“Modern Family” is one of my favorite sitcoms on television, it’s a hilarious, often heart felt look at the idea of modern families that break the conventional mold of the nuclear family. The cast is brilliant, the writing is great, and you can’t help but engage yourself in their mishaps and activities. While “Modern Family” doesn’t celebrate Halloween every year, every time it’s delivered a Halloween episode, it’s a cause for celebration, because they’re very good about paying tribute to the holiday while also making us laugh. These are the Halloween specials so far from Worst to Absolute Best.
In the decade that gave us “E.T.” and droids, “Short Circuit” introduces a hero that’s a little bit of both. “Short Circuit” is very much like “Chopping Mall” except when lightning strikes a military grade robot he becomes hyperactive and charming like Robin Williams. I wouldn’t call “Short Circuit” a childhood favorite but I fondly remember re-visiting the movie time and time again on network TV when I was a kid and didn’t hate it. In the spectrum of “Mac and Me,” and “E.T.,” its right there smack dab in the middle with “Batteries Not Included.”
As a Hanna Barbera geek, I have to say “Mask of the Blue Falcon” hit all the right notes. I didn’t just have a good time with the surprisingly clever vehicle for the Mystery Inc. crew, but I also had so much fun pointing out all of the Easter Eggs. And yes, every single Easter Egg within “Mask of the Blue Falcon” is a reference to a Hanna Barbera cartoon from the sixties and seventies. I’m just disappointed we didn’t see anything referencing “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids.” What? It’s an obscenely underrated Scooby Doo wannabe, darnit!
For the uninitiated when Scooby Doo was attempting a new formula, they turned “Scooby Doo” in to a series of movies where they solved crimes with big celebrities like Dick Van Dyke and Sonny and Cher. Among the most popular crossovers was Batman and Robin. For years Batman and Robin were the most consistent allies of Mystery, Inc. getting in to all kinds of scrape ups with them, and battling people like Joker and the Penguin. They just seemed to click. “The Brave and the Bold” continues the long tradition by teaming them together by pairing the modern iteration of Scooby Doo with the family friendly animated “Batman: Brave and Bold” and it works.
If anything, I’m glad Genndy Tartakovsky’s off beat humor and fun animation has been embraced by Sony, but like the previous “Hotel Transylvania’s” this threequel is a mixed bag. Some of it is genuinely funny, and other times it’s either flat or kind of dull. Tartakovsky is usually so very off beat and original, it’s sad that Sony pretty much went the formulaic route with all movie series. There’s the romance, the baby sequel, and inevitable second romance with the series’ arguably most popular character. And the movie, like the formula is pretty predictable, which is what keeps “A Monster Vacation” from really taking off.
Who else can soak in every bit of fun about Halloween than Curious George and the Man in the Yellow Hat? Branching off from the series of short films, “A Halloween Boo Fest” is a perfect celebration of Halloween and autumn that tells quite the interesting story. The Man in the Big Yellow Hat wants to show George his first ever country Halloween, but George ends up getting in to so much more along the way.
“Purple People Eater” is a movie I vividly remember watching when I was a kid. I’d seen it on a fuzzy VHS tape from a local video store, and suffice to say I hated this movie when I was five, and I kind of hate it now. “Purple People Eater” is from the decade where studios either cribbed from “Gremlins” or “ET” in order to create their own kids oriented cash cow, and “Purple People Eater” is one of the laziest of a sub-genre consisting of “Mac and Me” and “Meatballs, Part II.”
I’m not sure whose brain child Kibosh was, but I’m not so sure we needed a villain for Casper. So apparently, there are ghosts, there are friendly ghosts, and there are—uh—bad ghosts? Or super ghosts? In either case, the Casper franchise continues its downward slump in the awfully mediocre “Casper’s Scare School.” This time around Casper best friends with a lonely boy named Jimmy. Jimmy has a big soccer game and Casper is helping him become a great athlete. But after getting scared by Jimmy, Casper’s embarrassment is discovered all over the ghost realm.