I find it very hard to feel any sympathy for Kevin in the second film…

10 minute read

December 8, 2020, 10:07 PM

Since I’ve been a Disney+ subscriber, I’ve been able to watch the classic Home Alone movies, i.e. Home Alone and Home Alone 2, all over again.  And I figure that this seems as good of a time as ever to explore my thoughts about the movies based on this rewatch as a 39-year-old who is now closer in age to the parents than to Kevin.  In other words, I’m waaaaaaaaay more mature than I was when I first watched them when they were new.

For those not familiar with the Home Alone movies, in the first movie, the McCallister family, a well-off family in the Chicago area, is planning to go on a Christmas trip to Paris to visit relatives.  The night before they are to leave on this trip, two things happen.  First, at dinner, youngest son Kevin gets involved in a fight with his older brother Buzz, who is being unkind to him over pizza.  That leads to his being banished to the attic bedroom (“the third floor” as it’s called in the movie), for the night.  Second, while the family is asleep, high winds cause a tree branch to fall on some nearby power lines, creating a power outage, which takes out the alarm clocks, among other things, causing everyone to oversleep.  When the parents wake up, there is a mad dash to make it to the airport in time.  In the course of taking a headcount prior to leaving, a neighbor child, who stopped by to see what was going on and chat, was accidentally counted.  So, with a good headcount, they were off to the airport.  Unbeknownst to them at the time, they had forgotten Kevin.  Kevin, meanwhile, wakes up to discover that the family has left for the airport, and he is all by himself.  He eventually learns that two burglars are working the neighborhood, and that they are looking to target his house, among others.  So he comes up with a plan to defend his house against said burglars, and leads the burglars through a series of traps that should have killed them many times over (but didn’t because this is the movies).  Kevin also befriends a neighbor along the way, who ultimately finishes off the burglars with two well-placed blows with a snow shovel, which leads to the burglars’ arrest.  While this is going on, Kevin’s mother, after realizing that they had forgotten their youngest, is trying her best to get back home to Kevin, and flies to a number of different cities to that end, and ultimately hitches a ride in a van with a polka group to get home, arriving on Christmas morning.  The rest of the family arrives home shortly thereafter, and there is a happy reunion, with no one except Kevin’s knowing what had happened the night before.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Movies

Going down a nostalgia rathole…

6 minute read

October 11, 2020, 10:29 PM

Sometimes you sit down at the computer, and the next thing you know, you’re going down a major rathole on some obscure topic.  For me, this was recently the case when I happened upon some videos about the old Care Bears movies by Nostalgia Critic.  They did four such videos: one on the original Care Bears movie, the second movie, the Wonderland movie, and the Nutcracker special.  Gotta love the Internet.

I watched all of these movies as a child, and enjoyed them quite a bit back then, considering them to have decent replay value.  I watched some of these again more recently, and I kind of regretted it.  The problem was that what my child self found to be quality entertainment, my adult self disagreed with that assessment.  As an adult, I saw these movies for what they really were: feature-length commercials for toys, with relatively low quality standards.  The stories didn’t necessarily make a lot of sense, the animation had mistakes in it, and it gave me an overall sense that the people in charge of this film knew that the public would eat it up regardless of how crappy it was.  Therefore, quality was something of an afterthought.  As such, I kind of wished that I had left these movies as memories instead of rewatching them, only because the new viewing has changed my stance on the films, and I didn’t like my new take on them after rewatching.  I was hoping to have an enjoyable experience with an old favorite, only to be disappointed in what I was presented with.  I resented the change in my views, and it made me nostalgic for the old memories of the films before I added to them, so to speak.  Innocence destroyed.  Some children’s movies are still great films on their own merits, even as an adult (Follow That Bird immediately comes to mind), but these, unfortunately, are not.

In any case, watching Nostalgia Critic try to reconcile the events that occurred in the first movie and the second movie got me thinking a bit.  For those not familiar, both movies contain origin stories, and the two origin stories conflict with each other in a very fundamental way.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Movies, YouTube

I’m only twenty minutes in, and already I hate the Seattle Police Department…

2 minute read

August 2, 2010, 8:59 PM

I just finished a 20-minute workout on the exercise bike, and I feel like I got a lot done. I did a few miles, definitely broke a sweat, and I feel like I accomplished something.

In the DVD player for tonight’s workout: Battle in Seattle. Every anarchist should know about the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999, and more importantly, the protest activity surrounding it. I’ve studied it over the years, and I bought the movie Battle in Seattle in order to enjoy a dramatic recreation of the event.

So far, my impressions are this: The protesters are a dedicated bunch, and the cops and the mayor are slime. The WTO ministers can’t get in? The mayor just assumed the protesters are being violent, and had to be talked down from that assumption. The cops then talked him up to allowing them to gas protesters. In the first twenty minutes of the movie. Yikes!

Continue reading...Continue reading…

So I decided to talk and drive again…

2 minute read

July 8, 2010, 2:19 PM

So on Wednesday evening, I decided to talk and drive again. I set the cell phone in the GPS holder once again, and started talking. I started at approximately 16th and T Streets NW, heading north on 16th Street:

Continue reading...Continue reading…

And snowed in again.

3 minute read

February 10, 2010, 3:08 PM

Winter certainly is packing a punch this week, isn’t it? First the snowstorm on Friday, and now today. And meanwhile, the collapse of the gutters continued, as the gutter that had collapsed under the weight of the snow over my neighbor’s balcony now collapsed over my balcony, leaving this board with nails in it hanging ominously overhead:

The board with nails in it hanging ominously overhead

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Movies, Snowmageddon

I also got my “V for Vendetta” mask, and saw the related movie.

2 minute read

May 25, 2008, 5:39 PM

Yeah, my Guy Fawkes masks arrived on Friday. I had them delivered to the house, and they were in a smaller box than I expected, but it works. Anonymous has grown accustomed to how I look in the bandanna, so it’s time to mix things up a bit. And for the next Anonymous raid, which is going to be pirate-themed, a Guy Fawkes mask looks more pirate-like than anything else I can think of. Plus there’s a party store in a shopping center right around the corner from where I live, and there are a lot of pirate things there. I think this might just work, don’t you know.

And on Saturday, Jeff, Isis, and Isis’s daughter all came over to my house, and, after getting Chipotle to go, we sat down and watched V for Vendetta, which Isis has on DVD. What an amazing movie. Watching the movie really brings a lot of why it’s a popular choice for Anonymous into perspective. With constant video surveillance, the V masks made everyone look alike, thus surveillance-proof. Just like we do for the Scilons. In fact, they showed a huge mass of people all wearing Guy Fawkes masks at the end of the movie. Plus the special effects were awesome, as they blew up the Palace of Westminster at the end of the movie.

And of course, it was a quite appropriate setting to watch the movie in, since I have a V for Vendetta mask hanging from the wall for now:

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Friends, Movies

He went from Crozet to DC in FIVE MINUTES!

2 minute read

October 14, 2007, 4:11 PM

While I was at Target yesterday, I picked up a copy of Evan Almighty, which is now available on DVD. I figured it ought to be nice to finally see the movie that I experienced during various stages of filming. You may recall that I showed you the ark in June 2006, and the Downtown Waynesboro Photography set was done while the area was still dressed up for the filming.

And now, I’ve seen it. Not a bad movie, no matter what the critics said. In the first part of it, I thought it was going to be a bit over-the-top religious, considering they had a big discussion about prayer and grabbed a Bible, but in the end, it wasn’t too bad. The filming they did in Staunton got shown right up front, as we saw Evan (Steve Carell) campaigning on the stage in Gypsy Hill Park, and riding up Johnson Street. Then Waynesboro got some air early on, too, as he rode up Main Street in his Hummer. Got to see everything. That was fun. Even the museum-turned-coffee-shop got some air, though I couldn’t read the sign in the window. The last thing to be seen in the Waynesboro shot was the Wayne Theatre, with its “40 Year Old Virgin Mary” marquee. That’s something for the Wayne Theatre Alliance to aspire to, as the building was portrayed as a working theatre in the movie. And then the Old Trail neighborhood in Crozet looked pretty good, though Evan’s house and those right immediately around it were fake instant-houses. Seriously, those things are just exteriors, and go up and come down in like a day. Too bad that the neighborhood got destroyed in the end of the movie.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Movies

“Touch the ball.”

2 minute read

December 2, 2006, 10:27 PM

Have you ever seen the movie Space Jam? At the end, you may recall, at Michael Jordan’s insistence, that the NBA players who had their talent stolen by the aliens touched the basketball to get their basketball talent back.

Reason I mention this is because I saw a photo in today’s Staunton News Leader that brought this scene to mind. Take a look:

Basketball game photo from The News Leader

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Amusing, Movies

And here are the photos of the ark, as promised.

< 1 minute read

June 29, 2006, 2:20 PM

As promised, here are some photos of the ark from the upcoming movie Evan Almighty in Crozet:

The ark from Evan Almighty

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Movies, Places

I photographed downtown Huntsville, er, Waynesboro, today.

2 minute read

April 27, 2006, 3:53 PM

For those of you who are movie buffs, the upcoming movie Evan Almighty (sequel to Bruce Almighty) had some scenes filmed in Waynesboro, specifically downtown. You won’t find me in the film, but you will see the city. For this, downtown Waynesboro is dressed up as “Huntsville”.

It’s interesting what they did to Waynesboro, too. First of all, banners hanging from the lampposts say “Huntsville Festival of Fine Arts”. Then the Waynesboro Heritage Museum, which is very much under renovation, was done up as a coffee shop, with tables and chairs outside on the sidewalk. The Charles T. Yancey Municipal Building, which was a Bank of America before it became a city building, was disguised as a church. The building’s real sign was concealed by trees, and a fake church sign was placed in front. It said, “Obeying God: That means you, Evan.” The sign was covered by a tarp when I did my shoot. And finally, there were all kinds of fake plants attached to the real ones, and placed in various other places. The trees had fake blossoms tied on with wire. There were also piles of mulch on the sidewalk, with fake flowers stuck in there. All in all, downtown Waynesboro looked pretty good. It makes me want to see the movie, if nothing else but to see how Waynesboro ends up looking in the movie, done up as Huntsville.

And I now have a photo set of it all, which you may very well see in Photography.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Movies, Photography, Waynesboro

“Are your kids well-behaved, or do they need like a few light slams every now and then?”

3 minute read

July 18, 2004, 12:47 AM

I do enjoy watching Mrs. Doubtfire. I’m watching a tape of it right now. It’s amusing, to say the least. It’s got a great story, and some great lines. It’s got its fair share of big names, like Robin Williams, Sally Field, and Harvey Fierstein, but it’s also not what I would describe as a “celebrity clearinghouse”.

A “celebrity clearinghouse”, as I call it, is one of those productions where there is a larger-than-normal amount of big-name celebrities in the movie, usually making little cameo appearances. The Rocky and Bullwinkle movie was like that. Not a bad movie, mind you, but a high amount of celebrities.

Anyway, though, I enjoy Mrs. Doubtfire. One of my favorite lines was where after the bus driver saw Mrs. Doubtfire’s hairy knee (because she’s actually a he). He said, “I like that Mediterranean look in women. Natural. Just the way God made you.” If only he knew…

Otherwise, today has been one of those days where I’ve been giving Schumin Web some much-needed attention. Still working on the uploads for the new College Life site, though I’m almost done with that one. Also cleaned the remains of Almond Street’s storefront out of my Online Store, and so now that’s 100% Schumin Web inside of there. I still have to clean out all the images left over from Almond Street’s storefront (I have all the images saved somewhere, so it’s not like I’m losing anything). I also designed a new line of products for my Online Store around that expression of mine which I learned recently was original: Never underestimate the power and speed of stupid. That will turn up on the Web site before too long.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Movies, Schumin Web meta

I am now officially beginning my search for employment in or around Washington…

3 minute read

July 13, 2004, 12:34 AM

Yes, six months after leaving JMU, I am finally looking for a job in the Washington DC area.

So many people have asked me, “Why Washington?”

My answer is always something like this. It’s far enough away for me to live my own life (I have NO relatives in Washington), it’s a faster life than around here (where you can count the dotted lines on the highway for entertainment), I love the Washington DC area (I do!), and it’s close enough where it’s not a huge hardship to still visit the family.

So now I’m working on updating the resume some (or perhaps throwing it out and starting fresh), and going hunting. This is where the Internet comes in handy. All the hot spots to get information right at my fingertips. Countless DC area newspapers’ classified ads available,, Yahoo HotJobs, etc.

Now mind you, though, my connection is like the equivalent of a 1981 Yugo. I have a dial-up connection. 56K. Slooooooooooooow. It would be nice if I had a faster connection. But still, it is handy nonetheless.

Continue reading...Continue reading…

Categories: Movies, Myself, Washington DC

I saw Monty Python for the first time on Friday, and…

< 1 minute read

November 9, 2003, 12:45 AM

Yeah, I saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail on Friday night. The whole family is all like, it’s a great movie and such. I saw it for the first time, and they insisted I not see it like I see most movies I watch – while doing something else on the computer.

My review of it, after having seen it for the first time? It did not live up to what the rest of the family promoted it as. According to them, it was like the movie to end all movies, and incredibly funny. I found it to be somewhat “eh”. It had its amusing parts, but I didn’t enjoy it like they did. Not my type of humor, I guess. The first scene involved a long, drawn-out argument on a technicality. I don’t know… it just got old rather quickly for me.

However, I did find out where Battle Chess got the knight-on-knight fight idea, where the winning knight cuts off the losing knight’s limbs. Lifted straight out of the movie.

Categories: Movies