Why 3D Movies?

There was a time, back in the late 00s (if that’s what you call the time between 2005-2010?) that some movies were also being released in 3D. And for some reason, I chose to watch many of these movies in 3D. It wasn’t until James Cameron’s Avatar was released that we learned what 3D could be. I watched Avatar in theaters at least three times (once in IMAX 3D).

I’m going to break up this post into two distinct periods of 3D:
Pre-Avatar (before December 18th, 2009)
and Post-Avatar (after December 18th, 2009).

Pre-Avatar: Watching 3D movies was great. Back when I was a kid some movies were released in “3D Vision,” which meant wearing some goofy red and blue glasses. Most of these usually featured some type of gag where a character might throw something at the audience (as seen in Muppet Vision 3D at Walt Disney World, multiple times).

In the year 2005, we saw the beginning of the 3D BOOM! In 2005, the number of 3D movie releases wasn’t that crazy, but each year it continued to grow — exponentially. By 2009, most of the big box office releases were converted into 3D — most likely for bigger box office revenue (3D tickets cost a few dollars more). People were watching these movies in 3D because we didn’t know any better.

Welcome to Pandora

Post-Avatar: At the very end of 2009, Avatar was released. The 3D in Avatar was a totally different type of 3D. James Cameron created some new future-Japan cameras that would create an immersive experience (especially in IMAX theaters). Whether the movie Avatar was good or not, it definitely pushed 3D technology forward. (The world is still waiting on that James Cameron Aquaman movie, starring Vinny Chase — #ReleaseTheCameronCut!).

From that point on most studio movies were released in 3D. 3D televisions became a thing in people’s homes — people were sitting on their couch with goofy 3D glasses on while watching TV. 3D versions of Blu-rays were being sold. And of course, every Marvel movie had a 3D option.


For a while I thought, I guess I have to watch everything in 3D now. But at some point it was too much, I made a choice. I had decided to only watch movies in 3D if they were filmed specifically for 3D — not converted to 3D in post-production as an afterthought. I also began thinking this way of IMAX movies, Was it filmed with IMAX cameras? Anything Christopher Nolan is usually filmed with IMAX cameras.

In recent years, I thought 3D movies had mostly gone away — or maybe I had been avoiding them? Then of course, the theaters shut down for most of 2020 and some of 2021 (thanks to the pandemic). The other day when picking out tickets for Black Widow and the return of the MCU to the big screen I noticed they had a 3D showing. We went with IMAX (non-3D), but it was weird that the 3D was in a normal, small theater.

We’re now at a point where it’s not about 3D, it’s about IMAX, DOLBY VISION and DOLBY ATMOS (big sound). However, James Cameron is back in his movie lab creating the next two big Pandoran Adventures, Avatar 2 and Avatar 3. And when these come out, in an even more immersive 3D I feel like the film industry is going to go through another 3D renaissance, but let’s hope that’s not the case.

I feel like a 3D experience is a fun treat when it’s a rare treat. When watching content in 3D becomes a normal occurrence you barely even notice it. That’s what made Muppet Vision 3D at Walt Disney World so special for all of those years (they even have the added 4D parts where they spray you with water, plus the theater gets wrecked throughout the movie). When everything is in 3D then a ride on Star Tours becomes less special.

So, let’s keep 3D movies to special occasions. Christopher Nolan has his IMAX movies and let’s give James Cameron 3D and cool ocean documentaries.

Easily Influenced

Something I recently learned is that I’m very easily influenced into buying, trying and watching new things. I would have a horrible time if I ever got sucked into that Scientology building on US 1 (or any Scientology building for that matter). Cults would love me and my easily moldable brain.

Anytime I listen to a podcast with a guest promoting their latest work (movies, tv, books) I come away thinking I gotta check that out. I bought John Cleese’s and Seth Rogen’s newest books after hearing them on Conan’s podcast (both books were great). I wanted to watch all of John Leguizamo’s latest movies and his one man show after he was on the ID10T podcast.

The strangest one was not too long ago when Justin Roiland (co-creator of Rick & Morty) was on the Kinda Funny podcast. He talked about being a fidgety person, but he never wanted a fidget spinner because those are stupid. He got into Rubik’s Cubes instead — and not the ones we all had as kids. Justin became obsessed with the GAN speed cubes. Those are the ones the little genius kids use in those Rubik’s Cube solving speed competitions.

I now have three different types of GAN speed Rubik’s Cubes in my Amazon cart. I don’t think I’ll end up buying any of them but they are there — waiting. I also spent some time learning some info about them and watching speed cube videos on YouTube. There’s even a Speed Cubers documentary on Netflix (it’s now on “My List”).

I attribute these problems of mine to being a generally curious person. Anytime I hear about a new documentary, movie, album, video game or pretty much any piece of entertainment I go to the internet to learn more. Whenever I’m watching anything and see or hear a familiar face or voice, I must go to IMDB.com to find out who this person is and what else they’re in.

Recently I wrote a post for my other blog/site (myVGBC.com) where the same sort of thing happens with me in movies and games anytime a new entry into an existing series is released. For instance, the new Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is coming out in less than a month, and that made me start to replay Ratchet & Clank (2016) once again, even though I first played it just last year.

Anytime a new Marvel movie is announced I have to watch the movies that came before (or at least the ones that deal with those characters). If it’s a new hero, then I’ll just watch a random Marvel movie to raise my hype levels.

Maybe I’m just like a little kid. Whenever my nephew sees a commercial for a toy, no matter how stupid it is. He says, “Nono, I want that.” And I just say, “Ok, do you have any money?” And by that time another commercial has finished and he says, “Nono, I want THAT.”

Ernest Vs Madea: Is Madea the Ernest of this Generation?

I remember watching every single Ernest movie as a kid. And I’m pretty sure I watched them all at the same friend’s house. Looking back now, Jim Varney did a whole lot of stuff in his lifetime, before playing Slinky Dog in Toy Story 1 and 2.

Most Ernest movies used the same formula for their titles: “Ernest goes to _______” or some kind of version of that. It’s as if whatever movie studio was behind these films knew that the country was obsessed with this character and we’d watch him do pretty much anything. I say country because I don’t think the appeal of the Ernest P. Worrell made it past America (but I could be wrong).

Cut to 20 years later, and Tyler Perry is basically using the same formula for his famous, beloved character, Madea. I’m not saying these characters are one and the same, but there are a few similarities in their stories. Madea and Ernest have even visited a few of the same locations in their on-screen lives.

Humble Beginnings:

Ernest and Madea both embarked on different journeys to the big screen, but they were both not intentionally created for film.

Ernest started out in these “Hey Vern” commercials before getting his own TV series. The character was created by Jim Varney and an ad agency for some local commercials. Ernest was so well-received that he was featured in ads for everything (some national), before finally becoming part of a huge movie franchise (the ECU, or Ernest Cinematic Universe).

An early Ernest Burger Ad

Madea began as a stage character, loosely based on Tyler Perry’s mother and aunt. She was a way for him to pay homage to these two important women from his life. Tyler Perry played Madea in many stage plays, and the character became a huge hit. The next step was obviously to adapt the character for the screen, but Perry probably didn’t expect Madea to become the star of a huge blockbuster movie franchise.

On-stage Madea

John Cherry III was the ad exec who created the Ernest character (with the help of Jim Varney). Cherry also took Ernest to Hollywood, writing and directing the Ernest films. Madea was created entirely by Tyler Perry though, who not only played the character on stage and on the big screen, but also wrote, produced and directed many of the films himself.

Stuck in Character:

Jim Varney had become interested in theater from a young age. He even had some big on-stage roles as a teen. Varney was actually a classically-trained actor who performed in many Shakespearean plays. He had some other roles, but was mainly remembered for his portrayal of Ernest P. Worrell.

Watch Jim Varney do some “Serious Acting” alongside the great Thomas Lennon.

Along with the Madea franchise, Tyler Perry has written, directed and produced many film and television projects. He’s even built his own empire, Tyler Perry Studios, a 330-acre lot located in Atlanta. Here, he’s not only able to create his own projects but also help others with their creative visions. He also was the lead in the 2012 movie, Alex Cross and he played a lawyer in Gone Girl (2014).

Take a Tour of Tyler Perry Studios

A Tale of Two Travelers:

Ernest and Madea both went to jail. Madea had a few spooky movies, while Ernest was “Scared Stupid.” Ernest attended school and Madea went to her class reunion. Madea had a Christmas while Ernest saved it. Madea went into Witness Protection and Ernest served in the military.

It’s sad that Jim Varney passed away right around the time Madea was created. If Jim Varney was still around today, I’m sure we would see a crossover Madea X Ernest movie: Madea & Ernest Save the Internet, Ernest & Madea Save America, Madea Saves Ernest or Ernest Saves Madea? Maybe Madea vs Ernest (in the style of Freddy vs Jason or the Alien Vs Predator movies).

The main similarity between these two characters is that they inspired giant movie franchises (like James Bond-style). Whether you love or hate Ernest and/or Madea there is something special about each of these characters that kept people wanting to experience more of them.

Madea is no carbon copy of Ernest, I think Madea was the Ernest for the next generation. But who will be the next Ernest or Madea? Probably Ninja, Blippi or some Twitch or Youtube star-kid who gets a huge movie deal.

Borat just released his second movie film, so he’s sort of on track to becoming the next Ernest/Madea. Who knows?

Now enjoy Jim Varney reading some Toy Story Slinky Dog lines…
RIP Jim Varney (aka Ernest P Worrell)

Jim Varney voicing Slinky Dog

I GOT A MOVIE PASS!

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A few weeks ago, I signed up for Movie Pass!

I love movies and I love going to the movies. What I don’t love is paying $15-20 to watch a movie in the theater. Gone are the days when I would go to a morning matinee for $4 and sneak into a second movie afterwards, bringing the total cost for each movie down to just $2.

With this movie ticket price surge I have become way more selective on which movies I “need” to watch in theaters. If I’m not 100% interested in seeing a movie (meaning it’s not a Star War, Pixar or a Marvel movie aka anything owned by Disney) then I can probably just wait until it’s on HBO. Blu-Rays now cost the price of one movie ticket. And, after buying a Blu-Ray I own that movie, plus special features and maybe even a digital copy, for life. This is why I decided to check out and ultimately sign up for Movie Pass.

After signing up I was instantly eligible to see one movie every day, but only at Merrick Park (until I received my Movie Pass card in the mail). I don’t understand how these people make any money. They charge only $9.99 a month, that’s less than the price of one movie ticket. If I see just one movie each month, which I plan to see way more than that, I’m already beating the system with my Movie Pass.

The only problem is that I can’t go to the Cinepolis in Coconut Grove, which happens the be the movie theater with the best popcorn in all of Miami. I guess I will have to sacrifice the “best” popcorn for “pretty good” popcorn just to save tons of money on movie tickets each year (and I’m fine with that). AMC Sunset Place now has cheesy and caramel-y popcorn. I can give those a shot (put them together and you got some Chicago-style popcorn. Chicago has to reinvent everything!).

Signing up for Movie Pass means that I have to get rid of one of my other monthly subscriptions. And that’s why, it’s time to get rid of HULU. I’ve already achieved my goal with HULU which was to watch Life in Pieces (Season 2), plus I finished Atlanta (Season 1) and Last Man on Earth (the entire series). It’s time to move on.

I’m fine with just Netflix, I don’t need both. Sorry HULU, but Movie Pass is way more worth it, plus I was paying for commercial-free HULU and that’s about $3 more than a Movie Pass. The only thing that HULU has over Movie Pass is that I don’t have to leave my house to use it.

MP Update: Movie Pass sent out an email last weekend stating that they were adding a few features, one being Peak Pricing. Starting soon, if I want to see a movie on opening weekend I may have to pay an extra fee. Movie Pass is becoming the new Netflix, changing their pricing and rules on us. Sure, we’ll get mad about these new features, but then we’ll realize it’s still better than our other option (which is not having it) and we’ll just pay for it anyways (as we do with Netflix).

One problem I have with Movie Pass is that they say you can “Watch one movie each day, as long as you’re subscribed to Movie Pass.” This is a lie, since multiple viewings of the same movie are not allowed. I’m pretty sure that 30-31 movies don’t come out each month.

Sure, at first you may be able to watch a movie each day for about a week or two, but once you make it through all the current selections, you’ll have to wait until each Friday to see what else comes out. Then you’ll only get about 3 or 4 more days of movie-watching each week.

Unless you have an indie theater that plays a different movie each day, you won’t really be able to watch a movie every day. And, if I lived closer to Sunset Place, I would actually test this theory. But I don’t have the time or will to test it out right now, so I’m fine with it. I’m just saying, “Don’t lie to me Movie Pass!”

So, since I don’t have the time to go to one movie each and every day for the rest of my life, I think Movie Pass is a fine investment. I will continue to subscribe, until they either go out of business, ask for too much money or start taking stuff away from me. Then I will go back to watching only Disney-owned movies in theaters, and maybe joining HULU again.

Thanks Movie Pass!

 

If you or someone you know has a Movie Pass and would like to be one of my Movie Pass buddies, please comment below.

LOW BATTERY

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I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but any night that I go to sleep with my iPhone’s battery life at over fifty percent is a good night. I think I actually sleep better, and that’s not because of the Melatonin. I feel like I deserve a prize for not spending the entire day playing on my phone.

I’m not one of those people who is constantly looking for a place to charge my iPhone. I don’t carry around a portable battery pack, either (although I hear those are pretty nifty). I do keep a charger and wall plug in my backpack, but that’s more for my iPad. I also have an Apple cable in my car for emergencies, or road trips when I’m running maps, Waze, podcasts and all my apps at once.

I try to only charge my phone in the morning. Once I wake up, or my first alarm goes off, I plug it in until it’s time to go to work. That usually gets my phone to 100% (sometimes I only get to 90%). I used to charge my old phones overnight, every night, but I did notice the battery life getting worse and worse over time. One of my phones ended up having a ghost battery that would jump back and forth between numbers (90% to 30% to 60% to 10% to dead).

Why am I telling you about my iPhone charging habits? Am I some sort of Apple spokesperson?

Most of us are spending too much time on our phones. It’s fine if you’re waiting in line at the DMV or maybe if you’re at lunch with someone you don’t really like. But you definitely don’t have to whip out your phone while at the movies. You just paid over ten dollars to watch this movie, plus popcorn, drinks and other snacks (unless you’re a sneaker and you bring in your own snacks), and now you’re about to spend the whole movie playing on your phone?

Guess what? That bright light is annoying to everyone. Put your phone on silent, do not disturb or just turn it off. No one’s going to call you. And if they do and you answer your phone in the middle of a movie, I will want to grab it and throw it across the theater. Instead, I may just ask, “Is everything ok?” I set my Apple watch to theater mode, just so the light won’t bother me or anyone else.

Of course, any time my phone reaches 20% or less I do have a panic attack on the inside. Also for some reason, I catch myself unlocking the screen over and over for no reason at all. Maybe I want my phone to die.

Although it is scary to have your phone die and be unreachable to the world, it’s also very liberating when your phone dies. I love my Apple Watch, because I can go running with no phone (I have the model 2, so no cellular). I can listen to my music and have no one bother me while running. I am completely free.

A new thing I recently tried was turning off my phone while I sleep. Of course, I don’t recommend this to everyone because some people are doctors, or may receive important phone calls late in the night. I have no important matters happening late at night, so I am fine to turn off my phone while I sleep. I’ll find out what stupid thing the president did in the morning. I don’t do it every night, but if you can afford to do it, you should definitely try it. You may even sleep better.

What did we learn today? Stop playing on your phone all the time. Leave your phone behind sometimes and go do stuff. Leave your phone in the car while you explore, unless you’re exploring the great wilderness and there’s a chance you might get lost or attacked by a wild animal, because you may end up needing your phone in these situations. There was a time when no one had cell phones and guess what?

Most of us survived.

Stoner Tendencies

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Last night, I went to see Disney’s Zootopia with my BEARica. We walked into the dark theater and it was filled with moms and their horrible children. How do I know these children were horrible? The one behind me kicked my seat a few times and even started to yell and cry.

We were the only two non-parent, “young” adults (I guess I’m now classified as an adult? 30 years old is an adult, right?).

All the mothers’ eyes were staring at the two of us as we entered. I knew they all had the same thought on their minds, look at these silly stoners, coming in here to ruin our family-friendly, movie-experience.

First off, I am not a stoner. I just happen to love animated films. Especially those films created by Disney and/or Pixar (but also those created by Dreamworks and anyone else). Of course, it didn’t help that we walked in with a giant oversized soda, some popcorn, a hot dog, chicken fingers and an order of fries. We had so much food the food concierge gave me a cardboard platter to carry it all.

With the movie taking place during my dinner time (7:30-9:30), you better believe I brought a full meal in there with me. I would have snuck in some candy too, if I had more time before the movie. Movie candy is way too expensive. Movie everything is way too expensive. Only at sporting events, movie theaters, theme parks and Manhattan will people not question paying $12 for a soda.

This isn’t a movie review article, but Zootopia was totes awesome sauce! Just like every other Disney or Disney/Pixar movie ever made.

I guess what I’m saying is that although I am no stoner, I do have a few (or even more than just a few) stoner tendencies. And, I know that anytime I perform any of these stoner-type activities, people are always watching and judging. Do I care? No, not really. But, I can feel their thoughts and that’s enough to make me write about it (plus, I didn’t learn anything else this week).

Here are a few other stoner-ish pastimes I have been known take part in:

[1]
I will go to CVS or 7-11 past midnight just to buy a candy bar. And when I get there I will end up buying 2 to 3 candy bars when I notice that it’s buy two, get one FREE. I also will go to CVS at midnight or the next day after any “big candy” holiday. You have your Day after Valentine’s Day sale, your Easter Monday sale, your All Saints Day sale, and of course the big After-Christmas Clearance! My freshman year of college I had no car in Tallahassee and my birthday was Easter Monday, so as a birthday gift I made a friend drive me to CVS for cheap Easter candy.

[2]
I may also end up at Winn-Dixie 10 minutes before they close to buy ice cream making ingredients. To a stranger, it may look as if I’m going to throw a bunch of candy and sweet things in a blender with milk and heavy cream and drink away my sorrows. I mainly go to Winn-Dixie right around closing time to avoid the unwanted conversations with people I don’t want to run into.

[3]
I may end up at a FroGurt store, filling my bucket to the point where the scale can’t even read it. And I may be there with a friend. Also, we may be giggling like idiots at something stupid. But, trust me, we are not on drugs, we’re just hungry for some delicious sweetness.

We used to go to Cold Stone, but now it cost more than a normal meal. So, let me get this straight Cold Stone? You expect me to pay the same amount of cash as I just paid for a burger, fries and a beer? No thank you. I’m headed to FroGurtland or Gelatotown instead.

 

So, if you see me out and suspect me of being high on drugs, just remember, I’m not on drugs. I’m just fat, and love sweets and animated films, but I also love live-action films and regular food too.

So deal with it.

 

[Also, you should share this with people, so they can learn it’s ok to enjoy sweets and things without being on drugs.]