Category Archives: muppets

Charles Durning 1923-2012

On the same day we lost Jack Klugman, Christmas Eve, we also lost Charles Durning, the king of the character actors. The multiple award-winning actor, featured in over a hundred films, was 89.

I first encountered Charles Durning as Detective Moretti in Dog Day Afternoon. He was the likable but straight arrow cop who negotiated with Al Pacino’s bank robber Sonny Wortzik. I love the film, a time capsule of the 1970s, that earned Durning a Best Supporting Actor nom from the Golden Globes. But it’s not his only film, before or since.

Durning’s resume also includes terrific roles in The Sting, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, O Brother Where Art Thou, The Muppet Movie, and Tootsie, among so many others. He was also a veteran of the Second World War, won a Tony for playing Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and had regular parts on the TV shows “Evening Shade,” “Family Guy,” “Everyone Loves Raymond,” and “Rescue Me.”

Throughout his long career as an actor he was rarely not working, and was always playing memorable characters. We’ve lost another of the greats. He will be missed.

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast

The All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast is shot live every week at All Things Fun! – the South Jersey/Philadelphia area’s best comics and gaming store, located in West Berlin, NJ. The store celebrates its Eighth Anniversary this Saturday (the 8th of September), so come on down, there will be free stuff, prizes, Batman will be there, and everything will be on sale!

Co-hosts Ed Evans, Allison Eckel, and Glenn Walker discuss the new comics out this week in wicked high definition video, and also available on the YouTube. See it here!

Discussion featured in this week’s Special 8th Anniversary Sale Episode includes: The 8th Anniversary Sale, obscene hand gestures, Action Comics #0, two from the Batcave, two from Earth 2, Green Arrow #0, Green Lantern #0, Rotworld comics, Phantom Stranger #0, Smallville #5, Matt Fraction goes Marvel Method, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #14, Avengers Academy #36, Dark Avengers #180, First X-Men #2, Thanos Quest, Road to Oz #1 (of 6), Spawn of the Dead, Bronies unite, New Crusaders Rise of the Heroes #1, The Boys #70, Army of Darkness #5, Archer and Armstrong #2, Zenescope comics of the week, Flash Gordon Zeitgeist #6, Ed’s trades, Star Wars hats, and manga.

Also this week we have this year’s last installment of our special kids comics segment, featuring Thomas giving us the ten year old’s perspective. The discussion included: Thomas is not a Brony, the Snarked trade and The Muppets #3 by Roger Langridge, Scooby-Doo at MonsterCon, Garfield superheroes, Phineas and Ferb Magazine #12, Amelia Rules, Winx Club, the 8th Anniversary Sale, and hats galore.

Be sure to check out the fantastic All Things Fun! website, and the All Things Fun! Blogs, by Allison and Glenn, and ATF! on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe to the channel while you’re there, and leave a comment or two on the Vidcast as well!).

And be back here every Wednesday (or Tuesdays at midnight) to watch the new broadcast, and thereafter throughout the week!

Don’t forget the All Things Fun! 8th Anniversary Sale Saturday!

My Oscar Picks for This Year

Okay, first off, yes, I have been lax this year with The Oscars. I am hesitant to admit this, but I really haven’t even taken a good look at the nominees until earlier this week. Nevertheless, I will take a shot a predicting the Academy Awards – both what will win, as well as what should win. And just to remind all you other latecomers, check out the nominees here.

Best original Screenplay – I want Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris which I thought was brilliant, but it will probably go to The Artist.

Best Original Song – Of the choices, it’s “Man or Muppet.” Only two songs nominated? Really?? And only one from The Muppets??? What about the songs in Captain America or Bunraku?

Best Animated Film – Nothing deserving was nominated, and the three I saw were abysmal. For the first time in quite a few years, I don’t care about this category.

Best Supporting Actor – Is it time for Nick Nolte to win this year? Plummer and von Sydow deserve it, but I think it’ll go to Nolte, just a hunch.

Best Supporting Actress – I looove Janet McTeer, and would love to see her get this, but I think one of the ladies from The Help will take this one.

Best Actor – I only saw Clooney and DuJardin, but I’m still going to say the latter.

Best Actress – Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. It’s her turn again.

Best Director – If Martin Scorsese doesn’t get this for Hugo, it will be a crime. Not only will the Academy admit they know nothing about direction, they nothing about film either.

Best Picture – The Help and Midnight in Paris were my favorite movies of the year in this batch, The Artist and Hugo are wonderful love letters to film itself, but I’m going to say they give it to The Help.

Check back later and see how I did. What are your picks?

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The Muppets

The Muppets ~ After a summer of sneaky and wonderful previews and preview parodies, the Muppets are finally back. Absent from movie theaters for over a decade, this is a welcome return for those who remember them and grew up with them – and hopefully an introduction for those new to the Muppets.

Writer/producer/star Jason Segel brings us a surprising film filled with nostalgia, heart, and most of all, fun. The plot has Jason and his brother, Walter, a rather annoying new Muppet who steals screen time from the more established and much more entertaining Muppets, ‘getting the band back together’ so the Muppets can save their old theater from an evil oil tycoon. Yes, it sounds predictable, and is at times, but it is filled with the same magic and fun that made these characters do wonderful over the years on television and in films.

My favorite part of The Muppets, besides the whimsy and adult humor that made the past shows and movies so great, is that it’s a self-aware movie musical. That whole wink-wink nudge-nudge attitude disarms and informs the silliness of the convention and makes the flick for me. As much as I love musicals there’s always that weird awkwardness of folks spontaneously breaking into song. Here I loved it.

Of course the problem of a big franchise like the Muppets is fitting in everyone’s favorite. It’s one of the reasons I dislike the bland Walter here. That said, I wanted to see more of Fozzie’s tribute cover band, the Muppets’ evil counterparts, the Moopets – great fodder there. This is great fun, recommended.

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Coming Soon…

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, opens December 16th, 2011.

Disney’s John Carter opens March 9th, 2012.

The Muppets, with Amy Adams and Jason Segel and Chris Cooper (and the Muppets) opens Thanksgiving 2011.

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Jimmy Dean Passes Away

Most folks knew him as the visible head of his sausage company, but generations previous knew him for his music and his television series. Yesterday Jimmy Dean passed away at the age of 81.

We all know Jimmy Dean Sausages but I remember fondly his crossover hit “Big Bad John” and even its two sequels. I also remember his various TV shows that first featured the piano-playing muppet Rowlf the dog, who was notably the first muppet star – even before Kermit the Frog. And then there’s his film role as Willard Whyte in one of my favorite James Bond flicks Diamonds Are Forever. He’ll be missed.

Below is an October 2009 performance at the Grand Ole Opry by Jimmy Dean of his classic “Big Bad John.” Enjoy.

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Winter Songs

If someone were to tell you that Rob Halford of Judas Priest had done a Christmas album your first reaction might be to laugh or suspect it was a joke, right? Well, it’s true, and believe it or not, it’s quite good… dare I say it, the most entertaining holiday selection in more than a few years.

This mix of mostly classic Christmas tunes with some new songs thrown in has that Priest touch and all rock hard, but not in the expected sense. This is metal but accessible and quite pleasant as well as edgy for the holiday season.

“Oh Holy Night” and “We Three Kings” are among the best along with the “What Child Is This” power ballad. Of the new material “I Don’t Care” shines as possibly the holiday hit of the season. I really like this, and this year I’ll be listening to Rob Halford right along side Bing Crosby and John Denver and the Muppets.

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Who Is This Jerk And Where Has He Been?

Damn, I have a blog. I forgot all about it.

Movie reviews, huh? How about some random thoughts and snippets instead? Here goes…

National Treasure

Never film a movie in a major city if in the chase scenes you’re going to have characters go from one place to another that is nearly a mile away in seconds. Dumb dumb dumb, and I’m not even talking about the plot.

Catwoman

You know that feeling of having to throw up while you’re driving, and you know you really can’t throw up, so you you swallow what’s already in your mouth? Yep, that’s this film.

Lady Death

What if the animated Pax program “Greatest Heroes of the Bible” were done by horny thirteen year old boys obsessed with Dungeons and Dragons? That’s this film.

The Great Muppet Caper

Lots of great tributes to the old 1930s and 40s Hollywood musicals, some grin-worthy Muppet moments, not enough pig jokes, too much Charles Grodin and a special effects overload on Muppets riding bikes.

Maybe I’ll do more later…