Friday, January 20, 2017

Magic In the Rain

It was raining when I awoke this morning...and that rain would continue in some capacity for most of the day. I cheered myself up with more Bowery Boys while I made the bed and did a few small chores around the apartment. Jungle Gents is one of the goofy mid-50's movies with Sach and Slip. Here, a larger-than-usual sinus pill somehow gives Sach the ability to smell diamonds. Slip senses an opportunity when a man offers to take them to a fabulous diamond mind in Africa. Things don't go well from there. Sach loses the map, they have a run-in with a lion and a hostile tribe, and there some members of their group are plotting sabotage. Meanwhile, Sach is more thrilled with the jungle maiden who has fallen in love with him.

Headed out to run a few errands around 12:30. The rain and the inauguration must have scared off most folks. The librarian was the only person at the Oaklyn Library the entire time I was there besides me. She didn't even have the TV on. I organized DVDs, shelved kids' books, and moved on.

Oh, and I took out a few movies. While the Oaklyn Library doesn't have the selection of indies and British movies that Haddon Township does, they not only get more new releases, they get them faster and usually have them around longer. I took out Captain America: Civil War and last year's all-female Ghostbusters, neither of which have turned up at Haddon Township yet. They also have the first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, which I haven't seen in years. (For some reason, Haddon Township has every Harry Potter movie but the first one.) Grabbed a Star Wars reference book as well.

Had a quick lunch at Phillies Phatties while I figured out my next move. I wanted to go to the grocery store, but not only was it coming down a bit harder, but the zipper had broken off my green L.L Bean jacket. Ordered my usual slice of mushroom and slice of cheese pizza with a can of Mountain Dew Pitch Black. The inauguration was just ending on PBS as I arrived. I heard part of it at home. I don't have cable and didn't technically watch it, but Charlie had it turned up so damn loud, they probably heard it half-way across Oaklyn.

The rain was not abating. I finally gave up and just headed home. Finished an episode of Get Smart I started before I left while I got organized. I ran "Run, Robot, Run" from the third season in honor of Dick Gautier, aka Hymie the Robot, who just recently passed away. Hymie is recruited to replace the "Free World" team in a major track meet when CHAOS drugs all the regular athletes.

Spent the rest of the evening writing. Han can't dance and keeps stepping on Leia's feet, but that doesn't matter to either of them. Han's happy to be there, with a girl who doesn't see him as a servant. Leia's happy to have met a man who doesn't see her as a prize. She even introduces him to her parents and her Aunt Ashoka. Han, in turn, introduces her to Lando. Jabba tries to interfere, but Ashoka and Obi-Wan head him off.

Han and Leia are kissing on a moonlit balcony when the clock tower strikes midnight. To Leia's surprise, Han leaps over the balcony railing and takes off, vanishing into the night. Unlike the original story, Obi-Wan does know where he lives. He promises to take the twins there the next morning. For one thing, Leia still has Han's navy jacket, the only clue he left behind to his real identity. He draped it on her shoulders when she got cold and forgot to take it with him.

Moved to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone while eating fish cakes and leftover green beans for dinner, and later while making Chocolate Chip Muffins. (Which I forgot the eggs for.) Harry Potter (Daniel Ratcliffe) is a fairly normal kid, living with his resentful and unloving aunt, uncle, and cousin...until one day, he gets a letter, and then another. It seems he's a wizard, the last remaining member of a beloved wizard family. Hagrid, a friendly giant (Robbie Coultrane), takes Harry to Hogwarts, a school of magic where young wizards train for their futures. Harry and his new friends Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) inadvertently stumble onto a mystery when they find a huge three-headed dog guarding something major on the forbidden third floor. The trio have to navigate through the mystery...and figure out their first year at Hogwarts...before they find themselves in major trouble.

On one hand, it's the details that's the thing here. Harry's colorful world, even while not being as detailed as the books, still stands out with little things like the floating candles or Ron's wizard chess. The kids had great chemistry from the get-go, and they're working with an outstanding cast of British character actors. Richard Harris is beloved old headmaster Dumbledore. Maggie Smith and Alan Rickman are among the professors.

However, this is not one of the series' better entries. The CGI hasn't dated well in spots (especially in the troll sequence), and the story had plot hole problems, even in the book. Those of you who are new to the series will want to see it anyway. This is one series you really have to watch in progression to understand anything about what's going on...but rest assured, it does get better later, as the kids get older and the stories become more complex.

Ended the night with The Naked Gun. Having enjoyed Airplane! the other day, I decided to hit the other half of the 80's and stick with the Zucker Brothers. Nielson is back, this time playing cop Lieutenant Frank Drebin. Drebin returns from a major case to discover that his partner (O.J Simpson) was brutally assaulted while checking out a major narcotics ring. Meanwhile, the mayor would prefer Drebin devoted his time to the visit of Queen Elizabeth to LA. Drebin finds himself falling in love with the secretary (Priscilla Prestley) of an industrialist (Ricardo Montalban) who may have connections with both the drug ring and a plot to eliminate the queen at a California Angels game.

A hilarious parody of cop movies and thrillers. My favorite sequence is at the ball game. You've never lived until you've heard Leslie Nielson (try to) sing. If you love spoofs, Nielson, or the Zuckers' joke-a-minute style, this one is a no-brainer. (And the two sequels, both of which I have, aren't bad either.)

(And the rain did finally end...around 5:30, too late for me to go anywhere else. I'll have to hold off on grocery shopping until tomorrow after work.)

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