My First Trip To A Galaxy Far, Far Away….

Most kids would have rather been doing anything but what I was doing over the summer of 1994. Twenty years ago, I was struggling with math in school, and was given enrichment packets by a teacher and that meant the summer months I would practice the problems that hadn’t been assigned in class to help broaden my skills. I worked as hard as I could, and mom tried as hard as she could to encourage me, and even help correct the problems, but it was still a grueling task for me.

Thankfully she bought me this real cool toy computer that talked and could drill me on math problems. Computers, even toy versions from the 1990s, are always fun. But still between the packets and the computer, something was needed to help escape for just a bit from the boredom of math. As I sat at the table working on the problems, the phone rang. Mom answered it and I could tell by the tone of her voice that it was my dad. Dad had stopped off at Target to ask about picking up a movie on video cassette, one that would provide that much needed escape.

“Yes,” she said. “I think he might like that…I suppose you could get it.”

Dad came home and as I got up from the table he showed me what he bought. It was a video called “Star Wars”. The box art, looked something like this:

Star Wars

Star Wars

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My Top 10 Favorite Aliens

This summer’s most surprising break out character is the alien tree person from Planet X best known as “Groot” from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. The nine foot tall bipedal alien doesn’t say much, but he makes up for it in his warm and friendly expressions. He has joined the ranks of many beloved aliens to grace the silver screen, as he fought, charmed, and danced his way into our hearts.

I am Groot.

I am Groot.

Certainly, he was one of my favorite characters in the movie. In honor of Groot, here is a list of my other favorite aliens from science fiction film and television. While we may have had a favorite character in these stories, these strange creatures still found a way into our hearts and became our best friends in these strange worlds. Along the way, they’ve even taught us what it means to be human.

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Descent into Mystery: Celebrating the 25th Annviersery of Tim Burton’s Batman

When I was four years old, my four favorite superheroes were Superman, Batman, Robin and The Incredible Hulk. While I didn’t read the comic books at the time I did enjoy their exploits through films (as was the case for Superman) and TV (Batman and Hulk). Batman, for me, was must see TV. Everywhere I went, if there was a TV, be it grandma’s house, a hotel, or sitting with my mom in the waiting room of an auto repair shop, I had to watch Batman. This was part of the reason why, on Christmas of 1989, when my dad opened his present from my aunt and uncle, I was excited. The video box didn’t have any words, but that was OK. The symbol on the cover said all I needed or cared to know:

BATMANBatman '89 poster

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The Lion King: Celebrating 20 Years of The Great Circle of Life.

I grew up in the age of the Disney animation renaissance. One of the first films I was ever taken to see was a re-release of The Aristocats in 1987 by my mom and my aunt. While my family didn’t go to a whole lot of movies, every year when I was a kid we took in the big Disney movies, starting with The Little Mermaid in 1989 ( which led to a futile campaign by me and my younger sister to try and name our forthcoming baby sister “Ariel”), The Rescuers Down Under in 1990, Beauty and the Beast in 1991, and Aladdin in 1992. We usually heard about them through good old fashioned TV ads, trailers before the film on VHS and a now defunct kid’s magazine called Disney Adventures.

One movie got a full issue devoted to it, complete with a collectible cover and everything I read about it sounded good. That movie was  The Lion King. Everything I read about it sounded interesting, and since I was entering the “girls have cooties, kissing is gross” phase of my life, the fact that Lion King wasn’t a billed as a “girly” story like Little Mermaid or Beauty and the Beast made it all the more interesting to me. Much to say, it didn’t disappoint.Lion King Poster

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At the Closing of the Term

We come at last to the beginning of summer and with it, in most cases the end of the school year. It’s time to pack up the books and pencils and spend three months relaxing. The last day of school is always a fun and exciting time. At risk of sounding cliché, an old year has ended and a new one will begin.

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Kids Stuff

Perhaps one of the more interesting aspects of my generation, better known as the Millennials is that in some ways we haven’t completely put aside childish things. Comicbook superheroes dominate the box office. Disney’s Frozen is fast becoming one of the top ten highest grossing films. Even stories like Narnia, The Hobbit and Harry Potter continue to be popular with readers well past the age of 20. People of my age don’t even have a problem with watching cartoons on TV and will readily but them on DVD.

It didn’t always used to be that way. Once things of this nature were left behind. Comic books were tossed in the trash. Cartoons were outgrown. Books like The Hobbit and Narnia were resold for a dime at garage sales. They were, simply put “kids stuff.”

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“The Clean Sweep” 10 Years of Return of the King’s Best Picture Win.

At the 2014 Oscars, Alphonso Cuaron took home the Academy Award for Best Director for the sci-fi blockbuster Gravity, while Best Picture went to 12 Years a Slave. Typically, if a filmmaker wins Best Director, the film in question will win Best Picture. It doesn’t always happen, but it is a pretty good indicator of which film could win. It’s not the first time this happened. Back in 1998 Steven Spielberg took home Best Director for Saving Private Ryan while Best Picture went to Shakespeare in Love.

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