Saturday, February 24, 2018

Friendship and Music are Magic

It was just cloudy when I got up this morning. Had breakfast while watching episodes of Hello Kitty Furry Tale Theater. Tuxedo Sam is "Robin Penguin," who takes bubble gum from rich Princess Catnip and gives it back to the poor of Knotty-Pine...but he may be in over his head when he jousts with the Sheriff Grinder for the hand of Maid Kitty!

It's not easy being "Hello Mother Goose" when famous nursery rhyme objects go missing! Kitty has to follow a trail of purloined props to find out who the real perpetrator is.

"The Ugly Quackling" has Chip the Seal as the youngest and least-attractive baby in a family of ducks. He may not be as graceful as  his sisters and his mama Fangora, but he finally proves he's a lot more than he seems when he rescues them from Fox Grinder.

"Pinocchio Penguin" is Sam's second vehicle on this disc. Here, he's the wooden puppet who learns to be a real boy, with the help of Grandpa-petto, his friend Chip, and Kitty the Blue Fairy.

"Little Red Bunny Hood" takes My Melody out west, where she has to dodge the hungry Big Bad Wolf Grinder and rescue her grandmother from Belle Catnip.

It was still cloudy when I headed out to work. The rain started about an hour after I got in and continued off and on for a couple of hours. Maybe that's why we were off-and-on busy. I did help with the carts early-on, but they weren't really bad at that point. The bathrooms weren't, either. The manager told me to clean the baskets again...which would have been a lot easier if everyone in the store hadn't kept calling me up to put this item away or find that item. There were other baggers there at that point. Thankfully, things slowed down after break, to the point where I spent the rest of the afternoon doing returns and bagging.

It wasn't really raining when I went home, but it was still cloudy, damp, and no day to be lingering. I spent the rest of the evening working on my story. Poe implores Maz to release his brothers from the pass. They're jealous that he's got the water, the magical artifacts, and the girl...and even more so when he uses those magical objects to save two kingdoms that were attacked by Sorcerer Snoke's First Order Army. Poe gets all the glory, even when Benjamin kills Snoke.

Benjamin and Armitage are more than a little put out when the three stop at an inn for the night. They finally come up with a plan to discredit their brother, stealing his cup with the Water of Life and replacing it with a cup of dirty river water. They intend to threaten him into not revealing the truth to their mother.

Had dinner around 6:30. It was too late to make chili. I decided to try Chicken-Fried Turkey Steaks. Covered Turkey Salisbury Steaks with a light cornmeal and flour batter, then cooked them in canola oil. Had it with defrosted green beans and almonds and brown rice. Oh, yum. The batter was mildly crunchy and added just the right savory flavor.

Watched DuBarry Was a Lady while I ate. Red Skelton headlines this 1943 MGM musical as Louie, a hat-check boy in a fancy nighclub who wins a million dollars in a sweepstakes. He immediately buys everything he can...including the favors of May Daly (Lucile Ball), the nighclub's singer. She claims she wants to marry for money, but she really loves Alex (Gene Kelly), the dancer and emcee. Louie convinces his friend Charlie (Rags Ragland) to drug Alex's drink. He takes it instead and dreams himself into 18th century France, where he's King Louis XV, May is Madame DuBarry, Ginny the cigarette girl (Virginia O'Brian) is her lady-in-waiting, Alex is the peasant revolutionary known as the Black Arrow, and Charlie is the Dauphan (the king's son - even Louie questions that one).

It's too bad the first half of this movie is padded rather awkwardly with unnecessary numbers, including a salute to Esquire pinups and several songs from Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra. I actually like the main idea of the compare and contrast between the 40's nightclub and the swashbuckler. In some ways, it's almost like a more adult Wizard of Oz...only in this case, rather than being glad he's home, Louie's glad to let May marry the man she really wants.

Not the most necessary movie and probably a bit of a muddle if you don't know the era. If you're a fan of the cast, the 40's, or big band music, it's worth a look.

Finished out the night with My Little Pony: The Movie. (Or if you want to separate it from the 80's film, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic - The Movie.) Twilight Sparkle (Tara Strong) is nervous about being in charge of the Friendship Festival. She wants it to be perfect, especially since popular pony singer Songbird Serenade (Sia) is performing. The Festival becomes a moot point when Equestria is attacked by Tempest Shadow (Emily Blunt), a unicorn with a broken horn, who throws crystals over the princesses and transforms them into statues. The Mane 6 flee, searching for the Hippogriffs, apparently the only creatures that can save them. Along the way, they also befriend con-artist cat Capper (Taye Diggs) and a band of parrot pirates, each of whom help them along to their goal. Even when they arrive at their destination, the Queen of the Hippogriffs (Uzo Aduba) refuses to help them, fearing the reprisal of the Storm King (Liev Schreiber). When Twilight Sparkle makes a big mistake and is abandoned by the others, she has to figure out how to gain Tempest's trust...and how to prove to everyone just how potent the magic of friendship and working together can be.

Like the original 80's film, this didn't do well, with critics or audiences, when it came out last fall. On one hand, I really enjoyed it. I liked the action-packed story, the conflicted character of Tempest Shadow, and how they eventually convinced the Hippgriffs to come out of hiding. The colorful animation is a step above the show, and especially nice in Sequestria and during the trip with the pirate parrots.

However, I will go on to say that I do like this show and have seen quite a few episodes. If you haven't seen the show at all, or aren't into cutesy girl-oriented characters (they actually poke fun at this several times), this is not going to be your cup of apple cider. If you're a fan and have seen at least the last few seasons of the show, this is absolutely worth checking out for the animation and cast alone.

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