Akeelah and the Bee

I’d never had any interest in the movie. Spelling Bees just not that exciting (although I will admit that I adore the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and even directed it back in Boston). But it was on the cheap rack at BookMonster, the one that’s outside the store because they don’t care if people run off with some of the deeply discounted merch. Earlier that day, the poll on Microsoft Rewards had asked what coming of age story you’d rather watch, with Akeelah being an option. I can’t remember what the other choice was, but it was such an obvious pick for me, that I quickly selected it and moved on. But the idea of Akeelah stuck with me. Why was I so quick to dismiss it? Seeing it on the discount rack gave me no excuse. I’m oh so very glad that this film got into my head because I absolutely adored it.

Akeelah is an underprivileged kid in Los Angeles (sidebar: was super proud of me for being able to recognize most neighborhoods mentioned), who is very smart, but doesn’t really apply herself much at school. She’s talked into competing in the school spelling bee and a world of opportunities open up for her. Sounds kinda basic, and on the surface it is. But it’s what runs deeper that makes this movie special.

For one, I think this movie is super important for representation. This little black girl (and itty bitty Keke Palmer) has to learn how to navigate her community and limited resources in order to move up. But the fact that she is able to prove herself and be extremely competitive is hugely important for kids to see.

But what struck me most in this film was the sense of community. Everyone she met was rallying behind her. Even the thug that her brother hangs out with would help quiz her and was watching the competition on tv. It was so beautiful and powerful and exactly the message of hope that we need right now.

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Of course, I had to throw whatever Chadwick Boseman movies I could into my queue. This was his big breakout role, where he played baseball legend and first black MLB player Jackie Robinson. Watching this really made me think of the definition of a hero.

Yeah he played baseball. That was about the extent of what I knew about Robinson. Hell, I’d even seen this movie once before and just kinda thought of it like any biopic or sports movie. It’s not that I didn’t think Robinson was a hero, it’s that I didn’t get the extent to which he truly was. I didn’t fully comprehend what being that first person truly entailed.

Watching it this time, especially in the current climate this world is in, the message really sank home. He suffered so much abuse just for trying to do his job. As much as he wanted to fight back, he knew that it took more strength to ignore it as best he could and focus on his work. If he gave in and went off on somebody or cracked under the pressure, it’d be all over not just for him but for anybody that followed. He had to go thru hell in order to be the first one to come out on the other side, so that somebody else could come next. That’s what was heroic.

Enough Said

I made a long overdue trip down to BookMonster in Santa Monica this weekend. It’s a used Bookstore that has one aisle of DVD’s, usually priced for only a couple bucks. Typically I spent like 20 bucks on a stack of maybe a dozen discs. For this trip, I budgeted twice that since I wanted some actual books too. But then I found myself indiscriminately throwing 1, 2, and 3 dollar movies into my little basket. Ended up spending 90 on about 30 movies and 3 books. Guess Black Friday came early.

I separated a stack of high priority movies to try to get thru over the long weekend (although I lost most of one day to assembling Ikea furniture). Among those, Enough Said. One of James Gandolfini’s final films. I’d only just watched The Sopranos last year, so I’d previously not had any interest in a romance (gag) he starred in. I haven’t been able to get it outta my head in the two days since I’ve seen it.

Gandolfini stars with Julia Louis-Dreyfus, in this sweet film about romance at an older age. Both of them are divorced, facing an upcoming empty nest with their children planning to leave for college. I’ll keep the complication to myself because I didn’t see it coming, and thought it was quite clever (even if it ventured into that awkward territory where you know it’s gonna blow up in everyone’s faces). This movie also gets bonus points for starring not only one goddess (Julia) but also Catherine Keener and Toni Colette.

People who knew him consider this role to have been the most like Gandolfini’s actual personality. Watching this, I fell completely completely in love with him. His character was such a loveable dork, so funny and tender. His chemistry with Julia was absolutely sweet and just radiated off the screen. The way he put his arm around her and pulled her in for their first kiss, I just wanted to get lost in that big bear hug. He also gets major bonus points for how respectful he was. He asked a mutual friend to ask permission for her number, and asked her before that kiss. It makes it all the sadder that we lost him so soon, I would have loved to see more sensitive anti-Soprano roles from him.

Predestination

Told ya we were gonna talk about this movie, cause I can’t get it outta my head. It was on my Fill-In Filmography poster filed under Sci-Fi > Heady Sci-fi > Time Travel Loops. I’d seen the DVD artwork here and there and it always caught my eye, I’d just never thought much about it. It being on the list (and ten bucks in Best Buy rewards points, the exact cost the BluRay) made me finally want it. Ethan Hawke starring further sealed the deal. I’ve certainly gotta move him up my priority list because he sure knows how to pick interesting projects. Anyhoo

Hawke is some type of time traveling special agent. His job is to fix big catastrophic events in the past that will significantly impact our future. He’s been sent on his last assignment, one final shot at stopping a terrorist that has eluded him through multiple time jumps. That’s as much as I’ll say about the plot, except to add that while that seems like a kinda basic storyline, it’s really so much deeper than that. The bomber ends up being almost irrelevant as the story unfolds. Well not so much unfolds as gets told and tangled up and creates all sorts of brain breaking goodness.

(And here, I paused to get some potatoes in the oven and cut my finger with the new knife I got at Ikea. Typing with a giant cotton ball taped on. We’ll see how this goes.)

I’ve talked before about how I love a good brain buster of a film

(Pausing again because the typing made me bleed thru the cotton ball. Trying superglue)

Right. Brain buster. Whenever you deal with timetravel, you’re gonna have that to some extent. The timelines are inherently messy and it did take some thinking on it to get it straightened out in my head. I think the film did a pretty good job of helping you stick with it so you can then take it away as homework. What really bakes your noodle is the paradox aspect of it. I know better than to even try to think about that. I’d say the movie plays with paradox, but that makes it sound so light and fluffy. It fully dives into an ocean of paradox and gets dragged by the undertow. Cool tho. Gets you thinking.

(And my finger’s starting to sting. I think we’ll just leave this there.)

Bill and Ted Face the Music

Wow, did I need this movie. So desperately. The world needs this movie. I’m so thankful that they went with a day and date release (theaters and VOD). Outside a pandemic world, I fully believe in “the window”, where films get a theatrical release first and then home availability. But with no theaters open in my area, and safety concerns where they are open, making this film available with multiple options for all audiences was a classy and correct move. Because I’m convinced that if anybody can heal the world, it’s Bill S Preston, Esq and Ted Theodore Logan.

When we previously met our righteous duo, they traveled thru time and to hell and back to save the world. They were destined to write the song that would one day unite the world. Little things like death and a history report weren’t gonna stop them. Fast forward to today, thirty years after they went on their Bogus Journey, and they still haven’t written the dang song. They’ve got happy lives with their princesses and daughters, but Wyld Stallyns have seen better days. They are visited by an inhabitant from the future, who tells them that they need to write the song by that evening or the whole time continuum will collapse. It’s not like they haven’t been trying to write this dang thing for thirty years, so they get the idea to borrow their trusty old phonebooth and head into the future. Surely one of their future selves already know the song, yeah?

The film is flawed for sure, but if you’ve seen the first two installments, you knew that. It takes a while to find its groove, and as with any distant sequel, it’s work to pull you back into their world. But there’s a reason that Bill and Ted have endured for as long as they have, and why these films work when all the odds say they shouldn’t: Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are such beautifully pure souls, and they pour that wholesomeness into their characters. They really true believe that something as simple as a song can save the world, and because they believe it, Bill and Ted believe it. And because Bill and Ted believe it, we believe it. So we go on these excellent adventures and have a great time because we share in the same hope.

I absolutely loved their daughters and thought they were the strongest addition to the film. They were more Bill and Ted-esque than the actual Bill and Ted in the film. It was a great way to carry on the attitude we’d expect from our original duo, but allow them to be just a tad more grown up. I’d actually love a spin off centered on Billie and Thea, words I never thought I’d say. I would have expected such a suggestion to feel like a rip off sequel, but I think they could really pull it off, provided Dads show up for some support.

Another thing I loved was how well this paid homage to both of the films. The writers found a way to get us to travel through time and to hell, bringing jokes full circle and saying hello to characters from across the ages. It was almost too ambitious to juggle it all (I’d say maybe the princess storyline was unnecessary, but I love the idea of bringing them to the forefront) but it all came together while still adding fresh new elements to the mix.

But what it really all came down to was the final act. No spoilers, but those last 15 minutes healed my heart. I felt so uplifted and hopeful and happy in a way that’s very difficult to achieve in 2020. I’m even getting teary thinking about how beautifully everything concluded. These guys really can save the world

Bill & Ted Face the Music – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark

I know, this is a docu-series, not a movie. But I’m desperate to talk about it. This is why I finally cashed in the free HBO Max trial I got when I bought Birds of Prey (30 days instead of the usual 7). I’d been generally aware of the events this series covers, but the more praise I heard for it, the more I needed to watch it. In six episodes, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark chronicles the crimes and eventual capture of The Golden State Killer. What makes this story stand out in the genre, and makes it truly special is that the focus of the story isn’t the murderous psycopath. The focus is on Michelle McNamara, the true crime writer who pieced together decades worth of evidence against this killer to tell his full story (and more importantly, the victims’ stories) and ultimately brought on his downfall.

The reason I’d first heard about this case is beloved comedian and actor Patton Oswalt. He was married to McNamara until her sudden and unexpected death in 2016. I’ve been a big fan of his for years. His stand up special Annihilation, where he speaks candidly about her death and the aftermath for himself and their daughter is one of the best I’ve ever seen. (Why is it that the best stand up specials aren’t the ones that make you laugh the most, but the ones that touch on the darkest and toughest subjects? See also: Hannah Gadsby’s Nannette). His Twitter feed is one of my favorites to follow, and he still speaks often and fondly of Michelle. It’s from his crusade to carry on her legacy that I learned just what that legacy was. When I’d heard that it was being told in this series, I needed to watch it.

The plan was three episodes on Mon night and three on Tue night. That’d mean I could get one in with dinner after work. Break for yoga. Then two more episodes. Repeat the next night. I wasn’t even ten minutes into the first episode when I thought screw yoga, we’re plowing thru. Even though I knew the broad strokes, I had to know all the details immediately. By the third episode, I was calculating how much past my bedtime I’d need to stay up to finish in one go. I was so stressed out and scared, there was no way I could put myself thru a second night. One hour late was acceptable. Besides, I prolly wasn’t gonna be able to sleep tonight after some of the things I’d heard.

The split into the episodes is a bit of a blur since I went thru it so fast. Before he was known as the Golden State Killer (a term I believe McNamara coined), he was EAR/ONS. East Area Rapist and Original Night Stalker. EAR came from his time in Sacramento in the 70’s, where he committed 50 rapes (an unfathomably high number) that escalated with each event. He began with lone women and progressed to holding couples hostage for the extra challenge I guess. He left Sacramento and later appeared in Santa Barbara, this time progressing to full on murdering his victims. After one final kill in 86, he vanished without a trace.

McNamara began her investigation in the mid-late aughts. She had a true crime blog where she would post musings on various unsolved crimes, working together with friends and followers to gather information. She was drawn to the EAR/ONS events and was able to help definitively tie those events together to a single suspect. After writing some well received magazine articles on the subject, she began working on a book. She was never able to finish it. McNamara had gotten so deep down the rabbit hole, she was convinced she could solve the murders with just a little more time and effort. Unfortunately, being in that deep had detrimental effects on her health, including nightmares that kept her up at night. She died in her sleep from an accidental overdose on the pills that she depended on to keep her going. Her collaborators completed the book two years later, and within months he was captured.

Heh okay maybe I’ve given too many details on the story itself, but it’s so fascinating. And basically everything I’ve stated, I already knew when I started watching. The series talks to the surviving victims, McNamara’s collaborators, Patton Oswalt, various police officers, and so many other people who were tied in to this horrific story. But it’s really that investigation and the woman behind it that are the truly most fascinating part. Also fascinating was looking at what a different world California was in the 70’s. Thankfully so much of what made it possible for EAR/ONS to get away with years of crimes isn’t as much of a factor today. That little bit of solace is prolly how I was able to get to sleep that night.

Also helpful, completely unrelated, but a couple days after, my building manager came by and said they were installing an extra security door on my unit. The idea was to be able to open the old door for fresh air coming thru the new metal gate. I was just grateful for one more set of locks between me and the outside world.

Before Sunrise

I’m having a very weird “only could happen to me” type of anxiety. And it’s a real, feel jittery, can’t focus anxiety, not just me trying to be cute. I started an HBO Max trial last week, and initially only had a handful of things to watch. Now there’s way too much I wanna get thru. And it’s not that the problem is getting it done before the trial expires, it’s getting it done without having my DVD watch pile stack up too high. But moreso it’s that there’s so many great movies out there and I wanna see them all, and I worry that if I don’t take this opportunity, there’s some that could be lost to me forever. I get the same feeling when I’m scrolling my wishlist on Best Buy and things are sold out. Today I was also freaking out that the movies I prioritized in order to mark them off on my Fill In FIlmography poster (I swear I talked about it already, but that’ll hafta wait til later) weren’t really ones I wanted to see. I’ve got hundreds of movies to check off on there, so if I don’t get in an extra dozen or so in the next month, I’ve gotta be okay with that.

In order to get to that queue of HBO Max movies, I woulda given myself permission to skip the blog. Except that I’m bursting to talk about some of what I just watched. So much so, that I almost dropped everything to blog outside of my usual Sun morning time, but I’m not that crazy. In retrospect, I should have. Anyways, one of the first things I noticed when poking around the library that would check off boxes on the poster and give me new to me movies that I should have seen a loooong time ago was that HBO Max has before Sunrise and Before Sunset.

Now, it’s easy to guess why I never saw these before. My hatred of romance movies is no secret. But if it seems like the whole world is nothing but positive about one of them, I’m not gonna be too proud to watch it for myself. Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy meet on a train in Europe. Instantly taken with each other, they both disembark in Vienna, where they’ll have one night to explore the city and get to know each other before Hawke has to catch his morning flight back to the US. That’s it. Pretty simple walk and talk movie. But it’s oh so very captivating.

This film is usually praised for being such a realistic depiction of romance. It’s simply two people talking, learning about each other, and falling deeper as the night goes on. It’s grounded and uncomplicated. But I’ll add that while it’s very real, it still has a fantasy feel to it. There’s the magic in their chance meeting and the spell cast by the beauty of the city they’re in. The circumstances feel surreal, but the connection and conversation are as believable and relatable as anything else in life.

I’ll admit, I totally got swept up in it. As it started, I was of course taken by 90’s Ethan Hawke’s charm (*swoon*) but I wasn’t sure I’d be invested in a romantic film with no specific plot. By the time they were kissing on the ferris wheel, I was in love. And oh so very jealous of the connection they were sharing.

Among the many conversation topics they delved into during the quick 100 minute film, I was most struck by how they talk about sex. Very open and almost matter of fact, without being either shameful or lewd about it. Just playful enough to express interest without making it uncomfortable and overbearing. Even though Hawke’s character was a self professed horn dog (he states it more directly in Sunset), he’s absolutely respectful. When Delpy says she doesn’t think they should sleep together, he doesn’t pressure her or argue. Their whole attitude every time it came up that it was just another conversation topic, not some heavy taboo subject is something that I hope I’m not too damaged from my practically puritanical upbringing to emulate some day. I think that’s where the European setting and a European character help too. Their freeness of speech certainly didn’t feel very American.

Anyways, what I really wanna talk about most with this film means that I need to break my no spoiler rule. The ending. It’s what I can’t get out of my head. As they’re saying goodbye, unable to pull apart from each other, they agree to meet again in six months. No other means of contacting before or after. Just leap of faith, be there or not. The big question is, do they make the meeting? Putting aside the fact that there is a sequel that definitively answers the question, it’s kind of a litmus test for how you think about love and life and romance and everything that this movie brings up. The romantics absolutely believe the pair will see each other again. The cynics absolutely believe it will never happen. Me? I’m a hopefully optimistic realist.

I want so badly for them to meet up again. Before we got to those last frames, it was killing me that they’d never have any way of seeing each other again. Their best laid plans give you the little bit of hope that it can happen, that there is a way. But at the same time, there’s so many variables at play. Life can interfere and make it nearly impossible to come to pass. Still, there’s a chance.

But the other thing about me is that I need absolutes. I don’t like uncertainty (hell, most of my anxieties can be traced back to not being able to cope with some uncertainty or another). I immediately put on the second film to find out what happened. We’ll save the sequel chat for later, but my actions were further proof that I need a level of certainty that life can’t often give. I’m thankful that this series of movies were able to.

Con Air

Last week I was Zoom-ing with some coworkers for our now virtual weekly social hour. We were talking about what movies we’d been watching, and he mentioned Con Air. I realized I didn’t own it. Now it’s kind of a running thing how insane my movie collection is, moreso now that you see it behind me on most video calls. “OMG you found the one movie I don’t have!” Of course now I had to fix it. So I did.

I swear I had seen this movie before. Or at least I assumed I had. It was always on TV, surely I caught it in pieces here and there, yeah? Not to mention the whole controversy over the theme song happened at the tail end of my country phase (I was team LeAnn), so I must have been extra motivated to watch this. Well if my surprise at basically every second watching was any indication, there’s no way I could have seen this before and forgotten every glorious moment. I have a new favorite movie. Sorry Aladdin. Okay not really, but this will not be the last time in the near future that I watch this.

So let’s set it up for the one theoretical reader that may not know this movie. Nicholas Cage is in the service for no reason other than to establish him as a really good guy who knows how to be violent if necessary. He gets into a bar fight and accidentally kills a dude, which sends him to prison for a crazy long time. Cage is finally granted parole, so he bums a ride on a plane with a bunch of criminals far more hardened than he is. The baddies end up hijacking the plane, and him being the really good guy who knows how to be violent if necessary, he takes it on himself to try and rescue the cops and few other good people on board. Basically Die Hard on a plane full of wannabe Hans Grubers. Best of all, it leans in hard to every cheesy action trope of the 90’s.

Now I generally refer to myself as an action movie girl, being my Daddy’s daughter and all. Recent years have mostly cooled me to the genre because I don’t like action for the sake of action. The films that make me love the genre are the ones that are gritty and dirty, grounded in practical effects: John Wick, Upgrade, any early Jason Statham. But there’s the rare movie that can transcend the genre and remind me why I love movies. Con Air was one of those. Yes. I’ll say it again. Con Air reminded me why I freaking love movies so dang much.

Every moment was bigger than the one before. But all the things I should have hated–the dumb one liners, the excessive effects (not too CGI thankfully), the overacting–added to its charm. I was running on so much adrenaline cheering every over the top the detail that just kept piling on as the film doubled down yet again on its excess.

So why did it work so well? I think because it wasn’t just one actor or director enacting their vision because they think they know better than everyone else (looking at you Michael Bay and Zack Snyder). Instead, every single person was committed 100%. Nicholas Cage, John Malcovich, John Cusack, Ving Rhames, Dave Chappell, Steve Buscemi. All of them were on board. No one was rolling their eyes internally. They were chewing the scenery with gusto. And you know all the people behind the camera were giving it their all too. Was the explosion guy phoning it in? Absolutely not! He was giving every bit of firepower he had. What about the writers who just kept piling it on? Well if we already had a plane full of baddies, where else could you crash land it but the Las Vegas strip. Go big or go home, people!!!

So yeah, it might seem strange for me to say that Con Air reinvigorated my love for movies, especially given how many boxes it ticks off for bad movie criteria. But ultimately, movies are meant to be fun. And you can’t get any more fun than this. Plus I’m sure Daddy was watching this with me, laughing and cheering from the great beyond. He really did raise me right.

Angels in the Outfield

I’ve got a lot of arbitrary rules for building the movie wall, mostly to keep my budget (marginally) in check. One thing I’ve been trying to do is replace anything I own on VHS with a DVD, but those have been slow going because of my rule that if I had the movie in my hands this second, would I wanna watch it? There’s few on that list that fit the criteria, even some that I really wouldn’t want anyways, but for completion I should get them someday. Angels had only been five bucks, but was sold out for a bit. When I saw it in stock, it immediately passed the rule for me. Yes, I would watch it immediately if it showed up on my doorstep.

I can’t remember the last time I’d seen it. 15+ years? It was never my top kids sports movie (that’s Mighty Ducks 2) but it was certainly in my rotation when my age was in single digits. Happy to report that it still holds up as a kids’ classic.

So the recap, you’ve got an itty bitty pre-3rd Rock Joseph Gordon-Levitt who is in the foster care system. Mom’s dead. Dad’s deadbeat. All he wants is for Dad to come take him to their forever home. Dad sarcastically says that’ll happen with the kid’s favorite baseball team, the currently in last place Angels, win the pennant. Kid of course doesn’t understand the sarcasm and thinks he truly means it, and prays for his team to win the season. His prayer is answered by Christopher Lloyd and his fellow angels who give the struggling players a little supernatural help. Meanwhile the kid and his little buddy also in the foster care system, befriend the cranky team coach played by Danny Glover, helping him manage his team based on when they see angels in the outfield. Or the infield, dugout or wherever they may be.

There’s some amazing people in this cast. When it was filmed, Brenda Fricker and Ben Johnson had already won Oscars, but so many cast members went on to bigger and better. JGL was only starting his career. Among the players, you had future Oscar winners Adrien Brody and Matthew Mcconaughey. I had a vague memory of Brody being in this, but no clue about Matthew. He’s the player that does the wings motion while standing in the outfield, getting swept up in the spirit of the whole crowd. I put that clip on my Insta stories, and I feel a lil something stirring inside me every time I played it.

Cause yeah, this movie still brings the feels. Movies about foster kids have been holding a special place in my heart the past few years (mostly since I’ve made the decision that when the time comes, that’s the way I wanna be a parent). While the kids mostly think about the silly comedy with the angels making the players do funny things, and while we all love an underdog sports story, the true purpose of this film is about the kids finding their family. It’s also about believing in yourself. Srsly, so many emotional moments. Danny Glover hanging out with the kids after a bad day or playing ball with all the neighborhood kids in the park. Everyone in the stands making angel wings to motivate Tony Danza. Really the whole last ten minutes.

There were a couple sequels made, but none of them can touch this one. I think I saw the football one, but I don’t remember it at all. I’d bet you anything they missed the entire point of what made this one great and just focused on the sport. This movie deserves to win the pennant and so much more

How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

If I haven’t explicitly said it, I think it should be clear that the one thing I’m missing most in this lockdown is going to the movies. That shouldn’t be hard to get. And I’ve posted about how I miss Disneyland. That one comes in waves for me. I’ll be mostly okay with it (saving all that money sure helps) and then something will make me really wanna go there. Yesterday it was a little stretch of highway in the morning sun that make me wanna just keep going south. But also yesterday (as of writing) I started missing something I didn’t think I would: Universal Studios.

In four years living in LA, I’ve had a Universal pass for half of that time. I generally have mixed feelings about the park. Their rides are pretty cool, but there’s only a handful of them and they’ve always got long lines. You can do everything in the park in less than a day, and you’ll likely spend half that time in hour long lines. And most of their rides all follow the same basic format. You watch something on a screen while you’re jostling around. Just depends on what you’re jostling in. All as opposed to Disney, where there’s so much to do, if something’s got a long line you skip it and hit something else. Maybe next time, the line will be shorter. Either way, there’s always more options and there’s always something new. A busy day at Universal can get frustrating. If you’re not feeling like waiting in a super long line to ride the exact same thing for the millionth time, there’s really not many other options. And yet, I still started missing it yesterday.

Actually earlier in the week I’d been watching a movie that was clearly filmed on the backlot. I’ll save the details for a quickpost later, but in that case it made an already bad movie worse, recognizing the set I’ve driven by in a tram so many times on the studio tour. That same tram tour drives by another set I was watching yesterday: Whoville. Or at least it did drive by. Word on the street is they’re taking Whoville out because it hasn’t been well maintained (another +1 for Disney, who keep on top of such things). But anyways, the main route of the tram does take you past a couple of Who houses that look like they’re made of foam. If the tour guide cares to talk about such things, they’ll tell you that the majority of the film was shot instead of 4 of their biggest sound stages. Then the tour continues and the very next thing you see is my favorite part: the Bates Motel. Yes, Norman Bates and the Grinch are back to back neighbors. Kinda wild.

Now another +1 for Disney is that they really do up their holidays pretty big, not just decor but changing up rides and seasonal characters and different food. Besides stringing some Christmas lights on things, Universal doesn’t do all that much, but they do have one thing going: Grinchmas. The first year I went for Grinchmas, when you got to Whoville on the tour, some Who’s came out of the house and sang with The Grinch. That was gone by the time I went two years later. So really all it is at this point is the center part of the park, the one thing that gets switched out seasonally, is redone for the holiday. There’s a few photo ops, a bunch of random Who’s wandering around and interacting, and a chance to meet Max and The Grinch.

I met the Grinch the first time. Was an hour long line and totally worth it. The second time, I didn’t wanna wait and was kinda bummed at my lack of patience. I got him to take a picture with Marty Martian, whom he referred to as my weird husband, before throwing him over his shoulder to get rid of him. I don’t even think I took a picture with the Who myself (regretting that now). Character interactions at Universal aren’t as good as Disney, but this one is the exception that proves the rule.

Anyways, this is a blog about movies, not about theme parks. I watched Jim Carrey’s Grinch movie last night. I’d previously dismissed it because for me it doesn’t top the old Boris Karloff cartoon. It still doesn’t, but I do appreciate the Jim Carrey-ness of this interpretation. I think part of what throws me is how much filler is added in to make this feature length. The new animated Bennedict Cumberbatch one had the same problem. Sometimes you just can’t improve on something that’s already great.