Thursday, May 18, 2017

Cherry Hill Dreamin'

I started off a hot, hazy day with writing and reading. Lauren didn't get going until past 10. While she got organized, I ate banana-chocolate chip muffins and watched one of the Garfield travel specials. Garfield In the Rough takes the fat cat outdoors when Jon takes him and Odie camping. Garfield's not happy with being stuck in a tiny tent with those two to begin with, but things really take a scary turn when they hear about a panther loose in the area.

We headed off to Westmont around 11. It was a hot, sunny day, even hotter than yesterday, dry but hazy and blistering. I was so happy when we finally got into the Westmont Bagel Shop. It was only 11:30-quarter of 12 at that point, too early for lunch. We had the back dining area almost entirely to ourselves. Lauren had a BLT. I had scrambled eggs with hash browns and a toasted cranberry-whole wheat bagel with butter. We chatted and watched The Price Is Right while we ate.

The bus wasn't coming until 12:47, so we checked out a few more stores. Stopped in Dollar Tree first. I picked up a card for the baby shower on Thursday. Browsed in Tuesday Morning for a while, but didn't buy anything.

The bus finally arrived around 1. There was no traffic anywhere, and we had no trouble getting into Cherry Hill. I was even able to point out the Holiday Inn where the toy convention was back in March.

Explored the Cherry Hill Mall for a while when we got in. Didn't get anything at their small Game Stop. I bought a new brown floral blouse and a 3-pack of (thicker) socks at JC Penney's. Lauren bought three work blouses at Macy's and outfits for her bears at Build-a-Bear. We browsed in The Disney Store, but Lauren didn't see any t-shirts she wanted, and I'm holding off on more Star Wars merchandise until the new "Forces of Destiny" doll line debuts in August and we learn more about The Last Jedi.

It was too hot to do a lot of wandering around outside. Not to mention, by this point, it was past 4. We limited our venture across the pedestrian bridge to a short stop at Babies R Us. We wanted to get Rose's baby girl something unique...but we're not mothers. We don't have children and don't really know what they like or need. We ended up buying a Philadelphia Phillies-themed romper.

I did want to get to Target, but it was hot, we were sweaty, and Lauren was hungry. We ended up going back to the food court at the mall. Lauren bought two massive slices of pepperoni pizza and a soda from Lorenzo's Pizza. I settled for a Royal Reeces Brownie Blizzard from Dairy Queen. Yumm. Hearty and sweet, with lots of peanut butter swirl and brownie batter pieces. It even came in a Rocket Raccoon cup.

The two of us strolled around for a half-hour, just to do something...but I was dead tired. Not to mention, it was almost 5:30. The mall was starting to get much busier with local teens out of school and families avoiding the heat. We took an on-time 5:30 bus home. There was heavy traffic on Cuthbert Road and Haddon Avenue, but it moved fairly fast. We got off at the former Camden Restaurant Supply Store  on the White Horse Pike and strolled home from there.

Played Indiana Jones 2 for an hour after we got in while settling down and eating out of the fridge. Had fun crashing and bashing Russian cars in the "Motorcycle Mayhem" round. We unlocked a bunch of characters after that...among them Indy's former dean at the university, who was able to open up a bonus round.

Finished the night online while watching Revenge of the Sith. We open in the thick of the Clone Wars, with Obi-Wan (Ewan MacGregor), Anakin (Hayden Christensen), and Artoo involved in a daring mission to rescue Chancellor Palpatine (Ian MacDermid) from the nefarious Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). All is not well, however. Anakin desperately wants to become a Jedi Master, but the heads of the order, including Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and Yoda (voice of Frank Oz) don't think he's ready. That's far from his only problem. His wife Padme (Natalie Portman) is pregnant, and he has a nightmare about her dying. Palpatine claims that his becoming a Sith will allow him to gain the powers to keep her alive. Anakin's destructive choices have heartbreaking consequences for his best friend, his family, the Jedi Order...and ultimately, for himself.

This is my favorite of the prequel films, though it's still no masterpiece. The dialogue remains clunky, and it has the same problems with an over-reliance on then-cutting edge special effects as Attack of the Clones. Anakin turns far too quickly to the dark side! More exploration of what made him change his mind and less Clone Wars would have been nice.

On the other hand, Christensen and Portman do a little better here - their scene where Padme reveals that they're about to expand the family is especially touching. The duels between Palpatine and Yoda and Obi-Wan and Anakin in the finale are truly amazing (even if the latter does go on a bit too long). MacGregor's especially fun as the beleaguered Jedi teacher who doesn't understand why his best friend suddenly turned on him.

Not the most uplifting Star Wars movie or the best choice for families (there's a lot of violence, even for this franchise, and kids are among the dead in the end), but if you can only see one prequel film, see this one. The script's a bit better, the characters are more interesting, the plot isn't quite as complicated, and it has more bearing on what happens in the later movies.

Tomorrow is our second mall trip, this one to Moorestown. I want to get going a little earlier this time. We may be getting a few storms in the afternoon.

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