5 Differences between the Old and New Mary Poppins

mary poppins flies with her unbrella
How do I get my Umbrella to do that?

The new Mary Poppins movie is out. Disney’s magical, musical nanny has returned to theaters after 54 years, five Oscars, a run on Broadway, and a Tony award. While the new movie keeps several staples of the original (the titular nanny, singing and dancing, a fun animated sequence, and kite flying), there are several significant differences.

1. A new actress has taken on the role of Mary. The most significant difference is that Mary Poppins is played by Emily Blunt instead of Julie Andrews. Mary Poppins Returns takes place 25 years after the original film, meaning both Andrews and Dick Van Dyke have aged out of their iconic roles. Furthermore, Andrews had surgery in 1997 that negatively affected her singing voice, making it impossible for her to tackle the movie’s many songs. The good news is that Blunt makes a worthy successor.

2. The father has a different temperament. The father in Mary Poppins Returns is a more sympathetic figure, being a widower with three children. He even gets the heartbreaking song “A Conversation.” Having been raised by the stern Mr. Banks, Michael is trying not to become his father at his worst, and catches himself when he shouts at the children.

3. Mary has a different companion. Like Doctor Who, the on-screen version of Mary Poppins always seems to have a companion. In the original, Mary spends a lot of time with Bert, a jack-of-all trades (most memorably a chimney sweep). In the new movie, Mary’s companion is a lamplighter and their relationship is more platonic than flirty. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Jack has eyes for Jane Banks instead.

4. There is a thrilling climax. In the original film, the climax is more emotional than physical. The movie’s third act is much more action-oriented this time around. There’s a race against time, an army of lamp lighters, and a famous London landmark involved.

5. Dick Van Dyke does not play Bert. Jack was an apprentice chimney sweep to Bert, who is currently traveling the world. While Bert does not appear in the film, the 93-year-old Dick Van Dyke has a cameo as George Dawes Jr. It may be a smaller part, but Van Dyke still brings the house down when he dances for joy on that desktop.

Two of the numbers from Mary Poppins Returns have made the Oscar shortlist for Best Original Song (“Trip a Little Light Fantastic” and “The Place Where Lost Things Go”). And the movie is eligible in several other categories.

Find out how it fares when the Oscar nominees are announced on January 22nd. Disney is already in early talks for a third film, according to CinemaBlend.

If you do choose to catch up with the new Mary Poppins movie, be sure to use the RunPee app.

Movie Review – Mary Poppins Returns

Movie Review – Mary Poppins Returns

Full List for the 2019 76th Annual Golden Globes Nominees & Winners

Movie Review – Saving Mr. Banks

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

A Stomping Good Time at the Tournament – Video and Lyrics to We Will Rock You from A Knight’s Tale

Health ledger in a knights tale with Queen - We will rock you
He will rock you.

When Brian May told his group members in the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody he wanted the audience to be the instrument for one of their rock songs, I realized just how brilliant the rest of the band was: it’s not all about the immortal Freddie Mercury. All these men had something special, and the glorious anthem We Will Rock You is one absolutely genius result.

Even in high school, my drama club used to play We Will Rock You in the green room while we all stomped and sang to get psyched and ready, pre-performance. It was perfect to get us in the mood. And we see this same trick used to the same effect in A Knight’s Tale, pre-tournament, to get the audience excited for a great day of games. This is one of the more creative uses of a diegetic (ie – heard within the context of a story) song in any movie ever.

Stomp along with the brilliant Knight’s Tale opening scene below until you make the Earth shake! (Lyrics are below if you want to bellow along too.)

Lyrics to We Will Rock You

(Music by Queen — 1977)

Buddy, you’re a boy, make a big noise
Playing in the street, gonna be a big man someday
You got mud on your face, you big disgrace
Kicking your can all over the place, singin’
We will, we will rock you
We will, we will rock you

Buddy, you’re a young man, hard man
Shouting in the street, gonna take on the world someday
You got blood on your face, you big disgrace
Waving your banner all over the place
We will, we will rock you, sing it!
We will, we will rock you, yeah

Buddy, you’re an old man, poor man
Pleading with your eyes, gonna get you some peace someday
You got mud on your face, big disgrace
Somebody better put you back into your place, do it!

We will, we will rock you, yeah, yeah, come on
We will, we will rock you, alright, louder!
We will, we will rock you, one more time
We will, we will rock you
Yeah…

(Songwriters: Brian Harold May
We Will Rock You lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC)


One of the most unique things in A Knight’s Tale is the wonderfully weird use of modern rock tunes in a story facilitated by Geoffrey Chaucer (Paul Bettany, on top of his game) himself.  I can’t see this fun film enough times. What do you think?

Movie Review – Bohemian Rhapsody

What is a Scaramouch? The Meaning Behind Bohemian Rhapsody

Don’t Stop Me Now – Video and Lyrics by Queen in Shaun of the Dead

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Making Models – the Jenny Haniver Airship from Mortal Engines

 

jenny haniver made from a ray or skate
An actual Jenny Haniver. I can totally see the airship design used in Mortal Engines.

Mortal Engines has the best models and miniatures I’ve seen in a movie outside of the original Star Wars movies and the Lord of the Rings. This should come as no surprise, since Mortal Engines came from WETA Workshop, the same crew who designed The Lord of the Rings. Remember all those rolling cities and fabulous airships? It’s kind of exciting to realize much of the film-work was done with actual scaled models that you can see and touch, reflecting light as only tangible things do.

As the model maker in this featurette (below) says, “People will always respond to more to a model.”

Alex Falkner making the jenny haniver for mortal engines
Alex Falkner working on the Jenny Haniver airship.

I’d tend to agree. Some movies make magic with CGI (as in Avatar), or transport the viewer through excellent 3D animation (like Into the Spider-Verse). But with the technology we have today, the best bet for creating a fantastical live-action universe lies in some sort of combination of masterful CGI and intricate, detailed, and lovingly created models.

design of a jenny haniver from mortal engines
A Jenny Haniver, seen from above. Very dragon-esque.

Here’s where something like the dystopian steampunk epic Mortal Engines comes into its own. Not everyone loved the story (it did have gaping plotholes and a darth of necessary backstory), but it’s nearly unanimous that the set-piece cities and fanciful airships, in terms of world-building, were very fine indeed.

This three minute featurette follows model maker and silicone caster Alex Falkner as he creates the Jenny Haniver, an airship he calls “the Millennium Falcon” of Mortal Engines. The name Jenny Haniver is quite interesting. It sounds a lady’s name — which would be rather boring, as the film doesn’t provide any backstory — but a quick search from the Wikipedia reveals this tidbit:

“A Jenny Haniver is the carcass of a ray or a skate that has been modified by hand then dried, resulting in a mummified specimen intended to resemble a fanciful fictional creature, such as a demon or dragon.”

So in essence, the design of this airship is intended to evoke a flying dragon. That’s just cool. Here’s the model maker video showing the Jenny Haniver in action:

Movie Review – Mortal Engines

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – Mary Poppins Returns

Movie Review - Mary Poppins ReturnsCan I start by saying bravo?! I’m a huge fan of Mary Poppins (MP), and Mary Poppins Returns (MPR) did not disappoint. While we all knew that filling Julie Andrews’ shoes as MP would be nearly impossible, Emily Blunt nailed the role.  I enjoyed this movie so much because of the animation, storyline, cast, and the soundtrack. The Sherman Brothers rocked the music, yet again.

Many people thought this movie was a remake of the original 1964 movie. However, this is a continuation of the original storyline.

This storyline could stand-alone if you had never seen the first installment, but it was very exciting to recall scenes from the first MP to understand the narrative of MPR. For example, let’s start with how Mary Poppins arrived the same way in this movie as she did in the first movie—-with a strong wind. Jan and Michael Banks are portrayed as adults, with Michael living as a widow in their childhood home…with three children and a housekeeper. Jane works as an advocate like her mother, and Michael is an artist and works at Fidelity Fiduciary Bank like his dad.

Side note: when the bank chairman sent the attorneys to Michael Banks’ house to demand payment of his loan or the house would be repossessed, that scene reminded me of It’s A Wonderful Life, when George Bailey experienced a similar scenario as the bank examiners arrived.

It was so funny that Admiral Boom used to be so precise with time when blasting the canon, but in this movie, his old age has impaired his precision. Do you remember the kite scene from MP along with the song “Let’s Go Fly A Kite?” Well, that same kite is crucial to the plot in this movie. Then there’s that scene in MP where Michael is shocked with his mouth open; MPR recycled that line with Michael as an adult…and MP said “Close your mouth Michael, we still are not codfish.” LOL Now as for Meryl Streep, she played MP’s second cousin named Topsy. I don’t care what role Meryl plays, she’s going to kill it. Her dance moves were on point too.

Cousin Topsy’s scene put me in the mindset of the scene from MP with Uncle Albert’s flying giggles to the song “I Love to Laugh.” The scene with the song “Follow the Light” reminded me of the chimney sweepers scene to the tune of “Step in Time” from MP. And yes, the penguins are back in the broken antique bowl scene.

One last similar scene I’ll mention is that the children disrupt the bank lobby like young Michael did, when he ran out of the bank because he didn’t want to deposit his tuppence.

Speaking of tuppence, the tuppence that Michael was forced to deposit into the bank comes full circle in MPR in a major way.

As I said earlier, the Sherman Brothers rocked the songs again, and my favorite song in this movie is “The Cover is Not The Book” especially Jack’s (Lin-Manuel Miranda) solo, because it was sang/rapped in his iconic Hamilton-like tempo. Sweet!!!

Familiar terms used by MP that always bring a smile to my face were of course in her vernacular in MPR; such as spit pot, come along now, and pish posh. Furthermore, there were three moments when the audience applauded, which is a good indication of iconic scenes — especially when both parents and children are applauding enthusiastically.

I speak for myself when I say it was pleasing to see black casting in MPR. MP did not have any blacks (if I remember correctly) and in MPR, two of the major characters were black: one of the attorneys, and the bank chairman’s secretary, and another appearance of a black milkman. Woohoo! It was also nice to see Angela Lansbury as the balloon woman in the park at the fair, when Dick Van Dyke returns as Mr. Dawes, Jr.

Let me close by saying I almost want to raid Mary Poppins’ closet. She is the best-dressed nanny on the planet. Her exit from Cherry Tree Lane was the same in MPR as it was in MP—-slow, holding her open bird umbrella, fading into the sky, with a subtle look back at the Banks’ house with a slight smile. Mary Poppins Returns is epic and practically perfect in every way!

#MaryPoppinsReturns #EmilyBlunt #Disney #Movies #NewReleases #MovieReview #RunPee #FemaleMasterpiece #Hamilton #LinManuelMiranda

Grade: A+

About The Peetimes: It was a little difficult to determine Pee Times because it’s a children’s movie — but adults love Mary Poppins as well — so determining when’s a good time for anyone to pee took some creativity. I recommend the 2nd Peetime, because it’s a very slow scene of the children sleeping and merely a lullaby song.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Mary Poppins Returns. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Movie Review – Saving Mr. Banks

Classic Movie Re-Watch Review – It’s A Wonderful Life

DanaSimone!’s love for movies and AMC Theaters started when she was a youngster in Detroit.  By day, she saves the world from financial ruin, and by night wears a superwoman cape (literally) as a mom, wife, speaker, philanthropist, travel agent, and up-and-coming social media influencer. She’s the creator of the #FemaleMasterpiece empowerment movement and a former talk show host.  Stalk her on YouTube channel “DanaSimone!”and check our her cool app.

Movie Rewatch Review – Elf

Will Ferrel from Elf, and the four food groups.
Will Ferrell eating a nutritious meal.

Elf is one of those rare truly rewatchably joyous, feel-good family films that everyone, everyone likes. I’ve never met a child or even cranky grownup that doesn’t get animated and shout, “Santa! I KNOW him!”, or spout off a very mildly sly or just plain silly line from this highly quotable film, like, “Hi, I’m Buddy! What’s your favorite color?” or “I just like to smile. Smiling’s my favorite!” How to explain this outpouring of passionate holiday optimism? And by the way, I want to start answering the telephone like that. (Best not to call me at all.)

Even my grownup niece turned around while bar-tending at Hooters, to shout at strangers grinching about Christmas: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” The entire bar looked at her like she might have been a little insane, but if you poke around an Elf Quotes search page on Google, you’ll see people tend to be a little like Will Ferrell about this film: a bit too loud, and a whole lot of wholesomely inappropriate.

Even my RunPee Tweet and Facebook posts on Elf got people excited and happy within literally seconds of putting up that “What’s your favorite color?” quote. A poll about favorite funny Christmas movies, up against the storied likes of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Love Actually, and Home Alone has Elf clearly in the lead. How did Farrell manage this?

For one, Ferrell is a highly underrated actor. Because he tossed in his lot with comedic fluff films, it’s a little hard to take him seriously.  But he manages to put a surprising amount of pathos into goofy leading roles, whether it’s as Ron Burgundy with Anchorman, or Daddy’s Home 1 &2.

In Elf, he’s quite remarkable in a weirdly off-putting, often overly enthusiastic way, like a big golden retriever who still thinks he’s a puppy.You want to take this large man and protect him like the child he seems to be. If you were raised by Papa Elf at the North Pole, you’d probably be filled with happy wonderment too. And also believe sugar is the only form of food fit for consumption: a prestigious list including “Candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.” Again with my niece: she told me there are untold videos of people making maple syrup/MnMs/Pop-Tarts/Hershey’s syrup/spaghetti meals and chowing down (after mashing it up with their hands, of course). I’ll take her word for it.  😉

So is Will Ferrell kind of brilliant? I’m starting to think so. Ferrell does the straight man funny, the narcissistic buffoon funny, and and the man-child even funnier. My guess is the guy himself takes joy from this, and puts his whole heart into it. His sense of comedic timing doesn’t depend on physical gyrations like Jim Carrey, nor torrents of running commentary as the late Robin Williams could bestow.

In a nutshell, we just plain like movies where people manage to blunder their way into greatness. Look at the enduring appeal of Forrest Gump, Big, and Elf. You want to root for these people, in their simpleminded innocence, to find their way in life and be loved.

It’s easy to laugh at these guys, but there’s something more at stake.

That’s why Elf sneaks under the cynicism layer. These films feature a fish-out-water story, a narrative as old as time, but with an undeniable twist of  simplicity and earnestness. These kind-hearted leading lugs strike a chord of paternalism and you want them to be happy when their adventure is done. We feel we’d be lucky to have loyal friends like these, even if their trip over their own big feet.

Movie Grade: A

Note: Results of this Twitter Poll will be automatically published after the voting period ends, but so far Elf is crushing it: Disclaimer: Poll only includes outright Christmasy movies. Die Hard and Lethal Weapon aficionados have to wait their turn 🙂

Okay. Seriously now. I dare you to eat this:

Rewatch Movie Review – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Love, Actually and Christmas Is All Around (That “Festering Turd of a Record”)

Virgin Movie Review — Daddy’s Home

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – Mortal Engines

 

Movie Review - Mortal EnginesI’m still digesting this pretty darn awesome movie. I’ll just say I’ve never seen a better Steampunk film (not that there’s a lot out there…). This has interesting characters, amazing world-building, and spectacular set-pieces. It’s a brilliant effort by the producers of The Lord of The Rings. I’m a happy girl tonight. Loved it.

….Don’t read any further if you don’t want spoilers…..

More goodness: the bad guy was played by Hugo Weaving, who’s shaping up to fill the hole left by the demise of Alan Rickman. He was just lovely in the part, even if his character’s motivations seemed forced. I’m going to blame the writing on that one.

Weaving did a great job with what he had. Most movies have “villain problems” — it’s hard to make a baddie we can relate to, or at least understand. The character of Thaddeus Valentine should have been more layered. He has an adult child with him, who presumably might have noticed once or twice if her father was evil. I get that London needed more fuel to survive, but I’m not sure using the particular weapon he did would net London any resources: it’s too destructive. By the end he became a generic cackling guy with a world-killing weapon. It’s absolutely a fine film, but this issue keeps it from getting an A+.

I felt like the narrative could have used some more backstory about why the cities and towns had to be mobile (something more than the cool factor). And there was a missed opportunity by never using the zeppelin a character sees and looks at thoughtfully. I kind of feel that maybe a later scene with it was cut from the film — or why bother showing it tethered nearby?

I did like the creative designs used on the different airships, and how they recalled a feeling of sailing on the ocean more than flying in a plane. The various captains even had a piratey flair.

This future world was splendidly envisioned, which is to be expected from WETA Workshop, who, along with producers Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, and Philippa Boyens,  created The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. And of course we know Weaving as Elrond of Rivendell. I’m guessing a lot of crew members were also ported over from that universe to work on Mortal Engines. It really is a visual achievement.

As far as the plot goes, I kept thinking I was missing big pieces of the story, things that might be better explained in a novel. So I had to go check..and guess what? Mortal Engines is indeed a book. In fact, there are four of them.

Personally, I’m all in for a sequel set. I was engaged by this new Steampunk world and seriously wanted a lot more exposition than we got.

(Here’s a example: what in Thor’s name was Shrike? Some kind of cyborg? The memories of a person transplanted into a robot? Was he a technological version of a zombie? Why was he making dolls, why did he take in a little girl; why did he need Hester to become like him? What was the story with his elaborate prison cell? He was an intriguing element in the story, but his arc seemed undercooked.)

I feel like I could fill in some of this backstory on my own, but I’ll probably just read the book. And I’m sure I’ll see this film again when it’s available for streaming.

I’ll leave you with this quote from William Shakespeare‘s Othello, explaining the film’s title: “Othello: And O you mortal engines whose rude throats/Th’immortal Jove’s dread clamors counterfeit…” Mortal Engines refers to the concept that a society based on Municipal Darwinism is not sustainable, and that the cities’ engines are indeed mortal.

Grade: A
Movie Release Date: 12-14-2018

About The Peetimes: A lot happens in this movie, and it’s quite economical in pacing throughout. I’d recommend the 1st Peetime if you can manage it. The 2nd Peetime has an interesting set-piece, but it’s not relevant to the plot. The last Peetime contains action, but in a movie as full of action as this, you’ll be fine if you stick to the 3 minutes I gave you.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Mortal Engines. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Making Models – the Jenny Haniver Airship from Mortal Engines

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Virgin Movie Review – Jim Carrey’s The Grinch (2000)

Jim Carrey is the grinch
He’s a mean one. Also deranged, and possibly a pedophile.

Holy hell, this was directed by Ron Howard? Normally I love his touch. And as for Jim Carrey, I’ve always been a fan. Not with this. This is the Carrey equivalent of Bill Murrey’s Garfield: a true WTF?

I imagine (and know for sure, based on my own great-niece’s preferences) some people like this Grinch. Maybe they weren’t weaned on the 26-minute 1966 animated Dr. Seuss version like I was, that with even this year still made me cry with happiness. CRYING. TEARS running down my face.

This one? I was confused. I was bored. I had a headache from the non-stop and frankly exhausting Grinchy chatter intended as humor, and came off just weird — the bad kind of weird. It felt more like a Tim Burton offering. (Which is weirder than ever for me, since I normally am not a Burton fan. But then, I just did a Virgin Review of Tim Burton’s 2001 Planet of the Apes and kind of loved it. It’s clearly opposite week for me.)  😉

Even Max the dog couldn’t save this effort, and I previously gave the 2018  ‘meh’ new Grinch full length animal feature a D+ for cute animal action. This one, sadly, gets only a D, at best, for Whoville’s creative set design, and a nice kiddo as Cindy Lou Who. This Cindy Lou was sweet, and saved the 2000 Grinch from a D- or F+ grade.

By contrast, I gave the old 1966 Christmas special an A grade, and I don’t give that grade away easily. I expected it look old at the seams…but it happily held up through time, and made my own heart swell three sizes by the end.

Back to the 2000 live-action Grinch. I watched it last night with zero foreknowledge and the best of intentions. And for the first time in EVER in Netflixing films, I had to fast-forward over entire sections of dullness. I would have turned this off and picked something else,  but had to watch it through for my review.

Also, I wanted to know why the Grinch was compelled to sound like Sean Connery? Minor note, but it distracted me. Jim Carrey normally is brilliant in his vocal and physical humor. Was he directed to filibuster like this? Is he proud of this film?

There were a few funny jokes landing among the barrage of awkward efforts: I thought the joke about Santa’s reindeer was cute: “On Thrasher and Crasher and Vomit and Blitzkrieg…” <—- heh. Some moments of cleverness stuck, but most felt like film spaghetti tossed at the wall to see what would stick. Robin Wiliams mastered that kind of improvisation, and maybe that’s what Carrey was going for.

Even the songs lacked. I expected a fun delivery of the classic “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”…well, yawn. Then the final “Fahoo Foray” song was merely competent. Moving on.

What about the Whos in Whoville? Here was another cardinal sin:  these townspeople were unpleasant, underhanded, and a little bit creepy. While the Grinch, instead of being merely a cranky, damaged soul, was just deranged. I have no idea why this movie went down the paths it chose. Dark, weird, sinister, yada yada. The Grinch tale at heart is a story about alienation, rejection, and isolation, but it isn’t supposed to make you wonder if predatory sexual advances (with a whiff of pedophilia) are appropriate.

The Cindy Lou character saved this version me, but expanding her role also undercut the rest of what should have went down that fated Christmas morning in Whoville. I know this is subjective, but one nice child can’t a plot pivot make. I didn’t buy this Grinch’s transformation: I don’t think he did either. We weren’t given a beat to breathe or let the story have any emotional landing space.

A tale of two Grinches
Some Grinch on Grinch action.

Alternatively, the new 2018 full-length Grinch movie didn’t make me cry either. It had nice technical animation and cute critters, but the story was a cup of plain vanilla yogurt.

So here it is: I say it’s time to stop messing with a classic. It’s like when Peter Jackson made that short Hobbit book into three bloated, sometimes off-putting films: like butter scraped over too much bread. If you’re a big LOTR fan, you’ll get the reference.  But anyone who’s had breakfast will get it anyway. 🙂

Movie Grade: D 

Movie Rewatch Review — Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

The Grinch Who Keeps Stealing Christmas

In Defense of the Grinch (1966)

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Movie Review – Aquaman

Movie Review - AquamanWhat does DC have to do to shake off the feeling that it’s the poor man’s Marvel?

For starters: make better movies.

I’m not saying Aquaman is bad. Far from it. It’s a decent movie despite being as predictable as it is visually appealing. But it’s no better than the first Thor movie. Which would be fine if Aquaman came out a decade ago. Unfortunately, Marvel beat them to the punch. DC is trying to find their feet while Marvel is breaking Olympic records.

Here’s my best guess why Aquaman doesn’t soar: it just doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s an origin story for sure, but not much of one. For such a long movie, the origin of Aquaman only comes up in a few brief flashbacks and only one of them — when he’s a young boy — really works.

There’s a little romance, which is fine, but the timing of the scenes are completely wrong.

Then there’s a few scenes that feel like they were stolen from a National Treasure sequel.

The worst part of all of this is the inclusion of Black Manta. I don’t know why the writers felt compelled to throw this character into the story, because it only drags the plot beneath the waves.

All of this happens in the middle third of the movie, robbing the plot of any real dramatic weight when it needs it the most.

It looks like the creative decision makers behind the DC movies heard the criticism about their previous movies being too dark, and decided to “lighten things up a bit.” All I can say is it’s just not that easy. The audience needs a feeling of impending doom so the story grabs them, but there’s also a time and place for the distractions that make a story memorable.

That’s why DC movies are like a mixed salad of moments while Marvel serves a complex meal, where each serving is meant to compliment the others.

Grade: C

About The Peetimes: We have 4 good Peetimes. We recommend the 2nd and 3rd over the others. The 2nd Peetime is a chase scene — pretty — but nothing you haven’t seen in previous scenes. The 3rd is mostly a music montage, followed by a transitional plot that’s easy to summarize.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Aquaman. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

A Merry Movie Christmas – The RunPee Family’s Favorite Holiday Films

Die Hard, A christmas movie
Now I have a machine gun. Ho Ho Ho.

It’s that time of year again, when you can’t walk around in stores without hearing that Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, how mommy kissed Santa Claus, or that sad Last Christmas song by WHAM! In other words, ’tis the season to pay lip service to the holidays. (Ouch. I sound like a Grinch. Let me start again.)

Even if you’re not Christian, it’s tough to not feel your heartstrings tugged by the onslaught of themed family-friendly films. Now is when family becomes the central theme, and we spend too much money on presents nobody actually needs.  At its best, at Christmas, we remind ourselves family shouldn’t be taken for granted; we can forgive familial trespasses, and work on spreading love and cheer to all and sundry. Remember: family isn’t necessarily based on the bonds of blood. Do you care about someone? Let them know!

The RunPee Family is especially thankful to all of you, who’ve either been long term boosters or brand-new fans of the RunPee app: you are the reason we give up our nights, week after week, to see every movie, and share Peetimes with the world.

We thought you might enjoy hearing what our favorite holiday movies are. Please add your own in the comments section! You’re a part of our extended family, after all. 🙂

With no further ado, here are the favorite holiday movies from the members of the RunPee Family: (Note: reviewed movies and family profiles are linked.)

RunPee Dan:
Love, Actually
Lethal Weapon (written by Shane Black)
Die Hard
The Long Kiss Goodnight (written by Shane Black)
Iron Man 3 (written by Shane Black)
“I’m starting to notice a trend with Shane Black movies.”

RunPee Jilly:
Die Hard (“It’s just not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off the Nakatomi building.”)
Lethal Weapon
Love, Actually
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (“It’s the one with Yule Ball celebration! Although each Harry Potter film has quite a bit of Christmas in it, to one degree or another.”)
Home Alone
Elf
Iron Man 3
Gremlins
“I’m also a sucker for the original Grinch holiday special.”

RunPee Mom:
“I would have to say that Nightmare Before Christmas is my favorite. And on the other end of the spectrum, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is my second-favorite.”

RunPee Sis:
“Howdy…hands down, my #1 is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Also, the new Will Farrell and Mark Walhberg movies…Daddy’s Home 1 and 2.”

The RunPee Princess/Granddaughter:
RunPee Mom reports, Jim Carrey’s The Grinch (Max the dog was her favorite part), and Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.”

RunPee Shani:
It’s a Wonderful Life
Home Alone

RunPee Dana:
It’s A Wonderful Life
The Preacher’s Wife
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer
“Sooooo!  I wanted to share a little tidbit about why I chose Its a Wonderful Life as one of my favorite Christmas movies.  As a child, it was the first encounter I had with hearing about a “bank examiner.” Do you remember when George was nervous when the deposit run started, and he said the bank examiner was coming, and he needed money to cover the books?  I never knew bank examining was a job or career until that movie. Then I went to college, and low and behold the FDIC was recruiting when I was 18 years old for bank examiners on my college campus.  Long story short, until you read it in my book, at age 21 the FDIC hired me…after I stalked them for 3 1/2 years in college.  I’ve been employed with them for over 26 years and lived in 5 states via promotions and special assignments.  Interesting, uh?!?! Yup, being a Female Masterpiece…It’s A Wonderful Life….pun intended! Wink wink.”


The RunPee Family wishes you and yours a very merry Christmas, a fabulous holiday season, and of course, a great new year. I think we could all use a good new year.  😉 Here’s to wishes and new year’s kisses that 2019 will rock!

Moview Rewatch Review – Elf

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)

Virgin Movie Review – Planet of the Apes (2001)

2001 planet of the apes
I’m not convinced a chimp would find a human sexy, no matter how hot Walhberg is.

Who knew Tim Burton could direct a grand scale epic adventure? I always thought his specialty was weirdos doing wacky things. But I was surprised and pleased with how much I enjoyed this 2001 version of Planet of the Apes, especially since I’m not impressed with the more recent trilogy.

I also didn’t realize Mark Walhberg  could do a heroic genre role. The man seems pretty talented and versatile, when he’s not confined to goofy comedies. Not to rag on wacky weirdos and goofy comedies, but this is more of the kind of world-building I’d expect from The Lord of the Rings.

Following this point will be some mildly vague spoilers…

There was a lot of genre-hopping, from space stations off Saturn, to Bronze Age ape civilizations, to a Mad Max climax. And while bouncing around through space and time, I had to remind myself of something deeply embedded in the mythos of Planet of the Apes: total mind-screwing. At its heart, Apes is a dystopian vision of what can or could be, if conditions were right. I wanted to yell at Walhberg’s character at the very end: to never mess with the timeline. He had a good thing going there on that planet. Has he never seen the original 1968 movie?

But before we get to the denouement that should surprise exactly no one, there were hugely impressive sets, makeup, and costumes. A lot of care and detail went into the construction of this remake: it’s clear everyone involved was a fan. The final setting in the desert landscape with the rock formations was filmed on location near Death Valley, CA. I hiked there this spring and took a lot of photos (I’ll post some soon and link to it), and it really added to my film enjoyment to recall how cool a place it was in real life. (To be fair, I visited the park because Star Trek was also filmed there, but once I saw the formations above the battleground in Apes, things clicked into place.)

What was good: the apes looked great. I enjoyed seeing the variety of Great Apes represented: chimps, gorillas (lowland gorillas, I think), baboons, orangutans, and humans. The ape actors moved like apes; this was most noticeable with the chimps. They sounded like apes and had temper tantrums like apes. Although it might have seemed a bit overwrought with all the leaping and the screeching, zoologically speaking, everything was spot on.

I had to ask myself, can’t apes swim? I never considered their construction might prohibit it.  But then, humans lost the ability to brachiate, so we ourselves picked up water during our evolution, but lost the trees.

We just have to go along with the apes’ ability to speak, since a silent film wouldn’t be as fun.

Something that stood out to me too was how violent General Thade was. Was he psychotic, or more like a real chimp? He was one mean monkey. From what I’ve heard, adult chimps can fly violently off the handle and rip your face off:  not the kind of creatures you want living in your house. Although clearly, from watching this, the apes didn’t want us around either. Of all the primates, it seems gorillas are the sweetest: and their noble warrior personas were interestingly played.

Side Note: Hey! Want to get scared to death by chimpanzees? Have fun watching this video:

 Back to the film: I liked the apes discussing whether humans had  souls. Don’t we debate that about animals we’ve domesticated?  I hope we treat our “pets” better than we see the apes doing in this flick, although I know from my experience working in animal rescue that we often, quite sadly, do not. (Even with animals we think we’re decent to, I have to wonder. Look at our beloved horses. We sit on their spines, kick their ribs when we want them to go, and force cold iron bars between their teeth to steer them. Dammit, I’m on my soapbox again. )

What I didn’t like as much: the human characters, save Walhberg’s, were completely underdeveloped. They were like stand-ins for real people. It was strange that the best individuals were the apes, although that is probably intentional. But I can’t say it made for good storytelling to have the humans be sparsely written caricatures. And the the line about “Damn dirty humans” — while intended as humor — felt like a cheap shot. I guess they couldn’t resist an ironic nod to the iconic original.

Ultimately, were the apes wrong about humans? Some of it was pretty true: we can be savage and mindless. But we, like they, could become much more. So I managed to do a little soul-searching in a sci-fi/fantasy film; not a bad thing. I’d say this earnest remake of Planet of the Apes is worth a watch.

Movie Grade: B

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)