Minions Giveaway!

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Minions are here!

The silly little yellow sidekicks from the two Despicable Me movies are starring in their very own hilarious adventure, and it hits theaters today.

The Minions movie imagines their quest to serve the most horrible villains in history, starting back in prehistoric times and moving up to the 20th century. Eventually, the minions arrive in 1960s London, where their latest master uses them in a crazy attempt to overthrow the Queen of England. Continue reading

Christmas DVD Giveaway

For anyone of my generation, one of our most cherished Christmas traditions is the annual viewing of the Rankin/Bass animated classics.

Frosty the Snowman, Frosty Returns, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and, my personal favorite, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Back in my day, we had one shot at watching these shows. No videos, no DVD, not even 24-hour Rankin/Bass marathons on cable. They were broadcast over the air on one night, and that was it for another 365 days.

Now, it’s all different. Our Christmas entertainment is instantly available to us, and the communal experience of watching Bumbles bounce is a thing of the past.

I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

What is good, is that I have a couple of awesome DVD box sets to give away!

The good people at DreamWorks Classics have provided copies of some old classics and some new classics for my readers.

First off, the Original Christmas Classics, featuring Frosty, Santa, and Rudolph. You know these shows. They’re timeless. It wouldn’t be the holidays without them.

Next up are the new guys. Shrek, Po, and Toothless. These will be the timeless classics for my kids’ generation. This glittering box set includes Shrek The Halls, Merry Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda Holiday, and Dragons Holiday: Gift of the Night Fury as well as bonus features including games, music videos and more!

Some lucky winner will receive BOTH of these DVD box sets! All you have to do is leave a comment right here on this post. It’s as simple as that.

Once you own these shows, you never have to worry about missing out on the Christmas tradition!

I’ll pick a winner the first week of December. In the meantime, have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Only In The Movies

Back when I was an impressionable pre-teen, my mother foolishly took my sister and me to see this brand-new movie that everyone was talking about.

I vividly remember that magical afternoon as Star Wars unfolded on the big screen, and my eyes were suddenly opened up to the wonderful possibilities of movie-making.

From that moment on, I wanted to be George Lucas.

Well, at least for a few months, until I saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and then I just knew I wanted to be Steven Spielberg.

That actually lasted a couple of years, until my mother took us to see the Los Angeles opening of Beatlemania in 1979, and then I wanted to be John Lennon. But that’s another story.

During that last part of the 70’s, I was enamored with films and Hollywood and directing.

The first Christmas after the epiphany of Star Wars, I only wanted one thing: a Super 8 movie camera. Once in hand, I was free to create my masterful visions, which I was sure would attract the attentions of Lucas and Spielberg, to be followed by studio bidding wars for my talents.

Only, I discovered I wasn’t so free. A 3-minute reel of Super 8 film was expensive. And then you had to pay even more to develop the thing!

Not to mention, editing those tiny little strips of celluloid was tedious and frustrating. One wrong move with the slicer, and that was that.

You young people with your fancy Flip video cameras and computer editing software have no idea how good you have it.

Another problem was finding talent. I had to do some real sweet-talking to get people to appear in my movies. It became easier to make a star out of the cat, or some inanimate object.

Most of my little movies never quite got off the ground, and I ended up with a collection of bits and pieces. Ideas that went nowhere.

However, I did manage to make one decent little film with a couple of friends. It has a plot and everything! And it even won an award at a junior high film festival. I still have the trophy to prove it. Second place in the Comedy category. Never mind that there were only two entrants… I’m an award-winning filmmaker!

Here, after 31 years stored away in a box, is the world premiere of my epic saga about one man’s courageous journey to hell and back.

Or something like that.

Go easy on me. I was 14 years old, and everything was filmed in one take to save on costs. The music was added recently, as the original was silent. Titles and credits are also new additions.

Enjoy:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIuILLU5PBM]

Go, Speed Racer, Go!

Good news for those of you who are looking forward to taking your kids to see Speed Racer when it opens this weekend. Over at Ain’t It Cool News, Quint has posted his review of the new movie. Sounds like it’s a cool kid-friendly family flick. Here are a few quotes from the review:

“I’m amazed at what the Wachowskis have done with this film. It’s a kid’s film through and through, make no mistake. But it’s a kid’s film that succeeded in making me a kid again while watching it.”

“The real surprise for me was the incredible heart the film has. The racing is incredible, of course, but the quiet moments were literally a love letter to the family unit.”

“The film isn’t just a love letter to family, but a valuable lesson on how to treat those that love and support you as well as letting the kids know to look out for those who put on a friendly face when all they want is to use you.”

Read the rest of the review here.

A Lifetime of Movies

Wow, David Ansen has seen 7,714 movies in his lifetime! Granted, it is his job as a movie critic to watch several films a day. But to know exactly how many he’s seen?

In a recent Newsweek article, Ansen revealed that, since he was 12 years old, he has kept a detailed list of every one of those nearly 8000 movies.

This is fascinating to me for several reasons. One of which is that my son is currently learning the fine art of journaling. He’s been practicing writing about different ideas and topics, but at times doesn’t seem terribly motivated to keep up with it on his own. Ansen’s experience might just be an inspiration to my movie-loving son to get into the habit of writing in his journal.

This article also makes me reflect upon my own experiences with movies. I have no idea how many of them I’ve seen over the years. If I had to guess, it would probably be around 3500. 200 of those would’ve been seen during the first 18 years of my life. So, what happened at 18? Two wonderful inventions called cable TV and the VCR.

My kids take movies for granted. They’ve already seen hundreds, some of them more than once. Finding Nemo, a dozen times. Sleeping Beauty, eight times. Thomas and the Magic Railroad, twenty times. When I was a kid, there were just a handful of movies that the TV networks would show once a year. That was the only way to see them again. The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, The Ten Commandments… Those are the ones I remember. The day after, every kid in school would be talking about how they got to stay up late to watch Moses part the Red Sea or Dorothy melt the Wicked Witch.

Of course, watching a film on TV was never quite as good as going to the theater. I have fond childhood memories of sitting in the dark with my tub of buttery popcorn while the big screen lit up with such magical movies as Charlotte’s Web, Race For Your Life Charlie Brown, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Herbie Rides Again. My kids will mostly have memories of movie nights at home, sitting on a comfy couch with pizza, popcorn, and a pause button on the remote control for bathroom breaks.

I wonder which movies they’ll remember. If I can get my son interested in keeping a journal like David Ansen did, maybe he’ll remember all of them!