Friday, November 29, 2019

Pheaturing Chris Butler

Hey, kids, welcome to the Phile for a Friday... not just any Friday but Black Friday. How are you doing? As it's Black Friday, the Phile will be 75% off. The First Lady of Trumpism and birtherism Melania Trump spoke at a youth summit for opioid awareness in Baltimore as part of her "Be Best" initiative, and her reception was as warm as that grammar is correct. Melania was loudly booed as she took the stage, and they kept on talking as the First Lady delivered her remarks. CNN Reporter Kate Bennett was on the scene, and described the booing as loud and substantial. As Bennett notes, Donald Trump has a history of insulting Baltimore, most recently calling the predominantly black city a "rodent infested mess." The feeling is mutual. HuffPost's Jennifer Bendery shared more insights from the press pool report, calling it Melania's most-booed event yet. "Her speech lasted about five minutes. She was booed again as she completed her remarks and left the stage. I would say at least 1/4 if not more were boos, in addition to the cheers. As the press pooler with perhaps the most FLOTUS event coverage under my belt, I cannot recall another event where she was more negatively received. I believe it is also the first loud booing by an audience at a solo event with Mrs. Trump." I believe that children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.
Imagine how absolutely terrible a person you need to be in order to lose a job you literally got because you were born. Prince Andrew is one of the highest-profile people to face consequences for the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, other than of course Jeffrey Epstein himself. Queen Elizabeth II's third child delivered a disastrous interview about his friendship with Epstein, in which he claimed that he couldn't have had sex with one of Epstein's teenage wards because she described him as "sweaty" and his royal sweat glands were in shock after the Falklands War. Virginia Roberts Guiffre, the accuser photographed with Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in the now-infamous photo, assures that the photo has been confirmed as real by the FBI. While the royal family has endured dozens of scandals that make a great Netflix show, the Queen concluded that Prince Andrew's pedophilia and ghastly public relations skills weren't worth the trouble. "The Queen summoned the Duke to Buckingham Palace to tell him her decision," a friend of Andrew's told the Sun. "It is unlikely he will ever perform royal duties again. He is disgraced." The 59-year-old boy will no longer get his £250,000 taxpayer-funded allowance, and mummy went and cancelled his birthday party. Royal watchers are saying that not only does this grotesque scandal set up a future episode of "The Crown," it also puts the future of the monarchy in jeopardy, as British papers are filling up with "it's time to abolish the monarchy" op-eds. When/if the Queen dies, her heir Prince Charles becomes king, and some people don't want to sing about the guy who wanted to be his mistress's tampon.
An Alaska Man (it's like a colder, grungier Florida Man) was arrested in Anchorage for attempting to smuggle 740 grams of heroin and 389 grams of methamphetamine onto the mainland in a fish box full of rotting goat guts. The Associated Press reports that the man, officially named Cenen Placencia but hereafter known as Goat Gut Guy, checked a box as luggage that smelled extremely suspicious. Human investigators smelled the scent of rotting meat, and as it thawed, a police dog smelled the scent of drugs. Goat Gut Guy insisted that he did not know about the drugs within the intestines, but did pack the box himself and bought the guts for his own consumption. Buying goat guts just for the goat guts is way more embarrassing. He should have just confessed to having the drugs.
Devin Nunes, one of Donald Trump's most vocal defenders in Congress, has a lot in common with the boss man. First of all, he is extremely thin-skinned... so thin-skinned that he is suing a fake cow who dared to make fun of him. In another, more important part of Nunes's Trump tribute act, the Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee was also allegedly involved in the conspiracy to get dirt on Joe Biden from Ukrainians. The lawyer for one of the recently indicted Rudy Giuliani lackeys told CNN that Nunes met with former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin last December in Vienna, Austria. Getting something of value from a foreign national for electioneering purposes is a crime. It's the kind of crime that launches special counsel investigations and impeachment inquiries. When asked about his alleged Vienna meetup on Fox Business, Nunes refused to answer and instead started ranting about CNN, a popular strategy in Republican circles. If this is true, it means that the Ranking Member of the committee holding hearings into Trump's dealings with Ukraine to get dirt on Biden had dealings with Ukraine to get dirt on Biden himself. CNBC is now reporting that Nunes had his aides cancel a trip to Ukraine when they found out that they would have had to tell House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff about it. He certainly knows now.
Having a bucket of liquid feces dumped on you isn’t a thing most people would think to be worried about in a library, for good reason; it’s not exactly a common occurrence. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to several people over the course of three separate incidents and four days in Toronto, though. Two of the incidents took place in libraries, University of Toronto’s Robarts Library and the Scott Library at York University’s Keele campus. The third attack happened in the street near a University of Toronto building. Toronto police posted the suspect’s photos on Twitter and asked for the public’s help in identifying him. Twenty-three-year-old Samuel Opoku was arrested on Tuesday evening, around 24 hours after the third incident, based on information investigators received from the public. Police report that Opoku approached the victims with buckets filled with an as-yet-unidentified substance and doused them with the buckets’ contents before running away. The crime lab is currently testing one of the buckets to determine whether the disgusting contents were of human origin or not. RCMP Constable Alex Li told local news station CP24 of the arrest. “We thank the community for their help and their support with this investigation. It is quite disturbing, but our team has put all our resources together and thankfully we’ve made an arrest on an individual and that person is going to answer to the charges in court tomorrow.” Though all of Opoku’s victims were Asian, it would seem that police are not yet considering the crime racially motivated. Police spokesperson Victor Kwong told The Toronto Star, “We don’t know if that’s the connection, because we have different parts of Asia in there. Some (of the victims) were from the west side, some from the east side... so it’s not like they were all Chinese, per se.” Opoku faces five mischief-related charges five charges of assault with a weapon for the three attacks. Toronto police constable David Hopkinson was at a loss after the third incident. “A young girl had a bucket of waste, feces, dumped on her. I don’t know what to say, I’m at a loss, this is absolutely disgusting.” York University’s acting chief spokesperson, Yanni Dagonas, said university personnel were also shocked by the incident on their campus. “As a public university we work to make the resources of our libraries as open as possible. What happened was shocking and assistance was provided to those affected.” University of Toronto students were also disgusted and disturbed by the attacks. Ethan Denault, a neuroscience major at the University of Toronto told The Star, “I’m not going to stop coming to the library but I’m definitely checking over my shoulder every now and then.” One student told CP24 reporters, ” I don’t know how you get that idea. We are all humans… You’ve got to have a bit more respect than that.” Yep.
So, most of you know my "uniform" of choice is a t-shirt, shirts or jeans and Converse or flip flops. But I was thinking of changing up my look... can you see me wearing this?

Haha. Maybe next time I go to Walt Disney World. A few months ago at the Climate Control Strike some people had signs that give us hope for the future...

While other signs were pretty snarky...

I was thinking of getting another tattoo or a few but some one had threw same idea I had...

Haha. They told me I would see some weird sites at Walmart... I didn't believe it until I saw this...

No. Comment. If I had a TARDIS I would like to go back in time and meet Dr. Seuss, but knowing my luck I'd meet him when he was a kid named Theodor Seuss Geisel...

Do you kids like Hot Pockets? There's another new kind that just came out...

Botbockets? I don';t get it. Can someone explain? Now from the home office in Port Jefferson, New York, here is...

Top Phive Things Overheard Yesterday On Thanksgiving
5. Y’all disrespect Thanksgiving every year by going from Halloween straight to Christmas and that’s why ya mac and cheese gonna be dry. God don’t like ugly.
4. Gonna ruin Thanksgiving this year by saying "okay boomer" after the family prayer.
3. My family told me to stop telling Thanksgiving jokes, but I told them I couldn’t stop “cold turkey.” 2. Breaking with White House tradition, this year on Thanksgiving Trump will pardon a turkey only after it gives him dirt on Joe Biden.
And the number 1 thing heard on Thanksgiving was...
1. The best thing about being single during the holidays is that there is no possibility that I will be roped into running a 5k with anyone’s weird 5k running ass family.

Hahaha. If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. Okay, kids, it's time to talk football with my good friend Jeff...

Me: Hey, Jeff, Welcome back to the Phile on Black Friday. Did you have a good Thanksgiving?

Jeff: Hey, Jason, hope you had a good Thanskgiving. Glad to be back here! I'm a little stuffed but that's nothing new! My Thanksgiving was fine. The usual family drama. My family puts the fun in dysfunctional. At least my brother didn't turn into a mime and gave the family the silent treatment.... this year.

Me: Man, these football payers are turning out to be hotheads. Did you see or hear about Jalen Ramsey needed to be restrained from trying to fight Marcus Peters in a tunnel postgame?

Jeff: Yeah, I saw about Ramsey. He's always been a hothead. He's been on three teams already in his career, he's just a big old loudmouth. I saw how he had to be restrained. But if I got embarrassed as the Rams' defense was I'd probably be angry too.

Me: Peters taunted Ramsey from across the field after picking off his old team before they got into it postgame. What a sweet homecoming this was. Haha. Were you surprised by their actions?

Jeff: No, I'm not surprised anymore. I'm just happy no one swung a helmet at another player. But more on that later.

Me: So, rumor is that Philip Rivers is unlikely to return to the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020. Why do you think that is and where do you think he'll go?

Jeff: Phillip Rivers was a good QB. He's had many chances to get the Chargers into the Super Bowl but have failed. Think about it. He was part of the 2004 draft. He was drafted along with 2 other QBs early in the first round. Eli Manning (multi-time Super Bowl champion) and Ben Roethlisberger (multi-time Super Bowl Champion) and Phillip Rivers, never played in the Super Bowl). I think that hurts his legacy. But he's a strong veteran QB. I could see a team like the Panthers picking him up if they give up on Cam.

Me: Okay, my favorite story for the week and I don't know why is Jon Gruden calling a referee a “cock sucking motherfucker” after horrible penalty. What's your favorite story of the week?

Jeff: I mean I'm not a lip reader but Gruden definitely did appear to call him that. It was a terrible call though! My favorite story is that my Fantasy Football team the Lumbergh Steelers, who were underdogs coming into the week won our 6th straight game. Go team! Oh? You meant real football stories? During the Monday Night Football game, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson fumbled the snap, picked the ball up, ran downfield and got tackled at the one yard line. It could have easily gone down as a bad play for a loss of yards. Jackson was upset with himself after the play. Not for the fumble but because he was stopped at the one yard line!

Me: Hahaha. It’s confirmed that the Cleveland Browns still hate Mason Rudolph. Prior to kickoff of Sunday’s Dolphins-Browns game in Cleveland, a Browns fan decided to bring a Mason Rudolph themed piñata to the tailgate festivities. Instead of using a stick (which is what people typically use when smashing a piñata), Browns fans are using a Steelers helmet. Here's a screen shot of that...

Me: Are they honoring Myles Garrett, Jeff? What's the latest on that whole thing?

Jeff: Yes, they are supposed to be honoring Garrett. They think they're being clever. The Browns fans also sent gummy shaped cocks to Mason Rudolph at the Steelers stadium. Because Cleveland is nothing but respectful. Then again, they've only been to the playoffs once since 1999 and have no playoff wins. Keeping it classy, Cleveland. The fall out continues from the Myles Garrett-Mason Rudolph fight. Garrett is now claiming that Mason Rudolph used a racist term which is what actually inspired the fight. He did this one week after the incident during his meeting with the NFL as he appealed his indefinite suspension. No one around the fight heard anything racist, except for apparently Myles Garrett. Rudolph has denied saying anything even remotely racist. The NFL must have believed him. They held up the suspension for at least the rest of the season. Meanwhile, Maurkice Pouncey, the Steelers center who was also suspended, saw his suspension reduced from three games to two games. And I have a feeling it was only reduced to two games to prevent Pouncey from playing in the rematch this week has Cleveland will face Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. Mason Rudolph was benched in the win against the Cincinnati so there's also a good chance he doesn't play against Cleveland either.

Me: Wow. We'll keep talking about this I am sure. Okay, so, what NFL news do you have?

Jeff: There really wasn't any big news. Once again it seems Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett's job is on the line. Seems to be a yearly story. If the Cowboys are doing well, he's fine. The team is in first place, but have yet to beat a single team with a winning record. First place is easy when the rest of your division isn't doing well. They are 6-5. That's not a record you would think would hold first place.

Me: America now has possession of another team and changed the logo and name to make it more patriotic...

Me: Now do you think Dallas will be happy? What do you think?

Jeff: Speaking of Dallas, that's a nice new logo. Plus with Houston taking the name of Cowboys last week they have adapted well! 

Me: Okay, the Steelers won and the Giants lost... how else did we do?

Jeff: Well I could tell you that it must have been MY birthday cause I went 2-0 with that Steeler win (a perfect week!) while you went 1-1 with that Giant loss (not a perfect week!). My lead continues to grow. It's now 36-22 me!

Me: Damn! Let's pick this week... I say Bears, who beat the Giants by 3 and Bucs by 7 beating Jags, with the Florida vs. Florida game. What do you say? 

Jeff: My picks are Chiefs by 7 and Eagles by 4.

Me: Okay, I will see you back here next Thursday. Have a good week, Jeff.

Jeff: Have a good week, Jason!

Hahahahaha. Speaking of "fancy," there's this guy who lives nearby who is pretty fancy. He wanted to stop by today so I thought why not. Please welcome back to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Samual, how are you?

Samual: I am splendid, old man. How are you?

Me: Old man? Haha. I'm good. So, what's new?

Samual: I just got some shoe polish for the first time ever!

Me: Really? That's pretty surprising. Why the courts time ever, Samual?

Samual: I thought I’d have to get a classy permit or something to even own it.

Me: Ummmm...  nope. What's a classy permit?

Samual: Ummmm...

Me: Exactly. That's not a real thing.

Samual: Ahhhh. I thought it was. Well, I have to dash, I am going out to lunch.

Me: Where are you going to eat?

Samual: The fanciest restaurant of them all... Olive Garden. Byeee!!!

Me: Samual Phancy, the fanciest man in town, kids.

Arm calves

Gold medal worthy. So, there's this pretty masculine man who likes to come on to the Phile now and then and tell us how masculine he is. He has a story he'd like to share so once again please welcome to the Phile...

Me: Hello, Martin, how are you?

Martin Masculinity: I am good, dude. Last night I tried to get everyone to whip out their dicks and compare sizes.

Me: What?! Why? How was it?

Martin Masculinity: Honestly it came across as one of the most insecure and childish efforts to assert dominance ever.

Me: Hmmm. You think? Why is that?

Martin Masculinity: Because dick size has nothing to do with dominance.

Me: You think? Haha. Anything else before I let you go?

Martin Masculinity: Nope. See you later, man.

Me: Sure. Martin Masculinity, the toughest man alive, kids. That's so dumb.

Is there really a "war on Thanksgiving?" Trump seems to think so. At a rally in Sunrise, Florida Trump claimed that "people want to change the name 'Thanksgiving'" and that "was true also with Christmas, but now everyone is using 'Christmas again.'" Wave the flag of surrender, Christmas haters... you lost the imaginary war created by our president! Am I missing the massive change in people using the word '"Christmas?" If you happen to celebrate Christmas and someone says "Happy Holidays" to you, that isn't an attack on Christmas, it is just an easier way to group all the winter holidays together. "Happy holidays" could also mean "Merry Christmas AND a happy new year!" "Happy Holidays" can refer to Thanksgiving, Christmas, AND New Year's Eve. If you're crying because someone doesn't wish you a Merry Christmas while you're checking out at the grocery store, you have far bigger problems and should seek therapy. Nobody is trying to take Christmas away. I'll say it louder for the people in the back: we have more important problems in this country than the wording of holiday salutations.

If you or someone you know is experiencing substance abuse, call the National Drug Helpline at 1-844-289-0879.

The 109th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Chrissy will be on the Phile on Monday. Now for some...

Phact 1. Black Friday runs concurrent with Buy Nothing Day, an international protest against consumerism with more than 65 nations globally participating.

Phact 2. When the Cards Against Humanity team kept all of the money they raised by selling nothing (literally) for five dollars on Black Friday, they split the $71,145 and one employee bought a 24 karat gold vibrator for over $3,000.

Phact 3. On Black Friday 2013, Cards Against Humanity had an “Anti-Sale” with increased prices, and still had a sales spike and maintained its best-selling status on Amazon.

Phact 4. Black Friday is plumbers’ busiest day of the year.

Phact 5. A horde of Black Friday shoppers crushed a Walmart employee to death as they smashed through the front doors. Cops trying to perform CPR were also trampled on by the crowd hunting steep discounts.

Today's pheatured guest is an English-American storyboard artist, writer and director, known for his works at Laika, such as ParaNorman. His latest movie Missing Link is available now on Blu-ray and DVD and available fort streaming. Please welcome to the Phile... Chris Butler.

Me: Hello, Chris, welcome to the Phile. How are you, sir?

Chris: I'm great, Jason, great to be here on this entertaining blog you have going.

Me: Thanks. I don't know how entertaining it is though. I have to say I'm a big fan of stop motion pictures. I love the Box Tops movie. Your newest movie is called Missing Link and it's about Big Foot. So, why in 2019 should we have a film about Big Foot?

Chris: Why not? I wanted to make a big action adventure movie. It's not the kind of thing we ordinarily see in stop motion animation and I thought now is the time to do it. I grew up on the diet of the kind of Spielbergy romps like Raiders of the Lost Ark, that was a big influence on this. I wanted to make a stop motion Indiana Jones movie.

Me: Chris, where are you from originally?

Chris: Liverpool, Merseyside. 

Me: Ahhh. Okay. So, how do you begin to make a stop motion film?

Chris: I always start with a script. And then it's a very slow gradual process. It takes about five years to do. The development idea is probably the first year. That's when I start thinking what it's going to look like, how I'm going to go about all the challenges of the script, start the casting process, start designing these things, then I have a year of pre-production. That's when I start building the assets, build the puppets, build the sets. Logistically it's a bit of a nightmare because we're shooting everything for real. All these puppets exist in real life and are being manipulated by animators on sets.

Me: Okay, so, quite a while ago I interviewed Paul Fusco who created ALF and he said with the Muppets they use CGI on some stuff, but make you think it's still real Muppets. I don't know with what or when but it kinda floored me a little. I think that's cheating. Do you ever do something like that?

Chris: Well, we use digital technology as well. I think because this is just a big movie, the ambitious scope and it's scale there's a lot of digital set extensions, digital extras. It's a huge undertaking and takes about two years to shoot it.

Me: Do you think stop motion is the same as it always was?

Chris: I think the aesthetic of stop motion has come a long way. We can still have that old school look, and that's a choice. At this point it's a choice, I don't have to do that. That's the old claymation stuff, even something like King Kong where you see the ripples on the fur where the animators have been pushing that puppet around, I think the technology has advanced to the point where we can have other looks as well. We are constantly changing this illusion of life, I think that's what Disney used to call it. We're trying to get naturalistic performance from these puppets.

Me: What do you want people to think or feel when they see the movie, Chris?

Chris: I want people to watch this movie and to fall in love with the characters and to be compelled by the story and not think about how it's made. I don't want people to think that's a cute puppet. I want them to think I love this character.

Me: We have CGI now, you don't have to do stop motion, but I think there's something meaningful to you about it, am I right?

Chris: Yeah. I think everyone has that same feeling about it the way I do. When I look at something being animated in stop motion there is something magical about it. I think it goes back to my childhood. I imagine when I'm playing with toys as a kid I can imagine them coming to life. There is that quality to stop motion, these objects that you see moving on the screen are real. Real light on real objects. I think there's that feeling where we can reach into that screen and touch these things.

Me: So, the I see a stop motion film it's hard for me to wrap my brain on what it is. Why do you think that is for me and I am sure other people?

Chris: I think it has to do a lot with the imperfection of reality. If you think about your shirt, there's so many tiny fibers that the light is hitting and bouncing off and that's hard to replicate. So I think it has a lot to do with imperfection.

Me: Can you tell us an example of something out there that takes an incredible amount of detailed obsession?

Chris: I could pick pretty much anyone who works in the studio, they are detailed obsessed. I have people whose entire at the studio is to hand paint blades of grass. For years on end. I'm barely kidding. We have a greens department and they create all these handmade leafs and blades of grass and bark on trees. That's their job and they create this wonderful and lush tackle environment and they love it because they love the end results. I think everyone who works in the studio as detailed obsessed as we are we do it because we're passionate about it.

Me: Don't make a film set in the desert then. Haha. So, what is your job as a director? That's a stupid question I'm sure.

Chris: No, it isn't. My job as a director is a little bit different because I'm surrounded by about 450 people whose job has to be and it detailed oriented about their one specific fabric of the movie. My job is to keep track of the story, to be able to step back. There are days I find myself having an argument with someone about the design of a button on a jacket or the nib of a pencil. I have to be able to step back and say, "What's the scene about? What is the story about right now? Is it about a button or is it about something else?" That's my job as a director is to corral all the detailed oriented cats.

Me: Have you ever been in the beginning of the process and think I don't know what the hell this is gonna look like when this thing comes out?

Chris: Not really. I mean yes, to the extent of when I submit that script it could go in any direction. And I'm going to work with people who are brilliant.

Me: Is it hard to not see the finished product for a while?

Chris: Yes, and part of the process is evolution. This thing that's existed in my head for a few years is like passing the bat onto other artists and they're going to add something of themselves to it. It's going to evolve, it's going to change. But having said that first time I put pen to paper on one of these ideas I have what amounts to a little movie in my head. And I think that little movie is quite cool. I think the trick is to make sure the movie that we're making is better than the one that is playing in my head.

Me: Okay, so, you came up with this story about five years ago, and now it's kinda relevant as "immigration" and "refugees" are kinda a hot topic in the news. That's crazy, right? Not that this movie is about any of those things as such, but still... am I over thinking this shit, Chris?

Chris: I start on these things with an idea to tell a certain kind of story. It is surprising to me in fact how timely aspects of this story are. But it's not that it was done intentionally, I think it's just issues that we have as humans are cyclical. There are always issues that need addressing that they tend to bubble onto the surface on in artistic endeavors.

Me: Did you always want to be a director?

Chris: Yes, I think I did. I started out in 2D animation when I was a kid. I'm joking.

Me: Hahahaha. I thought you were going to say you started off in 3D. I was wrong.

Chris: Ha. I was a pencil pusher. I loved drawing and I loved writing. There is something special about 2D animation and that was where my heart was when I was younger. I moved very quickly when I started working into story boarding and designing.

Me: When did you switch over to stop motion then?

Chris: It was actually when I was working on a movie called Corpse Bride, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride which was a stop motion movie that was my first experience working on a feature of that kind of scale. It really opened my eyes as a story artist. If I was lacking inspiration for a shot I could wander on to the set. I could actually be in this physical space where the movie is. And it really made me think more where I was putting the camera and why. I think the physical limitations of stop motion gave me challenge, made me a better as a film maker and I found I really relished it. I love being surrounded by all these different people who did different kind of things. To me when I work on a stop motion movie I'm surrounded by costume makers, puppet makers, carpenters, metal orders. That's slightly different from the other kinds of animation where quote often I'm in a room full of desks. There was something a little more hands on, more guerrilla style about stop motion which I found really compelling.

Me: I like your stop motion better than Tim Burton's, but I won't tell him that if I ever interview him. What is it about stop motion though that you can tell dark stories?

Chris: Ha. Okay. I think if you trace the medium back to its roots thee's always been something a little dark about it and I think maybe it has a lot to do with these inanimate objects coming to life. There's always something that's a little bit necromantic about it. Some of the earliest stuff I saw was a chicken carcass or chicken bones dancing. There's something about bringing something to life, investing life into something inanimate Frankenstein kind of feeling. That's why I made ParaNorman as a stop motion movie because it felt appropriate fir a zombie movie. I think there's something in it that just lends itself to it. But I don't think that's all stop motion can do.

Me: No. Missing Link looks quite bright. Was that intentional?

Chris: Yes, I felt like ParaNorman was quite a scary story. There was a lot of humour to it and a lot of playfulness but I wanted on this movie to do something that was completely different. I wanted to do something big, bold and coluorful. With ParaNorman most of the movie is set in the nighttime. So this one I wanted big, wide, open, daylight skies. Just as an artist I wanted to do the polar opposite. 

Me: Do you think you filmmakers have more to explore in stop motion?

Chris: Yes. I do. I don't think any medium be allowed to just die. I think a medium dies when people stop innovating with it. So stop motion, 2D, CG, as long as we're always are pushing boundaries, as long as we are always exploring what can we do, where can we go with this. I'm not just talking about chasing photorealism. I'm actually talking about what different looks can we do, what different stories can we tell. As long as we're doing that I think all these avenues of animation will remain vital and pertinent.

Me: So, one last question... is there a rivalry between stop motion animators and 2D animators? Haha.

Chris: No, not at all. I love it all.

Me: I thought you guys were like the Jets and the Sharks, you know, snapping.

Chris: No, I love it all and I think most people who work in animation are animator fans first and foremost. I think what's great right now we're on the midst of an animation renaissance. It's so different and that's great as an audience member.

Me: Cool. Chris, thanks for being on the Phile. Please come back when your next movie comes out. 

Chris: My pleasure. Thank you.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guest Jeff Trelewicz and of course Chris Butler. The Phile will be back on Monday with actress Chrissy Metz. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon

Monday, November 25, 2019

Pheaturing Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel from "Frozen 2"

Come on, Sven!

Hey, kids welcome to the Phile for a Monday from Walt Disney World! How are you? Princesses, please stop asking attractive guests if they're "down to crown." Here at Walt Disney World coming next year are two new nighttime spectaculars! One will have fireworks, music, and lasers! The other will have lasers, music, and fireworks! Big changes coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom. They're getting rid of all the animals. In just five days, we’ll be just two weeks away from the countdown to our week-long pre-premiere preview ten-day marathon! Please note that Uber and Lyft can't enter Disney property because it's technically not part of the United States. Haha.
Did you see Frozen 2 yet? It has truly been an epic journey for Elsa in Frozen 2. But is it possible that the story of the queen who could control ice is far from over? It looks like Disney is already considering a third Frozen movie. In Frozen 2, Elsa pretty much made the decision that would change her destiny forever: She abdicated her throne so Anna would rule Arendelle while Elsa became the protector of the Enchanted Forest. So could there be more to the story? Producer Peter Del Vecho told Cinemablend that it's probably best to leave the sisters with their current happy endings. "I think when we look at these two movies together, what I love about this is you've done an amazing job at weaving them," Del Vecho said to co-director Jennifer Lee. "[They're] one full story. So, now it feels like a complete journey." Sure, it feels like the conclusion of Frozen 2 was neatly tied up. However, Lee also pointed out that they shouldn't rule out a third film just yet since her co-director Chris Buck is leaving that option open. "It feels complete to me, but I don't know, Chris says ask him in a year," she said with a laugh. For now, I can't guarantee that Frozen 3 is happening. However, considering the film's astounding success on its first weekend alone, we wouldn't be surprised if Disney announces a third movie right away.
Wondering how to completely destroy your sex life? Tired of repelling people from your bedroom day after day after day, and looking for other solutions? Well, look no further than this Spotify playlist entitled "The Worst Songs To Have Sex To."

The list includes such sexual awakenings as the "Law & Order" theme song, “Jesus Take The Wheel,” “She’ll be Comin’ Round The Mountain,” and the "Reading Rainbow" theme song. Imagine, the night is heating up, you slowly go to the bedroom, put on some music, and it’s immediately “Yo-Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me).” You can’t write comedy without the amount of thought the person creating this playlist put into each and every selection. But nothing says “undress” like “The Christmas Shoes,” the Christmas song about a dying mother. With songs like these, your relationship is sure to deteriorate at an alarming rate. So next time you have a guest over, be sure to pull up this playlist. And then when they leave immediately, you’ll know you’ve succeeded. Before playlists, there was the mix tape. The films Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Volume II used the mix tape as a plot point while introducing people to music of the 1970s and 80s. See how I tied this story to Disney. Ha!
Dame Julie Andrews is one of humanity’s greatest accomplishments. Brilliant actress, flawless singer, a ray of sunshine in a world gone mad... and think about it, who else more perfectly rocks a pixie cut? And who else could do so for decades? No one, that’s who. It’s simply not possible! We just flat-out do not deserve her. But even with all that perfection, every now and again Andrews goes on the ol’ telly and serves us even more reason to love her. And her recent appearance on "The Ellen Show" is just one such appearance. Dame Julie stopped by the Ellen studio to chat about her New York Times Bestseller, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, and Ellen wanted to know about one thing: the sorts of wild Hollywood parties Andrews must have attended back in the swingin’ 60s and 70s. She demurred about the parties, but she did open up about something far more, um… interesting... walking into a staged orgy. Which, in true Julie Andrews form, she called “adorable,” bless her. It all happened during production of her late husband Blake Edwards’ celebrated romcom 10, in which there is a scene where Dame Julie’s character spies her boyfriend, the film’s main character played by Dudley Moore, engaging in an orgy with the neighbors. Edwards couldn’t believe what he was seeing and called Dame Julie to come over right away to bear witness. “He said, ‘Julie, you’ve just got to come on over here. It’s an unbelievable sight.’ So I went dashing over, of course I did.” Who wouldn’t‽ Andrews then went on to describe the scene as only she can. “And what Blake had done was hire an awful lot of people who really are very at ease doing orgy films, I guess! And I walked in and everybody was stark naked and lying around very happily and casually, treating it totally normally.” Who thought we one day would get to hear dignified Fraulein Maria talking so candidly about an orgy‽ Andrews went on to describe how diminutive Dudley Moore fit into this whole thing, “And there was sweet Dudley in the middle of it all, and you know, he wasn’t very, very tall. And Blake put him between two enormously statuesque ladies. So he was completely naked, and these two ladies were naked, but their bums were up here and little Dudley’s was down there. So sweet… It was more adorable than anything else, because Dudley was so adorable.” “Sweet” and “adorable”: a description of an orgy only Julie Andrews could pull off. As you might guess, folks on the Internet were absolutely delighted by this whole thing. And for some, the moment just underlined what a rare treasure Julie Andrews truly is. Okay, I'll let you into a little secret if you want, pulling the curtains back a little bit of the Phile... Julie Andrews' book Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years is going to the be 114th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club! There's still a bunch of books ahead of hers but hers is coming up, and yes, you know what that means... Julie Bloody Andrews will be on the Phile in a few months!!!
Last night's "American Music Awards" ushered in a brand new season of awards show drama, and it looks like Jenna Dewan is the first celeb to spill some tea. Actress Dewan was recorded whispering to her friend and eye-rolling while Camila Cabello performed at the "AMAs" last night. What does Dewan say in the clip? That's up for debate... but fans are pretty sure it wasn't a compliment. In the clip, Camila is performing with her reported boyfriend, Shawn Mendes. Camila, in the crowd, turns to her seatmate and appears to say, "She's always extra." Of course, none of us are professional lip-readers... but it really, really looks like Jenna's saying, "She's always extra." Cabello fans think Dewan was saying, "She always sounds good." Either way, the clip quickly went viral, to the point where Dewan responded on her Instagram Story. Dewan said she's been getting comments saying she shaded Cabello. "I don't know what that's about," she said, insisting that she's a huge fan of the singer. Based on the video, it seems Dewan might not have seen the clip of her appearing to call Cabello extra... or maybe she did see it but she's still sticking to the "no shade" story. Fans are losing it over the interaction... and they're not really buying Dewan's no-shade defense. They couldn't help but notice her eye roll and the surprised face she made when she apparently realized she was on camera. And many agree with Dewan's assessment... Cabello and Mendes's double act is a lot to handle. They did a repeat performance of their new "will-they-or-won't-they-kiss" shtick. And they didn't kiss. Either way, it looks like Jenna Dewan might have some new fans this morning.
In case you missed it, "The Mandalorian" has changed the game in its awesome third episode. In addition to blessing Star Wars fans with an epic battle sequence, "Chapter 3" also made it clear that "Baby Yoda" is one of the most important characters right now. But what could the Empire possibly want with the Child? In "Chapter 3: The Sin," the titular bounty hunter immediately took "Baby Yoda" to the Client, who refused to tell Mando what they plan to do with the Child. Although the Mandalorian initially thought of leaving the planet, he ultimately decided to come back and rescue the Child. There's a lot of things that were revealed when Mando sneaked back into the bunker looking for the Child. He overhears the Client telling Dr. Pershing to "extract the necessary material and be done with it." However, the scientist insists that someone (perhaps their boss) "explicitly ordered us to bring it back alive." So what does that mean? It has already been suggested that the Child is actually a clone of Yoda created in Kamino since Dr. Pershing is clearly a Kaminoan. Alternatively, there's a possibility that the Kaminoan scientist was brought in to clone the Child as it might be the last member of its species. But why clone such a powerful albeit tiny being in the first place? The Empire (or at least, the remnant of the Empire) might have big plans for Force-sensitive creators that may or may not have something to do with resurrecting a Sith Lord. However, it's important to point out that this has not yet been confirmed so take it with a grain of salt.
Instead of doing this blog thing I should be listening to this album...

Ummm... I don't think so! I bet "Let It Go" is not sang on that record. Disney, the greatest company to work for ever, has made quote a few love-action versions of their movies. But I think te next one they are taking it a bit too far...

I'd still see it though. They're already planning a Frozen live action version and already casted the Elsa and Anna...

Haha. Did you know in Avengers: End Game someone else was gonna be in the movie? I have a screen shot of the deleted scene right here...

Hahaha. That scene looks boring anyway. In Frozen 2 I think they took it to the next level... I haven't seen the movie yet but seeing this I think I wanna...

Hmmmm... Dis you know Frozen wasn't the first movie Olaf was in. Don't believe me? I have proof!

Told ya! When I first heard of Frozen I thought it was about Olaf... the poster for the movie helped me understand though...

So, if you have Disney+ and the steaming service gives you problems you might see this questionable graphic on your screen...

Poor Simba. If I had a TARDIS I would love to go to the Magic Kingdom in he early 70s. But knowing my lick they'd still be building the castle...

I was thinking of getting a new tattoo but someone had the same idea I had...

Damn them! Okay, so, one of the best things about the Internet is you can look at porn so easily and for free. But the problem is if you're in public, such as a theme park, you might want to think twice about that. So I came up with a solution...

You're welcome, kids.

Frozen is really a superhero origin movie disguised as a princess flick.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. You might think you have your winter survival kit on lock, but did you know Neutrogena body oil, your car's eco mode, and vitamin D tablets are also secrets to sub-zero success? No? Well, I'm here yo help. Here's a new pheatire called...

Everyone knows you have to drink plenty of water in the summer... but it's also true in wintertime. Drink more water! In the summer, you don't need to be reminded to drink water and hydrate. But in the winter? You're wearing layers to wick sweat away from your body, the humidity in the air gets really low, and you're not feeling hot, so you don't always remember to drink enough water. Drink more water; kidney stones are no fun! Trust me, I had 14 of the bloody things in my life.

Phact 1. Walt Disney received one full-size Oscar for Snow White... as well as seven miniature ones

Phact 2. In 1943, Disney released an animated short called "Education for Death," to teach American children about Nazi life.

Phact 3. Ariel is the only Disney princess to have a child.

Phact 4. Disneyland in Orlando is its own city. It was built between two counties. Disney petitioned the Florida State legislature to let the company govern its own land, essentially making Disney World a separate city.

Phact 5. The Walt Disney Company makes about $1,110 per second.

The 109th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club is...

Chrissy will be on the Phile a week from today... next Monday. Weddings can often bring out the worst in people... While weddings are meant to be beautiful and emotional celebrations of love with friends and family, they've become TLC reality TV dramas whether you've chosen city hall or a 500 person capacity hotel ballroom. It's hard enough managing bridal parties, finding a dress and a venue, choosing the menu, sending invitations and learning how to be a professional event planner without also having to worry about your guests doing the one job they have which is to show up. It's rude to not RSVP to a wedding but it's an even more unacceptable crime to RSVP, show up so late you miss the ceremony AND do it all while being the bride's parents. A Phile reader emailed me and asked if she was wrong for getting married without her parents watching...

"Am I wrong for starting my wedding on time and not waiting for my parents? I got married on Saturday, and it was absolutely amazing except for one thing: my parents showed up late. They knew the ceremony time, and my husband and I made it very clear to everyone, both in the invites and in person, that we were going to start exactly at that time. The venue cost us a lot of money (we paid for the entire wedding ourselves) and we were only able to use it for a limited amount of time, so we wanted to make every minute count. So the wedding day came, and half an hour before we were scheduled to start, my parents still hadn't showed up. My husband and I both called them multiple times but nobody answered. We waited and waited, and still heard nothing. Finally, the start time arrived and my parents still weren't there. I was really pissed off at this point. The wedding coordinator asked if I wanted to go ahead and start the wedding, and I said yes. All of our other guests were already there, and we wanted to be considerate of their time. My parents showed up 15 minutes later and missed the entire ceremony. It turns out they did leave early but got rear-ended at a traffic light and had to deal with insurance, police, etc. They only have a landline, no cellphones, so they couldn't get in touch with me. Obviously there's no way I could have known this. I'm still frustrated with them for not making more of an effort to get to the venue early, and they're furious at me for not delaying the wedding 15 minutes so they could be there. Jason, am I wrong?" Hopefully this incident will inspire her parents to join the 21st century and get a cell phone... The piece of info I think is missing is: are your parents usually late or are they very prompt? If they’re chronically late I wouldn’t fault you for starting on time. However, if your parents are always on time my first thought certainly would have waited at least 10 minutes So, there you have it! I think nobody is directly in the wrong here, but the bride could've waited a little bit longer and had faith that her parents wouldn't want to miss their daughter's wedding.

Park couch

This is so cool... even frozen... hahaha... today's guests are two actresses that play sisters in the Walt Disney Pictures films Frozen and Frozen 2. Please welcome to the Phile... Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel!

Me: Ladies! Wow! This is sooo cool. Welcome to the Phile! How are you? 

Kristen: Pretty good.

Idina: Hi, Jason, I'm good.

Me: So, is it weird being back in Frozen world?

Kristen: No, because we've never been out of Frozen world. These movies take a long time to make. Usually they take about two and a half years but ours, because they of the meticulous script writing and paying attention to the story ours takes about three. So, we've never really been out of it.

Me: Are your kids Frozen fans?

Kristen: They like it but I think it's in our DNA to reject what our parents do or love in order to simulate into an outside tribe and local communities so they are sort of like lukewarm on Frozen.

Me: I disagree. My dad was the lead singer in Foghat and I was a big fan, and still am. So, how old are our kids, Kristen? 

Kristen: Four and six. I'm pretty sure they are four and six. I'm 99% sure. LOL.

Me: So, when they first saw the movie did they know you were in it?

Kristen: Yeah, they always knew. You know what it was, I have done voice over work for a long time and when I first showed them Frozen, A) I couldn't contain myself and I wore the dress and B) when we would watch cartoons with them when they were REALLY young I would have to explain to them they don't have to be as scared because they can understand the context how it's made so that crazy dragon on "Paw Patrol" is actually a man making grumpy noises into a microphone.

Me: Don't you think that's scarier? Hahaha.

Kristen: Yeah, I suppose the threat was bigger when I explained it like that. They also come to the voice over booth with me a lot because I do a couple of cartoons and they have seen me in the booth quite a bit. And my first child was in my belly when I was doing a couple of songs in the first Frozen. Their pretty familiar with it.

Me: When did you know the movie had been so big, a pop culture phenomenon?

Kristen: When we first saw the screening of it we were all there, our cast, our producers, our director, I did feel something special but to me it was because I was half excited that I was in the Disney animation family and playing a Disney princess. How could I ever tell my 10-year-old self that I would do that in my life time. And half if it was that I was so bad to be part of a movie that broke some trope, and that was really about familial love and a love letter to the siblings. It broke the mold a little but, and also that I played a character that I needed to see when I was 10. I needed a princess that didn't have good posture, stumbled over her words, led with her heart and was kind of a goof ball. So I guess I had a special feeling about the movie but I didn't know. When I'm in this business I could think I made a movie that is brilliant but then it comes out and the public wasn't in the mood for it. But thankfully everyone was in the mood.

Me: Idina, when did you realize the movie had gotten so big?

Idina: Gosh, it's a weird question for me because I remember I was doing a Broadway show, eight shows a week and I was just trying to get through that. Someone mentioned the song "Let It Go" was getting a lot of attention being played on the radio. It was just so incremental to me, we weren't looking for it.

Kristen: We felt it was special when we were watching it and we were breaking the mold and were proud. I think with the success of it once a week we would look at the box office and go huh, that's a substantial climb from last week. 

Me: Idina, what did you think about being in a Disney film again?

Idina: We were all so proud to be in a Disney film like the first Frozen. Everything we represented, our process, the people we worked with, the whole thing for me was just a wonderful process, the collaborative part of it and the rest of it was just the cherry on top. When I enjoy the process fully I don't worry about the result, it's usually much more fulfilling. Now this time there's more pressure on me and I start to think more about the stuff that people want me to think about it.

Me: Do you feel that pressure, Kristen?

Kristen: I don't. You know why, if I bake a cake with the same ingredients chances are it's going to come out just as good as the first time. Maybe I'm an optimist but I feel that we have the same exact recipe.

Me: So, how is it being in the second Frozen movie?

Idina: The integrity by the creators to really wait for the right time. It didn't feel like they were doing it to make a buck or to come out with a quick sequel. They really wanted to appeal to them, what should, this be about, and they were patient.

Kristen: In fact they got a lot of pressure from outside sources saying "you should make a second one, you need to make a second one." They were like they weren't ready, they don't know what it is and Jennifer Lee who wrote the movie and directed it she journaled as the characters for months before she found the story.

Me: What do you mean?

Kristen: She would sit down as a writer and the part of her process she would journal as Elsa, what is Elsa doing today, what's on her mind, it's phenomenal. What is Anna doing today, what is on Anna's mind...

Me: Why did she do this?

Kristen: To find a story that would have value and substance that wasn't just "episode 2." There's a lot of integrity behind it.

Me: That's crazy. So, Idina, how long have you been singing?

Idina: I've actually had the same voice teacher for almost 30 years.

Me: Do you do a lot of practicing?

Idina: I practice, I vocalize, I work on all my songs so that I understand them like little maps... kind of where I want to go with them, how I need to breathe and technically approach them. I really think about what I'm singing about and what they would sound like if they were a conversation to somebody else.

Me: Kristen, you weren't a singer originally I don't think, so what do you do?

Kristen: Not nearly as much as that. Jason, I studied music in college and so it's been a minute. I have relied on looking toward people like Idina and my voice teacher in Los Angeles to give me that kind of advice... to say, "Remember, stick with it. You're not humming to the radio. This is a job that you have, and this is a performance that you need to practice for." So it's really the practising and Idina just gave some great tips. I could tuck about the song in so many different ways as a conversation, as an athletic event, where do my breaths come and I write that down on paper and then I just drill it so my body just knows it like muscle memory.

Me: So, girls, what do you REALLY think of the song "Let It Go"? That song at first made me cringe but I actually like it now.

Kristen: Well look, I'd be remiss if I didn't tell you that "Let It Go" was one of my all-time favorite songs. It is such an anthemic piece of work. I sing to it and I get excited, Jason, when little girls sing to it... it reminds me that everybody is being told to think about who they are and that everything's okay.

Me: I could see Kristen playing Anna, but Idina, what do you have in common with Elsa?

Idina: I think what I have in common with Elsa is that I can be both shy sometimes and insecure about my life and then other times, like when I'm singing, I'm really bold, strong and courageous. I find in my life that I'm often trying to find that balance and the older I get, I've realized that that's a really nice balance to have. But when I'm younger, it's something that can be scary. When we have something that we're really good at, it's scary to let the world see that, because how will they perceive us? And so what I love about Elsa, especially in Frozen 2, is that she's not apologizing as much for her special gifts. She's ready to share them with the world.

Me: Okay, what do you think you have in common with Anna, Kristen?

Kristen: Everything, Pretty much everything.

Me: Hahaha. How so?

Kristen: Because, this is a fun fact, when the original script was written which was a script we actually scrapped before Jen Lee came on the project, the character of Anna was just seemingly much more of a standard for a Disney movie princess and in my mind was just a little more finicky and a little more uptight. I read it and I was caught in this place for being very grateful for having this job and also knowing that I was allowed to say what my instincts were and thankfully Chris Buck and Jen Lee were so collaborative. I said, "Listen, I really want to play me. I want to play who I NEEDED to see when I was a little girl. I want someone who is goofy and who is weird and doesn't fit a mold and who leads with her heart and has a ton of naïveté and a little bit of smarts but she hides it because she doesn’t know how to use it and he believes in everyone around her and goodness and kindness and for her words and we found that in the first script really well because Jen would write a scene and then let us sort of improv throughout it and say what do you think Anna would and I would go "I think she should..." and she would just say go. That's where the "oh, wait, what" came from because I say that. So she's who I saw myself being when I was 10-years-old and probably who I've become because I trip a lot as well.

Me: So, I have two sisters, what can they and other sisters learn from Frozen?

Kristen: Oh, wow. I think, very simply, that good results come when we believe in the people that we love and we give them the benefit of the doubt. It's hard on earth to believe in everyone around us and to fight for them because our feelings make us selfish often. That's normal and that's fine but I find I have two sisters and I fight against any judgment I have toward them. Their decisions are their decisions, and their path is their path. My job is to believe in them and remind them of that all the time because we cannot underestimate what that does for someone when they feel like their sibling believes in them.

Idina: I don't think I can say anymore to that. That was beautifully said. I have a younger sister, and actually, Kristen reminds me of her in a lot of ways. My younger sister is more of an old soul and has more wisdom about certain things than me, and I often feel that Kristen has more wisdom than I do in certain parts of life. It's when you can look up to each other, no matter what age you are, and find that thing in each other that inspires you. I think what Anna and Elsa do so beautifully is that they push each other, they push each other to be the best human beings that they can be. They want each others dreams to come true, they want joy and fulfillment in each others loves.

Me: Do you think they're competitive?

Idina: They might be competitive in some ways.

Kristen: It's okay to be competitive. It's okay to have all the emotions we have to our siblings, And what I love about Anna and Elsa so much is that they recognize in almost every moment that they are an extension of each other. That's not just emotionally... physically. If we are from the same parents, even if we're not blood related, if we grow up in a house we are an extension of each other. We won't get that special relation with anyone else on the planet. Hold those people close.

Me: So, have any of you ever built a snowman like Olaf? What kinda question is that? Hahaha. 

Kristen: You know, Jason, I grew up in Michigan, right on the border of Detroit and Windsor, so it was very cold there. I will say, I don't know the specific snowman, but what I do remember is that I would go inside and take some of my mother's clothing outside and make sure that my snowman had really cool '80s dangly earrings and perhaps a pair of her heels that eventually got ruined in the snow. So my snowmen were dressed like '80s businesswomen. I say get creative with those snowmen... or snowwomen!

Me: The Murphy Brown of snowmen... or snowwomen. Ha. So, does Anna have superpowers in this new film?

Kristen: Here's what I'll tell you about Anna's powers: everyone says, is Anna going to get powers in Frozen 2? And my answer is that Anna has always had powers. Anna's power is her unending belief in other people because love is actually the biggest superpower you can have. And Anna has that coming out of her ears. That will be the power in this one too.

Me: So, there's two new girls in this movie, right?

Idina: Yeah, there's mom. Evan Rachel Wood plays our mother in a flashback when you'll see us as little girls and there's Honeymaren, a member of the Northuldra tribe who we meet on our adventure. 

Kristen: Played by a wonderful actress named Rachel Matthews who helps us on our quest.

Me: Thanks, ladies, for being on the Phile. This was so cool... no pun intended. Please come back on the Phile again soon.

Kristen: Thank you, Jason.

Idina: Thank you. This was fun.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel. The Phile will be back on Friday with filmmaker Chris Butler. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Have a good Thanksgiving. Bye, love you, bye.

I don't want you, cook my bread, I don't want you, make my bed, I don't want your money too, I just want to make love to you. - Willie Dixon