My Thoughts on: Flubber (1997)

*This review was requested from a Patreon subscriber as part of his monthly reward

I first watched Flubber years ago (I don’t think I saw it in theaters, but it was still pretty new when I did see it), and I was excited at the chance to get to see it again.

For those who haven’t seen it, Flubber is actually a remake of The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), a film starring Fred MacMurray as the titular professor who discovers “Flubber.” The remake starred the late Robin Williams as Philip Brainard, a brilliant if absent-minded professor who is trying to save the college he teaches at while also trying to hold on to some semblance of a social/romantic life with his long suffering fiancée Sara (Marcia Gay Harden). His life changes when he discovers the miraculous (and seemingly sentient) substance he dubs “Flubber.”


Considering the film is 22 years old, the CGI for Weebo (Brainard’s floating robot assistant) and especially for Flubber holds up extremely well. Even though Flubber is only a digitally created ball of green stuff, there’s so much life imbued in its movements, that I at least had no problem accepting that it was real, both then and now. And Weebo…I knew there was a reason I remembered that character so much. Weebo (voiced by Jodi Benson no less) is just awesome, and baby Weebo? Melts my heart every time.

That’s not to say that all of the effects held up as well as I remembered. The last fight, for example, where Brainard uses “sprayable Flubber” wasn’t quite as good as I remembered, though I’m not sure how seriously we were supposed to take it. However, one of the things I still found immensely funny was all of the things that Flubber allowed you to do, everything from jumping unnaturally high to helping cars to fly. And Flubber is such a mysterious substance that you really can believe that it can do all of these things.

As much as I enjoyed this film as a child, and still do, it was bittersweet watching Robin Williams do what he did so well, playing a brilliant part and making me laugh as only he could. It’s been almost five years, but it still hurts that he’s gone.

Overall, Flubber holds up as a fun Disney film that you should definitely see if you haven’t already. A big shout-out to @reaperofdarkn3s for requesting a review of this film. Let me know what you think about Flubber in the comments below and have a great day!

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The King and I “Shall We Dance?” (1956)

One of the major plot points of The King and I is the king’s desire to have Siam viewed as a modern country, in large part to prevent foreign powers (like the British) from attempting to seize the country and make it a protectorate/colony. Toward this end, the story builds toward a grand ball where the king receives a British delegation that ultimately goes over very well. After the ball, the King and Anna continue to talk, and the discussion turns toward how women like her view dances like this. This is the start of “Shall We Dance?” and it’s one of my most favorite show tunes. Anna starts the song while the king watches in typical puzzlement.

We’ve just been introduced,
I do not know you well,
But when the music started
Something drew me to your side.
So many men and girls,
Are in each others arms.
It made me think we might be
Similarly occupied.

Shall we dance?
On a bright cloud of music, shall we fly?
Shall we dance?
Shall we then say “Goodnight and mean “Goodbye”?
Or perchance,
When the last little star has left the sky,
Shall we still be together
With are arms around each other
And shall you be my new romance?
On the clear understanding
That this kind of thing can happen,
Shall we dance?
Shall we dance?
Shall we Dance?

During the song, Anna begins to dance, and the king demands she teach him how as well.  As Anna teaches the king to dance, the song reprises, but it gradually becomes much more intimate, especially when the king catches on to the correct way to hold your dancing partner. The final instrumental reprise of the song is a beautiful moment when the king sweeps Anna around the ballroom. It’s a beautiful moment, and one I still dream of experiencing myself at times.

I like this song so much, it is, for me, the perfect expression of how a girl like me feels at a dance. When you’re dancing with a young man you’ve just met, anything seems possible, a quick meeting could turn into a romance just like that, you never know! And it’s also a perfect feel-good moment between Anna and the king. Whatever relationship there is between them peaks during this song and it is just perfectly executed.

What do you think about “Shall We Dance?” Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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The King and I “The March of the Siamese Children” (1956)

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6 Tips for Building a Career as a Violist

Building a career as a violist takes a lot of practice and passion. Thus, aiming to be successful in this career path doesn’t just happen overnight. Here are the best six (6) tips and advice that you can take from the experts in having a prosperous career as a violist.

Tip #1: Always take your mentors’ advice

The mentors you are with or you’ll be with have been on the same journey as yours. Always listen to their advice no matter how it may seem irrelevant or insignificant to you. The piece of advice they are sharing with you in every viola lesson was the advice they wish they have known when they were just your age. And besides, it wouldn’t hurt to take advice from someone who has been in the industry for quite some time. 

Tip #2: Always take your concerts seriously – whether big or small

One thing that most musicians take for granted is the opportunity to perform in small and big concerts. Just because it is not the place you imagine you’ll be performing or the kind of audience you want to perform to, you would just waste the chance to give the best version of yourself. Always showcase the promising musician in you. You may not know who would just turn up at that small concert.

Tip #3: Always use technology to your advantage

Technology has made our lives easier, especially on the aspect of being heard. Now, you can use various social media platforms to showcase your music, may it be a cover or an original composition, globally. Moreover, through the internet, you may be able to browse through some of your favorite violists on the tips and hacks they do to be the best at their craft. You can also purchase your instrument by checking violas online and have it delivered to your doorstep. 

Tip #4: Always practice

Probably the most important tip of all – do not stop practicing. Similar to what scientists do, they never stop learning and exploring. Just because you’ve been performing a piece over and over again doesn’t mean that you are already a good violist. It might take years to get out of the amateur status, but constant practicing would get you to places you’ve never been to and will help you learn more about your personal style of playing the viola.

Tip #5: Be your own teacher

While it is not advised to be too hard and critical of yourself, it wouldn’t be so bad if you’ll also become your own teacher. In a way, you’ll be objective of providing yourself points on aspects that you can work on as a performer. Always learn from your mistakes and see things on a positive note. Musicians, as beginners, commit a lot of mistakes and I wish I hadn’t done that memory, but if it weren’t for those misfortunes, they wouldn’t be where they are today. 

Tip #6: Build your stamina

Definitely the least, always keep a steady stamina in your practice and performances. Even during practice where it’s just you and your instructor, imagine as if you’re playing for several people. It helps you to play through the whole piece without stopping and keeping the motivation and concentration at bay.  

Bonus Tip: Always believe in yourself

Probably another takeaway as someone eager to start a career as a violist – always trust in your capability. Sure, there are already well-established violists, and there are better violists at your current level, but at the end of the day, you won’t have to compete with them – you create your own room for success. You build that door of success for yourself no matter how much you’ve been rejected.  As they always say, every closed door leads to a bigger and worthwhile one.

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My Thoughts on: Midsommar (2019)

*some minor spoilers may have gotten out without me realizing it

Where do you start with a film like Midsommar? I’ve been puzzling over that ever since I got home.  See, Midsommar was nothing like what I expected going in.

In fact, I think it was better.

The biggest thing that surprised me about Midsommar was how much it resonated with me. I did not expect to identify so closely with Dani (Florence Pugh), who travels to Sweden with her boyfriend and his friends to see the titular festival. Dani really does remind me of me, especially early in the film when she talks about her fears of driving away her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor). I’ve had near identical conversations in my brain at times, and from that point on, no matter what happened, I was firmly in Dani’s corner for the rest of the story.


And what a story. I admit I was afraid going in because Midsommar was described as belonging to the horror genre, a film genre that most of you know by now I try to avoid whenever possible. But this…this isn’t like any horror film I’ve ever seen before. There’s a few scary moments to be sure, but nothing like what I expected.

As for how to describe the story…honestly I’m still not sure if I can put it into words. On the strength of one viewing, I’d have to say a lot of Midsommar is about Dani finding herself as she’s immersed in this strange and yet oddly wonderful world deep in the Swedish countryside. I say that, despite knowing that there are some parts of this village’s life that deeply disturb me (for spoiler reasons I won’t say what they are). But apart from those, I found myself drawn to how the villagers live together. Unlike some stories, I feel like the villager’s actions are 100% genuine, there’s no evil entity in the shadows, no monsters to be fed (well, not in the conventional sense), just villagers living the life that has always worked for them.


My favorite part of Midsommar is watching how Dani slowly, very slowly, begins to grow (the Maypole scene was superb) and learn to deal with her emotions. She goes through a lot in this story, and it was absolutely cathartic to see her end up in what is arguably the perfect support network (unlike before where she was largely left alone with her emotions).

Overall, Midsommar is one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year. It drew me in, it held me, and it certainly didn’t feel 2 1/2 hours long. If you get the chance, go see Midsommar in theaters while you can, you won’t regret it.

What do you think about Midsommar? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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My Thoughts on: The Terror (season 1)

I was initially inclined to avoid The Terror because the premise didn’t seem to be the kind of story I would be interested. However, once I saw the entire season was up on Hulu, I decided to give it a try and I’m glad I did. The Terror, befitting its name, is terrifying.

The Terror is based on a 2007 novel by Dan Simmons and sets out to explain what really happened to Sir John Franklin’s doomed Arctic expedition, which set off in HMS Terror and HMS Erebus to find the legendary Northwest Passage and was never seen or heard from again. The story is largely based on what is believed to have happened to the expedition (the ships got caught in the ice, eventually they started to walk south, and ultimately they all died, and in all likelihood they suffered from lead poisoning).


However, woven in-between the facts is a supernatural narrative that I found surprisingly believable. Deep down, I know monsters like the Tuunbaq aren’t real, and yet…the Arctic, especially as it appeared in the late 1840s, was so remote and so icy that it feels like the sort of place the last of the supernatural monsters would have survived. After all, man had swarmed everywhere else, it makes sense that monsters native to these cold, foreign areas, would still survive long past time time other monsters disappeared.

I really liked the inclusion of the Inuit in the story’s narrative. The Inuit’s accounts of Franklin’s expedition were derided for many years, especially their accounts of cannibalism, because of course there’s no way proper British sailors would revert to savage actions like that (read heavy sarcasm here). In The Terror however, the writers really sought to portray the Inuit properly, contrasting their ability to survive in the snowy wilderness with the complete inability of the British to survive this hostile environment (contrast Silna/Lady Silence with any of the British characters).


One thing that surprised me is how the character of Sir John Franklin (Ciarán Hinds) departs/dies relatively early in the season. For some reason, as the leader of the expedition, I thought he would be around much longer, but the show does not suffer in his absence.

Honestly, I enjoyed first season of The Terror a lot more than I thought I would when I started the first episode. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it, because it will leave you spellbound until the bitter end.

What did you think of the first season of The Terror? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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My Thoughts on: Three Outlaw Samurai (1964)

As I’ve mentioned once or twice here on the blog, I’m a big fan of Japanese cinema, particularly samurai films. Today, after several previous attempts, I finally got to watch Three Outlaw Samurai, directed by Hideo Gosha, one of the samurai films I have in my collection. The film is, apparently, an origin story for a Japanese television series of the same name.

Three Outlaw Samurai reminds me a little bit of Harakiri, in that part of the story deals with the seeming futility of trying to change the system. See, most of the film revolves around the farmers of a certain area trying to appeal for better living conditions, going so far as to draft a petition for the lord to read when he passes through. However, the magistrate of this area wants it all hushed up and the titular samurai, at various points in the story, end up in the middle of the conflict.


I mentioned futility because it feels like the story is leading up towards a meeting with the lord, where the petition will be presented and things will get better for the farmers. However, when the moment comes, when the samurai presents the farmers with the petition and urges them to run after the lord, they do nothing. And in frustration, the samurai who brought the petition to them throws it down and walks away. My initial reaction was to say “Well what was the point of that?” So much revolved around getting that petition and it ultimately does nothing. But then I considered that maybe the point they were trying to make is that societal change can only occur if the people really want it. After suffering great losses at the magistrate’s hands, the people are too scared to come forward now. In other words, they’re just not ready to make a lasting push for change. Recognizing this, the samurai move on to other adventures.

If you like samurai films, you will enjoy Three Outlaw Samurai. One detail I really like about it is that the one samurai is played by Tetsuro Tamba, who also played “Tiger” Tanaka in You Only Live Twice. I also enjoy watching how the three very different samurai come together and interact. One is rather cynical, he’s seen and done it all; one loves food and is described as a “country bumpkin samurai”; while the third is a rather spoiled samurai who likes his luxuries. They’re so different, and yet they end up meshing very well by the end of the story.

If you’ve seen Three Outlaw Samurai, what do you think about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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My Thoughts on: Corpse Bride (2005)

I’m fourteen years late to the party, but I’ve finally been able to watch Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, a film I’d seen clips of but never watched all the way through until recently. I’m kind of surprised I put it off this long, because I’ve been a fan of stop-motion animation for years and this film is one of the best examples made in the last 20 years.


The story revolves around the misadventures of Victor van Dort (Johnny Depp), a shy man who is meant to be marrying Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson) the next day. Except, while practicing his wedding vows in the wood, Victor suddenly finds himself married to an undead bride named Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), who is determined to make the marriage stick despite the fact that she’s, well, dead, and he isn’t!

While a lot of Corpse Bride is hysterically funny, particularly some of the sequences in the Land of the Dead, there is much that is deadly serious and, in keeping with Tim Burton’s style, quite dark. For example, Victoria’s parents are clearly terrible people who have no concept of love, not even for their own child. Victor’s parents aren’t much better, they’re far too focused on moving up in society. And then there’s the story of Emily, the titular Corpse Bride. Her story is so sad: a mysterious man convinced her to grab her family fortune and run away with him to elope. All well and good, except he killed her and ran off with the money! Poor Emily died before she really had a chance to live, and it makes me so sad just thinking about it.


And then there’s Lord Barkis Bittern, quite possibly one of the most despicable villains I’ve ever seen. Just from the way he struts around, you know he’s up to no good, but he’s actually far worse than you think. Once it comes out that he’s the one who killed Emily all those years ago (and he would’ve done the same to Victoria except she doesn’t have any family money), the expectation is that something terrible should happen to him as punishment. And oh boy, does Tim Burton ever deliver. After mistakenly drinking poison while mocking Emily, Bittern ends up dead as a doornail and is dragged off screaming to the Land of the Dead, to a hopefully gruesome fate. I’ve rarely seen a comeuppance more fitting.

Another thing that makes Corpse Bride a lot of fun to watch is the awesome soundtrack provided by Danny Elfman (who has collaborated numerous times with Tim Burton). Elfman also plays Bonejangles, the singing skeleton who tells Victor the story of Emily. And speaking of music, I absolutely love the duet that Victor plays with Emily, not only is it beautiful music, the animation that goes with it is simply flawless.

If you haven’t seen Corpse Bride, it really is worth watching. Even though the film is 14 years old, the stop-motion animation holds up very well, and I’m already looking forward to watching it again.

What do you think of Corpse Bride? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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