Friday, November 18, 2011
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Monday, August 8, 2011
Firstly, I get anxiety attacks from being on a train, let alone being on stage.
Secondly, I'm not personally funny. I think I'm funny secondhandedly. I can write a mean joke, but when it comes to delivery, I find it best to leave it to professionals. Or even class clowns. Or anyone who likes the attention. I'm more of a joke feeder, than a joke teller.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Anyone who hasn't had a chance to listen, Hollywood Babble-On is a podcast with Kevin Smith and Ralph Garman, and it is piss-funny.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Thursday, June 23, 2011
I managed to scar my child on the weekend.
In the hope of playing a new movie, rather than the thousandth repeat of Aladdin, Little Mermaid or Cinderella, I chose a different movie from our back catalogue, Over the Hedge.
While a wholly enjoyable romp through the backyards of suburbia in the company of small animals, it totally failed to maintain the interest of Little Miss Three. Mummy and Daddy ended up watching more of the movie than she did.
So when the credits finally rolled on that film, to the tune of another Ben Folds' ditty, I started thinking about what I could use to stave off the Disney classics collective for a few more hours.
What would be an enjoyable movie that would entrance the littlies for an hour or two, some flight of fancy, bright moving colours and a few bouts of singing and dancing?
How about 1971's classic "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"? Sure! You've got singing, dancing, candy, bright colours, chocolate, oompha loompas and crazy kids. What's not to like?
As it turns out… lots.
For a start, I ended up fast-forwarding through the whole section from the end of the Candyman song to the entering into the factory.
While I'm at it: the Candyman. Not only does the image of a grown man with a dopy grin, carefreely sprinkling small children with handfuls of lollies, appear a little creepy these days, it's just not good business sense. Here is his main target customer base and what is he doing? Doling out sweets like water, without any concern about payment and recouping of monies. It's just not a sound basis for the business whose main source of income is the purchase of sweets, usually by impressionable small children. Also, as I previously mentioned, creepy.
Thankfully, fast-forwarding gets us past the scene of Slugworth's giant face taking up the whole screen in moments. Which is great, because that face could freak me out, let alone a three year old.
So we get to the factory and everyone is signing contract and being surly, and Gene Wilder is being weird and otherworldly, then they climb into a cupboard and come out into the factory floor, where everything should turn around in terms of "Fun Factor", because who doesn't love a happy song about dreams and imagination and wishes, in a room that is completely edible?
OK, I almost had her back on that one. Until the "little boy fell in the water and went up the tube and got stuck in the pipe and couldn't get out and then went up the pipe and where did he go?"
Then I remembered that I had the same response when I first saw the movie as a kid. And I was just as perturbed.
Little Miss Three wouldn't let it go. She wanted to know where he went, and when the other characters moved off, she wanted to know if they were going to go and find him. Despite me assuring her that "He'll be fine, I'm sure they'll find him at the end.", she wouldn't let it go.
Fortunately our discussion about the location of Augustus Gloop kept her focus away from the manic boat ride, with Wonka reciting poetry with increasingly fevered glee.
Is that a chicken getting its head chopped off in the background?
So we get to the Invention Room, full of crazy contraptions and puffs of smoke and wonky bonky noises, and I think that maybe we're getting back on track...
…until the girl blows up like a ball and goes all blue and they roll her away to find the other boy who went up the pipe, don't they Daddy?
At this point it was decided that this was a Daddy movie, not a Little Miss Three movie, and she went off with Mummy to do... anything else.
But not before telling me that she would never watch That Daddy Movie ever again, as well as telling everyone to not watch That Daddy Movie, and That Daddy Movie should be thrown away.
Two hours later, she was still complaining about the fate of the boy that went up the pipe.
I foresee a long period of time before she comes back to any Wonka-related material.
In retrospect, I should have picked a different classic children's movie to entertain Little Miss Three.
Maybe next time, I'll go for The Wizard of Oz.
Monday, June 20, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
I've been a big fan of the Disney Parks for many years, and I took my wife to Disneyland for her first visit on our honeymoon, so obviously it holds a special place in our hearts.
That said, I was very disappointed by your coverage of Disneyland in the March 24 show.
The two incredibly brief segments on the park did nothing to sell the magic of this particular park. Sure, you had the presenters getting their photos with Mickey and spinning the tea cups, but so have the other thousand travel pieces done about Disneyland over the years.
Indeed, a viewer in Australia who has never been to Disneyland would simply think, "It's just walking-around characters and kiddy rides and junk food. Just like Movie World, or Dreamworld, except a lot further away."
I doubt that's what the California Travel and Tourism Commission would want to hear.
The intrinsic magic of Disneyland is the thought that has gone into the minor details, as well as the major set pieces. For every awesomely themed ride (like the Indiana Jones ride), there are small touches that a lot of people don't notice, but add to the experience of being at The Happiest Place on Earth (for example, gum isn't sold at Disneyland, so little chance of getting a shoe-full of sticky stuff).
For example, here's a quick list of ten points that would have made a bigger impression on someone who has never been, or never taken their family, to Disneyland.
1. On first entering the park, the entrance is designed like a movie premiere. You enter the park through one of two tunnels, walking on red concrete (ie, the red carpet), past billboards for rides (ie, coming attractions), before arriving in Main Street USA. And what's the first thing you smell when you arrive? Popcorn.
From there, the windows along Main Street display the names of people who were instrumental in the creation of Disneyland, like the credits of a movie.
And who has the last credit? Walt Disney, of course.
2. If it's your first visit, go to the Town Hall and receive your "First Visit" sticker. Then for the rest of the day, you can receive special treats and treatments from the Cast Members, the occasional free item or escorting to the front of the line.
This is also the same if it's your birthday, anniversary and honeymoon.
3. A great way to get a view of the whole park is to take the train, which circles the park. Walt Disney loved trains, to the point of having his own train setup in his backyard. The train leaves the Main Street station and travels through all the lands, stopping in New Orleans Square, Toon Town and Tomorrowland, so you can get on and off as you please.
Another effect of having the train running around the park on a raised berm is that once you're in the park, you no longer see the outside world, adding to the immersive experience.
4. While a day at Disneyland can be chaotic, loud and frenetically colourful, there's the occasional spot of peace and quiet. For example, the Court of Angels in New Orleans Square, or the Wishing Well and fountain in front of the Castle. But more importantly, there's a spot of peace and quiet for babies. The Baby Care room is available for parents to feed, change and comfort their smallest children, an oasis from the noise and bustling activity.
5. You will see a lot of Mickey Mouse heads during your visit to Disneyland, but some aren't as easy to spot as others. Known as "Hidden Mickeys", these are little flourishes added by the park's designers and creators. And they can be anywhere: on the rides or in the queues, in the shops, or even just out on the street.
6. If you have a multi-day ticket, or stay at the Disney hotels, you will get an Extra Magic Hour, which means you can get in an hour earlier than the general public on certain days, which means you can get an hour of rides in, then sit down for a leisurely breakfast while other people are still coming through the turnstiles.
7. If you've seen the fireworks over the castle from Main Street, surely it doesn't get any better than that? Well maybe not, but for a different experience, try getting a possie in front of it's a small world. Along with the fireworks, you'll also get to watch an accompanying visual presentation displayed across the front of the ride's facade.
8. A lot of work goes into making each of the lands inside Disneyland its own closed environment, but of course, there's gonna be the need to link each land to its neighbours. The designers of the park put a lot of time and effort into making these transitions as smooth as possible, so next time you move from, for example Frontierland to Fantasyland, notice how the environment changes, from the footpath surfacing, building designs, trees and shrubs, and even the background music.
9. Sure, there's a plethora of junk food: popcorn, fairy floss, turkey legs the size of your head. That's great for the kids, but sometimes, you need something a bit classier. Why not go on a ride and grab some food? OK, maybe not quite, but The Blue Bayou offers the next best thing. Once you enter the restaurant, you've arrived at a southern style plantation from the turn of the century (or possibly earlier). Anytime of the day, it's just after dusk in here, and your seat on the patio overlooks the swamps of Louisiana. And who is that floating past on a regular basis? Boatfuls of people just about to drop down a waterfall and experience Pirates of the Caribbean. You've become a part of their ride experience, so watch your manners at the table.
10. The Jungle Cruise is a favourite for a lot of people, and it's one of the original rides from Opening Day 1955. A ride during the day is a lot of fun, but for a different experience, try jumping aboard after dark. The same applies for other outdoor rides, such as Big Thunder Mountain.
That's just ten points of interest that differentiate Disneyland from other theme parks. I think these aspects would be a much better selling point for Disneyland than the standard "let's get a photograph of us gurning with Disney characters" and "look, we're going to vomit in the tea cups" footage.
We enjoy watching Getaway and having a bit of a dream about the places we could go, but on this occasion, I think you dropped the ball. It was much like having a five minute segment on Paris saying "Look, we're up on the Eiffel Tower. Now, we're eating baguettes and wearing striped shirts. Eww snails!"
(posted here because the Getaway site doesn't like feedback over 1000 characters, or containing links. And I just had to get it off my chest.)