Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Animated Series

As a Star Wars guy I'm ashamed it took me this long to watch and finish Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series.  I was hesitant at first maybe due to it being animated but once I started watching I was hooked.  The creators and writers did a great job fleshing out much of the Star Wars universe.  In doing so they gave us a glimpse behind some of the characters we know and love while also expanding the universe with new characters we can also enjoy. While primarily centered around Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi it also brought us the great character of Ahsoka Tano, Anakin's padawan.  There are way too many new characters to list but Asajj Ventress was the other new character who really stood out to me.  The pirates, Nightsisters, Death Watch (Mandalorian) and other Jedi Knights and Masters were great as well.  It really showed how deep the Star Wars universe is and how many stories are out there.  
    But maybe the stars of the show are really the Clone Troopers themselves.  As in some of the Legends books, these guys were each given personalities and are really humanized.  They really bring the show to life and are no longer faceless troopers.  Some will even make appearances in the Star Wars Rebels animated series. 
  There are always things about any show that may make you take pause.  The crazy action, powers, how things always work out in the end (well most times),  and how the Jedi couldn't seem to see their hand in front of their own face could be a bit frustrating at times.  Near the end of the series you also see where the Jedi began to see things that may lead to larger issues in the Republic.  These could never be resolved of course since Revenge of the Sith would no longer make since. 
While animated this is not a kid centric show.  They will enjoy it but adults may want to be there with the youngest crowd.  There are many on screen deaths here as well as all the "normal" violence that wars have.  There are also emotional parts as well and I think they did a great job balancing this for kids as well as adult fans.
The different story lines are all over the place in a good way.  While the war itself is always center stage you could be in any corner of the galaxy at any given point and time dealing with any number of different events or circumstances.  Stories included singular missions by the Jedi, diplomatic missions, large wars, those centering on politics (Padme played a big part in many of these), the Jedi themselves to include Padawans, the Clones, different planets, and even the droids got an arc.

     I can't do this series justice.  It is was great fun to watch and I really enjoyed the characters and story arcs.  It also showed how there are so many great stories within the Star Wars universe to be told.  I personally would love to see more on the many great Jedi Knights and Masters though there are plenty more from the other side of the good and evil spectrum who also deserve their stories be told.  And what about the clones?  I think they could also star on their own.  I'd also love to see another animated series that is set within the universe proper.  They did a great job here and it let's us enjoy characters we already like while giving us much more insight and depth into them.  Bottom line is I was late coming to this party but I really enjoyed it.  


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Incredibles 2 Review (No Spoilers)

After a long wait Incredibles 2 is out in theaters.  I thought they did a great job with the story.  From the trailers this movie looked like a Mr. Mom type film but it is much more well rounded than that.  All of the Incredibles family play big roles here and help make the film enjoyable to watch.  This film is good for the kids as well as adults and though it clocks in at almost two hours I never even noticed.  I'd even say this is better than the first one.  Bottom line is this is a great flick for anyone who enjoys animated movies or who has kiddos. 
  

Saturday, July 14, 2018

2018 Football Classics

Been looking forward to the 2018 Football Classics cards and this blaster box was everything I could ask for.  True to it's name 29 of the 64 cards featured retired greats.  They spanned all eras to those who recently retired to those who starred in the 50's.  The design has a great throwback look perfect for what they are going for here.
  This box delivered with a Saturday Swatches Mike Evans and a Roquan Smith Blue Black parallel #/175.  These are fairly standard for the blasters and both are nice cards.
I love the L.T. card as the photo really pops.  Excellent picture of Moon in the Vikings' purple as well and you can't go wrong with Bills' legend Jim Kelly.
A trio of all-time great pass catchers this Lance Alworth card is one of favorites pulled.  That action photo and classic uni just scream all-time great.
How can you not enjoy Doug Flutie cards?
I like both of these inserts and it doesn't hurt that they'll both be PC additions.
I like the Instant Classics inserts with it's photo copy/newspaper clipping vibe.
Oh and there were current players as well - of course.  I'm not an Eli guy but I really like that photo of him in the all white uni.  
The backs are a simple three color design that I'm fine with.  Overall I really like these cards and the volume of retired legends really is great to see.  I'll definitely pick up more of these cards given the opportunity.

BREAKDOWN:
64 - Cards
29 - Retired Legends
3 - RC
1 - Saturday Swatches
1 - Blue/Black #/175
1 - Instant Classics
1 - Full Throttle
1 - Eras

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Random Wax: 2016 Score Football

This pack of 2016 Score football was really fun.  Though there were only a few inserts the base cards delivered with tons of stars including a trio of the Falcon's best.  A bargain bin find I couldn't be happier.  When many times we get less than 30 cards per pack these are great to bust.  Prospectors will stay away but for guys just looking for cards this 440 card set can be pretty fun. 
  Scored a nice Tom Brady Franchise red parallel for the PC. 
  
BREAKDOWN:
52 - Total Cards
6 - RC
1 - Reflections
1 - Franchise
1 - Signal Callers
1 - Chain Reaction

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Random Wax: 2018 Topps Opening Day Baseball

I'm a big fan of Opening Day so a 2018 Topps Opening Day Baseball pack was a no-brainer.  Not the sexiest pack of cards but still plenty of fun and a solid pull.  I do think this is the 3rd time I've gotten that Dodger's Opening Day card.  Wouldn't mind seeing a few different teams in that set.  





BREAKDOWN:  
24 – Total Cards
2 – Topps All-Rookie
2 – RC
1 – Team Opening Day
1 – Mascot
1 – Team Traditions & Celebrations

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Random Wax: 2016 Donruss Football

I've always liked the 2016 Donruss Football cards so a discounted pack was an easy decision.  The highlight was this Hall of Fame Inducted Class of 2016 card. I had not pulled one in the blaster or retail box I'd opened.  I like the design quite a bit and I couldn't go wrong with Bret Favre.   
 Some decent stars made this a OK pull while Fran Tarkenton was the only retired legend I pulled.  
The design, colors and photos will probably keep me coming back to this set.  The Farve insert was a great card and came as a nice surprise.  

BREAKDOWN:
16 – Total Cards
2 – Rated Rookie (1 – Press Proof)
2 – RC (1 – Press Proof)
1 – Hall of Fame Inducted Class of 2016
1 – Base Press Proof
1 – Retired Legend

Saturday, July 7, 2018

2018 Topps Baseball Series 2 Blaster Box

Been seeing quite a few breaks of the 2018 Topps Series 2 Baseball and dove in with a blaster box.  There were ten packs of ten cards each with a blaster exclusive MLB Independence Day US Flag Patch.  I'm not a big relic guy but I really do like this card.  
  Series 2 isn't as packed full of stars as much as it is showcasing younger players and those in new uniforms.  This box had a few stars but not many.
There were the RC, All-Star Rookie and Future Stars cards we've grown used to.  The above are a rainbow parallel on the left and a shiny one I can't figure out.  
The Instant Impact cards are new to me and may take a bit of getting used to.
I really like these 1983 Topps Baseball All-Star cards.  Especially love grabbing Rickey Henderson.  Not near enough retired/legends in the Topps offerings.  
The Aaron Judge Highlight cards are OK but the Homerun Derby card really stood out to me.  The Throwback Jersey cards are great and it doesn't get much better than the Astros rainbow unis.  Legends in the Making are a favorite of mine this year and I pulled three more in this box.

While not a bad box I'm a bigger fan of the Series 1 cards due to finding more established stars.  Could be just this box but Series 2 is normally for players not found in Topps' initial offering.  I'm still a fan of this set and glad I grabbed this box.  

BREAKDOWN:
101 – Total Cards
7 – RC (Shiny)
6 – Future Stars Set
4 – 1983 Topps Baseball All-Stars (1 – Blue Parallel/1 – Retired Great)
4 – Aaron Judge Highlights
3 – Throwback Jerseys
3 – Legends in the Making
3 – Team Cards
2 – Future Stars (1 – Topps All-Rookie)
1 – Longball Legends
1 – Instant Impact
1 - MLB Independence Day US Flag Patch


Friday, July 6, 2018

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Another movie I needed to catch up on was Spider-Man Homecoming.  I wasn't impressed with the second iteration of this franchise so I didn't rush out to see this reboot (3rd iteration).  It was a very good movie which was helped by not retelling Spider-Man's origin.  They did really well taking it back to it's roots as a teen taking on the mantle of a superhero.  You also get a nice dose of Tony Stark/Ironman and Michael Keaton is excellent as The Vulture.  The Vulture was a character that could really be corny if you aren't careful but I thought he was done really well.  All the characters hit the mark for me and I enjoyed the humor and story.  The movie is set in the marvel universe as it rightly should be and ties in nicely.  Tom Holland really does a good job.  He sells the exuberance you'd expect from the character.  I am really glad I finally watched this one.   

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Night Out at the Ballpark: Braves @ Cards in St. Louis (29 Jun 18)

Was able to get out to my first baseball game of the year and see my Braves beat the Cardinals 5-1 Friday night.  The game was at Busch Stadium. It was a thousand degrees but I made sure I hydrated and survived.  Busch Stadium is a great place to see a game.  Our seats were in right field and other than staring into the sun for the first 2 1/2 innings I was really pleased.  As is normally the case with my buddy whom I attended he wanted to head over to Ballpark Village in the fifth inning.  I did not complain.  Ballpark Village is a great venue with plenty of restaurants and bars, not to mention a hundred giant screen TVs.  It makes for a relaxing way to enjoy the game amongst a sea of baseball fans either doing the same as us or who bypassed the stadium altogether.  It really is a wonderful compliment to an already nice stadium.    
  The game saw Atlanta win 5-1 with rookie Johan Camargo hitting a key two-run double in the 8th inning.  The Braves also got six shutout innings from inconsistent Julio Teheran which nice to see.  This was a great game to watch as St. Louis was held in check and it just seemed like Atlanta's offense would break through against the Cardinals who are struggling somewhat this year.  I really enjoyed being at the ballpark.  From watching the game, to the stadium and friends I couldn't ask for much more.  Truly a good time.  It's exciting to see Atlanta be relevant in July and who woulda thunk they'd have the best record in the National League?  They have such great young talent and I'm really hoping they can strike while the iron is hot.  They need bullpen help and I'd love to see them pick up a quality starter but I'm not sure what the front office is ready to do.  Can't wait to see how this plays out.  

Monday, July 2, 2018

Deadpool The Movie

Wow June was busy.  Here's hoping to getting more posts out in July.   I'm two years behind but I finally saw Deadpool.  I was never a big fan of the character but Ryan Reynolds' great pub for this film and what he has done since has won me over.  This really was a fun movie.  The language is a bit overdone but it didn't affect my enjoyment.  Ryan Reynolds does an awesome job with this character.  While the movie obviously makes fun of itself it really has plenty of laugh out loud moments.  This is definitely a different take on the super hero genre and I think it does really well and what they set out to do.  I'm looking forward to Deadpool 2 which I've heard from friends is better than this one.