Living in a dome of protection,
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Living in a dome of protection,
Thou shalt not post more than once a day in this blog, we all adhere to this rule, and it would be appreciated if everyone continued to do so. Please add a featured image on the bottom right when you post.
I’ve been with a lot of women. And to be honest, they’ve had their ups and downs. Lady Gaga was fun, albeit a little weird. Jennifer Aniston really is an absolute sweetheart. Mila Kunis said kissing me was better than kissing Natalie Portman. Unfortunately, there have been the bad times. For example, I still haven’t gotten over Carly Simon writing that song about me.
I wish the girls at my school weren’t so uptight. A lot of them are nice to me, but nice in that way you’d be nice to someone’s retarded younger brother. Now you may be wondering why I’d even want to go out with these stuck up broads when I’ve been with some of the most beautiful women on the planet. The fact of the matter is if I’m going to be stuck somewhere, I might as well make the most of it. I tried asking a girl out recently:
“Hey Suzie, how would like the pleasure of going out with Robert Tolkien this Friday?”
“I have swimming practice.”
“Yeah, swimming is important. Can you believe that I – Robert Tolkien, me – almost earned a Silver medal in swimming? Maybe we could meet up and I could tell you more about it?”
“I told you I practice all the time – do you not listen to me, you creep?”
Suzie stormed away, but I am not one to be deterred. I approached another pretty woman: “Hey Anna, how do you feel about spending an evening with the most handsome, the most debonair, the most…?
“I just saw you ask out someone else!”
“So you know I’m available!”
Anna threw her milk in my face.
I always hated getting advice from people. I think most people are more obsessed with pretending they know some obscure trick to dupe women than they are with giving any kind of actual advice. I read one dumbass magazine claim that “If a woman shuffles her feet, exposes her wrist and tugs at her ear, that’s her way of saying she’s interested in you. However, if it’s a full moon, Friday the 13th and/or Harvey Keitel’s birthday, that’s her way of saying she’s not into you. Unless of course it’s a leap year: Then the pattern is flip flopped.”
I was talking to my best friend Simon about my problems with the fairer sex. He wasn’t particularly helpful:
“Robert, you know I don’t exactly have the best luck with women either.”
“I just don’t know what to do. I mean if these women aren’t impressed with the guy who got Gilligan off the island, what will impress them?”
“Yeah, you have a point,” Simon replied in a sarcastic tone. “Most of these women should be running for the guy who ran five laps around New Zealand.”
“Australia – I ran five laps around Australia.”
I could tell Simon was busting my chops. However, his snarky comment did enlighten a bulb above my head: If none of the girls were going to go out with me, I’d give myself away in a contest.
After school, I plastered fliers across the school advertising my contest – Win a Date with Robert Tolkien (No fat chicks). I also scattered entry forms – which included some common knowledge Robert Tolkien questions – into a few girls’ lockers (Yeah, I was kind of picky about who wound up with a form). I asked my closest confidant Simon to help me with this quest.
Pessimistic Simon had a question: “If girls won’t go out with you normally, what makes you think they’ll enter this contest.”
“Simon,” I replied. “If you make something sound important, people will believe it’s important.” It took us a few hours, but eventually Simon and I had entry forms in every locker I wanted.
I figured entry forms would be returned to me so quickly it would make my head spin. But instead I faced a bigger disappointment than when LeBron personally told me he wouldn’t leave Ohio. I walked up to school and found a trashcan overflowing entry forms. It didn’t appear a single one had even been filled out. Did a teacher throw them out? Were girls so intimidated by my awe-inspiring presence that they just tossed them? Who knew? But it was a moot point since nobody entered my contest.
Oh, and I found myself in the principal’s office.
The principal asked me, “Did you get permission to post those fliers?”
“No, but how can I have detention? Do you think the president advises himself?” Make that two Saturday detentions. (FYI, Simon received zero penalty. Robert Tolkien is not a snitch.)
Believe it or not, I did get one of the applications back. I was at my locker, and I heard someone call “Hey stupid!” Someone tossed a crumpled ball right at my head. I was unable to accept that nobody entered my contest so I decided to do a little investigation. I approached Rebecca Carlyle:
“Hey Becca, why didn’t you enter my contest?”
“Because you’re a freak!” Please – don’t spare my feelings. Tell me how you really feel.
Next was Sarah Connelly. I had to know why she didn’t respond. Her answer: “You know I’m seeing someone, right?” Yeah, keep comments like that in mind in a few years when you tell everyone “If you just asked me, I would’ve gone out with you.”
I approached Hannah D’arcy for her answer: “Robert, you know I’m gay right?” Excuses, excuses, excuses…
I eventually tried to put it out of my mind and continue with my life. After all, I’m a single successful guy. I don’t need a woman holding me back, right?
Later that week, I was leaving karate practice (I should be a multi-degree black belt by now, but I still have to go through the motions), and there she was. I was treating myself to a smoothie when I heard a familiar voice say “Hey Robert!”
I dropped my smoothie when I heard that. I turned around to face the bad news. With her clothes that looked like they were rejected by the Salvation Army, hair that I don’t was washed since the Bush administration, and an odor that would make men of lesser caliber faint – “Stinky” Carrie Reinhold. And she was holding a “Win a Date with Robert Tolkien” paper.
I might as well elaborate. Carrie Reinhold was hopelessly in love with yours truly. There were days I’d try to eat my lunch only for her to sidle up to me. (My request for a private lunch room were fruitless.) I’d open my locker in morning to find valentines and love letters from her.
I always tried to figure out ways to get her off my back, but when you’re as unbelievably handsome as I am, that’s a hard thing to do. Yeah, I know it’s kind of hypocritical to treat her this way when that’s how all the other girls treat me. But I’ve been electrocuted, taken a kick from Conor McGregor and someone once dropped a piano on me. I can handle being a called a hypocrite.
“Hello Carrie, it’s good to see you,” I said through gritted teeth. “What’s that you have in your hands?”
“You ought to know. It was your contest after all. Don’t you wanna make sure I got all the answers right?”
Ha-ha! She was right! I could use a technicality! I snatched up the sheet and looked over the questions. The paper had been ripped up and crumpled, but Carrie clearly taped it together and somehow filled out the whole thing:
1.) What’s my favorite movie? 1. Ferris Beuller’s Day Off 2. Big Fish 3. Catch Me if You Can 4. The Sting 5. Tangled – Damn, she somehow knew the top five. 2.) What’s my favorite band? Van Halen. Dammit, that’s two. 3.) What’s my record for running a mile? Five minutes – I really shouldn’t have posted that on my Facebook… There were others, but I think you understand the trend.
I breathed a sigh, and with the solemnity of a funeral announcement, I informed my classmate: “Carrie, you’ve won.”
“Oh my gosh! I’m so excited! I mean, I found that application in the trash and just thought I’d enter! I didn’t think I’d have a chance by I had to enter because I’ve wanted to go on a date with you for so long! And I’ve never won anything in my life…”
I tried to just nod and smile as Carrie blathered her victory screed for an eternity. But as it started to look like Carrie would fill a Stephen King-sized book with her ramblings, I firmly but politely interjected: “Carrie!” She snapped to attention like a Marine. “Why don’t we save the talk for Saturday?”
“Oh, I am so sorry. You’re right! We’ll see each other Saturday! You’re probably VERY busy! I’ll see you Saturday. We can do our talking then! I’m really looking forward to it!”
Carrie waved goodbye to me with an absolutely beaming smile. I waved back with a devilish, passive aggressive smile. I actually had zero plans of going on said date with Carrie. I figured I’d be able to just blow Carrie off and go on with my life like nothing happen. If Carrie asked me where I was, I’d tell her Tom Hanks was begging me for acting lessons again.
I went home and tried to watch Samantha’s City. It was the show starring Natalie Rowe, my favorite actress, the woman I had intentions of marrying one day. While I was trying to enjoy my show, I heard my mom talking on the phone: “No, Bobby hasn’t said anything about that… They are? That’s wonderful!”
I had a feeling I knew what Mom was talking about, but I brushed it off. Mom came into the living room and confirmed my suspicions. “Mom, could you please not bother me. Samantha’s City is on. This is my time with Natalie.”
Mom grabbed the remote and paused the show. “I just got off the phone with Mrs. Reinhold. She told me you and Carrie are going on a date on Saturday.” Ugh, I forgot Carrie’s mom was friends with my mom, and Mrs. Reinhold couldn’t wait to tell my mom that I was going out with her daughter (Then again, I can’t really blame her).
“Too bad, I’m not going.”
My sweet, loving mother soon became enraged: “Robert, Carrie is a sweet girl” (Vernacular for “she’s ugly”) “And you’re going to go out with her or I’m going to ground you until Doomsday!”
Normally, I’d take it like a man and just accept it, but I had just gotten off of being grounded when Mom found my fake I.D. Also, Mom busted me skipping school a few weeks back. Simon and I went to a local pizza place. Mom busted us and asked us, “Why aren’t you at school?”
I tried to turn things around and ask “Why aren’t YOU at school?” My ruse didn’t work and I was grounded. So I was NOT ready to go through that again.
But then again, anybody who thinks I can’t haggle doesn’t know Robert Tolkien. I still had some of my Christmas money left over: “Mom, I will give you $50 if you let me out of this!”
“You’re not gonna talk your way out of this, Robert!”
“Who’s talking? I’m bribing!” That wasn’t going to work. “Okay, I’m sorry I’m just now springing this on you, but Metallica has a concert this Saturday. Lars isn’t feeling that well and he needs me to fill in.”
“I don’t care!”
Reasoning with her was not going to work. I had to take more drastic measures. A few nights later, I presented my argument in a well-crafted Powerpoint presentation. The first slide featured yours truly: “Mom, this is me – Robert Tolkien, your son. Look at that chiseled jawline, that lion’s mane of hair.” I switched to a picture of Carrie. “Now this is Carrie Reinhold: do you realize I’d be dating waaaaaay below my station. Carrie smells like a zoo.”
I turned to my next slide which featured talk show sets and a picture of my one and only, Natalie Rowe: “Imagine a future where your son is on one of these talk shows. Instead of focusing on my many, many, many accomplishments, all they’ll want to talk about is this blemish of my date with Carrie.
“And this is the light of my life: Natalie Rowe, the woman I would die for, the woman I would kill for. As you can probably understand, I am quite concerned that a date with Carrie might taint any chances with this beautiful creature. What if she mistakes me and Carrie for an item?”
The next slide featured a picture of the White House: “Now, we both know I’ll probably reside here one day. Imagine a Tolkien presidency: An economy blossoming, unemployment at an all-time low, test scores at an all-time high. But the people still can’t get over one thing: Their president had a date with Carrie Reinhold!”
The next slide featured a scaling chart: “And as you can see from this slide I’m pretty sure going out with Carrie would lead to an increase in infant mortality.”
My mom sat in silence for a second. She breathed a sigh before saying someone stoically: “I’m not letting you out of this.”
Finally, I resorted to something I swore I would never do – I got on my knees and begged: “Please don’t make me go out with Carrie! Please! Please!” True, such behavior was beneath me, but it exemplified how badly I did not want to go on this date. This display naturally meant nothing to my mother.
“Bobby, you made your word. And you’re going to keep it. End of discussion.”
My mom can’t be bargained with. She can’t be reasoned with. She doesn’t feel pity or remorse or fear and she will not stop until I am miserable!
To be continued…
Last Saturday, I saw The Breadwinner. Not nearly as good as Tomm Moore’s other work (to be fair, he was only a producer and not the director this time, but his fingerprints were all over the finished product), mostly because the desolate setting doesn’t provide much in the way of compelling visuals and there were too many disparate storylines to juggle efficiently. Still, it was a sweet little movie about faith, stories, and the strength it takes merely to survive in such a hostile time and place.
Anyway, to repeat, I saw that movie on Saturday. It’s Wednesday of the next week and I haven’t even started my review for it. Why is that? Well, to be blunt, I just don’t have the time or energy for it. The cliched and boring explanation is to blame my work life and the holiday season, and while those excuses would be true, it’s not like those have ever stopped me before. Read more
I talked the other day about sitcom characters dressing up as Santa. But that’s not the only trope that persists in these shows. How about Christmas Carol episodes? Course we all know Charles Dickens immortal classic, and it has been redone a million times on TV and in movies. The funny thing is that as hard as they try these episode never quite get the point of the book. That’s because the character getting the Christmas Carol treatment isn’t a miser who hates people like Scrooge was. He or she is usually someone who is usually kind and loving, but are having a bad day.
On the eve of Thanksgiving, Anaheim based Brony Convention Equestria L.A. appears once again to present their final Convention in their run. With that in mind, I knew I had to go check it out once again as I reflect on all those memories this convention provided for me (as it was my very first convention of any kind) and earn some new ones in the process.
CHHRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIISSSTMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASS! (Cut to the echo of James’ proclamation echoing all throughout the galaxy before cutting to the USS Orville as everyone in the crew’s head perks up to hear it.)
Capt. Ed Mercer:
What the hell was that?!
Cmdr. Kelly Grayson:
Sounded like a shout of excited exuberance
Dr. Claire Finn:
That must be one hell of a set of lungs.
According from the distance we heard the shout of excited exuberance it came from the Planet Blixbixbricabrac.
Lt. Commander Bortus:
It sounded like the word Christmas.
Lt. Alara Kitan:
That’s an old earth holiday isn’t it?
Lt. Gordon Malloy:
Yep and for many people myself included, it was a day for festive clothing, drinking and making whoopie!
Lt. John LaMarr:
Let’s not forget awesome food and presents, parties as inhibitions fall away. (The sound of James’ Space & Time Device materialized inside the bridge of The Orville and everyone turns to see James)
And you guys forgot the TV Specials and movies! (Cut to clips of Holiday movies and specials as James does a voiceover)
The amazing movies, specials and tv episodes that are more prevalent this time. Last year I talked about twelve that everyone even The Nostalgia Critic had forgotten existed and since then a lot of people have found and rediscovered. (Cut to James physically as he wears a Santa hat.)
But one special on my list surprised people because they had barely heard of the people in the special. (Cut to clips of the Shows starring and Music Videos of S Club 7 as James does a voiceover and “S Club Party” plays in the foreground)
For the 95% of the people here in the states who missed the music of the late 1990’s and Early 2000’s there was a flood of pop music and one band that were underdogs who clawed tooth and nail to be as recognized as equals was a pop group known as the S Club 7. Their music was catchy and looking back they deserved to top the charts when Backstreet, Britney and NSYNC were topping the Billboard Charts plus the members had talent. There was Tina Barrett the best dancer and in my opinion, was one of the best vocalists in the band. Next up Hannah Spearitt she was the little spunky one that had boys becoming men and men fighting for her. Then there was Rachel Stevens the fashion plate and the second most used female vocalist in the band. Finally, the most used vocalist in the female equation of the band Jo O’Meara. She was the one who was tough as nails if you got on her bad side but there were moments where her sillier nature shined through. On the male side of the equation we have Bradley McIntosh basically the goofball and lovable lunkhead of the group and he was the primary male vocalist for the band. Next on the male side is Paul Cattermole he’s the guy that the ladies flocked to get away from but he’s a decent singer and his footwork is fine and the final member of the group Jon Lee he’s the guy that you think would attract the ladies and the guys if he didn’t act so stupid at times, though after the band split he came out and that’s fine all hope and positive power to him. While internationally they were successful musically, State side they couldn’t catch a break even if they had cut proof gloves to grab the shards. While the TV Series they did lasted four seasons the albums sold about as much as Brian Austin Green’s album. In 2003 the S Club 7 called it quits. But not before reaching number 10 on the Pop Singles charts here in a Pre-9/11 Stateside with “Never Had A Dream Come True”. Why am I giving you all this backstory? (Cut to James physically)
So that way you’ll have a better understanding why their Christmas Special wound up in the number four spot in my list of 12 little known Christmas Specials.
In 2015, when Rapsittie Street Kids was first brought back from obscurity by Lost Media Wiki, I reviewed it. Since then, tons of popular internet reviewers have taken a whack at the thing from The Nostalgia Critic to Phelous to The Mysterious Mr. Enter.
But some people on the internet said the special wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the horrific animation and that’s an opinion I can’t agree with.
I mean, yes, the horrendous animation is about 80-90% of the reason why this special is so awful and it’s so visually ugly that it’s almost hard to pay attention to anything else in the special. It’s almost why I don’t blame Doug Walker that almost all of his review’s complaints were “the animation is so freaking horrible”.
And, yes, MAYBE it could’ve been good. But, to make it good, they should’ve started from scratch because, as mind blowingly horrendous as the animation is, the movie has other problems.
First off the story is just too simplistic for an hour long special. I mean, this is the plot: girl is too snobby for her own good. Boy gives her gift and she makes fun of his gift and throws it away. She finds out his dead mother gave it to him and, feeling bad, she, along with two other kids, looks for it in the dumpster. They find it, she gives it back to the boy, and they apologize and become friends.
Does that really sound like something that should be an hour long? Probably not and, because they stretched it to an hour, the special is filled with lots and lots of filler to make the special longer than it needs to be.
I mean, the end is really half of the characters standing together and continuously repeating “Believe in Santa” for 5 minutes to drive home whatever message the creators wanted to send.
Or how about a pointless subplot with the girl’s friend where she questions whether Santa is real, which is weird because she looks like she’s 14. She probably should’ve stopped believing in Santa years ago.
Plus there are the musical numbers that feel forced in, the scenes that go on and on that feel like they could’ve been summed up in about 2 minutes, Ricky’s “raps”, and there was a lot of fat this special needed to cut out. It says something when the “plot” doesn’t really begin until about 15 minutes into a special that’s an hour long with commercials (and about 42 minutes without so imagine how long it took to get to the plot with commercials).
I mean, the special is so padded, there’s about 5-10 minutes AFTER the girl apologizes to the boy that’s spent on her best friend’s random family’s Christmas. And we spend time with them talking and opening gifts. Why…why did we need to see what their Christmas was like?
Y’know, if they had to stretch it to an hour, couldn’t they have focused on the girl’s development?
She’s another problem with this special and why I think, crappy animation or not, this special would’ve sucked: the girl is too unlikable and too poorly developed. When we see her, she’s shown as the most snobby, meanest, most unlikable person in the world. Even though the special knows she’s unlikable, the special goes so far with it that I end up not really caring whether she changes her ways or not. At no point in the first 20 minutes do they show she has ANY redeeming qualities whatsoever, even doing stuff that Draco Malfoy (well 11 year old Draco Malfoy at least) would probably roll his eyes at, and the fact that she literally sings about how great she thinks she is doesn’t help make her any more engaging.
And she’s shown as having so little in the way of any good things about her that, when she reads her love interest’s letter and feels bad for screaming at him and throwing his bear in the garbage because she finds out his dead Mom gave it to him, it feels out of character because she literally seems like the type of person who wouldn’t give a shit about that. Before that moment, there was no implication, none whatsoever, that she had any hidden heart of gold other than the main kid saying “she’s good inside”.
And, well, the special does have a great cast but, aside from Jodi Benson, whose vocal performance is okay, it kind’ve sounds like the actors are just reading off of a script while putting on a funny voice. Sure they are but they usually do a much better job of hiding that. I mean, Nancy Cartwright puts on her Ralph Wiggum voice in this special but in The Simpsons she doesn’t sound like she’s reading lines when he’s playing Ralph Wiggum yet in this special she does. Again, all these people are great but this is not anyone’s best work. Granted, from what I heard, this special had a really rushed production so I wouldn’t be surprised to find out the actors only had one take to do their lines.
But all this is why I can’t say that, as it stands, Rapsittie Street Kids would’ve been good. Even if you take away the horrifying animation, which is a large part on why the special sucks, it still has a padded script, an unlikable main character, and disappointing voice acting.
Yeah, MAYBE it could have been good but, like I said before, the only way you could make it good is by starting the whole thing all over again.
Hello & welcome back to our Christmas musical celebration here. I’ve decided to look at another musical adapted from a classic Christmas book. This time, we are entering the world of Dr. Seuss. One of Seuss’ most beloved works is How The Grinch Stole Christmas! from 1957. It was a big success and became even more popular after the 60’s TV special. And of course in 2000, Ron Howard directed Jim Carrey in a live action theaterical adaption and next year, Illumination will be releasing their animated take featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as The Grinch. Today, we are here to look at the musical adaption that has become a bit of a staple on Broadway to take young kids to see. Now, I’ll freely admit that I’ve not seen this production and I will only be looking at the music but this does seem to be one of the lesser known adaptations of Seuss’ work and that’s why I wanted to look at it.
Hello & welcome back to our Christmas Musical celebration here and today, we kick things off by looking at the 1970 musical, Scrooge. Obviously, this is an an adaption of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and I have to say that it’s one of the least memorable takes on the source that I’ve ever seen. And I’ve heard mixed things on Albert Finney’s Scrooge but after watching this, I was left bored. I’m only going to look at Scrooge and the ghosts because the other performances are so forgettable. This movie just drags on and on and it feels like it never gets to the point that it wants to make. It knows what A Christmas Carol is but it just goes through the motions and doesn’t invoke anything interesting in that regard.
Hello and welcome to To Boldly Go, where I weekly review every episode of Star Trek over the next few years.
TNG: Redemption (Parts I & II) (Season Four Finale/Season Five Opener)
Ha. Last week they were trying to kill Gowron, now they’re helping him. Granted last week’s episode is chronologically later, and no doubt this episode helps explain things, but that’s my crazy review decision for ya.
The two-parter isn’t anything fancy: The Romulans are trying to start a civil war with the Klingons, and Worf ends up leaving the Enterprise to help his side fight. It also turns out the Romulan planning the whole thing is the daughter of Tasha Yar, because reasons. Still, Picard and Data manage to expose the fact that the Romulans are helping the Klingons, forcing the Romulans to retreat and the good side to win. The end. Read more
For those just tuning in, I’ve already said my piece about The Room. In fact, I sat in at one of the infamous regular screenings at Cinema 21 and wrote a two–part blog entry on the experience. At the time, I would gladly have agreed that it was truly the best worst movie ever made, but that was a few years before my seven-part marathon of “so bad it’s good” cult classics. Read more