Rabbit Punch

I'm a master of fright
And a demon of light
And I'll scare you right out of your pants

To a guy in Kentucky

I'm Mister Unlucky

And I'm know thoughout England and France

And since I am dead

I can take off my head

To recite Shakespearean quotations

No animal or man

Can scream like I can

With the fury of my recitations.

~Jack Skellington, singing of his prowess, in THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

new at the Institute this weekend

Our last Festival is tomorrow, but it involves taking off from work, so I thought you might want to get started today! October 20 - International Feast of Maximum Occupancy (Author: Kaida)

speaking of Kaida.....

Blournal entry - Conversations with Kaida, Part 1 (Wherein I reveal whether or not babies are ugly)

Blournal entry - Conversations with Kaida, Part 2 (Wherein Kaida becomes a big game hunter)

Blournal entry - Fantasy Football Week 7 Preview (Wherein I tell you who to root for and against this week, and ask for help coming up with a name that demeans my opponents)

Programming Note #1 - Because of how much stuff I still have to get to before Halloween, there will be posts both tomorrow and Sunday

Programming Note #2 - Yesterday's column was supposed to be called "Of Bitches and Genocide," but I ran down before I could tackle the Ann Coulter and Nancy Pelosi situations, promising them today. I'm now going to abandon that plan for two reasons. One, I'd rather talk about Coulter in the greater context of current political commentary, and that requires its own column, and the Pelosi/Armenia thing defnitely deserves its own column. More importantly, I feel myself going to the dark side, and if I wrote the column the way I'm feeling, I would go completely over, and the next time you spoke to me I'd be calling myself Darth Arkinus and taking orders from the Empeoror.

Where the Bitches at? Follow-up: One final note from yesterday. I received several emails defending Ellen DeGeneres, either absolutely or by saying both sides were wrong. Friends, you just don't know what I know. I left much out that I should have put in. Plus, events happened right as I posted, that had I known about, I NEVER would have spent two hours re-writing and re-writing that column, trying to take much of the mean out. I don't care what Mutts & Moms did; Ellen DeGeneres is 100% wrong in this. I give you two things to look into should you doubt me: there is video available (pretty much anywhere), of Ellen and Portia rushing to the sytlist's house to comfor the teary kids. Think about that. Have you ever comforted children? Did you bring camera crews along? Can you think of any reason to bring camera crews along, other than to manipulate the situation? Secondly, Good Morning America yesterday (you can find the video on their website), ran a puff piece, seemingly objective but very subtly taking Ellen's side. It's worth watching the video (about three and a half minutes) to see what I'm talking about. Little things like emphasis on the right words by the reporter to call into question the Shelter's actions and justify Ellen's. As far as I'm concerned it's game, set and match. Ellen is at least capable of acting like any other celebrity. If I told you the circumstances of Ellen's dog but put in "Paris Hiton" as the party responsible, you'd be calling for her head. Don't press me on this, people; I'm leaving the dark side. You don't want me back there.

Speaking of dark, but in a totally cute way, THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS comes out in 3-D today, so I thought I would re-run my review. In that column I also looked at CORPSE BRIDE as well as possibly the best Halloween movie ever made, CURSE OF THE WERERABBIT. Make sure you read all the way to the end, and whether you have kids or not, for Iggy's sake, rent that movie this weekend!!!!!



My friend Bogart has two young kids, and is trying to write a novel to boot, so I told him I’d help out by taking a look at some scary movies that he as well as his children might enjoy. This obligated me to try out both CORPSE BRIDE and CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT.


I have to admit I’ve never been the biggest Tim Burton fan. Looking at his IMDB page, I see that I did enjoy PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE and BATMAN, and to a lesser extent EDWARD SCISSORHANDS, BATMAN RETURNS and MARS ATTACKS. But those were all movies I saw when I was younger, more easily impressed. I don’t know what I’d think of them now. In recent years I haven’t managed to make myself get excited and go see SLEEPY HOLLOW, BIG FISH or CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY. I feel like should appreciate Tim Burton. He has this strange lopsided gleeful look at life that is probably quite similar to my own. Maybe that’s why I can’t ever seem to get into him.

Part of the reason I had no interest in CORPSE BRIDE is that I’d never seen NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. I figured I better watch that first, so I’d have some knowledge when talking about Tim Burton and stop-action animation.

Both films are about the same. What I mean by that is that if you liked the first Burton film, you’ll almost certainly like the second. (And vice-versa.) Both exist in their own world with different rules and colorful characters. Actually, in a weird way, both are very much like the Disney films of the early ‘90s, right down to both being musicals!

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS tells us the story of a town called Halloween. Jack Skellington—the Pumpkin King—has lost his taste for scaring kids on the one night the town prepares for all year. He happens to stumble into a forest with doorways to each of the enchanted lands, and picks one with a lighted tree. There he finds “Christmas Town,” where everyone is gearing up for their own day, but seem very cheerful and happy about it.

Jack is instantly convinced that this is what his town needs: to take over Christmas. It’s a sweet idea, actually, as you can imagine some of the pitfalls that occur. (Or maybe you can’t.) The concept would probably be better suited to an hour-long TV special, as it sort of drags at times, but the ending is sweet and the characters are mostly lovable.

CORPSE BRIDE is based on an old Russian tale. Viktor is so shy and self-effacing that he needs practice for his wedding vows on the morrow. He just happens to be walking in the dark woods, where of course he’s able to put the ring on a tree branch and recite his lines perfectly.

Except, it’s not a tree branch. It’s the skeletal finger of Emily, who died on her wedding night, and takes this new situation very seriously; which is to say she now considers the two of them married.

We’ve seen many comedies about people from two different families. He’s rich. She’s poor. She’s Catholic. He’s Jewish. He’s alive…and Corpse Bride, as the title might have clued you into, is most definitely dead.

Both films work for what they’re trying to do. They’re scary, but shouldn’t be overly so. I would say kids 5 or 6 will be scared but should handle it fine as long as a parent goes too. As for those of you concerned about occult matters, give it a rest. Burton uses these “scary” ideas as merely a starting point to tell his story. In fact, the inhabitants of Halloween, and especially all the dead people in CORPSE BRIDE, are so lovable that I defy even James Dobson to have problems with them. (Of course, if anyone at Paramount had an ounce of marketing sense they’d have come up with a better title than CORPSE BRIDE, but then again, that wouldn’t be Tim Burton.)

Both films contain lots of songs, like I said, which are fun to watch and pretty forgettable. I doubt you’ll be singing any later that day. The voice-work is actually better in NIGHTMARE, so for those of you wanting to see CORPSE BRIDE just for Johnny Depp, that’d be a waste of time. There’s only one voice in animated history that’d be worth seeing a movie just for him, and there ain’t no genies here. Both films are colorful, imaginative and bursting at the seams in every frame with ideas and little things going on. In short, NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS would make a fine rental for the kids, and CORPSE BRIDE should entertain at the theatre.

As for people who don’t have kids, I make no promises. I enjoyed both movies fine, but certainly seek them out on my own. The best barometer is to go back up and take a look at the list of Tim Burton’s films. If those are some films you simply love, you’re probably on safe ground.


I really knew next to nothing about Wallace and Gromit. I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I thought they had something to do with Davey and Goliath.

Consider me Schooled.

Wallace and Gromit have had three previous short films, and now they bust out of the gate with their first feature length movie. While the Tim Burton films would be fine for kids, if you really love them this is the movie you’ll want to look into.

Wallace is an inventor, a kind gentle man. Gromit is his dog, much more intelligent and responsible. (The closest relationship I can think of is Inspector Gadget and Brain.) Wallace and Gromit run Anti-Pesto, humanely ridding the town of the scourge that is rabbits.

[Side note: given my philosophical and political beliefs, when I found out they were doing away with rabbits I perked right up.]

The reason the rabbits are unwanted is because they feast on prize vegetables, the same ones the towns folk have been entering in an annual contest for the last 516 years. I’m not going to tell you any more of the plot other than obviously things go wrong, and the title should give you a hint in what capacity.

What makes Wallace and Gromit so delightful to watch is their simple humanity. Gromit doesn’t speak, but his eyes tell amazing stories. These two are possibly the nicest animated characters of all time. You could be a simpering 12 year old girl or someone as hard-hearted as my buddy Ajax; you’re flat-out going to love and root for these two. Guaranteed.

CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT is endlessly inventive. The filmmakers are British, so they go for the more understated humor, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. The closer you watch the more you’ll be cracking up. There’s a woman who wears a giant Cheeto on her head. I’m not sure why, but I’m pretty sure I now want her. There’s a cotton-candy tumbleweed. An Aerial dogfight with bumper cars. And on and on and on.

Then there’s the rabbits. I haven’t seen cuter bunnies this side of Hef’s Grotto. (Groan.) Seriously, they are beyond precious. You’ll want to adopt four of five (dozen) and go on the road in a traveling circus.

I don’t know how to convey what a wonder CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT is, other than to say how shocked I was to love it to pieces. If you have young ones, this is the movie to see. Even if you don’t, it’d make a great foray to the theatre. Guys: are you looking for a date movie? Skip THE FOG and take her to see this. You’ll be rewarded.

I’m astounded to be writing this sentence, but this is one of the best movies of the year.


Anonymous said...

Concerning Ellen: I concur with everything that Hyperion has said. Ellen is 100% wrong.

Further info: On the O'Reilly Factor last night, there was an interview with the lawyer for Mutts for Moms. He stated that Mutts for Moms offered the hairstylist's family the chance to get the dog if they filled out an application. But Ellen and the hairstylist said no. If this is true--and for now I am inclined to believe it is, as the lawyer said he has all the correspondence on the matter in e-mails--it just makes Ellen looks like a spoiled crybaby. They were trying to go through the paperwork and work something out, and Ellen rejected them! You can't even fill out some paperwork to get a dog? Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the movie reviews...and since my son was reading your post over my shoulder, I'll be coughing up the big $$$ on Sunday!

Sparky Duck said...

yea but who really trusts anything out of Bill O'Reilly's mouth? ;)