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The Lorax

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax ~ I learned to read very early, thanks to my big sister, starting with Dr. Seuss favorites like “Hop on Pop,” “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” “Fox in Socks” and of course the classics like “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham.” And although I quickly graduated to comic books, and then real books, I never lost my love of the Doctor (in this case, Seuss, not the guy with the TARDIS).

Though I had never actually read the book I do distinctly remember my first encounter with “The Lorax.” The night the animated version premiered on CBS I was allowed to stay up later than usual to watch it. I was interested but not very because I thought that previous TV versions of Seuss’ work, excepting the Grinch, we’re inferior to the source material. Yes, even at seven, I was nurturing a critical mind.

I had not just a critic’s thought process, but I was also pretty hip to propaganda, even if it was positive propaganda. I had seen the Justice League fight pollution and promote ecology in the comics, and it had hit a sour note with me. It’s not that I don’t believe in the causes, I do, it’s just I’m very against being fed a message in lieu of a story or characterization. I saw that hand at work in “The Lorax.” The bottom line is I don’t mind being educated while I’m entertained – I just don’t want to be preached at.

Which brings all the way back to 2012 and the movie Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. The Bride and I saw it in 3D, so we spent far far too much to get in. By my estimation, this would have been fine in just plain 2D. There’s still a message here in this expanded tale of the Lorax, but really not enough to annoy me. Trust me, it’s still there, but nothing like Lou Dobbs and other conservatives have exclaimed (and did I read right, did they call “The Lorax” a novel?). It is clear, not at all subtle, but not overbearing either.

Instead I got to enjoy the fun relationship between Ted (Zac Effron) and Audrey (Taylor Swift), watching Ted escape the city in interesting ways, and hearing the moral yet endearing story of The Once-ler (Ed Helms) and the appropriately annoying (here at least) Danny DeVito in the title role. There is also the predictable role for Betty White. No offense, honey, I love ya, but it’s getting old. There were a few pointless scenes, like the chase at the end with the seed. I almost wanted to yell at the screen, “Give it to Wall-E, he’ll keep it safe!”

All in all though, it was good, and non-offensive. Add a fun original soundtrack (no excuses for only two nominees in the Best Song category at next year’s Oscars) and you have yourself an entertaining hit movie. I don’t have a good record with Seuss properties turned into films (note the Grinch and Horton), but this one’s a winner.

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More of the Same, Just Earlier

I just finished watching the first episode of the new prime time version of “The Tonight Show,” um, I mean “The Jay Leno Show.” I was unimpressed. I wish I wasn’t, but that was how I saw it. It’s just more of the same stuff we were getting at 11:30 three months ago.

There’s literally nothing new here. I still wouldn’t tune in for Jay Leno, no offense, he’s just not that funny for me, but rather for his guests. And if Jay continues to softball the guests, especially when they are Twitter of-the-moment hot like Kanye West – what’s the point really?

A few comments about tonight’s episode… I gotta give props to Dan Finnerty, but really, when isn’t he entertaining? Still, I like him better doing covers, but that’s just me. I want the desk back. Jerry Seinfeld certainly is fighting a losing battle against male pattern baldness, but he’s still funny. I kinda liked the Obama bit but I was sad that Jay stooped to stealing two decade old Weird Al MTV bits. And speaking of MTV and the VMAs, as heartfelt and sincere as Kanye’s apology was, I think he could have rehearsed it more. And killer performance by Kanye, Jay-Z and Rhianna.

If you liked Jay at 11:30, you’ll love him an hour and a half earlier, just don’t expect any surprises.

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