Midnight Ramblings XVI

Chaos in Print

NOTE: There’s something a little different about this Rambling. Keep reading and you’ll see why.

Hey Kes!

So, firstly, Kes, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing to you and not to your boyfriend, Neelix, who’s usually the target of these ramblings. Well, I’ve already had this conversation with Neelix, and now it’s time you were let in on the secret. Ever since you got me that bootleg uncut version of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, you’ve been slowly replacing him as my best friend. How about that? Now, you’re subject to the ramblings that originally only he ignored with mild disinterest.

Actually, this whole rambling started with something that I thought you might find interesting. I know that you’ve mentioned in the past a certain affinity for Jeff Goldblum. Well, while finally watching my Independence Day DVD with the running commentary, I heard this quote about Jeff Goldblum that I thought you might find interesting:

“And in case you’re wondering what that weird thing he’s doing with his hands is, he’s ‘putting his thinking cap on.’ Jeff was always full of weird, good stuff like this. That’s what made him such a joy to work with.”

Yeah, I do so love Independence Day. And after I finished watching it, I finally sat down to watch A Bug’s Life with the running commentary. Yes, I found the 2-disc, special edition of A Bug’s Life! Every online store was telling me it was out-of-print, but yet, there it was, sitting on the shelf in Future Shop. I couldn’t help but snatch it up, when the Fates were telling me it didn’t exist. In you face, Fates! And besides, like the running commentaries on the Toy Story movies, it’s just full of good quotes. Like this one:

John Lasseter (director)>> Now here’s when we first meet Flik. For this scene, we wanted Flik to seem like just a big geek.

Andrew Stanton (co-director)>> Something we here at Pixar had to do very little research on.

And even more little tidbits on the voice casting. They agreed that getting Dave Foley to voice Flik was just an “out-of-left-field decision.” But then, when they decided on Foley, they actually had to talk him into it, because Dave Foley apparently thinks that he has a really annoying voice.

And how they got Kevin Spacey for Hopper! A really Hollywood way. It took place five years ago at the big Oscar luncheon. (See, 2 weeks before the Oscars, the Academy holds this big luncheon, where all the nominees get a frame-able “certificate of nomination.”) Kevin Spacey was there that year because he was nominated for his role in The Usual Suspects. (And he went on to win for that role.) Co-directors John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton where there because Toy Story was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. So, they all started talking, and they casually asked Spacey if he’d like to do voice work for them, and Spacey said, “Yes!” So, when they started work on the Bug’s Life screenplay the next day, they started writing Hopper for Spacey, and that’s how they got him.

Then I finally watched Fight Club with the running commentary by David Fincher and the cast. Man, the more I watch Fight Club the more it starts to disturb me because the more I start seeing myself in Narrator/Jack/Ed Norton’s character. If I start inventing a violence-prone imaginary friend, you’ll hold an intervention, right?

When I was done with DVDs for the night, I watched a rerun of M*A*S*H. This was seriously an episode of M*A*S*H. I’m not making this up. The story revolved around this nurse whose tour of duty was just about up. At her birthday party, it was stumbled upon that she was a 28-year old virgin, and quite self-conscious about this. So, all the nurses decided to help her get over this problem. They cut off all the men in the camp until one agreed to start dating her. Of course, our hero, Hawkeye Pierce (how much M*A*S*H did you watch growing up?) rose to the challenge. Since our nurse was also a bit of a klutz, this led to all sorts of comic mishaps on their dates. But, this all soon built up to when our nurse had her first kiss, and that’s all she really wanted, for that was enough to convince her that she could handle herself physically in a relationship. So, this episode got me thinking, why aren’t MY friends like this? Why don’t all my friends cut off their girlfriends until they agree to set me up with one of their friends? Suddenly, I think I’m talking to the wrong gender. Better cc this to Neelix.

Yeah, when I was a kid, I loved M*A*S*H. That was one of my big fads growing up. Now, you look at kids today, and what do they have? Harry Potter. I think I’m fairly certain that the Harry Potter mania has reached its peak. I was reading in the paper this morning that, coming this Christmas, are Harry Potter Lego sets! It’ll be a set of nine Lego castles. Man, what the hell happened to Lego? I remember when there were only three subsets: Town, Space, and Castle. Now, it’s gotten all weird and science-fictiony and actiony and, well, every time someone comes up with a new idea, it spawns a whole new set. There’s the “Rock Raiders” and “Arctic” and “Ninja” and “Adventures.” Let’s get back to basics: Town, Space, and Castle. I remember when the big debate in my life was whether my Lego Space Shuttle would be Town or Space. Now, I think it’s “Space Explorers.”

Although, I think my new favorite subset has to be the Steven Spielberg Lego studios. Endorsed by Mr. Movie God Steven Spielberg, this set consists of a series of movie set-pieces. There’s “Dinosaur Attack,” which is a Lego animatronic T-Rex (complete with Little Lego Man puppeteer and Little Lego stunt man). There’s the “Stunt Man Catapult.” There’s the “Explosion Studio.” There’s even a little Jeep set so you can recreate the classic truck chase from Raiders of the Lost Ark. But, the centerpiece of this subset is the Lego Studio. This is a huge Lego movie studio complete with digital camera so you can make your own Lego movies. And, just for fun, the set even comes with a Little Lego Steven Spielberg.

All this Lego licensing never really came about until Christmas 1998, when the Lego folks got the bright idea to start making Star Wars Lego sets. Star Wars Lego is still going strong, with the Star Wars Lego figures becoming quite the collectors items. So big an item, in fact, that the Lego club started selling them exclusively to members! And new sets keep getting cranked out. According to the official Lego website, 2001 will see the release of the Lego TIE Fighter, with Little Lego TIE Fighter Pilot and Little Lego Stormtrooper, and the Lego Imperial Shuttle, with two Little Lego Imperial Guards and Little Lego Emperor Palpatine. I don’t know why, but I keep denying myself the Lego SLAVE-1, with Little Lego Boba Fett and Little Lego Han Frozen in Carbonite.

And now, before I go, one last quote from the Bug’s Life running commentary. This was the quote I bought the disc for; because they make reference to this quote on the Toy Story 2 running commentary, and I had to see if that quote was really there. See, Andrew Stanton ends the running commentary on Toy Story 2 by saying this: “I ended the Bug’s Life running commentary by saying it was 1 in the morning, and we had to go finish Toy Story 2. So, I’ll end this one by saying its 4:30 in the afternoon, and we’ve got to go finish Monsters, Inc.

Sure enough, I watched the Bug’s Life running commentary, and this is how it ended:

Andrew Stanton>> So, that’s the movie. And, we’ve got to be wrapping this up because it’s 1 in the morning, and we’ve all got to be back here at 8 to get back to work on Toy Story 2!

John Lasseter>> Yeah, we’re actually making a Toy Story 2, can you believe it? So, we’ve all got to be going to bed. AND YOU GO TO BED TOO! Good night!


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