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  1. Okay... let's try this again. After my last attempt to see Avengers: Age of Ultron, I was so fed-up with going to the movies, I really had no interest in trying again. But here I am, in a different multiplex, ten minutes away from my second attempt. I'm not holding out much hope, since I've since read several articles that state that movie theater chains intentionally tell their employees not to correctly change over their projectors from 3D to 2D, since it costs time and money and they don't want to train people to do it right. I guess I'll find out soon enough. When I update this entry after the movie, I'll post some info about the other theater's response, and my response to them. Time now to post this and shut off my iPhone. Wish me luck! (One movie later...) If you recall from last time, I stopped short of reviewing Avengers: Age of Ultron because the projection was so dim, I literally couldn't see a lot of what was going on. I was distracted through the whole movie by how dark the picture was, as well as how low the volume was (I couldn't hear a lot of the dialog). I wrote a complaint to the movie chain, who e-mailed an apology and offered free passes, and then put the theater manager in touch with me, who also apologized and similarly offered me free passes. I turned them both down. My response to them was that I wasn't interested in free passes, but rather some assurance that I was going to be able to see movies presented properly. I (admittedly sarcastically) asked Regal if they could recommend another theater, to which they replied to me to type in my zip code on Regal's website, which would find the next nearest Regal theater. Not helpful. The theater manager said that their technical support people would be investigating what had happened, and I responded that I'd like to hear the results of that investigation. However, I already knew the issue. I linked to a couple of articles last time, but this one is better still - from the Boston Globe. This succinctly describes the problem with theater chains using Sony 4K digital projectors for both 3D and 2D screenings, without changing the setup between the two. It diminishes the brightness of 2D screenings by half, or worse. According to the Globe (and other articles), some theater chains are intentionally choosing not to change out their lenses, despite knowing the negative effect this is going to have on the projection. And yes - they do know. It would be impossible to be even remotely associated with running a movie theater (much less a chain of them) without understanding the technology behind them. They're just choosing to ignore it, because in the end, they simply don't care. And apparently, neither do audiences. If the audiences complained enough, or stopped going, things would have to change. But most audiences don't notice, because they don't know what they're looking at. They're there to watch a movie - not critically analyze it. If it's dark, they probably just chalk it up to "being at the movies", as opposed to say, watching the movie on Netflix on an iPad. By going to a different theater (although unfortunately, still part of the Regal monopoly) and choosing a screen that had been running 2D all day, I had hoped that maybe I'd luck out and get a properly set up projector. No such luck. They were still running it with the 3D lens in place. How do I know? Well, from the Boston Globe article, "If you see two beams of light, one stacked on top of the other, thats a Sony with the 3-D lens still in place." In fact, I could clearly see the 3D lens on the projector after the lights came up after the movie. It's pretty unmistakable. The 3D lens looks nothing like the 2D lens. So... how hard is it to change the lenses? Well, take a look for yourself. It takes about 6 1/2 minutes. And this is something that - at most - might have to be done once per day. And that's pretty unlikely since most theaters aren't going to be changing between 2D and 3D screenings during the day. Maybe on the weekend when a big movie is opening. It's not rocket science. But theater chains don't want to do it. They deem it unnecessary, because people aren't complaining. But look at it this way - if the concession stand employees were spitting in everyone's Cokes, but nobody complained because they didn't know, would that make it okay? (For all I know, maybe that's a policy of the Regal chain, too.) I will say this - the projection was marginally better than the other theater. Was it good? No. But it was at least tolerable. However, the incessant buzzing in the sound system was not. So I'll be writing Regal again. And unless I find another theater to go to, this will be my last movie review. I'm done. I was planning to see quite a few movies this year, too. Here are the ones I won't be seeing now: Mad Max: Fury Road Tomorrowland Jurassic Park Terminator Genisys Inside Out (we had a sneak preview of this at work - but I was too wiped out from our end-of-year crunch to go, now I wish I had) Ant Man Fantastic Four (admittedly - I probably would've skipped this one anyway) Spectre The Good Dinosaur Star Wars: The Force Awakens Too bad. I bet at least two or three of those would have been pretty good. But man... I'm going to be saving a truckload of money! So then... onto the review itself. And I will endeavor to separate my viewing experience, from the movie itself. From the opening action sequence of the film, Age of Ultron seemed muddled. Over-busy. Jumbled. The whole opening was full of quick quips and all-too-fast cuts, with nobody getting any real focus. And really this sums up a lot of the movie for me as well. It's unfocused. The first Avengers movie worked well because there were effectively only five Avengers: Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk and the Black Widow. Hawkeye spent most of the film as a brainwashed baddie. There was enough screen time to go around, and give everyone their own moments to shine. Now though, you have all five of those Avengers, plus Hawkeye, plus Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, plus the Vision, plus various other characters (several villains besides Ultron, and a few other superhero cameos) and suddenly the movie is incredibly crowded. And all of the character moments seemed forced, too. A sort-of romance blooming out of nowhere, backstory/flashback/nightmare dream sequences that are so shallow as to give us no insight into any of the characters, a hidden double-life, the sudden (and completely inexplicable) re-emergence of a significant plot element, the sudden (and completely inexplicable) change of characters from vengeful villains to selfless heroes, forced bickering and conflicts, out-of-character behavior, and so forth. It all seemed very artificial, and did nothing to endear these characters to me. I had a hard time really caring about them, or what happened to them. And these are all characters that, in other films, I really like. I should point out that it's not that they're particularly unlikeable, but Age of Ultron does nothing to help these characters grow. Even the worst of the Iron Man films at least moved Tony Stark forward in some way. And for my money, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is now the gold standard for what a character-driven superhero movie should be. Age of Ultron is a step backwards. They gave Hawkeye some better scenes this time around, but they almost seemed to be there to make up for him being a zombie for most of the previous movie. Then, there's the villain. Marvel paid for James Spader, so they wanted to use James Spader. I guess they wanted Ultron to be conflicted, emotional, flawed and human. But he was too human. He was too... odd. Too funny. His face was too expressive. So expressive, it became distracting. Let me spell this out for you Marvel: Ultron is a ROBOT. For comparison, how much personality does C-3PO manage to convey without being able to even blink? Ultron's voice, at times, just wasn't robotic enough. Or angry enough. There was no menace to it. It should have sounded more like a malfunctioning computer... metallic dementia tinged with rage, like in Colossus: The Forbin Project. Now that was a scary computer. Also, I had trouble buying into Ultron's motivation, anger, or ultimate plan (which was patently ridiculous - something which may work in a comic book, but not in a comic book movie). And speaking of the movie feeling crowded... how did Ultron (or his creators) ever find enough time to make so many copies of him? I suppose maybe his copies were making copies, but it would have been nice if it were better explained. Frankly, there are plot holes big enough to drive a truck through. Massive, gaping plot holes. The first Avengers movie isn't exactly a pantheon of logic, but at least Loki's motives were clear, and he was incredibly entertaining to watch. Here, Ultron is just a big, goofy disappointment. And one that is apparently very easy to repeatedly destroy, regardless of whatever super powers (or mildly enhanced abilities) you happen to have. Seriously... how does Quicksilver manage to destroy big, metal robots just by punching them, without seriously hurting himself? There was one character who came out of the movie working very well indeed - and that was the Vision. He's kind of a weird character in the comics, and one which I wasn't sure would work in a movie, but he worked incredibly well. He had some of the better moments in the film, although his powers were largely skimmed over, so if you blinked, you wouldn't really know what he was really capable of doing. They also glossed over the Scarlet Witch's abilities, just chalking them up to being "weird". I guess a picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, but a few more words wouldn't have hurt. Better still, a few less characters wouldn't have hurt. I suppose some people are lamenting over Joss Whedon being done with making Avengers movies now, but I'm not. Frankly, I think he bit off more than he could chew with this one. Too many characters, and not enough time spent to really develop them. The major threat was hokey, the film was cluttered, the action sequences were noisy and unfocused... it just wasn't up to the standard the first film set. By the time the next Avengers films come out, I wonder if the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be so cluttered that this will become the norm? I'm already worried that Captain America: Civil War may tread that ground, since reportedly there will be quite a few characters appearing in that film. If the last Cap film proved anything, it's that sometimes smaller is better. (Smaller in terms of the character focus - the plot ramifications of course were huge.) That said, there were some great moments in the film. The Hulk vs. Hulkbuster fight was particularly fun (despite most of it being spoiled in trailers and commercials), although it was apparently shot for a different aspect ratio than what I saw it in, because the action was cropped in so tight, it made it difficult to see what was happening at times. This happened throughout the film, too. Maybe the IMAX release was better. Can't blame the theater for that one though... that's just bad cinematography. In the end, Avengers: Age of Ultron just can't live up to its predecessor. Or really, most of its predecessors. It's not that it's bad, but it's not on the same level as Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Or Guardians of the Galaxy. Or The Avengers. Or Iron Man. With this one, Marvel stumbles a bit. But with $1.2 billion in box office revenue, they probably don't care. And at least it's not a DC movie. Avengers: Age of Ultron gets a 7.2/10. (But only because I gave Man of Steel a 7, otherwise it'd be closer to a 6.
  2. Continuing on with the continuation of my blog (and because I've only written 5 episodes of Artie so far), it's time for the return of the Spoiler-free review! Unfortunately, because of the Coronavirus pandemic, there aren't any movie theaters open around here. And even if there were, frankly, I wouldn't go into one right now unless the audience members were all sealed up in giant Ziploc bags and wiped down with a bleach solution, which would kind of negatively impact the whole ambience of the place. But there have been some movies that were slated for theatrical release that have been made available on streaming services (in this case, iTunes), so we'll just go with a couple of those. I've always thought that Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was one of the best (or certainly most fun) time travel movies. It had a goofiness and charm to it, was genuinely funny, used time travel very cleverly (by completely ignoring paradoxes) and had two extremely likable characters in Bill and Ted played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves. The sequel - Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey - wasn't as much fun, or quite as clever, but avoided the pitfall of just repeating the first film, and still managed to have some fun moments. The high point was William Sadler as a brilliantly funny personification of Death. The ending, while not as clever or satisfying as the first film, seemed to tie up the storyline for the two lead characters as they performed for a worldwide audience, fulfilling their destiny. A third movie had been rumored for years, and was officially announced two and a half years go. It was one of those projects that made me think "Why?" At that point Reeves and Winter were already too old to play the same daft but lovable high schoolers. And what would they do? They'd already fulfilled their destiny, hadn't they? Bill & Ted Face the Music answers that question by revealing that no - they hadn't. In fact, they were now middle-aged has-beens, and the end of the second movie wasn't the end of their story. What makes Face the Music work is how effortlessly Winter and Reeves fall back into these characters again. They're still earnest, likable, and somewhat daft (perhaps naive is a better word), but - and this is the important part - they've grown. They've been trying desperately for the past 25 years to write the song that would unite the world, and they've worked hard at it too. They've learned all about music, released album after album, and raised their daughters to have that same passion for music. It feels honest - that these two characters really are the same ones from decades earlier, but they haven't stagnated. The movie doesn't try to make time stand still (pun intended) and keep these characters stuck in the past. They've been trying their best. Older, wiser, but still unmistakably Bill and Ted. Bill and Ted's two daughters (Brigette Lundy-Paine and Samara Weaving) are fun to watch interacting with their dads, with Lundy-Paine particularly doing a most excellent job of picking up Reeves' mannerisms. William Sadler makes a welcomed return as Death and falls right back into character. Several other characters from the first two films also return (although a few were re-cast) and really help this feel like a continuation of the original films. A fun new addition to the cast is robot from the future played by Anthony Carrigan. As weird as the universe of Bill & Ted has become, he fits right in. The film revisits some of the tropes from the first two films, but without merely repeating them. The humor and writing style picks up right where the previous films left off, and the whole film feels very much like it belongs with the first two (it helps that the original writers from the first two movies were behind this one as well). The writers, cast and crew clearly had fun making this. Kudos especially to Reeves for being willing to step back into the role when he's become one of the biggest action movie stars in the world. He really didn't have to do this for any other reason than for the fun of it. Clips shown during the end credits tie the movie into how people from all across the world are using the internet to collaborate musically during the pandemic. It was genuinely (and surprisingly) emotional and is actually my favorite part of the film. (And yes... there's a post-credits scene too. Stick around, or fast forward, for that.) Since I didn't own the first two films in HD (only DVD for the first film), I bought all three on iTunes for only $30. That's about what it would cost to go to a nice theater (with snacks) to see just one movie, so it was definitely worth it, especially to re-watch the first two films again before seeing this one. Bonus features are minimal. Bill & Ted Face the Music is fun, light, and heartfelt entertainment. If you liked the first two films, you'll enjoy this one. It's not as good as the first, but better than the second, and it does a most excellent job of concluding the trilogy. And right now, in the midst of 2020, you can do far worse than that. Bill & Ted Face the Music gets a most non-heinous 7/10. Be excellent to each other!
  3. Sony tried their best to sell movies on the PSP and the UMD format, but it never took off. I take a look at the pros & cons of the format and try to figure out who the heck would want to collect these?! Does anybody here have a large UMD collection? You can see my collection here if curious: http://jetcitycakes.com/deliciouslibrary/pspumdmovies.html
  4. Ten pounds of Bantha poodoo in a five pound bag. Okay, that's not quite the adage, but you get the idea. Anyway, now you don't have to read the rest of the review! You're welcome! But in case you're still here... When I first heard JJ Abrams would be directing Star Wars: Episode IX, I cringed. JJ Abrams is a lazy writer who substitutes hare-brained McGuffins for coherent plots and character development, and who has a complete disregard and profound lack of understanding for established rules of pre-existing movie franchises. If this wasn't already evident in the first two Star Trek movies with their abysmally drab characterizations and idiotic plot devices like Red Matter and interplanetary transporter backpacks, then it should've been hammered home with Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Even though I largely gave that movie a passing grade the first time I saw it, the ridiculousness of the sun-sucking Starkiller Base and JJ's other tropes effectively ruined it for repeat viewings. It still has entertaining moments, but as a whole, the movie just falls flat. I don't watch it when it comes on TV, or go out of my way to watch it on iTunes. The movie is too self-consciously a movie, and not a story that I can lose myself in. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi was far more divisive, with some fans hating the characterization of Luke Skywalker. That didn't bother me, since I liked seeing him in the state of a fallen icon, because it's when heroes are at their lowest that they can then rise to their highest. Far more annoying was the time wasted on the Casino planet, and most critically, director Rian Johnson's utter lack of regard for what happened in the previous film. "Wait," you say, "I thought you didn't like JJ's film?" Well, I didn't hate it. I just thought it was largely unimaginative and unoriginal. But it did set up new characters and situations: Rey, Ren, Snoke, the First Order, and left mysteries in place that at the time felt like there was a clear payoff ahead for. But with Episode VIII, that all went out the window. Snoke was dead, Rey was a nobody, Kylo was maybe not-so-bad for awhile, but then he was again, then Luke was dead (as dead as Jedis get anyway), and you could now use the Force for unlimited long-distance calling. So now there was clearly a new purpose behind all of this, right? Maybe? Well, who knows? We certainly won't. Because under Disney, the Skywalker saga is a rudderless ship. I detested the prequels. I think they're all terrible films (in all fairness, it's mostly just the acting, writing, directing and horribly racist stereotypes... otherwise they're fine). But here's the thing - at least they were on a clear path. Whether you liked that path or not, George had a plan and he stuck to it. Conversely, the postquels (has anyone coined that word yet? Because I should totally trademark that. Shoot. Maybe next time.) have no oversight. No overarching plan. No goal. It's just, "Hey JJ, make a Star Wars movie." "Hey Rian, make a Star Wars movie." "Hey Colin, make a Star Wars movie. Never mind, you're fired." "Hey JJ, make another Star Wars movie." And so it goes with Episode IX. JJ came in, ignored what Rian did, retconned a bunch of story and character arcs, and came up with another derivative retread that felt more like something made by a fanboy, or a four-year-old playing with his action figures - (breathlessly) "then Rey goes here and does this, an' then Poe does this, an' then the Millennium Falcon goes 'swoosh!!' an' saves everyone, an' then Kylo Ren gets mad, an' then they go here an' there's sand everywhere, an' then the Force does this, an' then they meet this girl, an' then they go here, an' then the bad guys do this..." etc. If you've watched little kids play, you get the idea. Now, do that for 2 1/2 hours, and that's this movie. JJ tried to cram at least two movies worth of stuff into this film. Much of which, and I do mean much, could've easily been left out. Do we really care about Poe and Finn? No. This is Rey's story. Or it should be. A friend and I tried to recount the film just after having seen it, and it was hard for us to piece it back together. The pacing is hyperactive. There's no time to get involved with the characters, or dwell on anything that's happening. None of it feels like it has any weight or consequence to it. This is an overstuffed, discombobulated mess. That may be the first time I've used "discombobulated" in this blog. I like saying that word. "Discombobulated." I should use it more. Maybe I have, but the blog software is so discombobulated right now, I doubt it would return it in a search. I like the word "pusillanimous" too. But I've been afraid to use it. Anyway... And then there are JJ's other problems. For one, his complete lack of originality or respect for the source material. He blatantly rips off the ending of yet another Star Wars film. Goes to yet another desert planet. Revisits the remains of the Death Star II. Dredges up old characters instead of creating a new threat, and as a friend of mine pointed out, actually ends up invalidating the Rebel Alliance's victory over the Empire. Guess what? The end of Return of the Jedi was all meaningless, suckers! Then, of course, you have his McGuffins. Ugh. Please, someone stop JJ from writing anymore science fiction, ever again. How do I put this without spoilers? Well, remember Starkiller Base, and how derivative that was of the Death Star? Remember how it needed the power of an entire sun, and was the size of a planet? In Star Wars, blowing up entire planets is a big deal, and you just can't do that all willy-nilly, right? Well... And then there's the Force. JJ started us on a slippery slope with Kylo Ren Force-stopping laser bolts in mid-air, and Force mind-reading, and so on. And then Rian Johnson came in and doubled down with Force projection, and Force touching, and Force space-floating-in-a-vacuum, and people got all up-in-arms about it. Well, JJ apparently wanted to actually make an Avengers movie instead of Star Wars this time, because in Episode IX he uses the Force as one-stop shopping for all sorts of ridiculous super-abilities that takes Star Wars completely off the rails. If any of it ever gets explained in the film, it's only through the briefest, throwaway lines of dialog that if you blink, you'll miss. JJ uses the Force as a crutch to get out of story situations caused by lazy writing. It's his Red Matter for Star Wars. Then we have Carrie Fisher. I was saddened by her passing. (I had a huge crush on her when I was a kid.) When JJ said they were going to repurpose unused footage of her to add her to the film, I was skeptical. It works about as well as you'd expect. Her lines are vague enough to be shoehorned into the story, but there's little substance to it. There wasn't really enough to fully tell her story in-depth, and knowing how they added her in only called more attention to it and took me out of the movie. And as for the "we won't use CGI to bring her back" promise? Bunk. Maybe the biggest issue with Episode IX is that in the end, it feels of no consequence. I felt no investment in the story, nor in the characters. The Resistance, the First Order - none of it ever felt like it had been explained, and there never was a sense of history or importance to them. In the original Star Wars, there was an evil Galactic Empire, and a small group of Rebels fighting for freedom. We got that in the opening paragraph and understood it immediately. Empire. Check! Rebels. Check! But in this trilogy, there's a Republic, a First Order, a Resistance, and you don't know who came first, how they rose to power, who has the most power, or why. And this is important, since we're invested in an entire galactic history by this point. And here again in Episode IX, so much (and I mean a massive amount) remains unexplained, I just couldn't buy into it. "Really, all that happened? And where did they get all of those matching bathrobes? Sure, whatever." Finally, they threw up so many red herrings in the film like, "Oh, we're going to do this to so-and-so now! Just kidding, now we're undoing it!" that after awhile none of it had any meaning. Nobody or any of their actions really mattered anymore, and I didn't care about who made it through or what was going to happen in the end. There was also a ridiculous amount of pandering to the fans (I'm going to call it "fandering". That one's original, right? Shoot.) to the point of distraction, where you're aware you're being force-fed Star Wars tropes, rather than being allowed to get immersed in a story, or be captivated by characters. In the end it all felt... pointless. (And besides, JJ totally missed an opportunity to bring back Koo Stark. If you're going to pander to fans, how can you miss that one? Pffft.) Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is a disjointed, disconnected, cluttered mess. It's ten pounds of Bantha poodoo stuffed in a five pound bag. And it's recycled poodoo at that. It's an unsatisfying way to "end" the Skywalker saga, and more to the point, it all just felt like none of it really mattered. Sure there were a few moments of fun, and a few fan moments that connected with me, but it was all so contrived that it never felt genuine. The audience reactions were manipulated, not earned. The theater I was at was full, but there weren't any roaring cheers or spontaneous applause. That said, the movie wasn't prequel-level bad, it was just kind of... there. Uninspiring, unfocused, and inconsequential. I guess it's just as well the Skywalker saga is now over, because I'm now over the Skywalker saga. I wonder what George would've done... Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker gets 5/10. A half-bag worth of Bantha poodoo.
  5. SOLD! I have 4 Philips CD-I movies for sale. I picked these up new maybe 25 years ago? in one of the music & movie stores I worked when when they went out of business. I've never had a CD-I and have only ever played them a few times via computer. $20 shipped in the continental US.
  6. I saw Spider-Man: Far From Home a couple of weeks ago while on vacation, but since I was on vacation, I didn't feel like typing up a review at the time. I had other, vacation-y things to do. Also, while I think the forum changes at AtariAge have been a welcomed and much needed upgrade, I don't care for the changes in the blogs at all. In fact, I've all-but stopped visiting the blogs. The main page is a cluttered mess with banners that should be hidden unless you want to view them, and there's a complete lack of separation between different blogs so they're all lumped together. In individual blog indices there's no apparent way to view entries as straightforward lists rather than as yet-more banner-clogged grids (banners should be shut off by default unless a blog author wants to add them.) Worst though, is a complete lack of support for categories or tags, which makes finding things a chore, if not impossible. From a blogger's standpoint, when creating new entries, I can't match pre-existing tags if they were capitalized before (it forces lowercase), so clicking on any new entry tags as a means of searching brings up nothing from before the upgrade (excuse me Invision for choosing not to be net-illiterate). Try it with this entry. Click on the orange "movies" button near the title, and see what shows up. Then, click on this link instead. Consequently, I can't say I've had much interest in continuing to post things in my blog, knowing that the work I've done to try and organize it into useful categories is now all for naught. And if I don't want to slog through my own blog indices to find posts, I can't see why anyone else would want to. So for the moment, I don't have a lot of motivation for continuing with Artie the Atari, Homebreviews, New Old Music, WRC updates, Homebrew Art or other ongoing series of posts here, at least not until the blogs get the same sort of usability overhaul the rest of the forums have seen. Right now - I can't even effectively search through my own blog to find entries that I know exist. But given that blogs have always been Invision's unloved stepchild, I doubt that will happen anytime soon. (I should note, none of this vitriol is directed at Albert - the forums desperately needed an upgrade, and he's been swamped with the massive undertaking of making all of that work. He can't be expected to single-handedly fix everything Invision stupidly broke.) But anyway, I did see a couple of movies recently, so I'll go ahead and review them. As for the rest of this blog, we'll just have to see. It could be I'm just mired in post-vacation doldrums right now... Spider-Man: Far From Home follows the events of Avengers: Endgame eight months later, and does a pretty good job of showing some of the aftermath of the events of that movie. Although frankly, everyone seems a bit too chill (as the kids say) given everything that's happened, and the world all seems a bit too back-to-normal, given that half of its entire population disappeared for five years, and that there have now been three alien attacks on Earth (Avengers, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame). But from a story-telling standpoint, at some point you kind-of have to put the world back together and just get on with things. That's how comic books work. That's a bit of a minor complaint though, since I really liked Far From Home. As with the best Spider-Man stories, the focus is on Peter Parker and Tom Holland does his best work to date with the character here. This is what really set Stan Lee's approach apart - he made the characters interesting, not just their superpowers. Peter is still clearly a high-schooler, dealing with high-school things. Notably, his growing crush on MJ (wonderfully played here by Zendaya again). That's the foremost thing on Peter's mind throughout the film. Yes - there's a major threat in the film to be dealt with, and he's trying to find his footing in the aftermath of Endgame, but he can't get his mind off of MJ. He has the weight of his responsibilities of Spider-Man to balance with just wanting to be a teenager. Sometimes you want the weight of those responsibilities to just go away. It's very human, very relatable, and makes for a very compelling, engaging, likable character. Classic Spider-Man. The film is well-written and acted throughout, with a lot of moments that are genuinely funny, some that are touching and sweet, and some that are very intense and powerful. The action sequences work really well, and touch on Spider-Man's ability to find his own way to deal with villains who seem to have him at a disadvantage. The special effects are generally top-notch throughout with only a few "eh, that could've been better" moments (when you farm out special effects to that many companies, you'll never get 100%; even watching Avengers: Endgame on iTunes the other night, there was some pretty chintzy CG that jumped out at me that I missed in the theater). So from a Spider-Man standpoint, a Peter Parker standpoint, and a character standpoint, Far From Home is excellent. And that includes Jake Gyllenhaal who does a great job as Mysterio (and kudos to the costume designers who nailed his comic book look without making it look goofy and stupid). Which brings up the one problem I had with the film. If you know about Mysterio from the comics, then the film is a bit predictable. If you don't, you'll be fine. Still, despite that, I really enjoyed the film. I thought they nailed the feel of Spider-Man as a teenager, and what makes him a hero. Sure, action sequences and special effects are great, but the best superhero films are about the characters and their journeys. The Marvel/Sony Spider-Man deal apparently has one more film left to go (and the mid-credits scene definitely sets that up in a classic Spider-Man way). I really hope they extend their deal beyond that. I want to see this Spider-Man continue. There are a lot of stories left to tell. C'mon Disney - you have all the money in the world now. Just throw several billion dollars at Sony and buy the rest of your characters back already. Spider-Man: Far From Home gets an 8.5/10
  7. Yes, there's a new Star Wars Holiday Special. The most infamous piece of Star Wars lore returns to Disney+, but this time in LEGO form (and yes... LEGO is supposed to be all caps). If you're unaware of the first Star Wars Holiday Special... well, I just don't know how to describe it. It's unbelievable in its awfulness. Imagine some weird, unfunny mash-up of the worst 70's variety show you've ever seen, featuring has-been TV comedians doing painfully unfunny "comedy" sketches, a couple of trippy musical numbers, a cartoon, and mortifyingly embarrassing cameos by the Star Wars cast (with Carrie Fisher singing) and... well, you're not even scratching the surface. This is the train wreck of train wrecks. This is the train wreck that other train wrecks slow down to look at in astonishment, then quickly turn away from because it's so bad. I watched this as a kid when it first aired. It was the first new Star Wars anything after the original movie, while we were all eagerly waiting for what seemed like an eternity for The Empire Strikes Back. There was no home video. No cable. No way to see Star Wars since it had left the theaters. So of course anticipation for the special was high. But in the end, it was a train wreck. It was a train wreck, inside of a train wreck, that was happening on top of another train wreck. It didn't matter that it was Star Wars. Or that I was a kid at the time. I knew awful when I saw it. The cartoon was okay though. Weird looking animation, but still, it was kind of cool. Maybe because it was the only part that wasn't irredeemably awful. It also introduced Boba Fett who didn't once fall into a pit. So good for him! Yay, Boba! But the rest of that mess was genuinely unwatchable. Time for an anecdote! Some years back, I got a bootleg copy of the special on DVD from a sketchy internet site (before it was readily available on YouTube). For our Christmas/Holiday Party at the college where I work, we hosted a screening of it on the big projection system in one of our multipurpose rooms. We have a lot of Star Wars nerds there, and the screening started out with a pretty good crowd, since few had ever seen it. Well, that didn't last too long. The further we got into it, the more people left. Finally, near the end of it, we were down to maybe three or four people, most of whom were asleep on the floor by that point. One of them walked towards the door and we told him, "Don't leave yet - Carrie Fisher is about to sing!" We kidded him about not being a hardcore fan, at which point he rolled up his sleeves to show an Imperial tattoo on one arm, and a Rebel tattoo on the other, and then he said, "I'm a huge Star Wars fan... but I just can't take it anymore!" and left. What I'm getting at here, is if you've never seen it, don't. It's just not worth the two hours* of your life you'll never get back. George Lucas disavowed the Holiday Special. Rumor had it that he was actively trying to track down and destroy every copy of it. It has never, and will never be officially released. Yet now - there's a new one. A LEGO one. But it's not terrible. In fact, apart from the name and it centering around Life Day, it has basically nothing to do with the original. Rather, it's very much in keeping with the cute, irreverent, humorous tone the LEGO Star Wars games (and TV specials) have always had. It even manages to poke more than a little much-needed fun at the sequel trilogy. It's all pretty silly, and the personalities of the Emperor and Darth Vader are almost straight out of Robot Chicken. There's an attempt in there to have a heartfelt story of sorts, but c'mon... it's LEGO + Star Wars + Holiday Special. That should tell you how much time they actually dwell on anything resembling a plot. Some of the cast members from the movies and The Clone Wars series reprise their roles**. Those that don't are voiced by exceptionally good mimics. There are a lot of "blink and you'll miss it" in-jokes, and more than a few that are completely ham-fisted. But hey... holidays and ham go together! I got a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments out of it, including the very final shot which, frankly, made the whole thing worth watching (especially if you're a fan of holiday classics). At less-than-half of the run time of the original Holiday Special, the LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special is just long enough to be entertaining without wearing out its welcome. Pop some popcorn, grab some egg nog***, and curl up in front of the TV. There are worse things to spend 44 minutes watching. The LEGO Star Wars Holiday Special gets a 6/10. (*With commercials.) (**If you're interested, here's an article on the making of the special.) (***Mix egg nog 50/50 with 7-Up. Makes for a great holiday punch. Watch out for the foam.) Edit: This gives an overview of the original Holiday Special, but still doesn't fully convey how bad it is:
  8. So you may ask "Wait... why are you reviewing this film??" Well, it's not the 2004 movie where the world is destroyed. Nor is it the 1983 TV movie where the world is destroyed. Nope. This is the 1975 TV special produced by Gerry Anderson of Space: 1999 and UFO fame. (And also Thunderbirds... but that never aired where I grew up, so I never watched that show.) And the world isn't destroyed in this one. Although it does make reference to us having ruined it by destroying the environment. I miss the days when science fiction was still fiction. It was produced between the first two seasons of Space: 1999; co-starred Nick Tate from Space: 1999; was narrated by Ed Bishop from UFO; and the visual effects were supervised by Brian Johnson, who was responsible for the effects for Space: 1999. And it's incredibly obscure. But I remembered it. Even though I'd never seen it. I'd only read about it. Once. Things like this have a tendency to stick in my brain. For example, the rumors about the Empire Strikes Back from Starlog magazine that I wrote about in my review for The Force Awakens. Or the photo from Midnight Madness at the top right of this page from the same issue that stuck in my brain for over 20 years until I finally watched and reviewed the movie for my old MacMAME.net website. In the case of The Day After Tomorrow, this article from Starlog, in September 1979, stuck in my brain for over 40 years. Ever since reading that article, I wanted to watch The Day After Tomorrow, but there was no way to see it. It was a one-shot TV special, and never aired again. Periodically, when I'd see a reference online to Space: 1999 or UFO, I'd think "I wonder if that other thing Gerry Anderson did is online somewhere?" But I didn't see it. Maybe just a short video clip here or there. And certainly, it was too obscure to ever come out on home video. Right? Well, never underestimate the niche fan market. Because some months back, it popped up in my recommendations on Amazon in a DVD collection of Gerry Anderson rarities titled: The Lost Worlds of Gerry Anderson. It actually came out a few years ago, but I only just recently bought it because, well, I've been looking for stuff to watch during the Coronavirus pandemic. Not because I'm stuck at home (I go into work most every day), but more for the distraction. I recently bought a stupid thing because of this too (which I'm enjoying watching very much, by the way). Now, I'm not going to review the whole DVD, because I haven't watched all of the other content (just skimmed it) and the rest of the materials on it aren't of any real interest to me. The Day After Tomorrow is what I bought this for. So... did it live up to 40 years of expectation? Well, of course not! For one thing, I'd forgotten that it was meant to be one in a series of educational programs. In this case - trying to explain Albert Einstein's theory of relativity to kids. (Just re-read that sentence for a minute, and let it sink in.) But the network didn't want a documentary, they wanted an adventure film, so the kids would get engaged and hopefully develop an interest in science. Anderson also had hopes of it being picked up as a series, so the story was left open-ended so it could serve as a pilot. The story centers around the crew of the ship Altares, the first ship capable of near light-speed travel. The crew consists of two kids, two dads and a mom, which was a bit confusing because they didn't really introduce who they were and what their relationships were to each other. (It turns out that one was a single dad with his daughter, and the others were two parents and their son, but you'd never pick that up from watching it.) Their mission is to travel to the nearest star - Alpha Centauri - and explain to the audience what redshift is and how time dilation works. Then they have to decide if they want to return to Earth (where everyone will be much older than they are), or continue on to explore other worlds. And then some other things happen, one of which involves the heavy use of shooting scenes reflected off of mylar that someone gets to wobble around a lot. And they get to explain what a red giant and supernova are, and a black hole, and probably some other stuff. Because of the educational angle, short run-time (under an hour), and made-for-TV nature of it, The Day After Tomorrow plays a bit like something that Filmation might have made just a couple of years later (Ark II, Space Academy), but with higher production values and slightly-less-cheesy dialogue. Plot-wise, it's Lost In Space meets The Black Hole. But without Dr. Smith or Hans Reinhardt. Or robots. That's not to say it's bad... but rather that you have to find the entertainment in it where you can. For me, it was in the first-rate models and sets that echoed what was being done on Space: 1999 at the time (which, apart from 2001: A Space Odyssey, were the best* in sci-fi until Star Wars came along). Also, there's the wonderful, unintentional cheesiness of it at times. Such as the moment where they have to shut down the malfunctioning Photon Drive, which means Nick Tate has to pull on a lever REALLY hard! Pull harder Nick!! Pull for your life!!! (Because an "off" button just wouldn't be any fun.) Or when the resourcefulness of the prop department shines through, and he has to fix the aforementioned, highly advanced and complex drive using a pop-rivet tool. Some of the other entertainment came from seeing similarities to sci-fi that came both before and after this aired. Besides The Black Hole, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan may owe a nod to this film for a scene in which Nick Tate has to go into a radiation-flooded engine compartment, and effect a repair nearly identical to what Spock had to do with the Enterprise seven years later. Coincidence? Probably. But the comparisons are still... fascinating. The Day After Tomorrow is just under an hour long, and it's an interesting artifact from the era of 1970's science fiction. For me, it was worth the cost of the DVD to satisfy my 40-year long curiosity about it. But for someone else, is it worth hunting it down? Well, no. Not unless you're a fan of Gerry Anderson, or are looking for a Saturday Morning kids' TV introduction to the theory of relativity. For what it is, The Day After Tomorrow gets a 5/10. (I wanted to come up with some clever mathematical joke for the score, but math and I never got along very well.) * (Yes, I'm aware of Silent Running - I have it on Blu-ray. I may get around to reviewing that as well, but it's a depressing movie, and I don't need anymore of that right now.)
  9. Hello everyone, I am new to posting a blog here so I decided to give it a try, please leave a comment. I have done an experiment with friends during the whole month of December 2016. We gradually made a list of memorable movies released before 1985. Memorable movies are famous for good and bad reasons such as iconic scenes, innovations. The list grew up to over 130 movies and surprisingly none of us, as individuals, saw at least half of these movies. Do I really know my cinema classics? Is it possible to see all these movies? I have made a second list (see below) limited to titles with less than 15 characters (including spaces and symbols if any). With this restriction, the list sure is incomplete and still some titles seem not really memorable in my humble opinion. What do you think? Which ones surely are famous memorable movies? Which ones are missing respecting the restrictions (less than 15 characters and before 1985)? Please leave a comment. ^_^ LIST of MEMORABLE MOVIES released BEFORE 1985 with LESS THAN 15 CHARACTERS (SPACES AND SYMBOLS INCLUDED) 1921 The Kid 1922 Nosferatu 1927 Metropolis 1931 City Lights 1931 Frankenstein 1933 King Kong 1936 Modern Times 1940 Pinocchio 1941 Dumbo 1941 Citizen Kane 1942 Casablanca 1942 Bambi 1953 The Wild One 1959 Ben-Hur 1960 Psycho 1961 Yojimbo 1962 Lolita 1964 Goldfinger 1964 Mary Poppins 1964 Fantomas 1967 Cool Hand Luke 1968 The love bug 1970 M*A*S*H 1971 The Big Boss 1971 Daisy Town 1971 Dirty Harry 1972 The God Father 1973 Magnum Force 1973 The Exorcist 1974 Female Trouble 1975 Jaws 1975 Rollerball 1976 The Enforcer 1976 Rocky 1976 Taxi Driver 1976 King Kong 1977 Crime Busters 1977 Star Wars 1978 Halloween 1978 Grease 1979 Alien 1979 Mad Max 1979 Apocalypse Now 1980 Super Fuzz 1980 Fame 1980 Airplane! 1980 The Shining 1980 Xanadu 1980 Brubaker 1981 Excalibur 1981 Mad Max 2 1982 The Thing 1982 Blade Runner 1982 Tron 1982 Annie 1983 Octopussy 1983 Videodrome 1983 Scarface 1983 Flashdance 1983 WarGames 1983 James Bond 007 1984 Don Camillo 1984 Amadeus 1984 Ghostbusters 1984 Footloose 1984 Starman 1984 Gremlins 1984 Dune 1984 The Terminator 1984 Police Academy Total: 70 titles
  10. Does anyone remember the How to Beat Home Videogames series from VHS back in 1983? Giving you all the tips and hints on Atari 2600, Colecovision, Atari 5200, and Vextrex games. And that Barry Manilow looking dude as the host and narrator. Does anyone know if this is sold on DVD by any chance? http://youtu.be/hGUiNMRAEXs http://youtu.be/iaI4BzPxgRs http://youtu.be/FVIJojK6oHg
  11. Well, that was weird. No, not the movie. My last blog post. Well, not the post, but the way it got posted. It used to be, that when you posted a new blog entry, it would move to the top of the main blog page. But mine didn't. It stayed down at the bottom, right below Eric Ball's latest entry: The weird thing is, I posted my entry on August 10: And Eric had posted his on July 10: And uh... Wait. Why did the blog software make that graphic so big? It's huge!! Give me a minute here. (Several annoying minutes and edits later...) Okay. So, one of the things I hate about high resolution monitors, is that everything arbitrarily scales things to the size they think they "should" be. This includes screenshots in whatever Apple OS I'm using this week. It used to be a pixel was a pixel. Now you're just guessing at what size things may or may not display at. And this brings up another problem with Invision's lousy blog software (in case you're wondering what I'm talking about, hang in there a minute...). You see, for the most part, I link directly to image files I use in my blog, rather than uploading them. This way I can simply replace files in my FTP folder when I want to update something. But not anymore. Now, Invision's stupid blog software cache's its own local version of a linked file. So when I upload a new one, it doesn't change. And it's not my browser cache either, because I cleared that. And I also confirmed this in another browser that I hadn't even logged into AtariAge with. If this looks twice as large as the other one, then you're seeing Invision's stupid caching: Because if you open the actual image link in another window, you'll see the actual size of the file: http://cheeptech.com/misc/blog_pics/july-10.jpg (Here's a screenshot, since this will probably eventually be fixed accidentally by Invision or the cache will randomly expire): In order to update the screenshot to the smaller version, I had to rename, re-upload and replace it. That completely defeats the purpose of linking to the FILE IN THE FIRST PLACE!! (sigh) Yeah, I'm on another Invision rant. You may have missed the last one, because instead of putting that blog entry at the top, it buried it amongst the older entries. Like I was mentioning before. That entry, by the way, was a movie review. But it devolved into a rant about Invision's stupid blog software. But clearly, Invision doesn't care about blogs, because they've now been relegated to a submenu under Apps, rather than having their own link. Thanks, Invision. So, why did my other post get posted out-of-order? Well, if I had to guess, it was probably because I didn't click "Immediately" for "Publish Time". I had saved it while working on it, so the time stamp was a little bit earlier than "Immediately" would've been. Since the blogs no longer list when entries were actually posted, but just show "Latest", I'm guessing the time stamp is screwed-up, or missing, or whatever. So this time, I'll click "Immediately" and see what happens. Why not? should be fun. Anyway, onto the movie review. As with Spider-Man: Far From Home, I actually saw this a few weeks ago while on vacation, but never got around to typing up a review for it. Actually though, I never planned on seeing it in the first place. You see, I'm kind of done with Pixar. And Toy Story. I'm just tired of them. When I saw Toy Story 3, I really, really liked it and... WHAT IS A WEB BROWSER POLL DOING IN MY TOY STORY 3 MOVIE REVIEW?!?! WHAT THE INVISION IS GOING ON HERE?!?!? I did NOT put that in there. Now admittedly, that would've been a pretty funny joke. But I have no idea where that came from!!! Wow. Maybe I need to move my blog. MySpace is still a thing, right? Sheesh. Okay... let's try and finish this. So, I really liked Toy Story 3 when I saw it in theaters. But the weird thing is, I never re-watched it. Whenever it comes on TV, I avoid it. Not ignore - avoid. Why? Well, I'm just kind of tired of those characters. Oversaturated with them. And the movie, while it does have some really funny moments, in hindsight the emotional stuff is all a bit cloying and manipulative now. I still think Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are really good movies (although they're starting to look pretty dated now), but that's because they were still exploring new ideas. But with Toy Story 3, it was the whole unloved/lost/abandoned/Woody-is-all-angsty toy schtick again. But it closed out the series, and that was fine. The toys were in good hands, happy ending, the end. Of course, Disney wasn't going to let it end there. They became sequel-happy. And the sequels have been ridiculously successful, with Toy Story 3, Incredibles 2, and Finding Dory each earning over $1 billion worldwide. In fact, now including Toy Story 4, the only Pixar movies that have cleared a billion dollars worldwide have been sequels. Sure, Pixar has recently said that they won't be doing any more sequels, but don't you believe it. I never bothered seeing Cars 3 or Finding Dory, but even beyond the sequels, I've grown weary of Pixar's original films as well. The Good Dinosaur was a train wreck, Inside Out did nothing for me (and I've never re-watched it), and I didn't think much of Coco either and... wait, WHY IS THERE A YOUTUBE VIDEO IN THE MIDDLE OF MY COCO REVIEW?!?! Oh right... that used to be a link, and Invision arbitrarily decided to turn it into an embedded video. Idiots. You know, writing movie reviews didn't used to be this difficult. Anyway, so... I'm tired of Toy Story, Pixar, blah, blah, blah. But we needed something to go see during vacation, and there was nothing else in the theaters worth seeing (I'd already seen Spider-Man), so we figured Toy Story 4 was well-reviewed enough to justify seeing. And it was okay. It was well-animated. Had some funny scenes. And the new characters: Forky, Ducky and Bunny really need to get their own road-trip movie. Seriously - I'd pay good money to see that. But I'm just tired of Woody and his endlessly repeating need to re-learn some valuable life lesson. It's just worn thin. To the writers' credit, they did come up with an interesting take on the whole "lost toy" idea, but by far the most interesting character in the film was Forky, and they didn't spend nearly enough time delving into what makes him tick. They touch on it here and there, and it makes for some of the best scenes in the film (including a scene during the credits that's almost worth the price of admission), but just as they get into it, it becomes about Woody again. As for the rest of the Toy Story characters, they were effectively relegated to support roles, when they showed up at all. And yes, that includes Buzz. In Toy Story 3, his gimmick was that he was reset and spoke Spanish. In this one, he has another gimmick related to his digitized voice, and given how long the character has been around, it seems he's actually regressed in this film, from where we would expect him to be. They did bring back Bo Peep who had been missing after Toy Story 2, and we get to find out a little bit about what she's been up to. But again, this is Woody's film, and even her story becomes about him. So while she probably has a really interesting story to tell, it becomes more about his reactions to where she is now, than giving her the center stage. It almost seems a little like they're pandering to girls in the audience, without really following through with the character in any meaningful way. Speaking of pandering, that's the only way I can describe the ending of the villain's story in this film. It was shlocky and lazy. It's like someone saw an early Pixar movie, and decided they wanted to copy the feeling they got from watching it without understanding how it was accomplished. As an aside, there was just some weird stuff in this movie, too. Previously, the toys didn't impact the world around them much or interact with people directly (except Woody's line to Sid at the end of the first film), and the movie even alludes to those being rules that aren't allowed to be broken in a couple of really funny scenes with Ducky and Bunny. But then near the end of the film, the toys completely throw those rules out the window in a really big way. It just doesn't fit in with the established Toy Story universe, and it seems like a lazy solution to a story problem the writers found themselves in. Toy Story 4 would've been a better film if it were used as a vehicle to pass the torch to the next generation of characters (as mentioned, Forky, Ducky and Bunny were standouts), but this was more like Toy Story 2.5, than Toy Story 4. It's not that it's a bad film, but it missed its best opportunities to be something new and different. Toy Story 4 gets a 6/10. But in hindsight, I'll probably look back at it and think I should've given it a 4 or 5. That always happens when I go back and look at old movie reviews. I often score a movie I've seen in the theater higher than I otherwise would, probably because the theatrical experience enhances my perception of the film. Maybe having waited a few weeks to write this review will have tempered that somewhat, but these are pretty-much the thoughts I had when I was leaving the theater. Maybe 5.5 would be better.
  12. I've been a fan of Herb Alpert since I was a kid. We just about wore out the Tijuana Brass Christmas Album playing it every year. Then for some reason, in my early teens, I started really getting into their music. I'm not sure why, other than it was probably because I was getting into collecting records at the time (the Monkees), my folks already had a number of TJB records at home, and I was playing trumpet in band at school. And, well, the music was fun and catchy. It was already at least a dozen years out-of-date by then, but it was so unique, listenable and undeniably happy, myself and a couple of friends really got into it. Non-ironically, too. But I really didn't know anything about Herb or the TJB. In fact, when I went to ask our high school band director if we could play some Herb Alpert music, he said, "We already are." Little did I know, Herb had just had a massive hit with the #1 song Rise, and we were playing 1980 - the opening track on that album (you should be able to guess the year this all happened ). I don't think Rise ever got any play on the radio station I was listening to at the time, which was AM top 40. I certainly don't remember hearing it before getting the album. (If Rise sounds familiar to you young 'uns out there, this was sampled by Biggie Smalls and became a hit all over again, generating even more royalties for Herb. Nice work if you can get it.) But at that point I started following Herb as a solo artist, and each new album was... Well, hang on. I've already written this somewhere. Let me find it. It's here somewhere... It's really too bad Categories don't exist in the blogs here anymore. It would make this a lot easier. Gimme a minute... Okay, here we go. So I've written about Herb's solo career here: https://atariage.com/forums/blogs/entry/1311-time-marches-on/?tab=comments#comment-2826 And here: https://atariage.com/forums/blogs/entry/6419-mutton-beef-and-trout/ And here: https://atariage.com/forums/blogs/entry/8097-new-old-music-part-4/ And here: https://atariage.com/forums/blogs/entry/13004-new-old-music-parts-8-9-10/ And here: https://atariage.com/forums/blogs/entry/15180-new-old-music-parts-13-14-15/ And even then, there have been two more albums released since then that I haven't reviewed yet. The point is he's recorded a lot of music. Not counting Greatest Hits compilations, I have 47 of his albums (which are all of the ones I'm aware of), 30 of which were recorded after he disbanded the TJB. And he's continually changing what he's doing. He never stands still, and rarely does the same thing twice. Always exploring. Following his instincts. Creating what sounds good to him, not necessarily what he thinks will be a hit. Plus, Herb's a painter. And a sculpter. And a very wealthy philanthropist. You see, the TJB earned him a lot of money. He sold over 72 million records. That includes 15 gold records, 14 platinum records, several #1's, and 9 Grammy awards. He was also the "A" in A&M Records. He and co-founder Jerry Moss sold that to PolyGram in 1990 for $500 million. Not bad for a couple of guys who started in a garage with a tape recorder. So, from this unassuming trumpet player playing "happy music", to a multimillionaire industry giant, to a remarkably humble artist and generous philanthropist. This is all stuff that I learned over many years of following him, reading articles here and there, and of course piecing things together on the internet. Now of course, you can look up a lot of this on Herb's website or Wikipedia. One-stop shopping. But that doesn't really show you who Herb Alpert is. (How's that for a segue? Even after months off, you're still getting the same quality writing you've come to expect from my blog! Note that I didn't say "good" quality. Just "same" quality.) But this new documentary does. Herb Alpert Is... was originally intended for a theatrical release, but the Coronavirus pretty-much took care of that. But you can get it on various streaming platforms. In my case, I bought it on iTunes. Even though I knew much of the information factually, when you can see and hear Herb talk about his career, and watch vintage performances, hear first-hand accounts and interviews, it becomes a far more engaging and engrossing story. More than half of the documentary focuses on Herb's early career and years with the TJB and A&M. Of course, that's where people know him from. It largely skims over his solo years, stopping briefly to focus on some work he did with Hugh Masekela, the recording of Rise, and his collaboration with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, but it doesn't really do a thorough job of showing how much music he's recorded as a solo artist. That said, this is more of a biography than a discography, and it does show who Herb Alpert is... as a person, an artist, and how he's arrived at who he is now: a vibrant, passionate, committed husband, artist, philanthropist and musician. At the age of 85. There are a few fun facts it would've been nice for them to touch on - Herb playing at the Super Bowl, or being an extra in The Ten Commandments, but it still covers a remarkable amount of ground. For my money, it could've easily gone another 30 minutes. I would've loved to have heard more about his creative process with the TJB and his solo career. Maybe they'll release some bonus footage or an extended cut someday. Still, it's a compelling and inspiring story. It's positive and uplifting. And the music is still happy. Right now, we could use pretty-much all of that. Herb Alpert Is... a 9/10. (There's also a BBC documentary from ten years ago, which covers much of the same ground. It's only an hour long, and the approach is more factual and less personal, but it's still very good.)
  13. EDIT (5/26/2013): Whole collection of DVD Movies and TV series for sale. Majority are widescreen, post 1990 release date (with a few stragglers pre-1990 or full screen). Prices start at $2 a piece, with a few boxed sets and TV shows listed between $3 and $8. Shipping prices for first class (up to 13 oz, 1-3 dvd variety) from $2.00 - $4.00 in a padded envelope or box. Anything over 13 oz will ship priority mail in a flat rate envelope or box, starting at $5.50 (4+ dvds depending on variety). Prices vary depending on number of discs, inserts, type of dvd case, etc. We will weigh each order for precise shipping prices. FOR SALE LIST Price Title (Edition) -- Year -- Screen Type -- # Discs $2.00 -- 187 -- 1997 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 10 Things I Hate About You -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 13 Going on 30 (Special Edition) -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 13th Warrior -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 15 Minutes (InfiniFilm) -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 27 Dresses -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 3 Ninjas -- 1992 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 40-year-old Virgin (Unrated Version) -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 50 First Dates (Special Edition) -- 2004 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 61* -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 6th Day -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 6th Man -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- 8 Mile -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- A-Team, The -- 2010 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- About a Boy -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- About Schmidt -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Accepted -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Ace Ventura Pet Detective -- 1994 -- WS -- 1-Disc SOLD -- Ace Ventura When Nature Calls -- 1995 -- Dual -- 1-Disc SOLD -- Aeon Flux (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Agent Cody Banks (Special Edition) -- 2003 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Air Force One -- 1997 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Airheads -- 1994 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Almost Famous -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Along Came A Spider -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- America's Sweethearts -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc SOLD -- American History X -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- American Wedding (Extended Unrated Party Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Anaconda -- 1997 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Anchorman (Unrated, Uncut & Uncalled For! Version) -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Angel Eyes -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Anger Management (Special Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Antitrust (Special Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Anywhere But Here -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Arlington Road -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Artificial Intelligence (Special Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- As Good As It Gets -- 1997 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- As Good As It Gets -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Assualt on Precinct 13 -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Astronaut's Wife -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Atlantis -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Aviator -- 2004 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Babes in Toyland -- 1961 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Baby Mama -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc SOLD -- Back to the Future Trilogy (French / Canadian Version) -- 1985, 89, 90 -- WS -- 3-Discs $4.00 -- Bad Boys I & II Set (Boxed Set) -- 1995, 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Bad Company -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Bad News Bears (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Bandits (Special Edition) -- 2001 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Basic -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Be Cool -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc SOLD -- Beautiful Mind, A (Awards Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- BenchWarmers -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Better Sex Through Yoga -- 2003 -- FS -- 3-Discs $2.00 -- Bewitched (Special Edition) -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Big Daddy -- 1999 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Big Lebowski -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Biker Boyz -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Billy Elliot -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Black Hawk Down -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Blade (New Line Platinum Series) -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Blade II -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Blade Trinity (New Line Platinum Series, Unrated Version) -- 2004 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Blast From the Past -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Bless the Child -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Blue Streak (Special Edition) -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Boondock Saints -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Bounce (Exclusive 2-Disc Set) -- 2000 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Bourne Supremacy -- 2004 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Bourne Ultimatum -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Braveheart -- 1995 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Break Up, The -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Bridget Jones's Diary (Miramax Collector's Series) -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Bring It On (Collector's Edition) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Bruce Almighty -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Bulletproof -- 1996 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Butterfly Effect (InfiniFilm) -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Catch and Release -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Catwoman -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Cellular (New Line Platinum Series) -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Changeling -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Changing Lanes -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc SOLD -- Chappelle's Show - Season 1 -- 2003 -- FS -- 2-Discs SOLD -- Chappelle's Show - Season 2 -- 2004 -- FS -- 3-Discs $2.00 -- Charlie's Angels (Special Edition) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Chicago -- 2002 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Chocolat (Miramax Collector's Series) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2005 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Chronicles of Riddick (Unrated Director's Cut) -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Chronicles of Riddick: Pitch Black -- 2000 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Cider House Rules (Miramax Collector's Series) -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Cinderella Man -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- City of Angels (Special Edition) -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Clue -- 1985 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Collateral -- 2004 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Collateral Damage -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Confidence -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Constantine -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Core -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Count of Monte Cristo -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Covenant -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Coyote Ugly -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Cradle 2 the Grave -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc SOLD -- Craft (Special Edition) -- 1996 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Crank -- 2006 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Crash -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Crazy/Beautiful -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Da Vinci Code (Special Edition) -- 2006 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Daredevil -- 2003 -- FS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Deep Blue Sea -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- déjà vu -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Departed -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Derailed (Unrated Version) -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Descent (Original Unrated Cut) -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Devil Wears Prada -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Die Hard IV: Live Free or Die Hard -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood -- 2002 -- FS -- 1-Disc SOLD -- Dodgeball -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Domestic Disturbance -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Don't Say a Word -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Double Jeopardy -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Down to Earth -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Dreamcatcher -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Drive Me Crazy -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Driven -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Duets -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Dukes of Hazard -- 2005 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Eagle Eye -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Edge, The -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Edtv -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Elektra -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Elf (InfiniFilm) -- 2003 -- Dual -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Elizabethtown -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Enchanted -- 2007 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Enough -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Entrapment (Special Edition) -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Envy -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Equilibrium -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Erin Brockovich -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Ever After -- 1998 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Evolution -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Extreme Days -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Failure to Launch (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Family Guy - Season 1 & 2 -- 1999, 2000 -- FS -- 4-Discs $3.00 -- Family Guy - Season 3 -- 2001 -- FS -- 3-Discs $3.00 -- Family Guy - Season 4 -- 2002 -- FS -- 3-Discs $2.00 -- Family Man (Collector's Edition) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Family Stone -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Fantastic 4 -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Far and Away -- 1992 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Fast and the Furious (Collector's Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Fast and the Furious 2 -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Ferris Bueller's Day Off -- 1986 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Fiddler on the Roof (Special Edition) -- 1971 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Fight Club -- 1999 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Fighting (Unrated Edition) -- 2009 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Final Destination (New Line Platinum Series) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Final Destination 2 (InfiniFilm) -- 2003 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Final Fantasy (Special Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Find Me Guilty -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Finding Forrester -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Finding Neverland -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Firewall -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- First Knight -- 1995 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Flight of the Phoenix -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Foolproof -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- For Love of the Game -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Forever Young -- 1992 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Forgotten -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Four Brothers (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Fox and the Hound (Gold Collection) -- 1981 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Frailty -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Freaky Friday -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Freedom Writers -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Freeway -- 1996 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Frequency (New Line Platinum Series) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Fried Green Tomatoes -- 1991 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Friends with Money -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- From Paris With Love -- 2010 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Fun With Dick & Jane -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- G.I. Jane -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Garden State -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Gattaca -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Get Shorty -- 1995 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Ghost and the Darkness -- 1996 -- WS -- 1-Disc $5.00 -- Ghostbusters 1 & 2 (Double Feature Gift Set) -- 1984, 89 -- WS -- 2-Discs $6.00 -- Gilmore Girls - Season 1 -- 2000 -- FS -- 6-Discs $6.00 -- Gilmore Girls - Season 2 -- 2001 -- FS -- 6-Discs $6.00 -- Gilmore Girls - Season 3 -- 2002 -- FS -- 6-Discs $6.00 -- Gilmore Girls - Season 4 -- 2003 -- FS -- 6-Discs $6.00 -- Gilmore Girls - Season 5 -- 2004 -- FS -- 6-Discs $6.00 -- Gilmore Girls - Season 6 -- 2005 -- FS -- 6-Discs $6.00 -- Gilmore Girls - Season 7 -- 2006 -- FS -- 6-Discs $2.00 -- Girl Interrupted -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Girl Next Door (Unrated Version) -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Glass House -- 2001 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Godsend -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Godzilla (Deluxe Widescreen Presentation) -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Goldmember: Austin Powers (InfiniFilm) -- 2002 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Gone In 60 Seconds -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Good Luck Chuck (Unrated Edition) -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc SOLD -- Gothica -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Green Mile -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Grosse Pointe Blank -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Grudge -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Guy Thing (Special Edition) -- 2003 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Hancock (Theatrical Edition) -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Hangover -- 2009 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Hannibal Rising -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (Extreme Unrated) -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Harry Potter 1: The Sorceror's Stone -- 2001 -- WS -- 2-Discs $3.00 -- Harry Potter 2: The Chamber of Secrets -- 2002 -- WS -- 2-Discs $3.00 -- Harry Potter 3: The Prisoner of Azkaban -- 2004 -- WS -- 2-Discs $3.00 -- Harry Potter 4: The Goblet of Fire (Special Edition) -- 2005 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Harry Potter 5: The Order of the Phoenix -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Harry Potter 6: The Half-Blood Prince -- 2009 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Haunting, The (Signature Selection) -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Head of State -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Hellboy (Special Edition) -- 2004 -- WS -- 2-Discs $5.00 -- Heroes - Season 1 -- 2006 -- FS -- 7-Discs $5.00 -- Heroes - Season 2 -- 2007 -- FS -- 4-Discs $5.00 -- Heroes - Season 3 -- 2008 -- FS -- 6-Discs $2.00 -- Hidalgo -- 2004 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- High Crimes -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- High Fidelity -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Hitch -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Holiday, The -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Home Alone (Family Fun Edition) -- 1990 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Home Fries -- 1998 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Hoodwinked -- 2005 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Hours, The -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $4.00 -- House, M.D. - Season 1 -- 2004 -- FS -- 3-Discs $4.00 -- House, M.D. - Season 3 -- 2006 -- FS -- 5-Discs $4.00 -- House, M.D. - Season 4 -- 2007 -- FS -- 4-Discs $2.00 -- How the Grinch Stole Christmas: New (Collector's Edition) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- How The Grinch Stole Christmas: Old -- 1966 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Hudson Hawk -- 1991 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Hulk (Special Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Hunted, The -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Hurricane (Collector's Edition) -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc SOLD -- I Am Legend (Special Edition) -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- I Am Sam (New Line Platinum Series) -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- I Heart Huckabees -- 2004 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- I Know What You Did Last Summer -- 1997 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- I Know What You Did Last Summer (Still, #2) -- 1998 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- I Love You Man -- 2009 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Identity (Special Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Idle Hands -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Illusionist -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- In Good Company -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- In Her Shoes -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Inception -- 2010 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Incredibles (Collector's Edition) -- 2004 -- WS -- 2-Discs $5.00 -- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Blu-Ray Special Edition) -- 2008 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Inkheart -- 2008 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Inside Man -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Instinct -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Interview with the Vampire -- 1994 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Intolerable Cruelty -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Island, The -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $4.00 -- It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - Season 5 -- 2009 -- FS -- 3-Discs $2.00 -- Italian Job (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Jackass Number Two (Unrated Version) -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Jarhead -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- John Q -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- John Q -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Journey to the Center of the Earth -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Joy Ride (Special Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Juno -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Just Like Heaven -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- K-Pax (Collector's Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Kate & Leopold -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Keeping The Faith -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Kid, The -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- King Arthur (Extended Unrated Version, Director's Cut) -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Kingdom of Heaven -- 2005 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Kiss of the Dragon -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Kiss the Girls -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Knight's Tale, A (Special Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Knockaround Guys -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Knocked Up (Unrated & Unprotected) -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Ladder 49 -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Last Action Hero -- 1993 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Last Castle, The -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Last Kiss, The -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Last Samurai, The -- 2003 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Law Abiding Citizen -- 2009 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Laws of Attraction -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- League of Their Own (Deluxe Widescreen Presentation) -- 1992 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Legally Blonde (Special Edition) -- 2001 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Legend of Baggar Vance -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Legends of the Fall (Special Edition) -- 1994 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Lethal Weapon 4 -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Liar Liar (Collector's Edition) -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Life of David Gale, The -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Lion King, The (Platinum Edition) -- 1994 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Little Big League -- 1994 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Longest Yard -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Lord of the Rings I: Fellowship of the Ring (Theatrical Version, Not Boxed Set) -- 2001 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Lord of the Rings II: Return of the King (Theatrical Version, Not Boxed Set) -- 2002 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Lord of the Rings III: The Two Towers (Theatrical Version, Not Boxed Set) -- 2003 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Love Actually -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Lucky Number Slevin -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Majestic, The -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Man Apart, A -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Man in the Iron Mask -- 1998 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Mask of Zorro (Deluxe Widescreen Presentation) -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Master and Commander -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Matchstick Men -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Mean Girls (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2004 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Meet the Fockers -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Meet The Parents (Collector's Edition) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Men In Black (Collector's Series) -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Men Of Honor (Special Edition) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Mercury Rising -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Messengers -- 2009 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Mexican, The -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Mickey Blue Eyes -- 1999 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Minority Report -- 2002 -- FS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Miss Congeniality -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Miss Potter -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Mona Lisa Smile -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Special Edition) -- 1975 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Moulin Rouge -- 2001 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Mr. & Mrs. Smith -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Mr. Deeds (Special Edition) -- 2002 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Mulan (Limited Issue) -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Mummy Returns, The (Collector's Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Mummy, The -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Murder By Numbers -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- My Best Friend's Wedding (Special Edition) -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- My Big Fat Greek Wedding -- 2002 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Mystic River -- 2003 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Never Been Kissed -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- New York, I Love You -- 2009 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Newsies (Collector's Edition) -- 1992 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Nip/Tuck - Season 1 -- 2003 -- FS -- 5-Discs $3.00 -- Nip/Tuck - Season 2 -- 2004 -- FS -- 6-Discs $3.00 -- Nip/Tuck - Season 3 -- 2005 -- FS -- 6-Discs $3.00 -- Nip/Tuck - Season 4 -- 2006 -- FS -- 5-Discs $3.00 -- Nip/Tuck - Season 5 (Part 1) -- 2007 -- FS -- 5-Discs $2.00 -- Notebook, The (New Line Platinum Series) -- 2004 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Nothing to Lose -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Ocean's Eleven -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc SOLD -- Ocean's Thirteen -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Ocean's Twelve -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Office Space -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $4.00 -- Office Space (Special Edition with Flair) -- 1999 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Once Upon a Time in Mexico -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Orange County -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Order, The -- 2003 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Oscar -- 1991 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Out of Sight (Collector's Edition) -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Out of Time (Special Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Pacifier -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Pan's Labyrinth -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Panic Room -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Patch Adams -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Pay It Forward -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Payback -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Paycheck (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Pearl Harbor (60th Anniversary Commemorative Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Perfect Storm -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Perfect Stranger -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Phone Booth -- 2002 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Pianist -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Pleasantville (New Line Platinum Series) -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Practical Magic -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Premonition -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Prestige -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Pride and Glory -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Pride and Prejudice (Spotlight Series) -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Prime -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Proof of Life -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Pump Up the Volume -- 1990 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Punch-Drunk Love (Special Edition) -- 2002 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Punisher, The -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Pushing Tin -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Quick and the Dead, The -- 1995 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Radio -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Rain Man (Special Edition) -- 1988 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Red Dragon (Collector's Edition) -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Red Eye -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Reign of Fire -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Remember the Titans -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Rent (Special Edition) -- 2005 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Replacements -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Rescuers -- 1977 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Rescuers Down Under (Gold Collection) -- 1990 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Reservoir Dogs (Special Edition) -- 1992 -- Dual -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Resident Evil (Special Edition) -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Return to Me -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Riding In Cars With Boys (Special Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Ring, The -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- River Runs Through It, A -- 1992 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Road to Perdition -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Rob Roy -- 1995 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Role Models (Unrated) -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Romeo Must Die -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Rookie, The -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Ruins, The (Unrated Version) -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Rules of Engagement -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Runaway Bride -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Runaway Jury -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Rundown -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Save the Last Dance -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Saved! -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Saving Private Ryan (Special Limited Edition) -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Saving Silverman -- 2001 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Score, The -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Scream (Digitally Mastered) -- 1996 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Scream 2 (Collector's Series) -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Scream 3 (Collector's Series) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Secondhand Lions (New Line Platinum Series) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Serenity -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Session 9 -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Seven (New Line Platinum Series) -- 1995 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Sex and the City -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Sex and the City - Season 1 -- 1999 -- FS -- 2-Discs $3.00 -- Sex and the City - Season 2 -- 2000 -- FS -- 3-Discs $3.00 -- Sex and the City - Season 3 -- 2001 -- FS -- 3-Discs $3.00 -- Sex and the City - Season 4 -- 2002 -- FS -- 3-Discs $3.00 -- Sex and the City - Season 5 -- 2003 -- FS -- 2-Discs $5.00 -- Sex and the City - Season 6 (part 1 and 2) -- 2004 -- FS -- 6-Discs $2.00 -- Shakespeare in Love -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Sherlock Holmes -- 2009 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Shooter -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Sideways -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Signs -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Silence of the Lambs -- 1991 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Simply Irresistible -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Sin City -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Sixth Sense (Collector's Edition Series) -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Skulls (Collector's Edition) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Sleepy Hollow -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Smokin' Aces -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Snatch -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- So I Married and Axe Murderer -- 1993 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Someone Like You -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Something's Gotta Give -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Spanglish -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Speed -- 1994 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Spider-Man (Special Edition) -- 2002 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Spider-Man 2 (Special Edition) -- 2004 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Spy Game (Collector's Edition) -- 2001 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Star Trek -- 2009 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Stealth (Special Edition) -- 2005 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Step Brothers (Theatrical Edition) -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Stepmom -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Stewie's Griffin: The Untold Story -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Stir Of Echoes -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Stranger than Fiction -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Superbad (Unrated Extended Edition) -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Superbad (Unrated Extended Edition) -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Superman Returns -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- SWAT (Special Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Sweet November -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Sweetest Thing, The (Unrated Version) -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Swing Kids -- 1993 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Swordfish -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Tarzan -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Tears of the Sun (Special Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Terminal, The -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines -- 2003 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Thank You for Smoking -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Thelma & Louise -- 1991 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- There's Something About Mary -- 1998 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Three Kings -- 1999 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Three Musketeers -- 1993 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Time Machine -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Time Machine -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- TinkerBell -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Titanic -- 1997 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Tomb Raider (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life (Special Collector's Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Tombstone -- 1993 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Tommy Boy -- 1995 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Torque -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Town, The -- 2010 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Traffic -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Training Day -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Transporter (Special Edition) -- 2002 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Transporter 2 -- 2005 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Treasure Planet -- 2002 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Truth About Cats and Dogs, The -- 1996 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Turner & Hooch -- 1989 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Twilight -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Twilight Saga III: Eclipse -- 2010 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Upside of Anger, The -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- U.S. Marshals (Special Edition) -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Unbreakable (Vista Series) -- 2000 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Under the Tuscan Sun -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Underworld (Special Edition) -- 2003 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Underworld: Evolution (Special Edition) -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Underworld: Rise of the Lychans -- 2009 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Unfaithful (Special Edition) -- 2002 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Unleashed (Unrated Version) -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Urban Legend -- 1998 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Usual Suspects, The (Special Edition) -- 1995 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- V for Vendetta -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Van Wilder -- 2002 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Vanilla Sky -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Vertical Limit (Special Edition) -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Waiting (Unrated & Raw, Deluxe Edition) -- 2005 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- Waitress -- 2007 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Walk the Line -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Walking Tall -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $3.00 -- Wanted (Special Edition) -- 2008 -- WS -- 2-Discs $2.00 -- War of the Worlds -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Watcher, The -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Wedding Crashers (New Line Platinum Series, Uncorked Edition) -- 2005 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Wedding Crashers (Uncorked Edition) -- 2005 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Wedding Date -- 2005 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Wedding Planner -- 2001 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Wedding Singer -- 1998 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- What Happens in Vegas -- 2008 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- What Women Want -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Where the Heart Is -- 2000 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- White Chicks (Unrated & Uncut Version) -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- White Christmas -- 1954 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Whole Nine Yards, The -- 2000 -- Dual -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Whole Ten Yards, The -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Wimbledon -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Win a Date With Tad Hamilton -- 2004 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Without a Paddle -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- XXX (Special Edition) -- 2002 -- FS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- You Got Served (Special Edition) -- 2004 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- You, Me and Dupree -- 2006 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- You've Got Mail -- 1998 -- WS -- 1-Disc $2.00 -- Zombieland -- 2009 -- WS -- 1-Disc
  14. Let's start at the beginning. When I first saw Star Wars in 1977, it was at the UA 150 theater in downtown Seattle. I was too young to drive, so my parents had to take me down there, a 20 mile round trip, to see the movie. Somehow, over the course of the next year or so, I managed to convince them to do that another 10 or 11 times as I saw the movie again and again. It's pretty astonishing now to think of any movie sticking around in first-run theaters for over a year, but Star Wars did it. The one-year anniversary poster (from my original The Art of Star Wars). I remember seeing this as an ad in the Seattle Times back in-the-day. I will never forget the first time I saw Star Wars. I was in the front row of the balcony when that huge Star Destroyer came flying in over my head - shaking the entire theater. It was an incredible experience, especially for someone whose movie-going experience up until that point consisted of the likes of such Disney fare as The Strongest Man in the World and Herbie the Love Bug Rides Again. I was so overwhelmed by Star Wars, that I can even recall seeing it the second time, and not remembering what was going to happen next. No movie before or since has come close to having that sort of impact on me. At the time, being a kid, the wait for the sequel seemed like an eternity. Remember, this was before home video, cable TV, or anything even remotely resembling the internet, so the only way to see Star Wars was in the theater, and once it left, it was gone. To fill the gap, there was the infamous Holiday Special (which mercifully only aired once), comic books and toys. There was also the novel Splinter of the Mind's Eye (which I read a dozen times), and The Story of Star Wars record, which had an awesome photo booklet in it. I still have mine. My original, well-worn, first edition of Splinter of the Mind's Eye. My original LP of The Story of Star Wars. I should listen to it again someday - it's been well over 35 years. At the time, the only way to get any news about Star Wars was from magazines like Starlog (and yes - I still have my original issues of that, too). It was from articles like this one in particular that I tried to glean every scrap of information that I could about the sequel. Some of the rumors were outlandish, like a holographic Millennium Falcon flying off the screen, or time traveling to Earth's distant past, one had our heroes meeting a Queen of Outer Space*, and another had Mick Jagger composing the soundtrack. But still, anything related to Star Wars was eagerly gobbled up in those interminable three long years before the release of The Empire Strikes Back. *As an aside, I suspect this might have come from the fact that in the Empire Strikes Back, the Emperor was originally played by an actress. Yep. Look it up. Then finally, the week that the movie was going to open arrived. I had plans to go see it that Saturday with some friends. The anticipation was unbearable. And on Monday evening, before the film opened, my best friend Paul called me up, and uttered the life-changing words: "The book is out!" "The book is out." My original copy. I had to have it. I rushed over to the local Fred Meyer, bought it, took it home and read it cover to cover. I'm not sure when the regret set in. Probably as soon as I finished reading it. I have no recollection of actually reading it, or what I thought of any of it. All I remember is spending the rest of the week desperately trying to forget what I'd read. It didn't work. I knew everything that was going to happen, before it happened. When the Mynock attacked the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon, the girl sitting next to me in the theater nearly jumped out of her seat. I didn't even blink. And of course, one of the biggest movie moments of all time was totally spoiled for me. By me. No shock. No awe. I never got to experience that singular moment that made Empire such a phenomenal movie, and the favorite of so many Star Wars fans. Now I still loved seeing Empire. It was terrific fun and powerfully engaging to watch, from the AT-ATs on Hoth to the Falcon's flight through the asteroid field, from the Dark Side cave on Dagobah to the climactic lightsaber fight. The story, acting, effects, and characters were all elevated far above the first film. And while I can qualitatively agree it's the best of the Star Wars films, it's not my favorite. Having been spoiled, Empire lacked the emotional impact that Star Wars had on me. If I'd never read the book, I might have a very different opinion. It certainly would have been a very different movie-going experience. But Star Wars will always be my favorite, because that's the theatrical experience that had the strongest impact on me. Empire will always be second, unless something better comes along. And so, the hard way, perhaps on the worst film possible to have spoiled, I learned about spoilers. That's why these are Spolier-free reviews. Too bad I couldn't have learned that lesson on pretty-much any other film. For example, Star Trek: The Motion Picture would have been just fine. I had been looking forward to that just as much as Empire, but that was phenomenally disappointing, and came out six months earlier. But then perhaps the lesson wouldn't have stuck with me so much. As an aside, Return of the Jedi was also semi-spoiled for me while I was waiting in line to go see it, when some twit walking out of the theater said, Thanks for that, jerk-face. But apart from the speeder-bike chase and a certain Princess in a metal bikini, I felt Jedi was essentially a big, Muppety, Ewok turd.** A harbinger, it would turn out, of the next three Star Wars films to come. **I could go on for a long time about what I disliked in Jedi. But the short list is: every creature except Jabba, the Ewoks, all of the acting, all of the dialog, having the Emperor turn out to be Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf, the Lapti Nek and Ewok songs, having Darth Vader turn out to be Humpty Dumpty, and rehashing the final Death Star battle from Star Wars because George couldn't come up with a better idea. Which brings us to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When I'd heard J.J. Abrams was going to direct it, frankly, I couldn't have been less interested. Despite my initial somewhat positive reactions to his first and second Star Trek films, I found them unwatchable on repeated viewings. The characters were too annoying, and the stories too stupid. I got tired of the laughably bad lens flares, nausea-inducing shaky-cam, and the completely ridiculous technology used to fix gaping plot holes ("red matter" and interstellar transporter backpack, I'm looking at you). But after a time, and as more Star Wars footage eked out in the trailers, I became more interested. Still skeptical, given the last four Star Wars movies, but willing to give it a chance. So that meant avoiding spoilers. Now, I will give Abrams credit for this: he kept a very tight lid on the film's secrets. While I'm sure plot details could be found if you dug enough, for the most part, they were absent from the mainstream internet and news media. But when showings began selling out as soon as tickets went on pre-sale, I knew there might be trouble remaining spoiler-free. I was going to be traveling around the opening date so I wasn't sure where I'd be able to see it. Even when that was settled, and although we bought our tickets in early December, the earliest date we could get good seats for was December 28th. Sure, we probably could've gotten into a multiplex screening somewhere earlier, but I detest multiplexes, and was determined to see it at a proper movie theater - in this case, The Cinerama in Seattle. Besides it recently having been fully restored into a completely state-of-the-art theater, it also features reserved seating. Well worth waiting a few extra days for, so you know where you're going to sit, without having to jockey in line with a bunch of other theater-goers. Plus, the Cinerama also doesn't run any ads before movies, keeps the trailers to a minimum (in this case, just three), and best of all - before Star Wars: The Force Awakens - they ran the classic Warner Bros. short Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2th Century. Awesome. The trick then, was to largely avoid the Internet and media for the ten days from the time movie opened, until I was finally able to go see it. And of course, avoid any jerks coming out of the previous screening who might be blabbing about it. But in the end, as the lights dimmed, I had successfully avoided all spoilers. So the whole film was going to be a completely new, unknown experience to me. As the movie started, I found myself actually anticipating it. As "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." came onscreen, I felt a twinge of excitement that I hadn't felt since the original trilogy. But would the movie live up to it? Well then, I guess I should get on to the review. First, and most important, I did have fun watching it. The Force Awakens felt very much like the original trilogy, and was much better than any of the prequel trilogy. And although that may not be much of a feat, I also felt it was better than Return of the Jedi. (But note my opinions regarding ROTJ, above.) But it certainly wasn't a perfect movie. So here are a few of the things I liked: The opening title crawl. This set the tone for the movie, and is the first thing that The Phantom Menace got so horribly wrong. "The taxation of trade routes is in dispute?!" Gimme a break. No such nonsense here. We're dropped right into a compelling and instantly accessible story that we want to watch. The new characters. Particularly Daisy Ridley as Rey and John Boyega as Finn. They're genuinely likable and compelling characters, and it looks like the actors are really enjoying themselves. They have great onscreen presence and chemistry, and engaging stories and character arcs. Adam Driver also does a great turn as Kylo Ren - a very different Star Wars villain, more complex than most, and unpredictable. The classic characters. Here's the thing - this is clearly about handing Star Wars off to a new generation, so they don't dominate the movie. And they shouldn't. But it was still good to see them again. It wouldn't have been the same without them. The action. There are some great space battles, lightsaber fights, chases, and of course, the Millennium Falcon doing what it does best. And mercifully, very little shaky cam or lens flares. The design. From the effects to the sets to the costumers, this looks like Star Wars. It feels like Star Wars. This is unquestionably the same universe as the original trilogy. This is nothing like what J. J. did to Star Trek. John Williams' score. Sure, he's no Mick Jagger, but hearing those familiar themes peppered throughout the film is still powerful after all these years. And I've already bought the soundtrack. The surprises. There were some nice ones in the film that I didn't see coming. Not going to say anything else here. That said, there are certainly things that I didn't like: The movie borrows somewhat quite very extremely heavily from the original trilogy. It gets to the point where it becomes a detriment to the movie, overshadowing everything. By far, I found this to be the most disappointing aspect of the film, as it happened throughout the movie, and I found myself continually being distracted from the new material, by old, familiar tropes. Even the characters acknowledge this onscreen at one point, and the movie almost becomes a parody of itself. I hope the sequel finds a way to be more original. Some of the new characters are under-utilized, particularly the villains. Hopefully the sequel will address this, and we'll get some more depth there. A lot of history has apparently happened, but little explanation is given to it. In some ways, this is a good thing (avoiding the mess of the prequels), but in others, it's confusing. I have no idea what roles the First Order or the New Republic or The Resistance have in the galaxy now, or how they got there. I don't even know who's really in charge. I suppose I need to pick up a comic book or something. Or, again, maybe more will be explained in the sequel. Predictability. While a lot of the movie still had some great surprises, there were quite a few moments that were just ham-handedly telegraphed. I could see they were going to happen, and just waited for them to play out. J. J.'s penchant for ridiculous technology McGuffins (like the aforementioned "red matter" and interstellar transporter from the Star Trek films), reared its ugly head again. There are a few things that were thrown in there as fanboy moments which I think can be overlooked (things that J. J. probably thought were super-cool when he was 12 years old, playing with his Star Wars toys), but there was one thing that dominated the film in the sheer scale of its ridiculousness that can only be the result of lazy writing and (again) the lack of a better idea. This was crux of the moment of self-parody that I mentioned before. The movie would have been far better-off without it. In the end though, I enjoyed seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I walked out of the theater looking forward to the next film. And although I think that's a good thing, it could be considered a knock against the film, too. I think (or hope) that the sequel will actually be the new Star Wars we're looking for. This was a welcomed reintroduction back into the franchise, but it isn't the heart of the story. Not yet. There were certainly some great moments in The Force Awakens, but also plenty of weak ones. I was in a packed theater, and while there were a few cheers or smatterings of applause here or there, there was never any one moment where the whole audience went absolutely nuts. Star Wars needs "that moment" again. It's not here. But it was still a fun movie to watch. If that's all you expect going into it, you'll do just fine. I went in expecting nothing, so I came out ahead. Star Wars: The Force Awakens gets a 7.9/10.
  15. SOLD! I got all these DVDs with a large lot of stuff. The three large stacks (with just over 100 movies) all have the correct DVD in them. Condition varies and many of them are previous rentals. The short all has cases with discs other than the ones that belong in them but I'll include them in case there is anything you find interesting. Shipping shouldn't be too much since these can be shipped with media mail.
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