ScreenTime: Tangled Is Better Than Frozen, You Morons

Frozen is a smash hit. I don’t need to tell you this. It made $1.3 billion at the box office and countless more in merchandise. Tangled? Not so much. It made less than half of Frozen’s haul at the box office and trying to find a Flynn Rider doll at your local Toys ‘R Us is like trying to find a chameleon in an Army Surplus store. No home is free from the scourge of Let It Go, which is heard daily in my house, hourly at the weekends.

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But when it comes to Frozen: The Movie, my daughter couldn’t care less. Cries for Tangled ring out nearly as often as requests for “Padda“, but she hasn’t asked for “Elsa” once since she first saw it a few months ago.

Upon delving into the finer details of my precious offspring’s lack of interest, it became clear that her issue was one of representation. Specifically that Disney‘s 2010 offering did not contain enough characters of the equine persuasion. But this is, frankly, untrue. There are many horses in Frozen. Prince Hans has a horse, as does Anna, and there are several background equestrians in many key scenes. But none of these scenes bring effervescent joy to my daughter’s face like the moment in Tangled where the palace horse Maximus engages in a sword-fight with renowned thief Flynn Rider, who is armed only with a frying pan. 

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One could argue that this scene resonates so strongly merely because of the spectacle of a horse wielding a sword. But while such pageantry is impressive at first blush, it rarely holds up to multiple revisits. No, the power in this scene comes from beyond this cheap thrill. The power comes from the clash not of steel upon cast iron, but of idea upon idea, of dream upon dream. For Flynn desires nothing more than complete freedom, liberty from the hardship of everyday life, from his past, from law of the land, while Maximus’ ideals run directly counter to such libertarianism. The Rule of Law, Order, Peace. These are the things our noble steed desires. So when he crosses swords with the roguish Flynn, they fight not because of some plot contrivance, but because the fight is inevitable, because to fight is encoded in their very nature. 

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In contrast, the big action set-piece in Frozen sees our heroes Anna & Kristoff face off against an abomination of snow & ice, who’s inner life is not even hinted at. Does the frozen creature hate simply because he is created to do so? Does he wish to protect his creator, whom he truly loves? Or does he chase the interlopers halfheartedly, resigned to his lot in life, but without any real passion for his job? We will never know, because Frozen is uninterested in telling us.

This is emblematic of the difference between the two movies, one has depth of theme, character, and motivation, while the other has a lumbering snow-monstrosity whose dead eyes taunt the audience with their emptiness.

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This creature stumbles through scenes, grimacing and screaming, with no purpose or reason for existence. His cruel creation, ripped from black nothingness into a tenuously connected collection of geometric shapes and inexplicable whims is a twisted corruption of Frozen’s own inception, seemingly Frankensteined together from jarringly unrelated song fragments. Every moment he is on screen he taunts us with his own impossibility, mugging and “joking” his way through an existence that must be as painful for him endure as it is for us to witness. And then he starts to sing.

When Tangled’s characters sing of their dreams in the modern classic “I Have A Dream”, those dreams speak to the very core of who they are. Thugs and ruffians with hearts of gold, orphans so scared of being hurt again they can’t stop running, young women who yearn to discover who they are. They dream of lives free of constraint, of freedom from the prisons of expectation and judgement. We sing along with them because their dreams are our dreams, their frustrations our frustrations.

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When Olaf sings of his dreams, those dreams speak only to his emptiness. Olaf’s desire for “Summer” may match up neatly with Anna’s desire to end Elsa’s winter, but it isn’t motivated by real character growth or thematic depth. To empathize with Olaf’s dreams we must accept one of two premises:

1) He doesn’t know what Summer is, and so his desire for it is completely shallow, a wish for the baubles and trappings of a season that has absolutely no meaning to him.

or

2) He is very aware of what Summer is, and is performing ignorance to hide the dark nature of his cravings. He knows full well that the heat of Summer will destroy him, finally releasing him from his meaningless immortality.

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Either option reveals thematic underpinnings to “Summer” (and hence the character of Olaf) that have absolutely nothing to do with the purported themes of Frozen, and in the case of option number 2, directly oppose those themes.

It is here that we reveal the real difference between Frozen and Tangled: Tangled is ABOUT something, Frozen is not. Every scene, every character, every song in Tangled have something to say about its themes. Hope, Dreams, and Freedom. Lost Time and Past Mistakes. Tangled’s approach to these things can be summed up in a single moment.

When King Frederick & Queen Arianna are lighting their lantern in the ceremony to commemorate the lost princess, the King looks at his wife. He suddenly looks old, tired, hurt. The camera lingers, no words are exchanged. In this silent moment we feel all the time that has gone by and all the hopes and dreams that have been dashed by that lost time. It is a moment that subtly but powerfully reinforces not only the motivations of the King, the Queen and Rapunzel, but also the deeper themes of the movie.

Frozen doesn’t have any moments like this. It wouldn’t know how. For a start, Frozen doesn’t have the time to spend on such quiet contemplation, it’s too busy filling its time with gags and songs. More importantly, upon what topic would it meditate? What, at its heart, is Frozen about?

Sure, the final scenes of Frozen are about sisterly love, but what does “Frozen Heart” or “Let It Go” or Summer” have to say about that topic? The romantic arc of the movie deliberately subverts the Disney Prince archetype, but what do Duke of Weasleton or Elsa or Olaf have to do with that idea? Elsa’s story can be read as a coming out metaphor, but what does Anna’s relationship with Kristoff or Olaf’s desire for summer have to say about coming out? Frozen contains all these things, but it is about none of them.

It seems that my daughter, unlike the general public, requires not only more horses, but more depth from her entertainment. This is some thing Frozen cannot deliver.

Mark Hamill Cheers up Children’s Hospital Patients With His Voices

Hamill Cheers Up Kids with Voice Talents
(YouTube/Children's Hospital Los Angeles)

Luke Skywalker was a hero, but the man who played him, Mark Hamill, is every bit a legend himself. The 69-year-old actor went above and beyond to cheer up some patients at a Children’s Hospital by reading to them virtually and delighted them by doing his Joker voice and impressions of Darth Vader and Yoda.

Hamill flexed his prodigious voice talents (the guy did do a killer cartoon Joker for years) by reading to patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as part of the Make March Matter campaign, where actors and organizations come together to support the hospital. He told People the kids knew more about Star Wars than he did.

“Virtually visiting young patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was a remarkable and touching experience. My favorite part was reading a special book with them, Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown,” Hamill said.

One patient asked a brilliant question, pondering what Hamill’s Joker would say to Luke Skywalker. Hamill responded PERFECTLY.

He said he was happy to do the Joker impression on a private Zoom with a patient, but that it’s awkward to do when people ask in public.

“You can’t do him quietly and it’s disturbing for those who assume I’m just some random kook.”

During the book readings, he also voiced Vader, a stormtrooper, and Yoda. Hamill does a lot of charity work, but you always gotta give it up when someone can bring Luke Skywalker and The Joker to life to help put a smile on the face of a sick child.

Turns Out You Can Teach an Old Pooch Cool Dog Tricks, Here’s Where to Start

cool dog tricks, dog with stick in mouth
(Jamie Street/Unsplash)

First, we’ll level with you: Even if our dog were a complete idiot who never listened to a single command or learned a single trick, we’d still love her. Those tip-tappy toenails on the wood. The clumsy whole-butt tail wagging. Even that stinky, stanky hot breath. They’re all lovable and irreplaceable. After all, there’s a reason why emotional support dogs are a mainstay at children’s hospitals and hospice care facilities. All this to say if the only cool dog trick our dog ever learned was how to be excited when we walked in the door, that would be enough.

Having a dog isn’t about the tricks, but they’re certainly fun. What tricks you teach your dog might depend on what you need from them, what your kids will find most entertaining, or simply what sparks your interest. How you teach your dog, however, tends to be the same across the board. The American Kennel Club offers some pretty helpful tips. They recommend first teaching your dog to want praise. Any time your dog does something “right,” impressive, or even sweet, reward her. This is called “positive reinforcement” and it works with toys, treats, or just additional love and praise. For some dogs and for easy tasks, a simple but excited, “Good boy!” is all you need. For more complicated tricks, you might have to pull out the big guns, like those tiny but super pungent treats. They also suggest starting early (even at just eight weeks) and keeping sessions short. A couple of 5 to 10-minute sessions each day will be much more effective than one long, boring training session.

So, what do you want to teach your dog? There are tons of cool tricks here but start with the basic commands: Come, stay, and speak. You’ll have a much easier time getting Fido to jump through that hoop if they know how to come when called. Similarly, it’s less stressful teaching them to jump for a frisbee if you teach them to stay when told and they don’t run off. Need a little help with just the basics? Start here before moving on to more complicated tricks.

1. Train Your Dog to Open the Door

This could be a really cool trick. It will certainly surprise your guests. Just keep in mind that if you train your dog to open doors, they might start opening doors to places you don’t want them to go.

2. Train Your Dog to Close the Door

Opening doors is all well and good. But, how about closing a door behind them? Yep. You can teach that, too.

3. Jumping Through Hoops

Once your dog knows basic commands like “come” or “heel,” it becomes a lot easier to teach them more complicated tricks. Is jumping through a hoop useful? Uh, no. But, it’s certainly impressive and fun.

4. Teach Your Dog to “Get”

“Get” is different from “fetch.” In the dog training world, fetch implies you have an object, you’re tossing it, and your dog is retrieving it. Teaching your dog to “get” something means they’re bringing you an item you request. Since you can teach your dog the names of objects in your home, once they learn to get one or two items, it should be fairly easy to branch out. Start by having them get their leash or your slippers and branch out from there.

5. Train Your Dog to Count

Math can be hard for humans. It turns out, however, that it’s a little easier for Spot.

6. Teach Jump Roping to Your Dog

Wanna make all the other dog owners at the dog park jealous? Teach your pooch how to jump rope! As a bonus, you can refer to playing with your dog as “doing some cardio” and sound very fit.

7. Train Your Dog to Turn Off The Lights

One common command service dogs learn is to turn lights off and on. After all, how often do you find yourself doing just that? Your Doodle may not be a service dog, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be of service when you’re too lazy to get up.

8. Teach Your Dog The Snoot Challenge

Thank God for TikTok or we’d be without this completely useless but cool dog trick.

Ryan Reynolds Is Back in the Trailer for The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

Ryan Reynolds Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
(YouTube/Lionsgate)

Ryan Reynolds has been in the news a bunch over the past year, for his hilarious social media hijinks, he and his wife’s repeated efforts to help during the pandemic, and for his work with his liquor brand, Aviation Gin.

Unfortunately, aside from his Netflix action movie 6 Underground, he hasn’t been on screens all that much.

Deadpool 3, which will be the MCU’s first (and only?) R-rated entry is still a ways off, and his involvement in the newly-launched ThunderCats project is nothing but a rumor at this point. Thankfully, though, he does have a new flick coming out soon, and today we finally get to see the trailer.

It’s called The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard. Reynolds stars as, well, the titular hitman’s wife’s bodyguard, and in the movie, he’s tasked with protecting Salma Hayek, who plays hitman Samuel L. Jackson’s wife, who is in danger from Antonio Banderas. The sequel to 2017’s action-comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard hits theaters on June 16th, and it looks like a lot of fun. At the very least it will be nice to see Reynolds again!

Check out the trailer:

Special Needs Puppy Gets Ghosted by Adopters, Goes Viral, Finds Fur-Ever Home

Jack Ghosted Puppy
(Facebook/PeachesBullyRescue)

After being ghosted by potential adopters, a special needs puppy named Jack has finally found his forever home.

In January the 9-month-old pup with spina bifida had a bath, put on his fancy harness, a fresh diaper, and went with his foster team on a 40-minute drive to meet his new owners. And he was ghosted. All that, and they were a no-call, no-show.

Peaches Bully Rescue in Ohio posted about the puppy’s disappointing day out. They said the foster team put in all that work, drove 40 minutes each way, and puppy Jack was ghosted. The post on Facebook said he was “very sad” and that it was a “huge disappointment.” But, they realized that just wasn’t going to be his family.

“Respect that we are all volunteers just trying to give this guy his best chance. Not showing up or calling is bad form,” they wrote. “Your family will come sweet boy, and when they do, they will be perfect.”

But the post on Facebook did resonate with people. Like, a LOT of people. In fact, it quickly went viral, as plenty of decent people out there felt for the lil guy. And since the post went viral, Jack had HUNDREDS of people lining up to adopt him and give him a home.

Since then, his story has been covered by People Magazine, the Today Show, and The New York Post.

The rescue is processed hundreds of applications and has expressed deep gratitude for the gifts and warm wishes they’ve received. They said the post reached more than 3 million people, and they’ve heard from folks in Australia, the U.K., Germany, Singapore, and more.

“Who knew that our little Jack Jack would be so widely loved,” they posted about the attention. “Thank you all and please support rescue. We are the last chance for many animals in this world.”

Because of his condition, Jack has to wear a diaper, but he is still mobile and still cute as heck.

And now he has a family to take him in fur-ever!

 

Watch Will and Martin Honor “Bad Boys” 26th Anniversary and Tease a 4th Flick

Will Smith Martin Lawrence
(Instagram/willsmith)

“Bad Boys” was a blockbuster for the action-comedy genre, which is a lost art (unless you shoehorn a few select Marvel offerings in there). And it’s definitely developed a cult following over the years, even though it’s only been out a short…26 years. OK, well it feels like less, but you can really feel those years when you see the stars then and now.

And even those it’s been 26 years, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence decided to celebrate the occasion, while renewing their vows to each other as Bad Boys and recreating the original movie poster.

 

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“When we say FOR LIFE we mean it,” Will Smith wrote on Instagram. “Bad Boys came out 26 years ago today!”

Lawrence added “Today marks 26 years and we STILL riding strong! Bad Boys for life!”

So life means life, and the baddest boys are still all about that. Not only that, but we also MAY be getting a fourth (and final) installment of the franchise.

We had a sequel in 2003, and then a long time off before the duo reunited in 2020, but when they were accepting an NAACP Image Award for that latest film is when they tipped their hand about a possible final chapter.

They thanked the fans and said “hopefully, we’re gonna try to get one more…you guys seem to like it, so we’re gonna try to do one more, before we become the sad boys.”

Previously Unpublished Prince Album Drops This Summer

New Prince Album
(YouTube/Prince)

Prince was a legend with no true equal, whether it was as an entertainer or on the court. And even though he’s been gone for five years now, we are about to get some new music from the iconic artist, as his estate is releasing a previously unpublished album from 2010.

The Prince Estate and Legacy Recordings announced earlier this month a forthcoming release of “Welcome 2 America”, recorded by the star in 2010. The press release described it as a “powerful creative statement that documents Prince’s concerns, hopes and visions for a shifting society, presciently foreshadowing an era of political division, disinformation and a renewed fight for racial justice.”

If you can’t wait for the full album, along with the release of a previously recorded full concert, you can hear the title track from “Welcome 2 America” on Spotify and Apple Music. Along with the album, the unreleased concert film (recorded from his 2011 tour of the same name) includes him covering some Bob Dylan and Janet Jackson.

The visionary reportedly had a treasure trove of unrecorded material, a mysterious vault of music intended for the children he never had. His bandmates say Prince’s “Welcome 2 America” is disillusioned funk and ‘perfect for the times’, and will be absorbed in a different way in 2021 than it would have a decade prior.

He never said why the album wasn’t released at the time, but for material that covers commentary on social media, celebrity culture, and the state of the country, it will probably still make a pretty poignant statement about the world he left behind.

The album will drop on July 30th.

Veteran in Hospice Care Has Final Wish Granted, Sees Beloved Dog One Last Time

Dying veteran sees beloved dog one last time
(Facebook/Albuquerque Animal Welfare)

For many, dogs become far more than just pets. Their loyalty, intuition, and unconditional love make them members of the family, ones who stand by our sides during life’s most challenging moments. A veteran named John Vincent was heartbroken when he had to give up his beloved dog Patch after entering hospice care, and even during his final days, he didn’t stop thinking about his best friend.

The 69-year-old had no family nearby, and nobody he knew was willing to take in his 5-year-old companion. When Vincent was moved to the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Patch was relinquished to Albuquerque Animal Welfare.

Vincent’s condition was quickly deteriorating, and during a session with his palliative care social worker, Amy Neal, the veteran made a far-fetched last request. His last wish was to see his best friend once more, to say one last goodbye to the loyal terrier. After realizing how meaningful the reunion would be to Vincent, Neal scrambled to make the veteran’s last wish a reality.

“When the request came in, it was an immediate ‘absolutely,’ and let’s do whatever we can to get it done,” Danny Nevarez, Director of Animal Welfare told the Albuquerque Journal. “It was as simple as getting Patch over here.”

As the animal welfare workers drove towards Vincent with Patch quietly in tow, something in the small pup changed.

“It’s almost like he knew, he just started whimpering,” Nevares told the Journal. “Like he had that anticipation.”

The reunion between Vincent and Patch was nothing short of extraordinary, with both man and dog perking up at the sight of one another.

Veteran in hospice says goodbye to beloved dog
(Facebook/Albuquerque Animal Welfare)

“Yeah, that’s me, that’s daddy,” Vincent said to Patch. “Are you so happy to see me? I’m so happy to see you.”

Albuquerque Animal Welfare shared touching photos of the reunion on Facebook, grateful to be part of something so meaningful. Vincent and Patch got to take their time saying a final goodbye, closure that each of them likely needed.

“It was such a heart warming moment,” Albuquerque Animal Welfare wrote on Facebook. “They were so happy to see each other and to say their good byes. It was an honor to make this veterans final wish come true.

Adidas and South Park Collab For the Perfect 4/20 Shoes

Adidas South Park Towelie Shoe
(Instagram/JustJuice)

It isn’t 1992 anymore and the easiest way to tell (besides, well, a calendar) is how culture’s attitude towards cannabis has shifted. State governments are decriminalizing or outright legalizing marijuana use, the medicinal benefits of cannabis are being embraced (by some), and brands and personalities are a lot more open about weed. And that’s why you can celebrate 4/20 with the highest shoes we’ve seen.

There have been some pretty awesome shoe collaborations, but if you’re looking for a partner for 4/20, good luck beating out Adidas teaming up with one of the greatest comedies of all time and releasing a South Park-themed pair of Campus 80s.

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone worked with the shoe company to make the perfect 4/20 shoes by leaning on everyone’s favorite cartoon-user, Towelie. The Towelie shoes have eye illustrations on the tongue, which can turn pink and bloodshot when exposed to sunlight. The shoes also have a stash pocket beneath the tongue, for whatever you may need to put in a tiny pocket. You know, right where it says “I have no idea what’s going on.”

 

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There’s more Adidas and South Park branding inside the shoe, but from a distance, it’s the blue terry cloth and trademark eyes that will help other fans quickly identify how high your shoes truly are.

South Park knows its demo, which has been a trademark of their success for a long time, and these shoes, available on (well, you know what day they’re available) are another testament to its creator’s ability to make jokes come to life.

After Two Years, the “Perfect” Super Mario Bros. Speedrun Has Been Dethroned

(Youtube/Niftski)

The original Super Mario Bros. is notoriously difficult, and I feel like anyone who can complete the game deserves some kind of medal.  You can imagine my shock then while watching Niftski’s new world record speedrun that clocks in at 4 minutes and 54 seconds.  This is some next-level Mario Bros. gameplay.

Before we get to that run though, we need to go back to September 25th, 2018.  This was the day streamer Kosmic achieved the (previously) “perfect” Super Mario Bros. speedrun world record with a time of 4:55.913, which had only ever been achieved during a tool-assisted run.  These tool-assisted runs are special programs that allow creators to play perfectly, giving them an idea of just how far they can potentially push a game to its limits.  As experts continued to tinker with different speedrun methods, there were tool-assisted runs that would end up clocking in at under 4:55, but what Kosmic had done was as perfect as humanly possible.  Could anyone achieve a better time than his?  How do you improve on perfection?

It wouldn’t be until April 7th, 2021 that streamer Niftski would blow everyone’s minds.  He pulled off a perfect run like no other, just barely sneaking in by milliseconds and setting a new world record of 4:54.948.  I don’t even want to know how many attempts it took to reach this point, but watching this will leave your palms sweaty.  Each jump over an enemy is so close to ending Niftski’s run, it physically pains me to watch.  As he inches closer towards the end, the chat starts to go absolutely berserk and once he knocks Bowser into the lava for the last time, the sheer joy from Niftski’s voice tells you all that hard work has paid off.

“IT HAS FINALLY BEEN DONE! THE 55 BARRIER IS NO LONGER. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported me on this journey. This was my 2nd run ever on this pace into 8-4, so I am blessed to say I finished it out. This is a time I can be proud of for the rest of my life. Also, I don’t plan on stopping here! ;)”

I have a hard enough time jumping on Goomba’s properly, so Niftski’s speedrun is a sight to behold, with each movement being executed with precision.  What’s also interesting is Niftski uses a keyboard to play.  The original NES controller is pretty uncomfortable by today’s standards, but I couldn’t imagine using anything other than that.  I guess if you are going to be playing Mario Bros. as much as these guys do though, comfort is key.

Now, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if anyone can beat this new record.  Will we be waiting weeks or years to find out?  I hope for Niftski’s sake it’s a very long time.