Sunday, May 08, 2016

Mothers of Emotion

First of all, Happy Mother's Day to all mommies, including those whose children are four-legged or feathered!

Second, I kind of wish I hadn't started the day by oversleeping. I barely had the time to make Mini Chocolate Chip Pancakes for breakfast and listen to Gypsy. This musical about the ultimate show business mother is based after the real-life tale of "Mama" Rose, who was determined that her daughters Louise and especially June become vaudeville headliners. She couldn't have picked a worse time to push and shove them into it. This story takes place during the late 20's-early 30's, when vaudeville was dying. June and Louise do eventually become stage comedienne June Hovick and stripper and author Gypsy Rose Lee. Rose is devastated when her daughters don't make it in vaudeville, but she's even more angry when she realizes just how much of her life she gave up for them.

I barely made it to work on time. As it was, I ended up spending most of the day, including the first two and a half hours of my shift, outside rounding up carts. (I also did a few returns, including cleaning up after a broken jar of pickled hot peppers that fell out of one of the carts.) At least it was a nice day for it. The clouds were vanishing, even as I was riding to the Acme. By the time I was on my last hour (and my second go-around with the carts), the sun was out and it was windy as all heck. Despite the bedlam in the parking lot, it didn't seem all that busy inside until the noon rush hour and people started getting out of church. Thankfully, it seemed to be slowing down a bit as I bought skim milk (the only thing I forgot yesterday) and headed home.

Spent the rest of the afternoon at my place, working on my story and other ideas. Luke and Leia do get Yoda back to his place, with Cecil and Arthur's help. Luke does get Yoda to admit that yes, Vader is their father, and no, he didn't want them to know. Leia calls him out on this. Neither Skywalker likes the idea of Luke going after Vader. Luke doesn't want to kill anyone. Leia doesn't want him getting killed. Luke genuinely mourns Yoda when he passes. Leia's more upset for him (she only knew Yoda through what Luke told her).

And...yeah, I came up with yet another "I don't know when I'll get to it, but I like it" idea, and once again, it's Han/Leia based. (They've been on my mind lately - see also the "Little Merman" outline at the Story Ideas page on my blog.) It's going to be a grittier high fantasy tale, inspired by this Tumblr post. Leia is in search of her missing brother Luke, who was in training to be a wizard before their parents were killed and he was kidnapped. He's not the only one who has disappeared. The queen is dying. Her spoiled, vain younger son is taking over the throne. There was once an older son, Prince Hannel, but he vanished and is presumed dead. It's rumored that the younger prince is in league with a dark sorcerer who worked some enchantment on his lost elder sibling.

Leia finds a man imprisoned in a dungeon in a remote corner of the kingdom. The bedraggled man with the auburn hair had once worn fine robes, but now can neither speak, nor remember who he is. All Leia knows is he's insufferably stubborn, an excellent shot with a bow and arrow, and is always accompanied by one of the enormous Wookie wolves that never leaves his side. The two are eventually joined by an eccentric old wizard and a mysterious golden unicorn with sad blue eyes as they try to find out who the man is and restore order to the land.

Finished out my night with leftovers and Inside Out. In one of Pixar's most unique films, we meet the emotions of an 11-year-old girl named Riley. Up until now, Riley, a hockey-loving Minnesota native, has always been a pretty happy kid, mostly controlled by Joy (voice of Amy Pohelr). A move to San Francisco upends Riley's world and that of her emotions. Sadness (voice of Phyllis Smith) has always been on the back burner with little to do. When Joy tells her not to turn Riley's memories sad, she accidentally loses three of them. Joy and Sadness, with the help of Riley's former imaginary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind), have to return the memories to the main brain headquarters, before Riley's world crumbles...and she shuts out her emotions all together.

This was one of last year's biggest hits and Pixar's biggest hit and best-reviewed movie in years, and I can certainly see why. Pixar has personified everything from fish to toys, but this takes things to a whole other level, giving everyone at least one thing they can relate to. It's also one of the few full-length animated films I've seen that has no real antagonist. Riley's troubles, and her emotions' troubles in dealing with the changes around her, is the focus. I also like seeing the film acknowledge that not only can negative emotions be as useful as positive ones, they're even more so at times. It's those negative emotions that finally convince us to talk about our troubles, instead of keeping them in.

Like Wreck It Ralph from a few years ago, this is one movie that everyone in the family should be able to enjoy and relate to on some level. It's very highly recommended, especially for animation fans and for families with kids Riley's age who are just starting to learn how to deal with their own real-life emotions.

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