Weekly Recap: Making Hollywood Great and Replacing Great Movie Rides
What’s more “fake” than Hollywood? How about a theme park in central Florida themed to an idealized image of the Dream Factory? Articles at Le Blog this week included suggestions on how to improve Tinseltown and a visit to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to appreciate a ride that celebrates great movies. Just in case you missed any of the artificial greatness, I’m here with your weekly recap.
This is getting posted later in the day than I had expected. As I mentioned briefly in the comments section of yesterday’s birthday article, my youngest daughter celebrated her 8th birthday this weekend. When I was a kid, that meant your grandparents came over, you had a slice of cake and opened a couple of presents. But somewhere along the way, children’s birthdays became much more elaborate affairs. We’ve been celebrating all week. But now that the last guest has departed, it’s time to get back to blog business.
Let’s get the Disney World stuff out of the way up front. With Daffy headed off to O-Town soon, we’re likely to see an uptick in Disney-related content. I figured I’d prime the pump with a look at one of the few attractions at Disney World that I think can legitimately be considered under-rated. The Great Movie ride is an important piece of the resort’s history. It was in many ways the heart and soul of Disney’s third Florida theme park. The entire park started out as an idea for an Epcot pavilion built around the attraction. When the idea was expanded into a full theme park and would-be studio, the Great Movie Ride was centrally located. The exterior was a recreation of Grauman’s Chinese Theater which functioned like Cinderella’s castle at the Magic Kingdom in that it drew guests into the park.
Unfortunately, the once-great attraction hasn’t been maintained. Today, both the Great Movie Ride and the park built around it are shadows of their former selves. Hollywood Studios is in the middle of a multi-year make-over that will no doubt make it a more popular (if less original) destination. The ride itself faces an uncertain future. Even Disney fans, who don’t tend to be critical of the company they love, find fault with the current incarnation of the Great Movie Ride. While there is definitely room for improvement, many guests mistakenly believe what the ride needs is the inclusion of more recent movies that “people care about”. This misperception is why I deemed the Great Movie Ride under-rated.
Speaking of greatness, Jestak delivered a variety of all things great and good in the celebrity birthdays. Oh sure, there’s some clunkers in the mix. No one ever accused Candace Cameron of being great (unless they were comparing Cameron to her holier-than-thou brother, Kirk, that is). But everyone has a birthday and we celebrate them all. Here’s a list of this week’s headliners:
- April 3: Eddie Murphy and Marlon Brando
- April 4: Robert Downey, Jr., and Heath Ledger
- April 5: Agnetha Fältskog and Bette Davis
- April 6: Paul Rudd and Barry Levinson
- April 7: Francis Ford Coppola and Jackie Chan
- April 8: Patricia Arquette and Robin Wright
- April 9: Cynthia Nixon and Kristen Stewart
The seventh season of AMC’s high-rated zombie drama, The Walking Dead, shambled to its muddled conclusion with a messy episode titled “The First Day of the Rest of Your Life.” This was another one of those episodes in which a character does something that is supposed to be seen as a selfless gesture to save the others, but their sacrifice didn’t make any sense. But hey, at least some bad guys got mauled by a CGI tiger. I’m planning to enjoy the time off before the eighth season starts in the Fall. For those of you who follow my Walking Dead recaps, I do plan to return for Fear the Walking Dead this summer. However, if there is any overlap with the Twin Peaks reboot, I’ll be writing about that show instead. So depending on scheduling, I may start my coverage of the Walking Dead spin-off mid-season.
Kevthewriter has a few “Why’d It Bomb” articles on tap. We’ll be rolling these out on Wednesdays for the next few weeks (or however long he keeps them up). He kicked things off with a look at the 20-years-too-late sequel to the biggest movie of 1996, Independence Day.
This week’s Lego Dimensions article explored a new product in the line. The Ghostbusters Story Pack adapted the Paul Feig’s divisive remake of the 1984 classic. The Story Pack includes more content than any of the other Lego Dimensions offerings, but it comes with a steep price tag that may be limiting sales.
Finally, the site ran several articles from the Movieline archives. This week’s cover story came from the April 1997 issue in which Kim Basinger discussed the rough years leading up to her comeback performance in LA Confidential. From that same issue came a list of the 100 best female characters in film and an interview with Julianna Marguiles as she was flirting with movie roles.. The April 1992 issue gave us a profile with Bill Pullman and a list of 100 ways in which Hollywood could be improved.
Next Week: The celebrity birthdays include one of the most infamous WTHH subjects of all times, Lego Dimensions gets even more nostalgic than usual, Kevthewriter asks why a cheesy super hero sequel bombed and we delve further into the Movieline archives. Plus, Daffy Stardust is currently on assignment in Orlando, so I’m sure he’ll be filing a report or two upon his return.