Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Movie Squad

Began a sunny morning with breakfast, and then getting things done around the apartment. I made the bed. I baked Norsk Apple Muffins. I went through the papers on top of my printer. I tore out articles from the Last Jedi issue of Vanity Fair. Found the list of possible jobs and things I can do to make money that I wrote up a few years ago for counseling.

Watched Monster Squad while I worked. Sean (Andre Gower) is a normal kid in Louisiana who loves monster movies. He's thrilled when he's given the diary of vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Jack Gwillim), but isn't so happy when it's in German. He and his friend Patrick (Robby Kiger), along with a plump local boy known only as "Fat Kid" (Brent Chalem), drum up enough courage to bring the diary to a spooky older German man (Leonard Cimino). He tells them of an amulet that can fling the monsters into limbo. Meanwhile, Dracula (Duncan Regeher) rounds up an army made of Unversal's finest...except for Frankenstein, who befriend's Sean's five-year-old sister Phoebe (Ashley Bank). The group manages to get their hands on the amulet, and now must have a virgin read an incantation at midnight to open Limbo. They nominate Patrick's older sister (Lisa Fuller), whom cool older kid Rudy (Ryan Lambert) has been watching undress through a window. Dracula, however, is ready for them...and in this movie, he's not messing around.

I was surprised at how much I liked this. Despite being a favorite of many guys my age who grew up with it on cable, this is the first time I ever saw it. I probably avoided it because I'm not a horror fan. It's a lot of fun, sort of like The Goonies crossed with Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, or a film version of Stranger Things. The kids do pretty well as the ones caught up in the action; also liked Regeher as one of the best cinematic Draculas on record and Stephan Macht as Sean and Phoebe's cop dad. The monster makeup is excellent, especially the Werewolf and Creature From the Black Lagoon.

Major warning that, despite featuring kids and amulets and lines like "Wolfman has nards," this is still a horror movie at heart. There is some blood, a lot of shooting, and Dracula does a lot more damage than in most versions of his story, including destroying the kids' clubhouse and attacking Pheobe in the finale. Also, I don't think the movie ever quite decided what it wants to be. One minute, it's a goofy kid comedy; the next, it's in flat-out horror/supernatural turf. It was a flop in 1987, and I can kind of understand why audiences then were confused.

Not for little guys Phoebe's age, but if you have horror fans the ages of the Monster Squad (late elementary school-early teens) on up, they'll probably go "batty" for this one.

Switched to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze while cleaning up the baking mess and having lunch. When the Turtles see April O'Neal (Paige Turco) doing a story on a company that's cleaning up toxic waste, they do some research and discover that the "waste" is the mutagen, or "ooze," that created them. A revenge-minded Shredder (Francois Chou) kidnaps the professor who deleted the ooze (David Warner) and forces him to create mutants to fight for him. While the mutants he creates are stupid, they're also big enough to cause a lot of damage. With the help of pizza delivery kid and wanna-be martial artist Keno (Ernie Reyes, Jr.) and the professor, they have to figure out how to get the monsters to eat a counter-mutagen...and fast, before they destroy the city!

Concerns about violence in the first Turtles film caused the creators to cut back on the use of the weapons in the second...which didn't do much, as the film is still fairly violent. Most people think this is a little too goofy, but I love some of the lines. If you're a fan of the Turtles, especially their earlier incarnations, this is worth checking out.

Finally made it out around 12. First stop was the Oaklyn Library. They were mostly quiet, with just the librarian and a mom and her adorable curly-headed daughter there. I organized DVDs, used the bathroom, and headed out.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day for a ride up to Haddonfield, in the upper 50's, sunny, and windless. I cut through Newton Lake Park on my way, enjoying the black brush-strokes of the trees against the sparkling bottle green water.

Got into Collingswood around quarter of one. The pedals on my bike have been breaking and coming off for a while now. I left them at the bike shop to be replaced, then headed to CVS to buy cold medicine.

The kid who was working on my bike didn't have good news for me when I came back. He could replace the right one...but the left one was too bent to get off. I just let him fix the right one so I could be on my way.

I was still 5 minutes late for counseling. We mainly discussed my previous month and upcoming events. No month that began with the Eagles winning the Super Bowl could be called bad, and this has mostly been very good. I have money in the bank for the first time in a while. Work remains a pain - I'm still having problems with the managers and getting stressed.

I'm not sure how I'll do at Jesse and Dana's wedding. I haven't been to a wedding since I was 13, and I spent most of Dana's graduation messing around on my phone. I'll probably just sit there and people watch or play with my phone again.

I'd love to get out of the Acme, but I keep looking at job sites and panicking, because there's nothing listed for me. The jobs all want more experience or skills than I have. I'm not good at mulitasking or talking to people. I look them up...and I end up doing nothing. I'm so nervous, I don't even know where to begin.

At least I have some things to look forward to. There's that toy convention at the Cherry Hill Holiday Inn on Saturday. Lauren will be visiting the week before and after Memorial Day. There's the wedding too, and Easter, and several family birthdays (including my own).

It was warm enough for me to stop at Primo's Water Ice for the first time this year on the way home. A long line of kids just coming back from school gave me the chance to figure out what I wanted. I enjoyed a chocolate peanut butter water ice (that tasted faintly of cherry) outside. A lady praised my bike, which she insisted was retro. (It's actually pretty new, but I appreciated her praise.)

Riding home was hard. Part of the new pedal snapped shortly after I got on the bike! I couldn't ride too fast, for fear of damaging it further. I need to talk to the Collingswood Bike Share next Tuesday when they're open.

Went on the computer to do some writing when I got in. My next short fairy tale (and my last for a while) will be Luke and the Ginger Cat, based after the Grimm's Fairy Tale The Poor Miller's Boy and His Cat. Old Ben's three apprentices Han, Luke, and Lando set off to find a fine horse in order to win the stable. Luke gets lost in the woods and is rescued by an orange-furred tabby cat, who brings him to her castle to work as a servant.

Did another Rick Steves Europe episode as I finally made the Cincinatti Chili. I stayed in Germany, this time taking a ride down the Rhine and Mostal Rivers. While the castles that dot the rivers made great inspirations for upcoming stories, my favorite part was the charming medieval towns that dot the riverside.

Played some Lego Star Wars during dinner. Managed to finish the very long Return of the Jedi round "Speeder Showdown," including the red brick, all the pieces, and True Jedi. Didn't get too many pieces on Hoth Battle, but I did get the red brick and True Jedi.

My landlady showed up during dinner with the rent notice. What I didn't notice when I signed it was it had gone up again, to $665! Didn't we say last year that she couldn't raise the rent more than 50 dollars? Plus she wants half of the deposit money! There goes any idea of actually having tax return money leftover. Silly me. I thought I could actually save money.

Finished out the night with Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Based after a French comic book, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and his partner Laureline (Cara Delevinge) are galactic cops who are supposed to be retrieving a creature that can transform into anything and is the last of its kind. Valerian would rather flirt with Laureline, but she just wants him to show some kind of commitment. Enroute to their mission, Valerian dreams of the princess of a dying planet sending out a message to him. That's far from the only strange thing. The "converter" supposedly died 30 years before...and it may be the key to saving the race of "Pearls" from a second genocide.

Colorful and creative space opera is also one of the most complicated films I've seen in that genre. I didn't get half of what went on here. Also, while Clive Owen was all right as the kids' commander, Valerian and Laureline themselves seemed much too young to wield the kind of authority their characters were supposed to have and had all the chemistry of two rocks.

This movie was one of the bigger flops of the disappointing 2017 summer season. It did better overseas, where the comic books it's based after are better-known. I liked it but didn't love it; if you're into the comics or awesome special effects, it's worth seeing once.


Linda said...

Emma, didn't your sister Rose work out something with the landlady last year? If so, isn't all of this in writing? You should have it stated in the lease. If it's in the lease, then she can't raise the rent more than $50.

Emma said...

Yes and no. We did tell her that the law in New Jersey says she can't raise it more than 50...but Rose never got it in writing. She was going to write a letter to her, but still hasn't finished it. I didn't push it, because she's pregnant and has a baby, and I really don't want to start anything with these people.

Emma said...

She WAS pregnant...she has her daughter now, but she's a lawyer and I just didn't want to make more work for her.