Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Raining In My Heart

I started my morning with breakfast and a movie as rain ended outside. Since I did Hot Shots the other day, I figured I'd do its sequel now. Hot Shots Part Deux moves the spoofs from Top Gun to Rambo and the Gulf War. Topper Harley (Charlie Sheen) is recruited to rescue several teams of soldiers who were captured in Iraq, including his old captain (Richard Crenna). He's trying to escape the memories of his old girlfriend (Valerie Golino), who walked out on him. When she turns up on the mission, he has to figure out how he feels...and who in their group is trying to sabotage them. Meanwhile, President Benton (Lloyd Bridges) is working on his re-election bid. When even Topper's reported missing, he decides he has to go in there and help, too.

I'll be honest, I like this one a lot more than the original. The gags are sharper, the cracks at the bloody action movies of the 80's and 90's are hilarious, and the cast is better. Not to mention the "war is hell" gags feel a tad bit less dated than the "ace war pilot" jokes in the first.

If you can only get one Hot Shots film, make it this one. They're both fun, but this is a little bit sharper and better-written.

 Got a call from Mrs. Stahl as the movie was ending. Would I mind if we moved my counseling appointment from 2 to 3? I called Dad and Jodie. It was ok with them, so it was ok with me.

Spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon cleaning the kitchen and the bathroom. It wasn't too bad, but it did need to be done. The kitchen in particular was a bit grungy. I've spent a lot of time at home lately and have been eating here more often than not.

Ran The Phantom while cleaning. This is the 1996 adaptation of one of the earliest superheroes. The Phantom (Billy Zane), aka Kit Walker, just inherited his title from his late father. He's the latest in a long line of purple-clad heroes who operate off of an island in Southeast Asia. He's called into action when the ruthless Xander Drax (Treat Williams) gets his hands on three skulls that could allow him to rule the world. Thing is, he doesn't have all the skulls...and only the Phantom knows where the fourth one is...

There were a lot of stylish, 30's style superhero and action films that came out in the early-mid 90's, including Dick Tracy, The RocketeerThe Shadow, and this one. Shame none of them really caught on (though the first two eventually became cult favorites). While this one does have some problems (start with a stiff Zane, continue to some major plot holes), it also has some things I really like. Kristy Swanson as the adventurous Diana Palmer and Catherine Zeta-Jones as the head sky pirate Sala are a lot more interesting than most of the men around them. Some of the action set-pieces are a lot of fun, too, especially on the island. The movie has a nice Indiana Jones-esque feel that dovetails nicely with its mid-30's settling.

If you can find this one, it's worth a look for fans of old-style action, The Phantom comic strip, or Golden Age superheroes.

Did some Backyardigans while having a quick lunch. The kids' trip to "The Heart of the Jungle" is slightly less problematic. Uniqua is a scientist trying to find the home of a wormen (one of the Technicolor worm-like critters who appear on the show from time to time). Pablo, Austin, and Tyrone, all playing variations of Tarzan over the years, try to help her out. Uniqua, however, is a very modern scientist and has no patience for their pulp fiction nonsense...until she runs into something even science can't save her from.

Jodie and Dad picked me up at 2:30. Thankfully, by that point, the rain from earlier had long-vanished. We managed to find a parking spot a block from Mrs. Stahl's office and were there five minutes early. I really hate all of this. I know I'm supposed to think, not let my feelings take over...but what I feel like is an idiot and a failure. Yes, I know other people in the family are having problems, that Dad is a vet and gets money from the government for it, that Erica is disabled. I'll try to get the SSI, but only because I have no other options.

The trouble is...none of them understand how much this hurts. I spent a lot of my childhood being dragged to this doctor or that doctor, in the hope that someone, anyone, could tell my parents what was wrong with me. I was hoping that being an adult would mean leaving all that behind. I thought I'd be able to have a real, normal job, and live a real, normal life, and be a real, normal person, with no damn need for doctors. I want to slam the door shut on that part of my life and never open it ever again.

Of course not. Mrs. Stahl is adamant that there are no writing jobs open. Trouble is, that is what I do. I write. I don't really have too many other skills. I can't work in a bakery. I couldn't handle taking orders, and I'd eat the profits. All I wanted was to prove that I could be a real, normal person, with a good, solid job, someone who could take care of herself, with no need for all this silly fuss. I thought I could be someone who could live independently, who could actually earn a living. I'm not good enough for that. I should have known that's impossible for someone like me.

I spent the whole session crying and was miserable when we got out. Jodie and Dad took me out to the Kove Restaurant in Audubon for a snack to cheer me up. This is the huge beige stucco building about a block or so from Desserts by Design and Bob's music shop. It's a really beautiful in there, with lots of light wood (including the bar) and dark booths and a line of large windows around the front. There were four TVs over the bar. One showed Action News. Another showed a repeat of the Super Bowl. I mostly paid attention to the NHL Network.

Dad and Jodie had crab and corn chowder. Jodie also had a crab cake sandwich and fries. I'd already had lunch and wasn't that hungry. I had their mozzarella sticks...which were huge, shaped like triangles, and really more like mozzarella wedges. I also ate the shredded lettuce under it, and Jodie gave me some of her fries.

When they dropped me off, I decided I'd try to at least look over Tales of the Gold Wookie, one of the historical Star Wars AUs I started last year but never finished. The year is 1939. Leia and Luke Skylark, fresh-out-college archeologist and reporter respectively, are on their way to Coruscant, the capitol city of the fascist Empire, to reclaim the Swords of Alderaan from the nasty Govenor Tarkin. They're flying there with opportunistic pilot Harry Solomon, his hairy co-pilot Charel, their godmother's servants Artie and Clarence, and Benton Kenobi, Luke's reporter mentor. Benton tells them his boss, editor Miss Tano, has called ahead to Coruscant. Turns out she has friends in the Coruscant underground who'll be able to help them...

I was still full from the mozzarella wedges, so I settled for spinach, eggs, and cheese for dinner. Ran a couple more comedies while I ate. Troop Beverly Hills is an old childhood favorite. Phyllis Neffler (Shelly Long) joins her daughter's Wilderness Girls troop in the hope of bonding with her child while she works through a messy divorce. Shopping-obssessed Phyllis is hardly your typical den mother...but these girls, with their wide-brimmed hats and pastel clothes, aren't typical Wilderness Girls. Phyllis finally discovers how strong she can be, while teaching the girls that the most important part of being with a group is learning how to deal with your environment, whether you're living in the wilds, or the wilds of the city.

My Favorite Year takes us back to 1954, as comedy writer Benjy Stone (Mark Linn-Baker) recalls how he convinced head comedian King Kaiser (Joe Bologna) to let his long-time idol Allan Swann (Peter O'Toole) appear in a sketch he wrote. Swann, once an Errol Flynn-type swashbuckler, is now a lush who spends his time drinking and chasing women. Aware of his reputation, Kaiser assigns Benjy to keep an eye on him. This proves to be easier said than done. The young man follows Swann from Central Park to his mother's (Lainie Kazan) apartment in Brooklyn in a weekend filled with wild antics, dates with attractive young secretaries, and the realization that anyone can be a real hero...if they have people who believe they can.

Oh, and I created two more Pinterest pages tonight, for my years in college and afterwards and for another cartoon I like, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

My 2000's College Years
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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