Thimblerig’s Three Interesting Things of the Day • November 20, 2014

Today is November 20, which means that the end of the month is just ten short days away.  If you are doing Nanowrimo, this is the time to pick it up, push yourself, and get yourself over that finish line!  Maybe you haven’t done as well as you were hoping this year, and you’ve only written a few thousand words.  It doesn’t matter!  Kick it to the end!  Maybe you’re right on track, but you’re running out of steam.  Push yourself!  Don’t let your hard word go to waste!  In the immortal words of Rob Schneider in Waterboy…

And in case you need a bit more encouragement, let’s see what Jenny has to say about it.

Forrest-Wrimo

Now on to the three interesting things I found on the internet this past week.

1.  The Peanuts Trailer

peanuts-charlie-hd

This one is really, really interesting to me.  Like a gazillion other folks out there my age, I amassed stacks of Peanuts books growing up, and read them over and over and over again.  As a somewhat shy kid with self-confidence issues, I identified with Charlie Brown and the problems he faced.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if I could have become a part of any children’s literature at the time, I would have grown a round head and jumped into the panels of Charles Schultz’s world.

When Blue Sky Studios (the guys behind the Ice Age and Rio movies) announced that they were going to be making a new Peanuts animated feature, with CGI, I was initially pretty skeptical.  You could wallpaper your house with the bad reviews of bad movies that decent filmmakers have made from fantastic properties that I grew up with:  Transformers 1,2,3 & 4, Scooby Doo, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, Smurfs, Smurfs 2, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes, Superman Returns,  Knight Rider, The A-Team, Charlie’s Angels, Get Smart, The Pink Panther, Robocop

…the depressing and continually growing list represents a non-stop assault by lazy Hollywood producers on the pop culture treasures of my childhood.

Given, there have been some successful reboots/reimaginings:  Battlestar GalacticaThe Muppets, Star Trek, Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies, the recent Planet of the Apes movies, James Bond, to name a few.  And while they prove that it can be done, they are the exception to the rule.

And now we have Peanuts up next on the horizon.  And I have hope that it will be an exception.

The two things that gives me hope about this film are this:

A)  The studio

If you go to the Blue Sky Studios website and look at the films they have released, they are almost all good movies.  The one exception was the underwhelming Rio 2, which I forgot right after watching it.  However, they did well with the Ice Age franchise, and have several other good standalone movies under their belt.  Peanuts is in good hands with this studio.

2)  The Creative Team

Peanuts has a strong animation-experienced director in Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who, Ice Age: Continental Drift) and Charles Schultz’s son and grandson are sharing screenwriting credits with newcomer Cornelius Uliano.  Also, I was totally stoked to see that Christophe Beck (one of my absolute favorite movie score composers) is doing the soundtrack.  Hopefully, this creative team will seek to stay true to the spirit of the original stories, and not try to reimagine Peanuts for a new generation to the point of getting rid of everything that made Peanuts special and timeless in the first place.

That leads me to the message I would communicate to the creative team if I had the opportunity:

PLEASE MAKE PEANUTS THE MOVIE TIMELESS BY KEEPING IT FIRMLY ROOTED IN THE TIME AND SPACE FOR WHICH IT IS KNOWN!

Yes, I’m suggesting that they should keep the film in the 60’s – 70’s era.  No cell phones, no internet, no Facebook references, no hip lingo or jokes about celebrities, no setting in modern-looking neighborhoods.  Keep the music reminiscent of the jazzy style of Vince Guaraldi, as well as orchestral music – but no pop songs by One Direction or Christina Aguilera or some other teeny bopper music group that would plant the movie firmly in the 2014’s.

Go CGI all you want, and make it fun and funny for the kids!   But remember that the setting and the score are characters into themselves, and if they aren’t there, they will be missed as much as Linus or Schroeder.

At least by 40-something guys like me that grew up with Peanuts.

Now, I started all this saying that I was excited to find the release of the new Peanuts trailer, and so, without further ado…

The trailer looks pretty good.  We’ll hold out hope for the finished product!

2)  Bono and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

bono

First, Bono is on an airplane over Germany that loses a door (and Bono’s luggage) mid-flight.  Then, a few days later, Bono is involved in a very serious bike accident in New York City while biking in Central Park.

I don’t mean to sound snarky with another man’s misfortunes, but… I mean, wow.  That has to go down in the books as one of the worst weeks ever.  I sincerely hope that Mr. Hewson will have a very quick recovery and be able to get back on the road sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Fallon had to have the best response of a host having a guest not be able to make it, when he and the Roots stepped in for Bono and U2.  I have not been the biggest Jimmy Fallon fan before, but this cover might just have made me a believer.

3)  10 Year US/China Visas

chinaThis one is quite selfish, but I was thrilled to hear that the United States and China agreed to extend ten year visas to each other’s citizens.  Living in China, one of the most annoying hassles is reapplying each year for the work visa.  This past year was especially excruciating, as we had several extra things we had to do to be able to get visas for all of my family.

But, thanks to President Obama and President Xi Jinping and their diplomatic staffs, I’ll have one more visa for which I’ll need to apply, and then I’ll be done!

Hopefully my airplane won’t lose a door as I fly home this summer…

 

The Computer Giant, The Rock Band, The Groundhog, and Free Downloads

I woke up this morning, like the rest of the internet, to the fascinating story that U2 and Apple had teamed up once again, and that U2 was offering their new album, Songs of Innocence, for free download on iTunes.  And the internet is still ringing with the shockwave that followed that announcement.

But, in the midst of the shock, one thing that most folks reporting this story seem to have missed is that 3D T'rig Cover no shadowapparently U2 and Apple apparently coincided their big news to apparently “drop” just a couple of days before Thimblerig’s Ark became available, also for free download!  

Coincidence?  There are no coincidences.

Not when the worlds of big computers and big music collide with the world of little-known self publishing animal-centered biblical fantasies.  When that happens, all bets are off.

To make matters even more compelling, Thimblerig was actually on hand in Cupertino for the big announcement!  He’d saved up his figs for several weeks to make it there, managed to get onto the stage, but before he could do anything he was forcibly removed by some blue-polo-wearing, no-necked, hipster-bearded Apple Genius thug.

You would think this scandal would be on the front pages of all the websites of the world!  You’d think that blogs would be picking it up and running with it!  You’d think that Matt Walsh would have written a scathing, insightful, controversial editorial about the incident by now!

But somehow Thimblerig’s sad story has been quietly swept under the carpet.

Thankfully, the great equalizer – the internet – will help us prove it.  After all, a picture posted on the internet is the best proof, right?  Remember the Derbyshire Fairy?  Hercules, the world’s biggest dog?

But I digress.  To the proof:  Here’s Thimblerig, trying to get Bono’s attention, right before the no-neck Apple genius hipster rushed him off the stage.

 

 

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Some people might think that this was all a stunt on Thimblerig’s part to try and get Bono to read Thimblerig’s Ark, or to get Tim Cook to release a new special edition purple iPod with Thimblerig’s paw print on the back.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  He just wanted to ask Bono to help get the word out about the free download of Thimblerig’s Ark, which will start on September 12 (PST) and run for three days!

In fact, as he was hoisted on the shoulder of the Apple genius-thug like an undignified sack of potatoes, Thimblerig reportedly screamed, “Just for three days!  You can download Thimblerig’s Ark for free just for three days!  It starts on Friday – Pacific Standard time!  Hey, can you guys play Bullet the Blue Sky?  Can you play Bullet the Blue Skyyyyy?Thimblerig Apple mug

But he was lugged out of the hall and straight into the Apple Company store, where he spent the rest of the afternoon playing Flappy Bird on a display iPad, and then bought a retro Apple coffee cup before heading home, dejected.

Now Thimblerig’s feeling down, feeling like he could have done more.

Well, he couldn’t.  He screwed up.

But you can help!   “How?” you might be asking your computer screen.  Well, if you would like to help Thimblerig’s morale, then you can do three simple things.

1)  Go to Amazon on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (PST) and download Thimblerig’s Ark for free.  Then, if you like it, write a review!  Reviews are the bread and butter of non-U2-sized artists/authors.

2)  Share Thimblerig’s inspirational story with the world through your own social media outlets.  Take the picture below and post it all over the place!  Help get the word out!

3)  Finally, if you know the Edge, tell him Thimblerig apologizes for grabbing the sunglasses off his face.  He left them with a nicesunglasses person named Kip at the register in the Apple Company store.  Thimblerig is pretty sure Kip worked there.

There’s a good chance that none of the events in this story are true, that it’s some form of parody.  But what isn’t parody is that Thimblerig’s Ark really is available for free download (September 12 – 14), and we hope you’ll give it a try!

Especially if you are Bono.  That would be really, really cool.

Free Thimblerig U2And share this picture!