Archive for August, 2012

Pic of the Day: “I’ll be in your heart, Littlefoot. Let your heart guide you.”


Ranking Disney: #24 – The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Next to The Hunchback of Notre Dame, no film on this list had more upward mobility than The Princess and the Frog. I saw this movie in 2009 and thought — “Yeah, that was good, but it was pretty racist.” But, after a few years of  maturation, and a greater respect for Disney, I grew to like this film — a lot.

Racism and stereotypes aside — this is a terrific film. Now — story alone — this would probably be hovering around — say — 30. And that’s where I originally ranked this on my first draft of the list. It was around #33, #34. But, after a rewatch — well, you see where it ended up.

The reason for that climb is twofold — well, three. First, the animation is absolutely gorgeous. Absolutely spectacular. Second — and this is a two-parter. The film is very enjoyable, doing some great things visually and in terms of the writing (again, racism aside), and (this is the second part of number two) it shows respect to Disney films of old. There are a lot of visual references to other Disney films (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Fantasia, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, The Rescuers and Tarzan, to name a few), and that goes a long way with me. And third — and this should always be the most important — I cannot stress how important it was that Disney have a black princess. Sure, they did it kicking and screaming, using as many stereotypes as they could to cushion the fall, but the fact that they did it is a huge step for them, and that automatically makes this one of the better Disney films they’ve made. (Plus the animation is really nice.)

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Pic of the Day: “Once you do something, you never forget. Even if you can’t remember.”


Ranking Disney: #25 – Winnie the Pooh (2011)

This may be the purest and most innocent of all the Disney films. I dare you to watch this and not enjoy it.

This is basically a remake of the other Pooh film, even though it’s a sequel. The storyline that they follow, you’ll see, is almost exact. It’s more coherent as a plot, so there are differences, but you’ll see a lot of the general situations are exactly the same (some are more fleshed out, some less, but it’s all very similar). And that’s totally fine, because this film is magical.

I am, will will remain, a staunch defender of this film. It is so simple and beautiful. I refuse to believe any child under 6 will not enjoy this. It’s amazing.

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Pic of the Day: “Oh, Pooh, you went back for the honey, didn’t you? But I told you the pot was empty.” “Well, I believed you, but my tummy had to check for itself.”


Ranking Disney: #26 – The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)

I don’t think there’s any Disney film that’s as innocent and pure as a Winnie the Pooh film. Nothing. There’s not a single scary image in the film, and you can be a year old and enjoy it. You can’t really say that about any other Disney movie.

They’re also movies where absolutely nothing needs to happen and they’ll still be great. This is the kind of movie where you might think it’s not worth being this high, but when you watch it — it’s just incredible. I seriously like this more than most Disney movies. I can’t explain it. It just brings out the five-year old in me. And with movies, that’s never a bad thing.

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Pic of the Day: “Who’s that?” “They don’t like me.” “Who’s that?” “They don’t like me either.” “And who’s that?” “Let’s just assume for the moment that everyone in here doesn’t like me!”


Ranking Disney: #27 – Hercules (1997)

Hercules is another one of those Disney films I hadn’t seen when I was a child. So I came in with no frame of reference for it, and my reaction to it is pure.

It was almost exactly what I was expecting — tail end of Disney Renaissance, maintaining a good deal of the magic of the earlier films and including more and more of the little things that annoy me from the more recent films.

But even if there are parts that annoy me — the music is good, the visuals are outstanding, and the story works. And there’s some great characterization with the characters of Meg and Hades (and the voice work there is outstanding). That, to me, adds up to a great film, no matter what I think is wrong with it.

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Pic of the Day: “Congratulations on being voted King of the Mardi Gras parade.” “Caught me completely by surprise… for the fifth year in a row!”


Ranking Disney: #28 – Tarzan (1999)

Like most Disney movies post-Pocahontas, I didn’t see this film around the time when it came out. I didn’t see it until very recently. (The only Disney movies between Pocahontas and Bolt that I didn’t see for the first time within the past two months are Hunchback, Fantasia 2000, Emperor’s New Groove, and very, very few parts of Lilo & Stitch.) And I didn’t know what I’d make of it. I’m not the biggest fan of the Tarzan story. Most movies end up being the same for me. They have their fascinating aspects, but there’s only one way to skin that cat, you know?

But I figured I’d enjoy it enough to put it in this area, and from the start I assumed it would be in the 26-30 area. And when I watched it — it didn’t disappoint. I actually watched this one twice. The first time I saw it, I thought it was pretty good, but since I wasn’t totally invested in the story, I thought I might drop it to #31 or #32. But the second time I watched it, I realized how much I really liked certain aspects of it, particularly how they develop Tarzan and Jane’s relationship (aside from those goddamn montages they love doing these days), and how gorgeous the animation is.

Plus, who doesn’t love Phil Collins?

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Pic of the Day: “You were right about her, Mittens. She uh, well… it wasn’t real.” “No, Bolt, it is real. I was in there just now. I saw her face after you left. She’s brokenhearted. She doesn’t want just any dog. She loves you. She’s your person, Bolt, and you are her dog.”


The Box Office Report – August 17-19

Last week, in Box Office…

The Bourne Legacy exceeded most people’s expectations (but not as much as was initially reported) and made $38.1 million. The early estimates were $30-35 million, so it did slightly better than the higher end of expectations, but the initial Friday numbers were like, $45 million. I’m happier with this number. It feels right. I hear it’s pretty good, and since there’s no single reason why people don’t like it that I’ve heard from those who don’t like it (and most of the ones I’ve heard are stupid at that), so I’m hoping I really enjoy it.

The Campaign opened to $26.6 million. Second place. I’ll talk about this once I see it.

The Dark Knight Rises dropped to third, and pulled in another $19 million. They’ll hit $400 million on this by next weekend. Good for them.

Hope Springs opened to $14.7 million, which is to be expected out of the film, and actually pretty strong, all things considered. It also made $19 million from Wednesday, so to me, they’re doing really well so far.

Total Recall, on the other hand (which I saw and really enjoyed. I don’t know what most of you fuckers were expecting, but I thought it was well worth my time), dropped almost 70% in its second weekend, making $8 million and only $44 million after two weeks. It cost $125 million (and lord knows how much to market), so — ouch. (more…)


Ranking Disney: #29 – The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

I have an interesting history with this film. I’d never seen it until junior year of college, when some friends decided they really wanted to watch it. So, I sat with them, in my room, on Halloween night, 2008, watching this (before I went out and got shitfaced, but you know).

I remember watching it and thinking that it was okay, but was definitely not the classic Disney I remembered from when I was a kid. And in the three years between that night and when I saw it for these articles, my opinion of it went down considerably. I just didn’t remember it as a good film, and I was perfectly ready to put this very low on this list. Very low. I think I originally shortlisted it high-30s, and then at one point it was as low as like, 41. But the time came for me to actually watch it and find a specific place for it, and, I have to say — I was very surprised at how good this actually is.

I’m not sure why I didn’t think this was very good, but, after watching it again, I realize that my idea of the Disney Renaissance ending in 1995 wasn’t the case at all. (It ended in 2000.) This is a very solid film all-around, the the worst thing I can say about it is — why the hell isn’t it on Blu-ray yet?

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Pic of the Day: “What’s going on? Why aren’t you seizing the boy?” “I have a big head and little arms. I’m just not sure how well this plan was thought through.”


Ranking Disney: #30 – The Rescuers (1977)

The Rescuers is a film I’d guess a lot of people hold near and dear. One that would be ranked a lot higher on most lists.

Unfortunately, I did not grow up with this film, and didn’t see it until about a month or two ago. Which does two things — allows me to be objective about it, and doesn’t allow for nostalgia to enter into my ranking. You’d think that second part is basically the same as the first part, but it’s not. Sometimes nostalgia is a good thing, even if it is subjective.

While I really liked the movie, and totally get why it’s a classic — I just can’t rank it any higher than this because, to me, it’s just not as good as the rest of the movies that are higher on the list. I just didn’t enjoy it as much as those other ones. Now, with the sheen of nostalgia and having grown up with it laid on top of it, I’m sure I’d have had this about six or seven spots higher. But I didn’t, so, here it is:

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Pic of the Day: “Tough morning?” “I had a run-in with my old nemesis.” “Gum on the crosswalk?” “He won this round.” “Your old foe.” “Mmm-hmm.”


Ranking Disney: #31 – Robin Hood (1973)

Oh… Robin Hood.

This is a film that I suspect most people would rank a lot lower than I am. And I’m cool with that. The thing with a lot of these Disney movies — it comes down to how much you love the source material. Like Tarzan or Hercules or Pocahontas — these really famous stories — if you don’t like the source material, no matter how good and entertaining the film is, you’re just not gonna be fully there. I happen to love the Robin Hood story, and one of my favorite movies is The Adventures of Robin Hood. And this, to me, is a Disney version of that. So, even though the film has that 70s Disney feel to it — I love it.

I can’t defend this film against people who want to attack it. (Though, really, why would you attack it? There’s nothing wrong with it unless you’re putting it up against other Disney movies.) You want to call it slow, you want to say there’s not much here, story-wise, you want to say they reuse characters and animation — fine. But to me, it comes down to story. And I love this story. So that’s why I have it above all the other films ranked below it on my list.

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Pic of the Day: “We’d better get to the town quickly. The vultures are circling… Hey, she’s not dying!” “You sure? We could wait around!” “We’ll keep you posted!” “Sorry Clem. False alarm!”


Ranking Disney: #32 – Lilo & Stitch (2002)

Lilo & Stitch — this was really the only Disney movie I’d seen, post-2000, and I saw it at that age where I was “too mature” for Disney movies. I thought I outgrew that stuff. It came out when I was 13, and at that time, I was graduating to stuff like The Godfather and Pulp Fiction and stuff. So to me, Disney movies were childish stuff. I remember my sister liked this movie a lot. And I would look down on it. And that attitude sort of stayed with me over the years. Until I watched it this time, of course.

I had it in my mind that this wasn’t a particularly good movie. But when I watched it — I was surprised at how much parts of the film legitimately touched me, and made me feel something for the characters. But overall, there are parts of it that just feel way too unnecessary and overdone, and that kind of taints the overall film for me. I really wanted to rank this higher, but I just couldn’t. I like it a lot, but, when I look at it as an overall film, it always ends up here.

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Pic of the Day: “This year, I lost my dear husband, Edgar.” “Quit tellin’ everyone I’m dead!” “Sometimes I can still hear his voice.”


Ranking Disney: #33 – The Fox and the Hound (1981)

The Fox and the Hound is one of those films — I think of it as a classic. That is, I’ve always thought of it as a classic. I guess because the title feels like an iconic Disney film. But it’s obviously not on the level as the heavy hitters. You can tell that without having even seen it. I knew nothing about this film until I bought it on Blu-Ray when they released it this past year or last year or whenever it was.

It’s the kind of film — by itself, the plot is definitely one of Disney’s weakest. There’s really not much of a plot here, and considering the run time, doesn’t have much of a pace to it. And yet — as you watch it — it works. I can’t explain why it works, but it does. I’m sure there are people who would feel this should go higher, and probably more who feel it should go lower (especially considering some of the films I’ve ranked below it), but — I don’t know. I just feel like it hits the right notes to belong where it is. It’s obviously not one of the most entertaining of all 51, but there’s just something about it that makes me feel happy. It’s just simple. And to me that counts for a lot.

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Pic of the Day: “I’m Captain Amelia. Late of a few run-ins with the Procyon Armada, nasty business, but I won’t bore you with my scars. You’ve met my first officer, Mr. Arrow? Sterling, tough, dependable, honest, brave and true.” “Please, Captain…” “Oh, shut up, Arrow. You know I don’t mean a word of it.”


Ranking Disney: #34 – The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

Disney does Holmes. That’s what this is. Why as a mouse — I don’t really know. But you know — it works. Though this is 1986 — there’s a far superior mouse film somewhere out there from 1986. Just sayin’.

But anyway — it’s Holmes, and Holmes is always interesting, no matter the iteration. Disney does a good job with it. It’s a solid film. I don’t really have anything bad to say about it. But, on the other hand, I don’t really have anything glowing to say about it, either. It’s a solid film, and for me, it’s in that middle area between Disney’s best stuff and Disney’s worst stuff. Just a solid Disney movie. Good parts, bad parts, but overall, it works. (Though no songs. Come on, Disney. Get back with the program, he said, knowing what would happen in 1989.)

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Pic of the Day: “Did you lose your job because of Stitch and me?” “Nah. The manager’s a vampire. He wanted me to join his legion of the undead.” “I knew it.”