movie

Review for “A Christmas Story” (1983)

A man named Ralphie narrates a time from his childhood many years ago, when he was 9 years old. He is preparing for Christmas and wants a BB-gun, but is constantly told, “You’ll shoot your eye out.” Yet, Ralphie remains determined.

This film was a pretty difficult watch. Not only is it because it’s about a kid who wants a weapon, which wouldn’t be acceptable today, but also that the characters are too unlikable and stereotypical. It wasn’t until after I watched it that the unbelievable characters were done on purpose. It turns out that Ralphie’s memories were exaggerated. However, that doesn’t make it more enjoyable for me.

For instance, Ralphie says a four-letter word when he makes a mistake as he and his dad are getting a Christmas tree. He gets in an extreme amount of trouble for that. On the other hand, when the pure-evil bullies taunted him, he beat one of them to the point that the other boy bled. And he seemed to be praised for that.

Another moment that bugged me was when the mall was closing, the elf people and Santa scared the kids who came up to him. Yet the line didn’t shorten, no one complained, or tried to report the people in elf and Santa costumes to authorities. I don’t know if that would have happened in the 1940’s, when the film is set. But the children should’ve left, horrified—at the very least.

Regardless of the flaws, there are some good moments in this movie. As Ralphie and his family were leaving the mall, four people in “Wizard of Oz” outfits did their “We’re off to see the wizard” dance behind them. There was also a parade with Snow White and Mickey Mouse. And despite the other characters lacking appeal to me, Ralphie was developed well and was, perhaps, the most believable and relatable person.

I would rate “A Christmas Story” 3 out of 5 stars. If a movie is supposed to exaggerate their characters and not make them 100 percent accurate to a person’s memory, they should state that before the opening scene. No one should have to rely on outside material to watch or read anything.

movie

Have You Noticed These Unique (and Kind-of Strange) Details in Disney Movies?

Who doesn’t love Disney? Many of us grew up with Disney classics whether they were older like “The Little Mermaid” or more recent, like “Frozen”. While I absolutely adore and enjoy Disney films, there are some details that have stood out to me in recent years. And I am not exactly pleased by them.

1: Good looks on human characters rarely exist after age 30

Many Disney protagonists are young, often ranging from younger child to teen to young adult. Since the turn of the century, however, there have been more adult main characters older than teens. I’m assuming Carl from “Up” is the oldest Disney protagonist to date. He’s in his 70’s.

Anyway, as I look at the secondary characters, as well as the villains, who are either supposed to be (or are possibly) over 30, I notice that many of them lack the attractive looks that the characters in their 20’s or younger possess. There are exceptions of younger characters who aren’t as handsome or beautiful, but a lot of adult Disney characters have large or long noses and are too skinny or heavy. Very few are as good-looking as the young people.

Um…hello? People can be as good-looking as late as their 50’s, 60’s, or even 70’s. Some mature TV shows, such as “The Simpsons” and “Family Guy” are better at acknowledging this fact. Believe it or not, both Flanders and Quagmire are in their sixties. But they look incredibly youthful and good for their ages.

It’s not just in Disney’s 2D-animated movies where this happens. I looked at the extras in “Frozen” and saw this same detail there too.

2: Males often have drastically bigger hands and feet than females

Regardless of age, males’ hands and feet in Disney movies are often very big and wide, while females often have much smaller and thinner hands and feet. In fact, there are times where the males’ hands are so big that they could injure the females’ tinier and skinnier hands. The only exception I notice where this detail is absent is in “Tarzan”, when Tarzan and Jane place each other’s hands together. The sizes are similar, but it was for plot convenience. Since noticing this detail, I’ve always wondered if this promoted male superiority. Hopefully, not.

3: Non-verbal animals understand human language way too easily

While Disney is known for talking-animals (although it’s rare that they speak to people), when the animals make the same sounds as their real types do, they understand words much too easily. This was especially strange in “Pinocchio”, when he and Jiminy Cricket are asking the sea creatures about the dangerous whale, and underwater. That went a little too far with believability and setting examples for children. Kids, don’t try this in real life.

Anyway, to an adult, this looks too bizarre. In real life, animals can only understand tone. Even highly intelligent animals, such as dogs, don’t understand English. Parrots may mimic words, but their brains aren’t going to process language the same way humans do.

So, there you have it. Are there any unique details you notice in Disney films?

TV show

These are a Few of my Favorite “Bugs Bunny” Moments

As a child, I cared more for “Tom and Jerry” and used to laugh my brains out at that, which I can’t do anymore while viewing it. Anyway, I’m more into “Looney Toons” than “Tom and Jerry” now. That being said, I did watch some “Looney Toons” when I was a kid.

Anyway, here are my top favorite “Bugs Bunny” moments:

3: When Bugs is forced into an oven, but doesn’t suffer

Mac forces Bugs into an oven to roast him, but he comes out to gather more items such as water. Then he tries to fool Mac into thinking there’s a party to get him into the oven. Little does Bugs know that the party was real and he joins in with it.

2: The “Southern Bugs Bunny” scene

Mac calls Bugs a Yankee and lives like it’s still the mid-1800’s, when the civil war was happening. Bugs comes up in blackface (which I don’t like in general) and sings “Old Kentucky Home”. Shortly after, he sings “Yankee Doodle”. Despite the blackface moment, this clip was still great.

1: The “Hillbilly Hare” music video

It starts with a country singing scene on the TV in the cartoon. Bugs is even dressed in female attire while two bearded men are also dancing. Then Bugs unplugs the TV and plays his own song, where he tells the other guys to do silly, ridiculous things. And they listen, no matter how dumb or uncivil the instructions are. It was absolutely funny, but wouldn’t be humorous in real life. Nevertheless, this one is my favorite moment.

Do you have any favorite “Bugs Bunny” or “Looney Toons” moments?

TV show

My “Cartoon Network” Analysis and Views on How it Evolved

If you were born in the early 90’s or before that, you probably remember these features of Cartoon Network, such as Cartoon, Cartoon Fridays, Cartoon Theater, Toonami, and possibly Toonheads Trivia. You may also recall when the logo spelled out the whole network name instead of just “CN”.

For me, Cartoon Network was at its golden days in the early 2000’s. It started in either 1991 or 1992 with old shows, like “The Flintstones”. When I watched Cartoon Network as a child, I would view shows such as “Dexter’s Laboratory”, “The PowerPuff Girls”, and “Johnny Bravo”. Some of my favorites also included “Ed, Edd, and Eddy” and “Tom and Jerry”.

Unfortunately, by the time I was finishing elementary school in 2004, the format and other details changed overnight. The logo became CN, the narrator for the channel was new, and there would be commercials after the shows’ opening themes and before the episodes began. There were also new shows that didn’t please me or others, especially the live-action shows. The channel also apparently got rid of Cartoon, Cartoon Fridays and replaced it with Hub-Hub Thursdays. Someone in a YouTube comment made a very good point when he or she said, “Kids stay up late on Fridays, not Thursdays.” Maybe it changed now—I don’t know.

Kids today probably appreciate and accept the shows and current format of Cartoon Network. I have no clue what it’s like now as I no longer watch live TV, thanks to having online video sources. However, I still prefer 2001-2004 Cartoon Network. Many people like the original classic version, too. But now I’ve moved on. Nevertheless, I’ll always consider the early Cartoon Network days the best.

movie

Feed Me This Critique of “Little Shop of Horrors” (1986)

Warning: contains spoilers***

One of the earliest movies to be rated PG-13, this story follows a young man, named Seymour, who is trying to please his boss with a plant business. One plant becomes incredibly popular and then gruesome.

I will stop there with the narration. Below are what I liked about this film and what I felt could’ve been better.

This post will only include information about the movie from 1986 and not the earlier movie from 1960 or the live musical.

So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on this film, starting with the strengths.

1: The Musical Numbers

The songs were great. In fact, they were done by the same people who did Disney-animated movies such as “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”. While the music doesn’t sound too similar, and obviously, the story is more mature, the structure of the film is similar to that of a Disney classic. Between the midpoint and the all-is-lost moment is a romantic number between Seymour and his love interest, Audrey.

2: The Twist Where the Plant Talks

Seymour called the plant an Audrey II to honor the lady he had strong feelings for. It started out as a normal plant. Then, when Seymour cut himself, he fed the blood to the plant. It would make smacking sounds when it was hungry. When it grew bigger, it surprisingly could talk. It would tell Seymour to keep feeding it. I loved when Seymour said to the plant at some point, “Don’t think you’re getting dessert.” Lol.

3: Seymour’s Character Development

While Seymour was nicer to Audrey than her abusive boyfriend, the dentist, was, he wasn’t without his flaws. Although the dentist had already died from the laughing gas, Seymour’s boss thought Seymour was killing the dentist. Seymour feared trouble with the cops, turned down journalists and people in the publicity business when they wanted to advertise his plant and offer him money, and even brought something to defeat the dentist before he perished from the laughing gas. Of course, Seymour is still a good guy who’s had a tough life. He was orphaned at a young age and his boss raised him, but not in a pleasing way.

Now onto the parts I felt could’ve been better.

1: Audrey’s Ideal Life Explained in the Number, “Somewhere that’s Green”

I first discovered this song in “Family Guy”, when Herbert imagines a life with Chris. The lyrics there and in “Little Shop of Horrors” are mostly the same. Audrey imagines a life with Seymour where he rakes and trims the grass and Audrey is a happy wife into cleaning and cooking. Some of her other dreams included TV dinners and a 9:15 bedtime. I know this story was written and is probably set in the late 50’s or early 60’s, when standards for women were different. But seeing this in 2019, I found those ideas too bizarre and unappealing. Most women probably wouldn’t dream of a life like Audrey does during that moment.

2: A Dentist that Scares and Hurts People Still Succeeds in his Job

I know this is a past decade, but why would anyone want to go to a scary dentist? He causes pain the wrong way and harms people physically at times. Why doesn’t anyone report him? Or at least not come back? He should’ve lost patients due to his bad practicing.

Last, but not least, onto an idea that I’m unsure about.

A Happy or Sad Ending

Originally, the film was going to end where Audrey dies, Seymour feeds her body to his plant, and then the plant eats Seymour after. That was in the director’s cut, which you can get on the DVD. However, the theatrical release showed a happy ending, where Seymour defeats the plant and he and Audrey get married, living happily ever after. While I’ve always preferred happier endings to stories, I find that the sad ending fits the tone and premise more. At the same time, I was more satisfied with the happily-ever-after ending. I guess both are equally fine.

I would rate this film 4 out of 5 stars.

movie

Ranking of Disney Princess’s Fathers

While mothers rarely exist in Disney films, fathers often do. Some are likable, and others aren’t.

I know I said I would rank the Disney princess’s dads. However, I am not going to do all of them. Some don’t have paternal figures in their movies, such as Snow White and Cinderella—they have evil stepmothers. Anyway, the princess’s fathers I will rank will include King Triton, Ariel’s father, Maurice, Belle’s dad, the sultan, Jasmine’s dad, and Powhattan, Pocahontas’s father.

Note that these are only my personal opinions with the ranking from least to most likable. Also, be warned that there are spoilers below.

4: King Triton

I find King Triton to be one of the least likable fathers in Disney films. He has a terrible prejudice toward humans (even though he and the other merfolk are all half humans as well as half fish), a very hot temper, especially with Ariel, and doesn’t seem to suffer consequences for his actions, such as destroying the things in Ariel’s grotto. That moment made him so evil, I hated him more than Ursula. No wonder some YouTube video considered King Triton a good character who was actually a villain.

If Atlantica had CPS, and they penalized King Triton for the destruction of Ariel’s grotto as well as his other major flaws, and took all his daughters away, including those (possibly) over 18, I would have supported that. We all should be responsible with our actions and if we can’t, we suffer consequences.

Destroying your child’s huge collection out of anger is the equivalent to setting someone’s house on fire. Not only did I find it disappointing that King Triton never apologized to Ariel for the destruction of her stuff as well as either re-created it with his rake or provided her new items, but also never paying the price for that. That doesn’t include him trading places with Ariel to be Ursula’s polyp prisoner or when his seahorse messenger told him that he couldn’t find Ariel, Flounder, or Sebastian.

On the bright side, King Triton does advocate for Ariel when Ursula tries to hurt her after she went from being a human back to a mermaid, and allows Ariel to become a person with legs again to rejoin Eric. At least he changes his views on humans.

3: The Sultan

While not nearly as hot-tempered as King Triton (if anything, the opposite), he neglects Jasmine’s access outside the palace. The “Aladdin” live-action remake states that the sultan forbids Jasmine to leave the palace because her mother was killed out there. However, in the animated version, it’s only because she’s a princess. Couldn’t he just require Jasmine to be escorted by bodyguards instead? That’s how it is in real life for the royals, president and his family, as well as other highly elite people. Secret service bodyguards are mandatory for them.

Another flaw is that he forces Jasmine to get married by a certain year in her life (either her 15th or 16th) within a few days from when she first appears in the animated movie. And the guys who come to the palace and try to ask for her blessing are all old enough to be her dad, except Aladdin when he is disguised as Prince Ali. The sultan seemed to acknowledge him as the first young male to come as a suiter for Jasmine.

Since Jasmine is a minor, this whole situation is actually forced child marriage. I know it’s an ancient time period and a female getting married at no younger than 18 would probably be the equivalent of a woman getting married for the first time at age 50 today. Still, there are dangers to forced child marriage. Having a minor forced into marriage could be insensitive to those were forced to get married before the age of consent. There are still countries where that happens.

While the sultan is drastically more likable than King Triton, he still could do for some improvement (not counting the end of “Aladdin”, when he changes the law and lets the princess marry whomever she wants, even if he is not royal).

2: Powhattan

Powhattan allows Pocahontas the freedom to explore and wander, except during dangerous times. While he doesn’t have a temper and is usually patient with his daughter, he does have prejudice toward the English settlers. Luckily, that changes.

1: Maurice

Maurice is patient, sweet, and tolerates all types of people, including those who don’t understand him and consider him crazy. His relation to his daughter, Belle, is very heartwarming. Belle loves her father enough that she is willing to take his place as the beast’s prisoner. Out of all the fathers on this list, Maurice is the only one I feel sorry for. The villagers think he is so insane, he and Belle are almost taken to an asylum.

So, there you have it.

movie

I’m Here to Review “The Rescuers” (1977)

Warning: Contains spoilers***

People are gathering at the UN. So are the mice. They received a message from a little girl named Penny that she needs help. Miss. Bianca and the janitor go to assist her at the orphanage she lived at. There is also a cat named Rufus who tells the mice about a woman named Madame Medusa, who’s kidnapped Penny before. Madame Medusa is desperate for a particular diamond.

The mice continue to guide Penny. But Madame Medusa won’t surrender with her plans. She even uses her pet alligators to hunt for Penny when she runs away. Her assistant, Mr. Snoops, tends to be nervous with her and more relaxed with his attitude toward Penny. But when things worsen, everything changes.

There are elements in this movie that make it differ from other Disney films. For example, the mice and cat can talk to Penny. While talking animals are super-common in Disney movies, it’s rare that they talk to humans. Usually, they make their natural animal noises around people. Another instance is when Penny prays that things will improve. With the exception of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, religion rarely plays roles in Disney. In fact, the characters are often not allowed to say the word, God. None of the characters get the classic musical numbers, except for the work anthem at the beginning and the twist of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” the kids sing at the end when Penny is finally adopted.

Speaking of which, while it’s satisfying that she got parents, it was a little disappointing that it took a while. But I understand in some ways. The adoption process can take a while—sometimes, several years.

This film was decent, but not one of my favorites. I did notice the “may day” moment similar to the balcony scene in “Aladdin”. It could have been recycled. Disney does reuse moments and movements a lot. Anyway, the reason it was just okay was mainly the engaging element. It didn’t keep my attention too much compared to other films. So I would rate this movie, 3.5 out of 5 stars.

movie

Let the Review Get Written Down… In the Most Honest Way: “Mary Poppins” (1964)

Warning: Contains spoilers***

 

The live-action Disney classic, “Mary Poppins” is beloved by many. Julie Andrews had an amazing voice. Dick Van Dyke had his sense of humor. The songs were, for the most part, good.

I loved watching “Mary Poppins” as a child. It was one of those Disney films I owned on video cassette as well as “The Little Mermaid”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Cinderella”, and “Aladdin”. And just within the past year, I watched “Mary Poppins” for the first time in several years.

The most recent time I viewed it, though, it didn’t please me as much as before. Although it engaged me, much of the content was just too wacky. For instance, Mary Poppins is first introduced doing her makeup on a cloud. Why a cloud? That doesn’t sound like a very practical way to live. Also, clouds are water vapor, and the air in the sky is thinner. But that is another topic. I am not enunciating on science here.

In the scene where Mary, Bert, Jane, and Michael, are in the animated world, they ride the carousel horses through the fields. Mary had cheated to “win” the race, and still got praised for it. What?

When Mr. Banks went to the bank right before the end, I felt that the change he’d experienced with his children around Mary Poppins was too rushed and forced. And lastly, during the “Spoonful of Sugar” number, the mirror Marry Poppins was just freaky, especially when she started singing on her own.

There are some positive moments. I was amused by the bank scene where Michael screamed, demanding his money back, and the whole bank erupted into chaos. The “Step in Time” number was also amazing.

Overall, though, I would rate “Mary Poppins” 3 stars. Were the books very different? Obviously, they didn’t have musical numbers. But maybe I would like the book more, although I tend to be the opposite with book vs. movie adaptations. That is for another post.

If you enjoyed “Mary Poppins”, good for you. I wanted to enjoy it more than I did. But sometimes, in life, you tend to lose patience for certain things you didn’t mind when you were little. Many of you probably feel that way.

movie

We’re Off to Start the Critique… The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (R-rated YouTube Parody vs. 1939 film)

Warning: contains spoilers of both versions***

 

While browsing through YouTube, I came across something called “R-rated Wizard of Oz”. It is an animated parody of the 1939 movie. There, Dorothy is fierce, tough, and slays threats.

I will not put a link here for copyright reasons. However, you can go to YouTube and search for “R-rated Wizard of Oz”. Then you can watch it.

What I discovered about that version was that I liked the tough and fierce Dorothy more than in the actual film from 1939. The slaying might have been a little much, though. However, after seeing the parody, it made me find the 1939 movie-Dorothy a lot less likable.

Now I am not trying to put down the character or act overly feminist (since feminism is not one of my specialized topics for my blog posts), but I will admit that now I find the 1939 film version of Dorothy too whiny and closer to being a damsel-in-distress.

Yes, it was the 1930’s, when standards for females differed from today, and whininess and damsels-in-distress were accepted, and possibly expected. However, growing up in a time where females want equality and to prove they are not weak or dependent on males, I am among many others who frown upon female characters as whiny damsels-in-distress. Today’s standards of female characters being fierce, strong, brave, and not very whiny, would have been shocking and maybe against standards in the 1930’s. “The Wizard of Oz” was a huge success and remains a popular classic today. However, if it had come out today, or if Dorothy were fierce and tough in the movie back in 1939, would either one have been a flop? Would “The Wizard of Oz” not have become a big classic today? Would people today have complained about Dorothy being too whiny and damsel-in-distress like, therefore, not liking her as a character?

In the film, Dorothy kept whining about wanting to go home and would cry if she didn’t get what she wanted in Oz, such as when the Wizard refused to see her. In the scene where the wicked witch locks her in a room after Toto escapes, Dorothy just sits and cries. Rather than trying to figure out a way to escape by herself, she waits for the other three (male) companions to rescue her. Dorothy was rarely angry without whining or crying.

In the R-rated parody, Dorothy is somewhat dark, but tough, fierce, and brave. She showed less fear when defeating the wicked witch at the end as well as when she overthrew the flying monkeys. While the killing was not as necessary, the clip demonstrates what is expected for females in any creative work today, regardless of setting.

I liked “The Wizard of Oz” when I was a child. But if there is ever a remake (not counting the Muppets version from the mid-2000’s), I think updating Dorothy’s character to being fiercer and less whiny would make both the character and the adaptation more successful.