Lydster: Andi Mack finale

Shut up, Jonah!

Andi Mack
Buffy, Cyrus, Andi, Jonah
My daughter and I often watched the Disney program Andi Mack over the past three years. Given some of the painful programming I deigned to watch with her over the years, this wasn’t bad.

The premise was about a girl (Peyton Elizabeth Lee) who finds out that her older sister Bex (Lilan Bowden) is actually her mother, and Celia (Lauren Tom), who she thought was her mother, was her grandmother. Very soap opera, admittedly, but the evolution of the relation of Andi and Bex was pivotal. The other focus was the relationship among Andi’s best friends Cyrus (Joshua Rush), Buffy (Sofia Wylie) and Jonah (Asher Angel) .

I love watching the show with my daughter. She grouses about various characters, most notably Jonah, who was well meaning but totally clueless when it came to attempts at romance, with Andi, seeming mean girl Amber (Emily Skinner) and deaf girl Libby (played by a deaf actress, Millicent Simmonds).

I’ll admit Jonah could be clueless, most notably when the core four salvaged designer clothes from a dumpster and gave them away. when confronted by the police, he said way too much. Shut up, Jonah! My daughter also complained about Andi, when it seemed like the typical teenage behavior I was seeing at home.

In the penultimate episode, Bex has finally married Andi’s dad Bowie (Trent Garrett). For the final episode, more storylines are resolved. My daughter was pleased when Cyrus started a relationship; she was so surprised, though, that she literally fell off the sofa. When Cyrus came out as gay to Buffy, and eventually the others, the group One Million Moms wanted the show cancelled. It obviously didn’t work. Andi Mack was Disney’s most-watched series over the past three years.

My daughter was bemused/confounded by her mother. My wife thought the boyfriends of Buffy (Garren Stitt as Marty) and Cyrus (Luke Mullen as TJ, named for two musicians) were the same character. She didn’t understand why we weren’t appalled that he was two-timing with Buffy and Cyrus. The two young men ARE both white and fairly tall.

As the article notes, the breakthroughs in the storylines for Andi Mack were fairly modest. But for an entity as Disney, it was progress.

Movie review: Mary Poppins Returns

Nothing stuck out on first listen such as Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Mary Poppins ReturnsIt’s likely that one’s feelings about Mary Poppins Returns (2018) depend on how one thinks about the 1964 original. I didn’t see the earlier film until the end of 2011, so I don’t have any childhood memories. I did like it, quite a lot.

So how does one make a reboot? It has to have elements of the original – the now-adult Banks children, Michael (Ben Whishaw) and (Emily Mortimer) plus the widowed Michael’s three kids, Pixie Davies as Anabel, Nathanael Saleh as John, and Joel Dawson as little Georgie who was often getting into trouble.

Of course, we need the title character (Emily Blunt), who’s a bit blunter than Julie Andrews’ take. I liked that, though some reviewers assuredly did not. She’s not quite in Andrews’ league in the genre, but she’s a quite decent singer and engaging actor.

Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Jack, the lamplighter—or “leerie”, the functional equivalent of Dick Van Dyke’s Bert the chimney sweep. Both men are charming, talented singers, but neither was great with the accent.

The dance of the leeries was too reminiscent of the chimney sweeps’ hoofing for my taste.

Is the music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman, such as (Underneath the) Lovely London Sky and A Conversation less memorable than the work done by the Sherman brothers, Richard and Robert?

Nothing stuck out on first listen such as Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but I’ve been hearing that soundtrack for over half a century. Interestingly, it was the use of incidental Sherman music that helped hold the new film together.

There’s a point, maybe about halfway through, where a song so grabbed me, in context, that I just surrendered to the film. I felt the wistfulness, fear, and hope of the characters.

Here’s a piece of trivia: “At the age of 93 at the time of the movie’s release, Angela Lansbury is the oldest female actor ever to appear in a Disney film. She is just two months older than the oldest male actor in a Disney film, Dick Van Dyke.” They both added to the film in their small roles, as did Meryl Streep in a more prominent bit.

All in all, Mary Poppins Returns is inessential, I suppose. It may rub up against your memories of the original, or it might add to them, as it did for me. My wife and my daughter also enjoyed it when we saw it at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany on Christmas Day.

A couple related links:
The secret dark side to the classic ‘Mary Poppins’, which weren’t all that secret to me

My review of Saving Mr. Banks (2013), about the making of the 1964 film, with Emma Thompson as author P. L. Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney

There is good news, and I tend to miss it

“Disney’s punitive measures against the Times led to many outlets refusing advance coverage of the studio’s films, including The New York Times (which called Disney’s ban a ‘dangerous precedent and not at all in the public interest’)”

Ashley Bennett
It is very easy for me to focus on all the bad news going on. But there are stories recently that really pleased me, and I should note that fact occasionally:

ITEM: A whole bunch of diverse people were elected in November, often with a dollop of irony.

Voters in Helena, Montana, elected Wilmot Collins, a former refugee from Liberia, as their mayor, in a state where the issue of refugees have sparked political tension.

Ashley Bennett defeated John Carman for the Atlantic County, NJ freeholder seat. “Carman posted a meme on the day of the Women’s March [on January 21, 2017 with]… the message, ‘Will the women’s protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?'” This inspired Bennett to run against him. She had been targeted on a white supremacist blog for saying the Confederate flag has no place in New Jersey.

Danica Roem will be the first openly transgender woman to win a seat for the House of Delegates in Virginia, beating Bob Marshall, the state’s self-proclaimed “chief homophobe.”

And there were other groundbreaking elections.

ITEM: “The Walt Disney Company lifted its ban of Los Angeles Times critics from its press screenings after a widespread backlash prompted several media outlets to announce their own boycotts of Disney movies,” The Associated Press reported.

Disney was ticked by the Times’ September reporting on its relationship with the local municipalities, stating that the company received unwarranted assist from local governments on taxes, subsidies, and rent. Disney said the series was “biased and inaccurate…, wholly driven by a political agenda.”

“Disney’s punitive measures against the Times led to many outlets refusing advance coverage of the studio’s films, including The New York Times (which called Disney’s ban a ‘dangerous precedent and not at all in the public interest’), the Boston Globe and The A.V. Club.

Multiple critics groups announced they would bar Disney films from awards consideration, “hammering the company for choosing to punish journalists ‘rather than express its disagreement with a business story via ongoing public discussion. Disney’s response should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included.'”

ITEM: In October, state trooper Ryan Sceviour arrested Alli Bibaud for driving under the influence. “Bibaud is the daughter of Dudley District Court Judge Timothy Bibaud.”

Sceviour’s initial arrest report said Bibaud told officers she got the drugs in exchange for sex. The report also said Bibaud claimed her father was a judge and offered Sceviour sex in exchange for leniency.

Trooper Sceviour filed a lawsuit alleging that after he arrested Bibaud near Worcester, “he was told to revise the arrest report to remove the references to sex and Bibaud’s father so as not to embarrass the judge.”

Colonel Richard McKeon, the superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, who reportedly ordered the trooper to remove the embarrassing information, retired.

October rambling #1: Naturalist At Large

A Poem Can Help End a War

Roy Moore is a lawless theocratic lunatic

Scientology and the cult of tRump

The Rules of the Gun Debate: The rules for discussing firearms in the United States obscure the obvious solutions

My Daughter Was Murdered in a Mass Shooting. Then I Was Ordered to Pay Her Killer’s Gun Dealer

Sandy Hook mom: ‘We value guns, flags & fake acts of patriotism over people, pain’

Inside the Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns

Just What We Needed: More Inequality, Bigger Deficits

From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories

Forensic Science: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

Statistical indicators of President Obama’s eight years in office

The Day Donald Trump Watched An Octogenarian Bleeding To Death And Did Nothing To Help

Adjunct professors in America face low pay and long hours without the security of full-time faculty. Some, on the brink of homelessness, take desperate measures

The Five Stirring Stanzas That Proved a Poem Can Help End a War

“The Closet” where a black camper slept is preserved in Schroon Lake, NY

How to Protest Without Offending White People

Comic: Back to the Future of Racism

Chuck Miller’s two-week boycott of ESPN

Finding Your Roots: Bernie Sanders and Larry David (may be available only in the US and until 31 Oct)

Free counseling for those affected by Hurricane Harvey from BetterHelp.com for up to three months

Want Change In Education? Look Beyond The Usual Suspects (Like Finland)

How to handle being “unfriended” on Facebook

Naturalist At Large environmental cartoons by Don Rittner and Raoul Vezina (1983)

“Mr Brunelle Explains It All” Cartoon Gallery

The Vast Influence Of Donald Duck

How one election changed Disney’s relationship with Anaheim

EU English

The Mary Tyler Moore Show Fall Preview

Y.A. Tittle dies at age 90. He was the first New York Giants quarterback of my youth

Sputnik’s 60th birthday

30 Of the Most Amazing Images from Electron Microscopes

Now I Know: The Town that Drives Itself and Why We Yawn and Why Once You Pop, You Can’t Stop and The Ben and Jerry’s Flavor that Left a Bad Taste Behind

Floss Firstenberg Alper Obituary: Floss was an amazing listener, a trusted confidante, the focus of many people’s erotic dreams, an oft-invited dinner guest and irreverent as hell

MUSIC

Waiting For The Waiter – MonaLisa Twins ft. John Sebastian

Coverville 1187: Cover Stories for Gerry & The Pacemakers and Everything But The Girl

Magic Moments – Perry Como

Merrily We Roll Along – Eddie Cantor

Disney movie review: Moana

I could have just used Ken Levine’s review and edited it down.

The family attended a Sunday matinee of the new Disney movie Moana.  It was showing several places, but we will always opt for our favored venue, the Spectrum 8 in Albany.

I noted that it reviewed well. After I saw it, I was struggling with my feelings about it. I’ve pushed back against the reductivist that all the Disney princesses are, ethnicity aside, largely clones of each other.

The good:
This movie fortunately avoided even a hint of romance Continue reading “Disney movie review: Moana”