Vampire Dog

There’s a very obvious and lame sucking pun in here somewhere…

Hello, Spongey here.

Welcome boils and ghouls to this years big Halloween review! Gotta admit, I almost had a hard time with picking one this year. I was like man what will I do. In hindsight, I could have saved that Shadow Zone movie for this month but eh, it’s too middling for that.

Then I recalled Tubi, that free streaming site I’ve watched such classics as Isle of Dogs and Dirty Love on. I went there and one of the first spooky family titles to pop up was this and boy did it look fitting. I watched it and here we are.

This is a direct to video movie from 2012 that is one of many of its kind that gets pumped out each year. There’ not much notable about it in terms of production as it was made by a no name company by no name people. The writer has done nothing else and the director went on to do the classic sounding Step Dogs.

However, he’s more well known as a visual effects producer on surprisingly big movies like The Meg Detective Pikachu and most recently Bloodshot. Huh. At least he found a good calling. But he was also one on some Buddies movies so it evens out.

The most notable thing about it is that it stars Norm McDonald. Yeah, there was a period where he slummed it in bad family movies and this is one of them. That said, how crappy is this one? Does it even have any bark or bite? Let’s see.

This, is Vampire Dog

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A Look at Disney/Cartoon Network/Nick Halloween Episodes (2020)

INDEX:

The Rocketeer-The Haunted House/Halloween Heist

T.O.T.S.-A Spooky Delivery

Puppy Dog Pals – 221b Barker Street

Teen Titans Go-Ghost with the Most

Ducktales-The Trickening

Vampirna-Double Double Halloween Trouble

Raven’s Home-Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 4b

Ollie’s Pack- Nightmare Frightscare

Amphiba-The Shut In

Craig of the Creek-Trick or Creek

It’s Pony-Scarecrow

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time of year again, my friends. Time to see what goodies we have in our bag this year. The big screen might be empty for…obvious reasons but thankfully TV is able to make up for it. Well, at least in terms of animation.

In terms of size, the haul is a bit better than previously. but we’ll get into that as we go. …So…yeah, that’s all I got. Look, what more do you want from me, I wrote this last minute and I gotta get this out. And Happy Saturday, because Nick put out the last one last minute!

This, is  A Look at Disney/Cartoon Network/Nick Halloween Episodes (2020)

The Haunted House/Halloween Heist [The Rocketeer]

Episode 19

Writer: Brian Holfield/Kendall Michele Haney

Airdate: July 16

You did not read that wrong. For some reason they aired both this and a Christmas episode way back in July as they were burning off the rest off this show’s first season.  Okay, Christmas in July makes sense but yeah, this doesn’t bode well for this show. Anyway, I haven’t seen the original movie much less any of this so let’s see what we got.

Kit explores a local haunted house/A villain named Sylvester tries to distract Kit so that he can steal some costumes so no one notice him when he robs places.

These episodes were decent. I actually enjoyed them more than I expected. Although that’s more for the villains than anything else. The stuff with Kit is just kinda standard, nothing that stands too much. I do sorta like the arc in the former episode with the brother (?) learning to be brave but otherwise there’s not much to that stuff.

Meanwhile, in the former episode we have a magician villain voiced by Charlie Adler who started this Haunted House just to make extra money. That’s so amusingly mundane of a motivation, and then he wants to take The Rocketeer’s jetpack which I assume is a recurring thing. He has some genuinely funny lines, along with his assistant.

In the latter one, we’ve got Sylvester who dresses like a cowboy so no one knows its him but Kit can tell because he already tried that 3 times…this week.  I don’t know why but something about that just made me laugh. He also has a ferret minion who is clearly done with him, it’s great. Also, it just hit me that with his disguises, he’s basically Robbie Rotten. Nice.

I kinda wish the plot was him trying a ton of plans to distract Kit instead of just the one but ah well. There’ s a fair bit of focus on him too which is good. Now, only the latter mentions Halloween but the former clearly has Halloween decorations on the house and it honestly felt more like Halloween.

The other episode just has them trying to get some stolen costumes back, and it doesn’t feel like Halloween until the end. So this one is best seen along with the other one. I thought both were about on par, although the latter was funnier due to Sylvester. I think if you’re up for it, these aren’t bad watches for kids and if you like a funny incompetent villain, it has some value for adults.

Again, mostly just for the villains. So yeah, some fun villains make for two decent enough episodes. Also, I guess songs are infrequent in this one as there was only one in the latter episode.

A Spooky Delivery [T.O.T.S]

Season 2, Episode 8a

Writer: Jennifer Hamburg

Airdate: October 2

Pip and Freddy try to help JP get into the Halloween spirit.

This episode was fine. It was the definition of decently acceptable. Basically JP is the brave head guy who turns out is scared of Halloween but is afraid to admit. He learns to admit he’s scared and try to have fun and all that good stuff. It’s a fine moral done in a fine way. The song was fun and the vibe of the whole was decently “spooky”.

Plus, the ending was cute. It just doesn’t give me much to say outside of that, really. It doesn’t do much extra but it doesn’t have to given the audience. It works for kids and just won’t have anything super clever for others. It does have enough charm to work for what it is so I can say it’s decent. That’s…just about it though. I don’t recall how I felt about the Christmas one but I imagine it was likely better but this was still alright.

It’s about what I expect from these kind of things at this point and it’s okay as a start.

221B Barker Street [Puppy Dog Pals]

Season 3, Episode 23a

Writer: Jean Ansolabehere

Airdate: October 2

When treats go missing from the Puppy Playcare Halloween party, Bingo and Rolly set off on a mission to solve the mystery.

This episode was decent. I  like mystery stuff enough that even something like this will have it be an edge for it. There’s some amusing moments with the other characters as they try to figure out who did this. There’s even a decent twist with who did it that worked. For this kind of show it’s sort of safe but nice in the execution.

I actually looked up how I felt about the previous Halloween episode from this show and yeah, I liked this more as it is has just more to it. For what it is, it’s cute and had enough to like. So…yeah.

The Trickening! [DuckTales 2017]

Season 3, Episode 10

Writer: Christian Magalhaes

Airdate: October 5

At Louie’s behest, the kids abandon Huey’s Halloween trick-or-treating plans and venture into a haunted house that is said to contain years’ worth of candy left there by terrified kids. Meanwhile, Della and Donald decide to spend the evening with Launchpad, who has grown up believing that Halloween is an annual curse that he brought upon the world.

This episode was decent. It is a typical setup and that drag it down in places, as they didn’t do anything too new with it. But it still manages to be fun and it takes some interesting turns. The mood is nice and spooky and there is at least one actually creepy moments. It’s far from the moodiest episode ever but it works.

There’s some decent drama with Louie that works to add a little more substance and there’s a nice moment. The subplot is okay, mostly because just the idea that Launchpad doesn’t know what Halloween is and thinks it’s his fault is weirdly amusing. Plus, it helps resolve the main plot in an interesting way.

I liked the twist with the monsters in the house and as a whole it’s just a fun episode. Nothing that great compared to what I was kind of hoping but still, it is good. An easy one to get into even if those new to the show may question Della being there. It’s a long story. Not my highest recommendation but it’s worth a look.

Ghost with the Most [Teen Titans Go!]

Season 6, Episode 29

Writer: Brady Klosterman

Airdate: October 5

When the Halloween Spirit is kidnapped, the Titans must team with Beetlejuice to save the holiday.

This episode was decent. Yeah, WB is taking advantage of what they own and I think that’s cool. OK KO did some random crossovers so why not TTG? They do have fun with Beetlejuice although it is weird hearing someone else in the role since I haven’t seen the animated series. Not sure who voices him here but he’s okay.

There are some neat references to the movie, my favorite being the surprising nod to the canned sequel. Things like that make this more fun. There’s nothing too amazing here but there’s some fun turns and a decent mood it all. I also liked the ending gag as it it was a callback to an earlier line.

As far as unexpected crossovers go, this is a decent one. It’s certainly no OK KO meets Sonic but it works fine. As far as the TTG Halloween eps, I’m too lazy to look up how it compares to the others but this is one I enjoyed a fair bit. Overall, worth a look, especially if the Beetlejuice thing interests you.

Double Double Halloween Trouble [Vamprina]

Season 3, Episode 5a

Writer: Mia Resella

Airdate: October 9

The Hauntley family must decide if they should go to a special family banquet or stay home and go trick or treating.

This episode was decent. Basically, the family gets divided in the issue so each side decides to go their separate ways but in a nice respectful way. Vee doesn’t want to choose so we can a trying to be in two places at once plot.

It’s done alright and some amusing moments come out of her going from place to place. The Trick or Treating side feels more Halloween-y though. It results in an obvious moral that is fine and a nice ending where Vee opens up about how she split between basically both sides of herself.

It’s about on par with the other episodes from this show I’ve seen, where the nature of the premise gives it a slight over some of these other Disney Jr shows. Still doesn’t give me a lot to say though, as there’s nothing too grand. But once again it all works well for what it is.

That’s about all I got, we can move on from Jr stuff. Oh and there was an episode with Racheal Bloom that I of course watched. Also, according to Wikipedia the next episode from this show is called Phantom of the Auditorium. Lol.

Don’t Trust the G in Apt 4B [Raven’s Home]

Season 4, Episode 1

Writers: Chase Heinrich & Micah Steinberg

Airdate: October 9

“I love a reboot”

Booker and Nia persuade Levia, Tess and Ramon into ditching trick or treating and go to a haunted apartment instead.  Meanwhile, Raven and Chelsea take  a neighbor kid to a Halloween party.

This episode was decent but there’s not much to say about it. It’s a typical “exploring a supposedly haunted location” plot and it’s done okay. It feels like it drags too much but otherwise it actually get decently creepy at times. Although it does have nothing on that similar Suite Life episode. There’s a few chuckles and there was nothing egregious like in some other Disney sitcom episodes.

But the weirdest thing is the ending. I’ll just spoil it somewhat: There’s no “It was just a prank bro!” moment and it seems like the place is actually haunted. Seriously, it ends on a flat note with no explanation as to what went on beyond…it was real I guess. But there’s no backstory on any ghosts in there so it doesn’t feel that satisfying. This isn’t too surprising in a universe with psychics and such but…still.

Overall, it has nothing too wrong in it and can get decently spooky, but it’s nothing too memorable. Oh and if you want context for the quote, there’s a show mentioned a few times called…My Little Unihorsy and there are tons of kids wearing costumes for it, which Raven assumes is due to the reboot. …Isn’t it a bit late to making MLP references now?

Whatever. Also, what is with the title? It references a show from like 2012 that no one remembers the B in the original title stood for Bitch. Perfect Family Entertainment! Alo, there’s a Halloween version of the intro which feels a bit late given this is like the 4th Halloween episode.

Nightmare Frightscare [Ollie’s Pack]

Episode 21

Writer: Unknown. Seriously, not credited at the start nor in Nick’s super small crunched credits.

Airdate: October 17

Ollie and his friends visit a haunted house on Halloween.

This episode was decent. This is a kinda sort Nick show that aired earlier this year that I hadn’t gotten to until now. I didn’t even know what it was about but based on the theme song I guess it’s about these kids saving the Earth from monsters or something while also having one in their crew.

The plot is yet another haunted house story which we’ve done 3 times this year alone now. However, there is a solid Halloween mood to it all. The atmosphere is decent and the main ghost-monster-guy chasing them is cool looking. The conflict is that Ollie wants to get as much candy as possible while the friends want to take things slow and soak in the Halloween ambience.

As a kid I would have related more to Ollie but now I’m on the friends side. Ollie is honestly a bit jerk-ish and while that is the point, I do hope he’s less like that in other episodes. The twist is pretty predictable and has been done before, although I like the bit with the ghost-monster-guy afterwards.

It’s pretty basic all things considered but a solid Halloween mood makes it a fun watch, and it flows well for 11 minutes. I also like how Ollie knocks jump scares and there’s a couple other decent jokes. I will admit I’m not chomping at the bit to watch more of this show but if it’s like this episode, it should it least be fun enough.

So sure, watch it if you want, just don’t expect anything great.

The Shut-In [Amphiba]

Season 2, Episode 11

Writers: Michele Cavin & Todd McClintock

Airdate: October 17

The Plantars stay inside during a blue moon, so they won’t turn into beasts. To pass the time, they tell spooky stories.

This episode was pretty decent. I fell off the show about a quarter into the first season because Disney was bombing it out and it was hard to keep up. Plus I liked it but wasn’t super into it and of course I hear that’s when it kicks into gear. I haven’t watched anything of it since so I was hoping this would get me to get back into it and it worked.

There is story stuff in this show but this episode work as a standalone. In this world, they have The Shut In where everyone has to shut in at night due to the blue moon and beforehand they go to stranger’s houses and ask for tools to help ward off the beasts. Now that’s a fun twist and Anne compares it to Halloween so yeah this is a true Halloween episode. They even got a special intro!

It’s been a bit since we’ve an anthology one on these and this wasn’t one of my favorite examples but it’s still good. They work more of a story with there of course being more of a reason for them doing this and there’s a small arc with Polly trying to think of a good story. The first one has Anne dealing with a cursed phone that was decently creative and interesting.

The second one was my favorite, where Hop Pop basically ends up giving a Grim Reaper figure, voiced by George Takei, a ride. It honestly has the feel of an actual legend you might hear and I enjoyed that. It was even the creepiest of the stories.

The third one has Sprig and Ivy meeting some monster and it was decent, with a good subversion of the kind of thing it was shaping up to be. But it was the weakest just because it was a bit less memorable. I did kinda like the stuff with Polly at the end but it did mean the stories had to be shortest to fit in so thus the last one especially felt a bit short changed.

So as an anthology it’s not a great one but it’s still good. There’s a solid atmosphere to most of it, with again the second story standing out the most.  It’s one to check out, even if you aren’t caught up with the show. We’ll see now long it takes my lazy butt to catch up but this one was pretty enjoyable.

Trick or Creek [Craig of the Creek]

Season 3, Episode 10

Writers: Deena Beck, Jason Dwyer, Tara Helfer, & Amish Kumar

Airdate: October 19

“My diagnosis is you have something broken. It’s your political system”

The Stump Kids learn from the Witches about the legend of No-Neck Natthew, a boy who ate popping candy and drank soda at the same time, causing his head to explode. Later, Kit collects on Creek Kids’ candy debt, under threat of being banned from the Trading Tree. The Stump Kids, joined by Jessica, plan to trick-or-treat as much as possible to clear themselves, but must take a detour through the Creek, where No-Neck Natthew supposedly resides.

First off, I didn’t typo that, the name actually is Natthew, not Matthew. Second, guess I didn’t need to review that spooky episode last year but whatever. This episode was good, mostly because it’s well balanced.

Halloween wise, it’s about Trick or Treating and it revolves around an urban legend so it fits really well. The atmosphere could have been a bit better but otherwise it works. This show generally captures what it was like to be a kid and it extends to this episode. The show is usually 11 minutes and this is 22 which works out fine to balance our the trick or treating and Nattehew stuff.

There’s also a subplot where the dad is visited by the same Trick or Treater which is decent with even a creepy moment but the ending to it is a bit underwhelming. I love how how the dad is dressed as Steve Urkel though. Speaking of, Craig is video game mascot Sly Co-I mean Slide the Ferret. Subtle.

Jessica is a Doctor President, leading to that great quote. I’d vote for her.

The twist of who the ghoul chasing them actually is a good one that was setup is well and there’s an extra twist that gives this a nice ending. This episode is just solid. I wouldn’t say it does anything amazing but it’s good. It has some funny parts, like one charecter saying he’d totally fight a baby but ghost are his limit. It has a strong Halloween factor and a decent story with a good conclusion.

The subplot could have ended better but outside of that there’s nothing wrong and everything works. Just a pretty fun little episode. I’d say it’s easily worth checking out. And…yeah that’s about it, it’s just pretty solid.

And finally…

Scarecrow [It’s Pony]

Season 1, Episode 20a

Writer: Alex Colier

Airdate: October 23

Pony hits a scarecrow, which causes crows to infest the pumpkins and the house.

This episode was decent. Like with Ollie’s Pack, I hadn’t seen any of this show yet and this was fine as an introduction. The show is paced sort of like a show for younger kids but has the kind of wacky humor similar to other Nick shows which felt a bit off to me. The humor did work, the best jokes belonging to the dad who is very precious about his pumpkins.

The rest is alright but faster pacing would fit this kind of wacky story better. Despite that, it was pleasnt to watch and it was a fun story. It doesn’t leave me with a lot to say though. The characters seem alright, Pony could have easily been annoying but he was fine. I really like the art style too.

Halloween wise, it start and ends decently on that front but in the middle it is easy to forget it is a Halloween one. So on that front, it’s just okay but otherwise it’s decent.  The pacing is an issue but not a terrible one. I can appreciate more chill shows, it just didn’t always fit the story.

Still, it’s worth a look and maybe I’ll see more and find out if the rest feels more balanced. As it stands, it is a perfectly one to end this on.

 

And those were this year’s Halloween episodes. They were…fine, that’s the word I would use. As far as the haul goes, I’m glad Nick finally gave us some animated stuff, and from new shows to boot! However, Disney Channel still refuses to let other sitcoms besides Raven’s Home a shot at a Halloween one. Yeah, Sydney to the Max and Gabby Duran finished their seasons beforehand but the former has had two seasons already and yet nothing?

Hell even another Bunk’d one would have been fine!

As usual, I wish there was a few more but I liked having more non Disney Jr cartoons at least. Quality wise, most of there were simply fine or good. My favorite was Craig of the Creek with Amphibia behind it. There were pretty solid but the rest were just fine. They just didn’t quite have as much spark as they should.

But none fell below fine at least so it’s not a big loss. Honestly, there at times where I can get tired of these but episodes like the Craig one do make me like talking about these. Yeah, some others could have been better but it’s mostly just the Jr ones I’m not wild about talking about and thankfully there weren’t too many this time.

I wasn’t even sure about doing one this year but thankfully we had enough and I enjoyed them. Yeah, I wished more were stronger but I liked them all fine all least so I’m happy. It’s weird how Nick fared better than usual while Live Action Disney slagged again. Although there’s still no Live Action Nick ones. Do they even have anything on besides that Young Dylan show?

Anyway, we’ll see how Christmas goes as we already have a few planned. As for these, they were a fine Halloween treat, even if some could be better here and there. And…that’s about all.

See ya.

Posted in A Look At, Animation, Halloween/Horror Reviews, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Point Horror – Halloween Night

Hello, Spongey here.

Welcome to October, my friends. Usually I’d say we’re now in the scariest month of the year…but insert obvious joke here. I don’t have as much for you this time but hopefully what I do have is good. And for this month’s Stine review we’re finally going into an area we haven’t touched on before: Point Horror

Basically, this was a series of YA novels published by Scholastic that was launched in 1991 that was home to many authors like Christoper Pike and other people that don’t matter as much. There were some books they did for the authors prior to 1991 so those got republished for the point line, including Stine’s debut novel that I swear I’ll get to.

They actually attempted a revival in 2013 with new authors but that didn’t last long. What a shame, I’m sure Wickedpedia is a classic.

I’m not that familiar with these in general so I can’t say how those fare or compared to the Stine stuff. He has plenty of Point Horror entries and so far I’ve only read one. But from what I can tell, they seem to be about as mixed as his other works, perhaps even more so. We’ll see as we possibly do more.

But for now we have this one from 1993, after he had been doing Fear Street for quite a bit and basically just started Goosebumps. It’s of course a Halloween book so naturally I decided to start my Point Horror reading with it. The results were…well, you’ll see.

By the way, I am aware that they are making a series out of just Stine’s entries for HBO Max. I’m really curious to see how that goes but for now let’s focus on the literary world. Will our first Point Horror book be a trick or a treat? Let’s see.

This, is Halloween Night

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A Look at Weird Al in Live Action Shows (plus more cartoons)

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/a-look-at-weird-al-in-cartoons/

INDEX:

ANIMATED

Annoying Orange-Generic Holiday Special

Mr.Pickles-Vegans

Ask the Storybots-Where Do French Fries Come From?

Voltron Legendary Defender-The Depths

Star Vs- The Forces of Evil-Trickstar

Pig Goat Banana Cricket-The Ding A Ling Circus

Danger & Eggs-The Trio

Mighty Magiswords-They See Me Trollblin

We Bare Bears-The Fair

Little Big Awesome-Sorry Mr Sun

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle-Almost Famoose

Scooby Doo and Guess Who-Attack of the Weird Al-osaurus!

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic-That’s a Laugh

Archibald’s Next Big Thing-Glide & Gobble

Where’s Waldo?-Venice the Menace

New Looney Tunes aka Wabbit –  King Bugs and the Island of Lunacy

Blaze and the Monster Machines – Recycling Power!

Pete the Cat – The Singing Cabbage

Close Enough – The Canine Guy

LIVE ACTION:

Amazing Stories-Miss Stardust

Square One Television/Mathnet-The Case: Off the Record

The Weird Al Show – He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Hamster

Tim and Eric–Salme

Yo Gabba Gabba-Circus

How I Met Your Mother-Nortetta

30 Rock-Kidnapped by Danger

The Aquabats Super Show-Pillgrim Boy/Showtime!

Children’s Hospital-Country Weekend

Drunk History-Montgomery

The Hotwives of Orlando-Staycation

Galavant-Completely Mad…Alena

The Odd Couple 2015-Enlightening Strikes

Wet Hot American Summer-Audition

The Goldbergs-Weird Al

Bajillion Dollar Propertie$=Amir vs Dean

My Brother, My Brother and Me-Candlenights & Vape Ape

Lady Dynamite-Little Manila

Adam Ruins Everything-Adam Ruins Games

Happy-19 Hours and 13 Minutes

Work in Progess-162

 

Hello, Spongey here

It’s time for a long overdue followup to a post from…2016?! Man, where does the time go? Back then I covered all (sort of, we’ll get to that) of the cartoon episodes featuring Weird Al Yankovic. Why? Why not? He has appeared in tons of them over the years and has made some memorable cartoon appearances. I decided to honor that and it was fun. It was interesting to see how he was used over the years and there was plenty of variety as far as the episodes go.

Sometime after I did that, I realized he has appeared in plenty of other live action shows as well. It didn’t take long to figure out that covering those was likely a good idea. I wasn’t sure at first since finding live action shows can be harder but thankfully I was able to find most of those generally easily. There are exceptions I’ll get to but yeah, I was good to go.

I had been planning this for a bit things kept getting in the thing. Either I just forgot or other projects kept popping up to distract me. That and new ones kept popping up! Seriously, one even came up while I was finally gearing up to do this. He certainly stays busy.

Butt the thing is, in the time between posts he has managed to pop up in more cartoon episodes. More than I expected, seriously. Plus, it turns out I forgot a couple last time. Only a couple but that’s still embarrassing.

So we got a super sized one today. We’ll be going through all his live action appearances and catching up on the cartoons as well.  There are about 41 or so episodes all together so yeah, we’ll be getting into it. However, while I did find most there are some that slipped through the cracks or I skipped on purpose.

See, I try not cover just small cameos, although some of these amounted to that because I wasn’t sure going in. But some I was aware of and opted out of doing it. One was a very recent American Dad episode “First, Do No Farm” where there is montage set to a parody of Beastie Boys’ Saboatge. Cuz why not. I saw the clip and it was amusing but that’s all it is so yeah.

One I was sad to have to not cover is the Crazy Ex-Grlfriend episode “I Have a Date Tonight”. It’s just a brief scene where someone visits him and he does a parody of an earlier song from the show. It was cool but just that one scene in a 44 minute episode. Plus, it’s like the next to last one and that makes it hard to talk about. Shame. Then there’s an episode of Sabrina the Animated series that I learned of last minute that I almost did but I skimmed through and it’s just a small bit. It is funny, with him doing a parody of an universe song but that’s it, not worth doing the whole thing, really.

Then there are the ones I couldn’t get a hold of. There’s an episode of The Drew Carrey show called “Drew between the rock and a hard place” that for some reason I couldn’t get a hold of. I saw a clip of it at least and I think it was another cameo but stll, wish I had at least full context like with these others.

He appeared on a few episodes of Comedy Bang Bang and I wanted to do at least the first but for some reason I couldn’t get it. I thought it was somewhere but alas, not so much. I’m not in the mood to just buy these separately or whatever and it’s not a huge shame. Still, wish I could be slightly more complete. And if IMDB is anything to go by, there coule be more but some seem to be just shorts, cameos or things I can’t find.

Still, I basically got everything important I wanted to find. With all that said, how does everything I could find stack up? How do the live action ones compare to the cartoon ones and are there new gems for the cartoons? Let’s see.

This, is A Look at Weird Al in Live Action shows (Plus more cartoons)

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Spy Kids

All the time in the world to die. Wait, wrong one, damn it.

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s that time of the year again, the kid where my brother Antony picks what I review. This year was interesting. See, usually his first choices end up being fitting for a review, if only barely sometimes. But this time, I actually had to go through a couple finding one I could do. First was actually a duo of Nickelodeon TV Movies, Swindle and Jinxed. I actually enjoyed them fine, but there just wasn’t much to riff on or discuss. Aside from how the latter is basically the live action Milo Murphy’s Law movie everyone demanded, lol.

After those failed, he threw out this one and I thought it was a perfect fit. I cover the lesser entries ages ago so it’s fitting to go back and see how the first one holds up. Anyway, Robert Rodriguez is an interesting filmmaker. He started off making lower budget movies that managed to break out and then ended up making some movies for his kids that are certainly something.

I respect what he does a lot, as he does a lot of his stuff himself and even some of those kids movies, there is at least a fair bit of imagination on display. He’s generally gone back to more mature fare but in the near future he will  be back to family fare with We Can Be Heroes, which will feature the return of Lavagirl.

Yes, really. Because frankly, with how this year is going, why the hell not. And in honor of that, it’s fitting that I get to revisit his first attempt to appeal to a younger audience. I went into how 3 and 4 were…not very good and I recalled the first two being good. I actually hadn’t seen them prior to having to do that review as for some reason they escaped me.

I did like them fine at the time but I think we should at least take a closer look at this first one. Does it truly hold up these days a fun family adventure? Did it deserve to be such a big hit with both audiences and critics? Seriously, this has a 93 on Rotten Tomatoes, not even kidding. Let’s see if that was all warranted.

This, is Spy Kids

The movie begins with one our child leads Carmen and Juni, played by Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara, being told a bedtime story by her mother, played by Carla Cugino. It’s the story of two spies who fell in love, because this woman is very subtle at hiding her secret. Anyway, here’s the story:

“It was a dark and confusing time, there was a lot of turmoil between countries”

…Not gonna touch that one.

There once was a woman spy who was hired to take out another spy, played by Antonio Bandereas but they accidentally fell in love instead. They got married but of course their marriage was interrupted by bad guys. They managed to escape and have kids, living happily ever after.

Spoilers, the spies are the kids parents. Ingrid the mom says goodnight to the kids and tells Gregorio the dad that she told the story, and he’s a bit worried. They left the spy life after all except for when they need to use their tech for a gag. Gregorio also seems to be doing some odd work but he says it’s nothing so I’m sure they won’t get into any danger.

Also, the kids have to do these exercises on this big jungle gym type thing which they don’t find the least bit strange or spy training-y.

The next morning, Gregorio admits that it’s been discovered that an agent has gone missing. Then on their way to drive the kids to school, they use this screen in there to turn on a show Juni has been watching called Floop Flooglies which is one of those acid trip nightmares hosted by someone who is way too chipper, played by Alan Cumming. I swear, he is in everything.

The show has introduced a new character who weirdly looks like that missing agent. But we can deal with that latter, as they drop the kids off at school and see that Juni has to deal with bullies. Even the dad of one of the bullies gets stand off-ish towards Gregorio. There’s an imagine spot where he throws the bully dad into a window but he backs off instead.

Okay, obviously you shouldn’t do that but you could still step in through a normal way like telling the principal or something. The solution doesn’t have to be super violent.

We cut to some strange island where Floop is talking to some people who are worried that his inventions are not that useful. The attempts to brainwash captured agents just turn them into abominations to use for his kids show. Also he has goons that are giant thumbs. Because reasons.

He’s also built robot kids that look lifelike, which they find more impressive.

“I can make them look like anyone yet with the cunning and intelligence of the world’s greatest espionage agents rolled into tiny packages I call Spy Kids!”

The robot kids don’t have brains yet which pisses the guy, played by Robert Patrick, off. Meanwhile, Gregorio decides to accept this mission to track down the agents and Ingrid wants to tag along even though he is at first against it. He allows it because the power of Carla Cugino just can’t be denied so they head off and leave the kids in the care of their Uncle Felix, played by Cheech Marin.

But as soon as they start to approach the base underwater, they are captured. Felix is alerted to this and so he is forced to tell the kids the truth. Well geez, that escalated quickly.

“My parents can’t be spies, they’re not cool enough!”

But the line is trailer-y enough for me to know it even before I watched this.

The kids escape via a submarine that is going to a safe house, but Felix is captured by some invaded thumb people. Once the kids have escaped, things slow down a bit as things sink and it’s a nice moment. They make it to the safe house while the parents end up at Floop’s liar where they attempt to escape but just end up in Floop’s dining room or something.

Floop explains that the OSS was attempting to create some sort of fake brain that he can use for his androids but that research was destroyed. However, Gregorio was on that research team so Floop wants him but he refuses so sends him down some trapdoor that I swear every villain has for whenever someone pisses them off. Doesn’t matter if it’s at a dinner table or not, they always have one.

Without really thinking it over too hard, the kids decide to spy into action and save their parents. Also there’s some jokes that prove Carmen really is the more competent one of the two. Then some adults show up, basically pulling a “I’m a friend of your parents” which they are rightfully skeptical of.

They pull a decent act at first and tell them that Juni’s beloved Floop is actually evil. It even turns out that a song from the show is “Floop is a madman help us save us” in reverse, which I’ve always found funny for some reason. But then they bring up that brain thing and it becomes clear. Felix did give them the cryptic phrase “The third brain lives” though.

Turns out the prototype for it is here and the kids take out once they take one peek out the window and see some thumb people. Juni is the one who sees it and he proves more competent in the ensuing action scene, which is good. There’s a jetpack chase involving some dodgy green screen that ends with them escaping although they end up in town where I feel like plenty of people saw them.

We cut to Floop doing his show where we get a villain song because why not and after that his goon Alexander Minion (Nice) suggests sending in robots that look like the kids to go after the kids. It’s easy as they have bracelets that serve as tracking devices. Juni actually figures this out to add to his list of good moments but it’s too late as the robots show up.

There’s a sight that ends with the robots making off with the brain, as it seems Floop wants it to make the robots smarter. I’d ask why but without brains they got their asses kicked by kids so fair enough. One of their parents’ devices said it was made by “Machete” who seems to be an old partner of dad’s, so they track down his shop.

Oh boy, Machete. Okay, so this is a character Rodriguez came up with and tried to get a movie out of him but at first couldn’t do it so he put him in here. Then later came Grindhouse where there was a fake trailer for a Machete movie which eventually got made for real and got a sequel. The thing is, those were of course a grindhouse homage so uh…not for kids, to say the least.

So the fact that this character is also in Spy Kids is…amazing. Sure, Rodreguiz claims they are alternate universes but you can’t fool me. Anyway, I got that out of the way. Also, he’s played by Danny Trejo. Meanwhile, Floop wants to do more of his show instead of this evil business but Mr. Minion does not agree and turns against him. Dang, that was fast. There was a hint of this in their last scene that I skipped over but still.

The kids approach Machete and ask for his help since he makes tons of spy gadgets. However, he is Gregorio’s older brother and they are estranged so he doesn’t want to help. So the kids just jack his stuff, nice. But he smiles once he sees they took the plane so I guess he’s cool with it now? Also a bit before this:

“Cain and Able were brothers, look how they ended up”

I found that funny for some reason.

The plane has some problems but they end up going through an underwater entrance to Floop’s place. There are sharks that are sleeping and Juni loses his credibility points by thinking it is a good idea to touch one of them. But he’s able to put them back to sleep so that was pointless.

However, the sharks do wake up…after Juni pisses in the water. Lovely. Even this one has to get its immature moments in. They escape the sharks and make it into the fortress and do some spy stuff. They run until the kids get separated and then Juni walks into a Virtual Room where an image of Floop talks about Juni’s sweaty hands.

…I don’t like where this is going.

Actually, Floop just talks to Juni about how he’s not so bad and Minion is the true evil one. He buys it pretty quickly and they agree they must team up to stop Minion. It is sort of nice, it just all happens a bit quickly since this movie is short. Not that I’m complaining, I like it but short movies are always a good thing.

With Floop’s help, Juni reunites with Carmen and they rescue their parents from the dungeon. Dad has been turned into a Flooglie but Floop says he knows how to turn him back…and in the next scene he’s human again so another thing that’s pointless. They storm Minion and easily manage to capture him.

They still need to take care of robot army though and plus Minion pushes a button that does…something to him and really they should have noticed he had some random button on him. Floop tries to reprogram the robots as the kids bump into a couple of them.

“Oh shi…take mushrooms”

Oh wow I forgot about that line. I kind of love it since there’s no other bits like this in here.

Juni redeems himself by defeating the robots using some gum from Machete (don’t ask) and they make it to Robert Patrick who is a bigger focus now and I just forgot to mention that since he’s not super interesting. Minion is there as he has been turned into some abomination and that helped him escape. I don’t know, we’re almost done.

The family teams up for a promotional image and then Machete magically shows up to help. Plus, Floop reprogrammed the robot kids so they take care of the bad guys. There’s a corny moment where Floop tells Juni he helped by showing he was pure of heart or whatever. It’s corny but nice. That climax ended up being pretty anti climatic though.

Machete and the dad make up and now the day is saved. Sometime later, the robot kids now go around saving people and the media doesn’t question it too hard. Some of them are based on the kids of world leaders so they should really be curious. Anyway, the robot Juni and Carmen are now on Floop’s show so he’s got his happy ending.

One morning, the director of OSS, played by George Clooney, calls the family up and asks for some help. I love how he has a black bar covering his eyes…which he takes off. They agree to the mission but only if they can do it as a family. And that’s the end, that was quite abrupt. In the credits, there’s some sort of punk rock song because they realized it’s not an early 2000’s movie without one. I mean, come on.

Final Thoughts:

There honestly that much to say. I feel like this review was kind of empty compared to what I was hoping but whatever, it’s something. As far as family films go, this is a good one. It’s not one of the great ones but it’s not one of the insulting ones either. It’s a fairly fun ride that manages to hold up reasonably well, even if its nothing amazing.

It’s able to be the fun spy romp it wants to be and it generally flows well. The kids work well enough off each other, although I forgot it was Juni who got the bulk of the development. Carmen was more enjoyable but he did get a bit more depth even if some of it was a little corny. This is one of those movies where the heart is just nice enough to make up for it being fairly cheesy.

Alan Cumming is enjoyable as Floop although him turning good could have had more to it and I feel like he would have worked better as the full villain than Minion. Although things are done fine with him, Floop is just more memorable. The parents are cool with what we get, and the family dynamic in general is nice.

There’s a solid dose of weird stuff without going too far with it. The effects are hit or miss to say the least but it’s not quite as overdosed with them as some movies can get. I’m not sure what it is about this one that makes it work, it just does. It doesn’t do anything great per say but it is just generally enjoyable most of the way through.

The climax does get both overblown and really rushed though. That’s something honestly all the movies kind of suffer from. Speaking of, I can’t put my finger on what makes the latter sequels not quite work as well. With 3, perhaps it’s because it clearly feels rushed out the door and the 4th is just pointless like a lot of these a decade later sequels tend to be.

The second one is a slightly more complicated matter but frankly at this point I might as well review it someday. I recall it being decent but mixed so that’ll be fun. Either way, Spy Kids isn’t a groundbreaking family movie but it is a fun one and sometimes that’s all you need. It didn’t need all those sequels but at least this one can hold up fine enough all these years later.

Rating: Good

Sorry this one came out weaker than expected, there wasn’t quite as much to mock as I expected although there was enough. Anyway, Happy Birthday to Antony once again, even if it took a few tries to find a movie this year.

Next time, it’ll be October so tune in for a Halloween review of…something.

See ya.

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Give Yourself Goosebumps – Little Comic Shop of Horrors

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time for another Stine review you all voted for. This time around I had some Goosebumps entries to pick from. They were Triple Header Book 1, Creature Teacher, Jekyll and Heidi and this.  Creature Teacher had an big early lead but then near the end, this one just jumped ahead and kept that slot until the end. That’s impressive. I figured this standing out from the others would help it and it sure did. …I was personally rooting for Jekyll and Heidi though. (So I side with you, Cartoon Hero lol)

Anyway, today we get to dive into Give Yourself Goosebumps. I talked about one of them way back during the Goosebump a Thon but this time we’ll get a review that doesn’t suck. These are basically Choose Your Own Adventure books that tend to be pretty fun. They vary in terms of how good they are as game books but at least are usually creative and wild.

R.L. Stine actually previously wrote game books back in the 80’s, from licensed things like Indiana Jones to stuff like Twist a Plot. I’ve actually read a couple of those and they certainly share similar qualities. I feel like he wrote at least a couple of the Give Yourself ones. I say that because yep, at least one has been confirmed to be ghostwritten and I imagine plenty of others were as well.

I’ve been wanting to re-visit this series and it looks I get my chance to. I won’t be doing that many as their nature makes them hard to really critique for me. I picked this one because I’m fairly familiar with it. I read it a fair bit back in the day so it made sense to do it.

Goosebumps stories about comics have been iffy, generally. Even the best one in the main series, Attack of the Mutant isn’t the tightest story. They can be fun at best and Dr. Maniac Will See You Now at worst. It says something that his best superhero story is Shadow Girl, a non Goosebumps book. But this is a Give Yourself Goosebumps book so that gives it an excuse to have a nonsense story.

So we’ll see if that makes it a cut above those. But before we get into it, I have to say how I will tackle this. I could just do it normally like I did last time but I want to…experiment. I might make choices you may not make and you might want to take the reins or see another option in more depth.

So you know what? Let’s allow to pick whatever you want. This review will be a bit different. I will be covering every single option the book has to offer and each section will be parked Page Whatever Number the Book Gives. When you get to an choice, just CTRL F to that number.

Essentially, this will just be a cut down and snarky version of the actual experience of reading these. If I’m not doing a good job explaining it, you’ll see as you go on. The sections will be in rough order of where they appear in the book proper and the final thoughts will go after the last one that appears, rather than after any endings.

You can play however you usually do when you read these, but I hope you don’t quit after one ending, there’s plenty of review I put here lol. Anyway, this is an ambitious idea and I will never do it again so hopefully this works. Can you make it through this comic shop alive? Find out in this review that is packed with over 20 scary endings!

All that said, let’s see if this one is super.

This, is Little Comic Shop of Horrors

Outside of the first one, the covers for this series in the first half were done by Mark Nagata. This one is decently drawn, with a memorable looking lizard hero monster. It is only seen in a weirdly specific part of the book but hey at least it’s in the book. That is all.

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A Look at the other Disney Sitcom Crossovers

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/a-look-at-disney-channel-sitcoms-part-1/

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/a-look-at-disney-sitcom-christmas-episodes/

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2016/10/01/a-look-at-disney-sitcom-halloween-episodes/

INDEX:

Hannah Montana – Take This Job and Love It

I’m In the Band – Weseals on Deck

Good Luck Charlie-Charlie Shakes It Up

Austin, Jessie & Ally

Jessie-Karate Kid-tastrophe

Lab Rats Vs Mighty Med

Raven About Bunk’d

Hello, Spongey here.

Crossovers. They sure are fun, huh? You know what’s more fun that a crossover? A Disney sitcom crossover! …Well, not really but I find them fun. Disney Channel used to be really all in this whole “shared universe” thing with their sitcoms. It started with That’s So Suite Life of Hannah Montana”, a big three part event that I reviewed ages ago. They followed it up two years  later with Wizards on Deck With Hannah Montana”.

From then, the shows were linked together enough to make reference outside of the crossovers, which I love. There’s a Jessie episode with a billboard for Tipton Tea, to list one example. One example I find interesting that some in universe famous cat from Kirby Buckets was also mentioned in Mighty Med. I think that might the only example of a single camera show sharing a universe with their more standard multi camera ones.

This crossover madness hit an apex in October of 2015 where they had their shows do a bunch of cameos across the episodes. I’ve talked about a good chunk of these, such as the Good Luck Charlie/Jessie and even that time Jessie was in Ultimate Spider-Man. Links to all those are up there.

But for some reason, after 2015 they just…stopped this. There were no more crossovers and not even references. Whole shows like Bizzardvark have come go without any connections. I know they haven’t had a ton of heavy hitters later but smaller crossovers aren’t out of the question yet they have avoided them.

…Then out of nowhere in this very year, they sprung one on us that no one wanted but we’ll get there. It is nice to see them back though, since that is one aspect of these shows I like. It’s just fun to see things being connected, even if none of it makes any sense.

In honor of that new crossover, I wanted to look at some of the others I haven’t covered yet. They’ve done a few other ones outside of the ones I’ve mentioned so it’s time to finally go over them. It’s an interesting group so this will be fun to discuss.

However, there’s one I couldn’t review but have to mention. So in Disney Channel Latin America, they’ve made some shows over there that I don’t have much interest in. But one of their shows, called Peter Punk, randomly did a crossover with Zeke & Luthor for some. I would have loved to go over it…but it was totally on Punk’s side and the show is of course in Spanish, and there is no dub. The only video of it I found has no subtitles it looks I can’t talk about it.

But at least you know that I know it exists. I think that’s about it for introduction, so let’s get into it.

(Oh and I didn’t review Wizards on Deck but I have nothing to add to Norty’s review, he covered it pretty well)

This, is A Look at the other Disney sitcom crossovers

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More better versions of bad episodes I’ve reviewed

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2018/08/30/a-look-at-better-versions-of-bad-episodes-ive-reviewed/

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time to follow up on a post from a couple years ago. I had been reviewing bad TV episodes in various posts for years and I was getting a bit tired of it. But just slowing down on them wasn’t enough. So I took inspiration from Norty and did a post going over better versions of some of those episodes. As in, episodes that did some of the ideas in those far better.

I enjoy doing it, as it was a good way to show that any idea can work and I was able to be more constructive about past episodes I had reviewed. It turned out well so two years later, I’m here to do it again. By now, I’m amassed a solid amount of other example of better versions of episodes I’ve reviewed so yeah, we’ll do it.

Fair warning, quite a bit of the kidcom ones this time around. There’s more of those than the cartoon episodes. Guess it was just easier to come up with those this time. I don’t have anything to add before getting into a couple side things before we dive in.

First is that Norty has done a few Fixing the Flops for ones I also covered, most of them infact. For Candace Gets Busted he had Not Phineas and Ferb (I suggested it although in hindsight I think She’s The Mayor works better since it pulls off an ass pull ending better), Dan Vs Dancing was Dan Vs The Mechanic, Keep Beach City Weird was Horror Club, and White Elephant Gift Exchange was Big Winner.

That just leaves Girl meets the Bay Window and Fed Up With Antoine, which he did recently. Those were all good picks, btw, got nothing to add. Second off, there’s two that I considered before realizing certain things so here they are, quickly.

Kang-a-Rooney [Liv and Maddie]: I reviewed Steal-a-Rooney, where basically someone tries a scheme to help out one of their siblings and it backfires and I thought of trying to find something for it. However, I remembered this Halloween episode that I already reviewed which also revolves around a similar setup to what I described. Since I covered it already, no need to do it again. It also happens to be the only other episode Ocean was in before vanishing forever.

Captain Mateo [Elena of Avalor]: I included a fixed version of this one in the first first one and went with SpongeBob’s Naughty Nautical Neighbors since it was also about friends getting a dumb fight over who is the better friend to someone. However, a bit after the post, this episode aired which has a better and more natrual feeling Gabe vs Mateo conflict. Really wish I waited, since I did stretch a bit on that lol. I don’t care about this one enough to fix it twice so I left it out.

With all that said, let’s see what I managed to find this time.

This is, More better versions of Bad episodes I’ve reviewed

Again, we’ve got 10 and in the order I reviewed the bad one.

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Zombies 2

Does it have any more brains this time around? Or any bite? …Get it, because it has werewolves.

https://spongey444.wordpress.com/2019/01/19/zombies/

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time to enter DCOM-land again, for a sequel from earlier this year. Wow, I was actually quick to getting to this one. That doesn’t usually happen. The only reason I didn’t do it even sooner is that I was hoping it’d get to Disney+ soon enough and it did, woo hoo.

Zombies was quite the odd movie. It had some fun and weirdly charming stuff at times but it was largely a mess with tons of elements taken from other DCOMs, and weird commentary that seems especially muddled now. But of course Disney was hoping for a new franchise to replace Descendants so it was able to get a sequel.

There didn’t seem too much left open by the end of the first one, aside from just generally seeing more of how they deal with human and zombie stuff. So I was curious about how they’d force a sequel out of it. The results were certainly interesting so we’ll get to go over it.

There’s honestly not much to say going in, I’m saving my actual thoughts and such for the meat of this. It even had the same crew, which I went over before. Honestly, I’m glad Paul Hoen is finally doing a sequel to his own movie for once. He usually does at least okay with sequels so let’s see how this goes. Of course, those who follow me on Twitter and Letterboxd already know but let’s ignore that and see if this sequel was undead on arrival.

This, is Zombies 2

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Ghosts of Fear Street – I Was A Sixth Grade Zombie

Hello, Spongey here.

It’s time to return to Ghosts of Fear Street, everyone’s favorite R.L. Stine series that he didn’t write. Well, as far as he wants us to publicly know. I looked at the first book and I wanted to do some more. I actually originally randomized one certain book but then I decided to do a poll like I did for the Bad Moonlight review.

I took to my randomizer and I gave my Twitter peeps the options of Attack of the Aqua Apes, House of a thousand screams, Don’t ever get sick at Granny’s and this. I honestly thought Granny’s had it in the bag, but after a pretty tense war, this won. I was surprised since this is a lesser known one. I blame the cover but oh boy we’ll get to that.

This comes from near the end of the series, after they switched publishers. It’s unknown why this happened but it meant a new look for both series, and in both cases those entries are harder to find and thus aren’t talked about as much. Not that Ghosts is discussed a lot but ya get what I mean.  That means I am less familiar with them and I’m interested in going over them. I’ve had the book before this one for ages and the preview for this book always had me intrigued as to what it was all about.

And it’s certainly something, so we’re getting into it. The ghostwriter is Nina Kiriki Hoffman, who is blessed enough to have a Wikipedia page. She’s got a decently sized bibliography, which seems to mainly Sci-Fi and Fantasy based but naturally there’s some horror ones which is how she got there. Although the Sci-Fi influence does play a part into her Ghosts stuff which we shall soon see.

This, is I Was A Sixth-Grade Zombie

So as I said, the series got a new look later on which lead to CGI covers, this one being by “Happy Boy Pat”. I don’t want to insult the artists since it was the 90’s so of course the CG wouldn’t look great but Jesus they still sucked. This one is sadly not an exception. It’s just ugly to look at. That would be bad enough but apparently the switch was last minute enough for one of the previous cover artists, Mark Garro, to have actually done a cover before this was made.

Okay, it’s nothing great either, and rather goofy, but it still looks much better. Although the other one does sort of fit the story better I guess. Now, onto the show!

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