Archive for the ‘Entertainment’ Category

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A Super Bowl Party

February 7, 2012

Even with our kids being sick, we still managed to have a great Super Bowl party. We had tons of food and Reinman made up a game to where winners got prizes during every quarter and at the end. We all got a sheet of paper with a ton of questions to answer like who was the MVP, what team won, what songs Madonna sang, and many more questions that I can’t even remember now. I was so glad for this game because I really didn’t care who won, and this game gave me a reason to watch the Super Bowl and enjoy it.

Colonol Havoc had the most right answers at the end so he got the beloved trophy and a Target gift card.

The Joker had a great time eating lots and lots of watermelon.

The Princess and the Bear spent as much time as they could on the iPads. Silly kids.

And the rest of us ate delicious, delicious food that included French Dip sliders, Chicken Buffalo Dip, Hummus and Pita Bread, various Cupcakes, Homemade Rosemary Potato Chips, and veggies.

Hope everyone else had a great Super Bowl day! ūüôā

— the Jilb

 

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SOAP Trailer (or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation)

January 5, 2012

You’re probably already somewhat confused, so let me begin by clarifying one point: the snow you see in the SOAP trailer is fake — it doesn’t (often) snow in Hibbing, MN in the summer.

The trailer itself is not fake. It exists. You can watch it. See, I just posted it on this blog.

There is, however, no SOAP movie. That should be obvious after watching the trailer. If there were a SOAP movie, and if I were the director, and if I didn’t have any control over the trailer, and then I watched the trailer, I’d be kinda T.O.’d at the trailer.

I mean, the trailer gives away every single plot “twist” as well as the entire ending. A trailer for a real movie would never, ever do that. (It seemed as though “never, ever do that” should have linked to a trailer that does, in fact, do just that, but I was too lazy to look one up, so I just underlined the phrase instead to sort of make it look like a link — then I included this note to undermine my own efforts.)

Anyway, if there were a SOAP movie, the trailer would never, ever show that, at the end, Sam builds a fake friend out of construction material, only to realize that his true friends had been in front of him the entire time. Also, if you haven’t seen the trailer yet, SPOILER ALERT.

And, once again for the sake of clarity, I should point out one inaccuracy in the title of this post. The alternate title is “How I Spent My Summer Vacation,” which implies, incorrectly, that the SOAP trailer was created by me. It wasn’t. My contribution to the project was to gather some supplies and then drive back and forth¬†across¬†town after forgetting to bring the supplies.

A. Reini (a.k.a “the Hermit,” a.k.a. “BB2,” a.k.a. “Manny Ramir-Andrew Bank One Ball-Andrew,” a.k.a. “Doogie — no, not that¬†‘Doogie'”) shot and edited the video — seriously, I think he spent something like 10,000 hours just tweaking the color of “Cop #2’s”¬†moustache. (Also, if you see Dan Scally, don’t mention that he was “Cop #2.”)

So A. Reini gets the credit (blame?) for this. You can thank him by going to his funny and clever blog. As of now, 50 percent of his posts are about James Bond — which, as most blog-experts will tell you, is the perfect ratio.

— Reinman

SOAP is daily Bible reading program. This video was created to promote the program at First Assembly of God in Hibbing, MN.

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A New Years Eve and Some Little Dancers

January 2, 2012

We had an awesome New Years that involved lots of yummy food (ham and swiss slider recipe coming soon!), games, and some Nerf. We made it to midnight, but for whatever reason there was no countdown on our local TV stations. Bizarre. And kind of stupid.

I stayed up way too late, and the next day while I tried to nap on the couch while the Baby was napping, the kids danced.

And danced.

Still dancing…

— the Jilb

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Crunch

October 28, 2011

Note: Big assist on this post from Reinman’s younger-er brother, the Hermit (a.k.a. BB2, a.k.a. Manny Ramir-Andrew Bank One Ball-Andrew).

I love The Empire Strikes Back. Obviously. But there is one moment that doesn’t make a lick of sense.

So, following the Dumbest Battle in Movie History, Han Solo and company are fleeing from the Imperial fleet. With four TIE fighters and a Star Destroyer already hot on their tail, Han sees two more Star Destroyers heading straight toward them.

“Great. Well, I can still out maneuver them,” he says, throwing the¬†Falcon into a twisting “dive.” (I love that in order to make the Falcon go “down” Han first has to pull a special lever, as though “up” and “down” aren’t mapped to the normal flight controls.)

What follows is a wonderful little sequence — the Falcon momentarily escaping, while the three Star Destroyers nearly collide. I love the chaos we see in the Star Destroyer bridge — the howling (distinctively¬†Imperial) alarm, the grinding noise as¬†shields¬†slam against shields, the crew losing their balance from the impact — it all reinforces the immense size of these ships.

And then we cut from the chaotic to the ordered. From below, we see — for, really, the only time in the trilogy — the wedge-shaped Destroyers in their full geometrical glory. They crawl toward one another, looking not as though they’re accidentally ramming into each other, but rather as though they’re completing some grand,¬†celestial¬†puzzle — of course they’re supposed to fit¬†together¬†like that.

But here’s the nagging question — how did the Star Destroyers get that close to each other in the first place? Maybe the Destroyer captains simply forgot that ships can go “up” or “down” in space. Maybe they were using flat, table-top charts, having not yet invested in those fancy “three-dimensional” charts that the rebels use in Jedi. Slashes to military spending and all.

Even so, let’s take the engagement to its logical conclusion. Let’s say the Falcon did not suddenly dive down and continued on a straight course. If that were the case, the Star Destroyers…would STILL collide into one another.

Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that colliding into each other was the plan all along.

Here’s what I think happened. I think the captain of the middle¬†Destroyer¬†saw the other two ships coming toward him, and he saw a golden¬†opportunity¬†to not only take out the Falcon but to do it in style — he decided to physically “crunch” the Falcon in between the hulls of the Destroyers.

And his plan might’ve worked, too, if one of the Destroyers hadn’t chickened out at the last moment.

My theory isn’t as¬†ridiculous¬†as it seems. By this point, we’ve already seen the fingerprints of that renegade Imperial officer. As a young lieutenant on the Death Star, he was the one who decided to try to crunch Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie in the trash compacter rather than, say, posting three squads of stormtroopers outside the only escape hatch.

Piloting a walker during the battle of Hoth, he was the one who decided to take a half an hour to try to crunch Luke underfoot rather than, say, shooting him. Vader — who is obviously a fan of not only killing but killing with style — appreciated the attempted crunching and immediately promoted the officer to Star Destroyer captain.

(In the original cut of Empire — before Lucas started screwing with the film — you can see the pilot ejecting straight up into an awaiting shuttle right before the walker’s head explodes. And no, I don’t know why the head explodes when Luke throws the charge into the middle of the walker’s underbelly.)

So, the accidental, near-collision of the Star Destroyers wasn’t an accident at all — it was an inspired plan, a work of true genius. And so now only one¬†question¬†remains — what is the name of that daring young officer, that brilliant captain?

I won’t tell you his name, but if you search your heart, you’ll find you’ve known the answer all along.

— Reinman

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Introducing…

October 21, 2011

Baby Fight Club!

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Okay, there aren’t really any babies involved, but I liked the name and it stuck.

It’s been chilly up here in northern MN, and the kids have been sick, which means they need a way to let off all that extra energy they seem to have. In comes Baby Fight Club. They like to fight. And really, they are babies. All of them.

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I would love to tell you that no kids were hurt during this game, but you know that’s not true.

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— the Jilb

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Good Hands

October 6, 2011

You may have already seen this Gears of War 3 trailer on TV, but if not, watch it right now — it only takes about a minute.

You’ll get chills if you go into it wanting chills.

There. I just got chills again.

How about you? Nothing?

All right, go back and re-watch it, but this time, go into it with the knowledge that this brief trailer covers roughly 15 years of these characters’ lives (you’ll see Dom’s beard “grow” as the trailer progresses).

Watch how the single, unbroken tracking shot gives the impression that these soldiers have been fighting virtually non-stop for years.

Watch the transformation of Marcus, the main character in the trailer. Watch, at the beginning, the nod he gives right before he tosses the grenade — his expression confident, self-assured, a little cocky even.

Then watch his face at the end, 15 years (and two games) later, as he surveys the chaos and destruction around him — his expression a mixture of weariness, disbelief, hopelessness, and, lastly, determination.

Watch the brief glance he shares with Dom, his brother in arms. There isn’t time for anything more — and nothing needs to be said.

So go ahead and watch again — I’ll wait.

Still nothing? Either you’re made of stone, or I’m getting too sentimental in my old age.

(I’m going with the latter. I’m probably about two years away from sobbing uncontrollably at the end of the end of those schmaltzy Folgers commercials — and not for the same reason I currently sob during Luvs’ “Poop, there it is” commercial, which I would classify more as Rage-Sobbing.)

Anyway, the Gears trailer is awesome — and this from someone who has never played any of the Gears games (for a variety of having-kids reasons) and who probably won’t play Gears of War 3. For this post, I had to look up the names “Marcus” and “Dom,” and I learned about the 15-years thing in a comment following the video.

And that, more than anything, is why I admire the trailer so much — it moved me even though I have¬†absolutely¬†no knowledge of the story, no history with these characters.

I know one thing for sure — if the rumored Gears movie¬†ever happens, I’ll eagerly go see it. I’ll see it¬†because, if the same artists who created the game and the game’s trailer are responsible for the movie, I’ll be confident that I’m in good hands. They’ve absolutely won me over.

Now, the quality of a trailer does not necessarily forecast the quality of the movie (see Watchmen), but it’s often a pretty accurate indicator (even though directors¬†typically¬†don’t cut the trailers for their films — maybe¬†quality¬†inspires more quality).

For instance, no one could quite figure out how they were going to pull off making a movie about Facebook, but then that Radiohead trailer debuted, and we realized we would be in good hands.

In 2005, there was a trailer that began with a pretty interesting premise — a wanderer, journeying to distant, snow-capped mountains to train with a secret society of modern-day ninjas — when HOLY CRAP THAT’S BATMAN! After years of¬†nonsense, we knew that the bat man was going to be in good hands.

It works the opposite way as well. This weekend, the Jilb and I saw What’s Your Number? (not Dolphin Tale¬†as the Jilb claimed in Monday’s post — that was a trick). The trailers I’d seen beforehand had hit all the usual cliches — a bad sign since lazy trailers typically mean lazy movies — so going in, I had the feeling I was in shaky hands.

And shake they did — like an electric football game sitting on a running washing machine in the bowels of an¬†asteroid¬†that is not entirely stable.

Which trailers have left you feeling as though you would be in good hands?

Which trailers have left you feeling shaky?

Which movies ended up deviating (good or bad) from the feeling you had gotten from the trailer?

And am I allowed to be a fan of Gears of War without having played any of the games?

— Reinman

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The Best Show on Television

September 21, 2011

Quiet, Mad Men. Shut up, Breaking Bad. I know that one of you is actually the Best Show on Television. But you know what? Neither of you has Ron Swanson.

In fact, neither of you has six Ron Swansons superimposed against an American flag.

Images courtesy of the fan site "Mr. Ron Swanson and His Glorious Face"

Actually, Parks and Rec doesn’t have six Ron Swansons superimposed against an American flag either. That would be¬†ridiculous.

Here’s the point — Parks and Rec¬†currently¬†holds the¬†prestigious¬†title of Reinman’s Favorite Show of the Moment and Also It Has to Be Still on the Air at the Time He’s Watching It — In Other Words, It Can’t Be One He Discovered Through Re-Runs or on DVD Like Freaks and Geeks, Otherwise Freaks and Geeks Would Obviously Hold the Title for 1999.

And now, in an effort to contribute information to the internet, I am going to provide the complete list of shows to have held that title (which, for personal reasons, I have chosen not to repeat):

1984 – 1986: N/A

1987¬†– 1988: Sesame Street (For some reason, my favorite segment was the one where you followed that ball around some sort of psychedelic shopping mall/menagerie/bowling alley¬†while hippies sang “1-2-3-4-5, ¬†6-7-8-9-10, ¬†11-12.”)

1989 Р1990: Ducktales (This was my first experience with continuing, mutli-episode story arcs. I remember the time-traveling Bubba Duck saga blowing my six-year-old mind.)

1991: Talespin (I never hear this one mentioned when people of my generation speak nostalgically of childhood shows, but make no mistake about it — Talespin was awesome.)

1992: Darkwing Duck (“Suck gas, evildoer.”)

1993: Star Trek: The Next Generation (Nerd…)

1994 – 1995: The Tick (The biggest gut-punch cancellation of my life — I had absolutely no warning. I turned on the TV, expecting to see the follow-up to another brilliant¬†Speak episode, and instead I got some piece of crap garbage crap dump toilet brown crap called Eagle-Crap-Jerk-Riders. I was so¬†traumatized that the piece of crap theme song is still burned into my memory. I’m still so mad about it I can’t even write coherently.)

1996 – 2002: The Simpsons (I hung on about two seasons too long.)

2003 – 2005: NFL football (This was a dark period — in retrospect, it should’ve been Arrested Development.)

2006: Friday Night Lights (The favorite of favorites — the only show I’ve ever aggressively pestered people to watch. In fact, I’m going to pester you right now. Watch it. It’s the best. You’ll love it. Unfortunately, it can only qualify for one year on this list because the show got jerked around so much. Season 1 was the only one I enjoyed “purely” as it was airing. Season 2 was a little disenchanting, and I caught the last three brilliant seasons through a combination of re-airing on NBC, Hulu, and DVD.)

2007 Р2008: The Office (I still love The Office, but we can all admit its best days are behind it.)

2009: Lost (I was all in during season 5 — and then, well, then that other season happened.)

2010: Modern Family (A good show that got a huge bump because ABC was the only channel I got that year — I mean, Wipeout was in the running for goodness sake.)

2011: Parks and Recreation

Five thoughts on Parks and Rec:

1. Of all people, it was the inclusion of straight-laced Ben that pushed the show over the top for me. He arrived at the same time as Chris (Rob Lowe), a character who is a million times funnier (all it takes is one “AnnePerkins!” and he’s already got me cracking up), but Chris was just one more crazy/funny character on a show that had a wealth of them.

Ben, however, brought that essential quality of being the stand-in for the viewer (this used to be Anne’s roll, but she started to go a little crazy herself during season 3).

Ben is the only one who doesn’t crack up at Crazy Ira and the Douche’s radio bits.¬†Ben is the only one who is dumbfounded when everyone — Ron included (or more accurately, especially Ron) — seems to be pathologically in love with the miniature horse Li’l Sebastian.

Ben and his conspiratorial glances at the camera (trademark: Jim Halpert) keeps the show grounded somewhat in reality, which, by contrast, makes the crazy things that happen around him seem even crazier. (And like fellow straight-man Jim Halpert, Ben gets to be really funny on occasion as well, especially in pressure situations.)

2. I love the way Parks and Rec portrays police officers. The show avoids the easy cliche of the out-of-shape, donut-scarfing cop.¬†Rather, building off the model established by the brilliant Louis C. K., the police officers on Parks and Rec are professional and polite, but also almost painfully stiff, conversing with Leslie and others in a clipped, jargon-peppered dialect — making for a respectful¬†portrayal¬†that doesn’t have to sacrifice humor in the process.

3. Ron Swanson is the evolutionary Hank Hill — a staunchly conservative character who nevertheless is beloved by audiences across the political spectrum.

They are both men of simple passions. (Hank loves propane; Ron loves meat.) They are both routinely victorious over hippies/euphorians. (Hank often literally kicks euphorians in the ass; Ron wins a cook-off by serving a plain all-beef hamburger patty on a plain bun.)

But only Ron rocks a sweet, sweet stache. (I did, after all, call him the evolutionary Hank Hill.)

4. My only complaint against the show is that it¬†occasionally¬†ventures a step too far into Crazy Land. There’s the mural of the traveling magician who visited Pawnee and was burned at the stake — in 1973.¬†And there are smaller moments that aren’t as obviously crazy but still break the illusion of reality, such as when Ben appears on a daytime talk-show and a graphic labels him “Human Disaster.”

These are funny moments, yes, but they feel undisciplined. Parks and Rec is a fantastic show — it shouldn’t have to resort to breaking the “reality” it has established just to go for a couple of easy laughs.

5. Number 4, though, isn’t really a big deal at all.

So that is, literally, all the thoughts I have ever had about Parks and Rec.

Tell me what you think of the show.

Tell me if you have seen the show. (I probably should have put this one first. Oh well, I already typed it this way — there’s no way to change it now.)

Tell me your list of favorite shows, year-by-year.

And tomorrow, remember to watch the season premiere of Parks and Rec — the Greatest Show in Television History.

— Reinman