Monday, January 28, 2013

Searching For Sugarman

Last week Searching For Sugarman was released on DVD and Blu-Ray, and you need to see it.  The film is a documentary that tells the incredible true story of Rodriguez, a Detroit folk singer who released 2 albums in the early 70's.  While the albums were ignored here in America, they somehow found their way to South Africa where Rodriguez became a rock star, outselling Elvis and The Beatles.

Who is Rodriguez?  No one in South Africa knows.  The only fact they are certain about is that he is dead.  The two stories about his death both involve killing himself onstage, one by gun and the other by setting himself on fire.  The story follows a South African journalist and a record store owner as they try to find unravel the mystery behind his life and death.  

I do not want to give away the whole film, but it is definitely worth watching.  

For the trailer and more information about the film click here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Trip Report

If you have ever considered running a Full or Half Marathon I really cannot think of a better place to do it than at a Disney Park.  I have done the half on both coasts and I really could not tell you which one I enjoy more.  Well, I do not enjoy the running, but why run around some boring city when you could run around Disney World, right?

I ran the half with my wife and friend Dan.  If you know way too much about this blog, it might interest you to know that this is the same Dan I used to run across I-4 with at 2 in the morning to get back to Vista Way.

Here we are, happy that it's all over.

Strike that, it was over for Dan and I, Becky ran the full the next day.

The rest of the trip I hobbled around the parks like the Frankenstein monster, here's my take on the new stuff.

Magic Kingdom
New Fantasyland is a great addition to the park.  I'm surprised they let all that land sit there for so long.  Remember when they used the lagoon queue for character greetings for years?  The Voyage of the Little Mermaid's show building makes the California Adventure building look even more ridiculous.  The Mine Train ride looks like it's going to be awesome, I can't wait for that.

Storybook Circus was a vast improvement on the old Toontown Fair.  Two Dumbo's sounded like a bad idea to me at first but the layout of them is nice and I like how they just give you a pager and let your kids go buck wild in the play area instead of waiting in line.

The new Fantasyland Train Station is amazing, it even pays homage to the Carolwood Pacific!

I didn't know you could eat lunch at Be Our Guest without a reservation, so I had not even planned on eating there.  One day for lunch we just got in line and within 20 minutes were sitting down waiting for our food.  The combination of table service and quick service was nice.  I thought calling the same french fries they serve at every other Disney restaurant "Pommes Frites" was hilarious.  The three dining rooms are all really well done too, (except in the portrait room the tile floor was already coming undone).  Another thing that made me laugh was how Disney ignores the physical changes a character goes through in a film.  It makes sense, no one wants to see a real boy Pinocchio, adult Bambi, or the Beast as a human.  In Be Our Guest though, its funny to see a room full of photos as the Beast as a beast looking happy, then to go to the West Wing where he has slashed up pictures of his human self.  It's almost as if he prefers being a beast.

Pirates:  I thought I was going to hate the mermaids, but they go by pretty unnoticed.  In fact one time I rode it and one didn't even swim past.  I just hate how they keep adding film elements to the attraction.  The skull rock looked out of place to me, but my wife didn't even notice it.

I did not ride new Test Track.  I appreciate how they finally updated that thing, but I still don't have time for it.  That cuts into time I could spend riding "Living with the Land."

Hollywood Studios
We spent a few hours at DHS one day.  I do enjoy the park but feel like one visit per trip is enough for me. 

Animal Kingdom
Did you know it's been 3 years since I have stepped foot inside Animal Kingdom?  I go to Walt Disney World twice a year, skipping Animal Kingdom is the best decision I have ever made.

Touring plans had the crowds at a 7 out of 10 for most of my trip.  I think that estimate was a little high.  The crowds felt really light to me.  In fact, on Sunday the MAgic Kingdom was dead well into the afternoon.  I rode stuff I usually ignore (Astro Orbiter) because there was no line.

The crowds did pick up on Monday with the start of the dreaded Brazilian tour groups.  They were all over the Magic Kingdom, but pretty non existent when we finished off our trip at EPCOT.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Heavyweights Blu Ray Review

In 1995 Disney released Heavyweights.  A film about fat kids written by Steven Brill and Judd Apatow and directed by Brill.  It's one of the best movies of the 90's, and a miracle that Disney actually released it.  The film stars Aaron Schwartz as Gerry, a fat kid pressured by his parents to attend a fat camp for the summer.  On the plane fellow fat kid, Roy (played by Kenan Thompson) befriends Gerry assuming that as a fat kid he is also on his way to Camp Hope.  Roy shows Gerry the ropes and introduces him to Josh (played by Shaun Weiss).  They tell Gerry about how great Camp Hope is and how much he is going to love the owners, The Bushkin's.

Gerry and the kids soon find out that the Bushkin's have lost all of their money and had to sell the camp to motivational speaker Tony Perkis (played by Ben Stiller).  From here the movie takes a dark turn where the fitness crazed Perkis puts the kids into a hellish weight loss boot camp in hopes of selling an infomercial.

The great thing about Heavyweights is that it is not your typical Disney film.  It has mild cursing, and the phrase "skinny wiener" is used a couple times.  I feel like it gets away with jokes and a concept that Disney would never release today.  Which is why this Blu Ray is amazing.  This is not just a quickly packaged film that was thrown onto the shelves, it's packed with bonus features.

Here's what you get:

More Than 30 Deleted & Extended ScenesAudio Commentary with Judd Apatow, Steven Brill, Allen Covert, Aaron Schwartz, Shaun Weiss, Tom Hodges & Special Guest Paul FeigThe Making of HeavyweightsSuper 8 – Footage Shot by the Cast and CrewVideo Chat: Judd and KenanWhere are they Now? - See the Kids All Grown UpJudd's Art Project – His Bizarre Photos from the Set
Theatrical Trailer  

Do yourself a favor and add this to your Blu Ray collection, you can place it right after The Might Ducks, since the three lead kids are all Ducks.