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Now back in August, I let out a post that was centric around the one movie of the entire year that had my most eager share of anticipation: Wreck-It Ralph (and its running mate Paperman). And I probably stated it about a million times how excited I was for the movie, and if I didn’t see Wreck-It Ralph it would be as disappointing as Mark Twain not dying at the arrival of Halley’s Comet. But not only did I see the movie–I saw it on opening day. No, I didn’t see it in 3D, but after those 108 minutes, my mind was so blown I forgot the movie even came in 3D. Now let’s find out if that’s a good mind-blowing, or a bad mind-blowing.

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Released on November 2 (it couldn’t come any sooner), Wreck-It Ralph is a computer-animated comedy that is the official 52nd animated feature in the decades-long roster of the Walt Disney Animated Classics, being the first and only entry of the year. (As the 53rd title, Frozen, is coming next year.) Directed by Rich Moore, famous for his animation directing work on Futurama and The Simpsons, the movie–well, I won’t waste my time making up a new plot, let’s just reuse my old one. Wreck-It Ralph “starts at a typically nostalgic down-the-block arcade. One of the titles in that arcade is Fix-It Felix, Jr., where you play Felix himself and must constantly repair the damages of a building facade while the game’s villain smashes away atop the building. That villain is the 9′-tall, 643-pound Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly), and for three decades he’s been the guy that everyone loved to hate. And Ralph’s tired of that. And to make everyone notice he can be the hero [by getting a Medal of Heroes], he literally disappears from the game via power cord and joins the light-gun FPS Hero’s Duty, battling “Cy-Bugs” alongside the game’s own hero, Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch). But he doesn’t spend the whole movie in this game, as he later goes onto a candy-themed kart racer called Sugar Rush, and here he meets one of the game’s main characters, [the glitched] Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). Vanellope has learned that her game is faced with a threat that could affect the entire arcade. The worst part? Ralph may have started the whole thing.” Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

If I could cram all my knowledge of seeing the movie into one word, it would have to be “greatest”. Because this is the greatest movie I’ve ever seen. Most people could easily fall for it being a video game movie, but search through all the hard candy and you’re gonna surface with a soft center. Wreck-It Ralph has some of the biggest virtues you’ll find in an animated movie–familiar themes (the behind-closed-doors theme that you may have found in Toy Story or Monsters Inc), well-written laughs, eye-popping visuals, noticeable but still thoughtful messages, and a lot of surprises you’ll love to encounter. It’s not just a cover-up, however, to say that the movie had minimal but still present missteps. Wreck-It Ralph is a treat for kids, adults, and the tech whizzes and tech newbies alike, bringing them an impressive and imaginative incarnation of code, pixels, avatars, pretty much everything in the interactive gaming world. And I thought Captain Underpants had a load of potty humor.

 1 3/4 out of 5 – Educational value –  Believe it or not, Wreck-It Ralph actually has educational value; it teaches viewers about gaming terms/concepts like the game code, avatars, consoles, etc.

 5 out of 5 – Positive messages – Viewers are enticed to accept the ways they are “programmed”, rather than to change their image for others to see. This is exemplified through the bad guy affirmation at a weekly support group for villains: “I’m bad, and that’s good. I’ll never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be…than me.” In-movie characters also learn how crucial it is to walk a mile in someone’s shoes before getting judgmental over them. More themes include inclusivity against exclusivity, and selflessness against selfishness.

4 1/2 out of 5 – Positive role models – Ralph’s journey to make his peer approval a conquest turns into a life lesson of having pride in himself and his contributions. Ralph doesn’t let his status as a villain outdo the virtues that make him a hero; he’s a kind and resourceful character that strives to be the underdog. Vanellope is a spunky but still striving character that refuses to stick with the status quo in her own game–a game that Common Sense Media called “stereotypically girly”. In the game Vanellope also finds a way to control her deficiencies as a glitched character to turn into her biggest upside. Ralph initially dislikes Vanellope but eventually weaves his first big friendship with her. Despite his quirky natures, Sgt. Calhoun manages to work alongside Fix-It Felix in many wild occasions.

4 out of 5 – Ease of view – Wreck-It Ralph may be a toughie to crack for newcomers to the gaming world–naming all the characters, deciphering the natures of games, and so on–but it will still be a treat otherwise that will bring laughter from the mouth and–in some occasions–tears from the eyes. It is a very thoughtful and clever movie that takes video game crossovers and merchandising to the next level, crunching it into nearly two hours of the greatest adventure in video game movie history.

4 out of 5 – Violence – During the Hero’s Duty scene, the game’s characters fire guns at Cy-Bugs to make them explode in bits (no goo or blood is splattered, however). When a Cy-Bug strips Ralph of his gun, his arms are revealed to be giant guns themselves.The Cy-Bugs eventually go on to invade Sugar Rush, which turns it into a very interesting game. In one scene, Ralph clumsily startles a number of Cy-Bug eggs after receiving his medal of heroes, causing them to start hatching one after another. In another scene, Calhoun accidentally drops her already broken sensor (from all the sugar particles), which causes it to go off and evoke eggs to hatch in a wave. When pursuing Vanellope after having his medal stolen, he falls into a pond of sugary sweet goo, and fights through the candy forest to emerge looking like a monster. Moments later though, he is crammed into a giant cupcake and pastry police officers hit him with their nightsticks. When he is taken to King Candy’s lair, one of the officers whips out a candy chainsaw to get Ralph out of the cupcake, causing him to run away in fright. In another scene, Vanellope’s fellow racers destroy her car while simultaneously mocking her glitches, causing Ralph to scare them off. At the villain support group, a cyborg (meant to represent Kano from Mortal Kombat) viciously rips out a fellow villain’s heart. But as this fellow villain is a zombie, no actual damage is done. In one of Sgt. Calhoun’s flashbacks, she reminisces her wedding day, when the party was crashed by a giant Cy-Bug that ate her husband. Cautionary tales about character deaths are spread, like how you cannot regenerate when you die outside of your own game, or how characters can become “homeless” after their games are unplugged. This may upset younger audiences. When Felix welcomes Ralph into his 30th anniversary party–actually, their 30th anniversary party–a piece of the ceiling breaks off and falls on Felix. This does kill him, but as he is in his own game he automatically regenerates. When Ralph suddenly breaks through the walls of Felix’s room in King Candy’s “Fungeon”, some people might be startled. Also, people might be holding back tears when Ralph is forced to wreck Vanellope’s kart. He had done this since if Vanellope was allowed to race, her glitches would put the game out of order and eventually get it unplugged. And this is even worse for Vanellope, since glitches aren’t allowed to leave their games. So that meant if the game actually was unplugged, she’d die with it. Go down with the ship, you know. Calhoun and Felix get stuck in “Nesquik-sand”, and to get strips of Laffy Taffy above them to come down, they must be amused. So against her will, Calhoun repeatedly slaps Felix and gives him various injuries, but each time he uses his golden hammer to repair the wounds. Apparently that hammer doesn’t just fix broken windows, it can fix broken noses.

 2 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – Felix and Calhoun strike a relationship and eventually–let’s just say take their love to the next level, evoking a very passionate kiss. They also smooch in another scene. One iconic character, Street Fighter‘s Zangief, wears only his underwear. Ralph also comes across an apparently used pair of Zangief’s underwear as well, much to his disgust. In another scene, Ralph strips a Hero’s Duty character of his suit, clothing his unconscious body with only Zangief’s underwear. Luckily, the stripping is not actually shown onscreen.

2 out of 5 - Language – Nothing colorful, but potty humor and name calling is frequently seen. “I hate you”, “shut your chew hole”, “numbskull”, “brat”, “doody”, “frickishly”, “buttload”, etc. “Pussy” is also mentioned–but in the word “pussy willows”. In one scene, Vanellope playfully calls Ralph a “son of a gun”. Rihanna’s “Shut Up and Drive” plays while Ralph teaches Vanellope to drive her kart.

5 out of 5 – Product Placement – Very iconic and famous game characters appear throughout the game, especially in the Game Central Station scene. As I said in my other post, nearly 200 game characters made cameo appearances in the movie. A cyborg resembling Kano, Zangief, Ryu, Ken, Chun-Li, Cammy, the Pac Man ghosts, Pac Man himself, Q*bert, Bowser, Princesses Daisy and Rosalina, Frogger, the Pong paddles, Peter Pepper, the Qix, M. Bison, Eggman, and Sonic all made appearances in the movie. Coincidentally, Sonic appears giving off crucial lessons about the policies of game death–similar to how he gave eventually pointless tips in “Sonic Says” from Sonic & Sega RacingSugar Rush also evokes many references to candy brands. Believe it or not, Skrillex actually deejays Fix-It Felix, Jr.‘s 30th anniversary party–needless to say, his track “Bug Hunt (Noisia Remix)” was featured on the official Wreck-It Ralph soundtrack. Some of the songs used in promos and commercials for the film include Fun.’s “Some Nights” , Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown”, and Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling”.

3 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – One scene takes place in the 1983 arcade game Tapper, where customers are shown drinking from beer mugs. It’s apparently root beer, but I’m still suspicious. A game character pours a martini for himself in one scene, and at Felix’s anniversary party some people are briefly shown drinking.

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Smarts: A+ (5 points)

Fun: A+ (5 points)

Entertainment: A+ (5 points)

Humor: A+ (5 points)

Style: A+ (5 points)

See-Again Ratio: A+ (5 points)

FINAL SCORE: 30 out of 30 (mrgreenmrgreenmrgreen), 100% out of 100%, 5 out of 5 stars

CONSENSUS: Wreck-It Ralph is probably the most unique animated Disney movie you’ll see this year; it has the breathtaking aesthetics, eye-popping visuals, heartfelt messages, impressive storyline, and endless nostalgia that make for the true antidote of the video game film genre.

PRICE: Well, considering the film went out last Friday, it’s obviously not available for DVD purchase yet. But on Amazon, you can buy the tie-in video game on the Wii, DS, or 3DS! The Wii and 3DS versions of the game costs $30, and the DS version costs $24. Not ready for it yet? You can have a crunch of the entire film in merely twenty songs on the Wreck-It Ralph OST. Seven tenths of the soundtrack is actually film score, ranging from “Wreck-It Ralph” to “Arcade Finale”. The other three tenths belong to actual soundtrack music, with artists Skrillex, Rihanna, Owl City, Kool & the Gang, AKB48, and Buckner & Garcia. Henry Jackman (famous for composing the soundtracks of Monsters vs. Aliens, the 2011 Winnie the Pooh, etc.) has the steering wheel on this one. On MP3, the OST costs $8, but in the flesh it costs $10.

Wreck-It Ralph

If you want a sneak peek of what to expect of the soundtrack’s quality, check out this amazingly, shockingly, mindblowingly innovative music video showcasing Owl City’s “When Can I See You Again?” Seriously dude–this is the best music video you’ll ever see. Or the most creative. Or both. :mrgreen:

If you’re too impatient to wait for your time with the movie, check out this nifty four-minute featurette from the Movieclips subsidiary , involving things from cast interviews to some sneak peeks at the real movie!

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Paperman Still Man and Woman

Sort of like how La Luna preceded Brave, this movie–Paperman–preceded Wreck-It Ralph. It is a 7-minute black-and-white silent film that blends the traditional and computer styles of animation. In the film, a man we’ll refer to as The Man is at a mid-20th century train platform in NYC when he is hit by a flying paper. This paper belongs to a woman we’ll refer to as The Woman whom had dropped it when a gust of wind swept by. The same thing happens to The Man when one of his papers is blown away and lands on The Woman’s face, leaving a red lipstick mark on it. When the Man and Woman first depart, the Man is despondent when he believes he’ll never see the woman again. He is proven wrong when he sees the Woman in one of the rooms in a building across the street at work. He uses the contracts his boss gave him, turns them into paper airplanes, and attempts to throw one into the window, but is excessively unsuccessful. Even the paper with the lipstick mark on it fails to fly in. When he fails to see which way the Woman goes after work, he abandons his mission in disgust and sorrow–and let’s just say something magical happens after that…

Now, Paperman despite its length isn’t a very bad movie. In fact, it’s the best black-and-white movie I’ve ever seen. Despite its lack of dialogue, it has a pristine storyline that captures the serenity of its expectations. Despite its lack of color, it still uses the palette it is given to create works of art beyond our imagination. Despite this review’s lack of normality and overuse of imagery and big words, Paperman still manages to show that love can make the strangest things happen, weaving this lesson into a dandy flick with visuals as eye-popping as its unexpected comedy. But then again, the juice that makes it a special Disney movie kinda doesn’t make any sense. And that’s saying something.

(Now, due to this movie not being too prolonged, I’ve decided to narrow down the chart and strip away sections that need to be stripped.)

 1 out of 5 – Educational value –  If you have a keen eye, you might learn how to make paper airplanes. :lol:

 5 out of 5 – Positive messages – Paperman makes light-hearted humor and heart-warming inspirations out of the fact that love can cause the wildest things to occur, both in realism and human instincts. Some may be able to relate to the Man and Woman’s relationship and what they will go through and fight past to be together–especially those who have already endeavored the scenario.

4 out of 5 – Positive role models – The Man stops at nothing to finally be with the Woman, and quickly gains hope that lights an entire room full of the darkness of doubt. When the Man first throws in the towel on Operation: Lovebird for good, his contract paper airplanes seem to gain motivation to get their “maker” out of retirement. The Woman eventually gains as much enthusiasm towards the Man as the Man does for the Woman.

4 3/4 out of 5 – Ease of view – Paperman may have a premise that some may not know at first, but eventually its amazing visuals, breathtaking direction, and debonair charms will have the viewers swooning. Paperman is also quite frankly one of Disney’s best short movies to date, and definitely one of the most captivating as well.

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Smarts: B+ (3.5 points)

See-Again Ratio: A- (4 points)

Fun: A (4 points)

Entertainment: A+ (5 points)

Humor: A+ (5 points)

Style: A+ (5 points)

FINAL SCORE: 26.5 out of 30 (hm neutral), 4 1/2 stars out of 5, 83% out of 100%

I am also proud to give Paperman the honor of being our first-ever Popcorn Pick to be in full black-and-white, and the first to not contain any dialogue whatsoever, as well as the first to get at least a 25/30 score. :D :D :D :D :D :D :D Oh, that reminds me, I should probably introduce my new scoring chart:

Epic Fail (0-5 out of 30) – This movie didn’t even deserve to be reviewed, but I was kind enough to review it anyway. Incredibly choppy direction, surprisingly disjointed scripting, and/or paper-thin scenarios will likely get you in this tier. If you ever do, then you can walk away hanging your head with our official Sammwak Epic Fail Seal.

It’s just as degrading as it sounds, America.

Fail (6-10 out of 30) – Did good enough to escape the Epic Fail tier, but definitely aimed its crosshairs in the wrong direction. Abominable writing, vile editing skill, and small potential will likely land you here.

Poor (11-15 out of 30) – Definitely a lot of noticeable mistakes, but the parts it does perform correctly are very petite and will likely have already gone before the viewers notice it.

Average (16-20 out of 30) – Does have as much pros as it does cons, and while it could’ve been worse–it should’ve been better.

Well Done (21-25 out of 30) – Lots of noticeable merits in directing, scripting, and acting at a skill rate that’s just shy of perfection.

Awesome/Nirvana (26-28 out of 30 for Awesome, 29-30 out of 30 for Nirvana) – This is as high as it gets. These are the most honoring titles you can get on Picks for Popcorn. To be an Awesome movie, you need to impress me. Like, a lot. If you have flaws, I’ll notice them but will likely not come back to haunt the movie. To get the most prestigious title there is of being a pick of nirvana, you need to be solely flawless: you need mind-blowing writing, breathtaking acting that perfectly accentuates this writing, and scenarios that weave together like a master knitter’s work of art.  This is clearly a movie that cannot be missed–well, the ones that scratched the bottom of nirvana’s barrel are sort of iffies.

So now that you know the grading chart, you won’t be confused in future reviews! :)

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You know what to do, I’ve been blogging for two darn years! But just to review, subscribe, like, Press This, reblog, share, and come back next time for more awesomeness courtesy of Sammwak! (That’s kinda my new tagline now, I guess. Well, maybe besides “Stay classy, America.” :D)

Stay classy, America (see, I told you :D),

~S~ 8-)

Videos of the Week: Dubstep. An electronic dance music genre that has been described by Allmusic as “tightly coiled productions with overwhelming bass lines and reverberant drum patterns, clipped samples, and occasional vocals.” Some of the most famous dubstep artists out there are likely what I consider the two Founding Fathers of the genre: the British music act Nero, and the American music project Skrillex. And today we’re gonna look at someone who I’d never guess could be converted into dubstep: my good friend Tobuscus. In fact, just last April an artist known as DJ Alex S. remixed the twenty-fourth TobyGames video of Bulletstorm into one of the hottest dubstep songs I’ve ever seen! It’s been seen 1.4 million times, and over 30,000 people agree that this video is the bomb. Do you?

Here’s the original “Gimme That” video at almost 200,000 hits since last March:

Here’s a fanmade video conglomerating Toby’s dancing and the song with over 22,000 hits since last April!



Movies, like anything, come in all shapes and sizes. Action-packed movies that are literally their own explosives, drama titles that pull at your heartstrings, horror bloodbaths that’ll leave you jolting your boxes of popcorn instead of enjoying them, comedies that’ll have you laughing until you can’t breathe, etc. But there’s one type of movie that’s barely gotten true honor: the video game genre. Yes, that exists. Probably the only existent “inner gamer” movie has to be The Wizard, a Christmas ’89 title that introduced what would become one of the biggest games in history: Super Mario Bros. 3. And speaking of arcade games, that’s where that story ends, and this new story begins.

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(How many video game characters can you spot? :D)

I have never been so excited for a movie. Um, ever. Directed by the former animation director for both The Simpsons and Futarama, Wreck-It Ralph, the 52nd Disney Animated Feature and the first of 2012 (the 51st being last year’s Winnie the Pooh), starts at a typically nostalgic down-the-block arcade. One of the titles in that arcade is Fix-It Felix, Jr., where you play Felix himself and must constantly repair the damages of a building facade while the game’s villain smashes away atop the building. That villain is the 9′-tall, 643-pound Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly), and for three decades he’s been the guy that everyone loved to hate. And Ralph’s tired of that. And to make everyone notice he can be the hero, he literally disappears from the game via power cord and joins the light-gun FPS Hero’s Duty, battling “Cy-Bugs” alongside the game’s own hero, Sergeant Calhoun (Jane Lynch). But he doesn’t spend the whole movie in this game, as he later goes onto a candy-themed kart racer called Sugar Rush, and here he meets one of the game’s main characters, Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman). Vanellope has learned that her game is faced with a threat that could affect the entire arcade. The worst part? Ralph may have started the whole thing.

I was originally gonna come out with a “Top 5 Most Self-Anticipated Movies of the Year” post, but I’ll tell you right here and now, this movie was #1 before the list was even finished. I first came intact with this movie at this year’s Comic-Con, and I’ve been loving it ever since. <3 This movie promises appearances from some of your favorite game characters: Ryu, Ken, M. Bison, Zangief, Chun-Li, Cammy (all Street Fighters), Clyde (one of the Pac Man ghosts), Bowser, Eggman, Kano, Smoke, Q*bert, and it doesn’t even stop there. (This fact about the movie took a page from Roger Rabbit’s 1988 adventure, also from Disney.) There’s a result of over 200 individual models based off these inclusions. Running on a budget of $150 million to possibly make movie history by rejuvenating the game movie genre, this movie luckily had a date shift to November 2 this year, which was originally next March. (Thank goodness!) And to add to that, it also got a major appearance in the latest Game Informer, and Fix-It Felix’s adventure is now available in full-Flash at Ralph’s official site. And–you likely should’ve seen this coming–Wreck-It Ralph will be receiving his own video game on the Wii, DS, and 3DS! This Disney Inter.-Activision project is stated to be a “story extension” to the movie. And to add to that, Ralph will even be featured among the racers in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed! How can you say “game over” to that? Well, Wreck-It Ralphwill premiere November 2 in 3D, but the story’s not quite done yet…and besides, you haven’t seen these Wreck-It Ralph TV spots yet!

 

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This is Disney’s new black-and-white short flick, Paperman. Blending traditional and computer animation, you’ll be able to see this movie directly after Wreck-It Ralph, like La Luna was shown right after Brave. The synopsis states that the movie follows a lonely young man in mid-century NYC, whose destiny takes a turn after meeting a ravishing woman during a morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams has slipped through his fingers, he gets a second chance at love when he spots the woman in the window of a skyscraper across the avenue of his office. Armed with love, imagination, and a stack of papers, his efforts show not even close to paralleling his awaiting fates. Hearts will break and papers will fly this fall. Ooh, sounds romantic. Anyway, whether you’re in it or not, you can catch Wreck-It Ralph and Paperman in their premieres this fall, and it’s going to be like watching all those scenes at the end of The Avengers. ;)

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Stay cool,

~S~ 8-)

p.s. Random Video o’ the Week: In the 90s, Goosebumps was hot, Pogs were a fad, Nickelodeon was on fire, and all girls talked about were bands like Hanson, or the Backstreet Boys, or N*SYNC. Now, Goosebumps HorrorLand is the only existent series, Pogs have vanished from the mainstream, and girls are obsessing over people like Justin Bieber and Big Time Rush. Oh, and Nickelodeon still holds a small flame. But you should’ve seen them back in the day. All That, Kenan & Kel, Legends, Figure It Out, Family Double Dare, Clarissa, the list goes on. 90’s kids had it all, and after more than a decade of being in the shadows (excluding SpongeBob, which is still alive, and Figure It Out, which has been revived) it just had to get re-honored in all its nostalgic glory. So TeenNick made The 90’s Are All That last summer. While it’s on every night from 12-2am, with a 2-4am encore right after, at least you can get a taste of how it feels now. (Ever since last August it’s received almost 30k hits.)



The first thing you might think at this time is, “Dude, what the heck? We’ve been on stand by for over a month!” I’m devastatingly sorry for the “hiatus”, and I’ll explain everything at the end of the post. But for now, let’s kick off our movie review, shall we? Basketball is one of the most famed sports on the face of the earth, and I can name a round of players right off the bat: LeBron James, Shaq O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan. And few people may know it, but Shaq was actually in a 1996 fantasy comedy called Kazaam. Needless to say, he was the titular genie. Needless to say, it received horrendous reception and is actually deemed one of the worst movies in history. Later that fall, Michael Jordan decided to try his luck at a crazy movie like Shaq’s. And honestly, throwing Looney Tunes into the mix is crazy enough. Add basketball, baseball, golf, and the physics of the cartoon world, shake vigorously, and you’ve got yourself today’s movie: Space Jam.

Things seem pretty hopeless for Jordan and the “Toon Squad”, doesn’t it?

Released in November 1996, Space Jam is a live-action/animated family comedy from the director of over 80 Super Bowl commercials, plus music videos for the likes of the Beatles and Michael Jackson. This movie actually marked the debut of Lola Bunny, Bugs’ “female merchandising counterpart”. In simpler language, she’s his girlfriend. The plot of the movie is that space aliens known as Nerdlucks are sent by their nasty boss to capture the celebrated Looney Tunes cohorts for space amusement park attractions. Michael has also thrown in the towel and given up his spot on the Chicago Bulls to pursue a career in–*shiver*–baseball! In this period he meets publicist Stan Podolak, who tries his best to ensure nobody bothers Jordan. It was just one fateful day on the golf course when everything changed. Michael was just posing for a picture, reaching down into the hole to retrieve the ball. That’s when he got sucked into the hole and was transported to the cartoon world. Turns out that Jordan was recruited to whip up the Tunes into sporty shape after they are challenged by the Nerdlucks to an all-or-nothing basketball game. Jordan is reluctant at first, but he seems to be in it to win it after being squeezed into a ball and dribbled up and down the court. And by seeing the Nerdlucks, you’d think that this would be a piece of cake:

Not for long, though. When the Nerdlucks intrude a basketball game disguised as a spectator, they use their powers to harness the bodies of players on the court and make them look bad on purpose. They also steal the ball, too. We later realize that when they touch the ball, it gives them some sort of power that turns them into grotesque beefcakes known as the “Monstars”. Now the tables have turned, haven’t they? But Jordan and the “Toon Squad” have some secret weapons up their sleeve, and the end of the match is nothing but a surprise…80

Don’t get me wrong, Space Jam is a good Looney Tunes movie. Actually, it’s a great Looney Tunes highlight. But it’s actually not a very good real movie. Sloppy crossover animations, a weak script, an uninspired plot, some questionable soundtrack (especially in the showdown), and a lack of faith towards both Jordan and the Tunes makes this probably one of the most…what’s the word? Oh, yeah– disappointing, obscure, and just plain weird movies I’ve ever seen. But that doesn’t stop this movie from becoming a true cult classic in my eyes. It’s no Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but it works well enough for me. In a nutshell, Space Jam is good in the light of Looney Tunes alone, but bad in any other light. Yep, from its messy opening credits all the way to its exceptionally special “That’s all Folks!” call-off. Roll the chart, please. But before we do that, how about we see a clip or two? :D

 0 out of 5 – Educational value –  The movie is meant more for entertainment than education.

 1 3/4 out of 5 – Positive messages – The Tunes and Jordan work together in the b-ball showdown to put off their best effort against the Monstars. (Or Nerdlucks, technically. :lol:) Jordan shows perseverance and tries to cheer up his team whenever they are down. And in this case, they are down a lot.

2 out of 5 – Positive role models –  The Tunes and Jordan work together in the b-ball showdown to put off their best effort against the Monstars. (Or Nerdlucks, technically. :lol:) Jordan shows perseverance and tries to cheer up his team whenever they are down. And in this case, they are down a lot. (What, I got a little roped up!! :x) Bugs pushes Lola out of the way and takes a devastating hit for her, which proves that he has the hots for her and will do anything to protect her.

1 out of 5 – Ease of view – Space Jam is pretty hard to comprehend, considering its style of live-action/animation crossover. Like I said earlier, the crossover animations were sloppy.

4 out of 5 – Violence – Lots of pratfall from both live-action and animated characters, but it soon gets out of hand. Stan is on the level above Jordan after his turn at a baseball game, but he falls off. Michael gets sucked into the hole and through to the Tune world kinda gruesomely. Speaking of gruesome, the Nerdlucks transform into Monstars in very grotesque ways. Oh, I also said that Michael gets squeezed into a ball, right? Also, the Monstars seem to easily crush the Tunes during the game…literally. At the bench, the Tunes are in obviously horrendous shape. Elmer’s actually in a straitjacket! The tables turn and the Monstars face various problems: the hoop is covered with explosives that trigger when a Monstar attempts to dunk, creating an explosion that covers the whole screen. Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fudd use guns to shoot the teeth out of a Monstar. The same Monstar tugs Daffy off his face, stretching his skin at uncomfortable lengths. When the skin retracts, his face is in a mangled mess. As I said, Lola is almost crushed by a Monstar, but Bugs takes the hit for her. But all of this is typical Looney Tunes slapstick cartoon violence, meant more for laughs.

 1 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – A Monstar gets his shorts snagged, revealing his butt to the audience. Bugs and Lola share a few steamy kisses. Bugs also kisses Jordan (clean on the lips), to ensure that he is in the Tune world.

1 out of 5 - Language – “Butt” is about as “colorful” as it gets.

3 out of 5 – Product Placement – Big Mac, Gatorade, Nike, Looney Tunes (obviously), etc. Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam” can be heard during a select scene in the movie, and you may recognize a few other tunes as well, including “I Believe I Can Fly”.

3/4 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – Michael gives the team a special liquid formula to increase their skill, but it’s nothing but water with a placebo effect.

……………………………………

Smarts: C- (2 pts)

Fun: A- (4 pts)

Humor: A (4 pts)

Entertainment: A+ (5 pts)

Style: A+ (5 pts)

FINAL SCORE: 20 out of 30 (even I’m surprised.), 3 stars out of 5, 59% out of 100%

CONSENSUS: Space Jam may serve well in Looney Tunes terms, but it’s actually an underrated movie with an uninspired plot, a cheesy script, obscure animations, and drab jokes. This sports comedy mishmash could serve kids well, but could leave older audiences less than entertained.

PRICE: On Amazon new copies cost $27, while used ones cost $5. On Amazon Instant Video, you can rent the movie for 2 days for $3. Like what you see? Buy it for $10. Don’t forget the two-disc special edition, though; it costs $18 on average, new ones cost $11, used ones cost $8, and collectibles cost $23. There’s also another 1-disc 2000 version which buys for $6, while new and used copies cost $4 on average. The movie’s OST costs $10; new ones cost $4, used ones go for a penny.

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I told you I’d explain this huge break in the schedule. Two words: house rules. Apparently I’m on the web a tad bit too much, so I’ve been adjusted and that’s why we haven’t seen something new for weeks–I haven’t been on the computer half the summer! It’s a new record! I am really, really sorry and will try to make this up to you as best and as soon as possible. :( :( :( Anyway, here’s Sammwak, calling off from Skokie, Illinois! Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, and/or good night, folks.

~S~

p.s. Would You Rather o’ the Week: Would you rather be a small guy with large skill, or a large guy with small skill?

p.p.s. Random Video o’ the Week: Over the summer, I’ve become an official Disney XD fan due to shows like Lab RatsKickin’ It, Pair of Kings, and Ultimate Spider-Man. This summer’s format? A “Nonstop Summer”. Adam Hicks, a Disney XD veteran (formerly the Luther of Zeke and Luther, now on Pair of Kings), even created/deejayed a song about this Nonstop Summer with the help of fellow deejay Cole Plante. You’ll instantly recognize stars from Lab RatsPair of Kings, and Kickin’ It. This upload of the video, as there are many of them, had the most views overall at almost 30,000, with 140 likes and only 4 dislikes. It was released in June this year by , and don’t underestimate the fact that it’s only a minute long; trust me, it’s awesome. (Also check out a “Nonstop Summer” video collection of “we’ll be right backs”, “coming up nexts”, and “you’re watchings”! :D)



And let that be known. I already told you all about the news, and what I found next was even more than I had blogged about. A surprise beyond surprises. A surprise good enough to land the cover story of the latest Nintendo Power! Lemme recap from my previous post about the news: “Back in the years of the twentieth century, there was a craze that I’d like to call the “animation invasion” or the “cartoon boom”. This was a time where cartoons literally came into our world and ran wild, changing rules and righting wrongs. This era still echoes in our minds today, but there are some mass-media businesses that brought us the echo, most of them being stuff like Nickelodeon or Disney. Nickelodeon jumped into action in about the early to late 90s, and perhaps the early 2000s as well, introducing timeless classics like DougRocko’s Modern LifeCatDog, and, of course, SpongeBob (most likely the only creation during the cartoon boom that still runs today). But don’t forget about Disney and all they’ve done with bringing memorable characters to our time. Especially Mickey Mouse, and this brings up a new point. If you were a Wii owner headed in the right direction as of ’10, you might have picked up the M. Mouse game Epic Mickey. And, like usual, it triggered a swarm of rumors about a possible sequel. Well, everything you’ve heard is true.”

I already informed you about information like Epic Mickey officially receiving a sequel, and the tons of debuts the new sequel was gonna have: Oswald making his playable debut, the series making its debut on console and computer alike, the new modes in the game, its plot and list of tentative titles, and even its possible date: holiday 2012. Well, you’re about to add more to what you already know, because Epic Mickey and company are coming back later this year, but not in just one sequel, but two! The NP cover story issue isn’t hitting the markets until tomorrow, so be lucky I’ve got this exclusive info for you. The two sequels will be The Power of Two for the Wii, and The Power of Illusion for the 3DS. Get your paint and thinner ready, folks—you’re getting more opportunity than you even bargained for.

Although I showed you four possible covers for the game that were competing for the ultimate and official title, they basically all lost to another cover that I honestly believe doesn’t parallel as much, but is still kinda cool.

But, hey—what the creators must announce is what the fans must anticipate. Anyway, let’s talk a bit about The Power of Two, the more-known-about sequel of the two, the one that actually has a Wikipedia article. The platform range for this game have branched out tremendously, abandoning the concept of being just a Wii-exclusive title. It is now available for the Mac OS X, the PC, and the three rivals of the seventh generation of gaming: the PS3, Wii, and X360. Now that’s a severe case of irony. The excitement first kindled thanks to Destructoid when they put up an article last summer speculating the sequel and its possible covers. The rumors inched closer to reality when the French division of Disney as well as game designer Warren Spector invited the French to an “epic project”  comencing in late March 2012. The rumors came even closer when Nintendo Power announced, at the end of their March ’12 issue, that their next issue in April would have a “top-secret” preview, and this is what that would look like if you actually read the last page:

Can you tell what those things at the bottom are?…

GameTrailers also stated that their March 22, 2012 episode would involve a “world-exclusive preview of Warren Spector’s new epic adventure”, and it would be “notably significant.” Tons of clues and mind-boggles later, Warren finally confirmed that the rumors were true on the 21st, and that the title of the game would be Power of Two, and would feature new parts of the city as well as old ones ruined by earthquakes and other natural disasters. But luckily, for us, I confirmed this information even earlier. Not to be a showoff. Warren said that over 700 people would be part of the sequel’s crew, and that over a thousand alters were made to the camera issues that were criticized in the first game. Now, about the plot.

Taking place some time after the original title, the Mad Doctor (whom Mickey had defeated in the original), mysteriously returns to the Wasteland, despite being presumably blown up in the original game. [This reminds me about a metaphor you could always use in these peculiar situations: when Kenny dies in South Park, he almost always comes back for the next episode he appears in.] Claiming to have realized the error of his ways, ironically enough, he offers to work alongside Oswald and other Wasteland residents to mend the damage caused by earthquakes in order to make a few amends.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, Oswald accepts the Mad Doctor’s helpful plan for the city. However, not long after this, the Wasteland suffers even more wear-and-tear than before, and suspicion rises that the Mad Doctor is not keeping to his own truth. Gus the Gremlin, Oswald’s buddy advisor, and his girlfriend Ortensia (confirming that rabbits can actually have love lives), all come to a conclusion: “When there’s something strange in the neighborhood, who we gonna call? MICKEY MOUSE!” And apparently this is the best possible plan since Mickey had saved Wasteland in 2010. Mickey climbs through the same mirror that he did in 2010, retrieves his magical paint-and-thinner brush from Yen Sid’s workshop, after having it taken away at the end of–gee, this game has a lot of tie-ins to its predecessor, doesn’t it? With the help of Gus, Mickey returns to the corrupted Wasteland to uncover the truth behind the Mad Doctor’s “little white lie”, with Oswald as a sidekick along the way.

And indeed, they discover that the Mad Doctor had tricked them, using his helpful offer as an excuse to create and release his new works known as “Blotworx” into the already troubled districts, hybrids of the original game’s Blotlings and Beetleworx. Realizing his mistake that could cost him the life of the city, Oswald becomes Mickey’s assist in taking down the Mad Doctor once again to fix a mess he himself had started.

………………………………….

For Wii users, your game will be developed by Junction Point Studios, but for PS3 and X360 users, yours will be from Blitz Games. For everyone, it will be published by Disney and distributed by Buena Vista, running under the Gamebryo engine, used by companies like 2K Games, Ubisoft, and Sony. Instead of coming out in the holidays of the year, it will instead come around the fall season in September. Waiting 5 months isn’t all that bad, is it? If you can’t wait, you can always hitch up the Nintendo Power April issue and get your fix before the primetime release.

Yep, this is the final cover art. Not some fake that I made to be show-y…POST APRIL FOOLS! You totally fell for that, didn’t you? Yeah, this is just a fake I made, but at least it looks cool. And, Disney, if you’re coming up with a cover for Power of Illusion, you could always use mine under my 100% permission, but only with 5% of the game’s financial revenues. Anyway, Power of Illusion will be an apparent 3DS-exclusive Epic Mickey sequel, and it will probably be the second of the two sequels, as its date is not yet determined. So, the game is basically a sequel’s sequel. This time, a company named Dreamrift will be grabbing the reins of development, and Peter Ong will be designing, but Disney and Buena Vista still have their jobs. It is not yet known what engine it will run on, but it has been spreading that the sequel will possibly be running under hand-drawn sprites and scrolling backgrounds, which Spector has confirmed as true.

The plot for this game is completely irrelevant with that of The Power of Two, but still takes place after the original game. In this, the evil witch Mizrable (good name), and her Castle of Illusion, have accidentally been transported to the Wasteland thanks to the wizard Yen Sid, the same guy with the workshop Mickey got his brush back from in Power of Two. Oswald tells Mickey the news, but also adds that Minnie Mouse has been detected inside. So now, for his second sequel, the two are on a mission to save not only Minnie, but the “Illusions” of other trapped Disney characters inside the castle.

The 3DS mechanics of the game basically resemble the game Scribblenauts; where you must write out words to convert them into real objects. In this game, you must trace out those objects to bring them to existence. And for people who aren’t the best illustrators, that’s a bad thing, since the quality of your drawings reflect on the quality of the drawn object. Nintendo Power used a cannon as an example. A well-traced cannon will only inflict harm on enemies, but a badly traced cannon can inflict harm on everyone else, even Mickey! Each stage of the game will resemble a different Disney animated feature. Some announced ones include Peter PanSleeping Beauty, and even Tangled.

………………………………

So are you excited for these sequels? I know I’ll be checking the ratings in September this year to see if I should pick it up! Anyway, I’ll give you one last thing to participate in before you leave. Mwak out.

- Sam

p.s. Time for our Would You Rather o’ the Week! Would you rather…every time you go #1 in the bathroom, it lights on fire, or every time you go #2, it blows up?



WARNING! Before proceeding any further on this post, please note that it contains recklessly speckled spoilers, so this post is labeled with a “SPOILER ALERT” seal. Proceed with known caution. And if we spoiled the movie for you, we are 0% responsible.

Hey guys it’s Sam, back with a review about not books, or games, but movies! If you’ve seen that I haven’t been releasing much movie reviews lately, raise your hand. ************* I bet everyone in the room just raised their hands. Anyway, I’m going to review a Disney classic that I’m lucky I got off of my “movies I’m embarrassed I haven’t seen yet” list. Why was the 20th century just that one collection of 100 years to start whipping up Disney classics? Snow White, Pinocchio, the list is just too big to name! Could this be a pick worth your popcorn? Let’s find out. Is it Beauty and the Beast? Nope. Peter Pan? No, not that classic. Cinderella? That’s just gross. Who couldn’t have guessed Pocahontas?

“If you kill him, you’ll have to kill me, too.”

- Pocahontas stands between her father and her true love.

Pocahontas was that super-old movie that became the first Disney movie to star a real historical character, Chief Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas, as well as the thirty-third Walt Disney Animated Classic. This movie was a 1995 flick that actually mixed true olden facts with humor, romance, and even sorrow. But hey—history was full of hard times. This movie was about indeed Chief Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas who has been sentenced to marriage with the “extremely serious” Kocoum. She then finds love for the Englishman John Smith soon after he saves a young man’s life from a watery grave, who turns out to be from the people the Indians plan to attack. So it’s sort of like a Gnomeo and Juliet story. Or Alpha and Omega. This love gets accompanied by the hilarious acts of Percy the dog, Meeko the raccoon, and Flit the hummingbird. Seriously. My hats go off to these Three Stooges.

It’s a guilty pleasure kind of movie, since things slow down a bit throughout the movie. People break into song at unnecessary times without warning, the scene where Pocahontas talks with Grandmother “Tree Monster” Willow drags by unnecessarily, etc. etc. etc. Make sense? But still, it does teach you about Pocahontas, John Smith, and just how funny a menagerie of three completely different animals can make me laugh my shoes off. Pocahontas is pretty much a 81-minute social studies lesson. And what’s better? A soundtrack’s worth of amazing music, almost 30 tracks? Don’t mind if I do, folks!

 2 3/4 out of 5 – Educational value –  Some facts may be tattered over time and time again, but at least the movie gives a clear image of Pocahontas and John Smith, although they really did not find each other…it’s what was told in my social studies book. Historically inaccurate, yes. A clear telling of different stories, yes.

 2 out of 5 – Positive messages – Pocahontas has divine messages that educate John about the use of the word “savage”, assuming that Pocahontas’s people live simply for a lack of sophistication, when they really use communication in far more advance that John’s colleagues. The youngest of viewers might be confused with messages like, “A man is not a man unless he knows how to shoot.”

2 1/2 out of 5 – Positive role models – Pocahontas is considered a headstrong daughter to her father, Chief Powhatan. He takes her words very seriously upon decisions, and the British leadership is not as kind or thoughtful.

3 out of 5 – Ease of view – Pocahontas is a good movie that suffers bland tempo decrease from time to time, with a hugely boring outcome once the credits roll. Good award-winning music? Yes. Romantically heartbreaking? Yes. All flash, no substance? Yessiree!

3 1/4 out of 5 – Violence – Two Native Americans get shot, one actually killed. Pocahontas’s father nearly kills John at the edge of a cliff if it hadn’t been for his daughter’s quick rescue. Much of the plot is about two warring sides: the British and the Indian natives. Expect to see sharpened and brandished knives, swords, muskets, and shootouts. There is one perilous scene with a ship on a stormy ocean where a man almost drowns. A song sang by the British ranting against savages, using phrases like “Their skin’s a hellish red”, “Dirty shrieking devils”, and “Killers at the core” will probably terrify younger audiences, and even audiences like me.

 2 out of 5 – Inappropriate Content – Pocahontas and John share the main love of the movie, always taking time to look into each other’s eyes. The two even share passionate but steamy make-outs…twice! Another mature aspect is that the Pocahontas-John pair is quickly intimate with their body language.

1 out of 5 - Language – Lots of mean phrases like “dirty savages” and “filthy heathens” that are as mean as they get. The phrase “hellish” appears in one of the verses of “Savages” (“their skin’s a hellish red”), which somewhat says that H-E-double hockey sticks is a bad word.

3 1/2 out of 5 – Product Placement – Pocahontas is now the seventh-announced Disney Princess, whose brand reaches tall and wide. Expect to see branding on consumer’s merch, food, books, sites, and other media.

1 out of 5 – Drinking, Drugs, and/or Smoking – A ship scene features men filling their mugs with uncorked wine from a keg.

………………………..

Smarts: B- (3 points)

See-Again Ratio: B+ (3.5 points)

Fun: B+ (3.5 points)

Entertainment: A- (4 points)

Humor: A (4 points)

Style: A- (3.5 points)

FINAL SCORE: 21.5 out of 30 (ouch?), 3 stars out of 5, 70% out of 100%

CONSENSUS: It’s a beautiful story followed by impressive voice acting and realistic emotion, and it deserves its right as a Walt Disney Animated Classic, but Pocahontas takes way too long to progress from sequence to sequence, and that’s when the blandness begins to pour in…

RENT, BUY, OR SKIP?: Rent it. Please. If you’re probably 5 years old, you could skip this off the griddle. If you’re mature enough to maintain this violence, buy it for your own good. It’s a bit of everything, with different opinions.

PRICE: If you’re really willing to take the hit, Amazon sells the tenth-anniversary edition for an astounding 31 dollars. But hey—at least I didn’t fork over that huge $79 price. Some Instant Click method Amazon has sells the regular edition for a quick $15. The golden classic collection sells for 83 freaking dollars! But its used price of $30 doesn’t really improve things much. Blockbuster sells it for a weekly rental of $5.00. Pick your price and stay with it.

IS THIS A PICK WORTH YOUR POPCORN?: That’s the question you may have all been dying to hear the answer of. My answer is sorta, because it’s a great movie and all, but it’s terribly slow and bland, is its problem. Definitely a yes to those three animals, however.

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Well, that’s all for a Monday of Sammwak-ness! Come back next Monday for another sweet-as-sugar post here on Sammwak! And come back the Monday after that for our “2nd” annual Christmas special! Don’t miss it, or I’ll miss you when we celebrate hardcore!

Your friend,

Sam

p.s. Here’s our question of the day: These creepy things called Animorphs invented by a crazy lady from right here in Michigan named K.A. Applegate are now my most feared behemoths. What scares you the most? Respond in your comment below!



Nope, you don’t have cataracts. You’re not reading that wrong. The Muppets are really back to the theaters after over a decade (that’s ten years for you people who aren’t Harmonix), and it is as star-studded as a Muppet movie can be! The lady behind Enchanted‘s Giselle (Amy Adams), and the man behind the villain who fought against Gru with magnitude (Jason Segel), together as a couple? Your wish is granted! Chris Cooper, head of The Bourne Identity‘s “Operation Treadstone”, as a bad guy? Well, I guess your beg is answered! Flight of the Conchords star, James Bobin, at the director’s hand?…Do bananas peel?

This Thanksgiving, there’s a reason to be thankful for The Muppets. Another distribution at the hand of Walt Disney Pictures, not only with there be action, heroism, driving, and adventure, but as well as four new musical numbers, plus your favorites, “The Rainbow Connection” and “Mah Nà Mah Nà”! Here’s the info: Oil has been found under the Muppet theater, and oilman Tex Richman (Cooper) plans to bring the theater to demolition to drill. Meanwhile, Walter, the Muppets’ biggest worldwide fan, and friends Gary (Segel) and Mary (Adams) learn about Richman’s plan, and propose an idea to stop Tex: The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever to raise a necessary $10 million to save the theater. But in order to stage the telethon, the three need to convince Kermit to reunite the Muppets who have parted ways. Want to know how they turned out? Fozzie the Bear is now a performer with the Moopets, a Reno casino tribute band, Miss Piggy has become a plus-size fashion editor at Vogue Paris–don’t get me wrong on this one–Animal has rather obviously become an anger management clinic (surprised? :D), and Gonzo a powerful plumbing magnate.

While the main human cast only stars Segel, Adams, and Cooper (excluding Rashida Jones as a network executive), the cast beyond is unbelievably colossal. Besides the Muppets, the cameos add up to a number bigger than the amount of licks it takes to finish a Tootsie Pop! Stars include Jack Black, Selena Gomez, Donald Glover, Whoopi Goldberg, Ben Stiller, and Zach Galifianakis!! An official MPAA rating is unknown, but it will most likely be PG or G…

So there’s something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, as the film releases November 23. Smartly, the makers whipped up a fake romantic comedy poster for The Muppets called Green with Envy, coincidentally with the film’s release date.

Speaking of fake, the makers made two parody film trailers starring The Muppets, Being Green (Green Lantern) and The Fuzzy Pack (The Hangover Part II).

So, this is a goodbye from Sammwak, and remember that it’s not ALL about the turkey and the stuffing! ;)

- Sam

p.s. Here are some film facts: Did you know that the concept of the movie rose at as early as 2008? The film’s working title was The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time, with different same star-studded cameos. And it’s too bad for the UK: the movie has to release in 2012 for them…on my birthday! :D Kermit the Frog himself went to the POTC: On Stranger Tides premiere at Disneyland to promote his movie…now that’s what I call marketing! You’re probably saying “Pics or it didn’t happen”, huh? Well, they have a whole video that collected a measly 35,000 views…?



Yep, that’s right! The day I always predicted…and dreaded. Today, tearful teachers have burst open their doors to allow their students to move on. Otherwise known as: the end of school. The end of the 2010-2011 school year. Oh, what a mess of red eyes and tears my school had. But when it comes to this, I’m usually good at keeping my manhood, holding my ground, and being stone-hearted. Did any of you graduate? If so, congratulations of your accomplishment. Because this is just one milestone on the path of an awesome life. I know I’ve marked many milestones in the past. Hitting 1,000 hits. Hitting 5,000 hits. Hitting 10,000 hits. And now…hitting over 20,000 hits.

And now, since I feel like starting a brand-new tradition, I’ve decided to add a song of celebration to my posts. Feel free to break free, let loose, and celebrate! Come on, don’t be shy.

You probably hate my guts right now, don’t you? ;)

Have an epic summer, everyone! Ēka mahākāvya hai garmī! Ont été une épopée! Hebben een epische zomer! Haben eine epische Sommer! Hanno un estate epica!

(Just testing your language skills. :D)

A bientôt,

Sam

p.s. How do you plan to spend YOUR summer? Answer me through comments or emails! And please, start voting stars on my posts! (Winka blinka winka ;)



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