Tag Archives: villains

The Land of Picture Books

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Animals talk,
Toys come to life,
Anything is possible
In the Land of Picture Books.

Fairies fly,
Mermaids swim,
Princesses dance
In their castles.
Magic happens
In the Land of Picture Books.

Witches cast spells!
Giants crunch bones!
Trolls hide under bridges!
Even fairy tale villains are real
In the Land of Picture Books.

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Thoughts On “Minions” Movie

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Two weeks ago, I saw Illumination Entertainment’s “Minions.” While I didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed “Inside Out,” I liked just about everything about the movie. For this post, I will focus on an integral aspect of the movie: villains. I love villains, and they’re a big part of the reason why I enjoyed the movie.
With that said, you’ve probably guessed by now that I loved the movie’s awesome villainess! The vast majority of my favorite villains are female, and I like them best when they’re as outrageous, hammy, and ferocious as Scarlet Overkill! Besides Scarlet’s overall character, what I liked the most about her was her relationship with her husband, Herb. Herb wasn’t as outrageous as Scarlet, but he clearly loved her. I’m a big fan of evil married couples, and I like them best when they genuinely love each other. I also like how while Herb wasn’t as outrageous as Scarlet, he was definitely believable in his own right as a villain. In terms of evil married couples, I like it when both are equally evil. Alternately, I like it when the man redeems himself but the woman doesn’t, but that doesn’t happen in this movie, and so it is another post for another day.
I like villainesses so much, that at the supervillain convention, I was wondering why Scarlet was the only one. Why couldn’t there have been more female supervillains? Why was Scarlet Overkill the first? Couldn’t she have instead been the baddest villain there, who just happened to be female? Also, there were the mom and the little girl in the evil family, the one the Minions rode to Orlando with. Why couldn’t their villainy have been emphasized more? Along with Scarlet, the evil family was another one of my favorite aspects of the movie, and I wish I had seen more of them. In fact, while I won’t give the ending away to people who haven’t seen “Minions,” I will say I expected the baby, the youngest member of the evil family, to play a bigger part in it. Another detail I would have liked to have seen more of were evil bedtime stories. Scarlet told one to the minions right after they started working for her. Couldn’t there have been more stories, maybe told by members of the evil family?
I also liked how, near the beginning of time, the first “villain” the minions served was a t-rex. I put villain in quotation marks here because I normally don’t like it when carnivorous animals of any sort are villains. All animals need to eat, and so carnivorous animals are just trying to survive. They’re not being evil, hateful, or malicious in any sense. Even so, I would argue that humans (and maybe animals who come close to us in terms of their complexity and intelligence, like apes and dolphins) are the only creatures capable of true evil. For that reason, if the Minions needed to serve villains, a t-rex seems like the closest they could find before there were humans.
That brings me to what I wish the movie had gone into more detail on. Why did the Minions need a master, and why did they specifically need/want to work for villains? As much as I love villains, I wish this had been explained. Both aspects were made clear in the movie, and I’m not necessarily saying either was a bad choice, but if I had helped make this movie, I would have brainstormed the reasons behind these details. These details, I think, were among the many details in stories all around us that are left unexplained.

Thoughts On Pixar’s “Inside Out”

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A few weeks ago, I saw Pixar’s latest movie, “Inside Out.” One of the first things I noticed this movie was that Joy, the main character, an emotion inside 11-year-old Riley’s brain, is fashioned after Disney’s depiction of Tinkerbelle. Happiness means fairies! For this very special reason, Joy is my favorite character, in this movie which is rare for me. In most movies, the main character is not my favorite. I usually like villains and other side characters best. After Joy, though, my second favorite is Disgust. I love how she talks like a Valley Girl!
The beginning was nice, and I liked most of the middle, too. I loved how dreams are depicted like movies in Riley’s brain, Goofball Island and all the silly things it’s had Riley do throughout her life, and the different kinds of memories that are stored in Riley’s mind. I really liked how there’s both a Memory Dump and a storage place for Longterm Memories. Memories come and memories go, but some of them last forever.
My absolute favorite part of the movie, though, was the end. I won’t give away the end to people who haven’t seen it, but let’s just say I feel that it proves several of my most important beliefs to be true: Sometimes happiness is lost, but it can always be found again, sadness is just as important as joy, and, best of all: Childhood fantasies come and go, but joy lives on. “Inside Out” is a wonderful, creative, original movie, that proves many timeless truths in brand new ways. I think all stories should strive to combine originality with timelessness with methods such as “Inside Out’s.”

Raccoons, Leaves, and Cacao Beans

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While we raked leaves, we pretended the big oaken tree in our yard shedding them was a cacao tree. The acorns it was also shedding? Well, those were cacao beans. The leaves being gathered up by our thin little rakes were magic leaves. When you wrapped the cacao beans in them, it filled the beans with magical powers, that would be given to anyone who ate them. We had to hurry and eat the cacao beans before a raccoon ate them.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Yeah, I’m getting a little old for these games. These were all Jenny’s idea. Especially the part about the raccoon. I love raccoons. I love all animals. But ever since Jenny got bitten by a rabid raccoon and had to go to the hospital, raccoons have had to be the villains in her games. Sometimes I’ve reminded her that raccoons can be nice, but Mom and Dad always tell me to let my sister use her imagination to get over her trauma. They say they let me do the same thing I was her age, but I don’t remember any trauma, nor do I remember having fantasies as elaborate or nonsensical as hers. If I did, I’m sure they were at least more coherent than hers often are.
I must say, though, the things she’s coming up right now are pretty cool. I wonder what kinds of magical powers these cacao beans will give us when we eat them? What kinds of powers would they give a raccoon? Would a raccoon be able to transform himself into a human if he ate these magic cacao beans? What would he do then? Would he still bite people if he had rabies? Maybe not. Maybe if the raccoon who bit Jenny turned into a human, she could talk to him and ask him not to bite her again. Maybe she could even take him to the hospital to get rabies shots, just like she got when she was there.
“Hey, Jenny,” I said. “We should find the raccoon that bit you.”
“Why?” asked Jenny, her eyes shining with fear.
“Don’t worry, he won’t bite you again,” I continued. “I won’t let him.”
“Then why?” Jenny asked again.
“So we can give him some of these magic cacao beans,” I answered, picking up a handful of acorns. Jenny looked at me again, even more fearfully this time.
“There will be plenty left for us,” I added. “And by giving the cacao beans to the raccoon, we can make sure he won’t bite you again. Jenny shook her head.
“No!” she whined. “A raccoon with magical powers could hurt me even more badly!”
“Maybe,” I said. “Or maybe, a raccoon with magical powers could turn himself into a human.” I went on to tell her my idea of taking him to the hospital to get rabies shots and then having him promise not to bite her again. Jenny’s eyes brightened, but then she looked worried again.
“Come on,” I said. “What are you afraid will happen if we gave him magic cacao beans?” Jenny thought for a minute.
“He might cast a horrible spell to give more people rabies,” she said. “Then we’d all start biting each other and getting sick!”
“Why would he do that?” I asked.
“Don’t raccoons want the people they bite to get sick?”
“No,” I said. “That raccoon was just scared. He didn’t know he had rabies, and he didn’t mean to give it to you.”
“Promise?” asked Jenny.
“Promise,” I said.
“Okay!” said Jenny. “Let’s save some of these magical chocolate beans for the raccoon. But we have to wrap them in leaves first!”
“Okay,” I said. “But they’re called cacao beans,” I reminded her for what seemed like the twentieth time.
“Right,” said Jenny. We wrapped each acorn we had collected in a magical leaf before putting all the raked leaves in the compost. Then we pretended to eat our magical cacao beans. It gave Jenny the power to fly, but I wasn’t sure what magical power it would give me. I had to think about that.
“Stay open-minded,” said our mother. “That’s one of the things imagination is best for. Maybe something will come to you.”
“Yes,” said our father. “Maybe even in a dream.”
I didn’t have any dreams that night, but the next morning, Jenny came down in her pajamas full of smiles.
“Guess what?” she asked, grinning from ear to ear. “Last night, I told the raccoon not to bite me again. Then I took him to the hospital to get rabies shots, so he would never make anyone else sick!”
“That’s wonderful, Jenny!” said Mom. “Did you have any dreams last night, Jeffrey?” I shook my head, feeling too grown up to get into this. Mom and dad looked at each other.
“Just remember, Jeff, you’re never to old to be creative,” said Dad.
“That’s right,” said Mom. “Open-mindedness comes from imagination, and so does creativity. Both are good for grown-ups as well as children.”
I thought about what my parents and little sister had said. Then I remembered how much fun Jenny and I had with the cacao beans and magical leaves. I’m old enough to know it was just a game. But I still keep waiting to dream about the magical power I get from those cacao beans.

Gross Villain Poem #1

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She makes me say yuck,

He makes me quake.

And oh, what trouble

Those two make!

 

They’re so nasty,

Each one’s a leech!

Keep all your treasures

Out of their reach!

 

Get close to them?

I’ll just say, “Nope!”

I’m sure they never

Go near soap.

 

If they don’t rob you,

Your cat they’ll trap!

They’d like to have her

For a snack!

 

Go inside their lair,

If you dare.

They never wash

Their underwear.

 

If they touched you,

Out their foulness would seep.

I’m sure you would reek

For a week!

 

You’ll stand there quietly

On the rug,

From under you,

That rug they’ll tug!

 

You might think this

Is just a joke,

You won’t find out the truth,

I hope!

Ayah, Amy, and Ms. Harquin

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“Please don’t hurt me!” Ayah whimpered.  “I’m the littlest orphan!”  Ms. Harquin smiled wickedly.

“Are you saying an older orphan would be better suited to this punishment?” she asked with a simpery smile.  Ayah had learned not to disagree with her orphanage matron, but she nervously nodded her head.

“Oh?” Ms. Harquin replied, dangerously calm.  “But you’re the one who earned it, sweetheart!”

“I’m too little to do that kind of work!” protested Ayah.

“Not anymore!” said Ms. Harquin, cheerfully.  “Those candies you stole from me have made you big and strong!” Ayah looked at Ms. Harquin blankly.

“I eat them all the time,” Ms. Harquin continued, chuckling.  “Why do you think I’m much bigger and stronger than all of you?”

“Because you’re older than us!” shouted Amy, coming in from doing her chores.

“Don’t listen to anything she says, Ayah!” Amy continued.   “Those candies didn’t make you big and strong!”  Ayah looked at her friend and pouted disappointedly.  “At least not big and strong enough to do this chore,” Amy quickly added.

“That’s the hardest, scariest chore in the orphanage, Ayah!” she protested when the disappointment didn’t go away.

“Alright, Amy, enough!” shouted Ms. Harquin.  “This is between me and Ayah!  It is none of your business!”

“Yes it is!” insisted Amy.  “Ayah’s too young for that kind of work, and I won’t let her do it!”

“Too young?!  Too young?!  Of course she’s too young!” stormed Ms. Harquin.  “There’s no way she’ll succeed!”

“I know!” cried Amy.  “But she might get hurt!”

“Trust me,” said Ms. Harquin.  “I’ll get her out of there before her life is in danger.  I’m not about to get in trouble for killing one of you orphans!”  Amy was about to cry.

“Don’t give me that!” sneered Ms. Harquin.  “I am teaching the child a lesson!  She’s going to try this task, and believe me, she’ll know not to steal candy from me when she’s failed enough times!”  Amy tried to run away, but Ms. Harquin called after her.

“Don’t even think of trying to help her!” she shouted.  “You’ll suffer a much worse punishment if you do!”  With that, she slammed the door as soon as Amy was out of the room.