Storytime with J

J’s class has been learning a lot about fairytales and fractured fairytales. During their Writers Workshop time, the kids would write about the heroes and villains they would like to have in their own fairytales. The kids then had the assignment to write a fairytale. Below is The fairytale that J wrote (with a little editing by me). We hope you enjoy it.

The Lost Apprentices

Written and Illustrated by J

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, there lived two apprentices. The first one was named J. The second one was named Antony. They loved to do really, really cool things like fighting bad guys. One day they found a portal leading to the Marvel dimension. They got pulled in by a giant scrap robot. The giant scrap robot was controlled by a bad guy called Ultron. They found some super heroes called The Avengers. They only found three Avengers. One was named Iron Man. The second one was named Hulk. The third one was named Captain America. They all were struggling. Then, right there in the sky, they found an Imperial Space Station called the Death Star. The Death Star was trying to invade and destroy the Earth.

J fighting Ultron

They found a squadron of X-Wings. The X-Wings were called there by the apprentices. Then, out of nowhere, they found some U-Wings. On Earth, they were calling out a lot of the ships. They found another bad guy that was named Loki. Loki was helping the Death Star. They saw another portal, and Loki pulled them out of the portal. Then they saw a guy named Firestorm coming out of the portal. Out of nowhere, a guy on a motorcycle named Ghost Rider with a flaming skull and chain came to help Firestorm defeat Loki.

Ghost Rider and Firestorm fighting Loki

J warns, “we must destroy the Death Star by shooting an Ion torpedo into it! And we have to distract the troopers so they can’t get into their cannons and destroy the X-Wings.”

Out of nowhere, a U-Wing picked them up so they could fly to the Death Star. The U-Wing dropped them off at the tractor beam so they could be sucked into the Death Star. Then, out of nowhere, Darth Vader came. He was a Sith Master. His lightsaber’s color was red. The apprentices charged at him. Then Vader cut Antony’s arm off.

A hero name Doctor Strange came and reversed Antony’s arm injury with a weapon called the Eye of Agamotto. The Eye of Agamotto had a weird item called an Infinity Stone. There are six Infinity Stones. The one that is in the Eye of Agamotto is called the Time Stone. A second one, which is in a hero named Vision’s head, is called the Mind Stone. Doctor Strange used one of his awesome powers and shot Vader in the face.

Doctor Strange and J fighting Darth Vader

Then, a bad guy named Thanos destroyed the Eye of Agamotto by smashing it. He flew down to Earth, shooting everyone with time lasers, turning everyone into babies. They ran into a bad guy named Joker. Joker had a weird flower on the side of his chest and it shot pollen. He had a purple jacket, a white striped shirt that was green, and grey boots. His pants were purple. Joker was immediately beaten. And they lived very happy lives.

J fighting Thanos

Full disclosure, I didn’t edit much. I added a few words that he missed here and there. The biggest edit was wherever you see “out of nowhere”, J had originally written “out of the open”. As I said before, we hope you enjoyed J’s little story. Maybe I can convince him to write a new one of these once a month.

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The News with J: February 23 (transcript)

A couple weeks ago we started this news show for our YouTube channel called, “The News With J”. We have two episodes up on our YouTube channel and we were working on our third episode before our weekend got busy and J came down with a cough. So, instead of having a video, we thought it would be good to still get the news out in the form of a post! So here is the transcript of what would have been The News with J for the weekend of February 23rd, 2018.

“Hello, this is the news with J and I am your host J. I’d like to thank our sponsors at Watchtower Cafe for all their support. Get your geek on while you get your drink on at 1588 South State Street in Salt Lake City. Now, let’s get to the news.

In TV news, last week was the amazingly emotional mid-season premiere of Star Wars Rebels. There are only four more episodes until the end and I can’t wait!! If you have a cable subscription you can catch up by signing into the DisneyNOW app. The next episodes will air Monday at 7:00 and 7:30 pm on Disney XD.

Also in TV news, Andi Mack was renewed for a third season! I’ve been watching Andi Mack with my mommy and daddy and it has become one of our favorite shows to watch together. Andi Mack is another show that you can catch up on using the DisneyNOW app!!

In movie news, Black Panther has been wowing critics and audiences alike brining in close to $400 million since it opened on February 16th! If you haven’t seen it yet, I only have one question. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? Click here to get your tickets today!

In other movie news, Disney/Pixar’s Coco will be a available on Blu-ray and DVD on Tuesday. We will be heading to our local Target to grab our copy first thing in the morning!

Here is our weekly list of books for young readers that will be hitting comic book store shelves on Wednesday!!

Scooby-Doo Team Up #35

Ducktales #6

Donald Duck: Nest of the Demon Birds

My Little Pony: Legends of Magic #11

Darth Vader #12

Star Wars: Mace Windu Jedi of the Republic trade

Lockjaw #1

Lumberjanes #47

Steven Universe #13

And Legends of Zelda: Twilight Princess vol. 3

In toy news, last week was the American International Toy Fair in New York City and I wanted to share some of my favorite toys that my daddy showed me on Twitter. I want to thank Star Wars Junk, “Agent M” Ryan Penagos, LEGO, Hasbro, KidsToyPicks, Jakks Pacific, and Entertainment Weekly for sharing the pictures of these amazing toys.

Hasbro

Spider-Ham Legends figure:

Legends Infinity Gauntlet:

Marvel The First 10 years Legends line:

My copilot Chewie you from Fur Real:

Star Wars Black Series line:

Uncle Milton

Star Wars Science Fossil sets:

LEGO

Solo:

Harry Potter:

Jakks Pacific

Incredibles 2 toys

Mattel

Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom toy line:

Thank you for watching this week’s episode of The News with J. I hope you have a great week. Don’t forget to like/comment/subscribe and May the Force be with You!”

So there you have it. This is what this last week’s episode of “The News with J” was supposed to be. I know it’s not the same as watching a six year old deliver the news, but he should be back in action this Saturday morning! We hope you will tune into our YouTube channel to see all the fun J has with his news show!

“Spoiler-Free” Justice League Review

DC fans rejoice, the team up movie we’ve been waiting for has finally come. Well, rejoice might be a strong word. It’s no secret that I am not s Zac Snyder fan. I think his movies have an interesting look, but the editing is always choppy and the movies tend to be longer than they need to be. While Justice League suffers from some of the same choppiness as Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, one of things the movie doesn’t suffer from is its length. At just under 2 hours, Justice League is a movie you can sit through without worrying about having to take a few bathroom breaks throughout. Justice League has some pacing issues, but I felt that the story was more solid than anything Snyder did with Man of Steel or Batman v Superman.

The cast was great. I was worried that the studio would make Flash a darker character in order to fit him more into this cinematic universe that DC and Warner Bros have created. Luckily, they chose to have a closer to comic version of Barry Allen. Ezra Miller did a fantastic job as the scarlet speedster. Batfleck did a great job and still holds his spot close to the top of my favorite Batman portrayals. Ray Fisher was a good choice for the cinematic version of Cyborg, I was hoping for more of a Khary Payton “Teen Titans” Cyborg, but that would not have fit this universe. Gal Gadot did a fantastic job reprising her role as Wonder Woman, although I wish Patty Jenkins would have directed Gal Gadot’s scenes. Then there was Aquaman. What can I say about Jason Momoa’s Aquaman? It was a fresh take on the King of Atlantis, and I loved it! Because of Momoa’s performance, I have a new found respect for Aquaman.

I think all that I can say without getting into spoiler territory is that Justice League is a good movie that people should see in theaters at least one time. If you were a fan of Snyder’s previous DC films, you will love Justice League. For everyone else, I think that Justice League is enjoyable. If you are thinking about taking your kids, just know that there are scenes that might scare the young ones. There are also long scenes that might bore younger children. If your kids were able to sit through Man of Steel or Batman v Superman, they should be able to sit through and enjoy Justice League.

Keep your eyes peeled, there are quite a few easter eggs that will make all the DC fans smile from ear to ear. Be prepared to sit through the credits because you get a mid credit and an end credit scene that you do not want to miss. Because of the choppiness of film, I would say Justice League sits at a “B-” from me. There were scenes that I personally thought could have been shorter and some that even seemed unnecessary.

Let me know what you think about Justice League. Comment here or on any of our social media pages.

Justice League is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action.

The LEGO Batman Review

If you are a fan of Batman, or The LEGO Movie then you will absolutely love The LEGO Batman Movie!! The LEGO Batman Movie is definitely a movie that entire families will enjoy together. The jokes are solid, the main storyline tugs at the heart strings, and the voice acting was on point. Be prepared to get your geek on because there are so many non-Batman LEGO cameos that you might feel like you are watching a LEGO Dimensions movie.  The one thing I will say is that I think The LEGO Batman Movie could have been a little shorter. It is 1hr 45min but they could have taken out a few jokes to get it down to the 1hr 30min mark. I am going to leave this review short and sweet so I don’t spoil anything for you readers. We give the LEGO Batman movie 4 1/2 LEGO figures and recommend that everyone with or without children go see this movie. You will not regret seeing it!!

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

Last night J and I attended a screening of Batman v Superman with our friends from Salt Lake Comic Con. It was fun to see a comic book themed movie with a bunch of geeks/nerds.

The movie takes place 18 months after the events of Man of Steel. We see what was going in with Bruce Wayne during the Superman/Zod fight and why he is so mad at the Man of Steel. Now, even though we see that Clark has only been Superman for about 2 years, we learn that Batman has been fighting crime in Gotham for 20 years. Batman’s brand of justice has evolved to where he is now branding sex traffickers and those who would harm children. He’s simply had enough, and after the events of Man of Steel, he wants to do nothing but protect the planet from the possibility of Superman going “bad”.

I really enjoyed Ben Affleck as the Batman, and Gal Gadot made me excited for the Wonder Woman movie. The Batman/Superman fight scenes were very reminiscent of The Dark Knight Returns part 2, and we loved them. The pace of the movie was pretty slow and I personally think they could have cut 30-45 minutes.

I think that Batman v Superman would be a fun $5 Tuesday movie, but don’t take the kids. It’s not that it’s scary or too violent, it’s just too slow paced and too long. If your kids want to see it, wait for the Blu-Ray.

The Future of Comic Book Movies

With the success of Deadpool and with the announcement of an R-rated cut of Batman V Superman, there are many parents out there who are worried that all movies based on comic books will bear the R rating. I personally don’t think that this is something that will happen. Comic book movies make so much of their money from parents taking their younger kids, that it would likely be financially irresponsible for studios to only make R-rated movies.

Something else to think about is that Batman V Superman is not the first Comic Book movie to get an alternate rated dvd/blu-ray release. If you go back three years to The Wolverine (I know it was terrible, but it was the last comic book movie to get an unrated cut after it’s PG-13 theatrical release), you will see that it really doesn’t take much to get an R rating. The theatrical release of the Wolverine had one “F-Bomb”, quite a bit of action, a little blood here and there, while the Unrated release had three “F-Bombs” (more than one is an automatic R), more action, and blood EVERYWHERE!

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, “An R-rated motion picture may include adult themes, adult activity, hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually oriented nudity, drug abuse…” Before we continue, I want to break down a few of these guidelines just a little more:

Language: Movies are getting pretty lax these days, and it seems like they can pretty much get away with saying pretty much whatever they want. But as I mentioned before, more than one “F-bomb” can get you an R rating, unless there is a two-thirds majority of the board who believe the language is justified by context or use.

Violence: Movies based on comic books will usually have some kind of violence, but when it is intense or persistent, you are tiptoeing the line between PG-13 and R.

Nudity: Along with the guidelines about sexually oriented nudity, in 2010 the MPAA added that “male nudity” will likely get you an R rating.

Back to the issue at hand. Everyone behind Deadpool was doing everything in their power to push the R boundary as close as possible to the NC-17 line. With 84 “F-bombs”, violence and blood out the wazoo, a multiple minute sex montage, and a view of Deadpool’s penis, Deadpool was lucky to premiere with their R rating.

The news that Batman V Superman is getting an R-rated cut shouldn’t scare anyone, it should excite people. Where Deadpool can be seen as a model for future characters who don’t have established storylines in a cinematic universe, Batman V Superman can be seen as the new model for the PG-13 theatrical/dual rated dvd/blu-ray release. I’m not saying every comic book movie should follow either model just for the sake of following the model, but that the studios should just be focusing on who the character is via the source material.

The future of comic book movies is not going to be based on the success of Deadpool, Marvel will keep doing what they are doing with the MCU with their PG-13 films, their ABC crime style dramas, and their mature Netflix content, and DC will continue to play catch up with their cinematic universe while dominating in the animation department. The only change that we will most likely see from Deadpool’s success will hopefully be more movies/online series starring more of the anti-heroes of the comic book world.   

The bottom line is that no matter what a movie is rated, it is our job as parents to view questionable content before letting our kids watch it. If I am wrong and all comic book movies go the way of Deadpool, then you can always wait for the FX release.

The Giving Grinch Cosplay Charity Event

Thanksgiving weekend usually ends the same way for me. I’ve usually eaten enough that I feel like I bear in need of hibernation. This year was a little different. With my wife and J being out of town, I decided to check out The Giving Grinch Cosplay Charity event going on at Mod A Go Go in Downtown Salt Lake City.

The Giving Grinch is a year round charity that collects non-perishable foods, blankets, clothes, toys, etc. for families who may be without around the holidays. This year marked the first, of what organizers hope to be many, Cosplay event. The Cosplay Charity event was created by Geek Girls Corp members Amber Dahl and Collin Farmer. Saturday’s event wasn’t just about getting the standard donation items, The Giving Grinch has been raising funds to send a family to the most magical place in the world via GoFundMe, and Saturday’s event was capped by telling the family about the trip. Cosplayers from H.E.R.O.I.C. Inc., The Legacy Initiative, the Umbrella Corps- Utah Hive, and others dressed as Disney/Marvel/DC/Nintendo/Resident Evil characters ready to help take in donations and take pics with any and everyone that walked by.

The event itself was amazing. Besides all the amazing cosplayers, there were vendors with amazing merchandise, there were face painters for the kids (and adults), there was a silent auction that had some amazing items donated by individuals and by the wonderful people at FantasyCon. Walking throughout the event Saturday, you could really feel the spirit of charity flowing through every person that was in attendance. Everyone involved with this charity and event truly cares about their fellow human beings. It was enough to make me tear up a few times throughout the night.

A few of the moments that almost brought out the water works was seeing the youngest daughter of the family (mentioned above) interacting with the Disney Princess cosplayers. She wasn’t interacting with the cosplayers as people in princess costumes, but as though the cosplayers were the princesses themselves. My favorite moment was seeing an Elsa cosplayer singing ‘Let It Go’ to the young girl and that little girl was loving every second of it.

As we go through out the rest of this holiday season, let us remember those who are not in the best situations and let us do all that we can to show love to our fellow human beings. Sometimes it may not seem like it, but we are in this together. As you are doing your shopping I ask that you think of those around you and think of ways that you can help make their holiday brighter this year.

For more information about the Giving Grinch Cosplay GoFundMe fundraiser and to help send a much deserving family to the most magical place on Earth, check out http://www.gofundme.com/CosplayCharityEvnt. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, Happy whatever you may be celebrating.