Sesame Street parodies the Hobbit, Hunger Games

09-Dec-13 11:18 AM by
Filed under Humor; Comments Off on Sesame Street parodies the Hobbit, Hunger Games

The Internet has inspired a revolution in Sesame Street's relevancy. Always a wonderful tool for educating children not just in reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also in social skills such as cooperation and patience, these values are now being encased in many wonderful YouTube videos whose humor will appeal to adults as well. Nowhere is this more evident than in the show's newest segment, "Cookie's Crumby Pictures", in which Cookie Monster teaches kids self-regulation and executive function skills in the form of parodies of Hollywood's latest big-budget hits.

This series is impressively modern by setting its sights on this holiday season's headliners. One of the current hot flicks has been Catching Fire, the second adaptation in the Hunger Games book trilogy. Cookie Monster engages in survival of the fattest in The Hungry Games: Catching Fur:

Despite Cookie being the leading role, Pita nearly stole the show. What an improvement over the original!

The next fantasy film in showgoers' sights is The Hobbit: The Desolaution of Smaug, releasing this week. What force could be more evil: a dragon, or a ring? Neither! Beware the one dessert to rule them all in Lord of the Crumbs:

Classic icons aren't above having our furry blue friend inserted into their casts. When the world's best spy isn't available, they call Cookie Monster in The Spy Who Loved Cookies:

You can also see Cookie Monster as Captain Snack Sparrow in Cookies of the Caribbean and as an earnest martial arts student in in The Biscotti Kid. See the playlist for the full catalog of parodies.

It just goes to show: everything is better with Muppets!

License to Crash

21-Apr-08 1:57 PM by
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The car being used in the latest James Bond film plunged into a lake in northern Italy while being driven to the set. [Story continues]

When I first read that news story's headline, I didn't think much of it; property damage and death-defying stunts are staples of the action genre. But the article goes on to clarify that this was no stunt; the vehicle was being delivered to the set of the 22nd James Bond film when it went off the road, over a cliff, and into Lake Garda. Fortunately, no one was seriously hurt — but my heart weeps at the damage done to this beautiful machine:

The accident was blamed on recent rainfall having slickened the road … but really, if you were driving the Bondmobile, wouldn't you too feel invincible?

Worth Every Penny

30-Sep-07 4:52 PM by
Filed under Fade to Black; Comments Off on Worth Every Penny

LONDON (Reuters) — Lois Maxwell, the Canadian-born actress who was to many fans the definitive Miss Moneypenny in James Bond films, has died in Western Australia aged 80, the BBC reported on Sunday.

It said Maxwell, the demur foil to Bond's suave rake in 14 films from 1962's Dr. No to 1985's A View to a Kill, had died in Fremantle Hospital. She had been suffering from cancer. [Story continues]

In viewing the recent Casino Royale, I was disappointed to see so many staples of the franchise gone from this installment — but not as sorry as I am to see go the people who played them. Desmond Llewelyn gallantly handed over the reins of Q to a slightly younger generation, just as Caroline Bliss and then Samantha Bond (no relation) kept alive the role of Miss Moneypenny. I hope the legacy Ms. Maxwell founded will be honored by her character living on in future installments.

Dirty Bond

13-Sep-07 3:51 PM by
Filed under Films; 9 comments.

It took awhile, but RiffTrax was motivation enough for me to finally get around to watching the new James Bond.

Two years ago, I watched the original 1967 Casino Royale, a comedy starring David Niven as James Bond that was so unexpected that I couldn't help but enjoy it. On the surface, the film and its characters appeared to take themselves seriously — which made the strangeness of the encounters and accessories (think Get Smart) all the more laughable. IMDb describes this adaptation as follows:

Sir James Bond, a spy from the old school (a good spy is a pure spy) is called back to service by the death of "M" and the imminent collapse of civilization. The opposition tries to compromise him, but even as nubile young agents are thrown at him, he remains above it all. Going beyond parody to sillyness, every agent is renamed James Bond, 007 to confuse the enemy, including Woody Allen who plays Little Jimmy Bond.

Compare that plot with that of the 2006 film, and you'll find almost no similarities. I expected as such; what I did not expect was to enjoy the 1967 film more. I take no exception to Daniel Craig as James Bond and don't see what all the fuss was about his casting. My more pressing concern is the direction Craig was given.

Despite being set in 2006, this film is a prequel: only M (Judi Dench) returns, with Q (John Cleese) and Moneypenny (Samantha Bond) nowhere to be seen. But whatever the cast, the setting — with Bond having recently gained his double-oh designation and having had few true adventures — puts our protagonist is in a place where he is coarse and unrefined. Craig comes across as more of a thug than the elegant, svelte super-spy to which we've grown acquainted. I'm told audiences approved of theis film's grittier nature, but I watch Bond films to escape the dark reality I see mirrored in so many other media. I want a hero who's fighting Russians, Germans, and other classic, archetypal, even stereotypical adversaries — not his own ego and dark impulses.

I don't know which model Ian Fleming intended, but the Bond character has transcended his roots and now is held accountable not to his creator, but to pop culture and his audience. Maybe they've covered that ground in the last 20 films, and it's time to move on. Or perhaps now we're through with the the awkward introductions, the next Bond film will have a suaver star. I enjoyed Casino Royale's villains and action sequences enough to see what happens next.