odds and ends: break lamentations, wreck-it ralph, marvel book

Once upon a time, my school district had an INSANE Thanksgiving break. They would get (and please believe me, I’m not kidding here) A FULL WEEK OFF. As someone coming to the district from the East Coast, to me this amount of time off was something I couldn’t comprehend. A full week… I was used to two days for my Thanksgiving break: Thursday and Friday.

Sadly, I only experienced that joyful lunacy once – the schedule was amended the year after I joined Middletown City Schools. This was probably for the best. We’re so close to Winter Break anyhow, it doesn’t exactly help matters to serve up a week off three weeks before Midterms.

Still, I’m missing that nice chunk of time off right about now.

——————–

As it has been unseasonably warm this November, Ellen and and I decided to load the boys up in the car and go to the drive-in movie theater this past weekend. We went to see Wreck-It Ralph.

It was an enjoyable movie. Watching Wreck-It Ralph, it’s fairly clear how much influence Pixar’s formula for their movies has had on Walt Disney Animation now that they are the dominant force in animated features. The flick straddled that line between having a lot of enjoyable in-jokes and being too overrun with winking nods and innuendo.

John C. Reilly does a fantastic job giving life to Ralph, but it makes me wish Disney had been a bit more adventurous with some of their other casting choices. Jane Lynch essentially does Sue Sylvester here as Sgt. Calhoun, the tough-as-nails title character from one of the video games. Ditto Jack McBrayer as Fix-It Felix Jr., the naive hero of Ralph’s arcade console.

The best part of the movie was Paperman, the short feature attached to our viewing of the film. A lovely, heartfelt ode to romance in modern times, it was a gorgeous piece of work and I recommend it even more highly than the feature itself.

——————–

I’m currently reading Marvel Comics: The Untold Story by Sean Howe.

I’m scolding myself a little bit for the choice. I have a backlog of books I’ve been wanting to read for awhile and I let this one cut ahead of the line… even though I know a lot of the behind the scenes stories Howe purports to reveal here.

It’s an altogether interesting and readable history of the House of Ideas, very even-handed in its’ portrayals of both the good aspects of Marvel… and the sometimes deplorable actions of the company. Equal weight is given in the Stan Lee v. Jack Kirby debate (although you’d have to be an idiot not to side with Kirby) and I was surprised to find a wealth of information dealing with Marvel Comics in the 1990’s. Marvel’s “driven by the dollar” actions in the Nineties were instrumental in the economic downturn of the comics market and Howe doesn’t shy away from that fact.

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