Screentime: Let Them Eat Trolls*

fucking trolls, man
(2oth Century Fox)

(*Note: The author wishes it to be known that the original title for this piece was “A Modest Protrollsal.” The title was changed due to the current editorial board’s irrational hatred for obscure puns)

The Trolls are happy. It’s their defining characteristic. They are so happy that consuming one makes you deliriously happy. So happy that it has seeped into their physical essence, like cheap vodka into a gummy bear.

But they aren’t born that way. The movie makes it clear that happiness isn’t some hereditary trait. It isn’t something you have, it’s something you do. Poppy and the others are so incredibly happy because they practice it, they devote time to it. Hugs every hour, songs every 5 minutes, parties every night. This is how they spend their days.

(Youtube//DreamworksTV)

Meanwhile, what are the Bergens doing? The Prince is living a life of luxury, it’s true, but those around him are anything but idle. Chefs prepare meals, maids clean, guards stand watch. Behind the scenes too, the Bergens are industrious. Gristle and Brigette visit a pizza parlor and a roller-rink. We see storefronts, billboards, magazines! The Bergens are working! They are keeping the lifeblood of the economy flowing, toiling for the betterment of society. They aren’t unhappy because of some innate melancholy nature, they simply don’t have the time to devote to its practice!

And why should they? Time is a worker’s most precious resource, and an instant, renewable, efficient method of obtaining happiness is right there for the taking. Why raise, shelter, and feed the cow when you get the milk for free? As far as we know, the ruling Bergen class has provided this resource, free of charge, to every man, woman, and child, from the moment it became available, to shortly after the film begins, when the Trolls revolt and escape the confines of Bergen Town. From the Bergen’s perspective, the system was working.

(YouTube//Biz Halo)

One could also argue that it was working from the Troll’s perspective too. They were free to live lives of absolute indulgence, seeking happiness however and whenever it suited them. Infrastructure, insurance, irrigation; such things did not trouble them, the Bergens would take care of it. The Trolls’ work, their contribution to the grand ongoing project of civilization, was merely to increase their own happiness as much as they could. In exchange for this Dionysian freedom, certain among them would be required to pay the ultimate price to spread this happiness among those who were working elsewhere, contributing to the betterment of all in other ways. Just as the baker sells his bread in order to buy clothes, the Bergens sell their work to buy happiness, and the Trolls sell their happiness in order to avoid work.

Pictured: Avoiding Work (YouTube//DreamworksTV)

But this isn’t quite right. The mutually beneficial marketplace described above does not exist in Trolls, at least, not at the beginning of the movie. Instead, statist concerns (namely King Gristle Sr., and later King Gristle Jr.) throttle efficiencies by placing regulations and restrictions on trade. There are several examples of this through the movie, but the most egregious one is that neither the Trolls nor the Bergens are free to choose a profession that best fits their talents. All Trolls are designated Happiness Creators and all Bergens must find positions in the traditional labor market. This is ludicrous, economically speaking. In order to fully realize the most efficient balance between Happiness and Labor, both Trolls and Bergens must be free to select professions.

A perfect example of this inefficiency can be found in one of the film’s leading characters, Branch. For the majority of the movie, Branch has no interest in increasing his stock of happiness. He seeks solitude, mopes, and does not enjoy utilizing dancing or any other tools of happiness production. Instead, he builds and stocks an impressive safety bunker. This bunker is by far the most impressive structure we see a Troll create, and is not only fully stocked with food and water, but also contains a system for storing and filtering bodily fluids and a system of automated elevators unlike anything else we see in either the Troll settlement or Bergen Town itself. Clearly, his natural talents and inclinations lie more in the fields of innovation and construction than happiness generation. If he were able to join the traditional labor market, it would transform him from underperforming Troll into Galtian superhero. Allowing him the freedom to choose a different profession would also introduce the fruits of his talents to enter the general marketplace, where they could contribute to the betterment of all.

(YouTube//Flicks And The City Clips)

We can also assume, although we do not see them, that there exist Bergens who’s natural inclination would make them much more efficient Happiness Generators than traditional laborers. It could even be argued that Brigette is such a Bergen. She certainly shows much more talent for this field than any other Bergens we meet.

Therefore, while Branch is confined to the unsuitable role of Happiness Generator, we must assume there is at least one equivalent Bergen for whom the inverse is true. Although Branch is not consumed during the course of the narrative, it must be true that, given his actions, the quality and quantity of happiness he places on the common market is much lower than the average Troll, to whom happiness creation comes naturally. It logically follows, therefore, that if there is any single Bergen who is able to create happiness at the rate of the average Troll, Branch’s confinement to this role serves to decrease not only the total happiness available on the open market but the total labor available to purchase also.

We can only hope that, given the newly forged alliance between Troll and Bergen that we see at the end of the film, Trolls 2 brings us scenes of the two species working together to form a new society. A society in which a Troll can choose to use his labor to buy and consume the happiness of a Bergen, and a Bergen can choose to sell her happiness to purchase a life free of toil.

(Of course, given the natural tendencies of each species, and also their relative sizes, one can assume that a free market situation would still predominantly feature the consumption of Trolls by Bergens rather than the inverse)

(YouTube//The Fox Kids)

Students Raise $12k for Charity With a COVID Coloring Book

Covid Coloring Book
(Instagram/Be The Change Coloring Co)

Talking to your kids about COVID-19 can be tough. None of us have lived through a global pandemic before, so there’s not exactly a playbook for this. Four high school students in California are trying to make it easier, as they created a COVID Coloring Book to help kids understand the basics of the coronavirus.

The four students, Lauryn Hong, Ella Matlock, Sofia Migliazza, and Erin Rogers, created a business plan for a hypothetical book as part of an economics class project. After some encouragement from their teachers, they turned it into a real thing.

“We knew we wanted to do something for kids,” said Lauryn Hong said to the Washington Post. “We also knew we wanted to give back to the community. We considered doing a mask-decorating kit, but we decided on a coloring book because we wanted the kids to learn something. Covid is really confusing, even for us, and the coloring book is a way to keep them entertained and help them learn.”

 

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Thank you for all of the orders! Your books will be delivered sometime next week. 🐊💚💛 #SomeGoodNews

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They started ‘Be The Change Coloring Co.’ to create and sell the book. They expected to sell a couple of dozen to friends and family and planned to donate 40% of the proceeds to charities. They have since sold more than 7,000(!) books and donated more than $12,000 to charities including the CDC Coronavirus relief fund and local hospitals.

“I never thought that we would be at this stage in the business. I didn’t really think we would really have a business at all because it was supposed to be just a school project,” Rogers told a local news outlet. ”It’s really amazing to know that we’ve gotten to reach out to so many people.”

 

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We created a little video with a summary of what our business is about, please watch! 💛 + Erin’s editing with Sofia’s nonexistent feet

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According to their website, their main goals for the project are to educate young kids on the extreme issues of today and to give back to the community. The characters Al E. Gator, Wally the Narwhal, and Sam the Snail help kids entertained and informed about what’s going on.

You can buy a COVID Coloring Book for your kids at bethechangecoloringco.com

Order a “Tony Hawk Burrito” and Get Early Access to Pro Skater 1+2

Tony Hawk Burrito
(Chipotle/PlayStation)

There’s not a ton of great news these days, so when Tony Hawk gets his own burrito at Chipotle and gives us a chance to get it for free, yeah, we’re gonna be on board. In a big way. Like, as big as a 2,000 calorie burrito for lunch way.

It’s tough to undersell this collab, as we are big Tony Hawk fans here (and the feeling is mutual), and everyone loves Chipotle. The two announced a special promotion where the first 2,000 people to order the “Tony Hawk burrito” before August 14th would get a code to access the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 warehouse demo for PS4, Xbox One or PC.

So, not only do you get a burrito, but you also get access to one of the most highly anticipated games. What is the Tony Hawk burrito? Good question. The recipe is as follows: brown rice, black beans, chicken, tomatillo-red chili salsa, cheese, and guac. It’s nothing revolutionary, but Hawk said it’s his go-to order to “refuel after long skate sessions.”

For those of you who like the idea of the burrito, but don’t like the idea of paying for the burrito, there’s something for you too. Chipotle’s Twitch page is being taken over this Friday, August 14, at 11 a.m. EST by Hawk, Jagger Eaton, and Finn Wolfhard, who will be playing the THPS 1 and 2 Warehouse Demo. During the stream, they are giving away 5,000 vouchers for a free burrito.

Pro Skater 1 and 2 are now nearly two decades old, and the new release is a re-master and those and the first new title in the PS franchise in more than five years. Hawk is a big Chipotle fan, and you would be too if, like Hawk, you had one of the celeb VIP cards that entitles him to free Chipotle and free catering. He said he’s all on board with the partnership.

“It’s a blast to see the enthusiasm for Chipotle, skating and video games continue to grow and inspire a new generation,” he said. “Whether you’re a veteran THPS player or new to the game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 has something for everyone.”

Last Blockbuster in Existence Is Becoming a 1990s-Themed Airbnb

Blockbuster Airnbnb
(Airbnb)

There may be the occasional pop-up shop but there’s only one true Blockbuster remaining on the planet, and it’s about to (temporarily) become the closest thing to a time machine we currently have. The last store standing for the iconic movie rental franchise is in Oregon, and for three nights in September, it’s turning into the coolest Airbnb ever.

The store announced this week that it will be listing the store on Airbnb for three one-night stays in September. The press release described it as a perfect “end-of-summer sleepover.” If you’ve ever wanted to sleep in the 90s, this could be your best shot.

Each stay includes an unlimited movie marathon, as the store’s owner has gone out of her way to recreate the perfect 90s at-home viewing experience (including a giant, clunky TV with a VCR). And the price is a pretty reasonable $4, which is only a penny more than the price of a rental at the store.

The store is turning into a rental as part of a promotion to say thank you to the community that has kept them in business, even as Netflix has eradicated the franchise from the rest of the globe.

“It’s our 20th year as a Blockbuster, we were hoping to celebrate that this year, but with Covid throwing a wrench into everybody’s plans, we were really excited to be able to pull this off,” manager Sandi Harding told CNN.

While the store will become available on the rental site on August 17th for the September stays, they will be keeping the living room décor up for awhile for customers that want to see what it looked like. And if you aren’t lucky enough to get to book the sleepover in the past, you can avoid the late fees and still grab some nostalgic merch from the store’s website.

Connery Voted Top Bond, Craig Doesn’t Even Make Top 3

Sean Connery Voted Top Bond
(Getty/Michael Ochs Archives)

Years ago, when Daniel Craig landed the plum role of the most famous secret agent in history, fans were outraged. How could a blond man portray James Bond?! All the previous Bonds had had dark hair, and despite the fact I – and the majority of 007 movie fans, probably – have never read a single one of Ian Fleming’s books about the super spy, I assume he has dark hair in those too.

What’s cool about living in the modern age is that there is such a thing as hair dye. Eventually, after seeing the gritty new Bond Craig portrayed in Casino Royale and several more films (including the pandemic-delayed No Time to Die, supposedly the actor’s final Bond flick), most fans agreed that the formerly blond actor acquitted himself quite nicely.

But not nicely enough, it seems.

In a recent poll conducted by Radio Times, fans didn’t even rate Craig as a top 3 Bond!

Over 14,000 people cast votes in the poll, with Sean Connery immediately eliminating Craig in the first round, garnering 56% of the vote to Craig’s 43%, and Pierce Brosnan crushing George Lazenby, the only Bond portrayer to appear in just one flick (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), 76% to 24%. The biggest upset was when Timothy Dalton, who took up the mantle between Moore and Brosnan, defeated Roger Moore 49% to 41%.

The final round saw Connery defeating both Brosnan and Dalton, with Dalton coming in second. The final numbers saw Connery securing 44%, Dalton 32%, and Brosnan 23%. No shocker that Connery took the crown, but Dalton coming in second after starring in two largely forgotten outings was surely a surprise.

Radio Times readers also mentioned their preferences for the next Bond, should Craig’s promises to leave the role prove out. The front runner was Sam Heughan, from Showtime’s Outlander series, earning almost 30%, with Tom Hardy (14%), Henry Cavill (11%), Idris Elba (10%), and Tom Hiddleston (5%) rounding out the top five.

After Saving His Sister From a Dog Attack, Bridger Has His Smile Back

Bridger Update
(Instagram/NicoleNoelWalker)

Bridger Walker became a worldwide inspiration when he selflessly stepped in to save his little sister from a dog attack. The boy suffered injuries requiring 90 stitches in the process, but as he later told family members, he thought “if anyone had to die, it should be me.”

As he was recovering from his injuries, his aunt shared the story on Instagram, and it quickly went viral. Bridger received messages from his “superhero” idols, including most of the Avengers. Strangers from around the world sent tributes and some even made fan art.

To the family’s credit, those who reached out inquiring about how to donate to his recovery were directed towards charities helping veterans. Bridger helped shine a spotlight on the Wounded Warriors Project and Mission 22. And since then, his family started the Bridger Strong website to share their story and the positivity around it.

There have also been a few other updates surrounding the story. The dog involved in the attack was put down, at the request of the owner. Bridger advocated for the dog, and his aunt said the family that owns the dog has been nothing but nice to the family.

Bridger did end up getting Brett Michaels’ guitar. His aunt said he was nearly in tears that Michaels said he was gifting him his guitar, because he was worried Michaels wouldn’t have one left and because Bridger doesn’t even know how to play. Somehow, I think Michaels will be OK.

Others have shown their appreciation for his story as well. His aunt said they weren’t sure if he’d ever be able to smile again, but that he hasn’t stopped smiling for weeks because of all the goodwill people have extended. He was a VIP at a local air show, got a care package from WarnerBros. With an awesome Flash figurine, a new camera from Canon, and a candy shopping spree.

 

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This is another gratitude post: When Bridger went in for his initial surgery, we weren’t sure if he would be able to smile again. The thought of my nephew’s smile being taken away was emotionally crippling. But, as I hope you can see from his photos, he has not stopped smiling for two weeks. He’s looking great, and I hope that all of you understand the role that you played in his recovery. Your kind words and letters and gifts—the use of your time and talents—have assisted in the healing of this sweet little hero. And these same things have restored my own faith in humanity. The world is not only full of good people, it is full of good people who are willing to do good things for one another. And, after all, I guess that’s what Bridger’s story is all about. Description of pictures: 1-3. Bridger was a VIP guest of @f22demoteam at a local air show. Maybe he’ll be a geologist and a pilot someday? 4 . Bridger received a care package from @warnerbrostv that was bigger than he is. His favorite was the Flash figurine. 5 . Bridger is going to love taking pictures of his growing rock collection with his new camera from @canonusa. 6 & 7. Bridger has a bigger sweet tooth than any kid I’ve ever known, so he was beyond excited to get a candy shopping spree with his family from @itsugar.

A post shared by Nikki Walker (@nicolenoelwalker) on

He also got a shoutout from Mr. Beast, his favorite YouTube personality, and a visit from Batman himself (well, the Batman of Spring Hill, which is close to the real thing!).

His family did make one request on the Bridger Strong website. According to their statement, this was their hope for what his story may accomplish:

After Bridger’s actions, our family has settled on a simple request: may we each actively strive to bear one another’s burdens; stand up for and protect those that are weak, oppressed, or those whom the world might forsake; mourn with those that mourn, comfort those that need comfort, and love one another. May we follow Bridger’s example, approach the world as a child, and bring greater peace to our own homes, communities, states, and countries.

Bridger’s bravery captivated people around the world, but his actions have clearly touched far more people than the 4-year-old sister he saved.

Zac Efron Headlining Remake of Three Men and a Baby for Disney+

3 Men Remake
(Touchstone)

Back in the 80s, a little movie about three bachelors who are suddenly saddled with caring for an infant – who may or may not be one of theirs – became a blockbuster. Starring Tom Selleck, Ted Danson, and Steve Guttenberg (the eighties were WILD), the movie blew up and even spawned (get it?) a sequel (Three Men and a Little Lady).

Along with everything else that you’ve ever held dear or even simply flipped by on HBO when you were a kid, Three Men and a Baby is now being remade for modern times, with a modern star: Zac Efron.

The former High School Musical star has slowly but surely been testing his range over the years, from starring in raunchy comedies alongside Seth Rogan, portraying notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, and starring in a new ecologically minded Netflix reality show, Efron is now taking on his biggest challenge yet: fatherhood. At least on screen. It won’t be easy with someone with that many abs to convincingly portray a character with a dad bod, but if Efron has proven anything over the past decade of his career, it’s that he’s game for anything. (He even got pee’d on in The Paperboy.)

According to The Hollywood Reporter, this version of the movie – which was itself a remake of a French flick – is being developed for Disney+. In the original, not only did Selleck, Danson, and Guttenberg have to learn how to care for a baby, they had to keep her safe from drug dealers who were trying to harm her for some reason. Honestly, all I remember about it is the urban legend that there was a ghost in the background of a scene (spoiler alert: there was not).

No word yet on how the plot will be updated for 2020 or who will costar alongside Efron, but I sort of hope it’s Danson and Selleck again. It’s Three Men and a Baby, so who really cares? Just go nuts. I’m sure Efron is up for it!

Fresh Prince Rebooting as Drama Thanks to Viral Gritty Trailer

Fresh Prince Gets a Gritty Upgrade
(YouTube/Sun Squared Media)

A year ago, we shared a trailer for a fake reboot of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

Unlike most fan-made trailers that reimagine and/or update beloved shows and movies, this trailer was made by a bona fide filmmaker, and the finished product was slick, professional, and provocative. It took the characters and basic fish-out-of-water set-up of the classic 90s sitcom that made Will Smith a household name and helped him crossover from the music industry into dramatic roles. The “gritty reboot” is old hat, but Cooper’s version was far more legitimate than most, and it got people thinking.

That thinking has coalesced into something real, and now Cooper’s vision is coming true. THR broke the news that Cooper was co-writing the script to a series reboot, and this time the Fresh Prince will be a drama.

Apparently, this project has been in the works since the four-minute trailer went viral last March and Smith caught wind of it. Suitably impressed, he got his production company involved, and now the show is in development.

THR describes the new series as “an hourlong dramatic retelling of the beloved ’90s sitcom that leans into the original premise of Will’s complicated journey from the streets of West Philadelphia to the gated mansions of Bel-Air. With a reimagined vision, Bel-Air will dive deeper into the inherent conflicts, emotions, and biases of what it means to be a Black man in America today, while still delivering the swagger and fun nods to the original show.”

Cooper is both co-writing and serving as executive producer, and as a filmmaker and Fresh Prince superfan, he struck gold.

Stay tuned for more news as the project develops, and check out the trailer that started the whole thing:

Rookie Police Dog Has Successful First Day, Finds Missing Mom and Baby

Police Dog Has Successful First Day, Finds Missing Mom And Baby
(YouTube/Amazing Animals)

The first day of a new job is a test of sorts. Not only do you get a sense of whether the workplace is a good fit, but your boss immediately begins to gauge how well you’re able to complete assigned tasks. Of course, there’s a huge learning curve with any new job and almost nobody is immediately successful in a brand new role. Fortunately for a mother and her one-year-old in the UK, a rookie police dog named Max is a rare breed – on his very first day, he was able to locate the missing mom and baby and help bring them to safety. It’s yet another amazing story of a police dog saving the day (although family dogs are heroes too.)

The mother and baby had been missing for two days, and concern for their well-being grew higher with every passing minute. In a press release, inspector Jonathan Rees-Jones stated, “Thanks to excellent work between teams, the woman’s car was quickly found on a mountain road. Although this gave officers a location to search from, there was still a vast area to cover given the amount of time she had been missing.”

On Saturday, the mother’s car was located and Max was called in for his very first shift with the Dyfed-Powys Police Department. Max has been trained as a tracking dog, and although he has practiced endlessly for this moment, there was no telling how his very first mission would go. With potentially two full days between when the mom and baby left the car and the start of the search and rescue mission, there was no telling how far the pair could have wandered. Mid-day Saturday, Max and his handler Police Constable Peter Lloyd began their search.

Incredibly, after just an hour and a half, Max successfully completed his first mission. Pulling his handler in the right direction, Loyd breathed a sigh of relief as he spotted the missing woman. Mom and baby were cold, but otherwise unharmed.

“I must give a special mention to PC Pete Lloyd and Max,” Rees-Jones said, “who on their very first day since completing their training together covered a significant amount of mileage in the search, eventually locating them safe.”

A round of appaws for the hero of the hour, Max the police dog. Hopefully, this is the first of many successful searches.

Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell are Expecting Their First Child

Bindi Irwin and Chandler Powell are Expecting Their First Child
(Instagram/bindisueirwin)

It has been quite a year for Bindi Irwin, daughter of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin and wildlife conservationist in her own right. She just turned 22 and shared a touching tribute to her late dad to honor his memory. She married Chandler Powell in a small but beautiful ceremony at the Australia Zoo, during which her brother Robert walked her down the aisle, and a blown-up picture of her late dad was displayed prominently as if he was celebrating with them. Recently she shared some artwork of her wedding day that pays homage to her dad. To top off an already eventful year, Bindi and her husband Chandler are expecting a baby.

Bindi took to Instagram to make the exciting announcement, posting a picture of her and Chandler in their matching khaki shirts. The couple is beaming and holding up a tiny version of a third khaki shirt, which is embroidered with “Australia Zoo”, and the date “15 November” (Steve Irwin Day).

The photo caption reads, “Baby Wildlife Warrior due 2021. Chandler and I are proud to announce that we’re expecting! It’s an honour to share this special moment in our lives with you.” Bindi continues, “Though I’m still in my first trimester, we really want you to be part of our journey from the beginning of this new life chapter. We couldn’t wait to share the news as this beautiful little being has become the most important part of our lives. Your support means the world to us. Please let me know your best advice and send good vibes & prayers to our little sweetheart. Love & light.”

Bindi’s mom Terri shared her excitement and congratulations in a Twitter post, stating that she was “over the moon” about the news. In typical Irwin family fashion, Terri made sure to include her late husband in the post – the baby would have been Steve’s first grandchild, and as Terri states, “he would have been so proud”.

Chandler shared the news himself on Twitter, expressing the joy and excitement he feels as a soon-to-be father. “Bee,” Chandler states in his post, “you’re going to be the most amazing mother.”

A huge congratulations to the entire Irwin family on this exciting news. And Chandler, let us be the first to say – welcome to the club.