Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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We saw Toy Story 4. We didn't race right out to see it because Toy Story 3 was billed as the final chapter, but there legitimately was one more story to tell with these characters, and they told it well.

Toy Story 4 quickly recaps how all the toys have passed from Andy's loving care to a new kid, Bonnie, and This movie focuses directly on Woody, and his feelings of uselessness. He is the oldest toy in the bunch, but he is no longer the leader and isn't Bonnie's favorite. 

Woody takes it upon himself to sneak into Bonnie's backpack on her orientation day for kindergarten, against everyone's protests, because he believe Bonnie needs a toy with her. While at day care, a bratty kid throws Bonnie craft supplies into a wastebasket. Woody tosses them back onto the table, and Bonnie fashions a toy doll from a spork, a pipe cleaner, mismatched googly eyes, putty, glue, and a popsicle stick. She dubs her creation "Forky." 

Like the other toys, Forky comes to life when the humans aren't looking. How? Don't ask; there's no answer. However, Forky doesn't think of himself as a toy. Snce his origins were a wastebasket, he thinks of himself as trash ... and at every opportunity, he tries to jump back into a trash can. 

Bonnie's family goes on a road trip before kindergarten begins and Forky, after dozens of attempts to escape, finally succeeds, jumping out of the window of the moving RV. Woody goes after him. 

On the way back to where the RV is parked for the night, Woody and Forky come across an antique store, where he sees the accessories that go with Bo Peep and her three sheep. Bo was Woody's love interest in the first and second Toy Story movies but wasn't given much to do; she wasn't even in the third one.

They make up for it here. In this movie, Bo's an action figure! Moreover, she's a rōnin -- she doesn't belong to a child and is quite happy about it. 

Like all Toy Story movies, this one is a rescue mission. Initially, it's to save Forky, but the antique store proves to be a house of horrors for him and Woody, lorded over by Gabby Gabby, a pull-string doll from the 1950s, like Woody. She has several ventriloquist dummies as very creepy minions to do her bidding. Woody's attempt to save Forky fails, and he makes a major sacrifice to get out of Gabby Gabby's clutches. Bo and her team have to save Woody, and they all have to race against time to get back to the RV before Bonnie's family goes back home.

Toy Story 4 is a worthy wrap-up to the saga. 

I met John Glover at the recent East Coast Comicon, and if you ever have the chance to talk to him, do it. He's an absolute delight. At one point a woman stopped by saying her mom wanted to make sure she said hi, since she's a big fan. He got her to skype her mom, and talked to her from the con floor. "Hi, Debbie, your daughter wanted me to say hi... Wait, are you in a car? Pull over, pull over...!"

(She actually had pulled over before she'd answered, but we all had a great laugh about it.)

PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

Another note on Shazam!: John Glover has now played the father of Lex Luthor and the father of Sivana.

John Glover has been in tons of things, often as a heavy. He was the go-to voice actor to play The Riddler in Batman: The Animated Series. I didn’t realize this, but he played Jason Woodrue in the infamous movie Batman and Robin.

I have been rewatching Law & Order: Criminal Intent. In later episodes, John Glover played the very creepy mentor to Vincent D'Onofrio’s Robert Goren. I highly recommend Law & Order: Criminal Intent to anyone who likes a very smart police procedural with great characters.

THE GLENN MILLER STORY: Whenever the topic of jazz music comes up in our household (frequently these days as we’re re-watching ST:TNG when Riker plays trombone), Tracy feels obligated to tell me how much she hates it. I don’t think she’s listened to much, though, and there are as many different kinds of jazz as there are rock and roll. I decided to introduce her to the music that introduced me to jazz, Glenn Miller, by way of the classic Jimmy Stewart movie. (She loves Jimmy Stewart.)

She liked the movie (except for the end*) and said she liked the music, too. The next day we listen to “In the Digital Mood” while we were out and about, and she said she liked it. I don’t know where I’ll go next… not Miles Davis, certainly, but maybe The Benny Goodman Story.

*SPOILERS for Easy Rider and Electra Glide in Blue. I was under instructions to pick a movie in which no one is shot while riding a motorcycle at the end. Well, that didn’t happen to Glenn Miller, but I was still in trouble.

Speaking of endings with dead characters:
spoiler photo spoiler.gif
At the end of American Graffiti (1973), we are told in a graphic that John (Paul Le Mat) was killed by a drunk driver and that Terry (Charles Martin Smith) went missing in action in Vietnam. In the theater one viewer let out a loud audible sob.

In the sequel More American Graffiti (1979), Terry is a warrant officer (a specialized officer rank higher than sergeants) flying helicopters. He reports to a sergeant, who harasses him. Terry then fakes his own death and deserts. This not only spoils his character, but means he is rattling around in a war zone with no passport and no reasonable way of ever getting home. I love the first movie.

Guh. I'm really glad I never saw the second movie now.

Richard Willis said:

Speaking of endings with dead characters:
spoiler photo spoiler.gif
At the end of American Graffiti (1973), we are told in a graphic that John (Paul Le Mat) was killed by a drunk driver and that Terry (Charles Martin Smith) went missing in action in Vietnam. In the theater one viewer let out a loud audible sob.

In the sequel More American Graffiti (1979), Terry is a warrant officer (a specialized officer rank higher than sergeants) flying helicopters. He reports to a sergeant, who harasses him. Terry then fakes his own death and deserts. This not only spoils his character, but means he is rattling around in a war zone with no passport and no reasonable way of ever getting home. I love the first movie.

I saw two great movies that I had never put a second thought to before:

Clerks: At the time this came out, I was working in a gas station/quickie mart. Yes, some of it really rang true (the weirdos), but what really entertained me was the dialogue between the two main characters. This is a great slice of life movie about the slacker generation. The best thing about it is that it owns the slacker of the whole thing. Plus, knowing now that the Gen X crowd really did come out on top, it makes it all the sweeter.

Crooklyn: This is the sweetest movie ever made that I was really unaware of until a coworker suggested it to me. It's a Spike Lee movie about a family in Brooklyn in 1973. For the first half, it's about the family as a whole. A teacher mother who raises her four boys and one girl, and her jazz musician husband. The second half focuses on the girl of the family as she goes to visit her cousin for the summer and her letters back home. It is a really wonderful movie about a family at the time doing their best, and Lee does a really great job making it very optimistic. It makes the viewer want to go back to that time and place and take up residence. Wonderful, wonderful movie.

Watched Hot Fuzz, because it was about to leave Netflix. We loved Shaun of the Dead (which has the same two stars and one of the same writers, Simon Pegg), and this had similar rave reviews, so we took a break from Peak TV to watch. It was pretty good. My wife said she had a hard time taking Pegg seriously as a tough, no-nonsense cop -- and she's dead right about that. I'd probably rate it higher if Pegg were simply taller. Also, here's yet another villain turn by former James Bond Timothy Dalton, and by golly, he is great at it

Also watched Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, because it was also about to leave Netflix. My wife used to be a big Johnny Depp fan, but that evaporated when the #MeToo stories about him came out. But I'd heard good things, so we hit Play. 

I had read the book in college, and while I enjoyed it immensely -- Hunter Thompson was hilarious at turning a phrase about drug use -- it read to me as fiction. I couldn't believe a word of it, because I couldn't believe any of that behavior would be countenanced by hotel proprietors, violated casino patrons and local law enforcement, even in Las Vegas. Also, no one could possibly function with that level of drug use/mixing.

The movie read the same way. Depp was, as usual, a very physical and convincing actor, and Benicio del Toro was a better actor than I expected (as Dr. Gonzo). It was an amusing piece of fluff -- so much so that my wife actually asked after it was over, "What was the point of that?" She's got a point, especially since Thompson's eventual suicide casts a pall over all that misbehavior.

A couple worthy of just short comments:

  • Snatched. Goldie Hawn and Amy Schumer play mother and daughter in a loud, dumb buddy comedy. Schumer gets dumped by her boyfriend right before they were to go on a joint vacation to Ecuador. As the tickets are non-refundable, Schumer talks Hawn into going on the trip, and hilarity -- or attempts at such -- ensues. This starts with the two of them getting kidnapped, escaping from their captors, and trying to make their way across the jungle to the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia. This was the first movie Goldie Hawn had made in 15 years (her previous one was The Banger Sisters in 2002). It wasn't worth her coming out of retirement.
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. One of my wife's superpowers is that she can instantly, completely forget seeing a movie she doesn't like, as if it was never even made. Oddly, she was totally sure we had seen this one, which we hadn't; we saw the original, but not the sequel. The story here covers two tracks: The newlyweds in the first film now have a 17-year-old daughter who is being smothered by the family and being pressured to get a Greek boyfriend and get married. The other track? Family patriarch Gus discovers the priest who officiated at his wedding to Maria 50 years ago wasn't ordained and didn't sign the marriage license; thus, they aren't legally married. It's an easy fix, right? Except Maria wants Gus to propose, and he's too stubborn to just do it, and she's too stubborn to agree to marry him if he won't, and several situation comedy shenanigans flow from there. The sequel does not have the charm of the original and fails to capture the magic. 

Goldie Hawn appeared very briefly as Mrs Claus in last year's The Christmas Chronicles, with Kurt Russell playing Santa. Oliver Hudson, son of Goldie, also appears in the movie.

Wouldn't they be considered "common law married" by that point, or is that not a real thing?

ClarkKent_DC said:

  • Family patriarch Gus discovers the priest who officiated at his wedding to Maria 50 years ago wasn't ordained and didn't sign the marriage license; thus, they aren't legally married.

...Do people use that concept anymore? SHUT UP about the real facts, BTW! :-)!!!

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