Phineas McBoof’s Adventures Should Be In Every Family’s Music Library

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

Late last month Doctor Noize and his fellow musicians, Th International Band of Misunderstood Geniuses, released the group’s latest adventure from Phineas McBoof.  The album, Phineas McBoof Crashes The Symphony was the seeming finale in the ongoing story of the world-renowned musical monkey.  If it was indeed the final movement (bad pun fully intended) in Phineas’ musical story then it was quite the ending.  Luckily for those that might be new to Phineas and his adventures, the first two “chapters” in his adventures are also available.  And they are available not just on CD but also in print.  The story’s first chapter is titled The Ballad of Phineas McBoof and the second “chapter” The Return of Phineas McBoof.  For those that might be new to adventures of Phineas and his band mates, both chapters are just as enjoyable as the latest.  This applies both to the stories’ print and musical platforms.  This critic will attempt to explain why in as much depth as possible and as clearly as possible beginning with each chapter’s story.  The presentation style of each “chapter” is just as important to note as its story.  That will be discussed later.  Last but most definitely not least of note in examining these two stories is the visual imagery that is used in the stories’ print platforms.  It plays just as much of a role in each chapter as each chapter’s story and the manner in which each is told.  Each element is clearly important in its own right to the whole of these two chapters in McBoof’s story.  Altogether they make the first two “chapters” of Phineas McBoof’s story just as enjoyable for listeners as its latest (and last?) entry.

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

The first two “chapters” in the story of Phineas McBoof and the International Band of Misunderstood Geniuses are not new releases for 2016.  That goes without saying.  For those that might not be so familiar with the adventures of the musical monkey and his fellow animal band mates though, these two chapters make a great introduction to the group and its adventures.  That is due in part to the story presented within each chapter.  Each of the story’s first two chapters tells one part of how the band came together.  In “Chapter One,” The Ballad of Phineas McBoof , listeners learn that the whole story came to be because Phineas had become tired of the rock star life that he led.  Doctor Noize points out that Phineas wanted something new because his stardom had left him in fact feeling trapped.  So he set out to start over so to speak, leading him to meet the first members of his new band—Backbone the Octopus, Bottomus the Hip Popotamus, Riley the Robot, Lenny Long Tail, and the Ooh Gah Boo Gus.  The Return  of Phineas McBoof continues that story, introducing Sidney The Beak, Luciano Frogerati, Jose, and Placido the Flamingo.  At the second “chapter’s” conclusion Phineas once again disappears, which sets up the story’s latest installment, and likely its last.  The story is in itself fun throughout both “chapters” That is because of just how original it is both in the realm of children’s music and in the realm of children’s literature.  Speaking of those two realms they “play” into the next important element of each chapter, its presentation style.

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

Courtesy: Doctor Noize, Inc.

The story that is presented in the first two “chapters” of Phineas McBoof’s tale is in itself plenty of reason for families to add them to their home music libraries.  It is the story of how Phineas and his band mates came to meet and form their musical collective.  While the story presented in each “chapter” is entertaining in its own right the story itself is just one of those installments so enjoyable.  The manner in which each “chapter” is presented—its presentation style—is just as important to note here as the story.  Each installment is presented both in musical and print platform.  The two platforms compliment each other perfectly.  The print platforms tell the story in a style that would make Dr. Seuss proud if he were alive today.  That is proven in the rhyme scheme used within each book and the very words that are used including the characters’ names.  The books’ musical companions complete the experience.  That is because they take the tales told in the story’s books and expand on them even more with an even fuller telling of the story complete with various musical genres and pop culture references (including references to Thelonius Monk, Ringo Starr, The Beatles, etc.).  Each presentation in itself does its own share to entertain listeners of all ages.  The pair works together to keep listeners completely entertained throughout each tale.  Even as entertaining as the story’s dual presentation style is in its bigger picture, that dual presentation style is still not all that makes the first two “chapters” of Phineas’ story so enjoyable.  The imagery that is presented in the story’s literary platforms rounds out the story’s most important elements.

The story that is told through the first two “chapters” of Phineas McBoof’s tale is in itself more than enough reason for listeners of all ages to check out these two tales.  They form a solid foundation for the final “movement” in Phineas’ adventure.  The two different ways in which the story is told in each “chapter” makes Phineas’ adventure all the more enjoyable.  It is told both in print and through music.  Both platforms expertly complement one another, making the story even richer.  While the story’s dual presentation offers a certain sense of completion for listeners, it does not make Phineas’ story one hundred percent complete.  The illustrations that are used in the story’s literary presentations complete the adventures presentation.  It is clear that the artwork that is presented in each book was crafted wholly via computer.  On the surface that might not seem very creative.  But in a deeper sense, it actually is very creative.  Parents might recognize the artworks style as being very similar to that used in the classic Super Nintendo game Donkey Kong, Jr.  It is an artistic style that has been very rarely used since the days of that game (and video game system) if at all.  The world created through the artwork is rich and vivid.  The scenes that are presented are, in whole, expert visualizations of the given scenes, too.  They do a wonderful job of bringing those scenes to life.  That is especially the case when taking in the story’s broader musical presentation.  Audiences will not just see the scenes come to life, but advance in their own minds.  This brings everything full circle.  It makes suspension of disbelief all the easier for audiences and in turn makes the story all the more entertaining and engaging.  Keeping all of this in mind, The Ballad of Phineas McBoof and The Return of Phineas McBoof prove themselves to be wonderful additions to any family’s home library and a wonderful start to the tale of Phineas’ adventures.  This applies whether audiences already own McBoof’s latest adventure or not.

Cory Cullinan (a.k.a. Doctor Noize) has crafted in The Ballad of Phineas McBoof and The Return of Phineas McBoof a solid foundation for the adventures of the famed musical monkey.  That is due in large part to the story presented in each tale.  Each one is a fun tale of how Phineas and his fellow musicians first met and set out to write the greatest song ever.  The story’s dual presentation makes the overall story so rich.  That is because its print and musical platform compliments the other with its own original elements.  The illustrations that are used in the story’s literary form complete the experience.  They make the story truly come to life and pull audiences in both in reading the story and experiencing it musically.  Each element is important in its own way to each “chapter” of the story.  Altogether they bring both chapters together to make them one whole experience that the whole family will enjoy regardless of their familiarity with the adventures of Phineas McBoof.  Both “chapters” are available now and can be ordered on record and in literary form now at Doctor Noize’s official website.  More information on those “chapters” and Phineas’ latest adventure is available online now along with all of Doctor Noize’s latest news at:










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WHV Finally Gets It Right On Its Latest Peanuts DVD Release

Courtesy:  Warner Brothers Home Video

Courtesy: Warner Brothers Home Video

Warner Home Video has struggled quite a bit in the past year or so with its home releases. The 2013 releases of Tiny Toon Adventures Volume 4, Taz-Mania: Season 2 Part 1, and Hats Off To Dr. Seuss were all troubled with their own problems. 2014 hasn’t exactly been off to much of a better start thanks to the release of The Flintstone Kids: Rockin’ in Bedrock. That release presented only the main Flintstone Kids shorts minus the companion Captain Caveman and Son and Dino shorts. That alone took off major points from that set. But now WHV has finally started to pick up the ball and get things back on the right track thanks to the brand new release of This is America, Charlie Brown. This brand new double-disc has officially made its own spot on this critic’s list of the year’s best new DVDs and Blu-rays for families and children. The primary reason for that the features included in this set are both entertaining and educational. Another reason for the set’s enjoyment is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate each “lesson.” The last factor to examine in what makes This is America, Charlie Brown a success is its packaging. Each of the noted factors by themselves, play important roles in the success of the set. Together, they make this brand new release one of the year’s best new box sets for families and children.

The first and most important factor in the success of This is America, Charlie Brown is the combination of both entertainment and education. The eight features spread across the set’s two discs educate viewers in such fashion that it doesn’t even feel like viewers are being taught. Thanks to the legacy of the Peanuts gang, it feels more like viewers are going on a fun field trip through America’s history than just learning about history from another documentary. There are even some fun little pop culture references that parents will appreciate along the way. One of those references is to the command module of the Apollo 10 being named Charlie Brown. Lucy comments on this saying that she doesn’t know where such a name could have come from. The kids also see their own comic strip hanging in the Smithsonian Museum of Art. The little reference there is just as funny. On a more subtle level, audiences that know anything about animation history will appreciate Frank Welker (The Real Ghostbusters, Curious George, Garfield & Friends) as the voice of a number of characters here including Wilbur Wright in “The Wright Brothers at Kitty Hawk.” Gregg Berger (Garfield & Friends, Aahhh!!! Real Monsters, G.I. Joe) joins Welker as the voice of Wilbur’s brother Orville. This isn’t the only feature to which Berger and Welker offer their talents, either. Lou Rawls joins them in “The Music and Heroes of America” and makes the journey all the more enjoyable even as being an educational journey. It serves as one more example of how the combination of education and entertainment is such an important factor in the success of this set. It isn’t the only important factor to the set, either.

The combination of entertainment and education in the features that make up This Is America, Charlie Brown is a solid foundation for the mini-series in whole. Just as important to the set’s success is the use of both hand drawn animation and historical photos to help illustrate and advance each story. Kids will be entertained by the hand drawn animation. And parents that grew up in the days of true animation will appreciate the original animation style of this Peanuts presentation. Those behind the mini-series balanced the animated segments with just enough historical photos to help drive home the stories in each feature. They even included some vintage video to help advance each “lesson,” too. And that video is just as balanced. The resultant effect is a presentation in each feature that will keep viewers of any age fully engaged from start to finish. It’s one more aspect of the whole mini-series that maintains the set’s value.

The visual presentation of the mini-series’ features and the ability of the features to entertain and educate without being too outright about their educational purpose are key to the success of This Is America, Charlie Brown. There is still one more factor to examine in the set in considering what makes it worth the purchase and the watch. That factor is the set’s overall packaging. Both of the discs in the set are placed on their own spindle inside the case. On one level, this protects the discs from scratching one another, thus increasing their life span. On another level, it minimizes the size of the box used to contain the discs. The bigger picture of this is that it conserves space on any viewer’s DVD rack. So not only is the mini-series in whole educational and entertaining, its case is ergonomic. Sure, there’s little else to the set whether extrinsic or even intrinsic. It’s a bare bones presentation. But these factors together make This Is America, Charlie Brown a much needed win for Warner Home Video and for fans that have waited so many years for this mini-series to get a proper release.

This Is America, Charlie Brown is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct online from the WB Shop at To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Even as a remake, audiences will love The Lorax

The new re-make of Dr. Seuss’ classic, The Lorax is an interesting conundrum of a movie.  It’s not the first of the Dr. Seuss classics that’s been re-imagined for the big screen.  After the failure that was The Cat in The Hat, the mostly lackluster remake of Horton Hears a Who, and the so-so live action rendition of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, hopes for The Lorax were understandably not exactly the highest.  Despite that, it’s actually a good movie in its own right.

It’s been just over forty years since the original rendition of The Lorax first debuted.  The original classic animated feature presents the world of the Lorax in a very dark, gloomy setting.  One could argue that the general vibe of the original is rather pessimistic; it could almost be argued that it was a prime example of art imitating life.  Perhaps that was the general vibe of the nation at that time.  This most recent re-imagining has much brighter colors, thus creating a happier, more hopeful feel.  It could be argued that this more hopeful feeling is a result of the world becoming more aware and taking the original “unless” warning of the Once-ler to heart.  The world is increasingly taking efforts to go paperless as much as possible from work life to daily life.  This increased attempt to save paper products and take better care of the Earth in general has made a big change in the world, thus perhaps prompting this Lorax’s world to not feel as gloomy and pessimistic.

The story behind The Lorax has generally transferred over to this new adpatation.  Given, liberties have been taken here and there.  But the reminder that the world still has work to do in order to get on the right track is still there, too.  While a similar environmental message is prevalent in the story, other aspects of the movie have changed.  For instance, the addition of Betty White’s Grammy Norma is a change from the original.  And Danny Devito’s is a little harder edged than that of Bob Holt in the original 1972 version.

This rendition of The Lorax sees some changes to the story and to the character lineup, in connection.  For the alterations, it’s still not that bad of a retelling.  The one downside to this version of The Lorax lies in its “animation.”  This Lorax is presented in much the same way as nearly every other “animated” feature today.  Rather then being actual hand drawn animation, it’s presented in the now standard cg-based format.  This seems like a menial aspect.  But animation style used to be one of the primary defining characteristics of real animated features before the advent of cg-based movies.  Because it is another cg-based movie, it takes a certain amount of originality out of the movie.  Dr. Seuss’ original animated features all had a signature style unlike that of any other features.  Again, that style defined his features.  So not having that specific style sadly lumps it in with every other recent “animated” feature, to a certain extent. 

The new 2012 Lorax is not a terrible adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ classic character.  Even despite the addition of at least one new character, and other liberties having been taken with the story, it’s still nice to see that it attempts to stay true to the original story.  The only real downside to this remake is that like so many kids’ movies today, it lacks any real originality in its animation.  Other than that single issue, this update to the Dr. Seuss classic is still worth at least one watch.