Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Sun

Began a sunny, hazy morning with breakfast and Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation. The Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins were raised as cubs by True Heart Bear and Noble Heart Horse, who fight the evil Dark Heart. True Heart's first assignment is helping a trio of kids at a summer camp. Twins Dawn and John and their pal Christy have been constantly bullied all summer because they're terrible at sports. True Heart finds Dawn and John and helps them out right away...but Dark Heart finds Christy. He makes her into a champion athlete, able to more than compete with the others, but also expects her to help him capture the entire Care Family. It's Christy who finally teaches him that, as she says, "Good or bad, you're still a person."

While the first movie had the scarier villain, this one has the somewhat more interesting plot. I actually like the riff on Faust here. The conversation between Christy and Dark Heart in the lake on the differences between them was rather mature for this franchise. Some nice music, too, including the gorgeous (if superfluous) ballad in the finale, "Forever Young." As with the previous movie, it's not as cutesy as you might think, especially in the second half when Dark Heart is capturing everyone. I didn't notice as many continuity glitches with the animation on this one, either.

The fairly dark storyline and atmosphere makes this for slightly older Care Bears fans and adults who enjoyed the franchise as kids.

Work was, frankly, a bit of a pain. The manager from a few Sundays ago was actually in charge this time. She called me to do carts...right as I was leaving for break. I was almost an hour late getting it. When another bagger came in, instead of having him help me with the carts, she sent me to do the outside trash, which wasn't really that bad. Got stuck in the register when I should have been doing returns. Thankfully, by the time the other bagger and I did get to the three overflowing return carts, it had slowed down somewhat. Everyone probably wanted to come in before that once-in-a-lifetime eclipse today.

(And...I don't know if I saw it or not. I never got the darn glasses, so I couldn't look up. Besides, there was cloud cover off and on all day.)

I rushed home as quickly as possible after that. Spent the next few hours writing. The fishing boat the Millennium Falcon escapes into the harbor, just as Vader and his boys arrive. Vader gets angry at the guy who showed up too soon. He gives the guy next to him the second-in-command job, then calls two other gang members to help him "take care of the trash" at the gas station next-door.

Luke, meanwhile, is lost in the small town of Dagobah, on the marshes around Delaware Bay. The guy who gave him directions on the phone had really weird syntax and didn't seem to speak very good English. He's about to leave when a strange little man on the street offers him assistance...

Did another fourth season Moonlighting episode as I made Chicken Stir Fry for dinner with green peppers, eggplant, carrots, scallions, and canned chicken. Dave's still recovering from Maddie taking off for Chicago in "Take a Left at the Alter." Bert hopes that a case involving a bridegroom who ran out on his wedding day will help get his mind off of her.

Finished out the night online while watching The 'Burbs. We take another left into semi-horror in this 1989 black comedy. Ray (Tom Hanks) is a normal suburbanite trying to take a relaxing week's vacation at home with his sensible wife Carol (Carrie Fisher) and their son. He starts wondering about his new neighbors, the Klopeks, when he hears strange noises at night coming from their basement. His buddy Art (Rick Ducommum), having heard a few too many urban legends, is paranoid that these people are killers who have murdered their elderly neighbor and buried him in their back yard. Enthusiastic teen Ricky (Corey Feldman) and ex-solider Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) are all for checking them out. Ray resists at first, until they actually meet the Klopeks and see just how weird they are. He bundles the rest of the family off, then joins the guys and Ricky and his friends to find out just how many skeletons the Klopeks really have in their backyard.

Hoo boy, this was always a weird one. I thought it was weird even when it was running on cable in the early 90's. My major complaint now is that the ending comes off as a bit of a cop-out. I kind of wish they'd just ended with Ray going in the ambulance. Not every family that looks weird are serial killers. (They actually planned a couple of endings, including one where Ray ended up getting killed, and another where Carol and the cops stopped the doctor from killing him.)

On the other hand, if you like your humor toasty-dark, there's a lot of fun to be found here. Feldman's hilarious as the teenager who's just enjoying all the lunacy, and Bruce Dern's a riot as the solider who never quite left Army life behind. I love it when Art and Ray find what they think is their neighbor's bone. Their reactions are priceless. (Classic sitcom fans will want to look for a cameo by long-time radio and TV grump Gale Gordon as the neighbor whose disappearance causes a lot of the trouble.)

This is now considered to be something of a cult classic along with director Joe Dante's other beloved semi-horror film from the 80's, Gremlins. If you're into the cast or black comedy, it's worth checking out.

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