Saturday, January 13, 2018

Power of the Birds and Bears

I was glad to see sunshine streaming through my windows when I awoke this morning. There was a lot that I needed to get done, starting with breakfast. Ran two episodes of She-Ra while I ate. Adora's at "A Loss for Words" when the sorceress Shadow Weaver steals her voice and that of several other peasants who are planning to rebel. She gets help from Bow in getting it back. She wants to rescue her brother Prince Adam - aka He-Man - from the Fright Zone alone in "He Ain't Heavy," but Bow goes after her when an old man tells her about the Moon Mirror that can open portals to other dimensions.

Finally got out around 11 to run errands. I've had a couple of bags of donations in the back room for a long time. Brought the one with all the odds and ends I've cleared out or didn't need and the bag of Ever After High dolls to the thrift shop at the church in Audubon. Picked up the soundtrack for the 1968 Rex Harrison version of Dr. Doolittle and the Johnny Mathis album Swing Softly on LP, the DVDs for Brother Bear and The Inspector General (I can't find the copy of the latter Lauren sent me a while back), and a stuffed manatee.

Headed back to Oaklyn next to do some quick volunteering at the library. They were quiet as can be the entire time. In fact, it was just me and the librarian. I talked to her and took a look at the DVDs. Found the Julie Andrews vehicle Star on the for sale racks. Since there's a new Maze Runner film coming out soon, I took out the two movies in that series. (The Haddon Township Library doesn't have the first one.)

The House of Fun is three blocks from the Oaklyn Library on the White Horse Pike. Headed there next. They were surprisingly quiet for a Saturday afternoon. I think I may have seen one other person there besides the guy at the counter.

I actually made some pretty good finds there. The corner where the vintage stuffed animals had been kept had been better-organized, with most of them now in a bin. A stuffed My Little Pony, like the Bow Tie I found at a yard sale last year, lay on the top. She had a  rainbow-colored mane and tail and purple embroidered parasols against her bright pink fur. Unlike Bow-Tie, she came with her original tag, and her eyes were in perfect shape...but she was also quite dirty, and said tag looked like its previous owner had used it for a teething ring. The remains of the tag indicated that her name was Parasol, and that she loved sipping pink lemonade under the umbrella that gave her her name.

Also did well in the Star Wars department. I'd hoped to find a simple 12-inch Finn to go with my Rey and Poe. Found him hanging on the bottom shelves after some digging. Uncovered a fluffy 12-inch Chewbacca still in his box on a top shelf with other 12-inch Power of the Force collector's dolls.

I didn't get as lucky at the register. The poor kid had no idea what his boss had priced them. He called him 30 times on his cell phone while I waited. Good thing I'm generally a patient person...and his boss had episodes of Count Duckula running on their TV over the counter. I haven't seen the majority of that show in 30 years. I finally told the kid I'd give him 40 bucks for the lot. Chewie was a collector's item, he and Finn were still in their boxes, and Parasol had her tag.

Headed down West Clinton to Phillies Phatties for lunch. It was past 1 by that point, and they were fairly quiet as well. I saw a couple of people come in to pick up late lunches as I ate my slice of cheese, slice of mushroom, and sipped a Mountain Dew Ice (lemon-lime) soda while watching Perdue play Minnesota in college basketball. (Perdue eventually won 81-47.)

As soon as I got home, I pulled out Chewie and Finn. Finn was made out of the same stiff hard plastic as Cassian and Poe. Like Cassian, he was a fairly good representation of John Boyega, and unless I can find a better 12-inch doll along the line, I'll likely keep him. Chewie was held in with twist-ties and took a little longer to get out. Unlike the vinyl Power of the Force Luke, Lando, Leia, and Han, Chewie had wires under his thick fur that allowed him to hold poses. I had him give Han a "hug" to see what it could do. I don't know how well the wires will hold up over time, but I do know that I like his face better than the current Forces of Destiny Chewie, who looks too much like a monkey. I also like that he came with a real fabric pouch, though I wish his huge, thick vinyl bandoleer stayed on better.

Worked on writing for a little while after I got everything organized. Poe argues BB going into the factory alone. Not only is she only 8 years old, but she doesn't know the Factory well. Rose and Chewie go with her. Rose is small, strong, and knows the Factory. Just as they enter, they hear Sir Kylo Ren and his men outside. They're going to take the inventory and burn it in the incinerators! The girls know they have to do something, but they aren't sure what. Maybe the toy soldiers could help...

Headed out around 4:30 to watch the Eagles-Falcons playoffs game at Dad and Jodie's (after finally putting two of the LED lights that Linda Young sent on my bike). Jodie was stirring the ground beef for the tacos when I arrived. I also saw Mark, Vanessa, Jessa (Joe was working at Lincoln Financial Stadium), TJ and a friend of his, and Dana. (Rose couldn't come - Finley still has a cold.) We had the tacos around quarter after 5. There were mini-red velvet cupcakes and a small blue cake that said "Go Eagles!" for dessert.

The Eagles didn't play all that well during the first half. They did manage a touchdown that put them ahead 12-10 by halftime (though the kicker missed the extra score). By the 4th quarter, TJ and his friend were gone, and I was half-listening to the game and while playing a Paw Patrol game I've seen Khai play on Jodie's iPad. I finally got so tired of listening to Dad complain by the end of the 4th quarter, I left a little early. Besides, I badly needed a shower. (Dad had nothing to fuss over. The Falcons lost one last turnover that might have helped. In the end, the Eagles won 15-10 and advance to the NFC Championship game against whoever wins the Vikings-Saints game tomorrow.)

(Unfortunately, the Patriots ended up mauling the Titans 35-14 and also advanced. Yuck. Like they need to go again. I hope whomever wins the Jaguars-Steelers game flattens them.)

Finished out the night online after my shower, watching Brother Bear. This Disney action tale takes us to a native tribe in Canada shortly after the Ice Age. The middle of three brothers, Kenai (Joaquin Phoenix), has just received his "totem," his necklace representing what he needs to learn to become a man. Kenai is disgusted that he got a bear, who represents love. He doesn't think much of bears...and he's even less fond of them when one accidentally gets his older brother Sitka (D.B Sweeney) killed. He kills the bear in returned...but the Great Spirits of their tribe retaliate by turning him into a bear. The healer of his tribe (Joan Copeland) tells him he won't be changed back until he goes over the mountains to find "the great lights." Trouble is, he knows nothing about how to be an animal and is easy prey for traps and other bears. A chatty cub named Koda (Jeremy Suarez) ultimately agrees to take him to the lights..if he brings him to the salmon run with the other bears. Kenai doesn't want to, but he has no other way to get there. As they travel, they find themselves dodging Kenai's younger brother Denali (Jason Raize), who believes Kenai is the bear who killed his brothers. But when Kenai finally figures out who the bear was, he learns an important lesson about what it really means to be a brother and give love to others.

I actually find this Disney action comedy-drama to be underrated. I think this a very touching tale of what it means to be a sibling and have real compassion. The opening sequence in particular, as we see the brothers' daily lives, is interesting, fun, and well-handled. I'm also a big fan of the music by Phil Collins, especially "I'm On My Way" and the hit "Look Through Your Eyes." Some nice animation too, especially during the transformation sequences.

The big problems start once Kenai becomes a bear. The dialogue here is far too jokey and modern for a story set among primitive man and strains way too hard to be hip. While Koda didn't bother me (I mostly found him to be cute), many critics have sided with Kenai that he's a bit too talkative and annoying.

I love bears, so I'd probably like this under any circumstances. It's not the best movie of Disney's troubled early 2000's era, but it's not as bad as many critics claim, either. If you ever run into it, or have older kids who love action and animals and can handle the drama, it's definitely worth a look.

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