Tuesday, March 03, 2020

The Ballad of the Cowboy and the Yeti

Started a gloomy but dry morning with breakfast before going into chores. Made the bed and got the bathroom cleaned. The bathtub really needed scrubbing. It's not usually this damp in the winter! We've had a lot more rainy weather than we normally would in February.

Watched Toy Story 4 while I worked. We find out how Bo Peep (Annie Potts) left Andy's room - she ended up in a box for the thrift shop. Woody (Tom Hanks) is devastated, but she says she's fine with moving along to another child. Years later, Woody is beginning to wonder about his own relationship with his new owner Bonnie (Madeline McGraw). She prefers using cowgirl Jessie (Joan Cusack) in play over him. Even so, he still tries to stop Forky (Tony Hale), a toy she made from a fork and pipe cleaners, from throwing himself away.

While on a family trip, he chases the agile spork and finally convinces him he's a toy...just as he sees Bo Peep's lamp in an antique shop. Turns out she and a group of loose toys who live at a local playground help other playthings find new humans. Gabby Gabby (Christina Hendricks) would love to find her previous owner, but her voice box is broken. She captures Forky and holds him ransom for Woody's voice box. While Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) enlists the aid of a pair of carnival toys to find Woody, Woody and Bo Peep are joined by lost toys Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves) and Giggles McDimples (Ally Maki) to rescue him.

I wasn't sure how Pixar could do another Toy Story film after the previous one ended beautifully, but they pulled it off. I can understand why it won Best Animated Film at this year's Oscars. Forky's existential crisis, Woody's loyalty to Bonnie, and Bo Peep's wish to help other toys are all handled with a great deal of sensitivity. There's some amazing animation too, especially at the carnival and antique shop. It was great to see Bo Peep again, and Hendricks and Reeves were great additions as the spiteful broken doll and the Evel Knevel-esque Canadian daredevil.

I do advise Pixar to leave the franchise here, at least as far as movies are concerned. They were lucky it worked out, but this is all the end the story needs. I kind of wish we could have seen more of the other characters, especially my favorite Jessie; not much of Buzz, either. At any rate, this is a wonderful ending (I hope) to a franchise that holds a lot of fond memories for me.

Went into Abominable as I finished cleaning and had lunch. Yi (Chloe Bennet) is a Chinese teenager living in Shanghai with her mother (Michelle Wong) and grandmother (Tsai Chin) in a small apartment. She's trying to make enough money to fulfill her late father's dream of traveling across China, but her many jobs mean she's never at home. One night, she find a young Yeti hiding in her favorite spot on the roof. She feeds it steamed buns, which it loves, and makes friends with it, naming him Everest. The helicopters pursuing him aren't nearly so friendly. The Yeti is owned by Mr. Burnish (Eddie Izzard), an animal lover who wants to prove the existence of Yetis. Despite her claims, Dr. Zola (Sarah Paulsen) is more interested in selling the creature than keeping it. Yi and Everest flee, joined by basketball-loving Peng (Albert Tsai) and his ultra-cool cousin Jin (Tenzing Norgay Trainor). Turns out Everest loves the violin Yi plays that connects her with her father...and it's that music and their road trip that helps to ultimately connect her with the boys and her new furry friend.

I'm surprised this one wasn't nominated for an Oscar, too. The road trip story and the villains are a bit cliched, but the relationship between the kids and their giant pal is truly touching. The animation is fabulous, too, especially when they're in the valleys of Tibet and flying through the clouds to the Himalayas. Violence and frank discussions of death and loss makes this for older kids and young teens interested in road trip stories or Asian cultures.

Headed out shortly after Abominable ended. It started to shower hard shortly after I left, and I arrived at PNC Bank quite damp. They were having problems with their internet, backing up a long line. I only wanted to pick up checks for the rent anyway. Stood in line twice, the second time to ask if I messed up checks too badly to use. (I didn't.)

The rain took a temporary leave of absence as I dodged traffic on Cuthbert and headed to Westmont. The Haddon Towship Library wasn't as busy as the bank had been. I once again shelved DVDs...and once again couldn't fit all the DVDs in the adult shelves again. I didn't take out anything. I still had With a Song In My Heart for review, and have really enjoyed exploring all the options on Roku.

Made a brief stop at Target on the way home. Their peanut butter is far cheaper than the Acme's, and I wanted to see if my food stamps came in yet. (They did.) Grabbed tortilla chips for dinner tonight and sponges, too.

It showered again as I headed into Oaklyn, and has continued on and off, sometimes heavily, for the rest of the night. Dropped the rent next-door, then spent the next hour doing research on other possible writing opportunities. Despite Mrs. Stahl's claims that the writing market is tapped out and no one's hiring, I found lots of general and movie and book review blogs who hire new writers. I'll do even more research this week. She must mean no one offline is hiring.

Did a little bit of fanfic writing after that. Marcia demands that Malade release Charles and Brett, but she has the upper hand. Charles is devastated when she orders her trolls to destroy his lute, and Bill's even more so when they go after his rose garden.

Broke for dinner at 7. Made Southwestern Black Bean Dip to go with those chips while watching With a Song In My Heart. I go further into this biography of courageous radio singer Jane Froman at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog.

With a Song In My Heart

And I heard from Willa tonight. She did get the rent, but now she wants the new rent agreement to be signed, too. I need to text or call Rose tomorrow and see what we should do and if she can deal with her.

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