I have no idea if anyone else talks about Disney animated films the way we do at my house. We typically refer to The Little Mermaid as the beginning of the second Golden age of Disney.
The first Golden age, for reference, is the era of Fantasia, Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and so on. That era arguably ended with The Jungle Book.
There are certainly bad movies during that period but overall, Disney was producing good to great work for much of that time period.
Then you have an era where they produced stuff like The Fox and the Hound, The Black Cauldron and Oliver and Company. Ugh.
Even the decent films from that era like The Rescuers and The Great Mouse Detective don’t compare to the films of that first Golden Age. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is the only exception.
I’ve often stated that the worst category in the Academy Awards is best song because the people voting for the award don’t know the slightest thing about music. The Lion King is the perfect example of my thesis.
Three different songs from the film were nominated for an Oscar. One was “Circle of Life,” which is one of the best songs written for film ever. It is so good, and the animation that accompanies it is so stunning, that the rest of the film can’t quite live up to the promise of the first five minutes.
I love San Francisco. I mean, I like where I live and I’m not looking to move but if I had to move, My first choice would be San Francisco.
My brother lives there and that means I’ve been there enough to be quite familiar with the city. So familiar, in fact, that when I watch a film like The Lineup, which is set in San Francisco, I find myself distracted by where certain scenes are taking place.
For instance, one of the scenes in the film takes place in front of the Cliff House. I’ve eaten in the Cliff House. The film was made in 1958 so next to the Cliff House you can see the Sutro baths, which burned down in 1966.
I’ve walked around the ruins of the bath houses with my kids. It’s national park land now. All I was thinking when watching that scene was how I was seeing what the Sutro baths looked like when they were actually there. I couldn’t honestly tell you what happened in the scene because I was geeking out about the location.
As a fan of the Disney theme parks, I have a bone to pick with Lilo & Stitch. Actually, it’s really just Stitch.
See, Stich has become the most popular Disney character who isn’t named named Mickey. He might actually be more popular than Mickey Mouse but you won’t find anyone at Disney who will admit that out loud.
Because of his popularity, Disney is always on the lookout for more ways to make money of off the little blue guy. They can only sell so many mouse ears, I guess. They have to peddle something else.
The result is an effort to find more places to plug in Stitch. So they plugged him in where he didn’t belong. It isn’t his fault, really. I still blame him, though.
See, in Tomorrowland, they used to have a ride called the “ExtraTERROREestrial Alien Encounter” and it kicked holy ass. I’m not saying it was Space Mountain good because that would be crazy talk.
It was pretty close, though.
Lightning Strikes Twice is a film that wants to be a Hitchcock movie*. I say that because it is about a man who is wrongly accused and a woman who loves him but also fears he wasn’t so wrongly accused after all. Thing is, it isn’t a Hitchcock movie. It wants really badly to be Rebecca but that movie was directed by Hitchcock and this one wasn’t.
There are plenty of films out there that are described as “Hitchcockian” and I would think any director would like their movie to be thought of in that way. Hell, M Night Shyamalan wanted to be thought of that way so badly, he even did cameos in each of his films. He wanted to be Hitchcock so bad, he started spending all of his time trying to be Hitchcock and none of his time making good movies.
Well, he’s been trying. He just hasn’t been succeeding.
For as much of a movie fan as I claim to be, there are far more movies that I haven’t seen than movies that I have. I attribute that to having a life that makes movie watching a luxury in which I can’t always indulge. In a perfect world, I’d be done with the Alphabetical Movie Project and moving on to some other insane plan, like the alphabetical commentary track project.
So while I have no problem admitting that I love Alfred Hitchcock, I must confess that it was only comparatively recently that I began exploring his films. I saw my first Hitchcock film just over ten years ago.
The first Hitchcock film I saw was Lifeboat.
I liked Timothy Dalton as Bond.
There. I said it. I realize that I’m going to catch hell for it but a guy has to be honest. I think that Dalton got a bad rap as Bond.
I’m not talking about the movies he was in, by the way. While I like both of them and I think they are certainly better than the worst Bond films (almost all of which starred an aging Roger Moore), they are both mediocre at best.
Nor would I say Dalton is the best Bond. I’d give that distinction to either Connery or (depending on how the next movie turns out) Daniel Craig.
Right now, though, I ‘m just talking about how Timothy Dalton played Bond . I loved what he brought to the role.
Some sequels are merely terrible. Other sequels are so awful, their name should not be spoken because their mere existence makes the rest of the franchise look bad.
When is the last time, for instance, that you had a meaningful conversation about Beverly Hills Cop III? What’s that? You didn’t even know there was a Beverly Hills Cop III? That’s because nobody ever talks about it.
It is easy to note that I watched three Lethal Weapon films when there are, in fact, four. The first three films are an exercise in increasing laziness that manages to be entertaining anway. Every one of them involves Murtaugh and Riggs stumbling across a major drug ring and bringing it down while Murtaugh continues to insist he is too old for this shit.
They add a new character in each film and if the character is successful, they add more in the next one. Joe Pesci is around just enough to be interesting in Lethal Weapon II, they give him a bigger role in Lethal Weapon III. Then they mix Renee Russo into the story in Lethal Weapon III.
And then comes the moment when they make the fatal decision to make Lethal Weapon IV and the whole thing goes to hell.
It’s interesting how badly we want our hit men to be heroes.
Leon is a genuinely good guy, right? Sure. He’s a good guy who kills people. For a living.
What we love him for is the fact he’s so bloody good at it. He can even teach a twelve-year-old girl how to be good at it.
But he’s still a guy who gets paid to kill people.
Some movies are so surprisingly good, you believe that the sequel simply can’t help but be good as well. In spite of all evidence that most sequels are not as good as the original movie, you simply feel that the charm of the original film will rub off on what is, at heart, an attempt to squeeze more cash out of a popular film.
One has to understand that nobody makes Friday the 13th, Part 34 thinking that they are about to add some heretofore missing depth to the franchise. They do it because they believe they will make more money off a stuntman in a hockey mask and a couple of oil barrels full of fake blood.
So when Legally Blonde II turned out to be a nearly unwatchable piece of trash, nobody should be surprised. As much as we might have thought that the artistic integrity of the original film would not be compromised, we all should have known that in all likelihood, Elle was going to have to screw shit up again before we were once again shown that she wasn’t just a pretty face. She was a bright young lady and a gifted legal mind.
I mean, we thought that at the end of the last movie but hey, that was law school. Being a real lawyer is totally different so it makes perfect sense the same thing would happen to the same girl. Two steps forward, one step back. Right?