Thursday, June 07, 2018

Miss Redmer and the Cleaning Day

Began a partly cloudy morning by moving things around a little. I didn't know if Charlie was going to start putting in the new bedroom window in today or tomorrow, so I moved the two shelves and the bench with the American Girl dolls out of the way. I figured I'd hold off on moving the hanging shelf with the Star Wars action figures until the last minute. If anything on that shelf moves even an inch, all the figures end up on the floor.

Watched Cats Don't Dance while eating breakfast and making "The Vermont" maple (or maple and honey - I don't have pure maple syrup) cookies. Danny (Scott Bakula) is a cat who has come to Hollywood in 1939 to become a musical star. Hollywood isn't interested in animals doing anything but acting like, well, animals. He tries to upstage bratty child star Darla Dimple (Ashley Peldon), who just sends her intimidating butler Max (the film's director Mark Dindal) after him. Most of the animal community doesn't understand his optimism, especially secretary Sawyer (Jasmine Guy). Danny has a dream, and he's determined to make that dream come true...and to prove that singing and dancing is for everyone, whether they have two feet or four.

Underrated treat from Warners is another casualty of the late 90's glut of animated musicals. It actually reminds me a bit of a 30's-set Zootopia and covers some of the same themes. I highly recommend checking it out in widescreen at the Warner Archives, if only for Darla Dimple, one of the most bizarre villains in animation history. Her number "Big and Loud" must be seen to be believed.

Charlie came around as the cookies were going in the oven. First of all, the new window will be going in tomorrow. Second, the fire code inspector will apparently be around on Saturday. He put a new battery in the fire alarm in the hall and headed out. I followed him as soon as the cookies were cooling, making sure to leave him a sandwich bag of cookies for him and his men.

Went for a walk around Oaklyn, stopping first at the library to return the DVDs and volunteer. They were pretty busy for them. A dad played with his adorable baby daughter in the children's section. Several folks helped the librarian on duty organize materials for their book sale next week. There were boxes of books and DVDs everywhere, all ready for purchase. I organized DVDs and took a quick look at the children's section after the dad and his baby left.

It was still a little cloudy when I headed back out, but the breeze felt wonderful, and it was a perfect mid-70's. The neighborhood is looking more summer than spring now. The trees are filled with lush green leaves and velvety lawns covered in clover. Gardens burst at the seams with roses, lilies, and peonies. A few have flowery banners out, but most are fine with the color on their lawns.

Had lunch as soon as I got in while watching the first couple of episodes on the Minnie & Daisy Happy Hearts set. The duo are hired by Captain Peterson to be directors for his big Valentine's Day cruise in "The Happiest Helpers Cruise." They organize a disco dance-off, but their best male dancer loses his partner. Her replacement is a shy janitor with some great moves who has to be coaxed onto the floor. Daisy experiences "Adventures In Buddysitting" when she chases what she thinks is one of the kids they're taking care of all over town. "The Big Broadcast" has them doing the announcing while Billy Beagle joins the guys in the off-road race. It looks like he may lose, until Minnie points out he's overthinking. Daisy and Minnie are excited to be assistants to Daisy's favorite movie star in "Lights! Camera! Help!" Being in a musical has always been her dream, but she doesn't sing well in front of the camera until Minnie and Daisy find a way to calm her nerves.

Switched to scrubbing the kitchen and the bathroom while listening to my new Bob Seager Greatest Hits and Simon & Garfunkel: Concert In Central Park CDs. The latter in particular has long been a favorite of mine - in fact, this features my favorite versions of "America," "Me & Julio," "Still Crazy After All These Years," plus a fun medley of "Kodachrome" and "Maybellene."

Worked on writing for a while after I finished the kitchen. Leia and the others have to literally fight their way through monstrous fish men up the stairs to Palpatine's tower rooms. Meanwhile, Leia asks Amilyn if she has any feelings left for Han. The answer is 'no.' The marriage was pre-ordained by their parents in order to bring the resources of their kingdoms together. Girlish Amilyn found Han to be too awkward, rough, and ungentlemanly and was quite happy when he left and the engagement was called off.

Finished off the Minnie and Daisy shorts as I got organized. Billy Beagle hires the girls to keep an eye on his Grandpa Beagle and make sure he gets his rest. Grandpa proves that you can still have fun and compete in extreme sports no matter what your age in "Grandpa Beagle's Day Out." They're "Artful Helpers" when they're hired to keep a priceless painting from falling into the hands of famous thief Commander Heist. "Cuckoo La-La" is Cukoo-Loca's cousin, a fashion designer in Paris. Despite her own sense of style, Cukoo-Loca feels she's not anywhere near as creative as her famous relative. She has to discover her creativity in a hurry when they accidentally destroy Cukoo La-La's new spring line. The girls are hoping Pluto will be "Figaro's New Friend" when they have to babysit the energetic pooch, but Figaro won't share his toys. Pluto proves what a good friend he is when he saves Figaro after a mishap in the local dog water park.

Did some Lego Indiana Jones while eating dinner. Second time proved to be the charm for the Ancient City bonus round. This time, I finished it in 22 minutes, not bad considering it took me over an hour to almost finish it last night. Finally out-ran the boulder and got the last piece in "The Lost Temple," completing Raiders of the Lost Ark. Got True Adventurer and one more piece in "Escape the Mines." I'm still having problems getting the last piece in "Battle on the Bridge," but the studs I made from that round allowed me to buy the x4 Extra.

Speaking of Indiana Jones, I ended my evening with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It's now 1957. Indy (Harrison Ford) is still finding artifacts and fighting bad guys, only now it's the Russian Communists who are after him. General Irrina Spalko (Cate Blanchett) wants him to find a crystal skull suspected of having out-of-this-world powers. Spalko isn't the only one with an interest in the skull. Mechanic Mutt Williams (Shia LaBouf) wants Indy to find his family friend Harold Oxley (John Hurt) and his mother...who turns out to be Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), Indy's old girlfriend. Now these three have to piece together their relationship, even as they dodge Spalko and her troops and figure out the real mystery behind the crystal skull.

I don't understand all the negativity around this movie, either. Granted, LaBouf is totally out of place as the Marlon Brando wanna-be and some of the action set pieces are kind of weird (like the thing with the refrigerator and the nuclear blast). Indy's buddy Mac is introduced so suddenly, it's hard to care about him the way we're supposed to. This movie also has the same problem with an over-reliance on then-cutting-edge CGI effects as the latter two Star Wars prequels and many action and sci-fi films of the 90's and 2000's.

On the other hand, there's a lot of action that does work (like the motorcycle chase in Connecticut and the finding of the skull in Peru), Blanchett is a solid villain, and it's great to see Marion again. Some people complain that the sci-fi plot is a little too out-there for Indy, but I don't think it's stranger than any of the other stories in the series and actually works quite well with the 50's Cold War setting. For all the fussing, this actually ended up being the second-biggest hit of 2008, coming in behind only the wildly popular The Dark Knight.

If you're a fan of Indy, ignore the critics and carping and give this one a look. Those who are new to Indy's swashbuckling world will want to back up and check out at least Raiders first.

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