Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Producers: Mel Brooks vs Susan Stroman


This week I have turned my attention to the musical “The Producers”. For anyone who does not know this is a musical about a bankrupt producer, Max Bialystock, who works with an accountant, Leo Bloom, to create a flop of a musical in order to put some money back into his pocket. As with “101 Dalmatians”, the main difference between the two versions of “The Producers” is the year in which they were released, the actors, and the directors. The original version was directed and written by Mel Brooks and released in 1968. Contrarily the second movie was released in 2005 and directed by Susan Stroman. Both movies follow the same plot line to a T. There are few differences in what actually goes on.

Quite frankly, I think that both of them are hilarious. Casting Gene Wilder as Leo Bloom was a brand new perspective for me. I always view Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, he can’t be anyone else, it just isn’t right! But he portrayed the role of Bloom so well and acted extremely timid, proving his acting capabilities. In the newer version, Matthew Broderick is left to fill his shoes. Again, Broderick in my mind is Ferris Bueller, but he also did a great job with the role. Random fun fact, Broderick worked with Nathan Lane (Max in the 2005 production) in “The Lion King”, as Broderick was older Simba and Lane was Timon. Overall, each and every one of the actors did a fantastic job in both movies. My only problem was with Will Ferrell in the 2005 production, as Franz Liebkind. For some reason I can’t take Will Ferrell seriously. Like with Wilder and Broderick, I see him as Buddy the Elf, Brennan from Step Brothers, or Steve Butabi from Night at the Roxbury. I feel like there are many other actors that they could have gotten to fill the role, but I also understand the producers casting of him because he adds a zany effect to the character of Franz Liebkind.

In all, both of the movies are great. In my opinion there really is no winner. Mel Brooks created a great script that was able to be turned into a musical itself. I definitely recommend both to anyone! Here is a clip from both the original and the remake! J And an added bonus both are available on Netflix!!

WIP: Finally Finding a site

After doing some better research on my part, I finally found a site to use for the deliberation project. It is simply titled Politics Forum. On the site, they have many different areas to talk about all things politics. I like this because some sites were strictly focusing on American Politics, whereas this is more of a global view of the issues. As for picking a focus on the site, I’m currently considering the area of Law, Justice, Crime & Punishment, Communism, or Socialism. Each of these groups interests me; pertain to my civic issues blog, and also my major. I have yet to post anything myself, but after reading many people’s comments, I’ve realized that whatever way I end up going I am going to end up with some controversial argument going on. I guess people who are interested in politics are also very vocal and stubborn when it comes to their beliefs. But luckily, a lot of people share their concerns through humor rather than violently going after the original poster or other commenters.  I feel that it is extremely important to read, all other people’s comments. When it comes to politics, like I said, people are stubborn. I think with this deliberation unit, I’ll be able take into consideration other people’s opinions and be able to voice my own opinion on the topic. I feel that this deliberation unit will help us to widen our thoughts. Anyways, I was extremely reluctant about this project, but after finding a site that is actually pertinent to what I’m interested in, I am more willing to take part and see what happens when I post!


When life comes knocking, be sure to answer the door!



One Hundred and One Dalmatians: Then and Now(ish)


For the remake comparison this week I decided to take it back a couple of years so that we can all relive our childhood. I don’t know about you all, but growing up 101 Dalmatians was a staple in my life. The first one to come out was the animated version in 1961, and then you’ve got the real-life version from 1996. Now when it comes to the plot line, they are extremely similar.  Everyone has the same names, location, they’re even all British. In that aspect, I will have to say they are pretty much tied. Both portray the story of the lost puppies in a really good way.

Now on the other hand, when it comes to animation versus live action, the original from 1961 definitely wins. Growing up I was always afraid of the live action version. Something about Cruella De Vil’s character, portrayed by Glenn Close ruined the movie for me. I don’t know if she did as much damage on anyone else as she did me. I mean she did a great job portraying the role, but when it came to being child-friendly it is anything but that in my opinion. I mean, check out this photo of her below:


Now you can’t tell me that a small child would not be terrified by that. I’m one of those people that if a movie made me cry or scared when I was younger then I don’t watch it for a very long time (ie Fox and the Hound, Finding Nemo, and 101 Dalmatians). Upon going back and watching this movie when I was about 16, I realized she wasn’t so scary and the scene was actually made better by the animals that were tormenting her in the barn. But, as a child, seeing this already evil lady, who steals puppies for coats, look like this and have such a vicious look and demeanor, I was scared, so much so that it was close to a decade before I bothered to watch it again.

My final say on these movies is that they are generally both pretty good. But, when it comes to being child friendly, the animated version is definitely the way to go. (But the real version does have puppies in it…:S) The story line is good in both, but sometimes the actors make all of the difference. I’ve included the IMDB links just in case someone hasn’t seen either of these movies and you can get more info (you’re crazy if you haven’t and I recommend you go do so now!) and also a link to YouTube that highlights some of Glenn Close’s scenes as Cruella.  (stop at 7:57 to see the scary scene!)

Deliberation Unit-Political

For my deliberation unit I am pretty sure that I am going to use opinion editorials from the New York Times website. My main reason for choosing this is that I know it’s a reliable source. Sometimes with sites you get unreliable information and then also you have uninformed commenters who want to start ridiculous arguments. I feel that with the New York Times, you won’t be able to avoid the ignorant argument, but instead, hopefully, there will be some more effective commentators. I also feel that the NYT is a good, trusted source of info. It isn’t like they are lacking in the commenting area either. If you look at any article there are an abundance of comments that are pertaining to the above argument.

If looking at the NYT does not turn out to be effective when I go to make my first comment I will probably turn to CNN. Now I know that info on CNN can often times be biased, but I feel that it would be a good site to partake in some deliberation. So many people get their information online today, that either of these sites will be able to provide me with the information that I need for this project and that I will be able to successfully comment on a post and have a beneficial conversation with someone through them.

The sites for each are below.

The Power of Music

Think of a day when you haven’t heard any music (seen a movie without a soundtrack)… I can’t think of any reason why someone should not hear music every day. It is something that has an international presence. Every country, ethnic group, or group of people has their own genre/type of music. Music is one thing that can always be constant wherever you venture. Similar to written text, music also has the ability to establish mood, send a message, or be available for pure enjoyment.

Music has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up listening to classic rock, then went on to take piano lessons, to playing flute in the band. Now whenever I go somewhere I can guarantee you that I’ve got headphones and my iPhone. My most recent music obsession has been with the soundtrack for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”. When the trailer came out last summer I geeked out a bit much, to the point that I copied the ad and converted it to an MP3 file so I could listen to it. When the movie finally came out, I was more interested in the album. There is one song that has the ability to give me goose bumps (and maybe you too if you are as much of a audiophile as I am). In the movie, the song has an even greater effect. The song begins quietly and shows a pan of the cast making their way towards their destination, as this is basically the beginning of their journey. As they progress on throughout the land the music grows to a point where it hits its climax and shows the entire cast. To me it just amazing how this one song can provide so much character for this very limited scene. I believe in the power of music.

As for the enjoyment factor of music, it is really something that a person must acquire on their own. Some people like country, others classic rock. All people can apply music to their life in some way. Be it through relating to the message of the song, or even just enjoying it.  Artists like the Beatles or even Lady Gaga use/d their music to spread their messages. Because they do this, people are then able to relate to their music and try to apply similar aspects to their life. Not only do they have impacts on people but groups like Journey or Bon Jovi released songs decades ago that are still well known today and loved by most. And we can’t forget about classical music, I mean seriously that stuff has been around for ages and people still listen/perform it. I definitely believe in the power of music.

A song can be written in America, but weeks later it will have spread around the world. It is a binding force between the people of the world. We may have different beliefs, governments, or ways of life, but we can all agree on music. It may not be the same, but we are still all using it. It allows for cultures to be shared and cherished for years to come. Imagine a world with no music. I can’t and for that I believe in the power of music.

I really love my topic about speaking of the power of music. My only problem is putting it into words. It’s so easy to listen to music and be moved, but I’m not so sure on how to put that into words. So forgive me if what I have written isn’t the greatest. I need to really sit down and think about this and add a lot of things to my podcast. As of right now I’m feeling that my personal story is a bit much and I should probably   Also, I’m not sure if I should focus solely on the power of movie soundtracks, or music as a whole, suggestions are appreciated! :3

Hobbit scene with the best song ever. Seriously. Look up "Over Hill" and wait for it :)

Hobbit scene with the best song ever. Seriously. Look up “Over Hill” and wait for it 🙂

Death at a Funeral: Britain vs. US

Left: British Right:US



This week I’ve decided to focus on the movie “Death at a Funeral”. The difference between these movies is not so much the time of when they were filmed, but more of a difference of where they were filmed. The original version was filmed by British actors in 2007, whereas the second version was filmed in the United States in 2010. Personally I love both of these movies, although I saw the US version first so I’m more prone to recommend this one. Between the two movies there were very few discrepancies. The major difference was that the British version is an all-white cast, whereas the US version is an all-black cast.

For anyone who does not know what the movie is about, it starts at the funeral of the head of a family. It’s your typical dysfunctional family. The older brother is overshadowed by his younger brother, who never pays for anything. Their father has just died and the movie tells the story of his funeral, in which a man shows up making some astonishing accusations (with photo proof), casket opens up with another man in it, and someone is “killed”. My favorite part about the US version is the inclusion of Chris Rock as the main character and Danny Glover as Uncle Russell. I’m huge fans of both of theirs, whereas I had no idea who the British actors were.

My final decision is that they are tied. There is no difference except for dialects. Even, Frank (the man with the bad news) is played by the same guy in both movies! (It’s Peter Dinklage, the guy from Elf who hits Buddy) The critics seem to disagree with me and say that the first one is better. I guess it’s really just a preference. Also directors may have an influence on that. The British version was directed by Frank Oz, who is well respected, whereas the US version was directed by Neil LaBute, who is pretty much an unknown. Anyways, see for yourself and check out the movies. If you are into movies that give you a kick over and over these are definitely something that you want to watch! It may not be appropriate at times, but that is definitely overshadowed by the hilarity that ensues throughout the plot! Now GO WATCH THEM! :3



Civic Issues: NY first state to pass gun laws post-Sandy Hook massacre

For my civic issues blog I decided to focus on politics, seeing as political science is my major and I also really enjoy it! With the recent school shooting in Connecticut, there has been a lot in talks of gun control. We all know that the NRA is against anything banning guns, and then there are people who will do whatever it takes. Just this week Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York signed the first bill regarding guns. Clearly this is a huge step for any government to take. I thought this story was interesting. What exactly is included in the bill is as follows:

“The laws fortify New York’s existing assault weapons ban, limit the number of bullets allowed in magazines and strengthen rules that govern the mentally ill, which includes a requirement to report potentially harmful behavior.”

To me this does not seem like too radical of a bill to be put into place. And I also find it surprising that Cuomo was able to get support from New York’s GOP run senate. This is clearly a very relevant topic, and the first of many states laws to be created after this horrible massacre. It is a great example of the contrasting views of the people across the nation. You’ve got your gun toting, old men who think that any law banning any sort of gun is unconstitutional, and then you’ve also got your younger generation, Democrats/liberals, who are anti-gun and could care less about things like the NRA and are only concerned with the safety of people. This is a fight that we have not heard the last of. Just today, President Obama nominated Todd Jones as the new director of the ATF and laid down other plans (which I have not had a chance to look at yet). But obviously, this issue of gun control will not only be talked about on a state level, but also on a federal level. Anyways, everyone should read the article or look up info about New York’s new bill and those that are in the process of being. We will definitely be hearing a lot about guns for a while now following Sandy Hook and all other shootings that have ever happened in the past, to prevent them from happening again in the future.

Originals vs. Remakes: Round 1

This semester I decided to stop making all of the random crafts. As much fun as it was, it was not exactly in the price range that I was comfortable with. And with that I’ve decided to turn my passion blog into something that I’m really interested in. I LOVE movies of all types: rom-com, comedy, action, thriller, anything! I thought over break of a way of incorporating this into a passion blog and finally realized that I can very easily compare original movies/TV shows to their remakes. Nowadays you go to the theatre and it is very hard to find an original movie. (PS I will have spoilers, sorry :D)

For the first week I’ve decided to compare one of Alfred Hitchcock’s best works “Psycho” to Gus Van Sant’s remake of the same title. This original is obviously my favorite. Growing up I was always afraid to watch it because of the title. I mean, really who wants to watch a movie about a “psycho” when they’re young? Not this kid. I accidentally ended up watching it with my mom and my mind was blown at the end. It was not what I was expecting. I really thought that Norman Bates’ mother was the killer of Detective Arbogast and Marian Crane. It’s the perfect movie. Although it’s considered a scary movie, it’s really not. It plays with your head more than anything. Norman Bates seems like an innocent hotel owner who must take care of her mother. But when you find out that she died years ago, you have no idea what to think. And in the end when it’s revealed that Norman had taken over his mother and her thoughts, it just paints this crazy picture in your head. Enough about the plot.

After watching the original from 1960, I eventually went on to watch the remake from 1999. I was not as satisfied. Quite frankly, I didn’t see Vince Vaughn as some “mommy’s boy” who kills people. I saw “Dodgeball” before this, so that image of him was stuck in my head. Also it is near impossible to match the performance of Anthony Perkins. Probably the fact that I first saw him in the role was what did Vince Vaughn in. Quite frankly, Vince Vaughn is not a scary movie actor, in my opinion. Another thing that I didn’t agree with was some of the things that were added to the movie. The 1960 version received a simple rating of TV 14, which basically translates to like PG 13. And then the 1999 movie received a R. The reason for this was for the inclusion of something’s that simply could have been left out.

I apologize for being harsh on Van Sant’s version, but no one can beat Alfred Hitchcock in my eyes. Basically the actor choice for the more modern one was poor, and the screenplay differed from the original in ways that could have been avoided. So I advise anyone if they have not seen the movie to watch the Hitchcock version first. And if you’re not satisfied I suppose you can move on to the 1999 version. Either way it is an extremely interesting plot line and a movie that everyone should see during their lifetime!

Final Decision: Alfred Hitchcock wins, but the other isn’t horrible. Everyone must see it!

The power of music and politics!

I believe in the power of music. It can be used in anyway and can just as easily be used to convey a message or even a feeling. Music has been around of an extremely long time. Personally it is one of the main reasons that I am so in love with “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “The Hobbit”. Howard Shore is able to use his music skills to make scenes even more impacting. There is one scene in The Fellowship of the Ring, where the 9 members of the fellowship are headed on their journey to Mordor to destroy the ring. The scene starts as a pan of the land, and then zooms up close to go over each of the individual characters. At the same time the main musical theme comes through, extremely loud and full of brass sound. Personally it gives me goose bumps. And this is the case for many people, maybe not with Howard Shore’s music. I know for my mother that she enjoys hearing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata on the piano, while my dad loves anything  Pink Floyd or classic rock. The artists are able to convey a message, be it through lyrics, or the simple chord progression of the music. In today’s world music is unavoidable, and very seldom do you find people who don’t enjoy music! Therefore, I believe that music has a power that many things do not. It is an international thing that is shared and touches people in various ways.

For my Civic Issues blog this semester I am definitely thinking about politics. For a long time now I have been extremely interested in politics, so much so that political science is my major. So for me, the politics group is the best choice because I am so interested in it. Even though the election season is over, there are still plenty of things going on that are relevant to politics. What I’ve noticed a lot about recently is the government’s handling of the aid to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. So it doesn’t have to be an election time period, because politics is constantly going on and legislature is always being debated. So I think that focusing on a political blog for this semester would be good for me, because I’m not only interested in it, but it will also keep me updated on current events that are pertinent to my choice of major.