Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Strange Kind of Family

Began a windy, cold day with records. I listened to the soundtrack from Bye, Bye Birdie while eating breakfast. This early 60's spoof of Elvis, rock, and the then-new teen culture was a big hit on Broadway, where it was one of the first musicals to address this very different and colorful music. Dick Van Dyke is the manager who comes up with the idea of his rock star getting "One Last Kiss" from a normal teen girl before joining the Army. Ann-Margaret is the girl he selects. Paul Lynde is her obnoxious father; Bobby Rydell is her real boyfriend. Janet Leigh is Van Dyke's secretary, who wishes he'd just forget the rock thing and marry her. Casting is the big problem here. While Van Dyke and Lynde had already done their duty in the Broadway version, Ann-Margaret is no one's idea of an innocent teenager, and Rydell's no geek, either. Leigh is totally at sea in a role that had been played by Chita Riviera on stage and would be played by Vanessa Williams on TV. Only get this if you're a huge fan of Ann-Margaret, Rydell, or the movie. Otherwise, you're better off with the original cast album.

Work was very busy all day. We are supposed to get an inch or two of snow over the next few days, but everyone's real concern is freezing temperatures tomorrow and later in the weekend. Once again, we didn't have nearly enough help to handle it all. We're still out of plastic bags, too. One of the managers had to get two boxes from another store! I was so happy when my relief was on time and I was able to get out quickly.

Spent the rest of the night watching the 2014 version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles while eating leftovers for dinner. The Turtles are still four teenage reptiles who live under the sewers of New York and were raised by Splinter, a kindly rat, to fight crime using ninja moves. April O'Neal (Megan Fox) is back to being a reporter. Surprisingly, Vernon Felton from the original animated show also makes an appearance, here as a good-natured camera geek with a crush on April. April sees a strange shadow attacking the Foot Clan that's been terrorizing New York. No one believes her, not even her boss Bernadette (a wasted Whoopi Goldberg). April's shocked when the vigilantes who saved her turn out to have a link to her past...and hold the key to finding out what the Foot Clan is really after.

This did well enough last August, but suffered from competition from Guardians of the Galaxy, which was released around the same time. I was surprised how much I ended up enjoying it. I liked how they linked April and the Turtles here, far more realistically than in previous incarnations. I also liked Vernon and his crush (maybe they can get Irma into the next one?). My biggest complaint by far is...we don't see enough of Shredder or the Foot Clan to really fear them or even care what they're doing. I wish we could have seen more of Shredder before the big fight in the end.

It's still pretty violent stuff, and as with the other Turtles movies, I recommend younger kids try their choice of cartoon first before coming to anything live-action. For older Turtles fans, even ones who loved the original films, this was surprisingly fun and is recommended.

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