It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it.-Roger Ebert
In accordance with my personality, I am more than just an amateur blogger. For those of you who don’t know, I helped a good friend of mine write this amazing low-budget film last year called Gamers, a tale that focuses on the social lives of three gamers who find that everything they’ve come to know is about to change in a single, “roller coaster of emotions” kind of day. AND, it’s finally done! Now, we’re hoping to screen it this Autumn at the local theatre known as the Enzian here in Florida.
In order to commit to that dream, a Kickstarter has been made, and here’s some info on how you can help us achieve it!
We appreciate any sort of donation, for anything and everything truly does help. Films try to tell you a story, at least, the good ones do. We hope that we can bring this story to the screen for others to experience.
Ok so sometimes when I’m off from work, I like to sit back, turn on my XBox, take a hit and shift into chill mode. I have a select playlist of shows and movies that I watch, depending on my level of buzzed-ness, (and if I have crap to do in the morning). So ladies and gents, here it is, my Top Ten shows/movies (in no specific order) to watch whilst partaking in herbal medicine.
First, the animated guys.
10. The Amazing World of Gumball
The show follows a blue cat named Gumball, his brother Darwin, an orange goldfish that was originally his pet but grew legs and joined the family (like, right off the bat this jank is cray), and their younger sister Anais, a pink rabbit. They exist in a half 2-D, half photographed, partially stop-motioned world. And it’s freaking insane, sometimes. It has witty humour, original stories, and is fast-paced enough to keep from becoming boring or tiresome. This clip alone details how truly entertaining this kid’s show is.
And this one shows how badass his sister Anais is.
The story is a little slow but makes up for it in it’s profound way of expanding a tale about souls in machines. Chobits gives us the chance to dive into the theories behind the spiritual and psychological impact of sentience in technology. The characters have personalities you can, for the most part, relate to, despite the show’s tendencies to be somewhat scandalous. The effects that these computers have on people are also examined from a more dramatic and romantic standpoint, and delivers some adorable feels. And all the while you’re blazed away, trying to wrap your mind around a softer “ghost in the shell” concept. This show is for when you’re at a deeper level of self-reflection.
Another anime worth mentioning, is about a high school kid named Watanuki who can see with this Third-Eye, meaning he can see into the spirit realm, and the spirits can see him. The show chronicles how he ends up working for this magical witch named Yuko who grants wishes for people, but of course at a price. She helps Watanuki control his abilities by giving him jobs and chores that are helping to build on his strengths and empower his will. It’s also a little unique in its animation style, as the artist manga group that created the series known as a CLAMP, (also the creators behind Chobits) have designed them with exaggerated limbs. It makes the characters seem way more warped than normal and its kinda crazy to watch when you’re flying on cloud nine. Plus, they came up with the coolest supernatural stories, on top of creating characters that are pretty charming.
If you don’t know who Sterling Archer is, what are you doing with your Netflix? This should be in your Recently Watched pile. Because it’s smart and hilarious. It has been dubbed “James Bond meets Arrested Development,” which I totally agree with. The story follows a dysfunctional spy agency where the controlling and selfish boss is the mother of lead spy Archer, who deals with the stress of his relationships with alcohol and other abusive/self-centred tendencies. Sounds amazing, right?? With the comic book style animation (like Frisky Dingo, another great one by the same creator) absolutely killer voice work, and the “beyond the typical” one-hit jokes, Archer is a solid one to watch when your enjoying a hit with friends.
6. Bob’s Burgers
Now if you’re familiar with the voice actor H. Jon Benjamin, then you know that he plays the lead in both Bob’s Burgers and Archer. I personally think that watching Archer first then Bob is amazing. Bob is so different from Archer that’s its mindbogglingly weird to listen to the same voice. But, the show’s younger characters really steal the spotlight. They’re gross, clever, selfish and awkward and really bring the tale some charm while you’re sailing through the sky. Plus, how can you not love Louise??
5. The Super Hero Squad
This magnificent diamond in the rough was cut down by Netflix during the monthly Purge of June 2014. However, its all over YouTube so you can easily find it there. This show was colourful and fast, full of quick quirks and witty side comments. The animation was bright and lively. It did have some repeated scene work and character motions as well as shots that seem to last longer than they should, which can get annoying or confusing, or even hilarious when stoned. On the plus-side, it was basically the Avengers without the slow drama and busy romanticism of other shows, and featured more characters from the comics than the current film installations. It followed the Marvel Universe outline and delivered on its story. Just check out the opening credits, its mind-blowing how cool the animation is, how many characters you see and how unbelievably catching their song is.
Now, the live-action fellas.
The story of a depressed-suicidal man and his relationship with his neighbour’s “dog,” whom he sees as a dude in a full-bodied dog costume. Intense emotional antics and mentally stimulating acrobatics soon follow, and its impossible to not get caught up in Ryan’s desire to know just what and why the hell Wilfred….is. Plus they smoke weed and its awesome.
3. The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled
You always need a marijuana movie on a list like this! Its fairly new to Netflix, but its older brother Super High Me is already on the digital streaming centre stage. Made by the same guy, this documentary tells of Doug Benson’s travels across some of the U.S. on his comedy tour, completely blazed and its amazing to watch somebody else be high.
2. An Idiot Abroad
This reality show is pretty solid. A camera crew follows this Brit named Karl, who’s friends with comedians Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, as he travels the world on assignment to “experience the seven wonders of the world” (season 1) and then to complete the most popular items on Bucket Lists (season 2). I personally find this show to be quite funny and Karl to be very believable and even charming, especially in the first few episodes. His reactions to the different situations he encounters I believe is how most people would naturally react, or at least internally react. If I went to the Great Pyramids of Giza and saw litter everywhere I would have choice words to say and share, but you don’t see that on regular travel shows. His humour sells the show but the visual aspect of where he’s going brings it home, so to speak. I may never see the Great Wall of China in my life, but he and the crew travel to the lesser-known parts and share them with the world. This show brings authenticity to the realm of the Travel Documentary and I hope it never loses its originality. And enjoying a bit of the ganja while watching this definitely brings out more of its charm, too.(Here’s a bit from when Karl was in China and Ricky set him up to have a meal with a family in a more rural setting along the wall).
1. Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy? An Animated Conversation with Noam Chomsky.
This documentary is definitely the most memorable and meaningful out of this whole lot. It’s super deep, emotionally, psychologically and philosophically. A film maker interviews the famed intellect Noam Chomsky and asks him some of the big questions, as well as his own take on certain worldly topics. The conversation itself is actually quite monotonous. If it wasn’t for the animation, I doubt it would be as easy to follow or as mesmerizing. And even as the story of their talk is going on, the questioner himself is commenting on top of it, discussing his thoughts as he was speaking with Chomsky, and again while he was building the animation. This is for one of those deep highs, with other serious and like-minded people, and definitely not for light-hearted parties. I give it a 10/10 and the number one spot.
The film is so visually open that as you dive deeper into the movie you start to lose your awareness of the outside world and its demands. You have the ability to truly listen to the message Chomsky is trying to share without getting lost in his words. You can also achieve this by watching the film normally, of course. I just find it easier to connect to it all when the stresses of my modern life aren’t infringing on my Mind’s Eye, which I can only achieve when I’m either meditating or “herbally” medicating.
I hope you enjoyed my list, I know I enjoyed going through Netflix and YouTube searching for the best clips and getting caught up in tangents everyone slips into when you click on some of those suggested videos while baked. There’s a good chance I’ll come back and edit this, but I’m not worrying about it. Right now I’m focused on the questions proposed in Noam Chomsky’s movie because my goodness that jank is trippy.
If you live in the 21st century, then chances are you’ve heard of Harry Potter. Admittedly, I am not a big fan of the boy-wizard. The story is entertaining, the movies are, for the most part, well-made, and the actors who represented the tale’s characters are quite enjoyable. But I’m more of a Tolkien/C.S. Lewis fan, and I can’t help but see where Rowling may have gotten her ideas from.
However, as a former witch in the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I can honestly say that Diagon Alley is insane. Like, I walked in, following the crowd of camera-snapping coworkers, and immediately felt my mouth drop. The detail, the size, the colours, even the pavement! All of it was so much more than what I expected.
I am in no way trying to promote Universal. I enjoy working for the company, but I don’t work in the marketing department. I’m writing this tale for the people who may have doubts about how “awesome” Diagon Alley is. The media went crazy with the coverage. I saw so much of this land before the Team Member Preview that I was pretty sure I knew where everything was and how it all worked and that I wouldn’t be surprised or impressed. NOPE.
I sort of glided through the streets, trying to take in as much as I could, not because I was running out of time, but because I didn’t want to miss a single thing.There’s so much to look at, so many doors, corners, windows and sounds. (I won’t give too much away, but I was constantly looking up trying to locate the rolling thunder noise that passed over every few minutes or so. An absolute amazing effect that really immerses you into the world).
The first thing I encountered was Celestina. I’m not too familiar with her background, but she is the favourite singer of Molly Weasley, as according to the blurb of info I read in the Universal Orlando Press Release. She and her troop of ladies come out to a well-designed stage, far better than the one in Hogsmeade, as it allows for actual room and shade for people to watch, and the actors to move.
She totally blew me away with her performance. It was like a mix of a 1920s sound with the soul of Motown. Completely unexpected for an Orlando theme park, if you ask me. Of course, there’s more than one performer for Celestina, so some time later I watched a second Celestina come out, and she was just as extraordinary. Please don’t miss this show if you go!
There’s a second performance that I sadly didn’t see due to the beckoning of the other shops on the streets of Diagon. It’s a tale of the Three Brothers and the Deathly Hallows. I hope to catch the demonstration sooner rather than later, for I heard amazing things, specifically from one of my friends who’s an actor with the show, and I’m sure he’s not tooting his own horn…
I won’t go into too much detail about the shops, seeing as I’d be here for hours, as I was in Diagon. I will share my favourite ones though, and give a few pointers as well.
The shops are still on the small side, which I completely expected. It gives the stores a more village-feel in a theme park setting, which isn’t easily achieved. However, the stores now have outside queues set up and ready to go, and most are covered. And, thank the heavens, there are more shops so products are split up into separate areas, versus all in one, making shopping a much more enjoyable (and less chaotic) experience.
Wiseacres is hands-down number one for me. It’s like a cross of the Noble Collection and Dervish and Banges from Hogsmeade. I returned to that store before the end of the night just to take more pictures and contemplate skipping a few meals to buy some of the collectible items, like these wonderful armillary spheres!
Some honourable mentions:
The Magical Menagerie is an adorable store. The wall of Pygmy puffs was too much cute in one section. However, there are so many things that move and make noise in this place, I’m sure I missed something, so spare some glances to the upper floors. Be sure to take a step outside to see the animals in the windows as well, since its quite hard to get a good look at them from the inside.
Ollivanders is now officially in Diagon Alley. The extension shop in Hogsmeade will remain open, as far as I know, seeing as the village will be quite busy once the Grand Opening happens. However, the interactive wands and the Ollivander Originals are located in the Diagon shop, and the wand-choosing ceremony is located in another part of the building. For those of you who don’t know, many, many Muggles mistook the Hogsmeade Ollivanders as the store, which was actually Dervish/the Owl Post.
The interactive wands are more expensive but totally worth it. There are areas throughout the streets of Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley and even Hogsmeade where witches and wizards can practice magic without worry of getting in trouble with the Ministry. Be sure to swish and flick and say the correct spell or it won’t work. SUCH AN AWESOME EFFECT.
I saw a coworker doing a spell in Knockturn Alley and it was one of the most coolest things I’ve ever seen. I also started contemplating how important paying my power bill on time was and compared that to the price of an interactive Ollivander Original.
Weasleys Wizard Wheezes, the glory of the Weasley Twins Fred and George is the first shop you encounter when you first walk into Diagon, next to Quality Quidditch.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Zonkos in Hogsmeade, and a lot of the product that I noticed (while making a quick walk-through before leaving the area) I had already seen in the Village store. However, the design of the shop was pretty awesome. There was a lot of colour and moving contraptions and even fireworks in the skylights above. Be sure to watch the Weasley Twin that stands( like 20 feet tall) outside the store…
I won’t go too in-depth on Knockturn Alley. I mention first that yes, it’s like walking into the night. The area utilizes black light on the streets and dim ones for the window displays to maintain the theme. One awesome thing Universal did was include A/C. The second you turn down the street by Florean Frotesque’s ice cream shop, the cool air is ready to greet you, and given the heat if Florida, you’ll welcome it with sweaty, open arms.
Borgin and Burkes is the main store there and its got some interesting products in there. A friend bought one of the skull-dotted scarves, which was made of some silky material, way nicer than I expected 😛 The visual displays are pretty intense as well. And that giant wardrobe thing is in there, too. I’m sure it’ll be a big photo spot. If you’re into the Death-Eater style, then I would definitely recommend hitting this place up.
Now, to the highlight of the night. The friggin Hogwarts Express!!
My expectations were all over the place with this guy. At first I was excited. An actual train? It actually moves?? There’s compartments?!? Totally awesome idea. Then I heard that the train only went one way, that there was only one show that played over and over. So not the case.
I met up with a fellow wizard from Hogsmeade and his experience from London to the Village was totally different from mine. And yes, the train does go both ways, so you can spend your whole day completely absorbed in the Wizarding Worlds. Not a terrible idea ;P
The queue is massive for this attraction so they’re ready for the crowds. The design of Kings Cross Station, from what I hear, is straight on with the original. There was even a saxophonist playing by the Prams. Such a clever add-on.
The pathway between Platforms 9 and 10 was pretty awesome, too. There’s a Porter there as well, so if you’re not sure where to look to watch witches and wizards pass through the magical wall, they’ll let you know!
Unfortunately, the Gringotts ride was still in technical rehearsal during the preview, so I didn’t get to fight alongside Harry and the gang. We were able to walk the queue though, and it was GORGEOUS.
Just look at the detail! And yes, these guys are hard at work whilst you queue about 😛
There’s more that I could mention, but I think I’ve covered a good amount of Diagon here. If you get a chance to visit, please do. If you think you can wait for the summer to end, I would. Not that I don’t want Universal to make metric tons of money, because that means more for me to go and buy wands with.
I just know that I had 3+ hours to explore the prime Wizarding shopping district, with the luxury of, at most, 5,000 other people. I had tons of room to move about without bumping into other folk, and without waiting for hours to walk into a store (although the ice cream shop had a line around the corner, so nope, there was no Butterbeer dessert for this witch).
If you want to be able to enjoy the land in decent weather with fewer Muggles, than I say wait ’til Autumn or Winter. New is fun, but its July. In Florida. It can be pretty disgusting here come 1PM.
I hope you enjoyed my goings-on about Diagon, for I genuinely enjoyed sharing it all. One day I’ll return to the streets behind London and ride the Gringotts attraction, and try all the ice creams, and get my fancy Hawthorne interactive wand and update the info here. Buuuuuuut I’m gonna wait for the crazy to end 🙂
(The actual line for Hogsmeade’s Grand Opening. Um, no thanks).