Friday Favorite: Favorite Super Mario Game

It’s Friday and I thought I would bring back “Friday Favorite”.  For this edition, I thought I would share my favorite Super Mario Bros. game.  I grew up playing video games and so I have played my fair share of Mario games.  But I would say that my personal favorite would have to be Super Mario Bros. 3:

Super_Mario_Bros_3

Super Mario Bros. 3, released on February 12, 1990 in North America, was the third game in the Super Mario series to be released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES).  It was one of the most anticipated and hyped games of that generation.  Clips of the game were featured in the film The Wizard and kids were super excited for the game to release.  I was one of those kids.  I got the game for my birthday (which happens to be in February).  From the moment I put the cartridge into the system, I was hooked.

The game tells the continuing adventures of Mario and Luigi in the Mushroom Kingdom.  Bowser (aka King Koopa) has once again kidnapped the Princess (Princess Peach).  This time around his children, the Koopalings, have aided him by turning some of the other leaders of the Mushroom Kingdom into animals.  It’s up to Mario and Luigi to return order to the Mushroom Kingdom and save the princess.

The graphics for the game were state of the art at the time.  The gameplay was some of the best for any NES game and the feel of the game was just right.  To this day, I can play that game and get the same joy as I did back in 1990.

There have been a lot of great Mario games and worth playing.  But for me, Super Mario Bros. 3 is by far my favorite.

Friday Favorites: Favorite Animated Movie of 2015

It’s Friday (and it’s been awhile) so it’s time for “Friday Favorites”.  This time around, my Friday Favorite is “Favorite Animated Movie of 2015”.  That movie is one that I saw this week and it is The Peanuts Movie:

The Peanuts Movie

Now everyone that know me knows that I love Charlie Brown, Snoopy and all the Peanuts gang.  I grew up on the comic strip.  I watched all the cartoon specials, TV shows and movies.  So I was super excited when I heard this new movie was coming out.

Like any cherished property, there is a concern about whether it gets things right.  Does it capture the heart, the essence of what made it so special in the first place.  Given that this film was written by Charles Schultz’s son & grandson, the story was in good hands and it showed.  This film had the heart of the old comic strip.  It captured the essence of who Charlie Brown is.  It showed the great imagination of Snoopy.  It captured the personality of Lucy so well.  All the characters were real and honest to who they are in the comic strip.

Sure it’s all flashy and modern with CGI animation, but the heart of the story sticks true to the source material.  And that was what made it awesome for me.  I wish that more movies would take a page from The Peanuts Movie and remember the heart of the things while they’re telling new stories.

If you haven’t seen it, go see The Peanuts Movie.  It is well worth the price of admission.  It was my favorite animated film of 2015 and probably top 3 films overall of the year.

Friday Favorites: Favorite Sporting Event Moment

It’s Friday again so thought I would share another “Friday Favorite”.  This week I thought I would share one of my favorite sporting event moments.  There’s a lot to choose from and I’m sure at some point I’ll mention more of them.  But if I had to share what my favorite moment at a sporting event that I attended, it would have to be the “Music City Miracle”.

For those that don’t know, the “Music City Miracle” was a play that happened during the NFL Wild Card Playoff Game between the Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills.  It took place on January 8, 2000 in Nashville.  It was the first ever NFL game that I watched in person.  I was on winter break from college and I was able to get tickets.  I actually stood in line and bought them (well I stood in line inside a mall at a store that was a Ticketmaster outlet).

My dad and I went to the game and they were pretty good seats.  They were lower level near one of the end zones.  The game was fun.  It was cold (again it was January).  The Titans led most of the game.  However in the 4th quarter, the Bills made a dramatic drive down the field and were able to take the lead with a field goal with :16 seconds left.

It seemed like the playoffs were done before they really got going.  Then this play happened:

Now, my dad and I are sitting in the corner near the end zone away from this play.  If you’re looking on the TV screen, it would be the upper right corner around the 10-15 yard line or so.  So the play happens going the opposite direction for us.  What I remember from the game was this, I see the ball caught.  I see the ball thrown towards the opposite sideline.  I see player running.  The stadium gets louder and louder and when player reaches the endzone, everyone goes wild.

The longest wait was the wait for the replay.  The referee came to the area near where my dad and I were sitting.  And this was during a time when they didn’t show replays on the big screen.  But when the ref declared it was a lateral and a touchdown, the crowd erupted again.  It was the wildest thing I had ever seen and got to experience in person.  I taped the game (on VHS) and later went back to watch it and see everything as far as the camera angles and such.  On the drive home, I got to hear the radio call, which has become famous.

Probably the only way to top that experience for me would be to be at championship event and my team wins.  Besides that, this has to be my favorite sporting event experience.

Friday Favorite: Favorite TV Show

It’s Friday so wanted to share another “Friday Favorite”.  This week I wanted to share one of my favorite TV shows.  Through the years there a lot of shows that I’ve watched and loved.  If I had to pick my go to show (which is very touch and I’m sure there will be more shows that will be highlighted in this series) it would have to be Law & Order.

Law and Order

Law & Order debuted back in 1990 and from the first time it aired I was hooked.  It’s a pretty basic premise for a show.  A crime was committed (most of the time it was murder) and the first half of the episode focused on the police detectives that were investigating the case.  The second half of the episode focused on the district attorneys who prosecuted the case at a trial.  Within the hour there was a resolution and the story ended (rarely was there a two part episode).

Even with a simple concept, it was compelling television.  Some of the stories were “ripped from the headlines”.  They were some based on actual criminal cases (but the cases were tweaked to fit the story the writers were telling).  Then there were other cases that were made up but still compelling.

The structure of the show lent itself to have turnover of the cast but even so there were a lot of compelling characters that came through the show.  There was some consistency for much of the series run with Det. Lennie Briscoe (played by Jerry Orbach) and Executive Assistant DA (then later DA) Jack McCoy (played by Sam Waterston) being on the show for a long span of time.  The focus was on the case and the work the detectives and attorneys did.

The show did have several spinoffs including one (Law & Order: SVU) that is still on the air.  But the classic version is the one that to me is the best.  I can still sit down today and watch an episode or two from any season and be entertained.  And the classic “bomp bomp” is still memorable when I think about that show.  Law & Order is my go to TV show to watch.

Friday Favorite: Favorite Movie

You know how sometimes you just get inspiration to write?  Well this was one of those times.  I thought about adding another regular writing series to this blog.  I was inspired to write about my favorites so now we will have “Friday Favorite”.  I don’t know if it will be a weekly thing of or just some Fridays but you have to start somewhere right?

Seeing as how I’m a movie guy, I thought I would start with my favorite movie.  Now I have a lot of films that I love.  I have a lot of film franchises/series that I love.  But my favorite film series of all is the Star Wars saga.  And my favorite of the Star Wars saga is The Empire Strikes Back

Empire Strikes Back Poster

This film is my favorite of the Star Wars saga.  Now I will say that A New Hope and Return of the Jedi are right up there.  But The Empire Strikes Back has a special place in my heart.  As a kid there was three reasons why I loved Empire:  AT-ATs, Boba Fett & Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber duel with Vader.

AT-AT

The All Terrain Armored Transport (or AT-AT) was the coolest vehicle the Imperials had.  They were massive and they were awesome.  The Battle of Hoth was the only one the Imperials won in the trilogy (though one could say the Rebels won because their main objective was getting off the planet) and it was due in large part to the AT-ATs.  If there was any Imperial vehicle I wanted, it was the AT-AT.

Boba Fett

Boba Fett.  As a kid, he was simply one of the coolest guys ever saw in a movie.  I guess you could still say I still think he’s one of the coolest.  He wasn’t necessarily a bad guy.  He just wasn’t a good guy.  He was simply doing a job and getting paid.  But he was bad because he wanted Han Solo to take back to Jabba the Hutt.  Even Vader respected Fett.  One thing about Boba Fett, he was a bounty hunter you did not want to mess with.

Luke vs Vader

Luke vs. Vader.  Growing up, this was the lightsaber fight.  It’s hard to compare this one to the one in Return of the Jedi.  But this one had the raw emotion.  Luke was still trying to find himself as a Jedi.  And he had to learn from this experience.  But it was a really cool fight with some really cool fight scenes.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve found other things I appreciate.  I love the interaction and banter between Han and Leia.  I became a huge fan of Wedge and loved when he took down the AT-AT with his snowspeeder.  I appreciated that it wasn’t a “happy” ending but a “hopeful” ending.

The Empire Strikes Back is my go-to film.  It is a great way to start off this “Friday Favorite” series.