Geeky Halloween Wk2

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That’s right, it’s the last week of September and the first weekend of October. That means if you weren’t ready to get in the Halloween mood before, now is your time to shine. In honor of the new month, I am focusing on a paragon of the weird and endearingly creepy. Hold on to your shorts, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover.

This week’s theme: Tim Burton

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Let’s just start by saying that Tim Burton has been so prolific in his life that there is no way to cover his influence in this diminutive blog post. So, I will be doing two things. First, I am separating his work into two blog posts, one focused on Tim’s animation and the second on his live action films. Second, my main movie recommendation from each will be a work that I think deserves more credit than it’s received.

Animation:

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Tim Burton’s artistic style is distinct and immediately transports you to another world. Nowhere is that more obvious than in his animated works. The Nightmare Before Christmas continues to win over the hearts and minds of the geek-inclined and is a staple for every Halloween store and Hot Topic. And though no house should be without a shrine to the skeleton king, you can expand your library of the cute and off-putting with Corpse Bride, James and the Giant Peach, Frankenweenie (1984/2012), and Coraline. I suggest popping in that last one when you need to scare your kids into mistrusting people who promise to give them everything they want.

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For the bookish geek, you can always pick up The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories. This Edward Gory-esq collection of poems is delightfully accented by Tim Burton’s own drawings. I have had people mistake my copy for a well-bound children’s book. Try not to cackle as you watch unwitting faces shift from expressions of “that’s cute” to “WTF!”

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Now that I have the bibliophile’s attention, it’s time to move to my movie suggestion.

Vincent

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For those who don’t know, Vincent is a stop-animation short made in 1982. It is the brief tale of a boy who is obsessed with Vincent Price, a consummate actor most famous for his multiple roles playing Edgar Allen Poe characters. This short film is a treasure! It’s written in verse, animated in black and white, references several works of Edgar Allen Poe, and voiced by Vincent Price himself! It is a beautiful homage to the macabre child in all of us.

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You can watch and re-watch Vincent on YouTube. Go. Do it now! You won’t regret it.

 

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Geeky Halloween: Wk 1

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Greetings!

In case you haven’t heard yet.

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The Halloween season is a wonderful time of year where many geeks get to show off their weird side. Though you can dust off your Iron Man suit and wear it on the 31st, diving into the traditional fandoms might not fill that itch to get into the spirit of the season. So, before you drowned yourself in pumpkin spice lattes, I have come up with weekly movie suggestions to get a little more creep into your geek.

This week’s theme: Jim Henson

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Jim Henson’s work and legacy extend well beyond teaching us our ABC’s as children. His puppeteering genius helped shape practical effects as we know it. If you’re a geek, chances are that at least one favorite character or franchise has been touched by this man. The last full-length feature film he did was Labyrinth. As this is the 30th Anniversary of its theatrical release, I think it is the perfect movie to kick off your Geeky Halloween season.

Labyrinth

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To this day, the scene where baby Toby is kidnaped by goblins makes kids crawl under their covers and hide. And as any good sibling/aunt/mother should, I laugh maniacally and tell them to keep watching. Soon enough they are naming their stuffed bears Ludo and creating imaginary monster friends of their own to play with. This alone should win it a permanent viewing slot during the Halloween season, but Labyrinth is filled with a dark whimsy that is able to fuel imaginations well into adulthood. Just check out The Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball.

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Yes, this is a real thing, and it is just as good as it looks. For anyone who thinks that Sara should have stayed in that magical Labyrinth, this is your once a year opportunity to do just that. True, this event takes place in August which puts it a little outside of our Halloween them, but one step inside and I doubt you’ll care what time of year it is. It is a fantasy filled gala hopped up on stimulants and glitter. Speaking of which…

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David Bowie. David F*cking Bowie! Snarky and Sexy, cruel and alluring, powerful but oh-so-cute when he begs. As the Goblin King, he is a one-man version of shag/marry/kill. And though he is the technically villain, most of the people I know wanted to be him by the end of the movie.

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The 30th Anniversary Blu-ray comes out September 20th. Watch it, re-watch it, share it with future generations. Keep wishing for the Goblin King to come and take you away. He’s bound to answer eventually.

Angry Birds

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Orphan loner bird is exiled by their community unit he gains the friends and skills necessary to save said community, after which, having proven that he deserves love, he’s finally accepted.

When a movie is based on a game, specifically a simple game App, I don’t expect shakespeare. But the message of this one was disturbing. Sure, its a kids movie and there is some great physical comedy. I’m all for fun for its own sake. But do we really need another story above earning love and acceptance? Oh, and you’ll have to save your entire species to earn it by the way.

I get it, it’s called “Angry Birds” not enlightened birds, but every story is an opportunity. It’s time and focus and in the end, a voice. I think I would have liked a mock epic where the oppressed birds finally rise up against their pig overlords to take back their future, using their anger productively and not just as a gimmick. Kids are smart. And when they are treated accordingly in their entertainment they become intelligent, discerning adults. Throw in a hefty dose of humor and they even know how to keep from taking themselves too seriously.

Suicide Squad Review

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#SuicideSquad was so much fun! Was it also a train wreck story wise? Yes, but I’ve never had so much fun watching a train wreck!*

I could drive semi trucks through the plot holes.
But I loved the music choices.
The characters had cliffs you had to magically scale instead of a cohesive arch.
But it was always visually interesting.
The big bad was too big.
But it was a good/main “bad guy”
The relationships were an exercise in multiple personality roulette.
But I wanted to care.

I laughed, I cheered, and in the end it kept me guessing. It was most of what I want to FEEL when I watch a comic book movie so… I liked it. And it definitely beats all their stuff since “the reboot”.

So I consider it a great reminder that my first obligation as a storyteller is to entertain, that’s level one, that’s popcorn art, and it has a valuable place. Everything I can do for my story after that gives it longevity, deeper impact, or even alters how someone sees the world and provides priceless value. But if I never entertain them, they may never taste the full scope of my story.

In short, if a spoon full of sugar can make the dumb worthwhile, it can also make what is vital accessible.

*I had no previous knowledge of the characters or their backstories than what was provided by the trailers and previews.

(First time viewing, saw it in a theater in the first month of it’s release)