Goosebumps

I watched CBS Sunday Morning and saw segments from Serena Altschul and Anthony Mason. There was an interview with Elvis Costello. My mother phoned me and asked me about my rent. I went over to the coffee shop and had a strawberry-banana smoothie. I shopped for groceries and ate some egg rolls before taking the bus out to Jack London Square. I bought my ticket early and sat down near the families playing games and relaxing. I thought of buying pizza but it seemed like too much for me. Just before two o’clock, I walked back to the theatre and waited for the worker to finish their cleanup before I took my seat. The warmth of the afternoon made me feel sleepy, and I did fall asleep for a while before the movie started. The place had filled up with parents and their kids. The movie was “Goosebumps.” It was aimed at families, so it couldn’t be too scary. It looked like no one was killed in all the action. We see a mother and son moving from New York to this town called Madison, Delaware. The son would be in new kid in school, although at his age, he hardly seemed like a kid. He was a bit of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Channing Tatum. His mother was Amy Ryan, who is of my generation, and she is the new vice-principal of the high school. There is an aunt named Lorraine in town. The mother Gale made an embarrassing reference to twerking which seemed rather unlikely, especially if she ever listened to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. The girl next door is a bit mysterious. She is named Hannah, played by Odeya Rush, and is reminiscent of Mila Kunis. Her father is Jack Black, who is more mysterious, and a mean neighbor. This is going against character, because Black is often a cool guy with his rock and roll mentality. He did have a dark side in “Bernie,” however. There was a Ferris wheel scene that didn’t really resemble “The Third Man.” If you want to get a sense of the intent of the director of a particular movie, you should take note of the references to other films, because directors can’t resist doing those things. This time, two characters clearly refer to “The Blob” with Steve McQueen. You could say that this is the 2015 version of “The Blob,” only movies in this millennium tend towards excess, meaning that we get all the monsters all at once. The praying mantis was creepy and seemed like a throwback to the 1950s. I thought of a couple of Twilight Zone episode while watching this movie. The ventriloquist episode with Cliff Robertson was like what we were seeing in this movie, as was the Keenan Wynn episode in which his literary creations came to life. The abominable snowman seemed mostly not so scary with his craving for candy. The gnomes were nasty, and I don’t know how they escaped from them unhurt. We had to see zombies thrown into the mix, of course. I think the monsters had to converge on a high school dance, which was a tradition before “Carrie.” They could have gone to a movie theatre, like “The Tingler.” The teenage sidekick was named Champ, and he was a McLovin type of character. He did the foolish things like making sounds that the monsters would hear, giving away his presence. If Black had broken fingers, how could he continue through the movie as if he wasn’t suffering at all? Broken fingers make me think of Harrison Ford in “Blade Runner.” The real R.L. Stine does make a cameo appearance. I have never read a Goosebumps book, so I have no idea how he compares with Stephen King. I have read “Cujo” and “Firestarter,” which were better than the movie versions. As far as the movies go, I liked “Carrie,” “The Shining,” “The Dead Zone,” “Misery,” and “The Shawshank Redemption.” The movie was OK for families, except maybe for the really little kids who get scared easily. The teenage romance part of it was sappy and predictable. There was a touch of “The Purple Rose of Cairo” in the struggle to deal with fantasy. It’s certainly a movie that doesn’t last too long in the memory. I took the bus back home. I saw a mother and son still wearing their 3D glasses at the bus stop. I listened to the game between the Mets and the Cubs. Somehow, the Mets jumped ahead with three quick runs and went on to win. Jerry Seinfeld was at the game. I listened to Robert Hilburn’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Times on KCSN. It was a pledge drive episode, and didn’t have a stated theme. Some of the songs that he played were Dave Alvin’s “Fourth of July,” Rickie Lee Jones’ “It Must Be Love,” and Warren Zevon’s “Poor Poor Pitiful Me.” I watched the end of the game between the Patriots and the Colts. I couldn’t understand the fourth down play with the unusual formation. The Patriots looked like they might be headed back to the Super Bowl. I had thoughts of visiting Cleveland during the A’s trip there next July, but I stopped to think about whether I really wanted to go to Cleveland at all. Would it really be worth making the trip if all I did was go to three baseball games and visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Where is the house that was in “A Christmas Story”? I saw that the Columbo episode of the night had Patrick O’Neal in it. I was too sleepy to stay up and watch any of these shows. During the night, I kept hearing the sports scores. I wonder if the Blue Jays and the Cubs can come back and make things interesting. I dreaded going back to work on a Monday morning. I flashed back to the Boomtown Rats song “I Don’t Like Mondays.” I took a shower and thought about the overwhelming number of tasks I had to complete for another day of classes. I thought that I would need to take a nap once I returned home. I thought about the mudslides that might hit the roads this winter and if any of them would affect me. I don’t want to get trapped somewhere during the holidays. Some of the people who died on October 19 include Jonathan Swift (1745), John Reed (1920), Gig Young (1978), Jacqueline du Pré (1987), Martha Raye (1994), Richard Blackwell (2008), Joseph Wiseman (2009), and Tom Bosley (2010). Today is a birthday for Evander Holyfield (53), John Lithgow (70), Michael Gambon (75), and Peter Max (78).

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