Showing 1 - 10 of 22 posts found matching keyword: amusement parks

In hindsight, do I watch a lot of movies about death?

39/2048. Death on the Nile (2022)
There's a lot in this that sequel to The Orient Express that will feel not quite right to hardcore Christie fans, but I was more bothered by the CGI used to replicate 1930s Cairo than the anachronistic cultural mores or addition of Poirot's backstory. Don't get me wrong, I still liked it and would definitely keep watching Kenneth Branagh Poirot movies.

40/2049. The End (1978)
In this blackest of comedies, Burt Reynolds plays a man so afraid of pain that he is determined to kill himself before his terminal disease can. When this film works, it's usually because of Burt's natural charm, though it does squeeze some good comedy bits from very real human situations. (I found the third act slapstick to be too broad given the dark matter that preceded it. Your mileage — and tolerance of Dom DeLuise's over-the-top antics — may vary.)

Drink Coke! (The End)
Drink Coke and die!

41/2050. The Green Knight (2021)
The classic legend is about a knight on a quest to have his head chopped off, but this modern telling is more acid trip than road trip. Every line of dialog only makes the story more confusing. It might be more tolerable if it wasn't all filmed in a dark forest without lighting. Blech.

42/2051. The New Mutants (2020)
Whenever someone wonders what "studio interference" is, point them to this movie. The writer and director were very clearly using trying to make a horror film about adolescence and sexual awakening, but the studio wanted more traditional superhero fare. The actors seem completely confused (disinterested?) about what they're supposed to be doing, and the result *is* a nightmare, just not one that anyone would want to see.

43/2052. Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off (2022)
The old footage and glowing interviews about Hawk's early days are cool. Unfortunately, Hawk is unable or unwilling to examine his adult life outside of the world of skating, so in the end, he seems almost a victim rather than a champion, especially as the story ends wallowing on his inevitable physical decline. Was the intention of this documentary to make him a martyr?

44/2053. Closed for Storm (2020)
Another documentary, this time about the doomed New Orleans Jazzland theme park, from its conception to its destruction by Katrina to its abandonment by Six Flags to New Orleans' continued inability to do anything with it's remains. Honestly, it's the last part that I found most interesting because that was when the film veered from mere morbid nostalgia to something bordering on political activism against corrupt governance. Rage against the dying of the light, indeed. Of course I liked it.

More to come.

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Tuesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a former US Marine Staff Sergeant who lost his legs to an IUD was kicked off a roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia because it's against their policy to let people without legs ride. With all due respect to the Marine's service, I have to side with Six Flags here. No one should ride any of their rides no matter how many legs they have.

The Staff Sergeant was trying to ride the Mind Bender, a 40-year old roller coaster. Back in my day, it was brown. Now it's green, because while Six Flags won't let a Marine ride their coaster, they have no problem rebranding it for a super villain. Oh, wait. Maybe those two things go together.

This bad press comes at a bad time. It just so happens that Six Flags Over Georgia is debuting their newest coaster, the Twisted Cyclone, this Saturday. The Twisted Cyclone will be the 16th coaster in the park's history. So far, only three of those coasters have killed people. (According to Wikipedia, the Mild Bender has merely sent four people to the hospital. Pfft.)

In Six Flags' defense — a phrase I thought I would never type — there is precedent for them to believe they should enforce their legless ban despite what would appear to be a clear case of a rider opting-in to assumption of risk. (That's a legal term. Look it up.) In 2011, another legless veteran who also lost his legs to an IUD died after falling out of a coaster in Darien Lake, New York. His family ultimately won a million dollar settlement when state regulators declared the park negligent because ride operators let him ride the coaster despite having no legs. Hmm. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

The interesting footnote (ha, ha) to this story is that on the same day the AJC published its article, Six Flags announced that they are purchasing Darien Lake. Re-purchasing, actually. Six Flags owned the park for most of the 2000s until shortly after Katrina quite literally sank their organization. It's only natural that they should want Darien Lake back. They love coasters that kill people.

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Six Flags, the United Airlines of theme parks, is getting an early start this year. It's still spring, and already they've got trouble. This time, the broken ride was the Joker's Jinx at Six Flags America leaving 24 riders stuck for 3 hours.

It seems like just last year that I was railing against Six Flag's themed rides that glorify a psychopathic serial mass murderer. My opinion hasn't changed. You mess with the Joker, you get murdered. Or stuck 100 feet in the air for hours, whichever comes first.

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Six Flags Over Georgia has blown the doors off entertainment by announcing their new ride for 2017, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis! Riders will get to help Batman and the Justice League chase down and defeat an animatronic Joker.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes it thusly:

"Riders will travel in six-passenger vehicles on a track through rooms in the 'Hall of Justice,' but the motion of the vehicle allows them to enter into a 3-D and even 4-D world."

To be clear, the park isn't in Flatland. Any rider who can ride this ride exists in a 3D world with length, width, and depth. I would think that anyone writing for a major metropolitan newspaper would know that. Clark Kent sure does. (As for a "4-D world," if you can't figure out what a 3D world is, I don't think I care to hear your theory of either spacetime or Euclidean geometry.)

To give credit to Six Flags, that statement wasn't in the original press release. The press release was much more interested in promoting the ride as "debuting one of the world's best innovative and interactive attractions" for the park's 50th anniversary.

That's an interesting use of the word "debut." Identical versions of the ride are already operational at Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Over Texas, with other copies planned for Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Magic Mountain in 2017. What better way to celebrate 50 years in business than to providing the exact same shitty experience as you can get a half dozen other parks!

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News outlets reported earlier this week that Six Flag Great Adventure had to shut down its newest coaster after riders were stuck for hours. Those riders should be glad that they only got stuck. They were lucky they weren't killed. But maybe that's what they wanted. After all, they were riding a coaster named for a mass murderer.

Six Flags, which has a contract with Warner Brothers to use Looney Tunes and DC Comics licensed properties, has a history of trouble on their Superman themed rides. But at least those rides are named for a hero. The ride that broke this week is named for Batman's nemesis, the Joker, a character with a reputation for killing his own henchmen because he thinks its funny.

Why would you name an amusement park ride after a mass murderer, fictional or otherwise? Despite what the Joker preaches, murder isn't fun! Would you willingly ride the Hannibal Lechter Transport or the Patrick Bateman HyperCoaster? What about riding the Ted Bundy Experience? Eating at the Jeffry Dahmer Cafe? Shopping at the Ed Gein Gift Shop? Would you let your kids?

Hey, Six Flags, just because a character appears in comic books doesn't make him kid friendly. Using a despicable character to build your brand just because he has "name recognition" is the worst kind of crass consumerism that American culture has to offer. If you care so little about context, perhaps you'd welcome having all television police procedurals refer to murder as a "code six flags." Hey, at least that would get your name in front of millions of viewers in prime time. That's all you really care about, right?

I certainly don't want roller coaster riders maimed or injured, but if you get on the Six Flags' Mass Murder Machine, you can't be surprised when it strands you to die in an uncomfortable position. You knew what it was when you got on it.

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I'm not the only one who hates Six Flags. Mother Nature seems to be holding a grudge, too. First Hurricane Katrina submerged Six Flags New Orleans, and now a forest has fallen on Six Flags Magic Mountain.

USA Today reports that "a branch" — later confirmed to be a whole tree — fell at Magic Mountain in California and derailed The Ninja on Monday. The Ninja is a suspended coaster, meaning that the cars are suspended below the tracks. The ride has been in operation since 1988, and I could find reports on only one other serious accident involving the coaster: a man was hospitalized in 2008 after ignoring security fences around the ride in an attempt to recover his hat. Six Flags can't be blamed for that kind of stupid (although it is the sort of crowd the park attracts).

Thankfully, no one was killed in this latest fiasco, but four were injured. The LA Times reports that two of those four riders are now suing the park for "neglect." I've been to Six Flags' parks, and I think they have a strong case.

The rides are subject to regular inspection under California state law, but how often is Six Flags doing any inspection of the surrounding trees? If they aren't paying anyone to pick up trash, how likely is it that they're paying to have the trees trimmed?

It's no secret that I have an axe to grind with Six Flags. Visiting Magic Mountain was the worst amusement park experience of my life (so long as I don't count that time my date flirted with every guy who wasn't me during a trip to Six Flags Over Georgia). But I have to give them credit for solving one of the world's greatest riddles. If a tree falls on a Ninja in the woods, it does indeed make quite a sound!

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Coca-Cola invades America's Roller Coast. Ride on!

Mom won 4 tickets to visit Cedar Point during the 2013 season in a Coca-Cola sweepstakes. She gave the tickets to me, and I gave the tickets to a friend as a wedding present on the condition that he take me along. He decided not to use them. His loss. My friend Coop and I decided that we weren't going to let good tickets go to waste, so we jumped in the car and made a week long road trip of it.

My last two Cedar Point trips were in 2012 and 2010. My first was in 2000, before I had a blog. This trip lasted 2 days longer than that one, but because of the free tickets, I think I spent about the same. I'm not getting older. I'm getting wiser!

The Real Thing
This sign in Cartersville, Georgia, looked terrible. (But effective. We immediately stopped for a 6-pack of Coke.)

Night of the Lepus
Dublin, Ohio, is serious about public art and water fountains. Ballantrae Park has both. (Better pics and details here).

Hot enough for you?
This polar bear reflects on global warming as he spends a 90° day at the Columbus Zoo. Not an iceberg in sight!

Cleveland rocks
Why a 2-hour detour to the Hard Rock Cafe in Cleveland, Ohio? Because we didn't have anything better to do.

T-Rex is for the birds
The T-Rex at the front gate of Cedar Point is another year older and another year shittier.

New for 2013: Gatekeeper
Gatekeeper is the new ride at Cedar Point for 2013. It gets its name because the track goes over the ticket booth.

Also new for 2013: Coca-Cola
Gatekeeper steals the headlines, but the important change in 2013 is that you can now get a Coke at Cedar Point! Whoo-hoo!

That's just the first 3 days. More to come.

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Six Flags strikes again! A woman was killed yesterday at Six Flags Over Texas when the Texas Giant roller coaster restraint system failed. She fell up to 14 stories to her death. On the surface, that sounds terrible. But at least she doesn't have to spend any more time in a Six Flags park.

The Dallas Morning News reports that there was some question of whether the seat restraint had locked before the train left the station. Photos circulated of the doomed woman make her look on the large side, and most coasters aren't designed to accommodate someone the size of an average American in 2013. The ride operator was described as nonchalant about the possibility of malfunction, which could just as easily describe any employee at a Six Flags park.

It's been more than 20 years since I went to a Six Flags park that wasn't understaffed or under maintained. Generally, their employees act like they don't want to be there. That doesn't give visitors like me much reason to want to be there, either. If the people most familiar with a park aren't amused by it, what are guests going to think?

I've been discussing going to an amusement park with some old friends later this summer, and our cruise director has been trying to get us to go to Six Flags Great America in New Jersey. I have been resisting that plan, mainly because I want to have fun when I go to a park. It's hard enough to have fun in New Jersey. If you have to go that way, I don't recommend handicapping the experience further by going to Six Flags.

If there is any bright side to this story, it's that the Texas Giant coaster isn't Superman-themed. It's a refreshing change of pace for 2013 to hear that Superman is not killing people.

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The middle of three lists of movies for October.

241. Exporting Raymond (2010)
I must be the exception that proves the rule that Everybody Loves Raymond, but I did very much enjoy this documentary of the attempt to adapt the American sitcom for a Russian audience. Thanks for that recommendation, Randy.

242. Mean Girls (2004)
This was the movie that launched Tina Fey into the popular consciousness. It's not a bad teen comedy, but it's not an outstanding teen comedy, either. (Teen comedies, romantic comedies, and Frank Capra movies: if you've seen one, you've seen all of them.)

243. Blind Alibi (1938)
A sculptor interested in recovering some sensitive documents hidden in some art decides to pose as a blind man and buy a seeing-eye dog so that the museum will give him 24-hour, unfettered access to the museum collection. Yeah, it could happen.

244. Black Swan (2010)
Every shot in this film was a close-up of something, making the whole thing feel hideously claustrophobic. I thought this approach was odd in a movie set in the world of ballet, an art I typically associate with plenty of open space. I'm filing this in the category of "good movies I never want to see again."

245. Bewitched (2005)
The first of 3 television-to-movie adaptations that I watched this month (not counting the documentary mentioned above), and the least artistically successful of the three. This film spends so much time paying homage to the source material, it never really establishes its own identity as a separate story. It just sort of... is.

246. The Tuxedo (2002)
I caught this movie almost accidentally one night while trying to meet a deadline at work. Given its rather bland action scenes and broad humor, I would have expected it to be made for children except for the frequent sex jokes. Maybe it was meant immature adults. That's a pretty large audience, I guess.

247. The Great McGinty (1940)
A very enjoyable send-up of big city city politics. Highly recommended.

248. This is Cinerama (1952)
Cinerama was a precursor to Imax. This documentary promoting the concept leads with its strength, a roller coaster ride (specifically the Atom Smasher from Playland at Rockaway Beach, NY, which was dismantled in 1985) then limps through another hour-and-a-half of opera singers, landscapes, and tourist footage of Cypress Gardens (that closed on September 23, 2009, to be replaced by Legoland Florida on October 15, 2011). The film is generally booor-ring, but obviously I find the amusement park connections interesting.

249. Contraband (2012)
Mark Wahlberg stars as exactly the kind of character you expect to find Mark Wahlberg cast in a film that was somewhat better than I was expecting. There are no "good guys" in this film pitting bad guys against bad guys. I don't know if this is an endorsement, but I'm sure my father would like it.

250. I Spy (2002)
Ever seen Shanghai Noon? Replace Jackie Chan with Eddie Murphy, bring the movie into the 21st century, and you've seen this movie. I think it's weird that this movie is more like another movie than the television series it was based on, but I guess this is more loyal to the source material than Starsky & Hutch. Maybe Wilson should just stay away from tv-to-movie properties.

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Overheard on my local newscast: "I don't think Superman is going to want his name on this ride any longer." Oops, he did it again.

That comment was in reference to a malfunction on the brand new roller coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California. An unlucky dozen riders were left stranded high on a twisted track for an hour this weekend. As you should be able to guess by now, the coaster in question is a Superman-themed coaster, the ironically-named Superman: Ultimate Flight.

Clearly, the newsreader was not a visitor. As my well-informed readers already know, you should never, ever get on a Superman-themed thrill ride in a Six Flags park. At least this time, Superman didn't maim or kill anyone. You should count yourself lucky if you're mistreated by Superman and all you get is a little dehydrated.

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To be continued...


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