Insights Into Entertainment: Episode 45 “The Faith is Strong with this One”

How do you direct a show like The Mandalorian and somehow convince your children ages 6 and 11 to keep Baby Yoda a secret? We talk about how Bryce Dallas Howard accomplished this very thing. We’ll also take a look at the issues surrounding merchandise for the show and we’ll talk about the opening of the new Rise of the Resistance ride in Walt Disney World.

In Entertainment News we’ll look at how Tiffany Haddish is embracing her Jewish identity. We will grudgingly acknowledge the honor bestowed upon “The Irishman” by the National Board of Review who apparently think there’s an overall shortage of Mafia movies and that we needed yet another Martin Scorsese Mafia movie with the same actors playing all too similar roles as so many others.

Insights into Entertainment


Speaker 1: 00:18 A podcast network

Speaker 3: 00:28 Come to insights into entertainment, a podcast series, taking a deeper look into entertainment and media. Your hosts, Joseph and Michelle, Waylon, a husband and wife, team of pop culture fanatics are exploring all things from music and movies to television and fans.

Speaker 4: 00:51 Well good. Aren’t you insights into entertainment. This is episode 45. The faith is strong in this one. I’m your host, Joe’s of Waylon and my beautiful and brilliant cohost, Michelle Waylon. Hi everyone. How are we doing today, sweetie? I’m tired. How are you? Oh yeah, I’m kind of getting there too. It’s been a very long week. Long weekend. It’s only Thursday. It is Thursday, right? All day. Yeah. so kind of a short show today, but themed I guess. Again, I seem to be getting into these quite often. Yeah. Yeah. So in our Disney detective, we have a cute little story from the Mandalorian. Then we have some additional Mandalorian information about some merchandising news coming out of the show and the exciting news of the rise of the resistance being opened up in Florida at a Galaxy’s edge. And then in our entertainment news we have Tiffany is it head dish or Haddish with some faith stories there. And then we will grudgingly talk about nourishment and then we’ll finish up with our insightful picks of the week. Ready to get started. All right, let’s get into it. Go for Disney detective.

Speaker 5: 02:37 Cute little Disney story. There were a couple of different articles that came out from with Bryce, Dallas Howard who directed the latest episode of the Mandalorian and basically how she got to keep the secret of baby Yoda with her kids because her kids had actually come to the set, had watched filming and you know, and her kids were six and 11 at the time, cause it was almost a year ago that they actually filmed, you know, that, that episode. So she said the thing that I was most nervous about was that my kids had been on the set quite a bit and they had seen baby and interacted with baby. So she told the Hollywood reporter when we were filming, my kids were six and 11. Now they’re seven and 12. And when the kids went back to school every day, I would say, so what are we not going to talk about today?

Speaker 5: 03:36 And they would say, baby. But then now it’s very confusing because she’s like, well, now you can talk about baby. And they’re like, Oh, okay. But for like a year it was, you know, everybody knows about it now. Right. You know, but for a year they had to keep their, their mouth shut. So it was, it was kinda kinda cute. You know, and of course now, you know, everybody’s like, I want, you know, the merchandise and that’s, you know, kind of leading to our next story. But, you know, she, she kinda says that, you know, yeah, everybody’s kind of pissed off that, you know, there’s no merchandise available, but, you know, she kind of tends to agree that the decision not to come out with stuff before the show even, you know, aired was kind of a good idea, you know, to keep the suspense, you know, behind it.

Speaker 5: 04:29 She also talked about, you know, some of the scenes that she shot for this episode were a little bit of an homage to, to other things. She said there was one scene that was done, which was a modge to a scene that she had done when she was an actress and acted with Joaquin Phoenix in the village. And then of course, all the ATS T scenes were like Jurassic park reference to things, you know, like that you know, and then of course, you know, the, the big talk was about, you know, baby sipping soup, right? It was, you know, here you have, you know, Gina and Mondo or you know, destroying each other and then all of a sudden, you know, you see, you know, the scene turns and it’s, you know, baby quote unquote Kevin or Yoda, you know, sitting there just, you know, sipping soup and that like totally stole the scene away, you know, from everything.

Speaker 5: 05:37 So you have this, you know, martial arts, you know, kick, kicking and dragging, you know, scene going on. And then, you know, sipping though the soup. And she said that they actually, you know, did many takes with that. It was, you know, does he do it with one hand, two hands, sip a lot, sip a little baby, sip, a Hardy sip. So they actually filmed, you know, multiple versions, you know, of it to get just that, that right one. So obviously, you know, again, baby Yoda is just, you know, taking the world by, by storm. So in our second story talking about the merchandise, you know, obviously you know, everywhere you go is baby Yoda, baby Yoda. Now you’re actually starting to see different websites where you can preorder the merchandise. Walmart was one of them. That started now Disney actually has them listed on their website.

Speaker 5: 06:41 The only thing is if you were looking at get them for Christmas, it isn’t going to happen. Some of the items have a four one ship date from Disney or is that from Walmart? Cause I know Walmart was, this was Disney dock, Disney I actually looked and there were the one bottle head was like a six 30 date. And then there was another item, I think the fun Coke pop was a four one estimated date. So that was through Disney. Now I didn’t go looking at other websites because you know, some of them have a doll, some of them have the fun go pop. So, you know, it’ll be interesting to see who gets the stuff. You know, first the other thing that, you know, Disney had on their site where they had tee shirts and those were pretty much available within a couple of weeks because they print on demand, you know, for those.

Speaker 5: 07:39 So it’s nothing that they have to, you know, really make like a, a dollar a Funko pop. So it’ll be interesting because I know a hot topic is supposed to be carrying stuff. Box lunches, supposed to be getting stuff. I think Target’s supposed to be doing, you know, basically all, all your, you know, normal retailers of pop culture stuff, you know, we’ll eventually get it. Just, you know, when you know, when it’ll actually happen. And obviously, you know, we were looking just the other day, you know, Etsy is your, your friend. You know, Etsy is all over the place. Some of this stuff looks really cool, some of it looks kind of creepy. So, you know, it all depends on, you know, how desperate you are and, and like we were even talking you know, the other day, if it’s going to be six months until you know, four to six months before something comes out, is there still going to be demand for it, you know, and you know, is it worthwhile to preorder something when you’re still waiting so many months out or is it, you know, once it comes out, is the market just going to be flooded and you know, you’ll be able to get it, you know, it

Speaker 4: 08:55 Boggles the mind that Disney kind of missed the boat on this one again, like they did with frozen when it first came out. You know, I can totally understand the, the idea of keeping the secrecy around it, but you’re, you’re, you’re missing an entire Christmas season for this. So we’ll say, I blame bylaw tiger. It’s all his fault.

Speaker 5: 09:19 It’s Bob’s fault.

Speaker 4: 09:23 Oh, so what’s are a rise of the resistance?

Speaker 5: 09:26 So rise of the resistance, the new ride in star Wars Galaxy’s edge at Hollywood studios actually opened today. What was really funny, there were a whole bunch of different means going around about people checking their, their Disney, their Disney app to see what the wait time was. And at lunchtime when I checked it wasn’t even showing up on the app. So either the wait was just so incredibly low or they just didn’t, you know, update. I dunno, maybe I needed to update the app, but Smuggler’s run actually had a 55 minute wait, which really isn’t bad at all. And slinky dog had like a 90 minute wait. So I was like, well, maybe. Yeah. So,

Speaker 4: 10:19 So we do have a clip here. Let’s let’s take a look at the clip.

Speaker 2: 10:45

Speaker 6: 10:48 We really combined all sorts of different ride elements and ride types into this one experience. So, so it’s never really been done before. We’re really breaking new ground with this combination of different attractions types to pull it to life and make sure that we’re giving guests something that they’ve never even seen before. Our officers are real cast member, we’re usually trained to be very welcoming. But as our first order cast members, we need to make sure that everyone’s staying in line. And so it’s a really fun kind of role that our cast just get to play. We have 50 storm troopers, all audio animatronic characters, no live actors in that hangar Bay scene. There is a variety, some of which are static and some of which are just slight articulations just to kind of give that idea of a full rank of actual humans in front of you.

Speaker 4: 11:57 Very cool. Very cool. So I did read an article today on this where they talked about trying to figure out how to stop this video here. Hang on.

Speaker 4: 12:14 There we go. Nope. See now let’s start off again. They don’t want to do that. Really? No. I hate when they hijack me like this. So that one goes away. And then this, then this one has to go away. There we go. All right. First day with the new computer, I knew I should have grabbed the I should’ve just grabbed that video. Anyway, you were saying you read an article, so read an article today and it was a immediate walkthrough of the site of the, of the ride. And there’s three scenes, 18 minutes long, which is astonishing, which tells me you’re going to have a ridiculous wait time for this.

Speaker 5: 13:04 Well, and I think because of it being broken up into the, the three acts, it’ll kind of help, you know, and, and probably part of it, you know, a good portion of that’s, you know, like pre-show number one pre-show, you know, so I think it, it’ll help to kind of move things along because as you’re leaving the one scene to go to the next scene, then they can load the next group of people, you know, and kind of keep it flowing almost to the, the type of, you know, like a haunted mansion ride. That’s a continuous moving thing where, you know, they, they’ve had certain rides.

Speaker 4: 13:41 The description that I saw, it was very similar to the star Trek, the experience ride that we went on when we were out in Vegas. Where it’s, it’s transitions, you’re taking groups in through transitions. And there was even one like, you know, the one thing that really still stands out to me to this day was the transporter sequence where you’re just standing in a regular room in a room, you, the lights go out, the transporter sound happens and then you’re in another room and the floor is different. Which I still don’t know how they did that. They have a similar effect with this apparently.

Speaker 5: 14:16 Yeah. I just seeing bits and pieces. You know, and then there was a video that came out cause I guess, you know, when they had the the media people there, they also had a bunch of celebrities there as well. And it was their reactions to it. And you know, all of them were saying, Oh my God, this is like nothing I’ve ever been on. Totally immersive and just totally incredible how, you know, the technology and everything else, you know, behind it. So it, it, I’m excited and again, Scott only knows what you know, cause we’re going to be there on Christmas Eve. You know, one of the busiest weeks of, of Disney, we need to show up at eight o’clock in the morning or eight o’clock and we, we need to check out of the hotel, go and, you know, just stand there and basically run to Galaxy’s edge to get online for it.

Speaker 5: 15:21 But it, you know, I haven’t heard anything bad you know about it. You know, everything. Everybody was just excited, you know, cause even with Smuggler’s run, Oh, you know, people were saying, well, unless you’re a pilot, you know, you’re just basically pushing one button. You know, you’re not really, it’s still cool, but you’re not, you know, as part of it where this just seems like, you know, everywhere you look, you know, you’re, you feel like you’re in the movie. You know, this article talked about, you’re literally part of the plot line. Yeah. So obviously, fingers crossed. We, you know, we get on it. You know, when we’re down there, you know, in a couple of weeks and we’ll definitely have a, a firsthand account, you know, review of it. But I’m excited now, so she’d be cool. Very cool. So that was all we had in our Disney detective segment. Yup. And we’ll come back with our entertainment news.

Speaker 5: 16:24 Tell us about a bat mitzvah. So this was actually kind of cool. Tiffany Haddish is a comedian. She’s been in a bunch of different movies. You know, there’s been a bunch of different TV shows that, you know, she’s been on and she’s hosted Saturday night live Saturday night live and, and whatnot. And she’s actually come out where she’s now you know, making it known that she identifies with her Jewish identity, which she didn’t actually find out about until she was about 27. And she just turned 40. So she decided to hold a black mitzvah. And she actually also has a comedy special of the same title that dropped on a Netflix, I believe it actually came out today or no, a couple of days ago. It was December 3rd which was also the day of her, her 40th party.

Speaker 5: 17:29 She said her, her father, I guess had, you know, done some research and found out, you know, that they were Jewish and she’s actually you know, started studying Torah and learning how to read Hebrew and, and really, you know, embracing it. And she said she even did, you know, a 23 in may you know, genetic testing. And sure enough it came back, you know, that she was like, all right, I guess this is, you know, really true and, and whatnot. So, you know, kinda kinda cool, you know. Did it say what prompted the, the research on the part of her father? No, it just said that you know, that she, Oh, she didn’t meet her father, I’m sorry, until she was 27 and then he told her, you know, that that he was Jewish and you know that she was, and she was for some time now, right?

Speaker 5: 18:25 Well, she, yeah, she found out when she was 27, she’s 40 now. Right. So, you know, she didn’t find out about her Jewish history until she was, you know, an adult and figured, Hey, you know what, it’s time to have a bat mitzvah and why have a bat mitzvah? You know, I’ll have a black mitzvah. So looking for to, well, because she happens to be black, so I don’t, I don’t know. I guess you have to, I don’t know. I guess I’ll, you know, I’ll have to watch the special to, to see, you know what what do you call it? You know what it’s all about, so, okay, fair enough. So let’s, Robin trying to avoid talking about this. Anybody I should before the show, we have to talk about, well, this was funny because, so we have well no, we have a disdain for that.

Speaker 5: 19:22 Well, I want to say Amazon echo Echo’s right, cause that’s what, okay. So we have a whole bunch of Amazon echoes throughout our house and, and some of them are the, the Amazon shows, so it’s a little screen or whatever. So this actually popped up yesterday and we kinda, we started like bantering about it and then as it turned out, I found the news article about it. So of course I had to throw it in just because I wanted to, you know, get your reaction. Yeah. That was, and it was the national board of review names, the Irish men, the years best film. So I kind of laughed because I had never heard of this before. So it’s just kind of like being like the best burger town burger joint in town, because you pay the newspaper. This is, you know, so, so the national board of review has named Martin Scorsese’s film, the Irishman, the best film of 2019.

Speaker 5: 20:24 And the two of the stars, Robert de Niro and Al Pachino are also receiving the organization’s inaugural inaugural icon award. So of course when I read that, I’m thinking, Oh, this organization has only been around like, you know, for like since the movie came out, when really it was actually established in 1909 by theaters owner’s protesting the New York mayor’s attempt to block the exhibition of motion pictures in the city. And it’s been picking best films since 1930. So this is actually an organization that’s been around their best films are the, well, it’s funny because in the one thing over the last 10 years, a little over half of the films on their list have actually ended up being best picture nominations, but only one winner in the last 18 years. Which was 2014 and most violent year failed to land an Oscar nomination for best picture.

Speaker 5: 21:28 So they actually, you know, have a pretty decent track record. But again, I was kinda like, ah, really? But they listed, you know, they, they, they talked about, you know, they, they had a whole list. So it wasn’t just, you know, they give like a top 10 list of movies. So it was 19, 17 dolomite is my name. Ford versus Ferrari, Jojo rabbit knives out marriage story. Once upon a time in Hollywood, a Richard jewel, uncut gems and wave. So they do, you know, so they, they pick the best overall, but then they give like their top 10 list. Then Quintin Tarantino was named this year’s best director for once upon a time in Hollywood. You know, acting awards went to Adam Sandler for uncut gems and Renee Zellweger for Judy. Brad Pitt for once in time in America once a upon a time in Hollywood.

Speaker 5: 22:28 Kathy Bates for Richard jewel. You know, so they, they give a bunch of, you know, awards out. But of course it was just hysterical of the fact, you know, that your favorite film, you know, and, and what was funny was, what was it, I guess it was last night cause we were watching the crown. And the movie was over and we were kind of scrolling through like, okay, what’s going to be our next thing to watch? Cause we’re, you know, we only have one more episode left and we actually watched the trailer for the Irishman and it was just like, Oh look, it’s a mafia movie mafia movie. Wow. And it has Robert de Niro, Joe Peshy like Al Pachino. Right. There was nothing. Yeah. So same mafia movie over and over. Yeah. So you know, we have no desire to watch it. Hey, it might be a really good movie, but you know, mafia movies supposedly it’s really good. You probably watch Martin’s cause cause apparently that’s really all he made. Right. Right. So that it was really more just to, you know, poke the cage cause you know, cage, we’ll be back with our insightful picks of the week, which better not be the Irish.

Speaker 5: 23:57 Go for your insightful pick. So my insightful pick is not, the Irish has got to do it, but then I was like, no, I won’t. This was actually a a series that popped up on Netflix. Again, it was one of those, Hey, since you’ve watched this, you might want to watch this. And it is called the movies that made us so the gist of it is it’s along the same lines and it’s actually by the same people that made the toys that made us that documentary. So basically it’s the story behind various blockbuster movies from the eighties and nineties. So the first set of episodes of the movies that made us takes a deep dive into four movies, home alone, dirty dancing, die hard. And Ghostbusters. The first episode that I watched, I’ve only watched one so far was dirty dancing.

Speaker 5: 24:57 And it was really kind of interesting because there were things about the movie that, you know, I didn’t know. They interview a couple of the stars. Obviously Patrick Swayze isn’t alive anymore, but they do interview his wife for a bunch of different things. You know, not the, the main stars of the movie, but they do, you know, have a couple of stars that that they, they interview, they have, you know, the different producer and they have the writer. And, and what was interesting is how the story, you know, came to be and you know, the different locations. And they had, you know, the choreographer and the music director. And that, you know, the the production company, you know, they, they took this story around to all the different studios and none of the major studios wanted it.

Speaker 5: 25:51 And they even took it to, you know, the lower studios and none of them wanted it. The studio that actually ended up distributing it was actually a company that started out just doing direct to video movies. And this was actually their first big movie that they ever did. So it was kinda, you know, interesting how, you know, they were going back and forth. The one person that viewed the movie was like, no, can it throw it out? And then they did a test screening for like a thousand people. And everybody loved it. And then they were like, no, we need to go forward with it. And, and it was just an interesting, you know, story and if you’ve ever watched the toys that make us, you know, there are little quirky things that they do. Yeah. And that’s what they do with this, with the quirky little animation and this and that.

Speaker 5: 26:48 But, you know, it was really good. So I’m, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the, the other ones. What was kind of cool was at one point, because when they did the filming, it’s supposed to take place in the Catskills. They couldn’t, you know, the, the amount of money it would’ve cost for them to do it cause they could, they only had like a 14 day a shooting schedule. They ended up doing it in I want to say, I can’t remember, they ended up doing it in the South and they did it obviously after the season was over, but they needed to do it quickly before, you know, the leaves were changing color. So it was actually two different locations. So like the main building was one, but all the, the the bungalows, you know, were a separate one. And at the end, you know, the woman that was the producer, they actually took her back to it. And what’s neat is at the location they actually have signs up of, you know, Oh this is where this part was shot. So they still do like a dirty dancing like weekend, you know, where you can go and they re-enact, you know, certain things. So that was kinda cool to see. And from what I read about some of the other episodes, some of the people that they interview, they actually go back to some of the locations where things were shot to have them, you know, reminisce. So that’ll be kind of cool to say. So.

Speaker 4: 28:09 Nice. Good FIC. Thank you.

Speaker 4: 28:16 So my pick this week, I’m going to go a cranky old man pig here cause I feel like my father with this one, and it’s the greatest events of world war II in color. This is on Netflix. It’s a 10 part series. Greatest events of world war II and color is a comprehensive and it is comprehensive and sweeping in scope a definitive treatment of a conflict that revolutionized modern warfare. The expertly restored and colorized footage is graphic. Taking a viewer from the Plains of Europe to the jungles of Southeast Asia. Commentary is supplied by British, German and American historians. British actor Derek Jacoby provides the narration on the Wars major turning points are all covered. The ninth episode features the liberation of and ball which deals exclusively with the events leading up to an including the Holocaust. The first episodes lay the groundwork for Germany’s aggressive plan to overturn the 1919 treaty of Versailles and expand its borders at the expense of its neighbors.

Speaker 4: 29:35 Greatest events of world war two in color graphically recreates this Titanic struggle. And it’s interesting to watch a film like this cause it’s a contemporary, a series of episodes that they do with fairly well known. And I say well known historians. I mean, not, not a lot of people, not a lot of historians, you know, watch a lot of documentary. But yeah, there, there are a lot of historians that pop up in a lot of the modern documentaries that are on TV now. So you’re not getting firsthand accounts in a lot of cases by these historians because they’re relatively young historians. But it is an interesting take on modern society and values and understanding of what happened during the war. And it’s interspersed with what typically people remember as being a black and white war. So it’s interesting to see in color.

Speaker 4: 30:40 Now granted, these colors are interpreted based on historical accounts. They go back and they restore the footage and they colorize it and so forth. There’s some inaccuracies because there just happens to be some inaccuracy, but there isn’t everything. But all in all, I think it’s it’s the, the footage itself is very dramatic. There’s a lot of footage in here that isn’t commonly Aaron. And they talk in the promo about the ninth episode with the concentration camps and seeing that footage that has always been portrayed as black and white. Seeing that portrayed in color gives it a whole new depth. And a whole new characteristic to it. So it was very impactful watching it. It was, it was educational. There was a lot that I learned. But it was a, it was, I don’t want to say it was entertaining watching war, but it’s portrayed in such a way that it, it makes it digestible.

Speaker 4: 31:57 It’s easy to digest. So greatest events of world war II in color is streaming now on Netflix and it’s a 10 part series. Very cool. And I think that was all we had. Did want to offer one programming note. We will be on hiatus during the holidays. We’ll be skipping two weeks. Well I think next week we’re gonna probably do the weekend, right? Next week we’ll be filming live on the weekend, the week after, or not sure week after. We’re probably not cause the schedule is too tight and then the week after that we’re not going to be around and I’m not taking the studio with us on the road. Right. We were originally going to try and do stuff from, you know, the road, but I think we decided to actually take a little vacation. We deserve the time off. Yeah. This is, you know, 45 I’ll get 46 episodes under our belt before we take a break.

Speaker 4: 32:59 Right, right. That’s so bad. I think we’ve done pretty well. Next week we will kind of have a holiday theme to it though. We do a little treat, treat a little special, a project that we’ve just finalized that we’ll have next week. But until then you can get ahold of us via email, at comments, at insights into on Twitter, at insights underscore things. You can get our video podcasts on YouTube at into things. Obviously our website, and the audio versions with transcripts and show notes is available at podcast. I didn’t say it’s in and on backslash insights into things podcast. Another one in the box. Yep. Have a good one everyone. Bye.

Show Notes


  • Insights Into Entertainment: Episode 45: “The Faith is Strong with This One”
  • My co-host Michelle Whalen

Disney Detective

  • How ‘Mandalorian’ Director Bryce Dallas Howard Got Her Kids to Keep Baby Yoda a Secret
    • Pop culture gave birth to an icon a few weeks ago, but for Mandalorian director Bryce Dallas Howard and her family, it’s been an “agonizing” year as they carefully kept a lid on the secret of Baby Yoda. Howard, who first tossed her name into the Lucasfilm hat by shadowing her father, Ron Howard, on the set of Solo: A Star Wars Story, had to create a daily mantra for her young children.
    • “The thing I was most nervous about was that my kids had been on set quite a bit. So they had seen Baby and interacted with Baby,” Howard tells The Hollywood Reporter. “When we were filming, my kids were 6 and 11; they’re now 7 and 12. When the kids went back to school, every single day I would say, ‘So, what are you not gonna talk about today?’ And they would say, ‘Baby!’” 
    • “Now, for them, it’s very confusing, because I’m like, “Oh, now, you can talk about Baby,” and they’re like, “Oh, okay.” We’ve been having this routine for about a year now, and it’s fun; it’s really, really fun. Everyone is super pissed that there’s no merch. (Laughs) Everyone is like, “I want a Baby Yoda stuffed toy!” But I think they made a good choice in not focusing there and just focusing on the storytelling.
    • As an actor turned filmmaker, Howard couldn’t help but draw on her own body of work when helming scenes of her Nov. 29 episode, “Sanctuary.”
    • “There’s a shot behind Omera and Mando … when they’re inside the cottage,” Howard says. “We did French overs for that, which is a tiny homage to a scene I had with Joaquin Phoenix in The Village. And then, of course, with all the AT-ST stuff, Jurassic is definitely a really great reference for that — when you’re on the run from a monster in close proximity and that monster is 30 feet high.”
    • From Another Article about sipping Soup:
    • “That day was all about that brutal fight,” Howard told Variety. “Gina and Mando’s stunt double were just destroying each other. And then it gets to Baby sipping his soup and everything else goes away, all these amazing feats of athleticism and martial arts, and all this stuff just becomes Baby with soup and all we wanted to do was a zillion takes of how Baby was going to drink his soup.”
    • So, other than the motherly cupping of the drink, how else could Baby Yoda have downed that broth? Howard played around with several different ideas: “Would he drink it with one hand? With two hands? Sipping it a lot? Sipping it a little bit?… A Baby sip, a hearty sip, we had so many options to contend with. Baby just wins every scene he’s in.”
  • New Baby Yoda Merch Is a Good News, Bad News Situation
    • Star Wars fans clamoring for Baby Yoda merchandise got a bit of good news on Tuesday, which was followed at light speed with not-so-great news. 
    • Disney announced that a number of The Child items were officially available for pre-order, including a bobblehead, a Mattel plush and a Funko! pop, which is welcome news for fans who have been smitten with the cute little tyke since The Mandalorian launched last month on Disney+. There is an issue, however: The toys will not be available in time for Christmas. In fact, as it stands right now, some won’t be available until spring, according to the website. On some items have a 4/1/2020 to 6/30/2020 Date for availability.
    • Hasbro previously confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that its toys would not be available until next year.
    • Series creator Jon Favreau has explained the lack of items was done on purpose to avoid spoilers, as it is common for details from spoiler-phobic movies like the Avengers or Star Wars franchises to come out via toy catalogs months ahead of time.
    • So keeping Baby Yoda toys back worked to avoid that reveal coming to light. The downside, however, would seem to be that bootleggers are running wild on such sites as eBay and Etsy. 
    • A number of officially licensed items — mostly clothes with a print of the character — are available at stores such as Hot Topic and on Amazon, but the variety is minimal.
    • The child character continues to be massively popular among fans, and it seems there are new memes spreading across social media each week with every new episode.
  • Star Wars’ Rise of the Resistance, Disney’s new ride, takes attraction to a whole new level
    • Whatever your sympathies to the rebellion or your level of Star Wars acumen, you’re rebel scum now.
    • That’s your fate once you enter the most ambitious interactive attraction in Disney theme park history — Rise of the Resistance — which opens in Walt Disney World Resort’s Hollywood Studios on Thursday, December 5.
    • For Star Wars fans these days, as Yoda might say, runneth over our cup does.
    • Earlier this year, both Disney parks in the United States opened a twin pair of ambitiously immersive lands (Galaxy’s Edge, aka the planet of Batuu). In November, Disney launched the first live action TV series (“The Mandalorian”). In late December, the final cinematic chapter in the Skywalker saga — “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” — will be released.
    • And this week, a new ride at Galaxy’s Edge takes you so deep into the Star Wars universe that you’re in the plot.
    • As with any storyline, reviewing the narrative of Rise of the Resistance contains some spoilers. If you want to enter the attraction not knowing what awaits, don’t read past this paragraph and add Rise to your reasons to travel to Walt Disney World (or Disneyland in California after January 17). You’ll enjoy it even if you’re not schooled in the ways of Star Wars.
    • But also know that the attraction’s thrills can’t be spoiled by reading a review of it. Even a really great roller coaster with a plot is still a great roller coaster.
    • This ride, if you can call it that, is so immersive and long — roughly 18 minutes — it has three distinct acts to the drama unfolding all around you. Cue the music and roll the opening scroll…
    • Act 1: ‘Transport is away in 30 seconds’
    • Keep it on the down low, the local Batuu residents will whisper to you, but the Resistance is hiding here in the trading port town of Black Spire Outpost.
    • The Resistance is the scrappy, hope-fueled band of rebels fighting on the side of good against the new aspiring evil empire, The First Order. (Both factions are known to anyone who has seen the last two Star Wars films.) Stormtroopers patrolling Black Spire have made the First Order’s presence in Batuu known to locals and visitors.
    • To enter Rise of the Resistance, you sneak behind a waterfall and through the long tunnels of a Resistance encampment. If the line runs slowly, fans will have time to savor close up views of rebel flight suits, helmets, macrobinoculars and the breath masks found on the Millennium Falcon.
    • Once you enter the camp, you are now a recruit. Any trepidation you had about that will be overcome by a personal appeal from two Resistance heroes: a charming Rey hologram and a more corporeal, burbling, film-accurate BB-8. Rey explains we are evacuating Batuu to meet at a secret Resistance base in another system.
    • The doors open, and you’re back outside. There’s BB-8 again, in position in Poe Dameron’s signature black X-Wing. You scurry onto a transport ship flown by the multi-jowled Nien Nunb of “Return of the Jedi” fame. As you can see out of the windows, and feel beneath your feet, we are taking off with Poe and a few other pilots in the Resistance fleet.
    • No sooner have we left the Batuu atmosphere and we’re attacked by First Order TIE fighters. A short battle ensues, and our little ship is captured, swallowed up by a much larger Star Destroyer.
    • Act 2: ‘I have a bad feeling about this’
    • When the same doors of your transport reopen — how’d they do that? — you’re not in Batuu anymore, Toto.
    • A view much more breathtaking is revealed as you step forward at the stern request of First Order officers who label you “spies.”
    • You are now standing inside a massive hanger of a Star Destroyer. The full-scale bay door looks out into space where First Order ships fly by like a jumbotron screensaver. You may be unnerved by 50 Stormtroopers staring at you. Before you’re ordered toward your holding cell you will see a nearby parked TIE fighter and may notice the random slight movements among the legion to mimic humans inside the suits.
    • The haranguing continues in your cell block. General Hux will nearly spit when he calls you “Resistance scum,” and then Kylo Ren arrives to use the Force to excavate the location of the rebel base from your brain. Lucky for you, he’s distracted by an impending battle and runs off.
    • Act. 3: ‘This is a rescue!’
    • Stand clear, someone is lasering through the side of your cell block. When the wall cuts free, you see a friendly Resistance face telling you to hurry. They’re here to rescue you.
    • Strap into an R5-J2 Imperial astromech droid-driven transport (actually an impressively complex computer programmed trackless vehicle) as former Stormtrooper-turned-Resistance hero Finn explains on a screen that the droid will get you to an escape pod.
    • And off you go — the last five minutes of the attraction are a whirring thrill ride featuring close calls with blaster fire (how did they make those smoldering divots in the wall?), the underbelly of an AT-AT, a stomach plummeting freefall, and multiple close calls with Kylo Ren — including his lightsaber cutting through the ceiling above you. All the while, you can see a massive space battle outside the destroyer’s windows.
    • You will get off just in time, making a crash landing on Batuu. As you emerge into the sunlight you see real Spanish moss hanging from the old rusted hangar you crashed into.
    • Mission accomplished?
    • If the mission was to have great fun, then yes.
    • I’m a Star Wars superfan, and as impressed as I was, I only wished the peril level reached a higher point. I recall being actually scared at Universal Orlando’s Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, and I am not at all invested in that franchise. But in my opinion, Rise is a long-sustained level of joy and a technological marvel that beats any other attraction in the park in both of those ways.
    • Epilogue: Dream come true
    • The technology is so ambitious — four different ride types that all need to seamlessly synch together, including live cast members and several animatronics — that Rise of the Resistance is now opening months behind the rest of Galaxy’s Edge.
    • Even two days before the grand opening to the public there were still technical glitches that delayed Tuesday’s press sneak previews and occasionally caused awkward delays in the attraction’s narrative.
    • But could the ambition be any less?
    • Disney is recreating a galaxy, a new planet, and new narrative arcs within a 40-plus year old cinematic, television, game and book franchise. This is all about reaching into that cannon in a deeper way that fans and non-fans can love.
    • As I rode the attraction ahead of its official opening, I thought of another film, Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” — that dream-within-a-dream-within-a-dream action movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
    • For Star Wars fans of a certain age, our love of a beloved far away galaxy started with the first film more than 40 years ago and was kept alight over subsequent sequels and prequels.
    • Then, with Disney’s Galaxy’s Edge you can feel, taste and otherwise interact with a movie-accurate planet — and ride the Millennium Falcon, too (that’s the ride that opened earlier this year).
    • And now, with the Rise attraction, we’re three dream layers deep — having an experiential Star Wars adventure and the thrill that dream promises.
  • Entertainment News
    • Tiffany Haddish opens up about her Jewish identity and upcoming bat mitzvah
      • Comedian Tiffany Haddish went in depth about her Jewish identity and her upcoming bat mitzvah in an interview with Alma, a site for young Jews.
      • Haddish, who has starred in blockbusters such as “Girls Trip” and “The Secret Life of Pets 2,” spent over a decade working as an “energy producer” (or performer) at bar and bat mitzvahs, not knowing that she had Jewish heritage. She didn’t meet her father until she was 27, when he told her that he was an Eritrean Jew and that she was Jewish.
      • “I didn’t know anything about Judaism for a long time,” she said in the interview published Friday. “As I got into that profession as an energy producer, I started learning more and more about the Torah. I could really relate to it. And when I met my father, it really resonated with me. I was like: This is what I am. I did my 23&Me, and it said the same thing. I [thought], well, I can’t deny this. I wanna claim it.”
      • Now Haddish is learning Hebrew and studying to become a bat mitzvah. She’ll celebrate with a ceremony in Los Angeles on her 40th birthday, which falls on Dec. 3, and celebrities like Sarah Silverman, Billy Crystal and Sinbad will attend.
      • On the same day, she will release a new Netflix stand-up special, “Black Mitzvah.”
      • Unsurprisingly, “Black Mitzvah” is pretty Jewish: It opens with the comedian being carried on a chair singing “Hava Nagila.”
      • Haddish explains that she hopes being open about her journey will encourage others to dig into their background.
      • “Something that I feel like a lot of African-Americans have been stripped of is their history,” she told Alma. “A lot of us don’t know [our] origin. We don’t know what our origin story is because that was taken from us. And it talks about that in the Torah. I think it’s so powerful.”
    • National Board of Review Names ‘The Irishman’ the Year’s Best Film
      • The National Board of Review has named Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” the best film of 2019. Scorsese and two of the film’s stars, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, will also receive the organization’s inaugural Icon Award.
      • The NBR’s Top 10 list consisted of “1917,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” “Ford v Ferrari,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Knives Out,” “Marriage Story,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” “Richard Jewell,” “Uncut Gems” and “Waves.”
      • Quentin Tarantino was named the year’s best director for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” while Melina Matsoukas won the Best Directorial Debut award for “Queen & Slim.”
      • Acting awards went to Adam Sandler for “Uncut Gems,” Renee Zellweger for “Judy,” Brad Pitt for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and Kathy Bates for “Richard Jewell.” That latter film’s star, Paul Walter Hauser, won the Breakthrough Performance award.
      • “Parasite” was named the year’s best foreign-language film, “Maiden” the best documentary and “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” the best animated feature.
      • Presumed Oscar contenders missing from the NBR list included “The Two Popes,” “Little Women,” “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” “Joker” and “The Farewell” (which did appear on the list of best independent films), while the list gave a boost to “Dolemite Is My Name,” “Knives Out,” “Richard Jewell” and particularly Adam Sandler and “Uncut Gems.”
      • The organization’s love affair with Scorsese extended to the point where it put “Rolling Thunder: A Bob Dylan Film by Martin Scorsese” on its list of the year’s best documentaries, even though the film is a largely fictionalized chronicle that uses the documentary form to bend the truth.
      • Last year, the NBR had only four of the eight Oscar Best Picture nominees on its Top 10 list, missing “BlacKkKlansman,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Favourite” and “Vice.”
      • But it did match the Academy on “Black Panther,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born” – and its choice for the year’s best film, “Green Book,” went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It was the first time in a decade, since “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008, that the NBR had chosen the eventual Best Picture winner.
      • Over the last 10 years, a little over half of the films on the NBR list have ended up with Best Picture nominations. But only one NBR winner in the last 18 years, 2014’s “A Most Violent Year,” failed to land an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
      • While the National Board of Review is often mistakenly considered a critics’ organization, the group is made up of, in its own words, “knowledgeable film enthusiasts and professionals, academics, young filmmakers and students” in the New York area. Much of its relatively high profile comes from the fact that it is one of the first groups to pick the year’s best films. (The more prestigious New York Film Critics Circle will make its own picks on Wednesday, as will the American Film Institute.)
      • The NBR was established in 1909 by theater owners protesting the New York mayor’s attempt to block the exhibition of motion pictures in the city. It has been picking the best films since 1930.
      • The winners will be recognized at the NBR Awards Gala on Jan. 8, 2020, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.
  • Insightful Picks
    • Michelle
      • The Movies that Made Us – Netflix
      • The Gist: Along the lines of The Toys That Made Us, Brian Volk-Weiss has extended his docuseries brand to discuss the stories behind blockbuster movies from the ’80s and ’90s. The first set of episodes of The Movies That Made Us take a deep dive into four biggies: Home Alone, Dirty Dancing, Die Hard and Ghostbusters.
  • Layered between the goofy soundtrack, and jokey-chipper narration from Donald Ian Black, we get information about the origins of each movie, some of the bumps and detours the projects took before any film was exposed, and the impact each hit had when it came out.
  • For instance, Dan Aykroyd originally wrote Ghostbusters from his interest in his great grandfather’s involvement in seances and other occult-adjacent activities. The “starting a business” angle was suggested to Aykroyd by Ivan Reitman, who directed the film. Aykroyd wrote roles for his SNL buddy John Belushi and shooting star Eddie Murphy; Murphy’s role ended up going to Bill Murray, who was as enigmatic back in the ’80s as he is now. The planning and shooting of the film came together in a scant ten months. Oh, and the entire time, Columbia Pictures couldn’t clear the name Ghostbusters because it was used by Filmation for a 1970s kids series starring Larry Storch and Forrest Tucker.
  • Die Hard, on the other hand, was based on a novel that was the sequel to The Detective. Because of this, Frank Sinatra had the first option to take the role of John McClane, almost 20 years after he starred in the movie version of The Detective. Of course, he turned it down, but Bruce Willis was certainly not the first choice of producers Joel Silver and Lawrence Gordon and director John McTiernan. Writer Steven E. de Souza was busy punching up the humor in Jeb Stuart’s original screenplay, and his pace was literally just days ahead of the shoot. And we also found out why the late Alan Rickman had such a look of shock when Hans Gruber finally fell off the side of Nakatomi Plaza.
  • Like its toy-related cousin show, The Movies That Made Us feels like a light, surfacey, latter-day VH1-style documentary that’s designed to make Gen Xers and older millennials nostalgic for the movies they watched as kids. But, because Volk-Weiss gets some pretty good interviews, insights into the making and history of the blockbusters come out that goes beyond the trivia you might see on the film’s IMDb or Wikipedia page.
  • For instance, the Die Hard episode is a fount of information, mainly because McTiernan, de Souza and Stuart were interviewed. Sure, there’s no Bruce Willis, but we hear from Bonnie Bedelia and Reginald VelJohnson, two key supporting players. So we find out just how skittish everyone was at having Willis as the lead, and why the “wiseass” manner that made him such a hit on the TV series Moonlighting wasn’t going to work on the big screen. We also found out that the film shot at the then-under-construction Fox Plaza, while Fox corporate employees were working on the active floors in between the roof and the lobby.
  • Getting Aykroyd and Reitman was a key to the Ghostbusters episode, as well. But the real key was talking to Richard Edlund, who left ILM at Reitman’s request to create Boss Films, who had to create the film’s complicated effects in such a compressed timeline. The fact that Boss also did the effects for Die Hard was a fun connection when watching the two episodes back to back (as was William Atherton, who played both films’ signature assholes, something he’s done in many films and TV shows).
  • Joe
    • The Greatest Events of World War II In Color
    • Neflix 10 part series
    • Greatest Events of World War II in Color, is comprehensive and sweeping in scope
    • A definitive treatment of a conflict that revolutionized modern warfare
    • The expertly restored and colorized footage is graphic, taking a viewer from the plains of Europe to the jungles of southeast Asia.
    • Commentary is supplied by British, German and American historians. British actor Derek Jacobi provides the narration.
    • The war’s major turning points are covered
    • The ninth episode, Liberation of Buchenwald, deals exclusively with the events leading up to and including the Holocaust.
    • The first episode lays the groundwork for Germany’s aggressive plan to overturn the 1919 Treaty of Versailles and expand its borders at the expense of its neighbors. 
    • Greatest Events of World War II in Color graphically recreates this titanic struggle
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