Reviews


Let's Do the Star Wars Again!

Today, I took the teenagers to see the new Star Wars. At this point, I've lost track of the movie titles, but I'm pretty sure this was #8.

Everything I write here will be spoiler-free, so don't get your knickers in a knot. I'm just going to share some general thoughts on this specific flick and the Disney franchise as a whole.

Firstly, it's very long. There are ads, coming attractions, yet more ads and a very long movie. There's even a game they want you to play with an app (both my teens did this), except it's not a game at all. You literally just watch more ads. What's up with that? Weren't there actual trivia questions at some point?

Star Wars 8 is long enough that I thought I could make it through without a pee break, only to realize we weren't wrapping up as I was led to believe. There was a good 45-minutes post-pee. There's lots going on.

These new Star Wars movies feel like the same movie over and over again. The names and faces might change, but the general mythology is all copy and paste. It's a winning formula, and they sure stick to it. Because it's the same pleasing movie over and over again, it's pretty fun while you're in the theatre. Just don't expect to be talking about it two hours later. It's not the type of movie you take home with you.

I was going to map the current characters to the originals, like how BB-8 is R2-D2 and Rey is Luke, but that's a little too close to spoilerville, and I promised not to go there. Just know, there's nothing new under the sun, and that's not entirely a bad thing. After all, Disney is laughing all the way to the bank.

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Skydiggers at the Horseshoe Tavern

In a word: wonderful.

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Barenaked Ladies at Massey Hall

That was quite the night. After watching TFC's thrilling win, I biked to BMO Field to soak in the thrills of victory. Then, to Massey Hall to see the Barenaked Ladies.

With BNL, two things are guaranteed: you'll get great songs and truly funny banter. That banter, which is always crisp and smart, sometimes comes in rap form. It all makes for a dependably fun night.

Put them in Massey Hall and you get the added bonus of the best venue in the city. The acoustics are incredible. Catch a show or two before it shuts down for three years!

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This is the first time I've seen them since Steven Page left the band, and it's not quite the same. They still sound great, but here they are performing Brian Wilson. You can't hear Brian Wilson without missing Steven's contributions to the band.

I often joke about my mild 90s Cancon obsession. BNL are right there with The Tragically Hip, Lowest of the Low, Rusty and Skydiggers, only BNL experienced significant success in the USA. Still, they're Toronto boys, and they let you know it. The hometown crowd returned the love all night.

Most of us are old enough to remember when $1,000,000 was a lot of money.

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Guns N' Roses at the ACC - What a Setlist!

Guns N' Roses played for well over three hours last night and gave us everything that even smelled like a hit.

Guns N' Roses

Check out this setlist.

  1. It's So Easy
  2. Mr. Brownstone
  3. Chinese Democracy
  4. Welcome to the Jungle
  5. Double Talkin' Jive
  6. Better
  7. Estranged
  8. Live and Let Die
  9. Rocket Queen
  10. You Could Be Mine
  11. New Rose
  12. This I Love
  13. Civil War
  14. Yesterdays
  15. Prostitute
  16. Coma
  17. Speak Softly Love (Love Theme From The Godfather)
  18. Sweet Child O' Mine
  19. Wichita Lineman
  20. Used to Love Her
  21. My Michelle
  22. Wish You Were Here
  23. November Rain (but first, the Layla piano coda!)
  24. Black Hole Sun
  25. Knockin' on Heaven's Door (with "Only Women Bleed" intro )
  26. Nightrain
  27. Madagascar
  28. Patience
  29. Don't Cry
  30. The Seeker
  31. Paradise City

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Chance the Rapper at Budweiser Stage

Here's a fun fact that gets less fun the more you think about it. Last night, I attended the very first concert at Budweiser Stage. That's pretty cool until you realize it's the same ol' amphitheatre you've been to dozens of time with fresh paint and a new name.

Chance the Rapper

I was there with my oldest daughter to see Chance the Rapper. The last time I took her to a show, it was Selena Gomez, and the crowd was so young there were plenty of parental units in the crowd. This time, it was 99% high school and university students and I was the unicorn. For fun, we tried to find another person on the lawns who looked like they were over the age of 30. We struck out.

Chance the Rapper

My oldest two kids have been playing Chance the Rapper around the house for years, but it wasn't until last night that I realized how many of his songs I knew. It was fantastic with the most positive vibe I've ever experienced at a concert. When the skies really opened up around 10:45pm and the lightning became more frequent we were played out with Blessings 2 and Michelle and I bolted for the bikes.

As we biked west on an empty Martin Goodman Trail, soaking wet and full of song, it was the absolute best feeling. What an amazing night.

Blessings, indeed.

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Dream Big: Engineering Our World

I took my three oldest kids to the Ontario Science Centre yesterday. That's where you'll find the OMNIMAX® Theatre, where the giant screen is a dome with 13,000 watts of sound being delivered from 44 speakers. It's really something else.

We saw "Dream Big: Engineering Our World", an incredibly inspiring film about how creative and compassionate engineers improve the world we live in. Several stories are shared, each one more inspiring than the last. And as an added bonus, it's narrated by Jeff Bridges.

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If all goes according to plan, I'll end up with an engineer in the family.... or four. The key is to dream big.

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Gleason

I'm a sucker for movies on a plane. Even mediocre flicks hook me when I'm mid-flight. Heck, I shed a tear during Kevin Costner's Draft Day.

Having already been underwhelmed by the new Ghostbusters and pleasantly surprised by the new Barbershop, I decided to try a documentary. There was one called Gleason which I just assumed was about Jackie Gleason. I decided to give it a go.

This movie was not about Jackie Gleason but former NFL player Steve Gleason who was diagnosed with ALS at the age of 34. I was completely drawn into Steve's world where I clinged to every syllable and openly wept like a baby several times.

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I'm unsure if the documentary is just that good or if this is the aforementioned plane effect, but I spent the next hour completely reevaluating the priorities in my life, particularly my relationships with my four children. The faucet was open and feelings were gushing out.

Should you trust a man who admitted to shedding a tear while watching Draft Day on a flight? Of course you shouldn't. But if you're facing adversity, struggle with father issues, are a parent or simply interested in a different perspective, I highly recommend this documentary. And not just because it features Pearl Jam and a tearful Ed Vedder discussing his own father issues. That's just icing on a very thought-provoking cake.

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Canadian Premiere of I Am What I Play at The Royal

I attended the Canadian premiere of I Am What I Play at The Royal last night. You might recall me writing about this documentary. It features Meg Griffin, Charles Laquidara, Pat O'Day and our very own David Marsden.

Marsden was at the premiere, and we chatted before the curtains went up. A number of old CFNY staffers were there, as well as radio fan Erin Davis who gave me a big hug. It was a great atmosphere.

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And for this longtime fan of radio, it was a great doc. Aside from Marsden, i was only slightly familiar with Meg Griffin from her appearances on Howard Stern. The others, Charles Laquidara in particular, were great story tellers.

And that's what makes Marsden so great. The man is an excellent storyteller, with fantastic stories to tell. It's why his appearance in episode 106 of my podcast is one my personal favourites. I Am What I Play features plenty of great Marsden tales with old audio, video and photos I had never seen. I've finally heard what Dave Mickie sounds like!

If you love radio, you'll adore this doc. It's also got a great soundtrack and closes the only way a good radio story should.

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Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre

On Friday, I did something I had never done before. I attended dinner theatre.

The show was called "Getting Hitched! An Engagement Party Directed by Alfred Hitchmock" and it took place at the Mysteriously Yours Dinner Theatre at 2026 Yonge Street. If you've never been to dinner theatre, you're served a nice meal and then characters in the production start milling about, chatting you up at your table. Then, the show begins with a murder and your job is to track the clues and figure out whodunit.

Spoiler alert: I was the murderer. Here's photographic evidence.

Fwd:

Good food and good times... Visit http://www.mysteriouslyyours.com/ for more info.

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Cinderella at the Elgin Theatre

Cinderella at The Elgin TheatreWe attended CINDERELLA - The Gags to Riches Family Musical at the Elgin Theatre yesterday. It was my second Ross Petty production, so I knew exactly what to expect.

There's fun call and answer, lots of booing from the audience when Petty hits the stage as the evil step mother, and parodies of current hit pop songs. It was a fun night.

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Now, it wasn't as funny as SNOW WHITE, the Deliciously Dopey Family Musical, the last Ross Petty fractured fairy tale I attended, but people of all ages will laugh out loud.

If you'd like to buy tickets to CINDERELLA - The Gags to Riches Family Musical, go here.

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