Monday, February 16, 2015

Presidents' Day at Home

I slept so late, it was past 11 before I got to breakfast! I was up late again with Lauren last night. President's Day weekend is her last long weekend for three months (Easter, fun though it is, doesn't count), and we wanted to celebrate. I started a chilly, cloudy day with two winter and Valentine's themed Pink Panther specials I didn't get to on my hectic Saturday.

Pink takes part in the 1980 Olym-Pinks in Lake Placid as part of the US skiing team. He keeps giving his rival trouble while preparing for the games, and even afterwards. He doesn't have a much better Valentine's Day than I did in Pink At First Sight. He joins a messenger service to be able to earn money for flowers and cards, but runs into a jealous husband and a group of gangsters who aren't too happy with their Valentine's gifts.

Took down the Valentine's decorations while watching the cartoons. After my rather frustrating Valentine's Day, I didn't really want to leave them up for much longer. I'll put up the spring, Easter, and St. Patrick's Day things in about two or three weeks.

I didn't make it to the laundromat until quarter of 2. Needless to say, given this is a holiday, they were busy. Thankfully, I didn't have to wait for anything, and my load wasn't that big. I was in and out in less than an hour.

Spent the rest of the day puttering around the apartment and watching movies. I made the bed while running My Little Pony: The Movie. A nasty witch (Cloris Leachman) and her two rather incompetent daughters (Rhea Perlman and Madeline Khan) create a sticky substance that can destroy anything it comes across and sends it straight at the Ponies! Meanwhile, Baby Lickety-Split is upset when her teacher Buttons yells at her for ruining the Baby Ponies' recital and runs away. Spike the Dragon goes after her. A few of the Ponies have to look for them, while the rest, including Megan and her siblings Molly and Danny, search for the Flutter Ponies, the only creatures that can stop the witches' magic.

I've always liked this movie. We taped it off cable sometime in 1987 and watched it for years. There's a lot of really well-done action, and an interesting lesson that not everything that's ugly is always evil. Lickety Split and Spike discover a race of troll-like creatures who look scary but are really very sweet. The witches are hilarious. Khan and Perlman steal the movie wholesale with their voice work for the bickering sisters.

However, even as a kid, I realized this movie has more than a few problems that were probably the reason it flopped when it came out in 1986. The songs are dreadful, with sappy lyrics for Megan's cheer-up ballad and dull ones for the witches. The animation is worse, saddled with the same lousy continuity that plagues the Care Bears films. As hilarious as the witches are, not only are they more interesting than most of the Ponies, but you see a lot more of them, too. The movie feels really unbalanced. Buttons comes off as overly nasty to poor Lickety-Split today as well.

I still recommend this for anyone who grew up watching it on cable as I did, or for parents with young girls, especially ones who are already Pony fans.

Stayed in the 80s and with fantasy but moved to live-action for The Princess Bride. In this unusual comic fairy tale, beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright) is spirited away by Prince Humperdink (Chris Sarandon) to become his bride. Buttercup is truly in love with the farm boy (Cary Elwes) who died at sea...or so she thinks. A mysterious man in black rescuing her from three goofy henchmen is just the beginning of her adventures. Even after they flee, her unwanted fiancee catches up with them. The remaining henchmen change sides and go after them. In the end, she and Wesley learn that, with a lot of patience, teamwork, and a touch of miracles, true love really can conquer all.

This, too, was a failure in the theaters that finally found an audience when it turned up on cable - including my family. Everyone in my family can quote this movie line by line. We had a bad copy we taped off Showtime during a thunderstorm that we still watched constantly. While Mandy Patinkin stands out as the revenge-minded Spanish fencer with one of the most famous lines in movie history, the entire cast looks like they're having a great time. If you love fantasy, romance, or satire that's more subtle than most movie spoofs, you'll get as big a kick out of this one as we do.

I finally made the pasta and meatballs dinner I'd originally planned for Saturday during The Princess Bride. The chicken meatballs fell apart but weren't too bad. I left the pineapple upside-down cake in the oven for too long. Thankfully, it only burned a little and still tasted pretty good. The escarole with the pasta was a bit tough. I probably should have boiled it longer.

Finished the night with Xanadu as I ate. I jumped backwards to 1980 for another kind of fantasy. Sonny (Michael Beck) is tired of painting covers for records, but doesn't know what else to do with his talents. He's inspired by Kira (Olivia Newton-John) to go into business with Danny (Gene Kelly), a kindly old man who owns a construction company, and open an elaborate nightclub. Kira, however, is not what she seems....

I love this very campy tribute to creativity and old-style 40's and 50's musicals, but it's far from everyone's cup of Crush soda. The lack of a real script prior to shooting was obvious. The musical numbers (except for one crazy animated sequence by Don Bluth) are mostly well-done. If you can handle the cheese and enjoy other odd 80's guilty pleasures like The Pirate Movie, you might have as much fun with this one as me.

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