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TopMoose

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About TopMoose

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  1. As a professional musician and survivor of a conservatory education, I have to weigh in on High Strung: 1. I can't believe that anyone "playing" an instrument on screen here can be heard on the soundtrack. They did an okay job of trying to match the bowings and fingerings to the music, but it's not entirely believable. The posture and bow holds are also big giveaways. 2. Johnnie says that he got his violin from his grandfather, implying that it's a family heirloom, but there's no way that instrument is more than 10 years old - the patina and fittings look brand new. 3. Gigi-tastic is right - even a student violinist knows not to sword fight with bows because they are rather delicate and expensive. Especially not with an instrument you just borrowed from a section leader. 4. 75% of the violin playing in this movie is cheap special effects that any beginner can figure out. Most notably is a tremolo glissando - rapid bowing while sliding your hand up the fingerboard. It's incredibly easy to do. Another is bariolage - rapid string crossings. It takes a bit of bow control, but it's also really easy. These techniques look and sound flashy but musicians know that they're really not that impressive. 5. June is absolutely right - if a ballet dancer is 19 and hasn't found a place in a company, it's pretty much over. Ballet is rough and dancers usually retire by 35. A 19-year-old should be well into her career. 6. Ruby's teacher says that she'll never be able to market herself without skills in modern dance. Conservatory teachers DO NOT CARE about their students' marketability. Making sure you can get a job is neither their responsibility nor their concern. They only care about getting their students to reach a high artistic standard. Also, ballet dancers tend to specialize and there's hardly any call for them to cross over to other styles. 7. At the final performance, one of the judges turns up her nose at the hip-hop style and another judge counters with "Don't we want to evolve? Don't we want to progress?" This is total bull. The "classical" music world is extremely exclusionary - especially in the halls of higher education - and a conservatory judge would never for a moment consider Ruby's performance artistically valid. 8. I get that June finds the violin shrill and unpleasant but she might enjoy the viola! Violas are played like a violin but are tuned lower and have a rich sound, more like a 'cello. Here's a link to a great piece by Brahms (the soloist comes in at 1:03). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nQZOWpnFB4 9. Paul might have been joking about liking the recorder (probably because it's known as the screechy instrument kids use to play "Hot Crossed Buns") but in the hands of a master it can be gorgeous. Have a listen to Michala Petri playing Vivaldi - skip to 9:09 for some fireworks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_X6GJWrZDtE
  2. BABADOOK SPOILERS AHEAD Team Fred here. At the end of the podcast I was thrilled that Paul made a comparison to The Babadook but he didn't come to the same conclusion I did. In The Babadook, the monster isn't defeated or killed - it still lives in the house with the mother and son. They acknowledge it and feed it but keep it under control so it can't hurt them. Fred represents Lizzie's spontaneous, fun-loving, confident side and, without that in her life, she becomes a timid, mousy pushover. Remember how self-assured and put-together she became after Fred's re-appearance in her life and how meek she became once Fred got weaker due to the green pills? It took her a while to control her wild impulses, but during the pivotal dream sequence, she finally comes to terms with Fred in her life. Like the Babadook, Fred isn't killed or eliminated - He becomes an integrated, positive force of her personality leading her to self-actualization. I'll concede that the movie doesn't stay consistent with its own rules (no one is saying that this is a sterling piece of cinema) but I choose to believe that Fred is a projection of Lizzie's mind. TEAM FRED!
  3. These "collectors mini comics" were handed out at the box office. Mint condition 2018 value: $0.
  4. TopMoose

    Episode 155 - Airborne: LIVE!

    I was going to make a few points about how my hometown is represented, but I'm happy to see that a few others got here first to do it. But I still want to chime in with a few details. I've never heard of the PB&J burger and think it sounds gross. It's not a "Cincinnati" thing. However, we do put savory meat sauce on spaghetti ant top it with a mound of shredded cheese. Also, we have some of the best ice cream you've ever tasted. Edie McClurg's accent is upper Midwest- you're more likely to hear a neutral accent or Kentucky twang. There are no mountains in Cincinnati. We have some hills that we call "mountains" but in reality, the city sits in a valley, surrounded by high ground. We have access to any and all media in southwest Ohio, so California culture, fashion and expressions like "stylin" aren't alien to us. As was noted, Cincinnati isn't a big hockey town. We like baseball and football better and root for our two college basketball teams. The restaurant scene was shot in a local restaurant called Pompilio's, just across the river in Covington, KY. It was more famously the restaurant where Dustin Hoffman counted the toothpicks in Rain Man. They make a really good meatball sub. BTW, Other movies that shot in Cincinnati include The Ides of March, Little Man Tate, Carol and Traffic.
  5. TopMoose

    Pinball & HDTGM Movies

    Grease 2 (which is set in 1961) has a bowling alley scene featuring a Travel Time (1973), a Pop A Card (1972), an El Toro (1970) and three others in the background I can't make out.
  6. I was confused about the Vladimir mythology. The movie presents him as "vampire Jesus," the school is named after him, there's the statue of him in the courtyard, the priest talks about Vlad in his sermons, and it would seem that everyone is really well versed in all things Vlad... So how is it that it takes hours of research poring over dusty volumes in the library to discover things about Vladimir that should be basic common knowledge? Like the fact that he specialized in "spirit" magic and that he had a special bond with his Guardian - the most important person in his life who, inexplicably, isn't mentioned anywhere in his narrative.
  7. My unsubstantiated theory about all the church stuff: The Harry Potter and Twilight series were condemned and boycotted by evangelicals, who say that they promote satanism. Perhaps the shrewd makers of Vampire Academy, in an effort to avoid similar controversy and retain the largest possible audience, made sure to communicate that these are christian vampires. No need to picket, folks. Your kids won't be corrupted or possessed by watching this movie. They're all good christian vampires. Again, just my theory with nothing to back it up. Maybe Blake Harris can ask someone about it?
  8. TopMoose

    Pinball & HDTGM Movies

    I forgot about those - thanks! A few others worth mentioning are Lethal Weapon 3 (they manage to make Leo Getz even more annoying), Mary Shelly's Frankenstein (a weird game with a mini Robert DiNero on the playfield) and Star Wars Episode 1 (which has a reputation as "the game that killed pinball" but isn't all that bad). Ed: a movie with a pinball tie-in that would make an ideal HDTGM episode is Lost In Space (1998) starring Matt Leblanc.
  9. TopMoose

    Pinball & HDTGM Movies

    I currently own four, but I also enjoy going out to local arcades to play (they still exist!). The games do indeed take up a lot of room and my current lineup consists of one in the living room, one in the dining room and two in the kitchen, in place of a breakfast nook. That's about all my house can handle. Price depends mostly on the title and condition. Rare, pristine or popular games are more expensive, while a more common, beat-up machine will be a lot less. Also, the market fluctuates based on general interest in pinball at the time. Old electro-mechanical games (pre-1978 games with mechanical score reels) can range from around $300 to $1500 and modern electronic games are anywhere from $1000 to $6000. A brand new out-of-the-box stern runs about $6500. The current price for a Shadow or a Congo is usually around $3500. Even though Krull is terrible player, it's a really rare title and sells for a lot when they come up for sale (which isn't often). The movie is just god-awful - remember the hilarious makeup effect on the cyclops?
  10. TopMoose

    One for the Money (2012)

    HDTGM has explored the bad movies of a lot of notable actors - Van Damme, Stallone, Cage... but what about the women? I'd like to suggest that HDTGM take on the filmography of Katherine Heigl, starting with One For the Money (2012). After leaving Gray's Anatomy in a Caruso-esque blaze of tabloid glory, Heigl struggled to find a movie career. She fumbled around romantic comedies and tried to redefine herself in indie dramas with middling success, but her most ambitious project was to launch Janet Evanovich's sequentially titled Stephanie Plum novels into a film franchise. Needless to say, it tanked hard. The movie has some fine performances and a good cast, but it's the classic case of overthinking. The tone doesn't fit the material, the editing choices are weird and it has the fingerprints of a nervous, risk-averse studio all over it. Please consider this one for a future podcast. Thanks!
  11. TopMoose

    Pinball & HDTGM Movies

    Excellent questions, Mac! The first pinball machine based on a movie - in fact, the first pinball machine with a licensed theme of any kind - was Bally's 1976 game Wizard, based on the movie Tommy (an obvious tie-in, because it's a movie about a kid who plays pinball). Roger Daltry and Ann-Margaret appear on the backglass, but other than that, the gameplay has little to do with the movie. In recent years, Stern Pinball has done movie tie-ins with the Star Trek reboots, Avengers, Iron Man, Shrek, Nolan's Batman movies and Avatar. Their most recent is based on the 1984 Ghostbusters and they've also done some TV titles like Walking Dead and Family Guy. Jersey Jack Pinball has released Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit in the past few years and an upstart company called Heighway Pinball will be releasing Alien soon (based on the Sigourney Weaver series). I don't know of any collectors who specifically look for machines because they're in a particular movie, but we do enjoy identifying the games we see in movies. Giancarlo Esposito gets attacked by a Night Rider machine in Maximum Overdrive (an original trucking theme, not related to the talking car TV show).
  12. I've seen people posting photos of the Shadow pinball machine here on the forums and on the HDTGM twitter feed and, as a pinball collector and someone who's interested in the history of pinball, thought I'd offer some insight into this and other relevant games. As I'm sure you know, production companies often sell licensing rights to manufacturers who make toys, video games, clothing and, starting in the late 70's, pinball machines, to tie in to their movies. In order to time the release of these products with the release of the movies, development had to start a year or more ahead of time, so there's often no way to predict if the licensed products will be tied to a hit movie or a dud. We pinball collectors have a joke that the worse the movie, the better the pinball machine. Some of the highest-rated, most sought-after games include The Shadow, Congo and Demolition Man. Others, that aren't quite A-list but are still highly regarded include Barb Wire, and Godzilla (1998). In Michael Shaloub's book The Pinball Compendium, Vol. 3, game designer John Trudeau reveals that his company, Williams, spent a lot of money on the licensing to Congo but none of the designers wanted to work on it. Finally, it got to the point where he was forced to design the game and he really hit it out of the park. The Super Mario Brothers and Street Fighter pinball machines are based on the video games, rather than the movies and the Judge Dredd, TMNT machines are based on the comic books. The Spider-Man game was released between the 2nd and 3rd movies. Pinball machines based on movies HDTGM hasn't gotten around to yet include Flash Gordon, Johnny Mnemonic, Krull, and The Flintstones. Of course, the rule doesn't always hold true. The Addams Family, The Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean are all great movies with great pinball machines. the original Star Wars trilogy is great, but the three pinball machines based on them (by Hankin, Data East and Sega) are all pretty dull.
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