Monday, January 20, 2020

Happy MLK Day – We Shall Be Free!

Muppets Wiki

On Aug. 28, 1963, more than 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. He spoke aloud his vision of a world where people could walk hand-in-hand with each other in peace and harmony regardless of the race, where people would be judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” Two years later, the Civil Rights Act was passed, banning segregation and Jim Crow laws that had prevented such a world from existing.

Nearly 30 years later, on Aug. 31, 1992, Garth Brooks released his song, “We Shall Be Free.” He sang aloud his vision of a world where people could truly be free, where people could marry who they loved, where people would not want food, clothing, or shelter, and where people could freely express their views without fear of persecution or suppression. While not directly related to MLK’s speech, his song does convey a similar sense of optimism of a better world and better future.

So what better way to honor MLK’s birthday than by sharing a song that shares his same bold vision? The following performance was from Garth Brook’s apperance on Muppets Tonight (a sorely underrated and short-lived show!). It’s a very fun performance, if not very moving. The song states a very bold message. A better world is possible. As the lyrics go, we simply need to have a little faith and walk proud—for we shall be free!

To listen to a song about a better world, click READ MORE:

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Space Mountain 1977 Commercial


Exactly 25 years ago, on January 15, 1975, my favorite ride at the Magic Kingdom first opened. In honor of the attraction's 25th anniversary, here's a commercial about Space Disneyland!

To go out of this world with this retro commercial, click READ MORE:

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Throwback Thursday: Tron At The Parks


The end of 2019 saw the passing of Syd Mead, the concept designer who created the conceptual artwork for many sci-fi films such as Tron. Despite not doing well in the box office, the 1982 movie  gained cult movie status, so much so that a sequel was released nearly 30 years later, Tron: Legacy.

Since the film's initial release, Disney has featured elements of the movie into their parks. A proper attraction would not be built until more than 30 years later with the Lightcycle Coaster in Shanghai Disneyland in 2016. Before then, Disney has featured the movie throughout the parks.

To see how the World of Tron came to Disney Park, click READ MORE:

Friday, January 3, 2020

Fan Art Friday: #RoseTicoDeservedBetter

Rise of Skywalker was recently released in theaters. The last installment within the sequel trilogy saw the return of many characters. Well, many characters except one: Rose Tico. Despite having a prominent role within The Last Jedi, she unfortunately had her role in this movie downplayed with less than two minutes of overall screen time.

Making matters worse is how the actress, Kelly Marie Tran, was subjected to racist and sexist harassment, to the point where she was forced to leave social media. And Disney's response to this was to reward the angry racist fan boys by downplaying her role in the new movie? Way to reward bad behavior, guys! Not cool!

The good new is that Jon Chu, the director of Rich Crazy Asians, has offered to create a spinoff series starring her on Disney Plus. Whether Disney will accept this offer, only time will tell. But we can hope. Because #RoseTicoDeservedBetter! At the very least, here's this week's Fan Art Friday showcasing fan art of this most underrated and overhated character. Because she deserves better!

For some fan art of a very underrated and overhated character, click READ MORE:

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Throwback Thursday: R.I.P. Syd Mead (1933-2019)


Recently Syd Mead passed away at the age of 86. You may not know him, but if you enjoy sci-fi movies such as Star Trek, Blade Runner, and Tron, then you’ve seen some of his work. As a concept artist and illustrator, he designed art for companies like Ford and American Steel. Most importantly, he created concept art for movies, most notably sci-fi movies. Even later in his life, he would contribute to films such as Elysium and Tomorrowland. From the skylines in Blade Runner to the light cycles in Tron to even the main robot character in Short Circuit, if you’ve watched a sci-fi movie, chances are you’ve seen his art.

More than simply being a prolific artist, Mead was quite influential, popularizing the genre of “visual futurism.” Every concept art of his exhibits a very sleek and clean design that exemplifies, for lack of a better term, “a great big beautiful tomorrow.” Even when creating designs for bleak dystopias such as Blade Runner or Elysium, his artwork denotes a sense of hope and optimism for the future even within the darkest of timelines.

In a time when the fate of the world appears bleak due to climate change, economic instability, and rising authoritarianism, such optimism is needed now more than ever. That makes his recent death, especially before the turn of a new decade, an even greater loss. We need artists like him to inspire vision of a brighter better future. We need hope that, even when things look bad, that there’s always…well…a great big beautiful tomorrow just a dream away.

Below is a sample of some of his artwork. If you want to see more, visit his official website. These are just a few of my personal favorites.

To view some of the visual futurism of Syd Mead, click READ MORE:

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Magic Ears Dudebro Reviews: Rise Of Skywalker


As I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m not a hardcore Star Wars fan. I like Star Wars, but I don’t love it—or at least I’m not in love with it! For me, the franchise has simply been a series of entertaining sci-fi flicks. For others, though, Star Wars is much more than that. It’s an entire lifestyle for them, almost like a religion. In fact, many fans have even tried to make it an official religion. (No, I’m not kidding!) But for me, these films have simply been mindless entertainment and nothing more. As such, I never had any real expectations for the new movies other than for them to be good.

The recent slew of Star Wars movies have proven to be a mixed bag. Out of the four movies produced by Disney, only one has proven exceptional (The Last Jedi). The others have ranged from “fun buy painfully unoriginal” (The Force Awakens) to “boringly pretentious” (Rouge One) to “blatant fan pandering not worth watching” (Solo). With such an inconsistent level of quality, it was hard for me to have any real expectations for the latest movie. For all I knew, it could be great, bad, or anywhere in between.

Either way, Rise Of Skywalker has a lot riding on it. This movie is literally the end, not only of the new sequel trilogy, but pretty much the entire franchise as a whole—or at least for the time being until Disney needs to make more money (which is always!). This movie simply isn’t concluding the story created by J.J. Abrams for the new trilogy. It’s essentially wrapping up 40+ years of content within the overall franchise. As such, expectations are high for it to end with a big bang. But will this movie allow the Star Wars franchise to end with a big bang, or will it go out on a whimper?

To read how well this movie ends the Star Wars franchise, click READ MORE:

Friday, December 27, 2019

Fan Art Friday: Disney Stocking Stuffers (Part 4)

Christmas may be over, but the holiday season won't be until New Year's. And if you consider the 12 days of Christmas, the holiday itself isn't officially over until January 6. So here's some leftover random fan art for stocking stuffers. Enjoy!

To scavenge through the remaining stocking stuffers, click READ MORE:

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Throwback Thursday: Toy Story Burger King Xmas Commercial


Still recovering from the holidays. Don't have a substantial post this week. So here's a quickie. Toy Story 4 was released earlier this year. And it's Christmas--or rather, was Christmas! So how about an old Christmas commercial for Toy Story gifts at Burger King? But not without watching a Welch's juice commercial first.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Magic Ears Dudebro Reviews: Christmas Eve On Sesame Street

Muppets Wiki

Several years ago, I reviewed two Muppets Christmas specials: one bad (“It’s A Wonderful Muppet Christmas”), and one good (“A Muppet Family Christmas”). With Sesame Street celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, and with the recent passing of Carol Spinney, the actor who played Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, I wanted to review another Muppets special, this one taking place on the most famous street in the world: Sesame Street.

If you grew up after 1969 like me, chances are Sesame Street was one of the very first television shows you ever watched. For more than 50 years, this show taught children their ABCs and 123s, all without them even knowing that they were learning. This show broke revolutionary ground by revealing how education and entertainment could be seamlessly blended together, proving that television, especially public television, could be a worthwhile educational asset. The show has been running for more than 50 years, and Lord willing, it’ll run for 50 years more. Sesame Street has had many Christmas specials during its run. Perhaps its most famous is also it’s very first: "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street."

The special was first released in 1978, and experienced several re-runs in the 80s and 90s. As such, I had the opportunity to watch it growing up. However, as the special was released 11 years before I was born, it portrayed a vastly different Sesame Street than I was initially familiar with. Many familiar Muppet characters like Elmo were absent (as they wouldn’t be introduced until years later), all of the human characters were much younger, the street setting looked different with a much grungier (and almost dirtier) look, and to top off the uncanniness, Mr. Hooper actually existed.

Yes, I was born in 1987, a good five years after the death of the character for whom Mr. Hooper’s Store was named after. Growing up, I always wondered who Mr. Hooper was. After all, if there was a Mr. Hooper’s Store, certainly there had to be a Mr. Hooper. The absence of such an eponymous character always confused me, and actually getting to see him in this special proved quite uncanny. It wouldn’t be until years later that I learned his actor passed away long before my time, and how his death managed to become the subject of one of the most influential Sesame Street episodes.

With the special showing a vastly different Sesame Street than I was familiar with, watching it as a little kid always proved to be a jarring experience. I enjoyed it, to be sure, but the stark contrast from the show I was growing up with made watching the special feel uncanny. I can’t say it’s one of my favorite specials. It certainly isn’t a Christmas classic like "A Charlie Brown Christmas" or "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."

And yet, for some reason, I keep coming back to this special time and again every Christmas. But why? What is it about this special that continues to intrigue me? What makes "Christmas on Sesame Street" worth watching and re-watching time and again?

To learn more about this special Sesame Street Christmas special, click READ MORE: