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Octerror 2020 Event and Blog Updates [October 2020]

Welcome back to the Train, friend! Here to kick off the new month is a freshly baked update post for you. Hey, I just thought of something. Now, I love food. While it wouldn’t be my career choice, I do thoroughly enjoy cooking and such. I noticed that I tend to use food and its phrases metaphorically speaking many times on the Train. In light of this, I challenge you guys on a scavenger hunt type thing to hunt down and comment on this update post all the various times I bring up food throughout my reviews. Good luck to those who… actually desire to do so! Man, off to a great start, aren’t we?

Any who, on the topic of announcements! As it is the Halloween season, the entire month is going to be a marathon of spook-filled reviews and whatnot. Of course, one episode of Out of Order where I’ll share a few of my favorite Halloween themed Tv specials, including the classics and even one or two odd picks as well. Thankfully, there’s more Thursdays in October because of the first day being, you guessed it, that one day. We’ll kick things off with a review of Joe Dante’s Matinee this Thursday; don’t miss it!

The Train is additionally nearing 100 grand passengers soon, so keep spreading the word! I have something incredibly special indeed planned for that special post, trust me on that.

Otherwise, I wish you the best on your journey, whatever that may be. Stay stellar, and g’ night!

Featured

What is Lighttrain?

Welcome aboard friends and travellers alike to the LightTrain! I’m your conductor, but you can call me Gavin if you prefer. I am open to feedback on my features so I can improve upon it.

I have a fixation with film and cartooning, and those things combined with my great writing and a unconvincing backstory make Lighttrain! My favorite things include most films from the late 60s and throughout the 70s, a good slice of cornbread (or a pan for that matter!), people, comic books and writing for you guys! I’m a sucker for the blend of the whimsical and dark humour. I play games like X-wing and Dungeons and Dragons often, as well. For my taste in music, I adore such bands as: The Postal Service, Death Cab for Cutie, Explosions in the Sky, El Ten Eleven, They Might be Giants, Flight of the Conchords, Of Monsters and Men, Modest Mouse, Dokken, The Black Keys, She & Him and The Lumineers.

The Lighttrain isn’t all film though. We also occasionally cover games, books, magazines, television and such. Every Thursday is a new post, so stay tuned! Our shows include Reviews, which are exactly what they sound like; Out of Order, a monthly series usually counting down a top ten list of covering lost media; and some updates every month, short stories, art and events sprinkled in there as well.

Thank you for reading and maybe check out a review if you would like to. And if you choose to follow the train by punching yourself a ticket then thank you again for supporting my work. Have a excellent rest of your day.

JUMANJI (1995) Review: A Game Worth Playing? | Lighttrain

Hello, hello! Once again, this is your conductor speaking and tonight we’ll be looking back on Jumanji. Not the recent Dwayne Johnson remake, but the 1995 original starring the late and great Robin Williams. This review, for your information, wasn’t planned. The film I had scheduled I wasn’t able to see yet, so this one is entirely off on a loop. I also suppose this post could be considered the spiritual successor to the Waterworld review earlier this month, as both are cheesy, 90s action flicks that are “just good enough” in my books. Whoops, did I spoil my summary? Oh dear, well, please stick around for a more… in-depth analysis. For those who stayed, thank you bunches and let’s get this show on the road!

A very mysterious — and possibly supernatural — board game titled Jumanji falls into the hands of two young kids, siblings Peter and Judy Shepard. They begin to play this game, simply because of curiosity’s thirst. It’s just a quaint little board game to pass the time with, or is it? They soon release the grizzled Alan Parrish, a man who had been trapped in the jungle world of the game for decades, as well as a bevy of dangerous herds of animals and critters. Will the reluctant bunch finally complete the game and retain the game’s curse?

I definitely like the film’s concept, centering around this supernatural board game. That’s a pretty interesting idea to play around with, so I commend the creativity. I wouldn’t necessarily agree that I wasn’t unsatisfied by the payoff of the directions the plot went, as the fragmented nature of the structure can be a bit jarring. It keeps chopping back and forth between multiple storylines and I simply can’t comprehend every pinpoint precisely. The only possible letdown for some may be that the creatures that the game unleashes are maybe too generic, as if the creators weren’t having enough fun with the idea.

Robin Williams, rest in peace, almost carries the film on his back. If I were to exclude him and interchange actors with, I don’t know, Bruce Willis, a lot of the movie’s charm will dissolve. Thankfully, Williams is such a warm and amusing presence that any plot holes, conveniences, and special effects can be totally washed away. Right? Well, ok, maybe not entirety cleaning off the stain, but still a swell effort. The child actors, similar to the grandkids from Jurassic Park, do the best with what they were given. But indeed, Williams is a national treasure of acting and charisma. Thank you and goodnight everybody!

No, no, or course that isn’t all of it! Couldn’t just curtail the review there. Now, on with the show. The CGI, as understood from being something of a late debut, doesn’t hold up to today’s standards, particularly in the segments involving the monkeys. Sends chills down my spine every time! Perhaps I shouldn’t be ragging on this family feature from the 1990s, Nickelodeon age. For a family movie night with the kiddos, Jumanji will work a-ok, just don’t expect to get much out of the experience.

To be fair, while it may not be my thing, Jumanji holds up as a fast-paced adventure, even if the computer graphics less so. It’s kind of one of those movies that’s a challenge to criticize since it is so fantastical and ludicrous. It’s not meant to be analyzed of deep themes or techniques, it’s just pure entertainment. And if you’re in the mood, grab a Twix, put on a bathrobe, sit back and enjoy.

RATING: 5.5/10

PASSENGERS WHO PUNCHED A TICKET

  • Adhdlifeforever
  • Todd
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  • Cathy
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Thanks for tuning in!

NEXT THURSDAY | Octerror Begins with a Review of Joe Dante’s Matinee!

7 Obscure, Kooky Brand Mascots | [Out of Order]

Hello and welcome aboard the Train! On this special episode of Out of Order, we’ll be looking back at something a little more obscure then normal. On the average post, I go over and review movies and Tv primarily. But today is an unique endeavor where I talk about commercials. Now, I love watching retro commercials, and during the ad breaks on my posts I often show a bumper as a bookend. But how about mascots; yes, those cartoonish representatives that are created to draw appeal and memorability to a brand. But tonight, we’re remembering those strange mascots that we’ve buried in the deepest corners of our minds. So, without any more jabber, let’s get this show on the road!

Cool Spot (7Up©, 1990s)

The tagline at the time was, as shown in the ad, “The Uncola” . What’s next, the “Unsoap” ?

In 1987, this soda company hatched an idea for new mascot: to anthropomorphize the red circle sandwiched in between the ‘7’ and the ‘Up’ in the logo. Slap on some limbs and some shades and you’ve got Cool Spot. While there wasn’t anything wrong about the ad campaign career of this little guy, he still managed to land himself as the main protagonist of a video game series. Yeah, this red circle with shades got a video game. Huh. Today, Cool Spot appears here and there but has been mostly forgotten, from what I can gather. What about you guys; do you remember him? Perhaps, one day, our paths with Cool Spot shall meet again and will be reunited. But for now, Adios, senor shades.

Michelin Man (Michelin Tires©, early 1900s)

Maybe you notice this mascot for the Michelin Tire Company, as even today it’s still an iconic staple of the mascot lineup. Way back in the late 19th century, co-founder Edouard Michelin saw a stack of tires and got the inspiration to create a mascot for his industry from this idea. And then the Michelin man was born, but definitely not as many would know him as of modern times. He was a hulky, cigar-smoking, alcoholic brute with hardly much a facial expression. This was one of the more truly unnerving mascots featured on the list, so much so that poster shown above was the most appealing. If you guys want to dive in further, go right ahead, my dude! Thankfully overtime the figure would hear a more friendly and soft on the eyes.

King Vitamin (Quaker Oats©, 1968-2019)

“Have Breakfast with the King! “

There are many an odd cereal mascot, believe me. But since I wanted some variety, I funneled it down into my favorite of the bunch: King Vitamin! Or is it Vitiman? Yeah, what’s really boggling is that on occasions he’s called King Vitaman, but others simply Vitamin. Oh well. The first commercials for this guy were animated by Jay Ward Productions, the crew who were most notable for doing Rocky and Bullwinkle. That’s pretty neat. In addition, the cereal wasn’t as successful as other morning cereals such as Cap’n Crunch or Lucky Charms because of the word ‘Vitamin’ (Vitaman?) being in the title. Whoops. The line was recently just discontinued, sealing the sad fate that I’ll never get to taste a spoonful of King Vitaman. Vitamin, whatever it is. Rest in peace, your majesty.

Wilkins and Wontkins (Various Brands (notably Wilkins Coffee), 1957-1961)

Now you have to drink both Wilkins and Red Diamond so that this Muppet doesn’t torture you. How despicable of him.

Ah, I return to these commercials yet again. Jim Henson, who would go on to create the immensely popular Muppet characters, started out producing these bite-sized ads for Wilkins Coffee. It starred a Kermit lookalike, Wilkins, and a gruffy one named Wontkins. Wilkins would offer his accomplice a cup of the coffee, and threatens him when he refuses. Henson said, “Till then, advertising agencies believed that the hard sell was the only way to get their message over on television. We took a very different approach. We tried to sell things by making people laugh.” Or threatening to commit murder, perhaps? Let’s just hope that Wilkins isn’t lurking there in the shadows, waiting, watching, plotting his revenge.

We’ll return with more bizarre brand mascots after these messages…

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ANNOUNCEMENT

BEGINNING OCTOBER 1ST, OCTERROR 2020 WILL COMMENCE! A MONTH LONG EVENT WITH 3 CHILLING REVIEWS, 2 SHOCKING RETROSPECTIVES, AND AN OUT OF ORDER EPISODE SO BLOOD-CURDLING, YOU’LL JUMP IN FRIGHT!

OCTERROR 2020, only on the Lighttrain


I’m glad you’re still tuning in, now on with the show!

Spongemonkies (Quiznos Subs©, 2007)

Oh my goodness. For some context, if I may, these “spongemonkies” were a meme all the way back in the 2000s. A meme is usually a image, video, or text that is edited with different humorous variations and spread by internet users. Well, who in their right mind would use an internet meme, let alone the “spongemonkies”, and use them for their marketing. Oh. I see. So, um, apparently Quiznos, a sub sandwich eatery chain, did just that to terrifying results. I’m genuinely confused; how is this a suitable, effective as campaign? I mean, it is effective in being traumatizing beyond belief. One passenger I know of is a fan of Quiznos, so do you remember these ads? For now, it is known by its reputation of not being able to recall if it was an actual commercial or just some sort of fever dream.

Mr. Clean (Procter & Gamble©, 1957)

Even that title sounds a little bit weird…

Case File “Suds” : There are reports of multiple murders across the county, 4 folks, 3 unidentified. The fourth was young girl Noreen Speltman, daughter of Mr. Clifford Speltman. According to sources, Mr. Speltman had goes with a hitman organization down in Philly called simply “Knives” . We suspect that the killer is contract killer Aloysius Vest, a member of Knives. This recording suggests that Vest is in disguise as Mr. Samuel Clean, the spokesman for the Mr. Clean cleaner brand. The crime scenes of the four genocides are all linked together by a strong freshening odor, and no blood whatsoever. We are currently under search for Clean/Vest, and so far we have found his apartment abandoned and limited in any evidence.

The Noid (Dominos Pizza©, 1980s)

“Avoid the Noid! “

Our last mascot for today is the Noid, a mascot for Dominos Pizza. It was a guy in a red rabbit suit who was positively bonkers. And it most loved to destroy pizza, can’t forget about that! It was supposedly the embodiment of all the trouble it takes to have a pizza delivered in under 30 minutes, oddly enough. In 1989 a paranoid man named Kenneth Noid believed that the mascot’s creators were poking fun at him and held up one of the Dominos restaurants, holding two employees hostage. After he was shortly afterword went to a mental institution, the Noid was retired. Some speculate it was because of the incident, but Dominoes continues to deny these claims even today.

Well, that’s all. Did I miss a mascot? What are some of your thoughts? Later!

~ Transmission Disconnected ~

PASSENGERS WHO PUNCHED A TICKET

  • Adhdlifeforever
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NEXT | Not Sure… but expect a Review!

Scrooge McDuck’s Trove: Underrated Disney Gems | Lighttrain

Hello and welcome aboard the Lighttrain! My name is G.h Nowak, I’m the train’s conductor. Not too terribly long ago the live action adaption of the Disney animated classic Mulan was available on the company’s streaming service for a $30 rental. If you hadn’t already known, I highly recommend… Not watching these remakes. Pulled a fast one on you there, didn’t I? They are all hollow, lifeless shells profiting from the original’s reputation in my opinion. Feel free to have a different mindset; that’s what makes it cool! Special thanks to the passenger Pono for suggesting this catalog here today, which is a list of however many underrated Disney films for you to check out instead of Mulan. Unless you genuinely want to watch Mulan, in that case to ahead. You know what I mean. Let’s get this show on the road!

The Black Hole (1979)

“A journey, that begins, where everything ends… ” Doesn’t that just send chills down your spine?

Strange I know, seeing as this very movie was Disney’s most critically slammed and commercially flopped at the time of its release. Hear me out! Even though it may not be a newfound classic in any regard, the special effects in the film hold up miraculously. I’m also just a big sucker for sci fi; it’s definitely not everybody’s style, though it applies to my interests for sure. It demonstrates to being surprisingly crisp, radiating somewhat of a comic-esque parallel with both the story and overall tone. Another remarkable feat from the crew is its alurring originality regarding various elements and plot directions. To be frank, it’s no where near being a hidden gem, nor am I advocating for a critical reappraisal. I just feel that it was better then what many have come to toss out. If you’re a fan of science fiction like myself, I’d say give it a shot. Otherwise, there is not much for you to get from it. The acting and dialogue may be lukewarm, but with a cosmic adventure this snappy, I can’t get rewatch it enough.

RATING: 5/10 “Flawed, but a Good Watch”

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

“Actually it’s elementary, my dear Dawson.”

Ah, yes! The type of film the studio is known for: an animation. Released shortly before the Disney Renaissance that took momentum in 1988 with The Little Mermaid, I believe that this movie was left out in the Renaissance’s shadow. Although the feature isn’t as long as you may come to expect from a motion picture (clocking in at only a hour and fourteen minutes), it is to the movies advantage, keeping this mystery short but sweet. As always, the murky underbelly of London as well as rodent characters are wonderfully animated, and the pace is brisk. It lacks a single musical number, a staple of Disney animations, but the charming cast and dialogue certainly fill in those empty gaps. Ratigan proves to be one of the company’s most underappreciated villains to date, too. It is genuinely a challenge to scavenge for tidbits to nag at, so why are you hearing me yak on about Great Mouse Detective any further, go watch it!

RATING: 7/10

Cool Runnings (1993)

“Your bones won’t break, no… They’ll shatter. So, who’s in? “

Now, you may be wondering: what’s so amazing about Cool Runnings? Good question, and I’m here to answer it! I’m my eyes, Cool Runnings in particular is an example of quaint and wholehearted charisma. The acting from around the clock is magnificent, fully understanding the tone and nailing it with every delivery. I especially like John Candy as their coach; there’s just a warm, friendly feeling that he gives off in films like this and additionally in Home Alone. It’s hard to place a finger why exactly I feel this way, but I suppose dissecting that isn’t integral. The humor is set at a simmer, almost comparable to the Peanuts comic strips and specials. I sort of hoped bobsledding would be more explored, and even despite my praises the movie is a family friendly sports comedy from Disney that sticks to the formula. All in all though, it is an incredibly enjoyable and uplifting sports film with great performances and a heart in the right spot.

RATING: 7/10 “A Positive Experience”

We’ll return with more unsung gems after these messages…

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Settle back into your seats, the Lighttrain now returns!

The Zorro Series (1957)

A Disney Channel promo from the late 90s. Vault Disney was their late night block that showcased classic Disney properties including Walt Disney Presents, The Mickey Mouse Club, their old B&W movies, and of course Zorro!

And now for something completely different! This is a bit of an odd choice, as it isn’t technically a Disney film, rather a series. But eh, I wanted to spread the mark of Zorro, so here it is. Along with The Green Hornet, this is one of the 50s and 60s most underappreciated action adventure programs ever. Most modern audiences may know him from his remake installment flick made in the late 90s. In fact, I only discovered this version by watching old Disney channel commercials, as shown above. The swashbuckling crusader Zorro is the epidimy of a timeless protagonist, and the action is fun. Even if the black and white turns your interest off, the swinging theme song most definitely will ignite it. I don’t have too many strong opinions on Zorro in general, but it’s a comforting, valiant delight that you should indeed give a watch sometime.

RATING: N/A “Recommended”

Treasure Planet (2002)

And now the film to cap today’s post off, it’s Treasure Planet, a 2002 animated film based off the novel Treasure Island and blending traditional animation with 3D techniques. This movie was suggested by Pono in particular, who states that Disney is his “enemy” for basically killing this flick . Shout out to him, and remember you can be like Pono and suggest posts too! Another passenger named Hunter did as well, and I’ll be getting to those very soon. Anywho, back on track with Treasure Planet. Unlike the others on this list, this feature has a massive cult following from fans of animation especially, since it bombed on release and went under the radar of mainstream viewers. They think that it should be held in the tier of the Disney Renaissance, and while I wouldn’t go that far Treasure Planet is still pretty spectacular. Crafting a work of your own style while additionally remaining faithful to the source material is no easy task, although this movie does just that. The characters and the designs are great, even if some side players come off as unnecessary to the story or grading. But the relationship between the cyborg John Silver and Jim Hawkins in a sort of father-son dynamic, mwah! Chef’s kiss. That is where the heart of the film is rooted. The animation, making use of the growing CGI at the time, is exquisite. Like, this trailer doesn’t do the movie’s artistic qualities any justice.

So in the end, while it’s not my personal go-to from the catalog, Treasure Planet stands tall above it’s mistreatment and has been discovered, just like the gold, for the wonder it is. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it right after this review. You will not regret the lost time, for sure.

RATING: 8/10

That’s all folks! Thank you bunches for visiting the Train today, and best wishes to you all. Farewell and ado.

PASSENGERS WHO PUNCHED A TICKET

  • Adhdlifeforever
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  • Pono (Lord Vocem) Special Thanks!
  • Krissy
  • Saania Sparkle
  • Barb
  • Musicpoliticssports
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  • Gary
  • Markgtr
  • Eric Kaster
  • Shelia
  • Jon
  • Ilene
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  • Sweta
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  • Apostle Takim Quote
  • America on Coffee
  • Stuart (Perditus)
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  • Lapiel
  • Mr Blue
  • PatrickWhy
  • Randomness of my crazy life
  • Mounzer
  • Phil (Perkins Designs)
  • Anees
  • Cristian
  • Shauna
  • Mateo
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  • ldw
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Thanks for tuning in!

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 | Strange, Forgotten Mascots on Out of Order

Special of the Month and Updates [September 2020]

May I have your attention please… Oh, welcome back aboard, friend! Just another update post to use as a reference for the month of September. We started with a review of the cheesy 90s action movie Waterworld last Thursday so if you’re interested and haven’t read it already then that would mean a bunch to check it out. On this month’s episode Out of Order we’re going over the kookiest brand mascots out there. Ever heard of King Vitaman? No? Well, tune in later this month to find out.

Not much exiting announcements otherwise this month. Trust me, next month has something very interesting in store! The Special of the Month is still being figured out, but it may have to do with my Letterboxd so make sure to check out what’s going on at my account for updates and so on and so forth.

Hope you all are doing well! One announcement I remember now is that I may talk about video games more as well. I already went over Dragon’s Lair, and I already have a couple ideas. Go ahead and comment on some of your own ideas; always open to them!

Have a good one. Later

MY LETTERBOXD: https://www.letterboxd.com/Theconductor/

CONTACT ME: https://www.lighttrainreviews.com/blog/contact-page/?frame-nonce=534ec32dba

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10TH | Underrated Disney Classics from the Vault

Waterworld Review: More than just “‘Mad Max’ on the Ocean”? | Lighttrain

Aargh! Oh, where are my manners; welcome aboard the Train, lad. Tonight’s review is a blast to the 90s for Waterworld. This film is infamous for its sour reputation, since its release even up to this day. A summary of the events was that the movie was quite ambitious and, at the time, was the most expensive film produced. That burden was on the shoulders of Universal Pictures, who suffered another blow when minimal promotion paved way for poor box office returnings. Despite these things, it initially turned in a lukewarm response but more recently some people have said that they think Waterworld is rather the quality adventure flick and deserves reappraisal. Are they right, or is the blockbuster as hollow on the inside as it’s been wrapped up to be? Let’s get this show on the road!

In the future, the polar ice caps have melted, covering up all dry land. To adapt, massive marketplaces are established, warlords ravage the seas, and lone drifters float along the wide waters on the daily. One drifter, the titular Mariner, happens apon a young girl. But not just an ordinary child, as she may have a tattooed map to a presumed island. The Mariner settles on travelling there with the girl as a reference as well as her valet. Will they escape the treachery of the feared Smokers? Does this dry land exist at all?

My biggest problem with Waterworld is entirely rooted in the performances. It’s not even a couple duds here and there, it’s practically the whole cast. Kevin Costner as the Mariner is remarkably drab; his character is a human with fish gills, and he was still uninteresting. He’s also not very likeable throughout the film, and I found it more odd that he never reformed of apologized or anything. Dennis Hopper is another talented actor, just coming off the brief but effective role of Clifford Worley in True Romance a year prior. The wasted potential walloped in yet a second blow, this time around serving up an over the top and menacingly bankrupt villain. There’s nothing terrible enough to highlight from the rest of the cast, but they are far from a decent acting job, often coming off just annoying or bland.

For all it’s humorous pratfalls there, I must admit that the production value and effects are impressive and pleasant to watch. Now, there were moments when the CGI was a little jarring, although the good heavily outweighs the flops. The action is fair enough, and I did feel like I was flung into this bath bomb apoctolyptia, which is always a plus. And for what it is, an escapist, kind of absurd sci fi popcorn feast of the senses, it will satisfy the target audience.

Ever heard of the phrase “I like waffles and sauerkraut, but I hate them together” ? Probably not, because I just made it up on the spot. However, that phrase does match well with this film. In the end, the clash of both the preposterous ambition behind the sets and the silly Hollywood tackiness blunder Waterworld into quite the laughing stock. I respect the effort, but it ultimately blew up in their faces. The movie, in addition, has patches of rocky road that render the fast-paced action slow to a tiresome yield.

Criticisms and nitpicks aside, I wholeheartedly would agree that this flick doesn’t deserve a reputation as stained as it is. It’s all just a simple and digestible Mad Max wannabe with great ambitions, convincing set pieces, and maybe a bit too much B-movie corn. They definitely could’ve turned out a better script, a more threatening antagonist, and actual characters we indeed root for. It’s not a movie I regret or would mind viewing again, but the combined flaws are up to a motley misfire.

RATING: 6.5/10 “Opinions will Vary”

PASSENGERS WHO PUNCHED A TICKET

  • Adhdlifeforever
  • Todd
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A Marx Brothers Retrospective, and how they left a Mark on Comedy | Lighttrain

Hey-ya! Welcome aboard the Train tonight, hope you’re doing well. In case I haven’t been introduced to you yet, I’m this locomotive’s conductor, G.h Nowak. Some of you guys might remember that I think, during a time like this, comedy is a great way to lighten up. I’ve already talked about Monty Python and Blake Edwards, now I’ve got another suggestion for you. The Marx Brothers were a comedy trio that were most prominent throughout the 1930s, starring in comedy films Duck Soup, Animal Crackers, A Night at the Opera and The Coconauts. This week, I’m going to look back on their career in comedy. Let’s get this show on the road!

The group consisted mainly up of Groucho, a cigar-chomping fast talker; Harpo, a clownish mute who played the harp and chases after blondes; Chico, a somewhat dimwitted though charming Italian con artist, and Zeppo, the straight man to the other brothers’ anarchy. And, before I continue any further, I’m not going to be covering the latter… sorry Zeppo fans! All I really have to say is that he plays his part well, despite the significant lack of a persona. We’re going to be using that word a lot tonight, persona.

There has been many comedic geniuses throughout the years: Monty Python, the Not Ready for Prime Time Players (The original Saturday Night Live crew), the Looney Tunes and Abbott and Costello. But, dare I say it, I just think the Marx Brothers are my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, those other troupes are also rather marvelous. But why do I have the gut instinct that these guys rise to the peak? It’s all thanks to the personas. Could you tell me, right off the top of your head, who Groucho’s character is? Well, he’s a fast talker, he says what’s on his mind. As mentioned, a staple of his persona is his signature cigar he always seems to be smoking from. Another major key component is his sardonic wit and backwards logic, which lead to many hilarious insults and gave galore.

A classic scene from their 1935 hit A Night at the Opera

Continuing on with the subject, it is great to see these three distinct yet equally destructive personalities play off each other differentially. With the combination of Chico and Groucho, as the clip above shows, Chico usually tries to con the other. Of course, Chico’s stumbling up with the English language and Groucho’s trickery and up leaving the former befuddled. Chico and Harpo on the other hand have a more enduring, partners in crime esque relationship. Since Harpo doesn’t really speak, it feels almost like Chico takes up a sort of responsibility for his friend, despite their mannerisms. When all three of the brothers collide, it’s always a comedic treat watching how it unfolds. Sometimes Groucho plays it straight, or joins in on the chaotic chicanery.

It is absolutely undeniable that their films have left their stamp on humour history ever since their debut movie The Coconauts more than a century ago. One of cartoon’s most recognizable stars, Bugs Bunny, guaranteed got some influence from Groucho’s cigar – or in this case carrot – munching and witty remarks. Pop culture giants like Abrahams, Zucker, and Abrahams (Airplane!, The Naked Gun), Woody Allen (Bananas, Annie Hall) and the Beatles have said that the Marx Brothers have brought out their comedic inspiration. Heck, even Monty Python owes the troupe their condolences! The Marx Brothers, from their distinct personas, hilarious wit and charm, and the massive achievements they’ve established in comedy is why I still continue to return to and laugh at their movies even to this day.

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CARNIVAL OF LIGHT: The Unreleased Beatles Experiment Album | (Out of Order) Lost Media File

How’s it rolling? This is your conductor here with you on this episode of Out of Order where we cover Carnival of Light. For some needed context, this was an unreleased track produced by none other then the Beatles. Ever since it’s performance it has been lost and, in a sense, covered up by the band. However, their fans have remained fascinated with this mysterious piece and its whereabouts. As we cover the complete history and mystery of Carnival of Light, I suggest sit back and feel open to join in with your own thoughts on this recording. Let’s get this show on the road!

The conspiracy began in December 1966, and the Beatles had recently made headlines with their delve into more of a pop style with the album Revolver that had been released earlier that year. Designer David Vaughn of the artist crew Binder, Edwards,and Vaughn finished work on a psychedelic design for Paul McCarthy’s piano. They asked him if the Beatles could perhaps produce a individual work to be featured at the “Million Volt Light and Sound Rave” , and much to their own astonishment Paul agreed. In January, the four members of the Beatles had recorded a cacophony of sounds that was assumed to be around 14 minutes in length, and became Carnival of Light.

To describe the myriad of tones and rings and dings that are present in the piece itself would prove confusing to be sure, but I’ll do my best. The song wasn’t written, it was more initiated by Paul. The opening focused mainly on a drum track, and later on a discord of Native American war cries, genuine coughs, background conversation, whistling and more. In the additional words of Barry Miles, a biologist friend of Paul:

The Tape has no rhythm, though a best is sometimes established by a few bars for the percussion or a rhythmic pounding on the piano. There is no melody, though snatches of a tune sometimes threaten to break through. The Beatles make literally random sounds… The basic track was recorded slow that some of the drums and organ were very deep… John (Lennon) and Paul (McCarthy) help with massive amounts of reverb on their voices… It most resembles ‘The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet ‘

Barry Miles, era 1997
“Suzy?” ” Yeah? ” “Suzy Creamcheese?”

We’ll return with Carnival of Light after these quick messages…

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I’m glad you’re still here, now back to the show!

This is where things get strange. The Carnival of Light track premiered at the Roundhouse theater in London, although none of the Beatles actually attended. From the few that were there, some downright despised the piece, while others didn’t find it very memorable. But the fellow who started the campaign, Paul McCartney, was still proud of the work. He has, for many years from then on, attempted on various occasions to publicize Carnival of Light. The first known attempt was for it to be included as a bonus feature on the Anthology 2 album. In the end, the remaining trio of Beatles voted against its inclusion. Paul didn’t give up hopes though, and wanted to make it the main theme for a Beatles photo collage film he had been working on that was similar to the Grateful Dead slideshow he also did. Ultimately, the film was from my knowledge shelved.

Beatles fans were losing faith in the sought-out track ever being released. Many of them resorted to taking prior information on the song and recreating it. Some claim to be the original, but you could easily call this bluff by arguing if it was the actual tape Beatles lawyers and such would have already taken the uploads down. In 2016, these people had found a light in the cavern regarding the release of a deluxe 50th anniversary edition of the band’s staple album Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. According to Giles Martin, who was overseeing the new Sgt. Peppers remix:

It wasn’t part of the Sgt. Peppers recording. It’s a very different thing. I hope we can do something interesting with that at some point… But it wasn’t really part of the Sgt. Peppers album.

Giles Martin, era 2017

This all comes to a dead end as of the current year of this episode’s release. Paul himself claims to have the full, original tape of Carnival of Light, although something leaves me to conclude that he’s just waiting for a good time. As said above, Martin is additionally down for releasing the track. The issue here for them is that Carnival of Light is just so obscure and sticks out from all of the band’s other music that they don’t know what to do with it. The perfect opportunity hasn’t come to them yet, but let’s hope soon it will. Until then, make sure to wash your hands, eat healthier, and stay cool. Close me out, Carnival of Light recreation!

~ Transmission Disconnected ~

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From THE INCREDIBLES to UP: Every Pixar Film Reviewed Vol. 2 | LightTrain

The groundbreaking animators over at Pixar have touched the hearts of many and connected audiences with hundreds of sympathetic characters by taking old tropes and adding a drop of their own unique spin. But even though every dog has their day, they have also fallen short of the standards audiences would come to expect. Diving into the duds, the masterpieces, and everything in-between, this is the second collection of Pixar films reviewed. Let’s get this show on the road!

The Incredibles (2004)

That one shot of Mr Incredible just staring at his belt and sighing never gets old!

Written and directed by Brad Bird who previously worked The Iron Giant, the movie focuses on Bob Parr, a middle class father and retired “super” . Bob is bored by his modern day American life and discovers an opportunity to relive his heroic golden years as his alter identity Mr. Incredible. Unexpectedly, this seemingly stellar circumstance lands him face to face with an old face seeking vengeance. Meanwhile, Bob’s wife Helen and their kids, also supers, insinuate a rescue mission and must come together with their father to battle against this rising threat.

Right off the bat I’m just going to say that I love The Incredibles for how smart it is. It may be Pixar’s most adult film as of today because it mainly focuses on the inner struggles of a family man. Most folks often put The Incredibles in the top 5, which I definitely understand but for me personally there’s just others that are more well-made or enjoyable. Even despite this, the movie is still includes a tightly woven story with likeable characters and excellent action scenes and dialogue to spare. Michael Giacchino has a excellent, thrilling score that elevates the movie up a whole level for me. While I wouldn’t say it’s his or Pixar’s best score, he still pulls it off like the master he is.

Isn’t that just incredibly nuts? How a studio’s catalog can be so great that even the number 5 or something similar could end up a brilliant piece of work? It has the excellent writing and everything, but I just suppose I like others a bit more. Small details that I didn’t notice back then was that the movie never talks down to the audience as if they’re brain dead. If anything, it respects them. The voice performances are pitch perfect, as is the pacing. Nothing felt out of place or rushed, it all felt accurately depicted. Add on it a great homage to 60s superhero serials and you got a melting pot of, well, incredible genius.

What more to elaborate on, The Incredibles has stood the test of time as a pinnacle of superhero movies and the animation industry in general. It’s fans are dedicated ones, and it continues to be a favorite.

RATING: 8/10 “Brilliant, but not my Favorite”

Cars (2006)

“The 60s weren’t good to you, we’re they?”

Pixar has a great franchise under its belt, The Toy Story installments. Even the fourth film, which made everyone at least a bit skeptical, came out just as good as its predecessors. But just like how DreamWorks has their Kung Fu Panda, both studios have there own unimpressive trilogies. For DreamWorks it’s Madagascar, but Pixar’s is Cars. Not a single person I know puts this trilogy of movies on par with any of the studio’s masterwork catalog. Do I? No, or course not.

But first, how does the original hold up? Let’s begin with the premise; a brash rookie racer named Lightning McQueen incidentally ends up in an old-fashioned town occupied by a host of colorful characters, and learns to appreciate the more simpler things in life. The movie is soaked in American nostalgia and whatnot, which gives it a distinct feel from Pixar’s productions. The animation, in traditional fashion, is pleasing to the eyes and grasps a cozy hometown tone.

However, an issue I’ve always had against this movie is that it was primarily written for kids. To further explain, all of the former films felt as if they were written specifically for adults and kids second, though this was their first motion picture to switch it up. Additionally, Cars has hardly any substance for many of you guys reading (by the way, thank you for tuning in!). I can see no grown adult sitting down to watch Cars by themselves. There’s really not much to rag upon here, but then again not much to praise.

So indeed, Cars is an odd film to talk about. There’s nothing about it that stands out or hooks me, it’s just a quaint animated movie that’s best on in the background. It has some good scenes here and there, but it never reaches the finish line.

RATING: 5.5/10

Ratatoulie (2007)

Man, this trailer is still kind of unsettling. The cryptic nature and music really sold it for me.

After the smash success of The Incredibles, Brad Bird took the helm of a new project for the studio, tweaking elements around a bit and writing the entire script from scratch. The film centers on a hopeful rat named Remy, whom has dreams of following in the footsteps of acclaimed chef Auguste Gustaeu and becoming a cook despite his unfortunate upbringing. After losing his clan, Remy discovers Gusteau’s restaurant in Paris and forms a bond with the eatery’s garbage boy Linguini.

Not mentioned in the synopsis is just how Remy and Linguini cook as a unit, without people knowing about the rat. If you haven’t seen the movie it may come as a surprise that Remy hides under Linguini’s toque and controlling the man’s actions by pulling his hair a la marionette. With such a weird story you might be even more stunned that I consider Ratatoullie among Pixar’s best. It is actually a tale of one’s passion vs. societal expectations. Remy represents the passionate side; the one who desires to do what he loves. Linguini represents the fears and insecurities that hold someone back from these things. The subtlety and excellence behind how it’s told is nothing short of divine.

While it is one of the company’s more straightforward formats and characters, it also feels like their most warm and thoughtful. The side-dishes also offer much to the palette by covering the topic of criticism and one’s pride and ego. I adore Brad Bird as much as I do since he can receive a potentially formulaic idea and infusing his own signature writing talent into them. Remember how I said for The Incredibles review that its score isn’t even Pixar’s best? Try and guess which one is my favorite… that’s right! You know you love it, Monsters Inc. Yeah, you know that saxophone is a killer. No, it’s Ratatoullie, of course! Michael Giacchino returns and tops himself with a score that completely compliments the film’s style and is a scrumptious sauce for this dish.

When somebody says that animation is a genre, show them Ratatoullie. It doesn’t feel like it’s exclusively for kiddies, but rather a well-made independent art house film. All of the ingredients the master cooks at Pixar have whipped up come together in a symphony of Partisan flair, amusing characters, wit, and a riveting moral struggle to top it all off. I’ll be revisiting Ratatoullie very soon, hungry for more.

RATING: 9/10 ” Masterpiece”

We’ll return with two more Pixar reviews after these short messages…

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WHAT’S YOUR PIXAR RANKING?


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Wall-E (2008)

Did I ever tell you about a dream I had where a Wall-E lookalike screeched and murdered me?

As said in the trailer above, the premise for Wall-E was first introduced in 1994. Better late than never, I suppose. The picture is about a trash compactor robot, a plucky and lonely fellow named Wally. He spends his days on the abandoned, uninhabitable Earth collecting treasures and dreaming of finding something more than sorting out garbage. One day out of the blue, a spaceship called the Axiom arrives and leaves behind a probe, an EVE model. Wall-E falls for the mysterious android, and follows her into the vast galaxy when the Axiom retrieves her again.

As with Cars, this film tackles sweet American nostalgia, with the likes of a live action VHS of Hello, Dolly! Wall-E watches from time to time. But it also includes themes of obesity, consumerism, corporatocracy and waste management in their as well. I love the influence director and writer Andrew Stanton spiced Wall-E with; He took inspiration from Silent Running, Charlie Chaplin’s old silent films, Wall-E himself represents a Woody Allen – esque protagonist, and even Wally’s pet cockroach, Hal, is a reference to both silent film producer Hal Roach and 2001: A Space Odyssey.

My praises for this movie go to its optimistic nature, despite being an apocalyptic setting, the sound design by Ben Burtt, and the love story between our two leading robots. I’m a big fan of science fiction myself, and I must say, Wall-E is among the best sci-fi in animation. I don’t know, there’s something so comforting and warm about Stanton’s creation that just makes me adore it so much. And while I would say that the first third of the film is better than the rest of the film aboard the spaceship, the whole movie really is enjoyable. The imagery Pixar continues to offer and top themselves on are practically a given now, too.

It’s understandable where some complaints about how much this film gets praised may come up. Many people think it’s either a bit too preachy, the runtime is stretched out, it’s too boring, or that the plot and characters fall into the chasm of predictability. It’s kind of a sad thought how much silent films are treated just because they lack dialogue. Not enough audiences nowadays don’t see the magic of these types of movies and just desire entertaining, easy-to-digest blockbuster spectacles.

Yet again Pixar has served up another animated masterpiece, filled with all the heart, humour, and comfort of a great silent film. It continues to be a movie that Pixar does best, enthralling a wide age demographic. Definitely, folks of all ages can enjoy Wall-E, having a likeable main character for the kiddos, thought-provoking questions for adults, and spectacular graphics and charm for everyone. Undeniably out of this world, and one of my favorites of the Pixar lineup.

RATING: 9/10

Up (2009)

And a good afternoon to you, Mr. Fredricksen

We know reach the end of our talk today with Up, directed by Pete Doctor whom had previously worked on Monsters Inc. The movie focuses on an elderly gruff named Carl Fredricksen. He decides to escape his drab life and take his home with him on a journey to Paradise Falls, a waterfall in South America, to fulfill a promise of visiting the location to his now deceased wife Ellie. Hm? His house? Oh right, by balloons; Fredricksen brings his house by balloon. Anyway, he soon befriends a stow away, young “Wilderness Explorer” Russell , and they must protect a tall, colorful bird Russell happened upon from an insane former explorer that had been hunting the bird.

I like most of Pixar’s ideas for films; homages to 60s superhero schlock, American Nostalgia, a silent love story in Space, a workplace comedy, and now a satire of those adventure serials. Let’s cover the elephant in the Train (yeah I can hear you, bud!) that is the opening montage of Carl and Ellie’s marriage. The whole sequence is beautiful, elevated again by Giacchino’s music that could make even a scrooge tear up. It marvelously encapsulates these two’s relationship without a word said: just music and moving images. It continues to move me even on repeat viewings and it’s a solid contender for some of animation’s most touching scenes.

But how’s the rest of the movie? For me, I never got into Up as much as most of the previous entries. The characters work well for the plot, the animation is a treat, and the twists and turns of the plot itself are entertaining. I just can’t get sucked into this world or get entirely invested in the leads. The villain, Charles Muntz, feels a bit like the crew felt that they needed an antagonist and not as if he were crucial at all to the emotional crux. To be fairly blunt, I might’ve been more into Carl and Russell if their wasn’t Muntz, or at least he didn’t play as large a role as he did.

This adventure flick from Pixar sticks to the recipe, but never seems to entice me. I absolutely got what I came for, and even some moments like that opening surprised me, but it’s a mostly straightforward Pixar mold. But really, if that ends up being as good as Up, then this studio should be very much proud of their work.

RATING: 7.5/10 “Good”


We’ll be ranking these as we go along…

  1. Wall-E
  2. Toy Story 2
  3. Finding Nemo
  4. Ratatoullie
  5. Monsters, Inc.
  6. Toy Story
  7. The Incredibles
  8. ??
  9. ??
  10. ??
  11. Up
  12. A Bug’s Life
  13. ??
  14. Cars
  15. ??
  16. ??
  17. ??
  18. ??
  19. ??
  20. ??
  21. ??
  22. ??

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The Peanut Butter Falcon Review: Does this Indie Film Soar? | Lighttrain

Evening folks! I’m your conductor and this week’s review is for The Peanut Butter Falcon, starring Zack Gottsagan and Shia LeBeouf. It was an independent feature, and so it only got a limited release in theaters. Here’s a interesting piece of information for an unaware reader; when a film is theatrically released in a limited fashion, it means that the movie is shown specifically in large metropolitan cinemas and are typically art house films. However, Peanut Butter Falcon became a sleeper success despite its few shows. So, is there something audiences saw in this film that I can’t, or is it possibly the other way around? Let’s get this show on the road and see.

Inspired by the works of Mark Twain, it follows Zak, a thirtysomething man living with Down syndrome at a nursing home. Zak has quite the dream despite these things; being able to meet and be under the mentorship of a famed wrestler named the Salt Water Redneck. Zak thus escapes from the facility in order to achieve his goal, along the way developing a budding bond with a fugitive fisherman, Tyler. Elsewhere, one of Zak’s caretakers becomes determined to locate the young venturer, and Tyler is pursued simultaneously by a duo of irate rogues.

The acting is, without a hair of doubt, Peanut Butter Falcon’s strongest component. This is probably Shia LaBeouf’s best performance yet, only really up against Borg vs. McEnroe for the prestigious title. I suppose we’ll have to wait to prove if LeBeouf is making a real comeback, thanks in part to this film and Honey Boy. In addition, Dakota Johnson as the caretaker Eleanor did a good job for what she was given. But the star of the show in many ways is the performance done by Zack Gottsagan, who feels to be playing a raw version of himself in this role. Perhaps if it weren’t for these magnificent acting chops Peanut Butter Falcon could have felt like a tacky Hallmark movie. It’s really a testament when the performances can inject such a layered heartfelt charm into a picture that could come off as sappy if done poorly.

One a brief but highly noteworthy sidetrack, I adore how this movie doesn’t talk down to Zak or treat him any differently from the other characters. There’s one terrific scene in particular where Shia LeBeouf points out to Eleanor how she is generally sort of belittling towards Zak. If you want a slice of the film that demonstrates its brilliant acting, this would have to be one for sure. Apparently, I couldn’t find the exact scene, but I just suppose you’ll have to watch the movie for yourself.

The idea of writing a modern play on classic American folk tales is a great notion too. As I mentioned in the plot summary, this is influenced by the world of Mark Twain, specifically Huckleberry Finn. If you want to dissect the details of the comparisons with the two, go ahead. For a start, Zak can be interpreted as the Huckleberry Finn of the story, while Tyler leans into the Tom Sawyer mold.

Swinging right on back to the previous opinions, one of Peanut Butter Falcon’s flaws is that it can be buoyant occasionally to a fault. It’s simpleness ultimately trips the film over into unfortunate predictability. When the third act of the movie comes along, it makes some unexpected and genuinely boggling decisions that kinda drag it down a few notches on the “that wouldn’t happen” meter. So yeah, a couple of scenes feel like a stretch, and did sadly strain some of the film’s believability.

Their are noticeable blotches on the Peanut Butter Falcon‘s whole, but this modern retelling is guaranteed to warm one’s heart with top tier feel-good performances and its infectious upbeat demeanor. It’s not a movie I will be returning to in the near future, but for what it’s worth I had a good time.

RATING: 8/10 “Recommended to Anyone”

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