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"Teen Beach 2" delights in its campiness

When the summer ends and school begins, it can be a bummer. But if you are friends with a bunch of stars from a magical move world, anything can happen.

When the original Disney Channel film "Teen Beach Movie," did well for the cable outlet, the young singing stars were bound for a sequel with all of the dance numbers and songs you’d expect from a production aimed at pre-teens. When "Teen Beach 2" aired in June, it brought in 13.5 million viewers. Now, it is available on DVD.

It would be easy to cast off the movie as average eye candy for the type of viewers who love "High School Musical" and shows like "K.C. Undercover" and "Girl Meets World." But, to be honest, "Teen Beach 2" deserves greater attention because it never pretends to be more than it is … a modern day update to the teen beach movies that made Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon household names back in their day.

I doubt young stars Ross Lynch and Maia Mitchell, who play the leads of Brady and Mack in the film, expect to star in Skippy peanut butter ads any time soon. But based on the audience reaction, they should plan on shooting a third installment of the film in Puerto Rico.

As the modern-day Brady and Mack step forth on the beginnings of their high school romance, their being sucked into the world of "West Side Story" though a magical bracelet provides the opportunity for some campy fun. When the bikers and straight-laced beach goers decide to enter the real world, they delight in how new and different the world is. However, they can’t resist getting the jocks, nerds, stoners, Goths and cheerleaders to all participate together in a singing and dance number on the outdoor cafeteria tables during school lunch.

The movie has a lot of campy moments like this one, but the characters know it is campy. That’s what they love about it.

Hey, it is magic after all.

The young teens in the household who like Disney Channel shows will enjoy this film that plays on stereotypes, disappearing magic…

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Kidd O'Shea of "Kidd and Elizabeth" mornings on WMYX-FM 99.1 The Mix, is leaving at the end of the month for a TV job in Washington, D.C.
Kidd O'Shea of "Kidd and Elizabeth" mornings on WMYX-FM 99.1 The Mix, is leaving at the end of the month for a TV job in Washington, D.C.

Kidd O'Shea leaving 99.1 The Mix

Kidd O’Shea knows where his roots are. And that is why he got a bit teary this morning.

On the "Kidd and Elizabeth Show" on WMYX-FM, O’Shea announced that he was leaving the station.

"I’m happy here, I have a great job and work for a great company. I love living in Milwaukee," O’Shea said this afternoon, talking about his listeners. "They raised me."

O’Shea is headed to WJLA-TV in Washington D.C., to be the new social media anchor on the station’s morning show.

"I have an agent, and he said that there’s a TV station that is interested," O’Shea said about the opportunity that came his way. "I flew out there and auditioned, and they offered me the job. I’m excited."

O’Shea has been both on radio and television, serving as a reporter on WISN-TV Ch. 12. He said that the opportunity to work full time in television came up, it was too good to pass up.

"I get to do the things that worked well in radio," he said about the melding of social media and morning television. "I will be talking about what the people are talking about that morning."

On his show today, he spoke of his TV dream he’s had since childhood.

"This goes back … to where I would pretend to anchor the TV news with three other imaginary anchors," he said.

You can see the video of his announcement on Facebook

O’Shea said that after the announcement today, he plans to keep doing what he has been doing and have chats with his co-host Elizabeth Kay. He doesn’t depart for the capital until September.

"This is all about moving forward," he said. "We had the announcement, and we’ll go back and do the show like we have for the next couple of weeks.

"Elizabeth will continue in that role … We were always in this 50-50."

O’Shea said that the response from the listeners has been overwhelming in its support. And he knows how special that is. O’Shea has always appreciated the one-on-one connection, no matter what platform that was on.

"Whenever you are invited into people…

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The film, "McFarland, USA," doesn't disappoint as an entertaining, and real, sports story.
The film, "McFarland, USA," doesn't disappoint as an entertaining, and real, sports story.

"McFarland, USA" tells a true story of Americana

The great thing about great sports movies is that the sports themselves are not all that great. What emerges is the story, and more often than not, it involves connections between people.

We see what it takes to overcome a challenge and that something can come from nothing if it is fueled by hard work, determination and an awesome spirit.

"McFarland, USA" doesn’t disappoint.

In the Blu-ray combo pack that came out on Tuesday, Kevin Costner offers an outstanding performance telling the real story of a coach and his cross country runners becoming champions.

In a predominantly Latino community where poverty is the norm, a group of novice runners triumph over incredible obstacles in a well put-together story that isn’t afraid to lean on the power of family, work ethic and commitment.

When in theater,s the film wasn’t a huge blockbuster. In my humble opinion, I think many people missed what is probably one of the best movies made last year. It is that good.

There are a few moments when the film gets lost on leading the audience from one moment to the next. It’s choppy in the middle. But the course is corrected to take us to the end.

Sure, the underdog story can become cliché. There’s the coach who is running out of employment options from flying off the handle in previous posts. He relocates his family into unfamiliar territory. He has to rethink what he think he sees, and only after working in the fields does he appreciate the effort his athletes make just to show up each day.

But beyond the cliché is Costner’s performance as coach Jim White. Sure, he takes license as the actor to make the performance work. But when you see the two interact – Costner and White – in the extras on the Blu-ray, you can see how remarkable of a job Costner did.

Costner talks to the real runners, he digs into the story of how McFarland wasn’t just a good sports story from California – but how it is a great story of doing something amazing. It is a story of Americana…

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As the tagline to "Strange Magic" says, "Everyone deserves to be loved." And this film does to. But, that won't be easy.
As the tagline to "Strange Magic" says, "Everyone deserves to be loved." And this film does to. But, that won't be easy.

"Strange Magic" casts no spell

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. A simple bit advice, handed down to me by my Grandma Lu a long time ago, has stuck with me. Although I should have heeded it more often that I have, thankfully I haven’t made as many missteps as some people in Hollywood have.

I get it, to be able to get a hit, you have to stick your neck out. And if you stick it out there enough times, you will get a smack on the head that will hurt. George Lucas, the mastermind behind "Star Wars" and "American Graffiti," has his bumps and bruises. He also has millions of dollars and lives on a ranch.

"Strange Magic," a music-filled fairy tale animated in perfection, is a prime example that just because you have the ability to make a film, does not mean you should.

The DVD released earlier this week features Evan Rachel Wood as Marianne, who finds love in an unlikely place … the bog, where Alan Cumming voices the Bog King.

My OnMilwaukee.com colleague Matt Mueller reviewed the film from Touchstone Pictures – Disney was smart enough not to put the Disney label on this animated tale.

"Did I see a new animated movie called ‘Strange Magic’ last night? Did that actually happen, or did I grind up DVD copies of ‘FernGully’ and ‘Moulin Rouge,’ snort up the resulting powder and go on a mind-boggling 90-minute feverish rock opera pixie nightmare?" Mueller wrote.

I can’t argue with Mueller, that the general audience would have to really watch, really hard to find something enduring in the film.

Maybe I’m too harsh. As the tagline says, "Everyone deserves to be loved." And this film does too. If you need to sing along to songs you have heard and see a little love story to feel better about your own life … then, by all means. Love this movie, love yourself, shine above all else. Life is too short to be gloomy all the time.

Sing, dance, love life and give your cash to people who don’t need it.

For those of you that want an honest review, then know an audience that…

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