Friday, April 30, 2021

Looking Back At All Who Die in 2016 part 4


23 – Pete Burns, Singer/Songwriter – founded the band Dead or Alive, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)” – age 57

We’re only talking about him so we have an entry for October.
Actual effect on the world? None.

07 – Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States 1993-2001 nominated by President Bill Clinton – age 78

It’s all good because Will Ferrell can stand in as a more feminine version of Janet Reno.
Actual effect on the world? None, we still have Will Ferrell.

11 – Robert Vaughn, Actor – Napoleon Solo in “The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964-’68) – age 83

The dude was in the final season of The A Team.
Actual effect on the world? No more creepy bug eyes.

24 – Florence Henderson, Actress / Singer – Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch” (1969 to 1974) – age 82

The Gen Xers mom is now with Mike Brady.
Actual effect on the world?  There is hope for A Very Brady Funeral.

25 – Fidel Castro, Dictator – Prime Minister then President of Cuba from 1959-2008 then gave same powers to his brother – age 90

Good riddance to this communist piece of shit!
Actual effect on the world? It’s for the better.  It’s a shame freedom won’t ring out in Cuba.  It also showed how much of the liberal media failed to condemn him for how violent and horrible of a dictator he was.

25 – Ron Glass, Actor – Det. Ron Harris on “Barney Miller” (1975-1982) – age 71

Sheppard Book from Firefly/Serenity was a character that was never fully hashed out.  This lack of clarity made the fans wanting more.
Actual effect on the world? Since they killed him off in the Serenity there was no fear of a reprisal so minimal impact, unless they wanted to do a prequel.

08 – John Glenn, WWII & Korean War Fighter Pilot. Marine Colonel. NASA Astronaut. Senator from Ohio (1974-99). Married for 73 yrs – first American to orbit the Earth (1962) – age 95

A phenomenal American, a hero all around.
Actual effect on the world?  Space travel is mankinds greatest achievement and he made America believe in its value.

13 – Alan Thicke, Actor – Jason Seaver, the father on “Growing Pains” (1985-’92) – age 69

This is a bigger loss than David Bowie.
Actual effect on the world? Some of the greatest TV Theme songs were written by this man.  He might have had a few more in his belt.

18 – Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian Actress and Socialite – Moulin Rouge (1952), married nine times to mostly wealthy men – age 99

Who didn’t love that accent?
Actual effect on the world? Ones less hottie in the world.

24 – Richard Adams, Author – Watership Down, The Plague Dogs – age 96

The dude wrote a book that killed too many bunnies.
Actual effect on the world? Less bunny genocide is a good thing.

25 – George Michael, Singer/Songwriter – #1 hits; “Faith”, “I Want Your Sex”, “Careless Whisper” – age 53

Was he the straightest gay man in the world or the gayest straight man in the world?
Actual effect on the world? Now we will never find out what that lewd act in the bathroom was.

27 – Carrie Fisher, Actress – Princess Leia in “Star Wars” (1977) and four sequels – age 60

George Lucas, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher were the blockbuster film equivalent of The Beatles. Jaws may have started the blockbuster but Star Wars perfected it.  Fisher dying is like George Harrison dying.  She was a strong female film character when few existed.  Her contribution to one of the biggest pop culture films reverberated throughout the world. 
She also was a prominent script doctor in the 80s and 90s.
Actual effect on the world? The new movies are short an important character. Will they recast, kill her character off, CGI her?  More to come.

28 – Debbie Reynolds, Actress – Kathy Selden in “Singin’ in the Rain”, Mother of Carrie Fisher – age 84

It was stated a stroke killed her but everyone knows what really did her in.  This wouldn’t get a big mention except for the fact that it was the day after her daughter died.  Most people probably thought she was already dead.  The media enjoyed the tragic story of a mother dying of a broken heart after her daughter died.
Actual effect on the world? Since she was already in Abe Vigoda status not much.

Written by
Steve Rogers
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®

Friday, April 23, 2021

Making a Trekkie 101

Making a Trekkie 101

The word Trekkie is a term of endearment or a stigma depending on which clique you travel in.  For the people that deem Trekkie in the negative connotation it’s likely because they have never watched a Star Trek show before.  Many of their complaints have to deal with the campy technology limited 1960s TV series or the overly obsessed cosplayers that have made Star Trek the pop culture dynamo and stigma it is today.  There was the woman who won the right to wear her Star Trek uniform while serving jury duty. Then there was the stated his wife died during a transporter accident.    Being a Star Trek fan is harder than being a Star Wars fan.  Star Wars is universally accepted in society because of its simpler good versus evil theme.  Star Trek’s larger vision of the future, of humanity is a tougher concept to grasp. 

If you come across a Star Trek hater it’s likely they have never seen any form of the franchise and are hating on the super fanatics. 

The haters will always hate, so let’s just toss them aside.  There are however many people who’ve just never seen anything Star Trek and admittedly are open to the concepts.  You have sci-fi and comic fans, those are the easy conversions, then there are the clueless pop culture fans, they want to become fans or something but don’t know how. In either scenario there is a tried and true method for making a trekkie.

It starts with Star Trek II: The Wraith of Kahn.
When breaking someone into Star Trek it’s important to start with the films.  In particular it must be Star Trek II.  Never pitch the film to anyone as an awesome Star Trek movie, it must be sold as an awesome movie.  If a person cannot like Star Trek II then they have no soul and should be sent back to the hellish abyss where they were spawned from.  Always sell the film as a great stand along while also being realistic about how much Star Trek: The “Slow” Motion Picture sucked.  This establishes the Trekkie in training that you’re realistic about what’s good and bad.  Focus on showing them this one and only film don’t push beyond the one film or you risk alienating them of such a long endeavor of sitting on your ass. 
The original series films offer the best evaluation on whether a person can truly appreciate Star Trek.

If Wraith of Kahn is a hit immediately push Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.  It’s the perfect follow-up.

It’s a logical progression to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. 

There is a bit of a speed bump with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, if the person appreciates Shatner overacting this is a great film for them.  If you get the impression the potential Trekkie is not amused then it may be best to avoid this film and move right onto Star Trek: VI: The Undiscovered Country. 

If you have a person who can sit through 4 of the 6 original series films they are well on their way to becoming a full blown Trekkie.  If they fail at any point during the film phase then all hope is lost and find a new friend.

Where does one go after the film series? The next logical step is the TV shows.  But which series?  It depends on the viewer, if they like, Kirk, Spock and McCoy or 1960s campiness then start with the original series.  If they appreciate more character driven stories than star with Star Trek: The Next Generation. 

Whenever  Star Trek: The Next Generation is shown you must make it a point to either skip the first two season or watch them in fast forward and only show selected scenes or episodes.  If you’re a true expert that start from season 1 episode 1.  Most cannot manage this so just give a synapses of the first 2 seasons, explain who Q and Tasha Yar are and start with Season 3.   If they enjoy their TNG experience you’ve gotten yourself a Trekkie.  Immediately Show then Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: First Contact. Do not show them Insurrection or Nemesis.

From there it’s an easy move to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (the best Star Trek series ever), then Star Trek Voyager (ekkk), and if they are still hanging on you swing right into Star Trek: Enterprise.

After they have been fully educated in Star Wars lore it’s no big whoop to show them JJ Abrams Star Trek. 

Alternately, if they hated Wrath of Kahn you can skip all of that and just show them JJ Abram Star Trek which is more action themed and probably makes them more of a fan of Star Wars than Star Trek.  Which is fun for parties but not for deep long discussions about life.

Once all the more lovable Star Trek media has been exhausted it’s very easy to go back and show them all the bad Star Trek you shielded them from throughout their Trekkie training.  If they begin to complain about how painful the bad is be sure to just respond with “I don’t want my pain taken away.  I need my pain. If we lose that we lost ourselves.” Make sure to overact it. If they are a true Trekkie they’ll appreciate it and you’ll know you’ve signed another one up for the cause.

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Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®

Friday, April 16, 2021

Looking Back At All Who Die in 2016 part 3


19 – Garry Marshall, Writer/Producer/Actor – created “Happy Days”“Mork & Mindy”, “Laverne & Shirley” – age 81

His impact in the world is a bit too big to some up in a few sentences.
Actual effect on the world? He hadn’t made a sitcom in years but his comedy style rings through many contemporary works.  The dude helped make Fonzie and now it’s a little less cool without him.

02 – David Huddleston, Actor – Character actor “Santa Claus: The Movie” – age 85

The dude was large enough to play Santa in a film and lived to 85.  Fuck dieting.
Actual effect on the world? Where will the world find old jolly fellows? 

03 – Ricci Martin, Entertainer – son of Dean Martin – age 62

He’s only getting a mention because Sinatra’s kid died.  Much like Dean Martin, Ricci Martin was a less famous than his Sinatra counterpart.

13 – Kenny Baker, Actor – played R2-D2 in the Star Wars franchise also played Paploo, the Ewok – age 81

This was a bummer of a loss.
Actual effect on the world? Anthony Daniels will have no one to hate anymore.

14 – Fyvush Finkel, Actor – lawyer Douglas Wambaugh on “Picket Fences” – age 93

If you ever get arrested you wanted this dude as your lawyer.
Actual effect on the world? Douglas Wambaugh for the steamroller, your honor!

29 – Gene Wilder, Actor – Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein, Willy Wonka – age 83

The dude was a lot older than anyone remembered.
Actual effect on the world? No more team ups with Richard Prior.

25 – Arnold Palmer, Golfer – One of the greatest golfers ever, did more to popularize the sport than any other golfer – age 87

GOLF is an anagram for Gentleman Only Ladies Forbidden.
Actual effect on the world? No more half Iced Tea half Lemonade.

Written by
Steve Rogers
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®

Friday, April 9, 2021

Looking Back At All Who Die in 2016 part 2


17 – Doris Roberts, Actress – Marie Barone on “Everybody Loves Raymond” (1996–2005) – age 90

She always played the old lady in everything she was in. 
Actual effect on the world? Our hopes for a Remington Steele reunion have been thwarted.

21 – Prince, Musician – flamboyant on stage, seven Grammy Awards, “Purple Rain” – age 57

That dude was crazy.  Rumor after rumor. 
Actual effect on the world? He hadn’t made a significant album in decades but now we get to see his stuff on YouTube and in TV commercials. 

19 – Morley Safer, Journalist – CBS News for 52 years (1964-2016), 60 Minutes for 46 years (1970-2016) won 12 Emmy Awards – age 84

A slightly less cranky old man than Andy Rooney.
Actual effect on the world? A job opening in 60 minutes.

03 – Muhammad Ali, Professional Boxer – (formerly Cassius Clay) three time heavyweight champion (1964, 1974, and 1978), proclaimed “The Greatest” – age 74

This dude knew how to fight.  Not going to say a thing about this dude.

17 – Ron Lester, Actor – Billy Bob in movie “Varsity Blues” – age 45

That dude was 28 when he played a high school student in Varsity Blues.
Actual effect on the world? McDonald’s will see a drop in sales. 

19 – Anton Yelchin, Actor – Pavel Chekov in three Star Trek movies (2009-16) – age 27

This dude was a good actor. 
Actual effect on the world? Decades of brilliant acting have been lost to the world from a talented actor that died before his time.

Written by
Steve Rogers
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®

Friday, April 2, 2021

Marvel: The Biggest Risk in Hollywood Part 2 of 2

Marvel: The Biggest Risk in Hollywood Part 2

Well for starters, Marvel didn’t run before they could walk.  They started simple.  They made 2 films.  Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.  From there it laid the foundation of their plan.  They dropped hints that other films would be on the way but never spent the entire movie talking about the next movie.  The Avengers did so well because Marvel created one of the best marketing gimmicks Hollywood had ever seen.  A cinematic universe where everything is connected. 

One of the reasons Stephen King's books are so loved is how he connects them but keeps the individual stories unique.
Now here’s where the backlash comes into play. Since Marvel’s achieved such huge success with their endeavor, everyone feels they are the NSYNC of film studios.  NSYNC just showed up and cashed in on the late 90s boy band craze without any real effort.   In actuality NSYNC worked their ass off to become the best boy band of the late 90s.  Marvel took a gamble and it paid out big time.  If they had failed every article about superhero films would discuss how audiences hate these interconnecting franchises and cite Marvel’s failure as the pinnacle example.  But since it was a success every studio wants to copy their design.  The problem is studios are too inept or clueless to see how Marvel succeeded. 

This is what you end up with when you cut creative corners!
This is where the backlash comes into play.  Marvel’s achievement didn’t occur without causing huge and negative consequences in Hollywood.  Studios are so desperate to cash in on the franchise genre they are trying to skip the gradual build up.  What’s occurring now is The Fast and Furious films have become a fucking cornerstone movie franchise.  How the hell did that happen, well they started out slow for one, then restructured their story telling in the fourth and fifth movies and are now a never ending mill of Vin Diesel one liners. 

It sounds so much more beautiful spoke by Diesel himself.
Warner Brothers is the biggest culprit with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and Suicide Squad (2016), they’ve just dumped everything they have into two dark gritty films and said this is all connected.  There is no happiness or fun in this DC Cinematic world.  It’s just pain and misery.  They’ve completely missed the point.  An audience can stomach one or two dark movies but an entire genre devoted to dark and gritty is overkill.  When someone is looking at 10+ pessimistic movies a person would rather hang out with a teenage Goth/Emo Freak who’s just discovered Morrissey. 

They are not as fun as they look.
Franchise films have now become just buildups for the next film instead of standalone stories.  Each movie becomes more of an advertisement to see the next film instead of an isolated story that took placed the day before a sequel film.  That’s just annoying.  The biggest offender of course are DC films but this was even done as early as X-Men 2 (2003), Spider-Man 2 (2004), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) (I understand it’s a Marvel Studios property but they did it and it was fucking annoying), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) (FYI Spider-Man film rights are controlled by Sony, Marvel owns publication rights.  There is currently some Masters of Evil deal where they are now sharing the character but let’s skip that complication). 

Poor franchise planning has resulted in this being the best Fantastic Four movie ever made!
Honorable mention! Any film anthology based on a book anthology that takes the last book and breaks it up into Part 1 and Part 2 so instead of 3 films we get 4.  It’s really fucking annoying.

What’s baffling about these franchises is; why don’t the studios just completely copy Marvel’s format?  They want the success of Marvel without putting in any of the time.  Why didn’t DC make 5 films building up to a Justice League?  If they wanted to be anti-Marvel, why didn’t they just make a Justice League movie and make spinoff films from that?  Is there a copyright on implementing other company’s successful business strategies?

This is why Marvel is truly a risk taker and innovator.  Other studios have tried to create their own franchises with mixed results while Marvel has set the tone for blockbuster filmmaking and will continue to do so for the next several years. 

Written by
Joseph Ammendolea
“I Like To Play With Toys” Productions®