Tag Archives: disney

Positive Cynicism EP. 112: The End is the Beginning

After two years and nine months, the weekly Positive Cynicism podcasts are coming to an end on the Jittery Monkey Podcast Network. After a year and a half of having rotating co-hosts, the decision to move the shows to the Positive Cynicism Podcast Network has been made in an attempt to better brand the shows.

Thanks to Greg Mehochko for the opportunity and encouragement to start Positive Cynicism. Thanks to Kevin Hunsperger for letting me guest on numerous episodes of My123Cents.  This is by no means a bitter split, it’s just the next evolution in the podcast landscape.

Greg and I are in talks for a new podcast for Jittery Monkey. Stay tuned for future announcements. For future installments of the Positive Cynicism shows, follow @chadsmart on twitter and stay tuned to www.positivecynicism.com

Nerds United Episode 150: EPISODE 150, Y’ALL!

This week on the show, Greg and Mike wax nostalgia and talk about olden times, bring back a long-lost segment of the show, and talk about some of the various news and notes making the rounds this week.

And if you make it to the end, the guys run down some of the offerings on the Disney+ streaming app.

Nerds United Episode 117: Podception – Jamie Farr in a Hat

So – new editor here on WordPress. I’m nothing if not stuck in my ways, so obviously I hate it. Much like every new layout of Facebook that gets rolled out, it will just take some getting used to. Hopefully it doesn’t take long to figure it out.

In this episode, I do a run-in on the ABCD-Bags Podcast.

via GIPHY

This conversation starts with comic books like Y: The Last Man and its upcoming TV adaptation as well as various titles from Valiant Comics. Then we talk about the Mandela Effect, Curious George, and Berenstain Bears.

We talk about popcorn and peanut butter, Nebraska athletics, beer, and Jamie Farr. It’s a gem of a podcast, with special shout outs to Mike’s mom (because she won’t listen). Don’t forget to do some shopping at jitterymonkey.com/shop because this podcast doesn’t pay for itself…and it’d be really nice if it did.

POSITIVE CYNICISM EP. 65: JUDGING THE PAST THROUGH THE EYES OF TODAY

Should the past be held to the standards of today? That’s the topic @chadsmart and Travis Yates (@PopCultIQ) tackle in this installment of Positive Cynicism. While attending PolitiCon 2018, Chad heard a panelist talking about immigration and criticizing the evil white men who conquered America. This got Chad to thinking if Christopher Columbus hadn’t “discovered” America or the other explorers and early settlers hadn’t been the first ones to America wouldn’t whoever tried to settle the land have committed the same atrocities?  Not that that excuses the behavior, only that can we judge people’s actions in the past if they don’t line up with the standards of today?

With that as a jumping off point, Chad and Travis jump all over history to discuss how attitudes and societal norms have to be taken into consideration when looking at the past. As society advances and things that were once deemed okay are now viewed as wrong, instead of demeaning the past, should use the situation as a teaching moment. For those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

POSITIVE CYNICISM EP. 64: WONDER WHY; THE PARTY

Strike up the band cause we’re getting The Party started on the latest edition of Positive Cynicism’s monthly series Wonder Why. @chadsmart and @MikeDeKalb break out the festive hats (or are those mouse ears) to discuss the pop group The Party’s biggest hit and career. Formed by members of the new Mickey Mouse Club, The Party hit the charts in 1991 with a cover of the Dokken classic “In My Dreams” off their second album In the Meantime In Between Time. Unfortunately, the dream would end after a few weeks on the charts. The group would release one other studio album before the party was over.

Chad and Mike break down the In the Meantime album while giving their impressions on why the group didn’t reach the success of other similar early 90s pop groups. There are some interesting cover song choices and interpretations on the album.

After the discussion about The Party, it’s time to reveal the picks of the month. This month’s choices are a southern country/rock band from Nashville and a purple phenom from Minnesota.

Positive Cynicism Ep 25: Awakening the Force

On the eve of the release of The Last Jedi, @chadsmart is joined by Eric Bennett to discuss Disney taking over the Star Wars franchise. The anticipation and reaction to The Force Awakens. Speculation of what will happen in The Last Jedi. Subtle digs at the Marvel Cinematic Universe. All this and more in this episode. There are no spoilers for Last Jedi so listen without fear if you haven’t seen Last Jedi.

Fresh Content Day 42: The Podcast That Will Never Be

So I’ve dropped this topic on a few recent episodes of the podcast, I’ve hinted at an upcoming episode I’d like to have where I discuss some parts of some classic Disney movies that are overlooked in the grand scheme of the story. At the time, I told you to give me a classic Disney feature animation, and I’d find at least one thing to complain about.

Well, y’all forgot to submit your entries to be a part of the show, so I’m taking matters into my own hands.

There may be more to this down the road, but these are two big issues I have with two high-profile Disney cartoons from my childhood. But they are things I didn’t really consider until recently.

In 1989’s The Little Mermaid, Ariel escapes to her cave of wonders, where her collection of human trinkets is, well, it’s massive. She has more crap that she found on the bottom of the ocean than I packed up and put in the moving truck last year when we relocated. In her song Part of That World, she sings:

Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? Wouldn’t you think my collection’s complete?
Wouldn’t you think I’m the girl, The girl who has everything?
Look at this trove, treasures untold. How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Lookin’ around here you’d think ‘Sure, she’s got everything,’

I’ve got gadgets and gizmos aplenty.
I’ve got whooz-its and whatz-its galore.
You want thingamabobs? I got twenty.
But who cares? No big deal. I want more.

Now, I’ve never been a sea princess. I haven’t been a land princess for that matter, either. But what does it tell the young, impressionable children watching this movie? “No matter how much you have, it’s not enough.” Now that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. You can work hard to achieve your goals.

But that’s not how the movie plays out. With the help of the sea witch Ursula, she trades her voice for some legs. And then with the help of her friends, she tries to get Prince Eric to fall in love with her. It is complicated when Ursula shows up, yadda yadda, you know the story.

It just seems to me that the “I have so much, but I need more to be happy” mentality is part of this wave of entitlement that has been around out society for much of this millennium. Now I’m not blaming Disney, but it could certainly be a factor. Also…that’s very old-man of me. And I get that. And it’s not a plot hole, unlike our next venture.

The second part is this post centers on Beauty and the Beast, and is all plot hole. Recall if you will that Belle leaves the castle to go check on her father. While there, Maurice is about to be taken to the asylum. Belle pleads on behalf of her father, who had already claimed to see a beastly, monstrous creature. No one believes him. So when Belle whips out the magic mirror to prove her father isn’t crazy. They see the Beast in the viewer, and of course, it’s the wild-eyed, evil Beast. Not the calm, more sophisticated Beast that Belle grew to love. What happens next?

Gaston whips the mob into a frenzy, saying the Beast needs to be killed before he wreaks havoc on the village.

WHAT?!?

That spell has been on the castle for a decade, and the villagers didn’t even know about it. They had no idea there was a Beast. They go from clueless to concerned in just a few seconds. Aside from a couple images of a creature on the magic mirror, there has been no proof that the Beast is dangerous. Furthermore, the Beast has no history of attacking the village.

Seriously…with absolutely no cause other than to puff his chest out and add a trophy to his wall, Gaston incites a riot and marches on the castle, and his undoing.

It’s just a problem I’ve encountered with Beauty and the Beast. It unnerves me more than the Stockholm Syndrome aspect.

So that’s what I wanted to talk about today.

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Fresh Content Day 10: Disney Tries to Out-Do Disney

Maleficent. Alice in Wonderland. Cinderella. The Jungle Book. Beauty and the Beast. The Little Mermaid. And on and on.

Walt Disney Studios is bringing some of your favorite animated characters back to life on the big screen in live-action versions of some of their cartoon classics. What began with a retelling of the sleeping beauty story has made possible seemingly every cartoon in the Disney “vault.”

I really enjoyed Maleficent as a being told from the “villain’s” point of view, casting a dark shadow on The noble King Stefan and painting of the traditional evil witch in a sympathetic, albeit victim/survivors light. Sleeping Beauty is a movie I remember fondly from my childhood. We didn’t have many movies on VHS, and the ones that we did have were always copied from one cassette to another or recorded from television. The Disney movies that we did have, like Sleeping Beauty, work copies my aunt had made for us from her official VHS tape’s. So I probably watch more Sleeping Beauty than I should have growing up, but it’s a simple tail with a happy ending. “Good triumphs over evil, the wicked get what they deserve.” The movie Maleficent took that notion and spend it on his head.

I admit that I have never seen the live action version of Cinderella. I haven’t seen the cartoon in over 25 years. I don’t even know who stars in the movie. I don’t know how close it is to the cartoon. So I can’t comment on that.

I have to say that I enjoyed Alice in Wonderland, as well as the sequel Through the Looking Glass. Good fun movies. I’d say there easy maybe more focus on the Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) than there needed to be. But it’s Johnny Depp, and he’s the “name,” the star power. But they told a good tale, and one that was visually striking.

The Jungle Book was a critical and box office success, and just like its animated predecessor, showed you could do a lot with anthropomorphic mammals. Jon Favreau is a genius. We’ve said that before. My sister saw the movie before me and asked me if I liked the original. When I said I did, she said “you probably won’t like this one. It’s really dark.” I’ll tell you what I didn’t like about it…they took away the damn vultures!

Now…here’s where we may have jumped the land shark (good brew, by the way). When you have an animated movie with talking and singing animals, why would you make a movie that’s largely computer-animated with the same types of animals saying the same words and singing the same songs? Favreau has an upcoming project coming out which you may or may not have heard of. The Lion King. The Lion King has been hugely globally popular since it came out. They turned it into a Broadway show. The soundtrack is the best-selling soundtrack album to an animated feature in the United States.

So how do you improve on that?

But Disney is also casting for a live-action Aladdin movie. It was Universal Studios that was making a Little Mermaid re-imagining, but that project has been out of the headlines since Chloe Moretz dropped out last September.

And a Dumbo movie…that’s apparently a very real thing.

Now on to Beauty and the Beast, which hits theaters next week. It has enough of a blend of human and non-human entities that it can be a reasonable re-telling. Now don’t get me wrong…this movie will be able to print its own money. But you’ll be able to substitute the animated humans with actual humans, so it makes more sense than a cartoon animal to a better looking cartoon animal.

Since I don’t know when I’ll talk about it again I HAVE to bring up the issue of LeFou, Gaston’s hetero-lifemate that we found out last week is a little less hetero in this movie. And that’s fine. I don’t care. I doubt it will have any bearing on the actual plot of the movie. My biggest question is will we get an Olaf sighting?

Allow me to remind you…Josh Gad plays LeFou. Josh Gad also voiced Olaf in the movie Frozen. You may have heard of it. Well, in the 1991 version, LeFou is incognito, hiding outside Belle and Maurice’s home and he is…YOU GUESSED IT…A SNOWMAN!!!

It’s a simple Easter Egg they could slip in. I hope they do.

#ToughCallTuesday 12 – Two Movies, One Remake

This was a thought I had over the extended Thanksgiving weekend.

Two “classic” sci-fi movies that have yet to be touched by modern day Hollywood. The Last Starfighter and Flight of the Navigator. I use quotes around the word classic because I think they are only “classic” in the sense that they were made in the mid-1980s. In fact, until I mentioned them, did you even remember their names?

Let me ask another question – were you even aware of their existence?

How about some movie poster art? You know…to jog the memory…

The-Last-Starfighter flight

A quick synopsis of both movies for the uninitiated (taken from memory, not from IMDb – so you know it’s shaky at best):

The Last Starfighter is about a trailer park maintenance man (Alex) who spends his evenings ignoring his girlfriend in hopes of achieving high score on an arcade game – Starfighter. When he finally achieves the highest of the high scores, he is visited by an alien that looks like The Music Man (He’s a what? He’s a what? He’s an a-li-en). Centauri recruits Alex to join the intergalactic war raging between the Starfighters and the bad guys (I looked this one up – it’s the Ko-Dan Armada). The base is destroyed, leaving Alex and an alien named Grig, who serves as navigator and mentor. Hence, Alex is THE LAST STARFIGHTER.

Meanwhile, while Alex is in space, fake robot Alex is on Earth in his place. But fake robot Alex is a poor man’s Alex. He almost ruins things with Maggie the girlfriend. However, fake robot Alex does take a bullet, an assassination attempt.

Long story short – Alex succeeds in fending off the Armada, returning home safely to a confused Maggie and family. They leave to return to the Starfighter Corps (why not) and the galaxy is saved.

Flight of the Navigator starts in 1978. I don’t remember every detail, but here we go nonetheless. David is playing with his little brother. David falls down a hillside and hits his head. Here’s where it gets fuzzy. I almost think that David wakes up in 1986, and while the world around him has aged and progressed, he is still a kid. And his younger brother is, essentially, now older than he is. He is taken to some government (NASA, I believe) facility, because there was some connection to a spaceship.

Like I said, some parts are fuzzy.

David gets some help from future Hollywood A-lister (in her best performance ever) Sarah Jessica Parker and escapes captivity in the spaceship version of Evil T-1000.

flight ship

He and the ship (we’ll call it Mack, because that’s its name – and also voiced by Pee Wee Herman) escape authorities and travel back in time to when he fell down the hill and disappeared. Either that, or David wakes up only to realize he had the weirdest #*$@%& dream of all time.

Here’s where I’m at with these two movies. Flight of the Navigator is a Disney movie, and therefore COULD be remade. Let’s just all admit that we’re marks for what Disney is doing and move on. The animated stuff is solid (both standalone Disney Animation and the coop with Pixar). And maybe you were unaware that Disney owns Marvel and Star Wars. T+So they have that going for them. Disney is doing well. They don’t need to try to resurrect largely-forgotten titles from thirty years ago.

That’s why I say that The Last Starfighter should be remade. It has a decent story (I didn’t really do it justice). Plus, and I think this is the biggest reason – those special effects.

I mean, there’s charming and then there’s painful. Give a modern director, and more importantly a modern visual effects team, an opportunity to tell the tale with the cutting edge technology they have at their fingertips.

Hollywood has remade a slew of movies that didn’t need to be remade (looking at you, glaringly, Red Dawn). Let them have some fun with a flick that deserves a remake.

#REMAKESTARFIGHTER

If you want to submit a topic for my next #ToughCallTuesday, just leave it in the comments or email nerdsunitedpodcast@gmail.com.

And remember that the Comics for Beginners II episode is being recorded in January. Submit your questions (same as above) and win a prize! Seriously. It’s that simple!

What We Can Learn from #ForceforDaniel

Perhaps you have heard of Daniel Fleetwood. Daniel was a man with a terminal illness, cancer known as spindle cell sarcoma. It attacked his lungs with such ferocity that he recently had just 10% lung functionality. In other words, tumors covered the other 90% of his lungs.

On September 1, 2015, Daniel was told by his doctors that he had two months to live.

Being a lifelong Star Wars fan, Daniel’s dying wish was to see Star Wars​: The Force Awakens before he passed. This led to an enormous amount of support on social media in the #ForceforDaniel campaign. Fans around the world, media, and even some Star Wars alum got on board to see Daniel’s final wish granted.

tweeter

J. J. Abrams​, Lucasfilm​, and Disney​ made that happen last week. daniel fleetwood Today is November 10. It was on this day we learned that Daniel Fleetwood passed away. He was 32.

Now whether you have heard of the #ForceforDaniel movement or not, I truly believe Daniel’s story holds a greater purpose than just him being able to watch a movie a few weeks ahead of release. Daniel Fleetwood and his wife Ashley are, or should be, reminders that we all have it inside of us to rise up and do great things. Their story inspired a movement comprised of family, friends, and largely strangers coming together out of love.

Love is many things, and being a Catholic, I think of Saint Thomas Aquinas who said “Love is to know, to will, and to do the good of another.”

Daniel worked as a counselor to the mentally impaired. Ashley teaches the visually impaired. Both had to take significant time off of work during the progressive and late stages of Daniel’s battle. These two lived a life of love not just for each other, but for the countless families they assisted.

As their story gained worldwide attention, they taught each of us touched by their story, those of us who were cheering for them to have Daniel’s wish fulfilled, how to love.

See, friends, you don’t need some grandstanding display of love. You don’t have to record some elaborately choreographed marriage proposal.

Love can be as simple as sharing a stranger’s dying wish to see a beloved movie. Love is someone meeting with more than 500 children in the Make A Wish Foundation system (looking at you, John Cena). Love is donating time or money (or both, as long as it comes from the right place) to a community food pantry, soup kitchen, homeless shelter, animal shelter – the list goes on and on.

There are countless ways to love one another. The Fleetwoods gave us a small opportunity to lift them up in love, and when Disney, J.J. Abrams, and the extended Star Wars family took notice and granted Daniel this special screening, we all cheered in exuberance.

When you’re invited into something like this, you truly cheer with the highs and mourn at the lows. One of the last Facebook posts Ashley made before her post about Daniel’s passing, she described hearing his discomfort. I have “borrowed without permission” from her Facebook page enough, but it is heart-wrenching to hear what they had to endure in his final hours. Ashley, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry for the pain you and Daniel had to endure. And I completely agree with your sentiments. “Screw cancer. F it in the a-hole.”

If you have the means, please visit the Fleetwood’s GoFundMe page. 

Friends, this isn’t a pitch to get you to spend money. More than anything, I want your take-away from this post to be about love. Smile more often (I say these words in my head as I type them, and my wife will appreciate that I just pronounced the “t” in often, something I bemoan). Greet strangers with warmth and kindness. 

We’re coming up on a time of year where we’re supposed to be cheerful. The Christmas season wants you to smile and be friendly. Maybe I’m old, but I think Daniel’s life should remind us that we can be kindhearted all year round. We don’t need commercials and stores to tell us to be friendly. We’re the human race. We have proven time and time again that we have the power within ourselves to be decent to one another.

Make it a part of your everyday routine to be kind. Then you won’t have to try. As Jedi Master Yoda said, “Do or do not. There is no ‘try.'” Let love flow through you like The Force. Yoda also says: 

For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship.

Rest in peace, Daniel. And May the Force be with You.