What we can learn from ‘Frog and Toad at Magic Mountain’

Recently, I was walking home from work when I came across an oddly shaped piece of paper on the ground. Intrigued, I picked it up and found myself in possession of one of the most gripping, heartwarming, and inspiring piece of literature I have ever read: ‘Frog and Toad at Magic Mountain’

FrogAndToad

For those unaware, Frog and Toad were the creations of author and illustrator Arnold Nobel, who wrote four stories starring the aforementioned amphibians as they lived a happy life together. But not once did they ever go to Magic Mountain, an error that has now been rectified by the anonymous author of this masterpiece of literature, a tale that will no doubt eventually adapted into a full-length motion picture for the entertainment of millions. I can already see it winning every Academy Award in existence, along with several dozen more that will be invented to properly honor its unrivaled quality and splendor.

Now, let us sit back and take a look at this endearing tale, and eagerly receive the lessons it can impart to us all:

Protagonists who never, ever give up are the most inspiring of all

If there’s one thing ‘Magic Mountain’ demonstrates perfectly, it’s Frog and Toad’s sheer determination to press on in life, no matter the odds. Despite being approximately five inches tall, these two amphibian friends not only manage to reach Magic Mountain, but also ride human-sized rides. But, alas, they not only fall out of rides twice, but keep going, even after poor Toad gets smashed after falling from who-knows-how-high. And then, after going to the hospital, they decide to break their leg and arm broken after getting X-rays. But do they weep? Do they cry? Do they curse life and the merciless whims of a heartless god, who laughs at amphibians who want to enjoy amusement parks? No; even when crippled with broken limbs, they go home and live happily. Like all great protagonists, they refuse to let life get them down, and press onwards, no matter the odds. So inspiring!

Consider giving your protagonists a crippling mental defect

As noted above, Frog and Toad break their own limbs after getting an X-ray at the hospital. But why? What strange malady compelled them to injure themselves? By withholding the answer, the author invites us to meditate and reflect on what has happened to our brave protagonists, leading us to two possible answers:

1. The two have a mental illness, possibly Self-Injury Disorder,

2. The two have a brain defect that makes them immune to pain.

Either answer brings up all sorts of intriguing questions about Frog and Toad: What happened to them that makes them want to hurt themselves? Did they go to Magic Mountain not for fun, but to die, or experience the euphoric high of being injured? Did they decide not to go back because they failed to get that high, and have deemed the amusement park ineffecent for their desires? We don’t know, and probably will never know, but by withholding clear-cut answers, readers are allowed and invited to come to their own conclusions about Frog and Toad’s mental state, a course of action that all writers should remember: By not revealing everything about our protagonists, we invite readers to use their imagination, and to dream up far grander things than we ever could.

When all else fails, know when to call it quits

We never learn why Frog and Toad went to Magic Mountain; presumably it was to have a good time and enjoy all the fun and enchanting rides with each other. But despite their best efforts, Frog and Toad’s day of fun turned into a day of pain and suffering. Thus, at the end, despite their perseverance and eventually living happily, they decide to never go back to Magic Mountain.

In our day and age, popular culture tells us to never give up and never give in when faced with difficult times. But sometimes it’s more sensible to realize when our struggle is is futile, and when letting go is the wisest course of action. Having our protagonists realize this makes them not only brave, but smart, as it shows that they’re willing to let go of unrealistic dreams in pursuit of ones they can achieve.

In conclusion, ‘Frog and Toad at Magic Mountain’ is a timeless classic, an inspiring investigation of the paradox of never giving up on a dream of having fun, yet being willing to let it go when it only causes misery, broken limbs, and unhappiness. Truly, my life has been blessed at reading about these inspiring amphibians and their journey to Magic Mountain. Thank you, God, for nourishing my soul with the lessons this tale has to offer. May others be blessed with its priceless wisdom forevermore. Amen.

Favorite Moments: Goofy Alien Resurrection Subtitles

We all have our favorite moments in movies, books, and games, moments that stay with us long after the story is over. This column is my attempt to examine my favorite moments and see why they stick with me.

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The video:

Why it’s great:

I can’t say why this is great without spoiling it: Make sure closed captioning is turned on and press play (Note that this video is not safe for work).

Done?

What I adore about this video isn’t the clip itself, but the fact that whoever wrote the captions for for it decided to go nuts and turn the scene of Xenomorphs killing one of their own to escape a cell into them arguing about Five Nights at Freddy’s and eventually resorting to cursing in internet slang.

What makes these captions so bizzare is that Movie Clips is a company that legally hosts clips from movies and TV shows for fans to watch. Taking a scene and using wildly inaccurate subtitles conjures the image of a disgruntled employee deciding to have some fun behind his or her boss’ backs. I, for one, am glad that he or she did, as it takes a serious scene showcasing alien intelligence and remakes it as a comedy that turns the terrifying Xenomorph into cursing, slang-using aliens who hate the Five Nights at Freddy’s franchise. Even better, it retroactively making it easy to imagine aliens in previous films being immature jerks saying, “Comin’ to kill ya, LOL,’ ‘Haha u ded,’ and the like whenever they kill someone, which adds a whole new layer of entertainment to this long-running franchise.

Bravo to you, anonymous caption writer!

Just for Fun: ‘The Ritual’ sequels we’ll never get (that would be awesome)

Imagine for a moment that you’ve published a best-selling book, or have had one of your screenplays adapted into a blockbuster film. You’re now the darling of the literary world/Hollywood’s hottest author. The people are clamoring for your next masterpiece, and you have a choice to make: Do you write a new, original story, or do you write a sequel to the tale that has brought in enough money for you to buy a luxury yacht that would make Jeff Bezos jealous? (Don’t we wish?)

Let’s pretend that after the success of ‘The Ritual’s film adaptation, a franchise is born: Action figures, licensed sleepwear, coloring books, and a child’s cartoon show all are produced to satisfy the public’s need for more tales of Moder and Luke’s adventures, along with more movies! But what would those sequels look like? If history tells us anything about franchises, it’s that, no matter how great they are to begin, they will inevitably decline in quality over time as creators, having gone past the story’s natural ending point, resort to increasingly outlandish plots to attract viewers.

With that in mind, let’s theorize how some of those outlandish sequels to ‘The Ritual’ might be. Here are my guesses:

The Rituals

After barely escaping from Moder with his life, Luke makes a vow never to return to those accursed woods. But when dozens of campers go missing, the United States hires Luke as an adviser to a group of Marines heading in to free the campers, and he must one again face the terror in the woods.

The Third Ritual

Ten years have passed since Luke and the Marines defeated Moder by nuking her forest from orbit, and Luke has finally moved on with his life. But evil refuses to die, and when his wife and children are kidnapped and taken to the forest, Luke, now an obese, middle-aged man, must make one final trip into the forests of the damned to defeat Moder once and for all.

Revenge of the Ritual

Luke’s teenage son and daughter can’t wait for prom night to begin. Problem is, Moder can’t, either. Reborn after being carved in half by Luke’s chainsaw, she’s back for revenge, and aims to teach Luke that revenge is best served alongside fruit punch and refreshments in the gym.

The Ritual In Da Hood

Five years have passed since Luke’s son and daughter barely escaped from the worst prom ever. Now heading out on their own, they take up residence in the low-income neighborhoods of Los Angeles. But evil never dies, and soon they have to deal with bloodthirsty gangsters, drug dealers, corrupt politicians, and an evil god who refuses to die.

The Ritual: Back 2 Da Hood

They thought the terror was gone forever… but they should have known better. Now, to save themselves and Los Angeles, Luke’s son and daughter must unite all the gangs, pimps, hos, and low-income residents of Los Angeles to stand a chance of defeating Moder once and for all.

The Ritual: Tropical Getaway

Finally retired and ready to enjoy his golden years, Luke and his wife head for Hawaii for a week of fun in the sun. Little do they know that someone else has packed their suitcase and swimtrunks: Moder, who’s lust for vengeance knows no bounds.

The Ritual: Moder vs Mecha-Moder

Desperate to end Moder’s relentless attacks against his family, Luke heads to Japan and joins the world’s leading experts on robotics to create the only thing that has a chance of stopping Moder once and for all: a mechanical version of herself. Now, it’s flesh vs steel as two titans clash, with the fate of the earth at stake.

The Space Ritual

Luke and his family blast off as they join mankind’s first colony ship on the way to Alpha Centauri. But humanity’s quest to find a new home among the stars may end before it began, as Moder, having wrecked the earth beyond repair, seeks to conquer the universe. But Luke and his family won’t let humanity die without a fight in the final chapter of the Ritual saga.

The Ritual Babies

In this light-hearted prequel to the original story, a spell accidentally turns Moder into a child and sends her back in time to preschool, where she learns – with an equally young Luke, Dom, Phil, and Hutch – about the power of imagination, make-believe, and friendship. Sadly, the relentless teasing Moder endures from her new ‘friends’ turns into a murderous rage, setting up her quest to kill and enslave them decades later.

And for even more fun, here are some crossovers and comedies I’d love to see.

The Ritual 2 Fast 2 Furious

In this side story to ‘The Ritual in Da Hood’ and ‘The Ritual: Back 2 Da Hood’, Dom and the family find themselves racing their lives as Moder gets behind the wheel and challenges them to a series of increasingly lethal street races. In the wildly-popular finale, Vin Diesel and the Rock punch Moder to death.

The Ritual: First Blood

John Rambo thought he had left the battlefield for good. But when you’re pushed to the limit, killing’s as easy as breathing, as several death-metal teens are about to find out. Kidnapped as a sacrifice to Moder, Rambo now must use every skill he’s learned to put an end to the forest god and her unholy followers.

The Sharknado Ritual

Luke, Dom, Phil, Hutch, and Moder must put aside their differences and work together if they’re going to have any chance of surviving when a continent-sized sharknado heads towards their forest.

The Ritual: Adventures in Babysitting

Moder’s seen it it all throughout her many centuries of life, but she’s never had to tackle babysitting before! In this beloved family comedy, Moder finds herself babysitting several preschoolers when some of her followers head out to recruit more worshipers, and soon learns that not even godlike power is enough to make a rowdy 5 year old take a nap.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Ritual

In this radical adventure, Bill and Ted’s time traveling exploits deposits them in the mysterious forests of Sweden, where they’ll take on some viking death-metal teenagers in a battle of the bands! But even if they win, they’ll still have to fight off the totally wicked forest god out to enslave their minds! Good thing they’ve got Death and a bunch of historical figures backing them up!

Follow that Bird! A Sesame Street Ritual

When Big Bird tries to get back to Sesame Street after running away from his foster family, he takes a wrong turn and ends up lost in a remote Swedish forest. Now Grover, Bert, Ernie, the Count, Elmo, Oscar the Grouch, and all of Big Bird’s friends must journey into untold depths of terror to save their best friend. Features four Academy Award-winning songs:

‘In the Forests with My Friend’

‘Flayed Flag Fun!’

‘The Immortality Song’

‘Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!’