Next Stop, the Twilight Zone!

As promised last week, this week’s blog is a special announcement. Starting October 1st, I’ll be reviewing random episodes from “The Twilight Zone”, the original series.

This is both an opportunity for me to dive back into the show, which I admit I have not seen much of, as well as do something fun leading up to Halloween.  Every day of October, I’ll be doing a quick review of the episode, focusing on story, characters and such. I won’t dive much into the many twist endings, as plenty have been spoiled for me in the past. Some of these episodes will be classics and others will be a little obscure.

As always, comments will be welcome and appreciated. I’m looking forward to some classic spookiness and I hope you all are too.

My Top 5 Character Crushes

While trying to figure out what to write about this week, I was issued yet another challenge by my boyfriend to choose some of my favorite character crushes. I could also apply my list to the actors portraying them, but characters are much more fun. As a result, I’ve chosen five of my favorite fictional men of all time.

Before I get into the list, however, I do have one honorable mention. That goes to Cole Turner/Belthazor from “Charmed,” who is pictured above. He was my favorite character on the show, though a bit of an imitation of another character I like on my list. He was attractive, pretty evil and powerful. The main reason he didn’t make my list is because his character was butchered pretty badly near the end of his time on the show. Now, with that said, let’s get on with the crushes.

5. Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman)

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Wolverine is easily my favorite fictional Canadian. Not only is he one of the most popular mutants from the X-Men, but he’s just plain cool to me. And no more did that become apparent than when I first saw the character brought to life in “X-Men.” He was tough, good-looking, had a snarky attitude and could kick all kinds of butt. As the movies involving him have gone on, he’s been (in my opinion) a little too overexposed, but I still find him just as attractive now as I did from the start. And despite Jackman being Australian, he’s the only “American” character on this list.

4. Captain Jack Sparrow (played by Johnny Depp)

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Captain Jack Sparrow from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series is one of the funniest characters I’ve ever seen put to screen. I was never a huge pirate fan until I caught the first film, and his character instantly got me invested. He’s good-looking and funny, sure, but what really draws me to his character is how cunning and tricky he is. One minute he’s a good guy, and the next seemingly a bad guy. You know he’ll ultimately be a good guy in the end (or as good as he can be), but he always keep you guessing until then. He’s the only pirate I’d ever want to go on a grand adventure with.

3. Julian Sark (played by David Anders)

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Despite its rocky ending, “Alias” was and still is one of my favorite shows. And one character I loved following through it was Julian Sark. If Jack Sparrow kept you guessing despite knowing he’d be good, Sark kept you guessing even if you suspected he’d be bad. Besides being a good-looking Brit (as you’ll see in this list, I LOVE English accents), Sark was manipulative and smart. His loyalties constantly changed, going to whatever side had more power and would pay him a bundle. He could be so downright cruel and sadistic at times that, whenever he appeared on-screen, you just knew trouble wasn’t too far behind. In a show about espionage and double-crossing, Sark came out on top.

2. The Doctor (played by Matt Smith)

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I only got into “Doctor Who” within the past year, but I’ve chosen the 11th incarnation of the Doctor for several reasons. Barring that he was my first Doctor (I’ve since gone backwards to see several more), this Doctor connected with me easily. Besides having a cute/boyish look, he is also wacky and extremely dorky. The Doctor is also brilliant and a bit of an anti-hero, in that while he’s predominantly good, some of his actions can seem awful in hindsight. However, he always looks out for his companions and tends to have a lot of fun doing so. If I were to choose someone authoritative to adventure with, this is the guy I’d want by my side at all times.

1. Spike (played by James Marsters)

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If my banner above didn’t tip you off, I absolutely LOVE Spike from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” I’d even go so far to say that he was my first serious fictional crush. Everything about Spike screamed bad boy, but he also had a sense of loyalty that I liked. Again, besides good looks and an accent, he had a sardonic wit that made the character a riot to watch. Much like Wolverine, he also could kick butt and really let loose with his vampiric side. While I enjoyed the final season with him, I’ll always prefer his earlier appearances the most, especially his humble beginnings during Season 2. Even though it’s been over a decade since the show ended, no character has come quite as close to catching my eye AND interest the way Spike had.

And those are my top 5 fictional crushes. I apologize if this list seems brief compared to others, but I think it speaks for itself. If you have some of your own, feel free to comment below. And next week, I’ll have a special announcement blog to lead into the spookiest month of the year. See you then!

“The World’s End” Review

ImageAs is the case with new films, I’m going to try to keep this spoiler-free. “The World’s End” is the third installment of Edgar Wright’s Cornetto trilogy, which includes “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz.” Both films parodied and paid homage to the horror and buddy comedy/action genres respectfully, and “The World’s End” is a send-up of sci-fi. But to give you an idea, here’s a summary of the film.

Five childhood friends once attempted to go on the fabled Golden Mile, which involved visiting and drinking at 12 pubs in a row. They failed at this, but Gary King, leader of the group, reunites the gang many years later to attempt it once again. This involves the five friends going back to their hometown, only to find during the pub run that things seem much different. It appears an invasion of some kind has happened, and the group must figure out how to survive while completing the Golden Mile.

After seeing this film, my feelings are a little mixed. I really enjoyed the previous two movies, especially Shaun, and anticipated this one for years. To be clear, I liked this movie. It was fun, fast-paced and all the actors had great chemistry. But I feel…a little let down by it.

For starters, there is a female character (as seen above) who joins the group once they discover what’s wrong with the town. I was eager to see what they did with her, seeing as the cast was mainly male. Unfortunately, we see little of the character throughout the rest of the movie. The actress was fine enough, but she didn’t get to do much with her character whatsoever.

My second problem was with the main character, Pegg’s Gary. I love Simon Pegg and have adored many performances of his. And here, he does a fine job as well. The problem is that his character is a colossal douche through most of the movie. He does get some good emotional moments near the end which makes you realize how broken and pathetic he is, but he’s constantly putting his friends and himself in danger all in an attempt to complete a pub run. It made it especially bad because the characters around him were likable and smart. If it weren’t for Pegg’s solid, convincing acting near the end, I wouldn’t have had any sympathy for the character.

My third problem is that I felt there weren’t as many laughs in this one. Now, I’m not a huge sci-fi movie fan in general, though I did catch some great references here and there. But I felt like something in the writing didn’t click with me as much this time. I think a lot of that has to do with the pub concept itself. I’m not a drinker myself, so drunks and pub hopping don’t interest me in the least. And while I enjoyed the invasion plot, I found the ending to be a bit of a weird turn, although an interesting one.

I will give this movie plenty of credit, though. As I said, I enjoyed most of the characters and the jokes that came from their personalities. I thought the effects were well done and the invasion plot of the movie kept me invested. A few cameos, both from actors and one particular Shaun reference that I won’t spoil, were also fun as well. Once again, the main actors all did great jobs. And finally, the movie overall still FELT like an Edgar Wright movie and had good pacing to match.

So, to sum up, is this an excellent movie? I’d say it’s at least good. Is it the best of the Cornetto trilogy? Personally, I don’t feel it is. For me, Shaun is still my personal fave and Hot Fuzz is a close second to it. So, I guess for me it falls at a solid third place as it does in the trilogy. Is it a movie worth seeing? Definitely. It’s the kind of thrill ride movie that I think is best seen with a few friends. Unless you dislike the previous two films or Edgar Wright’s work in general, it’s an enjoyable comedy/sci-fi popcorn flick. For me, while it was a little disappointing for final installment, “The World’s End” is part of a great trilogy and is a fine movie on its own merits.

My rating for “The World’s End” is a solid 7/10.

Balloon Fiesta Fun

ImageEvery year in my town, during the first weekend of September, there is a huge festival held for hot air balloonists from all over. The general public can come and get rides for a price, as well as helicopter rides for a less expensive price. I’ve done both, and after the initial fear of heights, both were awesome experiences that I’d gladly try again.

This year, in particular this evening, I experienced the Balloon Fiesta again…but without the balloons. You see, due to it being the best times to fly, the balloons only take off at 6AM and 6PM. Unfortunately, weather is the number one enemy of balloons, and the wind this evening was just too strong for safe flying. There is also a “moon glow,” where the balloonists will blow up their balloons while tethered just enough to light up in the night. But tonight, after a few tests of shooting flames into the air, it was once again deemed too windy even for that. So, unfortunately, my trip to the Balloon Fiesta was a bust balloon-wise.

However, just like the flea market, there are many things to do aside from hope the balloons will fly. Not only are there concession and shopping stands, but there are also carnival games, live music, bingo, a petting zoo and miniature pony rides. Those are just in the main center of the fiesta, though, as there is also a full fair with rides and even more games to play.

This evening, I listened to a little bit of live music (typically of the oldies, country and rock variety). I also did my tradition of having a few curly fries (this time followed with a hamburger and regular fries), chocolate/vanilla twist ice cream, and flavored (yes, flavored) cotton candy. My choice for this year was pina colada, and I’m hoping it’ll be good. I also played bingo with my parents, and after being set many times, I finally got my first bingo in years on our final game. Since not many were playing, I only won about $13, but it was a lot of fun to pass the time while we waited to see if the balloons would go up or not.

Those are just some of the reasons I enjoy the Fiesta, and I’ve tried to go every year since I was a kid. I’ve seen many cool balloons, tried lots of tasty food, and enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. And since this blog has been a reflection of my enjoyment of the Fiesta, I’ll end off showing my all-time favorite hot-air balloon, Smaug the Dragon (not sure if Lord of the Rings-related). See you all again next week!

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