Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Flight To Adventure

Ugh. It was cloudy and gray when I awoke this morning. I chased off the gloom with two Three Stooges shorts during breakfast. Even the Stooges get the Cinderella treatment in two shorts about their attempts to enter high society. "Hoi Polloi" from 1936 has two professors making a bet that they can't turn three garbage men into gentlemen. Needless to say, given we're talking about the Three Stooges here, their introduction into society is disastrous..and quite memorable. We get more-or-less the same story in "Half-Wits Holiday," Curly's final short from 1947, only this time, the boys are house painters, and it ends with a hilarious pie fight.

Didn't get to heading out for a laundry run until around noon. Thankfully, I picked the right time to do so. They were quiet as can be. I only saw two other people the entire time I was there. I worked on story notes and listened to talk shows. Didn't have a big load, anyway. I was in and out in an hour.

When I got home, I put my laundry away fast, then ran a random Garfield special while eating a quick lunch. Garfield's Feline Fantasies take us into the depths of the fat cat's vast imagination and includes spoofs of everything from submarine movies to western showdowns. The second half of the film focuses on a James Bond/Indiana Jones riff, as Garfield and Odie imagine themselves seeking the fabled Banana of Bombay while dodging some extremely shady characters. But don't worry, Jon will be there to get them out of it in the end...they hope.

Started out to run errands around 2. First stop was a quick one at the CVS on the border of Collingswood and Oaklyn. I've been meaning to pick up brush picks for a while, but they're expensive and don't turn up everywhere. I also bought dish washing liquid on sale.

Despite the chilly and gloomy weather, Newton River Park was bustling when I made my way across. I must have hit the kids coming home from school. I dodged a lot of people out for strolls, fellow bike riders, and fisher-folk. The park itself wasn't exactly inspiring. It's all brown now, with brown brush-stroke trees leaning over dried sepia grass. At least the river's no longer frozen over.

The Haddon Township Library wasn't busy at all. I was a bit surprised, given the weather. There wasn't even much to do. I shelved the few DVDs, one CD, and a few audio books. They had teenagers doing the holds. I didn't take out movies this week - I have other things I need to focus on - but I did take out three books on job hunting in the current market, and one on finding your passion. (In my case, I'm pretty sure I know what my passions are. I just need help expressing them off-line and figuring out how they can lead to a real job.)

I got out so late, I just went straight home. When I arrived, I spent the next hour or so working on writing. Leia's not happy to be at the ball. First of all, she had to get Ashoka to make over her ball gown to be fancier and less kid-ish. Second, she's sure all the boys only care about her money, not her. She also envies Luke, who is already engaged to - and very much in love with - Duke Wedge of Corellia. She wonders if she'll ever find someone whom she'll be able to fall in love with and consider her equal.

When I got off, I realized I was craving cake. After dinner, I went through many recipes for chocolate cake, but none seemed right...until I looked at the back of the Hershey's Extra Dark Cocoa container. I ran Airplane while working on Extra Dark Chocolate Cake. This wacky parody of disaster films has ex-pilot Ted Stryker (Robert Hayes) pursuing his girlfriend Elaine (Julie Haggarty) onto the plane where she works. Then the entire crew gets sick with food poisoning, and ex-pilot Stryker finds himself having to land it with only the help of Elaine and the advice of a very dubious doctor (Leslie Nielson). Meanwhile, Stryker's ex-boss (Robert Stack) is helping the extremely agitated Mission Control (including Lloyd Bridges) talk Stryker down. And of course, there's the always entertaining Johnny (Stephan Stucker) who, quite unique.

I was inspired to do this one after seeing the spoof in Garfield's Feline Fantasies. I figured I needed the laughs, and I was right. This was the first real Zucker Brothers hit and solidified their laugh-a-minute style. It also gave Bridges and Nielson second careers as unlikely but much-loved deadpan comedians. I will add that a lot of the jokes are very much of their time, while others are scatological and don't always hit the mark, Also, a lot of people might not get the "comically serious" vibe this movie is going for.

I've always gotten a kick out of this one, even when I was a kid and didn't get three-fourths of the jokes. I don't know how kids would react to it nowadays, but for young teens on up (especially if they have any familiarity with disaster films or Nielson), this is one of the most popular spoofs ever and is still a lot of fun to watch.

Finished out the night with Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. We jump to the other half of the 80's for the last of the three original Indy films. After introducing Indy as a kid (River Phoenix), we skip ahead to 1939. The adult Indy (Harrison Ford) is convinced to pursue the Holy Grail after learning that his father (Sean Connery), a notable Grail scholar, has disappeared while seeking it. The Nazis are also now searching for the grail, as is the treacherous beauty Dr. Elsa Schnider (Alison Janney). Indy finds himself reconnecting with his father - and learning a bit about faith - when the duo pursue the Nazis into the Grail's final resting place.

This remains my personal favorite Indiana Jones film, if only because Connery and Ford play so beautifully off each other. They're so much fun to watch, they really make the movie. There's also some great action set pieces (including the tank chase and Indy and Professor Jones' escape from Germany) and an interesting, thoughtful plot.

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