Skip to content

Galaxy Guardians get Disneyland Ride

July 25, 2016

When Marvel bought Star Wars in October 2012, fans dreamed of the amazing combination Lucas and Disney would be.  The ride and movie possibilities seemed endless.  Two years earlier, Disney purchased the Marvel universe an now we are on the cusp of seeing what that collaboration will look like.  Disney has announced that the Tower of Terror will be transformed into The Guardians of the Galaxy-Mission Breakout.

Watch Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde explain the concept:

The new ride will be at Disneyland’ California Adventure park in Anaheim, CA.  It is the first of a list of planned attractions that will be part of a Marvel world at the park.  Disney has pledged to funnel over a billion dollars into new rides and attractions.  Star Wars land has been in the works for months now and will open in Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.  Mission Breakout will open next summer.

The museum of the Collector will be featured in the opening part of the ride

The museum of the Collector will be featured in the opening part of the ride

Guardians of the Galaxy producers along with Director James Gunn will help to ensure that the ride is an accurate reflection of the film and its characters.  No word on if Bradley Cooper will be called upon to voice the raccoon Rocket for the ride.  Disney’s history of authenticity in its attractions would indicate that he would be included.

The Guardians will need your help to escape

The Guardians will need your help to escape

The Tower of Terror is a two stage ride.  The first part being a walk through the actual scenery from the back story.  The second being the thrill ride itself.  The imagery would lead one to believe that the same will be true of Mission Breakout.  It begins with a walk through the collector’s museum and ends with a ride up the landmark tower.

The ride was announced at Comic-con by the President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige.

Advertisements

Check me out on these Game Shows

July 20, 2016

 

That’s way back…

 

Here’s a little more recent

Our Trip to NYC

July 5, 2016

I recently returned from a trip to the Big Apple with my wife and it was simply amazing.  We did everything.  We had an amazing room overlooking Central Park.  We didn’t break the bank.  A dream vacation to NYC has always been something I really wanted to do and it was my 10th anniversary so I figured “why not”?

 

I had a few things that were a must: a direct flight not from LAX, a nice room in Manhattan with a great view, and a chance to see whatever I wanted to see and do whatever I wanted to do.  On top of this, it all had to be in 4-5 days and not breaking the bank.  I wanted to do at least one Broadway show and one of the late night talk shows (Jimmy Fallon preferred).

 

With this in mind I felt it important to search out the room first and after a lot of research I decided I wanted to stay on the park with a park view.  Hotels like the Plaza, the Ritz-Carlton, and JW Marriott were a minimum of $3000 just for the accommodations.  However, I found a great gem of a hotel wedged right in between them and right on the park, the Park Lane Hotel.  The room that I got was an executive suite with a park view.  Looking at the location and the fact that regular rooms with non-views at average hotels in midtown were more expensive, I decided that I had a winner.  We were not disappointed.

861

I then added airfare from Long Beach round trip on Jet Blue from Long Beach airport, non-stop and no red eye.  Airfare and hotel was done at a price which even frequent travelers to Manhattan would say is a steal.

A great place for a fan to get there fix would be tickets to a late night talk show; we were gunning for The Tonight Show.  Unfortunately, Jimmy was not taping the week we scheduled.  Not to fear, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert was scheduled so I got tickets, for free, for the first night of our trip.

 

Day 1 

We flew from Long Beach Airport to JFK in New York on an afternoon flight that saw us touching down at 9:45 pm local time and headed to our hotel via the Air Train and the subway.  Slice of Pizza and a root beer for a late night dinner.

Day 2 

Woke up and had a breakfast bar and some fruit that we brought and headed down stairs for a central park bike ride.  It was an amazing experience riding through the park, seeing all of the sites that we’ve only seen in film and television.  Movies like Home Alone, Keeping the Faith, and Ghostbusters all feature famous scenes from the park.  Next we met my brother in law and his wife at the Ed Sullivan Theater for our date with Colbert.  Kevin Love, Jenny Slate from Parks and Recreation and as special double performance from the re-formed Blink 182.  I also met Rupert Gee who was a regular on David Lettermen’s show.

862

A walk through Times Square followed then moving on passed the Empire State Building, Madison Square Park, and Eatily (An Italian market).  We found dinner at a pub called The Storehouse.  We capped off the evening with a late night drink at McGee’s pub which David Letterman writers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas used as their inspiration for McClaren’s in How I Met Your Mother.  We headed home and slept.

Day 3 

With brother and sister in law in town we decided on a second, longer Central Park bike ride, this time circumnavigating the whole property.  We saw the walkway where The Happening told us that the trees were rebelling against us because of how we had treated them.  The four hour ride also took us past the Museum of Natural History, the place the attractions came alive in Ben Stiller’s Night at the Museum.  Following the ride we returned to the hotel to clean up and prepare for our 1st night on Broadway.  We ate dinner at the 212 Steakhouse in Eastern Midtown.  Thanks to Living Social we got a $60 food voucher which made our top scale meal relatively affordable.  After dinner we headed to the Roosevelt Island Tramway, an aerial tram that goes from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island and offers great views of the city. We then headed towards Time’s Square to see She Loves Me, the Musical that inspired the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film You’ve Got Mail. It was great and Zachary Levi from TV’s Chuck was super nice and even took time to take a picture with me.   He stayed outside the theater for a long time taking pictures with a long line of fans and stayed until the line was exhausted. That night we walked around Time Square encountering characters from Frozen‘s Elsa to Wolverine.

920

*Other travelers can take advantage of the Today Tix app and get discounts to other shows they want to and they can get around the same pricing as we received to see Phantom, Le Mis, or Chicago.

Day 4 

Hamilton has become a world-wide sensation with 1st Lady Michelle Obama calling it “The best piece of art I’ve seen in any form in my life”.   Unfortunately for a fan that means soaring ticket prices with the lowest available ticket for a Wednesday AM show.  Never fear, there is a lottery every Wednesday morning where they give out 21 front row tickets for $10 each.  704 people showed for the first lottery in June of 2015.    As the main cast prepares to exit, that number rose to over 5000 when we decided to go.  We waited in line for several hours but the odds prevailed and we failed to secure a ticket.  We did however get to see Lin-Manuel Miranda get roasted by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog as seen below.

Hat in hand, we headed back to the hotel with a waking lunch.  We bid farewell to my Brother and sister-in law and headed back to Central Park, this time for the Zoo;  the famous zoo where Alex the Lion performs daily in the film Madagascar.   Though not as big as one would imagine, it was a fun time and we even caught the special 4-D feature featuring the cast of Ice Age.  We returned to our hotel and attended the free (included in the resort fee) appetizer and drink social.  It was there that I surprised my wife with tickets to Fully Committed.   This was an amazing one-man show and Ferguson was unbelievable playing over a dozen characters.  Afterwards we purchased tickets to the “Top of the Rock”, a viewing center on the 70th floor of 30 Rockefeller Center (setting of the Emmy award winning 30 Rock) that featured amazing views of the entire Island of Manhattan.

Day 5 

This was the day to make sure we crossed important things off of our checklist before we flew home.  We took a 40 minute subway ride to Brooklyn Heights where we walked the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a 600-yard long platform that looks back on downtown Manhattan.  It offers glorious views of the New York skyline and only cost a subway ride.

We headed next to the world trade center complex, the site of the 9/11 Memorial and the new 1776 foot tall building One World Trade Center.   It was beautiful and humbling but was way too long of a line for us to go up.  We hopped on the subway to Washington Square Park featured in I Am Legend with Will Smith.   There we saw the arch which is modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and we waded in the famous fountain.  From there we walked a mile through Greenwich Village where TV’s Friends lived and where many famous people actually live.  This walk too us to the High Line Park which is a 1 and 1/2 mile park built 30 feet above the ground on an old, unused subway track.  Many shows have had scenes filmed at the High Line including HBO’s Girls.  When we finished the High Line it was time to start heading toward the airport.  We walked back to Penn Station to catch the subway to Times Square where we purchased a couple of souvenirs for the kids, stopped by the hotel to pick up our bags, and hopped on the subway to return to JFK.

It was an amazing trip and one that I would recommend to anyone who want to see what NYC has to offer.

 

Fandom in NYC

July 5, 2016

New York is well known for its place in film and television.  It serves as the back-drop for many comic books and the setting for dozens of comic movies.  My wife and I are big TV and movie fans and we wanted to take a trip that fed our fandom.  A dream vacation to NYC has always been something I really wanted to do and it was my 10th anniversary so I figured “why not”?

I had a few things that were a must: a direct flight not from LAX, a nice room in Manhattan with a great view, and a chance to see whatever I wanted to see and do whatever I wanted to do.  We booked a room at the greatest hotel value in New York, the Park Lane Hotel with a suite on Central Park and the adventure began.

The view from out hotel on Central Park

The view from out hotel on Central Park

Day 1

We flew from Long Beach Airport to JFK in New York on an afternoon flight that saw us touching down at 9:45 pm local time and headed to our hotel via the Air Train and the subway.  The airport is often a great place for a random celebrity encounter but we had no such luck.  After a slice of Pizza and a root beer for a late night dinner we called it a day.

Day 2

We started the day with an amazing experience riding through the Central Park, seeing all of the sites that we’ve only seen in film and television.  Movies like Home Alone 2, Keeping the Faith, and Ghostbusters all feature famous scenes from the park.

Next we met my brother in law and his wife at the Ed Sullivan Theater as audience members to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.  The show featured Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Jenny Slate from Parks and Recreation and as special double performance from the re-formed Blink 182.  We capped off the evening with a late night drink at McGee’s pub which David Letterman writers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas used as their inspiration for McClaren’s in How I Met Your Mother.

Colbert's Late Show offers a great fan experience and it's Free

Colbert’s Late Show offers a great fan experience and it’s free

Day 3

With brother and sister in law in town we decided on a second, longer Central Park bike ride, this time circumnavigating the whole property.  We saw the walkway where The Happening told us that the trees were rebelling against us because of how we had treated them.  The four hour ride also took us past the Museum of Natural History, the place the attractions came alive in Ben Stiller‘s Night at the Museum.  Following the ride we returned to the hotel to clean up and prepare for our 1st night on Broadway.  We ate dinner at the 212 Steakhouse in Eastern Midtown which was fantastic.  After dinner we headed to the Roosevelt Island Tramway, an aerial tram that goes from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island and offers great views of the city.  We recalled a scene from White Collar where Neal Caffrey jumps from one tram to the other in an effort to elude a tail.

The tramway is the only way to get from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island

The tramway is the only way to get from Manhattan to Roosevelt Island

We then headed towards Time’s Square to see She Loves Me, the Musical that inspired the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film You’ve Got Mail. It was great and Zachary Levi from TV’s Chuck was super nice.  He stayed outside the theater for a long time taking pictures with a long line of fans and stayed until the line was exhausted. That night we walked around Times Square encountering characters from Frozen‘s Elsa to Wolverine.

The cast of the Tony Award nominated She Loves Me included several famous TV alumns

The cast of the Tony Award nominated She Loves Me included several famous TV alums

*Other traveling fans can take advantage of the Today Tix app and get discounts to other shows they want to and they can get around the same pricing as we received to see Phantom, Le Mis, or Chicago.

Day 4

Hamilton has become a world-wide sensation with First Lady Michelle Obama calling it “The best piece of art I’ve seen in any form in my life”.  Unfortunately, for a fan, that means soaring ticket prices with the lowest available ticket for a Wednesday AM show priced at $950.  Never fear, there is a lottery every Wednesday morning where they give out 21 front row tickets for $10 each.  704 people showed for the first lottery in June of 2015.  As the main cast prepares to exit, that number rose to over 5000 when we decided to go.  We waited in line for several hours but the odds prevailed and we failed to secure a ticket.  We did however get to see Lin-Manuel Miranda get roasted by Triumph the Insult Comic Dog as seen below.

Hat in hand, we headed back to the hotel with a waking lunch.  We bid farewell to my Brother and sister-in law and headed back to Central Park, this time for the Zoo; the famous zoo where Alex the Lion performs daily in the film Madagascar.  Though not as big as one would imagine, it was a fun time and we even caught the special 4-D feature featuring the cast of Ice Age.  We returned to our hotel and attended the free (included in the resort fee) appetizer and drink social.  It was there that I surprised my wife with tickets to Fully Committed.   This was an amazing one-man show, Jesse Tyler Ferguson of Modern Family was unbelievable playing over a dozen characters.  Afterwards we purchased tickets to the “Top of the Rock”, a viewing center on the 70th floor of 30 Rockefeller Center (setting of the Emmy award winning 30 Rock) that featured amazing views of the entire island of Manhattan.

The view from atop 30 Rockefeller Center

The view from atop 30 Rockefeller Center which houses Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show

Day 5

This was the day to make sure we crossed important things off of our checklist before we flew home.  We took a 40 minute subway ride to Brooklyn Heights where we walked the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, a 600-yard long platform that looks back on downtown Manhattan.  This spot featured in Woody Allen‘s Annie Hall offers glorious views of the New York skyline and only cost a subway ride.

Brooklyn Heights Promenade offers great views of lower Manhattan

Brooklyn Heights Promenade offers great views of lower Manhattan and was featured in Annie Hall

We headed next to the world trade center complex, the site of the 9/11 Memorial and the new 1776 foot tall building One World Trade Center.   It was beautiful and humbling but was way too long of a line for us to go up.  We hopped on the subway to Washington Square Park featured in I Am Legend with Will Smith.   There we saw the arch which is modeled after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and we waded in the famous fountain.

Encircled by NYU, Washington Square Park is featured many films and TV shows

Encircled by NYU, Washington Square Park is featured many films and TV shows

From there we walked a mile through Greenwich Village where TV’s Friends lived and where many famous people actually live.  This walk took us to the High Line Park which is a 1.5 mile park built 30 feet above the ground on an old, unused subway track.  Many shows have had scenes filmed at the High Line including HBO’s Girls.  When we finished the High Line it was time to start heading toward the airport.  We walked back to Penn Station (featured in An Affair to Remember) to catch the subway to Times Square where we purchased a couple of souvenirs for the kids, stopped by the hotel to pick up our bags, and hopped on the subway to return to JFK (site of Steven Spielberg‘s The Terminal).

Fandom in NYC has been achieved.  It was an amazing trip and one that I would recommend to any fan who want to see what NYC has to offer.

My Fandom Stories

June 23, 2016

Please check out my published work on Fandom.com

Worst Film Fathers

Best Film Fathers

Is the IWC Really Best for Business?

Batman vs Superman vs Critics/Superfans  (be sure to watch the special documentary feature in the article)

What Lesnar’s UFC Return Means to WWE

Justified Binge Watch Alert

The Life and Death of the TV Show Castle

Good Guys Gone Bad: Films Best Heel Turns

Inferno is the 3rd Installment of Da Vinci Code Films

Legacy of the Ice Bucket Challenge

New Trailer for Lights Out

The Life and Death of Person of Interest

The New Adventures in Babysitting

Binge Watch Alert: Chuck

Fandom in NYC

The Life and Death of Royal Pains

Bourne Again

New Trailer for Blood Father

Tarantino’s Greatest Character

Suits Summer Season

Games that should have been on the new classic Nintendo

King Kong is Going to be BIG

New Wonder Women Stills Released

For the Love of Spock Preview

Divergent to Skip Theaters

Guardians of the Galaxy goes to Disneyland

Binge Watch Alert: The Newsroom

Pete’s Dragon: Then and Now

Movies with Gold Medalists

For Your Consideration: Birdemic

HIMYM F.E. Haters need to stop

April 1, 2016

Enough already.  Every time another person chimes in with their disdain for the final episode of How I Met Your Mother it seems to be more and more ridiculous.  The nonsense that is spewed out by these fair-weathered fans of, in my opinion, one of the greatest comedies of the 21st century, has gotten out o hand.  People don’t just hate the last final episode.  They hate it so much that they feel like, and I quote “it ruined the series” or “I feel like my time watching the first 8 seasons was a waste”.  The level of criticism has reached a fever pitch and I plan on addressing it.

There are a lot of people who hated HIMYM in general.  These words is not addressed to you.  I’m not saying that there aren’t some words that need to be said to those people.  I’m just saying that those words are no part of this.  This is about the so-called fans of the show whose lives were apparently ruined by a twist that did very little to cheapen the story as a whole and truly showed which character was central to the story.  One might wonder if they were paying attention at all.

Season 1, episode 1 was clearly about Ted and Robin.  Though the overlying narrative was about a man telling the story of how he met there mother, the show itself was about three major plot lines:  Barney Stinson’s quest for intimacy, Marshall and Lilly figuring out how to become adults, and Ted and Robin growing in and out of love.  You don’t even see more that the back of the mother’s leg until the final season.  The show is not about her.  She is a character used to get us though the overriding story lines.

To recap, the final episode of HIMYM shows 30 years of life after Barney and Robin’s wedding.  The major reveals are 1) Robin and Barney get divorced less than 3 years in. 2) Barney gets a girl pregnant and realizes that the love of his life is his baby daughter. 3) Marshall becomes an elected judge in New York  4) The mother who drives the story died of some disease 8 years before the older Ted is telling his kids the story. and 5) Ted is really telling this story to figure out if his kids think its ok for him to date Robin.  These reveals CONFIRM what we already knew the major themes were.  They do not contradict.  If befuddles me to think how much people have endeared themselves to a character that we knew nothing about for the vast majority of the show.

Even if you don’t buy that explanation.  May I urge a little perspective.  If you thought the whole show as about Ted and Tracy (the mother) living happily ever after, then you were thrown for a curve.  You might voice surprise, maybe a little disappointment.  However, disavowing the entire series is extreme even for die-hards.  A little perspective might lead one to rewatch the series and take what you know and apply it to the content.  You might find that what you thought you knew might not have been what you thought you knew.

Choosing a Movie? Ignore these 2 Groups

March 29, 2016

Superman vs Batman exploded into theaters this weekend killing it at every corner on the way to the biggest Warner Brothers opening in the studios history.  Hundreds of millions of dollars rolled into the WB account as people paid and watched this landmark DC film that cost upwards of $400 million.  Mucking up the clear waters of success for this film have been two distinct voices of dissent that are being placed front and center on media outlets and mainstream websites around the globe.  I am referring to critics and super-fans.  They are two groups of people who I have, in my thousands of movie watcher experiences, learned to ignore.  These groups have an over the top investment in the product and/or film in general that can make their opinions and voices skewed with an overprotective feeling towards the source material.  Let’s dig in.

Critics

The largest gap between a critic and the general population is the over protection of film in general that they seem to cling to.  They are looking for cinematic excellence and the standard they use manifests much more in art house films than in the blockbuster films that appeal to the masses.  It’s the same scenario in which a food critic might like the minuscule portions of food served at a prize bistro.  They may meet the criteria for his pallet but they do not fit in the recipe for success that appeals to the majority of people.  The basic break between the critic and the general population is what they are looking for in a film.  Thee majority of movie goers are looking to be entertained and be granted the ability to escape from the goings on in everyday life.  Critics are looking for a formula that weaves directing, writing, cinematography and sound into a masterpiece of storytelling.  This is not necessarily a bad as many critically acclaimed films accrue box office success.  However, films that are not meant to achieve this cinematic checklist rarely get that coveted thumbs up from a critic.  Critics and I don’t always disagree on films but we disagree enough for me to disregard a review when making my movie choices.

Super-Fans

I am a super fan. 80’s TV, Fantasy sports, and WWE are a few of the things I really hold in high regard.  That being said, if a Saved by the Bell movie were to be made, I would not recommend that you come to me for a critique of the film.  If you have questions about the content and how it relates I would be helpful.  However, I have too much attachment to the source material to assume my opinion should matter to someone seeking a stand alone movie.  We are seeing this type of protective reaction to the new Superman vs Batman film.  Super-fans are not happy with a lot of liberties taken by the director Zac Snyder.  The disconnect here happened long before one scene was even filmed.  The announcement of Ben Affleck as a more mature Batman was met with harsh criticism by fans who felt he would not accurately portray their caped hero.  The same rings true for the TV Show Game of Thrones.  Super-fans of the Song of Fire and Ice books (which the Game of Thrones books are based on) often shriek at the liberties that show runners David Benioff and DB Weiss take.  As someone who never read the books I find it interesting to ask questions of those who have.  At the same time the deviation from the books does nothing to limit my enjoyment of the series.  Not being a super-fan of the books means I can enjoy the television show without feeling robbed of the original content.  Super-fans do serve a purpose and are very helpful when I need clarification or background.

Critics and super-fans have there place in pop culture.  Each has a sphere of influence that is necessary and sought after to some level by movie studios.  In this current market of blockbuster films where entertainment is valued over cinematic achievement (rightly or wrongly) these voices do not ring near as loud as they once did.  Once upon a time I listened to critics and super-fans when considering movies to watch.  Those voices have dampened more and more with experience and now can barely be disseminated when I make my selections.