Friday, November 27, 2015

Draw Dinovember Day 21 and "Jim Henson's Turkey Hollow"

Three out of four hawks like being in this painting.

 photo hawkpaint_zpssd5lvpdu.jpg

We'll round out our look at Thanksgiving specials with the very freshly premiered Lifetime Original Movie "Jim Henson's Turkey Hollow". Here's the trailer:

Based (in the sense that the setting is called Turkey Hollow and involves Creature Shop creatures and literally no other way at all) upon Henson's recently rediscovered "Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow" story, this sure is a Lifetime movie in which Creature Shop creatures show up, with all that implies.  As usual, my transcribed notes, for your amusement:

* - "Why am I even here?" - Ludacris
* - There have been a lot of insufferable kids in the specials we've seen this week but *daaaaaamn*...  I want to see both of these brats get messily eviscerated by turkeys or monsters or both.
* - I would like a Ghillie Suit for Christmas, though.  Oh, the fun I'd have...
* - "Hey, kids!  We know what the Internet is!" - Whoever wrote this
* - It takes 40 minutes for the monsters to show up and... I don't know if it's worth it.
* - Hey, take a photo of the monsters, you stupid kids!  The walking barfed-up hairballs are right in freaking front of you!
* - Take pictures of the Uncanny Valley pumpkins while you're at it!
* - Oh, FML, is this turning into a "science vs. just believing" thing? NO!!! photo ohnoes.gif
* -The stupid kids find a "Pikmin 2" tunnel that might lead to a Magical Land, and not only do they not take a picture of it, they don't show any interest in it at all.  I really hate these insufferable idiot kids.
* - Take a photo of the villain-guy's illegal turkey operation (Jiminy Cricket, look at what I just wrote; this f-ing movie) you stupid, stupid..... Oh, hey, they're actually taking pictures now.  Huh.
* - And then their one phone that the stupid kids brought with them in the ancient, sprawling, monster-infested forest overnight is stolen by the bad guys and stomped upon. Le sigh... photo lesigh.gif
* - The bad guys have locked the kids in their illegal turkey pen overnight, it's now the next morning, and JUST NOW they remember the sister is allergic to feathers.  (Screams and screams...)
* - Take a photo of the monsters roughing up the bad guys, you stupid kids!
* - "Auntie, you discovered a new species?  Why did you keep them a secret?  You could have been rich and famous!" - stupid kids
Yeah, like all those many and varied super-rich and famous biologists out there!  Household names living in solid gold mansions, the lot of them!  You know, like... I'll think of one, just give me a minute...
* - "Well, I kept them a secret because I wanted to keep some *Magic* in the world!" - Auntie
Auntie, if somebody runs over or shoots one of your monster friends because you never let anybody know that the forest really does have a unique species in it that the locals should be familiar with and whose forest home should be protected, I want you to know that it's going to be your fault.  Specifically your fault because of your "screw science; magic and mystery for life" bull.
(Damn, I just came up with a more interesting plot.  When does NaNoWriMo start?  Oh.  Well, maybe next year.)
* - Oh, and these Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow sing exactly one song in this 90-odd minutes of, to borrow a phrase, "Hashtag Boring".  And it's right before the end credits.

So overall, from these Thanksgiving specials, I have learned that Thanksgiving is super weird and often involves annoying furry creatures and insufferable stupid children.  Also something about Pilgrims, Indians, Turkeys, and food, I guess.  Seriously, though, I hope your holiday was and is awesome.  Will we be exploring weird Christmas specials next month?  We shall see...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Draw Dinovember Day 20 and "The Thanksgiving That Almost Wasn't (But Then Was)"

I hope people find Woodpeckers as cute as I do.
I hope everyone on my holiday gift list likes birds... Erm... photo erm.gif

 photo woodpaint_zpstcyhmcrm.jpg

This is the least-bad of the Thanksgiving specials I watched this week, so it gets to be posted about on the big day itself.  It's still not very good.

* - This opening sequence.  Ahaha,*damn*.  Kids, memorize these lyrics and sing them to your family for hours of fun.
* - That one little dance those folks were doing is... something.
* - Yup, this sure is a Hanna-Barbera cartoon about Thanksgiving.
* - The Native Americans make out a *little* bit better in this special than in the others we've watched so far, but, eh, don't get your hopes up.
* - We learn that the first Thanksgiving was almost cancelled because of two annoying kids.
* - The squirrel has to save the two annoying kids from being chased around by a wolf.  Why didn't he stop the two annoying kids from chasing the wolf pups around in the beginning?  After all, that's what started this whole mess.
* - What the hell sound was that bat making?
* - What the hell sound was *everything* making?

Seriously, though, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for all of you.  I mean that. cheesyheart photo blush.gif

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Draw Dinovember Day 19 and "The Great Turkey Caper"

More cute birds!

 photo nutpaint_zpsitjytgmk.jpg

It is time for us to deal with Buttons and Rusty.  I narrowly avoided having to tackle their Halloween episode earlier, but theirs is one of the only Thanksgiving specials available on YouTube, so here we are.

* - You'd be forgiven if you assumed most of this special was based on the obvious conflict inherent in "Hey, let's invite our turkey friends to Thanksgiving!"  It's not.  It's a lot less interesting, but then, turns out most plots for Thanksgiving specials would be.
* - Holy Mary Mother of God, the first Thanksgiving dream Buttons and Rusty have...
* - Specifically, I can't even with Kitu and his family.  (Screams internally.)
* - But I do need to call out this line of dialogue: "Look!  People with feathers!!!"  (Screams internally forever.)
* - So here's your actual, non-that-awkward-moment-when-you-invite-turkeys-to-Thanksgiving plot: it looks like the wild turkeys of Peckerwood Clusterf*ck Chucklewood Park are being captured by poachers but then the poachers say they are really from the "wildlife conservation society" and they're taking the turkeys away from their home to another place with more food.  Uh-huh.  Sure.  It's totally not a scam Mr. Ranger man guy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Draw Dinovember Day 18 - And It's Thanksgiving Specials Week!

You may have noticed that Thanksgiving specials aren't really a thing as much as Christmas specials, Halloween specials, or even Easter specials are.  It's hard to say specifically why that is, but it feels like making a good Thanksgiving special is hard.  I mean, it says something when even the first Thanksgiving-themed episode of "The Simpsons" was a bummer that I almost never saw in reruns.  Maybe watching what few Thanksgiving specials I can find on YouTube will help explain some of this.

To start, let's watch "The Mouse On the Mayflower"!

On second thought, let's not.  Because I just watched it for the first time in ages and it's the *specific* kind of awful holiday special that could ruin the holiday in question.

But if you do decide to watch it, here are things to look for:
* - I really should not have watched this special in the immediate wake of watching this.
* - That opening song... Psy-yi-yi?! photo psyyiyi.gif
* - Scratch that.  ALL the songs... Psy-yi-yi?! photo psyyiyi.gif
* - The only reason I know this 1968 Rankin-Bass oddity exists is because of the one time my aunt confused it's box at the video store for that of "An American Tail".  See if you can guess where "Mouse on the Mayflower" lost us.
* - I also had "Mouse on the Mayflower" confused with "Night Before Christmas" for years.   It doesn't have the distinctive Paul Coker Jr. character designs of the latter special, but the mice look similar enough.
* - If you watched "American Tail" as a kid and thought, "They really are not paying enough attention to the humans on this boat," boy have I ever got a movie for you.
* - If you watched "American Tail" or "Night Before Christmas" or anything really as a kid and thought, "This needs more staggeringly clueless and offensive depictions of Native Americans," boy have I EVER got a movie for you.
* - This romantic subplot...
* - They just won't stop *singing*!
* - Even ignoring the talking animals, this account of the first Thanksgiving doesn't strike me as very accurate.  (This will, needless to say, be true for all the specials we watch this year.  Because when you are spending the amount of time you have to in order to make an animated short, it is way hard to carve out a few hours in pre-production to do the research you guys.  Even for more recent specials.  Especially for more recent specials.)


Draw Paint Dinovember!  I like owls...

 photo owlpaint_zpszt9kfxyy.jpg

Monday, November 23, 2015

"Just imagine the magic their minds can see..." - Thoughts on "Tomorrowland" (Also Draw Dinovember Day 17)

Sadly, I have to report right away that as much as I wanted to love it, "Tomorrowland" is just simply not very good.  Fact is, it's the most deeply frustrating film I've seen this year (though note that it's still better than "Jurassic World", which made me violently angry to a degree I haven't experienced since "Armageddon").  But "Tomorrowland" such a noble failure that I feel like I want to be a cheerleader for it anyway.  Kind of. 

Overall, it reminded me a great deal of "Prometheus" in that it showcased the best impulses of the director (Brad Bird in this case) and the very worst impulses of Damon Lindelof.  But it *also* showcases the worst impulses of Brad Bird and the best impulses of Damon Lindelof, if that makes any sense.  It's a Disney "brand deposit" (right now I'm trying to think of a more depressing term than brand deposit and I just... can't) that still manages to be personal and idiosyncratic as hell.  It is, to put it bluntly, somethin' else.

There's a lot to like in "Tomorrowland".  I always appreciate a science fiction film with a female protagonist, and this one gives us more than one, so major points for that (reminder that this shouldn't be as big a deal as it is).  I love how pro-science and being creative and positive the message is, for all it's... lack of subtlety.  And I love, love, love Tomorrowland itself, which is such a wildly imaginative setting that gives me so many Horizons Feels, and I relished the approximately fifteen minutes or so in this two hour, ten minute(!?!) movie that we actually spend there.

Great googa-mooga, I am not kidding about how long "Tomorrowland" is and I wish I was.  It could easily have up to 45 minutes cut, because it also *feels* so much longer.  This screenplay has heard something funny about "show, don't tell" and wants no truck with either the showing or the telling part.  It really is incredible in hindsight how little time we spend in Tomorrowland just soaking in the wonder and the inspiration and how much time we spend riding around in trucks and just talking or arguing (boy howdy, do these characters like to argue from minute one in this movie) about what's going on without really explaining anything or answering any questions that might help the plot make sense.  Why is the main character special?  Why is that one character a robot?  Why were the characters exiled from Tomorrowland banished?  Why are there bad robots out to get them?  Is Tomorrowland in the future or another dimension?  What happened there to make it all lousy?  Is that one character really a villain when he's really just very disappointed with everyone?  No, seriously, what is the deal with all the robots?

On that last note, I must point out that this movie has the most egregious instances of "Oh, it's okay cause they're just robots" I've ever seen.  (Especially when those robots turn out to be real people.  Oops.)

Honestly, I wonder if "Tomorrowland" would've been more enjoyable if it were a mostly open-ended, exploration-heavy video game?  That is basically what it felt like to me, and it's not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes for a weird movie.

Anyway, this is how you do a plain red container:

 photo 11.12.15.netcardtom_zpsc4pveskr.jpg

Thursday, November 19, 2015