gods.  I really enjoyed Neil Gaiman's fantasy epic back in the day, and was really looking forward to the TV adaptation, especially since it was brought to the TV screen by Bryan Fuller, who gave me two of my favourite cult classic TV shows, Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies.  When I read the book in the day, and started imagining the intersection of the world of gods and the mortal world, I only expected a slightly heightened version of the real world.  Like the really good episodes of The X-Files.  But Fuller and his crew, they really pushing things far, and the world of gods really does seem dreamlike.  My only complaint.  I was wondering how they were going to get an entire series out of the book, even though the book is pretty dense to begin with.  But at the end of season 1, I realized that Season 1 was pretty much just the first 6 chapters with a whole bunch of filler.  So they'll be able to stretch it out quite a bit.

Then I flipped over to CraveTV.  They have the first three season of Game of Thrones now, but instead of giving that a shot, I decided to go with The Handmaid's Tale.  I read The Handmaid's Tale at around the same time I read American Gods, and it stuck with me.  It's interesting comparing the two TV series.  Season 1 of The Handmaid's Tale pretty much is an adaptation of the book, but they flesh out several supporting characters and add new subplots and expand the universe in such a way that it never feels like filler.  And I loved its use of music.

Perhaps my most unexpected binge, though, was I discovered that Amazon Prime has New Captain Scarlett.  I'd been curious about this cartoon when it premiered back in 2005, but it never made it out of the UK.  Legendary TV producer Gerry Anderson produced this reboot of one of his classic Supermarionation shows from the 1960s, and it wound up being his final production.

For those who've never heard of Captain Scarlett, or the 1960s original, Captain Scarlett and the Mysterons, this is our story.  Earth is under attack by an alien race known as the Mysterons.  The Mysterons chief weapon is their complete mastery of matter.  Once they destroy something, they can rebuild it and take control of it.  Once they kill someone, they can resurrect that person as an agent completely loyal to the Mysteron cause.

Leading the fight against the Mysterons:  Spectrum, a SHIELD-like organization.  They even have a flying commander centre, Cloudbase (Skybase in the reboot), hovering at 40,000 feet above the Earth's surface.  They have secret caches of weapons all across the globe.  Their top agents have a code name based on a colour.  And they even have their own fighter squadron, the Angels, where all the pilots are women.

Our hero, Captain Scarlett.  Scarlett was one of the first to fall at the hands of the Mysterons.  Somehow, his consciousness survived the Mysteron resurrection process.  He was able to break free of Mysteron control and rejoin the side of good.  But the Mysterons left him with a gift.  As a side effect of the resurrection process, Captain Scarlett is now blessed with "retro-metabolism," a Wolverine-style healing factor.  Rendering him practically indestructible, Scarlett's suicidal tactics have made him Spectrum's top agent, and a dangerous enemy to the Mysterons.

The show itself is really good.  The animation..not so much.  It was early 2000s CGI, when motion capture was the hot new toy.  They used a lot of motion capture on New Captain Scarlett.  As such, while the body movement are very lifelike and realistic...the rest of the animation, not so much.  Picture The Polar Express on a straight-to-video budget and now you're getting it.

But now it's on to the next binge.  The new season of Voltron just hit Netflix, as did their latest big sci-fi series, Altered CarbonJessica Jones: Season 2 drops this Thursday.

And once that`s all done, I might finally get to Sense8.



And we have a new Weird Al song!

For those who don't know, Hamilton is the hottest thing to hit Broadway in years.  It's a biography of the American founding father Alexander Hamilton, told primarily through hip hop music, and with a racially diverse cast.  It has been dominating American pop culture, and made a superstar of its writer and original cast member, Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Miranda produced a project called The Hamilton Mix Tape and it's follow-up, "Hamildrops," in which he gets well-known artists to cover songs from the show.  Miranda has also become good friends with one of his musical influences as a child, "Weird Al" Yankovic, so it wasn't long before Weird Al participated in this project.

And what did Weird Al do?  The Hamilton Polka, which is a polka medley of songs from the show.


Even though Weird Al hasn't cut a full album since 2014's Mandatory Fun, he's been pretty active musically over the past year.  A couple of months ago, he participated in the project Dr. Demento Covered in Punk.  Dr. Demento is the legendary radio announcer whose syndicated show focusing on comedy and novelty songs discovered Weird Al.  For Dr. Demento Covered in Punk, Dr. Demento got some of his favourite punk bands to cover novelty songs, and his favourite comedy bands to cover punk songs.  Weird Al contributed a cover of the Ramone's Beat on the Brat.  It's a pretty straight cover until Weird Al comes in with that accordion. 

And then, Weird Al also did the theme song for this past summer's Captain Underpants movie.  I've never ready the original children's books, but apparently, Weird Al is frequently mentioned as an idol of our main characters. 

So, yeah.  I should swing by iTunes and drop the 99 cents for all these songs. 

And that's about all I wanted to rant about, so I'm now all caught up on my backblog. 

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Spawn

Here we go again, rolling out Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch  movie I own, blog about it, and get on with my day.  We're going back to the 1990s with Spawn.  I watched it and wrote this on August 6, 2017.




Thursday, February 22, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Mystery Men

It's Thursday, so that means it's time to go Fishing in the Discount Bin!  I watch a movie, I blog about it, you know the deal.  Today, we do the 1999 superhero epic Mystery Men.  Actually, I did it back on August 6, 2017, and I'm just copying-and-pasting it into the blog now.




Thursday, February 15, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Cars 2

Rolling along on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  Watching movies and blogging about them.  It's what I do.  This week, finishing what I started last week with Cars 2.  This is in my notes at July 29, 2017.




Saturday, February 10, 2018

Superbowl Trailers -- Jurassic World and Mission: Impossible

My week off is winding down, so let's do something else I've been putting off...blogging about some of the new trailers released during the Super Bowl, almost a week ago.

I've been lamenting recently that I don't blog about trailers as much as I used to.  It's so much easier to throw up on a link on my social media pages rather than sit down and try to come up with an insightful critique.  One complaint I did get about those blog posts in the past was I spent too much time talking about the film itself rather than offering my opinions.  So I figure I won't waste the energy blogging about a trailer unless I have a really strong opinion about it.

Case in point:  Jurassic World:  Fallen Kingdom.  I wanted to blog about the first trailer when it came out in December, but never got around to it.  Why?  Because it looked so much like all the Jurassic Park we've seen before.  "Oh noes!  We're trapped on an island with dinosaurs!  How will we escape?"  Looks like the big twist this time is now they're trying to escape a volcano, too.    Yay.    When are they finally going to pull the trigger and give us the "dinosaurs loose on the mainland" film they've been threatening ever since Spielberg tacked on the "T-Rex loose in San Diego" third act to The Lost World?

Which is why I'm still one of the few defenders of Jurassic World.  Say what you will, but finally having a fully operational theme park full of people when the poop hits the fan...that was one of the most simple and obvious twists to the premise you could do.  It finally gave us something new.

And which is why the Super Bowl spot for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom finally piqued my interest.



That opening scene?  Of some freaky mutant dino in a kid's bedroom?  That's got my attention.  The unveiling scene at the end, with "Welcome to the future?"  I want to know what's being unveiled.  Probably the freaky mutant dino.  My interest has gone from "meh" to "mild."

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom hits theatres June 22.



Back in college, I had this one teacher who sat me down one day I told me that I was a strong 7.  See, my college, Augustana, graded you on a 9 point scale.  0 is a total failure, 9 is top of the class.  After seeing this teacher for help, he got off on a tangent and started sharing his observations of me.  He said, "I see you putting in the work, Mark.  You work harder than pretty much anyone in class.  You put in so much effort, but your net results are only worthy of a 7.  I mean, I want to give you an 8 or 9, because of all the work you do, but these results are only worth a 7.  But it's a strong 7."

That's my impression of the Mission: Impossible franchise.  It's a strong 7.  I see Tom Cruise, putting in the work, going through his Jackie Chan-esque "watch me do all these dangerous stunts by myself" midlife crisis.  I've always loved the superspy genre, so I really, really, really want to love the Mission: Impossible franchise.  But, like my teacher looked at me that day, I look at Tom Cruise with a mild disappointment that his best efforts didn't earn more than a 7. 

It's also funny in that we're starting to get this backlash against Tom Cruise doing these kinds of films.  When the last one, Rogue Nation, came out, someone pointed out that Cruise is now as old as Jon Voight was when Voight played Cruise's boss in the first Mission: Impossible.  And back then, Voight's character was portrayed as on the cusp of retirement.  Last year, in The Mummy, there was much eye-rolling when Russel Crowe's Dr. Jekyl described Tom Cruise as a "young man," when Cruise is actually two years older than Crowe.  So, yeah.  There's this push that Cruise should, quite literally, start acting his age.

Anyway, we got our first trailer for the next in the franchise, Mission: Impossible -- Fallout.



So, yeah.  It's looking to be more of the same.  I do like the line about how maybe Cruise's character of Ethan Hunt may be getting annoyed at his situations.  The formula in all these films is that a mission goes sideways, Hunt is framed, and he has to go rogue to clear his name and/or uncover the conspiracy.  After five films, I'm sure he'd start going, "You still don't believe me when I say I was framed?" 

I saw Rogue Nation in the theatre because I had a free weekend and just felt going out and doing something.  I'll probably be in the same boat with Fallout when it comes out July 27. 

Friday, February 09, 2018

Half Off

Well, it's that time of year again.  Every year, around January or so, I get an e-mail from the HR department informing me that I still have about a week's worth of unused vacation time from the previous year, and they'd really like me to get it off the books.  So, I usually wind up taking a week off in February to use up said vacation time.  I'm nearing the end of that week right now, and it's been a pretty quiet week of just pretty much screwing around around the house.  Although, I decided to spend at least one day heading into Edmonton to screw around in a different location.

It was strange heading into Edmonton this late after Christmas.  Usually, I'm heading into the city the first or second weekend in January with a bunch of Christmas gift cards burning a hole in my pocket.  But this year, I only got one gift card for Christmas.  It's going to make 2018 somewhat expensive.  In the final weeks of 2017, I was boasting on Twitter how I made it through the year without paying for a single movie, thanks to all the Cineplex gift cards I got for Christmas in 2016.  Looking at some of the movies coming up in 2018, it's going to get expensive pretty quick.

I was contemplating going to see a movie, but there's not much out right now that caught my eye.  With the Oscars right around the corner, and The Shape of Water getting a lot of Oscar love, I was thinking about maybe seeing The Shape of Water.  But again. with a lack of gift cards and my eyes on a budget right now, I figured that maybe I should save my money for Black Panther when it comes out next week.

On a whim, I decided to stop in at Toys R Us.  With action figure collecting still being one of my top hobbies, I find I don't stop in at Toys R Us that much anymore.  Maybe it has to do with living out in the countryside, but I figure that whenever I get into Toys R Us and have a chance to go through the racks, pretty much everything is picked-over, and I have trouble finding what I want.  Especially with Star WarsLast Jedi merch is already pretty much sold out, so the shelves are full of old Rogue One stuff at 75% off.

I did find myself lingering in the Lego aisle for an extended amount of time, and I may have gazed longingly at some of the Lego Trains stuff.  Lego Trains has always occupied this funny little overlap between model railway enthusiasts and Lego fans, and has amassed a sizable cult following.

About 10 years ago or so, my brother bought his motorcycle and my dad bought his ATV, so the joke in the family was, "Gee, what's Mark going to buy when he has his mid-life crisis?"  (Although, according to some of the folks I went to NAIT with, going back to school to pursue a career in broadcasting at the ripe-old age of 25 was what I did for my midlife crisis, but I digress.)  Truth is, it'll probably be a model railway.  I like trains, but I've never had a train set.  And Lego Trains just have a certain quirky appeal.  But with the starter sets at Toys R Us going for $225, it'll be a costly hobby to get into.

I kept browsing through the Lego aisle in awe.  As I've lamented many times before, when I was a kid, there were just Lego themes:  Town, Castle, and Space.  Now, there's just so many licensed products, it blows my mind.  And that's just the Lego aisle.  Imagine how my mind would be blown at the Lego Store.  I only went to Edmonton's Lego Store just once.  About five years ago, I was again taking a week off to burn off some vacation time, so I made the trek to the southside and Southgate Mall to check out the just-opened Lego Store.  There was a lot of Lego.

Taking a close look at the superhero themes, I started examining the Marvel Heroes Mighty Micros.  These are adorable little Lego sets.  You get a Marvel hero and villain in each pack, and they have a little go-kart theme to that character to you can have little go-kart races with them.  At a very affordable $10 each, I wound up collecting all of them last year.  In 2017, they gifted us with Spider-Man vs. the Scorpion, Iron Man vs. Thanos, and Wolverine vs. Magneto.  Well, I discovered they have some new ones out for 2018:  Thor vs. Loki, Star-Lord vs. Nebula, and Scarlet Spider vs. Sandman.  Wasn't sure if I wanted to start collecting the new ones, or just move along, so I moved along.  Maybe next week, when I'm back for Black Panther.

I arrived at my usual destination of West Edmonton Mall, and began exploring.  I always forget how wonderfully quiet the mall is on a weekday afternoon.  Sometimes, it's nice to go without an agenda or a plan.  Just wander around, see what you can see, and just start to slowly feel bad because it begins to be a constant reminder of how broke you currently are.

I did have to make one stop, though.  At work, I'd been lamenting how we've got no 2018 calendars up yet, making it tough to keep track of things and plan ahead.  Luckily, the calendar pop-up stores that the mall always gets for Christmas hadn't shut down yet.  And now, their entire stock is half-off.  So I got Great Canadian Trains for the office, and Classic Travel Posters for home.

Also took a moment to look at the sign heralding the arrival of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  The original news report said it'd be opening March 1, but now they're saying it'll probably be opening in the late spring or early summer.  I am getting surprisingly excited for the arrival of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. opened up in the mid-1990s.  The entire restaurant is themed around the movie Forrest Gump, and is named for Gump's shrimp boat business in the film.  As I'm sure you've figured out, the menu is about 90% shrimp dishes. West Edmonton Mall is going to be their first ever Canadian location, and they're hoping to make it their Canadian flagship location.

I'm getting excited for several reasons.  First, I love shrimp.  Second, I love kitsch like this.  Lastly, pure nostalgia, as it's reminding me of the boom of the chain restaurants like this.  The boom lasted for most of the 1990s, and during that time, in West Edmonton Mall, you could find a Hard Rock Cafe and a Planet Hollywood and a Johnny Rockets and a Fuddrucker's....  And like all those chains, I'll eat at them once and then figure that's enough. 

On my way out of town, I decided to make one last stop at Canadian Tire.  As I blogged when I first learned about it back in November, "Canadian Tire exclusive" is not a phrase that pops up in Star Wars action figure collecting circles.  But, that phrase did pop up back in November when The Last Jedi figures started showing up.  I figured that, since Canadian Tire only really has a toy section when Christmas rolls around, now would be the prefect time to get it, as it would be heavily discounted.  And I was right!  50% off.  So I snatched it up.  Sadly, I forgot my Canadian Tire money at home or else it would have been cheaper.


A post shared by Mark Cappis (@chaosinabox) on

The Canadian Tire exclusive 3-pack comes to us from Return of the Jedi, featuring Luke Skywalker in his black Jedi outfit, Emperor Palpatine, and the Emperor's Royal Guard.  It's almost a throwback to the Cinema Scenes 3-Packs of yore.  When this modern era of Star Wars figures began in the late 1990s, they did a thing called Cinema Scenes.  It was a three pack of figures, all done up to look just as they did in a specific scene from the original trilogy.

With some shiny new Star Wars toys, it was time to head for home.  I do like days like this, but they always make me feel sad.  I would certainly love to be able to take better vacations than just hanging around the house and making daytrips like this, but financially, it's just not in the cards.  But until that day, we do the best we can. 

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Cars

Here we go again with Fishing in the Discount Bin...watching the movies, and blogging about them.  This week, I find myself re-watching Disney/Pixar's Cars.  That is, I originally watched it and wrote this on July 23, 2017.





Monday, February 05, 2018

Solo: A Star Wars Story Trailer

Well, it's finally here!  Our first look at the second of the Star Wars Stories, Solo, telling us the secret origin of Han Solo.

Solo: A Star Wars Story Teaser Poster

It was first announced back in the summer of 2015.  Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, was writing the script along with his son Joe.  And to direct it, they hired Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, directors of such hit comedies as 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie.  They started filming almost a year ago under the code name Red CupGet it?

But then the poop hit the fan in June of 2017.  With filming about 75% done, Lord and Miller were fired, under the age old reason of "creative differences."  We've heard some of the stories as to what those creative differences were.  It sounds like the main one had to do with tone.  Given their comedic backgrounds, Lord and Miller were hired to bring a comedic touch to the film.  But, Lord and Miller were allegedly directing it as an outright comedy.  As they did in their comedies, Lord and Miller were encouraging a lot of improv from their actors, which led to a very grumpy Kasdan.  Kasdan was soon hovering over them on the set, leading to a very grumpy Lord and Miller.  So many grumpy people, someone had to go eventually.  Fare thee well, Lord and Miller.

Given that situation, it was heavily rumoured that Kasdan would take over as director, but the various Hollywood unions actually have laws in place to prevent that.  To finish off production, and to supervise reshoots, Star Wars boss Kathleen Kennedy brought it Hollywood legend Ron Howard.  Howard had actually been circling Star Wars for a while, believe it or not.  Howard is good friends with George Lucas, having started in Lucas's American Graffiti back in the day, and directed the Lucas written and produced Willow.  A few years back, Howard even revealed that Lucas asked him to direct The Phantom Menace, but Howard declined, instead choosing to encourage Lucas to get back on that directing horse.

Howard took charge and the re-shoots grew longer...and longer...and longer.  The longer reshoots went, the more people started worrying about how bad the film would be.

The fear kicked into overdrive back in November.  With this being a May release, November is usually when they hype train starts.  Gotta get the trailer in theatres to run in front of all those Christmas blockbusters.  November came and went.  No trailer.  December came along.  People were like, "Hey!  In front of Last Jedi would be very appropriate!"  But still, no trailer.  January was coming to a close.  Sheer panic was setting in among the fans.  How bad is the film that it's five months from release and they won't let us see any footage from it yet?

Some mild relief finally came back on Thursday with the revelation that there would be a Super Bowl spot, followed by a full trailer the next day.  Kicking off the hype for a May blockbuster at the start of February.  Not unheard of, but no longer common.

When that Super Bowl spot aired, I got pretty jazzed.  I mean, it's new Star Wars.  I'll always get excited for new Star Wars.  I was there opening day for the shitty Clone Wars animated movie, so I'll be there for Solo, no matter its productions woes.



Speaking of The Clone Wars, I'm digging that rock/electronic/Clone Wars-style music rockin' in that trailer.  John Powell (The Jason Bourne movies and a bunch of DreamWorks animated films) is doing the score, with Star Wars composer emeritus John Williams providing the main theme.

Anyways, a day later, we get the full trailer.  I'm sharing them both, because there's surprisingly very little recycling of footage.



I'm liking what I'm seeing so far.  I mean, it's Star Wars.  We've got spaceships going fast, I love that shot of a the Star Destroyer emerging from the clouds.  I'm liking what I'm seeing so far, but we're going to have to wait for when it comes out on May 25 to see if the whole thing comes together. 

Alden Ehrenreich is our young Han Solo, Donald Glover of Community fame is young Lando Calrissian, Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones is someone named Qi'ra, Woody Harrelson is Solo's mentor, and Joonas Suotamo begins taking over for Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca. 

Solo: A Star Wars Story comes out May 25. 

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Kong: Skull Island

Here we go again, on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  I watch a movie, and blog about it, because I've bought a lot of movies, and this makes me feel like it was worth it.  Rolling out Kong: Skull Island this week.  This is originally in my notes at July 22, 2017.




Monday, January 29, 2018

Scarecrow's Oscar Picks: 2018 Edition

Well, it's that time of year again.  This year's Oscar nominations were announced about a week ago, so it's time to dust off a tradition I've been doing in all 20 years of my online presence.  Yes, it's time for....

Scarecrow's Oscar Picks!  (The logo I designed in Photoshp back in 1997)

Now, as I've been explaining for 20 years, I like to do my Oscar picks a little bit differently.  Everywhere you go, you're going to see the picks for the big categories like Best Director and Best Actor, so I'm going to focus my picks on the categories that only I care about:  Best Original Song, and Best Visual Effects.  Plus, those are the two that I have a pretty good track record in selecting the winners.  I also love animated films, so when the Best Animated Film Oscar came along in 2002, I started doing that one as well.  Let's get to it!

Best Visual Effects

The nominees are:
My thoughts:

OK, right away, we can strike out Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy.  Spaceships whizzing through space, laser guns, blue screen sets, CGI creatures...been there, done that.  Same with Kong.  Yeah, we've seen the giant monkey before.  Now, War for the Planet of the Apes won a lot of praise for Andy Serkis's performance...some even saying he should have picked up a best actor nomination.  So, as that never happened, giving Planet of the Apes the Best Visual Effects Oscar might be the next best thing.  On the other hand, Blade Runner 2049 had a lot of fans, and was praised for the lengths its effects went to to create the futuristic world of 2049, much like how the original film was praised for it's visual flair.

My pick:

Between nostalgia and lots of critical love, I'm putting my money on Blade Runner 2049.

Best Original Song

The nominees are:
My thoughts:

There's a reason why my winning streak started 20 years ago.  It was the height of the Disney Renaissance, and picking the song from the Disney animated film was a sure thing.  So purely for nostalgia's sake, I want to go with Remember Me.  That being said, The Greatest Showman is an old-school musical, ans as we saw with La La Land last year, there's a bit of a resurgence of old-school musicals these days.  So I think this category is going to come down to Remember Me and This Is Me.

My pick:

This Is Me

Best Animated Film

The Nominees Are:
My thoughts:

Well, Pixar is the studio with the most wins in this category, so my gut has to go with Coco.  That being said, The Breadwinner's director Nora Twomey has been circling this category for a while, having directed the 2009 nominee The Secret of Kells and having worked on the 2014 nominee Song of the Sea.  However, they have made some changes to the category this year.  In all the Oscar categories, only people who work in that category could vote for the winner.  For example, only directors would vote for Best Director, actors for Best Actor, and animators for Best Animated Film.  Starting this year, Best Animated Film works like Best Picture...everyone gets to vote for it.  The logic is the same reason why Best Picture was opened up to 9 nominees a few years ago:  it'll open up the category to more mainstream films, and less art house films that no one has heard of.  And no offense to Ms Twomey, but how many of you had heard of The Breadwinner before this?

My pick:

Coco

And, as always, as a concession to the mainstream, the biggest of the mainstream categories....

Best Picture

The Nominees Are:
My thoughts:

We're coming up on 10 years now of more than five nominees, and I still don't agree with it.  "It'll open up the category to more mainstream films, and less art house films that no one has heard of!" said the Academy.  But what's happened?  it seems like more art house films that no one has heard of are getting nominated.  That being said, Get Out is exactly the kind of mainstream hit that the critics loved that they wanted to see get nominated.  At the other end of the spectrum, Three Billboards is already being likened by many to this year's Crash, as a movie that's getting wildly overblown.  But still, the giddy thrill for me is seeing The Shape of Water get nominated.  The most nominees this year, with 13.  Who would have thought that a love story between a mute woman and a sea monster from the director of Hellboy would get so much love!  But then, Guillermo del Toro did also do Pan's Labyrinth, which got a lot of Oscar love 10 years ago. 

My pick:

I really want The Shape of Water to win.  And I really want to see it now, too.

One last rant.  Guillermo del Toto was in talks with Universal Studios to come on board with their Dark Universe...their cinematic universe based on their classic monsters, that looks like it began and ended with Tom Cruise's The Mummy.  Del Toro's pet project was a remake of The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and del Toro allegedly put a lot of his Black Lagoon ideas into The Shape of Water.  So just think.  In a parallel universe, The Shape of Water wound up being the Creature from the Black Lagoon reboot that kicked off Dark Universe!

The 90th Academy Awards are on March 4.   

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Power Rangers

He we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, watching movies and blogging about them, because a friend once told me it would be a neat thing for me to do.  Good thing he never told me to go jump off a bridge.  Anyway, today, we touch upon the 2017 gritty reboot of Power Rangers.  This is in my notes at July 3, 2017.





Thursday, January 18, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - The Lego Batman Movie

Time to roll again on Fishing in the Discount Bin.  Watching movies, blogging about them, all because one day my best friend said to me, "Hey, do you know what you should do?"  Today, I'm watching The Lego Batman Movie.  This is originally in my notes at July 2, 2018.




Thursday, January 11, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Logan

Time to roll out Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I blog about one of the movies I own, because really, I've got nothing better to do.  We start moving on to films that came out a year ago with Logan.  This is in my notes at May 28. 2017.





Thursday, January 04, 2018

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Basic Instinct

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, my weekly blog about a movie I own, because I own 'em, so I may as well watch 'em.  Today, we'll take a look at Basic Instinct.  This is in my notes at May 21, 2017




Monday, January 01, 2018

Random Thoughts from Christmas Vacation

When I was a kid, I collected Christmas specials.  Every holiday season, whenever a new animated special would come along, I would record it.  In the end, I had three VHS tapes full of holiday specials.  I meticulously catalogued them, so I wouldn't accidentally get a duplicate.  And, of course, when I started building my first website 20 years ago, I posted my catalogue online.

Which meant that, every year around this time, I would get a half-a-dozen e-mails or so requesting a copy of A Mouse, a Mystery, and Me.  This particular special was a mainstay on Edmonton television, no doubt because it was actually filmed in Edmonton.  I'm starting to suspect that ITV (now Global Edmonton) was actually a co-producer, as I've noticed the Allard name quite prominent in the end credits.  (Charles Allard was the founder of ITV, and a pretty big deal in Canadian broadcasting in the 70s and 80s.)

The special is about the kidnapping of a department store Santa, and a kid enlisting the help of the mystery novelist in the neighbourhood to investigate.  Turns out our mystery novelist has a writing partner, a talking animated mouse named Alex, and together they get to the bottom of who kidnapped Santa.

Anyway, I could never present a copy on VHS to anyone because, by the time all this started going down, Mom had taped over my collection with Coronation Street.  Luckily, we now have this thing called YouTube, and I see someone else has posted A Mouse, a Mystery, and Me.

So...enjoy!





As I've been talking about on social media, I fell in love with this documentary series on Netflix called The Toys That Made Us, which is all about the classic toys lines of the 1980s. Brought back a lot of strange memories.

I loved the episode about G.I. Joe.  When I first started taking up action figure collection as aG.I. Joe toy line was starting to wind down.  I would take a look at the G.I. Joes for old times sake, before heading over to the Star Trek aisle.
G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary Actioin Soldier.  Pic from YoJoe.com
G.I. Joe 30th Anniversary Action Soldier
Pic from YoJoe.com
hobby in my teen years, it was when the classic 3.75"

In 1994, for the 30th anniversary of the G.I. Joe franchise, Hasbro made these beautiful figures.  They were exact re-creations of the original 12" Joes from the 1960s, only shrunk down to the 3.75" scale that was popular at the time.  So you could have the original Action Soldier and Action Marine having adventures alongside the new guard like Duke and Snake Eyes.  They were in lovely collectors boxes, and came with accessories up the wazoo.  The Action Soldier had a little bunker, the Action Pilot had the real working parachute pack...all kinds of good stuff. 

I remember always taking a look at them at Toys R Us, always seriously considered buying one or two for my fledgling collection, but ultimately not picking one up.  I kind of regret that, now, because, even back then, I thought they were really, really cool.

I see collectors are selling them for around $50 on eBay now, so if I ever have a little more disposable income....




I see that the animated special Happy New Year, Charlie Brown is starting to enjoy a resurgence in recent years.  I remember it being part of my Christmas special collection all those years ago.  Because the universe hates Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown has the Christmas vacation homework assignment to do a book report on War and Peace.  But he has difficulty reading the novel as he's constantly getting distracted by the preparations for Peppermint Patty's epic new years party.

Like this cute little musical number, where they all take dancing lessons so they can dance on New Years Eve.



Just because this is the kind of information I've filled my head with...the singer of that song is Desiree Goyette.  She wrote and performed a lot of the songs in Garfield and Charlie Brown animated specials throughout the 1980s.  Did some voice acting, too, as perhaps her most famous role would be Nermal, the self-described "world's cutest kitty cat," on Garfield and Friends.  Doing a quick google of her, I see she's still quite active as a singer/songwriter.  Does mostly gospel now. 

You can tell when I watch Happy New Year, Charlie Brown, because I'll always take to twitter to share Charlie Brown's new years resolution:  "You know how I typically dread the entire year?  Well this time, I'm only going to dread one day at a time." 

Actually I do like that entire scene.  It opens with Peppermint Patty asking Charlie Brown if he has any good rules for life in the new year.  Says Charlie Brown:
  • Keep the ball low
  • Don't leave your crayons in the sun
  • Use dental floss every day
  • Don't spill the shoe polish
  • Always knock before entering
  • Don't let the ants get in the sugar
  • Never volunteer to be a program chair
  • Always get your first serving
  • Feed your dog whenever he's hungry
So please.  Take those words with you into 2018!