Branson, Part I

We’re not in Branson yet. We’re on the way to America’s Greatest City™, but it’s still just a dream on the horizon. Currently, we’re driving through Iowa. Like Vermont, Iowa is an entirely homogenous state. Unlike Vermont, though, Iowa is the most boring state in the Union, not including the loser states (i.e. Oklahoma, Nebraska, etc.). Seriously, though. It’s trees and corn and old people with inexplicable Confederate flag bumper stickers on their old pickup trucks, right next to the beat-up expired license plate and effigy of President Obama made out of corn.

Iowa is beautiful sometimes – like when there are valleys filled with trees. But it’s mostly just corn, so I’ve been watching the in-transit movies. So far, we’ve seen “How to Train Your Dragon,” “Lilo and Stitch,” and “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

Observations thus far:

  • “How to Train Your Dragon” seems to have everything going for it – dragons, training, the second-person possessive pronoun “your” – until you hear Jay Baruchel’s voice. My, it’s unfortunate. It sounds like a fourteen-year-old simultaneously suffering a terrible cold and puberty. It’s a voice that I can’t imagine either the twelve-year-old hero or Jay the adult guy/peripheral Seth Rogen accomplice actually having to live with, which isn’t good.
  • I know that all anyone ever mentions about JJ Abrams is his lens flare. I’ll admit, I’ve been part of that group, saying “Ha ha ha! Lens flare!” like any other sheeperson. But until today, I’ve never actually bothered to count the lens flares. It’s astounding – beautiful, almost. There should never be a drinking game based around those things, because most of its participants would be dead from alcohol poisoning before the opening credit roll.
  • Man, the aliens in “Lilo and Stitch” really don’t care about the Prime Directive, do they? To be fair, though, the humans are pretty cool with it.
  • Meanwhile in the magical land o’ “Star Trek”, aliens see one spaceship and immediately start worshipping it. Ha! Stupid aliens.
  • I know Khan gets a lot of bad press, but when you come down to it, he’s just trying to help his family out. Sure, he’s doing it by killing everyone in his path and psychologically manipulating the crew of the Enterprise and pretty much everybody else in Starfleet, but c’mon, guys! Can’t you feel the love?
  • In the future, I think I’ll just yell “KHAAAAAAAAAN!!” when something surprising or unfortunate happens. It just has a nice ring to it.
  • Words of wisdom from Ben Kilberg: “Space is, like, scary!”
  • That one-eyed thing from “Lilo and Stitch” is really just a Nebulon from “Calvin and Hobbes.” Just putting it out there.
  • I still don’t understand why Vikings apparently talk with a Scottish accent.
  • I’m proud to know that my method for getting a stick out of the lawnmower is the same method Captain James T. Kirk uses for fixing a nuclear reactor: just kick it a lot until it starts making noise again.
  • My, a lot of people die in “How to Train Your Dragon” for a kid’s movie.
  • I know that having aliens inexplicably talk in English is common in movies, but in “Lilo and Stitch.” there’s another confusing layer: the aliens also have another, secret language that they only speak with Stitch, as if they’re involved in a… conspiracy of some sort with him. My theory: Stitch killed JFK.
  • Also, are there only five people in the whole alien bureaucracy? I know it’s a kid’s movie, but at least they should be giving kids relative expectations about government. Probably, the order from the highest official in the galaxy to catch Stitch should have gone through eight or nine levels of incompetent officers until coming out the other side as a municipal court order for the Drug Enforcement Agency to seize Rob Schneider’s assets.