Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Silly Nate Film Club - Life With Father

     My favorite Harry Potter character: Mad-Eye Moody. My favorite super hero: Batman. Favorite... duck? Uncle Scrooge! Pretty much across the entire board, my favorite character is always the grouchy yet lovable individual. I didn’t used to have an explanation for why this was always the case. But then it occurred to me… They all remind me of my father! A slightly intimidating guy with a sometimes surly disposition, but at his core... a lovable heart of gold.

     Besides strong values, integrity, and an understanding of the Grouchy Smurfs of the world, one of the things my old man instilled in me is an admiration for “old” movies. You know, the classics! Therefore, this edition of the Silly Nate Film Club is dedicated to you, Dad! From 1947, it’s director Michael Curtiz’s comedy, Life With Father


     This film’s main character falls right in there with that group of beloved protagonists that remind me of my own father. Set in the 1890’s, William Powell plays Clarence Day, a headstrong banker, husband, and father of four boys, who insists on having a certain order in every aspect of his life, especially in his own household. Unfortunately for Mr. Day, his sense of order at home seldom exists the way he’d prefer and thus, hilarity ensues! It’s a device that’s proven funny time and time again: an individual clinging to the belief that they are in control of the situation when, in fact, the opposite is the case.


     And then there’s Mrs. Day, played brilliantly by Irene Dunn. If anyone were in control of the Day household, I’d say it was she. Not that control is something her character really desires. I think what helps Life With Father stand the test of time is the stark contrast between these two characters. It’s never NOT enjoyable! Mrs. Day’s submissive gentility yet firm sensibility is constantly up against Mr. Day’s hardheaded stubbornness. Their different ways of achieving the same goals is a subtle power struggle, of sorts, that makes for some good comedy! Underneath it all, however, the two share a strong love and admiration for one another that Powell and Dunn play quite convincingly on screen. It’s not as catchy of a title, but I almost feel the film should be called Life With Mother and Father as it’s the stunning balance of the two characters that make this film the masterpiece that it is. 


     Life With Father is based on the autobiography of Clarence Day, Jr., the eldest of the four boys. I, myself, am the eldest of four boys so maybe that’s one of the reasons this film hits so close to home. My own father definitely expresses a lot more humility than Mr. Day, but the resemblances are still there. I always did, and still do to an extent, look up to my dad as an unshakable giant not unlike William Powell in Life With Father and have always strived to do right by him the way the Day boys do with their dad. One scene I enjoy is just a small moment towards the end of the film, when Mr. Day is sitting down with all four of his sons… just joking around. By this time, we’ve seen Mr. Day blow his top several times, yet his sons are never too intimidated to sit with their old man and enjoy his company. Like their mother, they understand their father and the love he has for them, and they don’t hesitate to return the affection. I think that’s what it is that I find so lovable about this type of character: the way the scales tip from hardheaded to softhearted. 


     Not long ago, I ran across a little quote from writer Thomas Merton. It might be kind of deep for a blog filled with cartoon penguins, but here it is:
"The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them"  
                                                                                    - Thomas Merton
     Too often we write people off for their so-called faults rather than focus on the good in them. We all have our imperfections and the sooner we try to relate to the Clarence Days that are out there rather than shun them for being different, then the sooner the world will be a better place. I don’t know if that’s the message Life With Father is trying to convey, but it’s what I get out of it, nevertheless. 


     Oh! And on a side note: the world would also be a better place if we had more movie posters like the one above! 

You gotta love the classics!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Holy Animated Gif, Batman!!


     I have absolutely no executive power whatsoever at Warner Bros. Studio... or anywhere else for that matter. Although a hobo did once refer to me as 'chief' ...but that's as close as I've come. If I did have any clout at the WB, my first order of business would be to get the company back into the Theatrical Shorts business. This would mean brand new Looney Tunes shorts, obviously, but I also think that DC's catalog of super heroes would make for some good 7-minute fun on the big screen. The folks at the WB could easily tack these shorts on each of the many DC Universe films that are about to hit the big screen, ensuring the perfect audience for such a venture! Alas, nothing of the sort exists. But I did slap together this cool and very unofficial animation of the Batman logo. It might not be theatrical... but it is short.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

"He's Gone Already, Chief."

     Last night marked the final episode of the great David Letterman's 33-year run on late-night television! I still remember watching The Late Show with David Letterman for the first time as a kid. My brothers and I were spending the week at our grandparents' house, which meant we got to stay up late! For whatever reason, we started watching The Late Show one night and couldn't stop laughing! Looking back, I think my grandparents were mainly laughing at how cracked up my brothers and I were getting, but regardless... we were all having fun!

     Paul Shaffer, Biff Henderson, Alan Kalter, Rupert Jee: These were the names of celebrities to me as a kid... and I guess still are. Mr. Letterman and his staff with their corny Worldwide Pants style of humor never has lost its appeal with me. Whether good or bad, it's helped shape my entire sense of humor! Rather than focus on how sad I am that the show is ending, I'm choosing to just be glad that it happened. Hey! How's that for corny?

     Feel free to join me on a walk down memory lane with a few of my favorite moments from the show.

Dave and Steve's Gay Vacation

Moe: The Bad-Ass Meat Slicing Man

Dave Works at Taco Bell


Dave and Hello Deli owner Rupert Jee...annoying people.

Alan Kalter's Celebrity Interviews

The CBS Mailbag.
 

Pat and Kenny read Opera transcripts 

     I AM looking forward to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, but I definitely do not envy Mr. Colbert! Anyone who has to fill Mr. Letterman's shoes... well... Let's just say I wouldn't give his troubles to a MONKEY ON A ROCK!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Order 66 Toys - These ARE the Toys You're Looking For!

     It’s May the 4th, aka Star Wars Day! I’m sure most posts out there will center on the newest installment in the saga, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Since all I really have to say on that subject is that I’M SUPER PUMPED, I’ll instead share my account of a Star Wars related experience I had recently.

     First of all, it’s a little known fact about me: I love toys! Actually, it’s probably a well-known fact! It'd probably even be safe to say that it’s the third thing people learn about me after we meet. I’m white. My name is Nathan. I love toys, and I’m a dude. Yep! It’s so well known that most people realize it before even learning what sex I am. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m getting off topic. By far, my favorite kind of toys are Star Wars action figures!

     The other day we were having lunch with my family in McKinney, Texas. We had already said our goodbyes and were driving away from the restaurant when my wife spotted the Imperial logo on a small shop around the corner.

HEY! Like in that movie! ...only with LASERS!!

     Order 66 Toys was the name on the door. We decided to check it out. I was hot, tired, and overall a little grumpy, and for those bull crap reasons alone, I didn’t have the highest of hopes for this place. My wife said to just run in to check it out real quick and text her if it was worth anything. Approximately three seconds after I walked through the door, I sent her a text - “Holy crap! This place is awesome!"

My expression in this photo does not accurately display the proper
amount of enthusiasm.
That's more like it!

     My grumpiness wore off instantly as I beheld the wall-to-wall stock of Star Wars action figures. I was suddenly a kid again… along with more than half of the adults in that store! To the best of my knowledge, they had at least one of every action figure that was ever made! It was pretty overwhelming. In the back of the store were glass cases holding some of the original action figures! I darn near ‘squeeee-ed’ with delight as I pushed an original Landspeeder back and forth!

This photo is blurry from excitement tremors.

     My wife came in to approve the financial transaction that was inevitably going to take place, and I have to say, I was proud of myself. I ended up spending around $15 for a couple of action figures, which is only a fraction of what the fanboy monster inside of me was capable of spending.

Three geeky words: Porkins! And! Tarkin!!!

     BUT… this was only my first visit! And as certain as the twin suns setting behind the western horizon of Tatooine, so shall I return. If there are any Star Wars fans in the McKinney area reading this, check Order 66 Toys out!

     If you’re not in the McKinney area, then hop in the nearest mode of transportation and GET THERE! You’ll be glad you did!
   
Oh yeah! And to quote the nice girl that helped me check out... May the Force be with you!

Monday, April 27, 2015

"Oop Doodly Doo!"

That was the catchphrase of this next original character of mine. Yeah...

Meet Ricky Sheldon.

     Growing up, I used to love busting out the markers and drawing all kinds of 1990's-tastic scenarios for this wannabe counterpart of mine to get into. Ricky was cool, had a hilariously snappy comeback for any situation, and would occasionally go to outer space or travel back in time.

     He was everything I wanted to be... with a strange nonsensical catchphrase. Seriously, I don't know where that noise came from.


Monday, April 20, 2015

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

    Some people dream about going back to high school, or walking around in public without pants. Me? I dream about the guy below: a blue wolf in a suit carrying a golf club.

     I don't know what it means, if anything, but this guy has reoccured several times in my dreams, so I decided to finally sketch him out and give him a name. Say hello to Mr. Snoot!


     I've always thought that Nate and George needed an adversary of sorts. Not a villain, per se, just someone that they don't get along with too well, and Mr. Snoot fits that bill. While Nate and his friends like to keep things pretty silly, Mr. Snoot is the opposite, having absolutely no tolerance for anything remotely ridiculous. The irony, of course, here being that he himself is the epitome of ridiculous.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy Birthday, Kurt!

     Some good friends of mine have a son who's turning five and requested that I draw the Paw Patrol as the Avengers to have printed on his birthday cake. Unfortunately, I can't say I've ever seen Paw Patrol, (we're more of a Peppa Pig household) but, hey! I love a good mashup!




Sunday, April 12, 2015

...and Friends!

     When I was in the third grade, I came up with the idea for Nate and George. When I was in the fifth or sixth grade, I decided to give the two some more friends.

     First up is Timothy Rabbit. Like George, Timothy here was also based on a stuff animal from my childhood. At the same time I got George, my brother got a stuffed rabbit from the same product line. He named the rabbit, Thumper... but for obvious reasons, I've decided to change the name here. Oh, and yes. My brother and I played with dolls. Wanna fight about it?


     Gusto Squirrel has shown up here before. Gusto gets his name because of his overwhelming enthusiasm for most things... you know? His gusto!


     Arby the Dinosaur has also been on the blog before. I liked dinosaurs a lot as a kid (who didn't?) and thought Nate needed one to hang out with. The joke with Arby is that he's a guy with a very complex personality who also turns out to be a talking dinosaur. Hilarious right? Hmm.
   
     After seeing a few pieces of concept art for Pixar's upcoming The Good Dinosaur, I realize that Arby bares a really close resemblance to the film's main character, Arlo... so this is probably the last we'll be seeing of this guy.