Thursday, April 06, 2023

Movie Mania

Got such a quick start this morning, I had time for breakfast and not a lot else. I wanted to catch the bus to Somerdale by 10:30. Considered stopping at Dollar General for a bottle of water, but finally opted to just hit the bus shelter in front of Oaklyn's City Hall. The bus was slightly late, nothing too horrible. There was no major traffic on the White Horse Pike, and I got off across from the WalMart around 11. 

Since I had time before the movie began, I stopped at the huge Dollar Tree two doors down from the theater to buy that bottle of water. I wasn't the only one who had that idea. I saw at least two families buying soda, candy, and big bags of popcorn. Followed the family back to Cinemark and bought my ticket for The Super Mario Bros Movie. Declined the concession stand, opting to just find my seat. Thankfully, considering what a maze that place is, it was the fourth theater you saw after you came in.

The theater was surprisingly busy for the 11:30 Thursday showing. My whole row in the center of the theater was almost full of young Mario fans and their parents, including the two families from Dollar Tree. At least they were generally well-behaved. I heard occasional talking over the movie, but no cell phones or kicking at seats or arguing, and as far as I could tell, no one left a mess, either. 

I'm not going to go into the plot due to spoilers, but...I loved it. I thought it was a blast. If nothing else, it confirms why Princess Peach has been my favorite Mario Universe character and my choice whenever she's playable for over 30 years. She almost literally kicked rear and can save herself just fine here, thank you, and Anya Taylor-Joy was adorable as her voice. I honestly don't know what the fuss was about Chris Pratt as Mario. Not only did he sound fine, but it's not like he hasn't dealt with weird worlds and strange creatures before. Charlie Day was even better as scaredy-cat Luigi, and Jack Black was a perfect love-besotted Bowser. 

The big thing here is the animation. Illumination really did their homework. It looks just like the games, from the power ups like the cat and raccoon suits to the glittering Rainbow Road, the most famous track from Mario Kart. Love all the details on everyone, from the Mario Brothers' jean overalls to every single scale visible on Bowser. 

Frankly, I think the harsh reviews from many critics are completely unwarranted. Ok, so the story isn't the strongest. Ok, so Pratt and Day don't go in for real Brooklyn accents. Yes, there's still some Italian stereotypes, and not everyone will get the references to other Nintendo games or older Mario titles. If you're a fan of the Mario games or the stars in question and are looking for something that's just plain fun to see with your kids over the Easter holiday weekend, you can do far worse than this. 

(Oh, and Nintendo...if you want to adapt any more of your properties to animation, that's-a ok by me. Since Seth Rogan had so much fun with Donkey Kong here, how about Donkey Kong Country next? I'd love to see him and Diddy Kong on jungle adventures. Or heck, The Legend of Zelda might be perfect for cinematic treatment, given its complex characters and story lines. Or if you want to go darker, maybe Metroid. The movies could use another take-charge action heroine, and they don't come more take-charge or complex than female bounty hunter Samus. Or if you want to catch the horror crowd, Castlevania might be interesting.) 

And it looks like it's going to be a banner movie summer. I've been hoping for another Guardians of the Galaxy movie; looks like Volume 3 will be out early next month. The Little Mermaid was never my favorite Disney movie to begin with, and I'm not holding my breath for another photo-realistic remake after Pinocchio didn't come out that well.  If I see it, it'll be to review it. Haven't been a big Transformers fan since I was a kid, so I can easily pass on Rise of the Beasts. Barbie looks like more of a goofy spoof than an actual attempt to make a movie around the doll. I'm far more interested in the sketchy, semi-stop-motion Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, if for no other reason than the trailer was hilarious, and the charming Pixar romance Elemental

It was too nice to go home right away after the movie ended. Since I'm planning on doing Red Robin for my birthday next week, I opted to pass on Applebee's, and after a brief peek at a busy GameStop, headed uphill to Super WalMart. 

Though I took a look at the seasonal section and the books and DVDs, I was really there to go grocery shopping. They have a massive grocery section that's five times the size of the one in the tiny Audubon WalMart. It took me forever, but I did manage to find the Sunlight Bakery granola bars on an end shelf and the Propel powder in with the drinks. Grabbed natural strawberry jam, too, and a bag of multi-colored carrots I'd never seen before. Treated myself to a small container of mini-macadamia-white-chocolate-chip cookies on the bakery clearance rack.

Considered having lunch at the Subway in WalMart, but you can get hoagies anywhere around here. I ended up at the Taco Bell on the White Horse Pike. Kept things simple with a small basic beef and veggie taco, a small beef burrito, and cinnamon churros. They were surprisingly busy for 2:30 in the afternoon, with lots of people sitting around tables and a fairly long line.

Went straight out to wait for the bus after I ate. The other man standing at the stop said they'd arrive around 3:13...and they actually came five minutes early. At least it was a nice day to stand around and wait for the bus. It was supposed to rain at 2...but it remained sunny, breezy, and way too warm for April, already into the lower 80's.

Had one more stop to make after the bus pulled into Oaklyn. I forgot to pick up rubber bands or headbands at WalMart. Dollar General didn't have head bands, but I did get rubber bands. Also grabbed yogurt, which I'd been reluctant to do at WalMart, since I wasn't going home right away.

Went straight upstairs and into writing when I got home. Fannie scolds the trio for not arriving quicker. She doesn't like having that gold around and is afraid it'll attract bandits. Richard turns on the charm, but she's not buying it. She just wants him to do his job.

Had dinner at 7 while watching Match Game Syndicated. Things get really wild in the first episode when a contestant who is a physical therapist ends up helping Patty Duke after she slams her knee on the desk. Duke sticks around for the next episode, joined by Donna Pescow, Bill Daily, and Joe Santos. She's the one who has to help the contestant with "Smash __" on the Head-to-Head.

Finished the night with Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert. I go further into this live 2018 version of the controversial Andrew Lloyd Webber retelling of Jesus' life and rebirth at my Musical Dreams Movie Reviews blog. 

(Oh, and we did finally get that storm...around 9:30, after I was long at home and online with Lauren.) 

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