Sunday, January 12, 2020

The 2019 Movie Post

Well, I didn't really spend that much time in 2019 watching movies, so I ended up waiting until I had watched three more movies at the beginning of 2020, and now I am writing this, just so there's not an abysmal number of movies on here.

Here are my previous years' posts: 2018201720162015201420132012201120102009200820072006, and 2005.

1. Knives Out - I decided that this one got the first position because it was a year of generally derivative movies, either because they were part of a series or because they were a remake. This was the most entertaining original movie of them all. It seems like it could be a stage play because it didn't really have a lot of necessary scenes, but I enjoyed it as a movie, anyway. The cast was great, I laughed at a lot of the lines, and I just enjoyed it, in general.

2. Captain Marvel - I really enjoyed this one because it was so 90s nostalgic for me. The music, the style, and all of that was actually quite consistent. The plot was entertaining, and there was a bit of humor in it. I mean, it's pretty fake, too, but the comedy was enough that I could tolerate the fakeryness.

3. Yesterday - This was a fun movie that I laughed about. The main character was really enjoyable to follow. He was just a regular guy that had unfortunate stuff happen to him, so I thought it was easy enough to relate to him. It was like someone's daydream from the middle of a boring class brought to the movie screen and adding in a good soundtrack.

4. Ford v Ferrari - I mean, I didn't really like the ending very much, but overall, this was an enjoyable movie that was based on a true story. I don't follow racing at all, so I appreciated that I didn't have to know a lot about it to enjoy the movie.

5. Spider-Man: Far From Home - I liked this movie because it was funny. I didn't care a lot for the antagonist nor his henchmen, but it was still enjoyable generally.

6. Shazam! - For me, this was enjoyable because I watched it pretty soon after I decided to become licensed as a foster parent. It was a cute movie that was also funny, and although it seemed to be cinematically more in the vein of something like a Power Rangers movie, I thought it was an enjoyable film overall.

7. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker - I enjoyed this movie, but I also kind of didn't like some parts. The gigantic battle at the end, along with the stadium full of CGI hooded figures was a bit much for me. It just didn't feel very... personal. I will have to see it again to know really how I feel about it, but on purely the first viewing, it was probably in my bottom three of Star Wars movies.

8. Avengers: Endgame - To be quite honest, I kind of didn't like this movie the first time I saw it. It was so sad and depressing, and I think I was having some hormonal imbalances at the time I saw it. I was so cranky. But anyway, after the second viewing, I liked it a bit better. It's still on the lower end of all the Marvel movies for me, but I accept it as a decent climax of the Avengers movies. Of course I have some issues with all the time travel stuff, but that is normal for me when you add time travel in the mix.

9. Little Women - I mean, as far as remakes go, this is a solid one. I think I like Amy the best in this version over all of the other versions of the movie. I'm not sure how I feel about going back and forth through time for this, but I enjoyed it overall and cried my eyes out. I didn't have any tissues. It was messy.

10. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World - I definitely liked this movie better than the second one. I enjoyed this movie, and I think it was a great continuation of this excellent series.

I also saw:

Glass - I didn't like this one as well as either Unbreakable or Split, but it was alright.

Toy Story 4 - This was good and funny, but I think the creepy dolls did me in. I also didn't necessarily care for the overall storyline, really. It just wasn't as good as the rest of the Toy Story movies.

Downton Abbey - Yes, I saw this. I am ashamed. I watched Downton Abbey since I stumbled upon the very first episode the first time it aired on TV. This was an unnecessary movie, but it was still enjoyable. Enjoyable, but WHY did it need to be made? Money. That is why.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part - This was enjoyable. I think these movies are cute kids movies.

Aladdin - I wasn't going to see this, but then I went on a date to this movie. It was better than I thought it was going to be. It was a decent movie, and I thought everyone did a great job acting. The script, songs, and storyline were great, and everything, but then after watching it, I had to pull out my VHS of the animated Aladdin movie and watch it because that is the one I like. I'm not interested in seeing any more remakes of Disney movies that were perfectly good to begin with. This probably makes me an old person.

I also saw from 2017:

The Space Between Us - It was okay. It was kind of boring and not great but okay.

Wonder - This was a cute movie, and I liked it.

I also saw from 2018:

Maze Runner: The Death Cure - I couldn't really remember what had happened in the previous installments with what characters, and I just didn't care a lot about this movie. Also, it wasn't very memorable.

Ocean's 8 - I'm so glad that I didn't spend money on this movie (Netflix disc - yes, I still do that). It was a fine movie as far as movies go, but it was such a copy of the first Ocean's movie of the reboot. I mean, there was even the moment when one of the female characters was eating, just like how Brad Pitt did in Ocean's 11, and I thought it was just such a copy that was full of itself with all the stars and whatnot.

Christopher Robin - It was a cute movie.

Crazy Rich Asians - I liked it, and it was interesting to see all the exorbitance portrayed in this movie. I was like, but WHY? (I've been asking that question a lot with movies lately. It must be a phase for me.)

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms - Not terrible, per se, but also not great. I think that perhaps I've never really liked the story of The Nutcracker a whole ton, even though I do enjoy the music and the dancing typically.

Creed II - I enjoyed this. I do think that Rocky IV was always my favorite of the movies, but it also got a little boring for me in the middle.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle - I like the story of The Jungle Book, so I enjoyed it overall, but this was probably my least favorite of all of them. I didn't really care for the ending and what they were trying to convey as a message. It felt a bit too overtly preachy.

Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse - I think people over-hyped this movie. It was fine as far as movies go, but it was also a bit too after-school cartoon for me.

Mary Poppins Returns - It was cute enough, but WHY?

Aquaman - I thought that the artistry was excellent in this movie. Like, it was a cool movie to look at, and I didn't have a problem with the characters or the storyline necessarily, but I guess I just wasn't that into it. I can't explain it. I guess I just didn't have chemistry with this movie.

Chappaquiddick - It was sort of a slog to get through. It was interesting but also pretty boring. I'm amazed at how everything was presented, and it's really uncomfortable that the public just doesn't seem to care a lot about what public figures have actually done in their lives.

Instant Family - I didn't really know what this was until I started working on a foster parenting license and then everyone was recommending to me that I watch it. It was cute and kind of humorous. It also didn't help me to feel less terrified of foster parenting.

Movies I still want to see from 2019:

Dark Phoenix
Men in Black: International
The Peanut Butter Falcon
Blinded By the Light
Jojo Rabbit
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Frozen II
Jumanji: The Next Level
Cats (Seriously, I never saw it in the theater, and it looks super creepy, but it's like I have to just to know it's bad for myself and also to see if I can even make it through the whole movie.)

Please comment with any recommendations you may have! I hope that you were able to enjoy movies, as well!

Friday, January 25, 2019

The 2018 Movie Post

So I am really late getting this out. I started working on this in December, but I guess I sort of forgot about it for a few weeks because I kept going out of town. I'm sure the three of you who read this don't mind so much, right? This post has spoilers. Like, for reals. Spoilers.

Here are my previous years' posts: 201720162015201420132012201120102009200820072006, and 2005.

Movies I saw in 2018:

1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindlewald - I had a hard time ordering these this year, but finally I gave this one #1. I actually didn't even like it quite as well as the first one in the series, but I thought it was still a good installment of the franchise, and it did make me want to see the next one. Ultimately, this is the movie that I thought I'd watch the most when I finally buy it. I like Jude Law as Dumbledore, but I do have to say that none of the Dumbledores have seemed like the same person to me. I suppose you're never really the same person from when you are young to when you're old, but I just don't feel like he's the same person that was characterized in the Harry Potter stories at all. I love all the rest of the characters, and I like wondering what's going to happen next.

2. Mission: Impossible - Fallout - I did a rewatch of the franchise before I saw this one, and I have to say that I'm glad that I did. I feel like I caught a lot more of what was going on the whole time. But also, there was nothing surprising at all. The plot was very see-through, even involving his wife. That being said, this was just a good and interesting action-adventure movie. I do love the Mission Impossible franchise, and all of the movies are great, except maybe #2, but even that is tolerable.

3. Ant-Man and the Wasp - Although this is not my favorite Avengers movie, it is a hilarious one. I love the antics of all of the characters, and I am always laughing at the silliness exhibited by the main character, as well as all of the side characters. The plot is just okay (it's kind of preposterous, actually), but the fact that they don't take themselves seriously and have a good time with the movie is what makes it.

4. Black Panther - This movie is definitely in my top half of the Avengers movies. It was different from the others and had a good plot. The villain is probably one of the better villains in all of the franchise. I enjoyed the beauty of Wakanda and all of the technological advances they had there. It would be awesome to have a city like that in the world. I also think that Lupita Nyong'o is an excellent actress. I feel like I could see her in a bunch more movies, and I wish she would be cast in more films.

5. Solo: A Star Wars Story - I really enjoyed this movie. Although I don't think these extra Star Wars stories are necessary, I really liked this one. I like who they got to play Han, and I especially thought that Donald Glover nailed Lando Calrissian. The obsession with capes was hilarious. The only part I didn't quite like about the movie was that Darth Maul was in it. It's a problem I have with the whole franchise storyline. No doubt that they really didn't have enough of him in Episode I, but I really resented when they brought him back in the Clone Wars series. It's my own pet peeve.

6. A Quiet Place - I am a fan of scary movies as long as they're not too gross or too evil-scary. So basically, I'm okay with PG-13 or PG-type scary movies. This one had a creepy but intriguing plot. I definitely was trying to stay quiet on the way home from the theater. They set up the stage so well, that even the theater talkers were quiet. I liked that part of it. It was a little too bloody for me, and honestly, I'm a bit bugged because I didn't see the resolution to the nail sticking out of the board. It still bothers me. Did they fix that? Did someone else step on it? What happened? Excellent thriller.

7. Bohemian Rhapsody - I enjoyed this movie. I don't know if anyone else felt like they didn't get enough of the entire songs, though. Like, I had to go listen to the real full versions of the songs later because I felt like they did cliff-hanging on those songs. Anyway, the story of Freddie Mercury was interesting and kept my attention. This is the sort of movie that helps me really appreciate the differences and talents that everyone has. For me it highlighted the value of every single person, and it made me hope that I always treat everyone kindly and appropriately.

8. Avengers: Infinity War - I liked this movie. When I saw this movie in the theater, it felt really long, like they packed a lot of plot and action into the movie. They did a good job of really taunting the viewers at the end and adding the feeling of futility and despair and loss of the Avengers. I'm looking forward to and curious for the resolution on the next movie.

8.5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Man, I was really struggling this year to add all the things I saw. I had to edit this in February to add this! I really liked this one. It was enjoyable and told a heartwarming story, and I liked all of the actors. I would recommend this one.

9. The Incredibles 2 - This was good, clean fun. I like that they picked up where they left off, even though there was something that felt a little bit different in this movie than the first. I really enjoyed this one.

10. Ready Player One - I haven't read the book, but this one felt like an adaptation. It was good, but the whole time for me it felt like I was missing maybe some character development or something? Maybe it's that I'm not really into video games, so maybe I didn't understand the overall appeal. Still, it was a good movie, though, and it was different from a lot of movies, which is always good.

I also saw:

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - I liked the Jurassic World movie, but I don't know if I just can't accept dinosaurs roaming the USA or what? Like, will the next one have dinos roaming the Las Vegas strip or something? I'm just not sure how I feel about that. There was so much of the movie that wasn't plot but was just chaos from being chased by even scarier dinosaurs than the last time. Like, okay, enough of that. You don't have to create new dinosaurs to make me freaked out by them. I'm already freaked out by the ones that were in the original movie.

The Commuter - Yeah, okay, Liam Neeson. I'm just not sure if I like him as an action movie star. For me, I would instead typecast him in dramas. But that's just me. It wasn't a terrible movie, but I wasn't that into it, either. I'd put this in the category of movies that you watch when you're sick and don't want to think about anything.

A Wrinkle in Time - I think this book is great. I thought the movie adaptation of that book was okay. I feel like maybe they were trying too hard with the hair and makeup. It all seemed a bit too fake. I get that it's a fantasy-esque movie, but using extra glitter and makeup didn't really cut it for me. It made it look like a Nickelodeon special, and I sort of resented that about the movie. I think they should have taken it more seriously or at least lay off the glitter.

Tomb Raider - This was okay. Oddly enough, for a mummy-type movie, I actually enjoyed it more than the actual Mummy movies. But I feel like it was more of the caliber of an amusement park ride and less of an actual movie. I still enjoyed it, though. It felt like it needed more adventure and less dire straits.

The House with a Clock in its Walls - I think this was decent for a kids movie. The clowns and puppets and dolls and mannequins were super creepy.

Ralph Breaks the Internet - This was a fun movie. It wasn't great, but it had some clever stuff.

The Cloverfield Paradox - It's like, I really wanted this to be good, but then there was a disembodied hand that apparently had free will and a brain to communicate. I can suspend my disbelief somewhat far, but that was too far.

The 15:17 to Paris - I mean, if you're going to have a shooter on a train story, it really should be based on real events. The appeal to this movie was actually that they had some of the real people play themselves. It felt a bit more like a home movie that way, but I think it was okay because I knew those were the real people.

I also saw some Film Festival Movies: 

Krieg - This was good. Because it was done in the actual languages, I was having a problem figuring out who was who, even though I speak a little bit of German. It was enjoyable enough, but if I were to watch a movie like this, I would pick the movie Tangerines (see below). Still, though, I have no complaint with the acting or anything else. You may enjoy this if you ever have the chance to watch it.

Lear's Shadow - Well, I guess I cried a little bit. This is clearly a movie for theater nerds, as it's basically likening the King Lear story to contemporary fictional events of family and good family friends. It was a film, but it is clearly intended to be played out in a small theater, maybe a black box theater.

I also saw from 2015:

Tangerines (the foreign film from Georgia) - I really enjoyed this movie. It's worth the watch if you're into war movies.

Woman in Gold - I liked this, but it also made me really frustrated for continued exploitation of a people who had everything taken from them.

Sing - I wanted this to be better than it was. It was just okay.

I also saw from 2016:

The Secret Life of Pets - It was just okay also. I guess I'm not that into pets.

Suicide Squad - I didn't really care for this that much. It was okayish and kind of dumbish.

Miracles from Heaven - This was a nice story, made nice by the fact that it was based on true events. I think it would have come off as really corny if I hadn't known that.

Queen of Katwe - I really liked this. As previously mentioned, I like Lupita Nyong'o, so I enjoyed her in this movie, as well.

Inferno - This was a super creepy movie at first, but then I enjoyed it for the mysterious adventure that it was. I enjoyed that it went to Istanbul in the Basilica Cistern. I have been to a bunch of places that were in this movie, so I think it made it more enjoyable than it otherwise would have been. The only unrealistic thing about this movie is that they didn't eat enough gelato when they were in Italy. (ha!)

I also saw from 2017:

The Post - I enjoyed this movie. It wasn't great, but it was good.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle - I laughed and laughed. It was such a stupid but fun movie.

Justice League - I actually enjoyed this one, even though it was pretty preposterous. Maybe I'll even see Aquaman because maybe they've figured out how to make decent movies again?

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - This was so forgettable. It's on Netflix now, and I started watching it, thinking I hadn't seen it, but then I was like, oh yeah, I did see this. So forgettable.

The Dark Tower - Eh, it was alright. I mean, I'm not going to watch it all the time, but I could see it again.

Coco - I loved it. I could watch this all the time.

Darkest Hour - I thought this was a fantastic movie. It was super enjoyable and well-made!

Movies I still want to see from 2017:

The Space Between Us

The LEGO Batman Movie (maybe)

Movies I still want to see from 2018:

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Ocean's 8
Christopher Robin
Crazy Rich Asians
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms?
Creed II
Robin Hood?
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle
Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse
Mary Poppins Returns
Holmes and Watson?

Monday, June 04, 2018

Knott's Berry Farm on the Super Cheap for One Day from Las Vegas

Well, I went to Knott's Berry Farm in June, and this technique worked great!

We got our Megabus tickets leaving Las Vegas at 1 a.m. from the South Strip Transit Terminal. We mostly got $5 tickets, but we did have a couple of $10 tickets because I ended up having to change weekends.

We were dropped off at the same ARTIC Sports Complex and picked up bus 15 from there and paid for a day pass with the Token Transit app. Bus 18 only runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to and from Disneyland, so that was one difference to keep in mind. We walked over to IHOP and ate breakfast and then picked up the bus 18 at 9 a.m. The bus runs every hour from there, and they even stop it in the middle of the day, so that means it picks up at 9, 10, and 11. We were able to get into Knott's Berry Farm before 10 a.m., even though it says it doesn't open until 10. Be sure you purchase your tickets ahead of time on the app or online. We paid $50 on the app versus the $79 price it is at the gate.

The bus stops and picks up down the block from the entrance of Knott's Berry Farm. The bus ride takes about a half an hour, so that means that on the Knott's Berry Farm side, the bus picks up starting at 4:30 p.m., so we could take the one at 8:30 or 9:30 p.m. We chose to get the bus back at 8:30 p.m., just to make sure we got back. We timed the bus trips, and the bus from the ARTIC Complex to Disneyland takes about 15 - 20 min. The bus from Disneyland to Knott's Berry Farm takes about a half an hour. Since we split the morning one up with eating at IHOP, we didn't get a good idea about what time they pick up and drop off.

On the way back, we went from Knott's Berry Farm straight back, and it ended up taking over an hour if you include waiting at Disneyland for bus 15. Bus 15 runs every 20 minutes. So even though we got on the bus at 8:30 at Knott's Berry Farm, we didn't get back at the ARTIC Complex until about 9:40. We watched, and we theoretically could have come back on the 9:30 p.m. bus from Knott's Berry Farm, but it really is cutting it close. There was an Angel's game that night, so traffic wasn't normal. The bus 15 we saw got back about 5 or 10 minutes before the Megabus came and left at 10:50 p.m. So theoretically you could take the 9:30 p.m. bus from Knott's Berry Farm back, but that is cutting it close. The total price of this trip per person was $80.13 plus food and gas to Las Vegas. That included park tickets and bus tickets. So, that's a pretty good price for a day of fun!

Next up, I'm going to go to an LA Rams game. I'll update about that when I go!

Also, Megabus just added routes from Las Vegas to Phoenix for $.99. Yes, ninety-nine cents! I might try that sometime.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Disneyland on the Super Cheap for One Day from Las Vegas

I think that self-driving cars are a fantastic idea. I want them to become prolific in my lifetime. It has been my dream for quite some time to be able to get off work on Friday and get in the car in my pajamas and wake up somewhere else, like Yellowstone or Disneyland or Universal Studios or Knott's Berry Farm. Self-driving cars could increase travel and tourism exponentially. At least for me.

Anyway, I discovered something that's close, but not quite the same as that, and it's a really cheap option. Enter Megabus. Maybe you've heard of it, and maybe you haven't. Well, they are famous for their $1 fares, which honestly are really hard to get, even though I snagged one my first time trying. Most of the tickets I got were actually $5, which is also insanely cheap. They charge you $3.50 per transaction when you buy the tickets, so it's best to buy them all at once if you're trying to save.

Megabus does have a route in the West that was perfect for me. I live close enough to Las Vegas, and I saw that they had a route that goes to Southern California, stopping in Riverside, Los Angeles, and Anaheim. How does this fit into my dream? Well, they have a trip that leaves Las Vegas from the RTC South Strip Transfer Terminal at 1 a.m. and arrives at 9 a.m. in Anaheim (I live in Utah, so it's 2 a.m. my time!). I decided to try to live "my dream" by driving to Las Vegas Friday night, boarding the bus, sleeping on the bus, waking up in Anaheim, and going to Disneyland. I decided to try California Adventure for the day, though, since I wanted to ride California Screamin', they were closing Paradise Pier for refurbishment the week after I was going, and I hadn't been on the new Guardians of the Galaxy ride yet. The return tickets on the bus were for 10:50 p.m. that night.

I knew some of the problems of the trip ahead of time:

1. 1 a.m. is late (2 a.m. for me!), and buses are not hotel rooms, so we would likely be tired at California Adventure, as we didn't expect to sleep well on the bus.

2. 9 a.m. is arriving at the bus station in Anaheim. We would still have to actually get to Disneyland from there, so we would get to the park after everyone else and miss the shorter lines that you get when you're there as the park opens.

3. Not having a car or hotel room would mean we would have to figure out the food situation for all the meals.

4. We would need to leave the park early to make sure we got back to the bus station in time.

5. Driving home exhausted after two nights on the bus was going to be scary.

How did the trip go? It actually went pretty well!

These are the things we did to combat the above problems:

1. We ate dinner on the way to Las Vegas at a casino buffet, so we were really full for the bus ride. We all took water and snacks. If you don't prepare, the bus stops each way in Barstow or Baker (I can't remember which because I was sleeping) at a gas station, so you can use the facilities and get more drinks or snacks if you under-prepared. Since I was pretty full and tried to sleep, I only drank water and didn't feel the need for snacks. We also took stuff for breakfast. I took granola bars and an apple. Some people took frozen Go-gurts, string cheese, Rice Krispies treats, muffins, etc. We had enough snacks. I also took floss, a toothbrush, and toothpaste because I really can't stand un-brushed teeth. My teeth get really gross after a while and especially after sleeping.

2. I took a jacket that collapses into a pillow. The rest of my friends took travel pillows and blankets. When I do it next time, I'll probably take a travel pillow and blanket or a travel pillow and jacket.

3. We figured out the bus routes ahead of time. Megabus drops off at ARTIC station that's located close to the Angels Stadium. They pick up and drop off at bench #11. You can ride bus route 15 (Artic Sports Complex Line) from there (picks up at bench #13 or #14), and it drops you right off at Disneyland after a stop or two. My suggestion if you're just going for the day is to download the mobile app called Token Transit and pay on there for a day pass. It's $5.50 for the day per person or something like $3 each way. I downloaded the app and paid for all five of us. Then you just have to show the driver your app when you get on the bus.

4. We left the park at about 9:30 p.m. to pick up the bus (bus route #15) to head back to the ARTIC station. One thing we noticed was that it was best to get there early because then we could pick our seats on the Megabus, instead of being the last ones on the bus. I suggest being there an hour in advance, both to and from Anaheim. The absolute latest you should leave Disneyland is 10 p.m. because the time it will take you to get back to the Artic Station may be slower in the evening due to traffic.

With all of these things, our trip went really smoothly. Here are some additional tips if you decide to try it!

1. Parking at the RTC South Strip Transfer Terminal is free as of my writing this. However, you do need to make sure nothing is in your car because it seems like they get people breaking into cars there sometimes. Also, you are supposed to fill out a form if you are leaving your car there for longer than a day.

2. Realize that these are extremely cheap bus tickets in the middle of the night. I cannot vouch for the characters who will be on the bus with you. We had a woman who was constantly crying out, which made sleeping difficult. I think she needed a doctor for whatever pain she was having. She and her husband got in a big fight with the employee because they hadn't paid for a ticket for their infant son. You have to buy a ticket for everybody, even if babies sit on your lap. It was resolved when my friend said they could use our extra ticket (one of my friends backed out at the last minute, which is more likely when you just buy $5 tickets). All was well after that. Also on the way home, the person across the aisle from me was completely plastered. So I wouldn't necessarily suggest this cheap trip for children. But really, I did notice that there were a bunch of Chinese tourists on the bus from Las Vegas to Anaheim, and they were all fine of course.

3. The bus stops in Riverside first, then Los Angeles, then Anaheim. It also arrives at its destination, entirely subject to however traffic is that day. Mondays through Fridays they post 9 a.m. as the time due to traffic, but since we went on a Saturday, we actually got there right around 7 a.m. We were excited about this because California Adventure opened at 8 a.m., and we ended up being there as it opened. I also suggest downloading the Disneyland app and purchasing your tickets on there so you can go straight to the entry turnstiles.

4. We rented a locker at California Adventure. This adds an extra cost to the trip if you rent one. I think it was $15 for the day, but it was nice to stow our blankets and pillows and toothbrushes in there. Our stuff just barely fit.

5. We ate all our meals except breakfast at California Adventure. You may have an issue with the price of the food, but one thing to remember is that there are some items that can be easily shared with another person. Also, I've basically enjoyed everything I've eaten there. Just know what you like and get that. I hate hot dogs, so I would never get one. Follow your taste buds and you won't regret the cost.

6. Pack light. Seriously. I had this tiny bag with only a bottle of water and my toothbrush/toothpaste/floss, which I would have been okay with carrying around in my purse. I would take a blow-up pillow next time, but that's the only thing I'd change. Well, maybe I'd take a charger for my phone, since I used my phone a lot and almost ran out of batteries. Megabus does have electrical outlets, so you can charge your phone on the bus, as well. Two of the guys with me said they would pack less next time. If you forgot something or need it, they probably have it for sale at Disneyland.

7. If you're trying to take your family on the best Disney Vacation EVER, don't do this. Drive down, get a hotel and enjoy yourselves. This is meant to be a one-day quick trip technique. If you have a family, it's probably actually cheaper to drive down. The joy of this technique is not having to drive and instead of staying in a hotel, sleeping on the bus. Doesn't sound like the best vacation, right? Right. It's a quick day trip and nothing more than that.

8. I'm not going to lie. When we got back to Las Vegas I was SO TIRED. I could not have driven home if I had been the one driving. Since I wasn't the driver, I was out snoring and drooling in the back seat. The driver was so tired the whole time. You get back to Las Vegas around 4:50 a.m. Since I live in Utah, we had to drive back, and it was 5:50 a.m. our time. This was the worst part of the trip. I am so grateful for my friend who drove. If you're planning on making it to 9:00 a.m. church and live where I do, you're not going to make it, even if you don't have to stop for gas at all. You can definitely make 11:00 church, though.

9. To get the $1 or $5 fares on Megabus, you have to book them right when they go on sale, which could be four months in advance or two months in advance. It really depends on when they release them. You have to watch. I'd say the average is three months in advance, but for Christmas season, I think it's even sooner than that. You don't have to sleep on the bus, either. They have routes during normal awake times.

Total cost of the trip to Disneyland including the ticket? $150.50 per person plus gas to Las Vegas and meals!

10. You can also use this technique easily for the following touristy things in Southern California at any time:

Disneyland - Take ART bus 15 from the Anaheim ARTIC station straight to Disneyland.

Knott's Berry Farm - Take ART bus 15 from the Anaheim ARTIC station and switch to bus 18 on the Buena Park Line either at Disneyland or Anaheim Convention Center Grand Plaza (Disneyland is easiest). See my post about the time I went to Knott's Berry Farm on the super cheap for one day from Las Vegas.

Angel's Baseball Game - Just walk from the Anaheim ARTIC station to the stadium. It's basically right there.

Universal Studios Hollywood - Get off the Megabus at Los Angeles, which is at Union Station. Take the red line metro toward North Hollywood, and it takes about 20 to 25 minutes to get to the Universal City stop. Map You have to buy a TAP pass for $1 and load it with money for the fare. The day pass is $7. I think each ride is like $1.75.

Dodger's Baseball Game - Get off the Megabus at Los Angeles, which is at Union Station. Take Dodger Stadium Express. Apparently your ticket counts as your bus fare. Or you can walk if you feel like walking 2 miles.

I'll report back on these. I'm going to do Knott's Berry Farm in June and maybe Universal Studios later this year! Otherwise, enjoy your day trip!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The 2017 Movie Post

I'm finally getting to write about this. Better late than never? I actually didn't see many movies in 2017, and even one of these I actually saw in 2018. Oh well, I feel like I still should write this!

Here are my previous years' posts: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005.

I think that the amount of movie watching that I do directly correlates to how much my friends at the time like seeing movies and also how much I fly on planes. The more I fly, the more I tend to watch movies. In 2017 I actually flew some red-eye flights, so I slept instead of watched movies. I think I only watched 12 movies from 2017. And it was harder to write this post this year because Netflix doesn't do stars anymore. They do thumbs up and thumbs down, which is annoying for purposes of doing this list because I can't go back and see how many stars I gave them. This is hard. Welp, here it is!

1. Murder on the Orient Express - I remember reading this book a long time ago, but somehow I didn't remember the ending of it. Well, I love a good mystery, and this movie kept things mysterious. While a lot of the characters were pretty one-dimensional, I still enjoyed the portrayal and the delivery of the movie. It was a delightful movie that was imaginative with beautiful scenery and costumes.

2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi - This was not my favorite Star Wars movie. In fact, it might be my least favorite, but I still enjoyed it. I liked some of the humor but also the seriousness of the movie. Kylo Ren is one of the most captivating characters in the Star Wars universe. He's whiny like Anakin and very volatile, but there are times when you're like... this guy is redeemable. I think that's why his relationship with Rey is so interesting. He plays with her mind, and she tries to save him, but then he kind of turns against everything again. It's so frustrating but also brilliant.

3. The Greatest Showman - I know that a lot of people love this movie, like they gush over this movie. That is not me. That being said, I really enjoyed this movie. This is the best chick-flickish movie I've seen in a while. I absolutely love what they did with the relationship of P.T. and Charity Barnum. In fact, I enjoyed most of the relationships of the film. The conflict of the movie was real and relatable, and I liked how everything wrapped up nicely, but not in a way that isn't realistic. Problems and conflict still existed at the end, but everyone was able to move on with their heads held high with confidence that they tried and would try again. They also discovered the positive things of their lives and saw the beauty in the journey and in their relationships with each other. I liked this movie. Oh, and the music and dancing was good.

4. Dunkirk - I guess that I was already bugged by the spelling of the movie because my awareness of Dunkirk began when I actually traveled to Dunkerque. The French spelling, to me, should have been used. We English-readers can all read it with its real spelling. Anyway, my opinion is that the story of Dunkerque was actually one of the greatest single stories of the entire war. So the story for me was and has been a huge thing. It is one that can evoke emotion and is symbolic of humanity's ability to accomplish miraculous things when everyone is willing to work together, no matter how small a part they play. Somehow, though, the portrayal didn't quite hit the gravity of the story and situation for me. I don't know if it's because of the theater environment when I saw it, or missing the part where one of the stories was one hour, another one day, and another one week and all of it ultra-chopped up together, or if it's just because I had high expectations that weren't quite fulfilled. I think this movie deserves a rewatch, but when I heard the story the first time, I cried, and watching this movie evoked very little emotion from me.

5. Split - First of all, I think that this is a movie that anyone with a history of sexual abuse should not watch. It is quite disturbing in a lot of ways and would probably cause bad memories to surface. However, it was also creepy and suspenseful and scary, which is what it was supposed to be. It's like a modern-day Psycho, where the antagonist is so mind-bogglingly crazy, that you feel helpless. That is a really scary scenario, and since the movie is supposed to be that way, it succeeded. I also enjoyed the reference to Unbreakable because I love the movie Unbreakable.

6. Thor: Ragnarok - This movie is like the bridge between the Avengers movies and Guardians of the Galaxy. Each of them have their own sort of feelings, where the Avengers movies tend to be more politically heavy with humor and Guardians of the Galaxy is downright wacky with a bit of seriousness. Thor: Ragnarok is serious and wacky and takes out-of-this-world creatures and attempts to infuse the flavor of the Avengers movies with some of the characters. It absolutely didn't take itself seriously and made fun of itself, and that's why I thought it was pretty good. A lot of the make up in these movies goes a bit overboard for me, though.

7. Spider-Man: Homecoming - Like I've said before, why are we continuously rebooting Spider-Man? I get that this particular Spider-Man is a goofy teenager, and you had to reboot him to get him there, but seriously. Enough. It is enjoyable, though, but a lot of the reason I liked it was because I think his friend Ned is hilarious. Also, it fits into the Avengers overall storyline.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - This movie was not as good as the first one. It was still enjoyable, but his father's planet and everything there was really wacky, along with pretty much everything else. It's such a wacky, wacky movie.

9. Wonder Woman - I liked this movie alright, but there were parts of it where I couldn't suspend my disbelief, like when she's wearing a sword down the back of her dress, and she dances with the guy, and somehow he doesn't notice that there's a sword down her dress. Also, I didn't care for the love story portion with Wonder Woman and Chris Pine's character. And I felt like the plot was really see-through. And the part at the end with David Thewlis's character was a bit garbage with the effects.

10. Cars 3 - This is probably my least favorite of the Cars movies, but it was alright still. I enjoyed the parts where they did crazy eights because I actually do enjoy demolition derbies, so I thought that part was pretty funny.

I also saw:

Beauty and the Beast - I kind of liked the art, and I kind of hated the art. It was like I was watching an animated movie, but it wasn't really an animated movie, so ultimately, it didn't really work for me. And I feel like the hamminess of some of the characters like Lefou only really works for me in cartoon form. If I'm going to watch a movie and rewatch it at home, like Beauty and the Beast, I'll be watching the animated version, which I like.

The Mountain Between Us - The guy taking the ticket at the movie theater gave away an important plot point right when my friend and I were going into the movie. I was annoyed. It bothered me through the whole movie. I also was just bugged kind of by the way it ended and that these people are dying, but then they're like, ah well, let's just break into this cabin and do it, even though we're dying and one of us is engaged. That wasn't really that enjoyable to watch.

I also saw from 2015:

Selma - I enjoyed it. I felt like it kind of abruptly ended, though.

Far from the Madding Crowd - I liked it, but I was also very frustrated by aspects of the movie. I felt so many conflicting things about it.

A Royal Night Out - I actually really enjoyed this one.

The Walk - I felt so much anxiety watching this one. I guess it's cool that he accomplished that, but WHY?!?

I also saw from 2016:

Hail, Caesar! - I don't know what I'm supposed to say about watching a movie about pretty much everyone doing crazy things and the clean up and cover up of all of it. It's really uncomfortable in a lot of ways but also interesting.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - I actually really liked it, even though some of the creatures were artistically disturbing. It was odd but good.

Love & Friendship - I didn't care for it that much. It might deserve a rewatch, but I'm not positive I'm that interested in a rewatch because one of the characters drove me nuts!

The Magnificent Seven - It was like it was going to be good, but then it ended up being kind of corny. I really need to watch the earlier version. My friend tells me it's much better.

Central Intelligence - It was really, really dumb. But it was also kind of funny.

La La Land - I liked it, but then at the end, I kind of disliked it. I'm conflicted.

Kubo and the Two Strings - It was kind of weird, but it was just barely on the good side of weird. I enjoyed it.

Passengers - I already had my tickets and had a meeting that went long, so I got there about 30 minutes in. Because I missed the beginning, Chris Pratt's character was that much creepier. I didn't know the whole time if he was an insane psycho or what, so it made it suspenseful and thrilling because I had missed the whole beginning where I saw his motivation. When I saw the beginning later, I was kind of like... oh. Meh. It was an interesting premise. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't really that great, either, and there is no way they would have survived that, so I had to seriously suspend my disbelief.

Fences - It's really not that exciting to watch disfunction, but I did like the showing of good moral character of Viola Davis's character. But I also had a hard time watching Denzel Washington's character.

Lion - Really liked it.

Hidden Figures - Loved it.

Movies I still want to see from 2016:

The Secret Life of Pets
Suicide Squad - maybe
Miracles from Heaven
Queen of Katwe

Movies I might still want to see from 2017:

Shanghai Dawn
The Space Between Us
The LEGO Batman Movie
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The Dark Tower
Justice League

Coco and Wonder are the only ones I'm really itching to see. The rest are sort of like meh.

I'm in a movie slump where I'm just not that interested in sitting down to watch a movie with my undivided attention, which is the only way I can really watch new movies. We'll see how many I'll watch in 2018.

Please tell me if you have any recommendations because I'm just not feeling it lately, and I know I can count on you guys with good suggestions!