Thursday, October 19, 2006

Highly Anxious to Get Over the Hedge

So I’m sick as a dog. Wooooo! I picked up whatever Vicki had minus the vomit, so that part is good. The bad part is I’m at work. I’m hitting the Dayquil pretty heavily. So far so good.

I grabbed Over the Hedge for the girls this week. That was one that Stacy took them to, so I hadn’t seen it yet. I snuggled down with the girls and watched it Tuesday night. It was pretty good. Excellent animation, as I am accustomed to when it comes to DreamWorks. The great thing about the company that Shrek built is that they can afford top-notch voice actors. The cast was filled by A-listers to C-listers. As far as A-listers go, Bruce Willis got back to his Moonlighting roots as the wise-cracking con raccoon, RJ. Filling out the B-list was Garry Shandling, Steve Carell, Wanda Sykes and Nick Nolte. Shandling did a passable job as the straight man/turtle, Verne. Sykes was Sykes as the skunk with an attitude, Stella (has she ever done anything that is not just Sykes being Sykes?) I’m not a fan of Nolte, but his villainous bear, Vincent, was only on the screen for a few minutes. The C-list included William Shatner, Thomas Haden Church, Eugene Levy, and Catherine O’Hara. Shatner did what he does best and lampooned himself as an opossum named Ozzie. His death scenes (and there were many) were subtle and nuanced as only a Shakespearean actor could deliver. Church played one of my favorite characters on the 90’s sitcom Wings, Lowell, the maintenance man. Here, he played a self-important graduate of VermTech, Dwayne, called in to rid the neighborhood of the harmless woodland creatures. Where I was exaggerating with Shatner, I am serious when I say that Church gave a subtle and nuanced performance. He apparently ad-libbed some of his funniest lines and peppered his dialog with humor. Levy and O’Hara played husband and wife porcupines, Lou and Penny. Their work is reminiscent of the old SCTV days (Canadian SNL for the uninitiated) and passably entertaining. The reason I left Carell for last should be obvious for anyone that has seen the movie. He is a show stealer. His hyperactive squirrel, Hammy, dominated every scene he was in for very good reason. Carell could possibly be my current favorite comedic actor. I look forward to his work on The Office every week, as should you!

I also finally watched the movie Jon got me for my birthday, High Anxiety, this week. Thanks, Jon! High Anxiety is standard Mel Brooks fare. I have not been a fan of him in starring roles of his own work in the past, but he pulled this one off. Brooks played a renowned psychiatrist with his own deep-seated psychosis taking over an asylum whose previous head had left in suspicious circumstances. It was made as an homage/parody of Alfred Hitchcock movies. I haven’t actually seen many of Hitchcock’s thrillers, but I recognized a lot of the references. The movie featured many of Brook’s recurring actors such as Hedy LaMar, I mean Hedley LaMar, I mean Harvey Korman, Frau Blucher, I mean Cloris Leachman, Madeline Kahn, and Dick Van Patten to name a few. Korman and Leachman stole the show as the psychiatrist gunning for Brooks’ job and the dominatrix nurse behind his treachery respectively. It was good for a few laughs, which I needed as I lay in bed coughing my lungs out.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I’m Baaaa-aaack

Before I get to your irregularly scheduled blog entry, I’d like to take a moment to express my condolences to Jon and his family. Jon’s father suffered from a stroke this week and passed away. On the off chance that any of my readers did not get here from his blog, please check it out here and lend him your support.

I know all of you missed me ever so much. Disney World was a blast. I’ll have to share some pics when I get a chance. We drove back last Monday and I have been catching up with schoolwork ever since. Note to self: don’t go on vacation while in the middle of a class.

We had enough time out there that we were able to go to each of the four parks twice except for Animal Kingdom. That one we only hit once. The girls had a great time for the most part. Zoe wanted nothing to do with the characters, as we expected. We got a surprise from her the first night we were there, though. We ate at a very nice restaurant in Epcot’s Norway where the Disney princesses greeted diners at each table. The first one to visit us was Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Zoe got right down from her chair and sidled up to Belle to give her a great big hug. Stacy and I were amazed. She hugged each princess that visited and stood with them patiently to have her picture taken. We had also purchased Disney autograph books, which Zoe was insistent that each princess sign. When asked about her favorite, Zoe will invariably say Jasmine. I think Jasmine was my favorite there too. I’ll post pictures of the princesses later and I’ll let you be the judge.

Zoe gave us another surprise later, this one not so nice. The poor kid got some kind of virus and was sick in the hotel room, two restaurants, and a couple of other places. She took to walking around with a paper cup just in case. I think the cup became a security item of sorts after a while, because she would not go anywhere without it. Thankfully, she did not carry that habit home. She’s all better now, but nearly a week after we got home, Vicki is doing the same thing. Zoe recovered in three days or so, we’re hoping for the same with Vicki.

Speaking of Vicki, she had a fabulous time. She couldn’t wait to see all of the characters, talk to anyone that would listen about what she had done already, ride as many rides as possible, and go to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. We paid extra to get into the Halloween party, but it was worth it. The characters even dressed up! For instance, Minnie had on Mickey’s sorcerer outfit from Fantasia while Mickey was dressed in a farmer’s outfit. We waited in line for the princesses but gave up on them after an hour went by. All in all, our trip was a success.

Now for things that have happened since I’ve been back. Well, Scarlett has started to furniture crawl. She stands up and hangs onto the furniture as she takes baby steps sideways. She’s also balanced by herself with no support a couple of times. That’s not too shabby for a kid that just learned to crawl last month. Stacy and I are in fierce competition with the other houses that decorate for Halloween this year. We put up a new inflatable in the front yard to accompany our 8’ foot spider. This one is a globe with a grinning madman in the middle surrounded by a whirlwind of flying bats. It’s pretty dang cool. That, along with some more decorations we plan on adding should clinch us for the best-decorated house this year.

I’m on to page two of this post, so I’ll bring it to a close with a review the Venture Bros. Jon has done an admirable job of posting reviews of the two I missed, so I’ll jump right into the last one, Showdown at Cremation Creek Part II. Sadly, this is the season finale, though with the comments about great ratings in the bumps, I am hopeful for another season. Phantom Limb’s wedding crashing turned out to be part of a coup to take over the Guild of Calamitous Intent. However, with Brock leading a brigade of Monarch’s Minions (I like the way it sounds better than henchmen) and the wily stylings of the current Guild Sovereign, David Bowie (who else?) was foiled. Brock shines of course, but not in the usual manner. This time, he kicks ass as he musters the minions for a suicide charge at the Phantom Limb’s far superior forces. Armed with silly string and poison darts, it is truly a miracle that they win, a hilarious miracle. By the way, is Dr. Girlfriend or isn't she? I guess we won't know if/until next season. Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer cram so much visual and aural goodness into each episode, masterfully weaved jokes that deliver the punch line and tie together the plot pieces in genius strokes, tiny gags that you’ll miss if you blink, bits that poke fun at the most obscure pop references (thanks for watching out for us nerds, Jackson and Doc!) that no review I write, filled with spoilers as they are, can do them justice. Go check out the Ventury goodness at Adult Swim’s The Fix now. Right now. Go!

Oh, and before I forget, Murderflies would make a great name for a rock band.