Overthinkers! Outta yer bunks and hit the deck!
The big news: Toy Story 3, the final chapter in Pixar’s laughter-packed, joy-soaked trilogy, debuts this weekend. Critics, wandering in the arid wasteland of Marmaduke and Furry Vengeance, wept with joy at a genuinely funny family film. Lo, there is balm in Gilead. Question: wooden toys, beat-up cars, cranky old men and rats – there’s nothing Pixar can’t make adorable. What unlikely protagonist will feature in their next film?
Also, the World Cup continues this week, splashing across the global marketplace. Focusing strictly on the pop culture aspects, we’ve had Lego recaps of the U.S. / U.K. match (a draw) and we’ve all become immersed in vuvuzelas. Sponsors are all over the game as well: last week featured the debut of Nike’s Write the Future ad, as well as the premiere of “Bud House” – a web-based reality TV show featuring residents from every World Cup country. Upon hearing that his beloved sport was being used to sell beer, Cristiano Ronaldo fell to the turf, clutching his shin and wincing. Question: what’s the most entertaining thing you’ve seen in the World Cup so far?
Would you see a Pixar movie about soccer-playing koalas? Or have we missed something else you want to overthink? Sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.
Ah, Toy Story 3. I’m been counting down the days…
Pixar protagonists. For a while, they had a nifty project called “NEWT” in production, about lab animals. While we certainly have an inbuilt pity for animals under experimentation, there’s enough bleakness in the situation to make it an unconventional move. Last I heard, though, it had been shelved. :(
And whilst I have zero interest in the World Cup whatsoever, I thought it interesting to learn that while Nike’s WRITE THE FUTURE ad has been getting millions of hits, they aren’t even sponsoring the World Cup…
1) The next Pixar movie will chronicle the last twenty-four hours in the life of a lovable yet misunderstood rabid dog. He’ll be voiced by Justin Beiber.
I jest, I just- I really love Pixar. I hope they feature a female lead in the next one, whatever it may be. They’re so good at female *supports* (Ellie, Jessie, etc.), and they’re so good at giving characters *character* as opposed to labels like gender or race (Russel, most specifically), I think they’re very capable of making the main character in a story female but with the nuance that it would be easy to forget she’s female in the first place.
2) It wasn’t while watching, but discussing. While in a group, the scores were listed off via some sort of smart phone, and when, “Switzerland, one, Spain, zero,” was said, a member of the group dropped the (empty) coffee cup in her hand and said, “Wait, Switzerland *scored*?” You probably had to be there, but it was monumentally hilarious. And it of course led to an in-depth discussion of how they (apparently) usually suck really hard and what an upset it is for them to have scored, let alone won, against anybody, and Spain? That’s unheard of! I don’t really follow FIFA all that much, so I was taking their word(s) for it and did more listening than talking.
@Wordsmith: Brilliant point about Adidas. I like this one from them, actually- it may have fewer celebs, but, well…
The Lakers won the NBA finals, but apparently I’m the only one following any *American* sports. Gosh.
The new season of _Top Chef_ premiered this week (_Masters_ ended last week, another btw, and the winner did a promo for healthy school food with Rachel Ray and the First Lady a few days ago)- it’s in D.C. I wonder if the location is why so many of them seem so mean already. Within the first ten minutes, one contestant was expressing their desire for another to fall off of a roof. Smells like politics (and onions). Also, it was moved up an hour to make room for a horrible-looking show where people take literal garbage and turn it into art (executive produced by Sarah Jessica Parker, which may explain a lot).
Hey, Mlawski! I saw “The Hungry Earth,” and I must say that yes, the Happy Doctor is back and you’re right in how it didn’t explain why. My guess would be what happened in _Amy’s Choice_, but not with her. The things he learned about himself- he realized he can never be a first choice, so he kind of let go and can now have fun again. I haven’t seen “Cold Blood” yet, so no spoilers, but I’d still feel a bit better about this new development if we got some explanation. I think a sudden jump in personality is difficult for me to accept in _Dr. Who_ because of the episodic nature of the show- since they dart around so much, the basic premise gets at least vaguely explained pretty much every bloody episode (or at some point during the two-parter), making (for me) basing a character’s actions in one off of what happened the one before require more effort than in something more serial.
I watched that “Write the Future” ad because there was so much hype around it. It’s on equal footing with 95% of commercials, which is to say it wasn’t any good.
Mexico 2, France 0 has been the highlight of the World Cup thus far. The realization this US team isn’t that good and wouldn’t make it out of any other group (unless they replaced Italy or Paraguay in their group, I suppose) has been less enjoyable.
@Gab: It’s funny. The people who love this new season of Who are saying that the serialized elements (i.e., the Crack) are being done with so much more finesse than what was done back in the Davies era, but not only do I dislike the way the Crack is being handled; I also feel the characters are being written inconsistently from episode to episode. You’re right: this makes the show feel significantly more episodic than it felt in previous years. In the Davies era, I always felt like the characters (even some minor ones) had well-developed arcs and that what happened to them in one episode affected their actions in the next in a clear way.
Anyway. “The Hungry Earth” was pretty slow, the plot was uninteresting and at times required the Doctor to act really stupidly, and the mother character was (to put it lightly) ill-conceived… but I liked the episode. Mostly because Amy wasn’t around for most of it :) I’m looking forward to seeing what you all think of the conclusion, because I have very strong feelings about that episode. That’s all I’ll say for now.
Q1 – I’m glad someone else noticed this about Pixar. I’m pretty sure that when pitching idea’s they just make bets on making someone a childs hero. “I’ll see your rat in a french restaurant and raise you a curmudgeonly old man with a dead wife.” We’ll know if this is true when they announce their next movie, the Odd-Couple-ish ‘Libaugh/Frankin’ movie and see kids of Democrats cuddling with their Ann Coulter stuffed animal.
Q2 – Every time I’ve watched a cup game, the Vuvuzelas have put me to sleep faster than my iPhones White Noise app. Does the Adidas Star Wars Cantina commercial count as something fun for the World Cup? (Not as cool as the NHL’s reverse style ‘What if’ History will be made commercials http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zD8tpV3CxU)
@mlawski – I need to stop reading your Doctor Who posts, I actually like them until you show me the forest from the trees. Lol.
@Bob: Aah, sorry! It seems I’m becoming the wet blanket of Who fandom. In my defense, when I dislike a TV show, I usually don’t complain about it for weeks on end. I just stop watching. (See: Flashforward.) But I love Doctor Who. Every time I try to quit it, I find some reason to come back.
Here, let me balance out the negativity with some positivity. Last night, I watched my first ever episodes of Peep Show. It’s pretty funny! What do you think, British TV enthusiasts? Should I watch more? Or are there better series out there that I need to check out first?
Re: Pixar, isn’t it about time that an embattled former governor and president gets his own chance at redemptions, via a wacky set of circumstances that lands him in an animated mess when he babysits for America’s ice queen of the single moms? That’s right, “Dubya and Kate Plus 8” is just waiting to happen…no? Really? No interest whatsoever? But think of the shenanigans…shenanigans……..
@mlawski – No worries, I was just messing. I felt it a little off this season then you showing me why its ‘off’ make me realize what is wrong. Really apprciate it, hence the lol. ;)
@Trevor – ‘Dubya and Kate Plus 8’, not a good title. Have to use the name ‘W’ and ‘8’ to make it ‘W8’, like ‘W8ing for the Groom’ or toss in Clinton babysitting, add Harold and Kumar and calling it ‘W8ing to Inhale’ I can’t wait till the Disney ride!
1) Next Pixar Movie: Anthropomorphic buildings in a war torn country historically featured as generally brown (e.g. Iraq/Afghanistan).
I would guess a fish movie with a mysterious oil spill like evil entity, but Finding Nemo covered their fish setting.
2) For some reason, I was very entertained by the last half of the Brazil/N. Korea match. So suck it Kim Jong-Il.
@Mlawski: Me too!!! As in, I don’t like the crack-in-time-space-or-whatever stuff at all (or at least how they’re handing it), and the characters don’t make any sense (even within the individual episodes). It’s hard. My loyalty to the show itself keeps me going, but I’m still just not enjoying the experience of watching as much as before. I’ll keep watching, yes, but man, it’s kind of sad how different I feel when I’m about to watch an episode now as opposed to the other seasons I’ve watched. And I know it’s not *just* because it’s a new Doctor.
@Inmate: They could always use the “mysterious oil spill like evil entity” of which you speak to make the sequel to _Finding Nemo_ Ellen keeps pushing for.
Peep Show has an excellent reputation – Mitchell and Webb are a great double act, probably the best of modern-day Britain… I find it a little too embarrassing.
@Gab and @mlawski I love what you’re saying, I’ve been feeling like the only one who doesn’t like the way this season has been running. It’s a shame because I love Steven Moffat, and I feel it could be so much better, but this season’s playing along as if he got all the writers together, said “Ok, off you go, write an episode” and didn’t fill them in on the character’s nuances or anything, so nothing’s fitting together properly.
I completely agree that the Crack In Time arc isn’t working as well as the Bad Wolf arc or the Bees are Disappearing arc – RTD’s were handled with much more finesse IMO because they were just background things, rather than stuff he actually really drew attention to. You had to be paying attention to get the Bees are Disappearing and Atmos lol, even the Saxon one was more mysterious than just an End-of-the-World-style predicament. It was only in the last two episodes or so that the Doctor and his companion got an idea that anything -had- been going on the whole time.
Unfortunately I feel this whole Crack In Time thing has been drawn out too much, I’m really apprehensive that the last two episodes won’t live up to the expectations (as usual). I’m hoping Moffat can pull something out of the bag that will make me feel an ounce of the way I felt at Turn Left or Bad Wolf, but I guess I’ll find out tonight :).
(Maybe a constantly open _Dr. Who_ thread is necessary.) Call me crazy, but I thought the bee plot was rather insanely clever because the bees really *have* been disappearing the past few years, supposedly because of cell phone usage.
In other Open-Thread-worthy stuff, something I think is *totally* relevant to the site: has anybody else heard of YooStar? It’s a green screen-webcam combo that lets you insert yourself into movie and TV scenes. Originally (from what I can tell) you would just upload the resulting video to share your awesomeness (or hilarity) with anybody else signed up, sort of like a YouTube specifically for the pictures and videos coming from the technology. YooStar 2 was unveiled at E3- and it’s kicking it up a notch by making it a *game* functioning, from the sound of it, much like karaoke games wherein you’re rated on precision and accuracy of line delivery. I don’t know about anybody else, but day-um, I’d *totally* go for something like this, if I had the $$ to spare. Here’s a little article:
@Gab lol yeah there should be a constant Doctor Who thread! :D I agree about the bees, it was really fun to have a little real-world phenomenon happen in the show.
I’ve just finished The Pandorica Opens, and it was good, still a little annoyed with Amy’s character but the Doctor was brilliant as always. But it DID make me excited and happy and incredibly impatient for the next episode so that’s a major plus! I love Matt Smith, he’s great. I shan’t say anything more though, since I don’t want to spoil it :).
I saw Toy Story 3 on Friday and it was very good. It definitely brought up some memories of my childhood toys and frankly how bittersweet the ending of the film is. I look forward to hearing what the OTI crew has to say on this week’s podcast.
Today is also my birthday and I got all my new toys I ordered from various east Asian countries today. As a result, I spent most of my day taking them out of the packaging and posing my toys. So…much…articulation…
@RiderIon: Happy birthday! Keep on…articulating? Sure. Keep on articulating!
@All the Doctor Who fans: So, the show made me into a liar yet again. “Cold Blood” I hated hated hated, and I seriously was about to give up this season for good. But then today I said, what the hey, let’s watch some “Vincent & the Doctor.”
LOVED IT. Was it sappy? Yes. Manipulative? Oh, yes. Don’t care. LOVED IT. The Doctor and Amy both changed due to the events in “Cold Blood.” Other than a couple of over-the-top lines, the dialogue was charming. Amy wasn’t bad at all, and I think I’m falling slightly in love with Matt Smith.
What else? Oh, yeah, the best part. The wonder came back. It was like the show was saying, “Oh, yeah! Doctor Who is supposed to be magical and hopeful and beautiful and fun! We forgot, but now we totally remember!”
The message boards I visit suggest that “Vincent” is a love-it-or-hate-it-episode (like most of the “Doctor goes to visit a famous artist” stories, which I always love). I say: Okay, Mr. Moffat. I’m back in. Don’t make me regret it.
RiderIon: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! But… but… you took them out of the *packaging*?!?!?!?!
@Mlawski: I was, unfortunately, playing a game that lasted too long and have to wait for “Cold Blood” to be reshown on Tuesday- I couldn’t very well start mid-episode, now could I? Yes, I know. I fail. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
@Gab Toys are meant to be played with. Which is why there’s unpackaged. I keep the packaging for storage means. I am kind of running out of room to put them and I need more to finish some of the toy lines…
@RiderIon: Oh, it was a veiled reference to _The 40 Year Old Virgin_. Sorry.
…And “The Lodger” was hilarious, and “The Pandorica Opens” was loads of fun. And now I’m all caught up. More later, when spoilers are no longer an issue.
I didn’t see that yet, but it sounds fun.