LOTR: Fan Film Short of The Hobbit – Awesome

Who the hell are you? Gandalf, what’s with these Dwarves?

I actually think Peter Jackson should have opened The Hobbit with this fan-film feature. It’s that cute. Even if you don’t like drinking shots, you’ll find this short amusing. I can see this (in my personal head cannon) as what actually happened that fateful night at Bag End, and why Bilbo found it necessary to run after them to join the Dwarves’ expedition to The Lonely Mountain.

This short one-off has good production values — I’m impressed. Some of the Dwarves look just like their movie counterparts, and lead me to wonder if some of them reprised their role for this.

Note: If you don’t like scenes of people drinking and getting wasted, this might not be the video for you. It depicts an alternate vision of the Unexpected Party chapter in The Hobbit.

My opinion: Jackson did an amazing body of work in the Lord of the Rings. We can’t deny that. But for various reasons, he made The Hobbit — one slim novel, into a full feature trilogy. It didn’t turn out well. The Hobbit’s best scenes are with Gollum, Smaug, and Gandalf. And, of course, his scenes with the Dwarves in his home in Bag End. What do you think?

 

That’s kind of why I enjoy this spoof version of the unexpected party at Bag End on that fateful night. I totally buy that it went this way, and NOT what was recorded in The Red Book. After all, history has always been written/interpreters by the winners.

Altogether, this is really cute, if you’re a Middle Earth fan. Otherwise, skip it. I’d give them an A Grade myself, but it’s with a lot of Geek Cred giving them the score.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Through the Wormhole – Are We All Bigots?

Morgan Freeman has a Science Channel series called Through the Wormhole. I highly recommend the series for those interested in learning about a broad range of topics from is the universe a simulation to is privacy dead.

One of my favorite episodes is about the nature of racism: Are We All Bigots? In this episode Freeman comes at this question from a number of angles, as he does the topic in every episode. Below is, what I think, is one of the most important segments.

If you like that clip then I highly recommend you watch the entire episode. You can buy it on YouTube for $1.99 (No affiliation with RunPee.)

Opinion
I have to accept that part of my brain is bigoted. It does things (and sometimes gets away with it) that I don’t like.

That may sound like an odd thing to say: my brain does things that I don’t like. What am I if not my brain and it’s decisions? I think its clear, especially if you watch the entire episode of Are We All Bigots, that our brain instinctively makes decisions without the consent of our brain’s rational consciousness. (Not that consciousness is always rational.)

What researchers have proven is that we are not always in control of our thoughts and actions. It’s not an excuse for bad behavior, but it’s a reality we have to deal with. For instance, when someone is addicted to gambling, or food, a drug, whatever, you can’t attribute that to poor character, or weakness.

Our brains evolved to cope with many situations we no longer face. In this modern age we can manipulate those situations in ways that were never possible while the circuitry in our brains was evolving to help us survive. When we eat carbohydrate-rich food — bread, rice, cake, sweets, etc. — our brain says, “OMG, this is great. More please.” That’s because during our evolution there was hardly a chance that we could overeat those things because of their scarcity. That part of our brain doesn’t understand that we now have unlimited access to calories, and don’t need to overeat at each opportunity. The only way to stop ourselves is to use our rational consciousness to intervene and put the breaks on. Again, the rational part of our brain isn’t always in control — much as we might wish it.

It’s the same for how our brain reacts to people who are different from us. Generally speaking, for our hunter-gatherer ancestors, people from outside their tribe wasn’t always a good thing. Like a dog barking at a stranger, we evolved to be wary of different than us. It’s only through life experience that we can retrain our brains. Essentially, we need take that part of our brain that makes snap judgments and pet it, and say, “Hey, it’s okay. These different people are okay. Don’t get worked up.” Over time, that part of our brain will relax. But, we must recognize that it’s always there, ready to wake up again and bark at the next different person that passes by.

I want to make racism go away; from myself and my country and all of humanity. I believe the only way this will be possible is to acknowledge that part of our brains evolved to be wary of different people — because it gave them an edge in survival.

When we see racism, in ourselves or others, we need to make an effort to retrain us/them. And just like training a dog, the best method is positive reinforcement. Because when you yell at someone for being bigoted it’s about as effective as yelling at a dog — pointless and counterproductive. (Even though it feels as good as eating chocolate cake dripping with melted fudge and covered in icing.)

Creator of RunPee. Aspiring author.

Funny Harry Potter Fan Film Short – The Mysterious Ticking Noise

If Potters were puppets…

Are you a really big Harry Potter fan? Here’s a somewhat silly, but super fun fan video, called Potter Puppet Pals: The Mysterious Ticking Noise. These guys made a lot of little Harry Potter puppet shorts, but THIS is the best, the most beloved and well known. We Potterhead types have been known to play this video to a room full of fellow fans and sing it out loud together: happy little geeky freaks.

Once you watch this enough times, you can’t get it out of your head. Play it a few times. Catchy. Charming ending, too. There’s also a little subversive bit with Dumbledore to make you go WTF.  What character do you sing along with? (I tend to shout out Ron, Ron, Ron Weasley!  Confused? You’ll see what I mean when you view this.)

So here we go. It’s a little like the classic “Muh Nuh Ma Nuh” earworm from the old days in Sesame Street.

Snape, Snape, Severus Snape…

Related, on RunPee: Enjoy a nicely done and quite amusing parody of the song Uptown Funk, sung by Voldemort and the Death Eaters (that even sounds like a band!), called Dark Lord Funk. Read Voldemort Will Funk You Up.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Mark Ruffalo Spoils Avengers 4 Title – Or Does He?

My name is Mark Ruffalo, and I’m a Spoilaholic.

Mark Ruffalo, as Marvel’s Hulk, talks a lot — unlike the Hulk, actually. Ruffalo’s been known to accidentally drop many a spoiler on talk shows, followed by an “ooops” face, and usually an unsuccessful attempt to pass it off as a joke. It seems he just did it again, live with Jimmy Kimmel. Maybe.

Possible spoiler ahead…

Ruffalo clearly tells the entire audience the movie title for Avengers 4, which has been kept under heavy wraps since the title for Avengers Infinity War was released.  Director Kevin Feige previously announced the title itself was a spoiler, and that speaking it was verboten.

In the video, Ruffalo’s words are bleeped and blocked out, but fans pieced together what’s he’s saying anyway, and it seems to be “The Last Avenger”.  If true, it makes a nice bookend with Captain America: The First Avenger, especially with Chris Evans announcing he will be hanging up Cap’s mantle in Avengers 4.

This may or may not be the name of the movie, as the entertainment world is pretty aware of Ruffalo’s spoilerey reputation: the whole thing could just be a pre-planned joke on the audience, intended only for laughs.

Of course, Ruffalo isn’t the most loose-lipped member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He shares that special spot with young Tom Holland (Spiderman), in a little video moment I wrote about here.

Here’s the Ruffalo segment on Kimmel’s show. Do you think this is a legit spoiler, or a playful set-up? (Clearly the ending is meant as great fun…)

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

TROOPS – A Star Wars Parody Does COPS

TROOPS is filmed live, on location. All suspects are guilty. Period.

I adore the Star Wars parody TROOPS,  featuring a cool and funny blend of the 80s television reality show COPS, with Star Wars: A New Hope. It’s got 10 minutes of cinematic-level goodness and is great fun. I’m super impressed with the visual quality of this tiny film. It looks like Star Wars! It even feels like Star Wars.

Storywise it’s also clever, presenting a  behind the scenes look at how some Extremely Competent Stormtroopers try locate the Empire’s missing droids…and then exactly what went down  at the Lars residence on Tatooine. (Remember Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru? Remember how we saw their charred corpses? Now you’ll know what happened. This version is now cannon to me.)

Owen and Beru play a nice part in the latter half of the video, although it doesn’t show them in the most flattering light. But then, the show COPS pretty much depicted humanity at their nadir, so it fits in perfectly.  And I loved the first Stormtrooper in this short.  He really thinks he’s the good guy here, bringing peace and order to the galaxy (with blasters).

I never watched COPS when it was on the air (I don’t like watching other people’s misery), but I really love COPS parodies, to a fault. There’s a few of them out there. I think TROOPS might not be the single funniest one, but it might be the most spot-on, and does fill in a gap in the Star Wars narrative  —  one you never knew existed. Remember that most of the SW saga plays from a certain point of view…

What do you think of TROOPS? Did you ever see the original show COPS? Are we showing our age here? 🙂

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Voldemort Will Funk You Up

That’s the Were-Wolf Fenrir Greyback getting his shoes shined. Who knew he could read?

I love the video of the Dark Lord Funk, a parody of Uptown Funk, and how it so cleverly sends up the Harry Potter mythos from the perspective of a hip and urban Voldemort. You have to view this one a few times, once for overall enjoyment, once to catch the rich visual humor, and a last time to listen to the excellent line replacements from the original tune.

There’s a TON of references to elements from all seven Potter novels. It’s a real hoot. (<—- Ha. See what I did there?) The video makers even created a moving copy of the Daily Prophet, complete with headlines seemingly ripped from The Deathly Hallows. View the paper firstly at 1:48, then see (at 2:30) this headline: Harry Potter Defies the Dark Funk. Make sure to look for the band logo  for Tom and The Riddles on the drum-set at 3:25. And at 3:54, catch a moment with Hogwarts caretaker Argus Filch.

Enjoy seeing Voldemort get his non-existent hair curled, while dancing with Bellatrix Lestrange, Werewolf Fenrir Greyback, and a small army of Death Eaters. The famous students of Dumbledore’s Army also appear, clearly taken aback by Voldy’s Power of Funk. “Albus sent ya, Hallelujah!”

Watch it through to the end, as there’s a tiny bonus scene with Voldemort wearing the Sorting Hat.

Did you watch the video yet? It’s more fun than a barrel of Dobbys.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Welcome to the Spider-Verse

It doesn’t matter how much they switch up the mask: Spiderman still looks like Deadpool.

Captain Midnight makes some intelligent videos for superhero nerds like us.  In this one,  he talks about how the upcoming animated reboot of the Spiderman universe is both an exciting prospect and a scary one. We’ve had a lot of Spidermen in the modern era, which speaks to the enduring popularity and relatable personality of Peter Parker.

For what it’s worth,  some of those movie installments were pretty good (like SpiderMan 2), and others were stinky turds (like Spiderman 3).

Now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe hit a home-run with Homecoming, Sony (together with the non-MCU Marvel)  is eyeing the rest of their arachnoid stable with greedy eyes. In the trailer for Into the Spiderverse, we’re shown an older Peter Parker, a young new POC Spiderman, and a Gwen Stacey black-and-white version of Spidergirl. And it looks like a whole colony of superpowered spiderfolk check in.

Early perceptions from most comic-book fans are giddily positive. The film’s upcoming narrative seems to hew more closely to the comic book storylines than any of the live-action features did.

I like the idea of a grown man version of Peter Parker counseling a new super spider hero. In theory. We just had this kind of material  covered with Iron Man and the MCU’s Spidey. I assume the writers have something different in mind.

We still don’t know yet how this Peter will be written, but I hope he’s retained an overzealous enthusiasm for his freewheeling, freelancing, webslinging job. I’m tired of seeing beloved superheroes grow grim, moody, and morose with time. Please keep my Spidey fun!

One note: I have to say the animation for the film looks really darned cool.

So, is the Spiderverse more about cashing in on the MCU’s approval ratings, or adding a legit fresh, exciting take on Spiderpeople?

Watch this insightful video to develop your own spidey sense of how the upcoming Into The Spiderverse is shaping up.

 

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Crimes of Grindelwald Prequel Fan Film – The Greater Good

Wizards Albus Dumbledore and Gellart Grindelwald start their famous duel. Doesn’t young Albus look like the  young Professor X from the X-Men films?

Have you seen The Greater Good, a  17-minute fan film about Dumbledore and Grindelwald? Made before the first Fantastic Beasts movie was even a thing, this little wonder tells the story of what could have been the hour the two powerful  wizards broke off their previously intense and long-running relationship. It also features Albus Dumbledore’s little sister, Ariana, and the sad events that went down at the end of the boys’ world-traveling love affair. Aberforth, the other Dumbledore brother,  also plays a leading role.

The feature’s not bad. I’d even say it was really good, if the wand fight didn’t drag on so long. I’d also have liked to see some more scripted moments between the characters, and some backstory before the duel gets going. But it’s got decent filmatic qualities for a fan piece, a nice (and inexpensive) beach-side setting, good costumes, and acting that works for the story being told. A few of the special effects are cringe-worthy, but we should probably cut these amateur filmmakers some slack.

Albus, Aberforth, and Gellert look great. Ariana is way too old to fit in with the Harry Potter novelizations and her painting in the Deathly Hallows 2 movie, but I guess we can overlook this in honor of the greater good. 😉

Some people are going so far as to call this a Fantastic Beasts prequel. Take a look:

What do you think of this fan film short from the universe of Harry Potter? I for one am impressed that JK Rowling is confident enough in her creation to allow this one-off to stay alive for internet viewing.

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Why Marvel’s Spiderman Fixed the Franchise

He’s the only superhero from Queens, far as I know.

How many Spideys have graced (or disgraced) (or Topher Graced) the iconic young superhero on the big screen over the last few decades? This is the THIRD go at it in the modern era — but you probably knew that. How come Tom Holland’s performance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is considered superior?

This video (12 minutes in length) details a bit of Spiderman history, some words about Spiderman’s mask vs Peter Parker’s eyes, the importance of not dragging your viewers through the same origin moments over and over (ie – the spider bite, the death of Uncle Ben)…and a lot of cool tidbits you probably didn’t know about our favorite arachnid-themed teen hero:

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.

Notes on Final Trailer for Fantastic Beasts — The Crimes of Grindelwald

Newt and Jacob: the continuing bromance…

The final trailer for Fantastic Beasts 2 – The Crimes of Grindelwald has dropped, and there are more clues and a bunch of spoilers you might wish to avoid. I’m including the trailer link and my commentary about it below, so click away now if you’re trailer-spoiler-averse.

The trailer is 2 minutes and 23 seconds, and everything flips by very quickly:

My thoughts, as the RunPee Wizarding World Expert: 

  • Looks like Jude Law as young Dumbledore has a substantial role, more than the extended cameo that was feared. He looks right for the part. I’m glad.
  • “A safe house in Paris.” Now we know why much of this outing will be in France, as was announced during filming last year.  LOL: “It’s good to have a  place to go, you know, for a cup of tea.”
  • The line, “For love,” is placed on a shot of Tina. This makes sense for what we know about where her role is heading in the backstory (as mentioned in J.K. Rowling’s “monster fieldguide” version of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them).
  • Nagini! WTF. I don’t like what I’m seeing. I get that they’re trying to tie the old series in with the new, but I’m not a fan of major retconning like this. Can’t an animal just be an animal sometimes? Especially in a movie about ‘beasts’.
  • Maybe, maybe Johnny Depp will pull the role off. I think I just have to get over the loss of the cute and “charming rogue” version of Grindelwald we fans were presented with in both the Harry Potter novels and the films. This re-characterization is darker than he should be, and I can’t for the life of me understand why Albus Dumbledore was ever in love with him. Unless they retcon Dumbledore as more of a jerk than we’d been led to believe. Anyway, why do I think Depp might pull this off? His voice-over seems pretty good and his momentary scenes have a certain gravitas I didn’t see from this actor before.
  • Some flying car action! Where have we seen this before? I miss the Weasleys. Nice callback, though. Appropriate car.
  • HOGWARTS! Yes, please, can I have some more?
  • WHY IS THIS TRAILER SO HARD TO SEE? When I say it’s dark, it’s not just the subject matter. The director seems to like filming in dim light conditions.
  • There’s a beast, hard to make out. Oh, no, it’s something else. Where are the pretty critters???
  • There’s the Obscurial. We knew that was coming.
  • Nicolas Flamel! Such a pleasure. Great callback to the first HP film with the Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s Stone.
  • Hmm. Newt is a lot more grim, too. I hope there’s some humor in this film.
  • Jacob! There’s my man, and there’s the humor.
  • And a portkey, too! All the apparating got boring in FB1.
  • Some beasts at last. I hope we get more of that. And I want to go back in the suitcase where he keeps them.
  • Awww, Queenie is in pain. Hate that. Don’t you go hurting my girl.
  • Leta Lestrange gets the same line she had from the first trailer. I guess they considered that important enough to repeat.
  • Oh hey, Newt’s famous brother! He had a small mention in FB1, if you recall, something about being a war hero. I don’t know what wizarding war this refers to. I guess there’s always dark wizards to fight, in every generation. And there’s a cute bit of sibling rivalry to wrap up the preview.

So, that’s it! It’s not a second by second review, but close enough. I think there’s enough meat to chew here to keep us talking until the movie comes out, which will be on November 16th. I’m fortunate enough this time to catch a screening Nov 14th, so I’ll have Peetimes up early for everyone.

What do you think of the trailer?

Jill Florio

Co-Creator of RunPee, Content Director, and Managing Officer. RunPee Jilly likes sci fi movies, fantasy films, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder.