Monday, 31 December 2018

Musical Monday #192

To my regret, I went to see Mary Poppins Returns yesterday.  I thought it might be a fun old timey wonderland, but instead it was an insipid rehash of the original film without the charm.  In order to purge it from my system, today's musical number is from the real Mary Poppins.

Jolly Holiday from Mary Poppins


Monday, 24 December 2018

Musical Monday #191

I am creating this post on my phone, due to internet difficulties. Hopefully it will work.

So anyway it being Xmas Eve, I guess I can't get away without an Xmas song for Musical Monday. So here's what I have had stuck in my head for weeks:

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells from The Simpsons

Merry Winter, y'all.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Musical Monday #190

This scene includes two of those 'movie cuts' which works great on film but in real life would actually involve a lot of awkwardness.

One, 'I guess it's our turn'... followed by an hour of them getting ready to do a three minute performance.
And two, midway through the song, they... stop, dress up another guy, somehow sneak him out into this open space everyone can see and start up halfway through the song again like they never stopped performing.

I Will Survive from The Adventures Of Priscilla, Queen Of The Desert

I really like this movie though.  It's comfort viewing.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Musical Monday #189

I actually kinda hate this film.  While I do have a soft spot for fluffy nineties rom-coms, this is one of those ones where the love object in question is a total creep.  Our protagonist (Julia Roberts) is selfish and not particularly nice, but that's okay because the film knows this.  What it doesn't seem to know is that the best friend (Dermot Mulroney.... WHO?) she is apparently in love with is a total boorish pig.  How he has two women interested in him is a mystery.  I feel deeply sorry for the simpering idiot (Cameron Diaz) who gets trapped with him in the end.  All that said however, Rupert Everett steals every scene he is in and plays the only remotely likeable character in the film, and this scene is fun, if you ignore the two angsty selfish dolts at the centre of it.

I Say A Little Prayer (For You) from My Best Friend’s Wedding 

Don't you feel all warm and nineties-y already?

Monday, 3 December 2018

Musical Monday #188

I remember this song as the one that converted The Housemate to a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fan.

I Love My Daughter (But Not In A Creepy Way) from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, episode 'Josh and I Are Good People!'

Monday, 26 November 2018

Musical Monday #187

With the trailer for the 'new' Lion King movie out, it seems like a good time to share a song from the original.  This really takes me back to playground days of trying to sing this song with other children and arguing over the comic inserts.  I don't think I was as swept away by this as my peers.  I was really only in it for the meerkat.  Although I was only into Aladdin for the parrot.  And The Little Mermaid for the crab.  Apparently I liked my dry-witted put-upon sidekicks.

I Just Can’t Wait To Be King from The Lion King 

And for context, here's the song again from a different point of view (I prefer this movie anyway):

I Just Can't Wait To Be King from The Lion King 1 1/2 (aka The Lion King 3) 

So, are you one of these really excited for the new movie people or one of these horrified by the new movie people?

Monday, 19 November 2018

Musical Monday #186

Oh dear GOD, someone needed to write more lyrics for this song.

The sad thing about High School Musical songs is that they might be all right if they were sung like, well, MUSICALS, instead of this 'mimic a boyband hash'.

I Don’t Dance from High School Musical 2

The really dumb thing about this song is that Ryan (the musical boy) is trying to convince Chad (the sports boy) and his team to join the talent show or some such and Chad is all like no, I don't like singing and dancing, that is dumb.  ...Except he sang and danced repeatedly in the first film and probably this one before this point too, what with them being musicals.  DUMB, I tell you, DUMB.  I can't believe these films were the biggest thing in the world at one point.

Monday, 12 November 2018

Musical Monday #185

This seems like a pretty suitable song for the start of the week (if you're not enjoying how it's going so far anyway).  I mean, who cares, right?

I Could If I Wanted To from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, episode 'Josh's Sister Is Getting Married!'

I haven't been watching season 4 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend yet, although since I follow Rachel Bloom on most forms of social media, it's kinda tricky avoiding those spoilers.  But the season won't finish airing until April next year, and that's a long time to only watch one episode a week.  I just can't digest and enjoy television when it's stretched out like that.  I tried with season 3, and it was less enjoyable than the natural way to enjoy TV - BINGE IT ALL IN ONE WEEKEND.  But I hear that Greg will be in season 4 and that he has been recast.  I don't know if this is good or terrible news.  I wanted Greg to come back, but if it's a different guy then does it count, and also sounds like he's only going to be a guest star or cameo or something lame.  It's just a shame because Greg was the most interesting male character in the show - someone who felt real with real life issues, unlike Josh and Nathaniel who are ridiculous sitcom characters.  It's not like I wanted Rebecca and Greg to end up together - because I want her to be a strong character and finally realise she doesn't need romance to fix her life - although on the other hand if she had to end up with one out of the three, Greg would be the only acceptable answer (I really kinda hate Nathaniel) - but I want them to be mental health friends.  Season 1 set up that they are good friends and they both need support, so that would be my happy ending.  Oh well.  I'll see in April how mad the show makes me, I guess.  

How do you want the show to end?

Friday, 26 October 2018


So I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody last night because I thought it would be a good idea to spend three hours at the cinema late on a work night (zombie me today was less fond of the idea).

Anyhoo, during the opening credits, when Tom Hollander’s name came up, The Housemate gave me a good dig in the ribs with his elbow.

And I was like, pfff, what, I’m openly asexual now, I don’t have to pretend to have crushes on actors any more.

And then after a while, Tom Hollander shows up as the band’s lawyer and I was like, 


So apparently some things never change.

* ‘Squish’ is ace vernacular for ‘crush’ because we have our own words for everything, because we can.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Musical Monday #184

I Can’t Do It Alone from Chicago

Monday, 8 October 2018

Musical Monday #183

Jeez, stop crying, kids.  That traumatic scene was all of three minutes ago.  Learn to laugh again, already.  Look, one of them nearly said 'fart'.

Hakuna Matata from The Lion King

I, like all other kids, was totally won over/suckered in by the comedy double act. ..well, honestly I couldn't give a stuff about Pumbaa, but I was in love with Timon.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Musical Monday #182

And lo, they were good singers now...

Hail Holy Queen from Sister Act 

Monday, 24 September 2018

Musical Monday #181

I love it when the plant turns its nose up...

Grow For Me from Little Shop Of Horrors

Monday, 17 September 2018

Musical Monday #180

In season 2 of Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Greg reveals he is an alcoholic, which suddenly seems obvious when you look back at season 1.  He gets help, but then he leaves forever.  Even though he was in less than half the show, I still miss him.  :'(

Greg’s Drinking Song from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 

Monday, 10 September 2018

Musical Monday #179

It's my birthday tomorrow, so I wanted to pick a musical number that in some way means something to me or I just really like and after watching about twenty different videos I got musical fatigue and decided to just go with something from Singin' In The Rain, coz it's one of the greatest musicals ever made, which is astounding considering it's just a dumb jukebox musical.

Good Morning from Singin' In The Rain

What I love about this number is that it's just three friends mucking about, having fun, like you might (if you were an amazing dancer and lived in a mansion).  You hear all these stories about what a cruel musical director Gene Kelly was and about crying and bleeding feet, but none of that seeps into the scene itself.  It's just a joyous demonstration of friendship.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Musical Monday #178

While selecting today's musical number, I seem to have fallen down a rabbit hole of youtube videos - specifically essay videos analysing comedy shows, which are never as interesting as they sound, because who wants to analyse comedy?  I had to study comedy during my English A-Level and the conclusion I came to then was the perfect way to kill a joke is to explain it.  I'm also fairly certain that the only thing I did for that module was photocopy Garfield comic strips.  Did you know I got an A at English A-Level?  My teacher was shocked too.

Anyway, here you go:
Experience from Road To Rio

This is kind of interesting because the song itself has the potential to be funny on its own, by subverting our expectations of where it is going, but then instead the gag of the number is the cartoon-logic of how a trumpet that had fallen in some washing up would work.  Oh no!  I'm trying to analyse comedy.  Let's get out of here.

I wonder what that dress looked like in colour?

Friday, 31 August 2018

Non-binary representation in Peter Pan

So I reread Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie recently and I was surprised by this line towards the end which I never really noticed before:

"I thought all the fairies were dead," Mrs. Darling said.
"There are always a lot of young ones," explained Wendy, who was now quite an authority, "because you see when a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies.  They live in nests on the tops of trees; and the mauve ones are boys and the white ones are girls, and the blue ones are just little sillies who are not sure what they are." 

The use of the term 'little sillies' means you can't really call this a positive representation, but in a book so entrenched in stereotypical gender roles, I was pretty surprised to find out there's a species with openly gender queer individuals.  It doesn't affect the story at all and it's only mentioned in hindsight, but since we know so little about fairies, it's pretty cool that this is apparently an important enough fact to make it into the story.  And I like to think that since each fairy is born because of a human child, maybe each fairy shares the same gender as the child, and therefore genderqueer, non-binary or agender children are canon in this universe.  I also like that the colour attributed to these three genders are not the stereotypical ones (although gender colour stereotypes have changed in the last hundred years or so anyway).  (I am going to ignore any horrible double entendre relating to the word 'fairy'.)


Now that I come to think about it, Peter Pan is clearly an asexual character.  But you never see him on lists of such things (I think I have seen Barrie on those speculative 'here is a list of historical people we randomly think might have been ace based on circumstantial evidence and guesswork').  I assume this is because Peter is a child and therefore his sexuality is irrelevant, having never gone through puberty.  Also with all the creepy Oedipal and worse subtext, you don't exactly want to align yourself with it, especially when, coming out as ace, people are often told that they are being childish or there's something mentally wrong with them.  But I think it is relevant, because many people know what their sexuality is when they are a child - you don't suddenly gain a new one once you develop physically - and of course he's not a child-child, he's been alive for many many years.  The main giveaway is that every female in the book is attracted to him and often in love with him and he is totally oblivious and completely romantically uninterested and is left confused by their frustration (been there, dude).  He plays at being a husband and father for a bit, but finds the whole game faintly disturbing, which is really the perfect metaphor for how many ace people live their lives.

"Dear Peter," she said, "with such a large family, of course, I have now passed my best, but you don't want to change me, do you?"
"No, Wendy."
Certainly he did not want to change, but he looked at her uncomfortably; blinking, you know, like one not sure whether he was awake or asleep.
"Peter, what is it?"
"I was just thinking," he said, a little scared.  "It is only make-believe, isn't it, that I am their father?"
"Oh yes," Wendy said primly.
"You see," he continued apologetically, "it would make me seem so old to be their real father."
"But they are ours, Peter, yours and mine."
"But not really, Wendy?" he asked anxiously.
"Not if you don't wish it," she replied; and she distinctly heard his sigh of relief.  "Peter," she asked, trying to speak firmly, "what are your exact feelings for me?"
"Those of a devoted son, Wendy."
"I thought so," she said, and went and sat by herself at the extreme end of the room.
"You are so queer," he said, frankly puzzled, "and Tiger Lily is just the same.  There is something she wants to be to me, but she says it is not my mother."
"No, indeed, it is not," Wendy replied with frightful emphasis.  Now we know why she was prejudiced against the redskins.
"Then what is it?" 
"It isn't for a lady to tell."
"Oh, very well," Peter said, a little nettled.  "Perhaps Tinker Bell will tell me."
"Oh yes, Tinker Bell will tell you," Wendy retorted scornfully.  "She is an abandoned little creature."
Here Tink, who was in her boudoir, eavesdropping, squeaked out something impudent.
"She said she glories in being abandoned," Peter interpreted.
He had a sudden idea.  "Perhaps Tink wants to be my mother?"
"You silly ass!" cried Tinker Bell in a passion. 

So there you go.  I'll let you know the next time I come across some non cishet characters in a children's book.  Baum's usually pretty good for that.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Musical Monday #177

Ah Disney, every time you start to enjoy yourself, they manage to slip something racist in there.  This actually contains the same racist joke they used in Snow White (which came out 33 years previously), I guess they really liked it to use it again.  Only this one is even worse.  So that's regression instead of progression.

Ev’rybody Wants To Be A Cat from The Aristocats

Also, for strays, these cats sure are fat.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Musical Monday #176

So this is the finale of South Pacific and therefore a total spoiler if you haven't seen it.

Some context so you can enjoy the scene better: she's happy because he isn't dead and he's happy because she isn't a racist any more.

Dites-moi (finale) from South Pacific

Now is it just me, or is it painfully and detrimentally obvious that the guy's singing voice is dubbed?  I don't get why they did that so much in old movies.  Either hire an actor who can sing in the first place or if they can sing, obviously let them sing for themselves, and if for some reason you still have to dub them at least try to match the voice with the actor.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Musical Monday #175

This makes me feel emotions.

Dancing for Dad from Billy Elliot

Monday, 6 August 2018

Musical Monday #174

Such amazing animation here.

Strangely enough the animals don't look this good for the rest of the movie.  It's as if they put all their effort into the opening sequence and then remembered they were supposed to have made a whole movie.  Might explain why the plot sucks.  Jeez get to the comedy meerkat already.

Circle Of Life from The Lion King

Hooray!  Let's all bow to our new tyrant who will lead all his family to terrorize us and kill our children!  Hooray!  I sure hope no one else usurps his place as king, because that might somehow lead to a drought and a fire, because those are things that lions control, but don't worry, when the real king comes back magically there will be rain again.  Hooray!

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Possibly The Most Thoughtful Gift I'll Ever Get

So on Sunday, my two best friends skipped off to London to go to the Film and Comic Con (without me)

Artist's Impression Of What That Looked Like
(I don't know that they held hands but I can't see why they wouldn't have)
(...I haven't drawn these characters in a long time and I didn't super look up what they're supposed to look like before I drew this)
(I'm pretty lazy)

 (I mean, they did ask if I wanted to go, but I was super busy defrosting the freezer).

The Housemate said he'd bring me back a souvenir, although I called after him that he didn't have to, although I don't know if he heard because I was still in bed at the time.  Did I mention lazy?

And it turns out that he got me what is actually probably the most thoughtful gift anyone has ever got for me.

Not this.
He got me these and they're cool, but they're not what I'm talking about.

This.  This is what he got me:

He met Peter Davison and paid to have Peter Davison sign MY Campion DVD to ME. So I was saved the stress of having to talk to a stranger and either freezing up or babbling incoherently and had the disappointment of not being able to meet Peter Davison softened because now Peter Davison has been made aware in some small form of my existence, and he knows that I think Campion is awesome and I know that he was pleased to know that people think Campion is awesome and that's an all round pretty good deal to get out of a situation where you only find out the night before that an actor you think is great is going to a thing you can't go to and also don't want to go to because crowds give me anxiety.  I mean, I've known friends before who have met actors I really like, and not one of them has ever asked them to sign an autograph to me.  This was just such a thoughtful gesture (and also means I'm never going to be able to repay it).

But you know, I can actually open the freezer drawers now so that's good too.

Monday, 30 July 2018

Musical Monday #173

In Sarah's defence, they do try to remove her head before she chucks theirs away.

Chilly Down from Labyrinth

I reckon these are probably the most nightmarish things in the movie.  What do you think?

Monday, 23 July 2018

Musical Monday #172

I always wonder what I'm missing in this scene.  Who IS that guy with the key?  I know the other guy is Mary's boring date, but who is this random guy with evil plan and means to execute it?  What does he care about George and Mary?

Charleston Contest from It’s A Wonderful Life

Monday, 16 July 2018

Musical Monday #171

Buttload Of Cats from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, episode 'Trent?!'

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

What don't dreams make?

Dreams don't make good stories.

DREAMS.  DON'T  make good stories.

So I'm having a major sort out of all the rubbish in the room, and I came across an envelope on which I had scrawled some kind of story idea.  Reading it over, I'm pretty sure it was a dream, and having awakened and thought it brilliant, I'd hurriedly jotted it down before it drifted away into the mists of wakeful obscurity.

This is it:

A – cop looking for F
B – junior cop helping A + D’s dad
C – crook + F’s dad
D – servant of C
E – doctor, married to A? or other
F – girl daughter of C
G – step brother of F

C took car
D was on bike
E on motorbike


At end A+B waiting for C to move
C waiting
D+E still out looking for C
F+G left at home, no one else come back

Except that the handwritten version was in more of a grid shape and there were a couple of gaps where a piece of information had already blinked out of existence in my memory.

I mean... what is that?  How is that a story?

I am never going to do ANYTHING with that.  In the recycling it goes.  You know what, aspiring writers out there, you want this amazing story idea?  You have it.


Have you ever done anything productive with a dream?

Monday, 9 July 2018

Musical Monday #170

I saw Follies last year (was it last year?  I think it was just before Xmas...) which is the show this song is from originally, but in that it's just a bit in a montage, though one imagines it has been used throughout auditions across the world ever since (as this version references).

Broadway Baby from Hey, Mr Producer! 

Monday, 2 July 2018

Musical Monday #169

When you sell your friend (cousin? brother?) to pay for a meal, and then get haunted by your Aunt Lucy who  on her death bed asked you to take care of him, obviously the best way to find him again is to aimlessly wander around the streets singing his favourite song.  If you're Bing Crosby, anyway.  Any excuse, am I right?

Ain’t Got A Dime To My Name from Road To Morocco

Monday, 25 June 2018

Musical Monday #168

You know how in good musicals the songs occur naturally at moments of heightened emotion, while advancing the plot... and then there are films that are based on stories that were not originally musicals, but someone decided to ram musical numbers into them because it might make some money... which is how you end up pausing the ramp up to the devastating finale of Charlotte's Web, by having a rat sing about eating trash.

A Veritable Smorgasbord from Charlotte’s Web

(This film was not particularly successful when it came out, but it became pretty popular years later when it was released on VHS)

Monday, 18 June 2018

Musical Monday #167

It's always hilarious when they put Bing in a dance number...

You're The Top from Anything Goes

Monday, 4 June 2018

Musical Monday #166

You’ll Be Reminded Of Me from Vivacious Lady

Monday, 28 May 2018

Musical Monday #165

Today's musical number comes from a film I don't actually like - an adaptation of a stage show that I do like (mostly), itself a riff of a Shakespearean play that I don't like.  But I like the staging of this piece and I think it might be the only number in the film that plays the same as it's supposed to in the stage show.

Wunderbar from Kiss Me, Kate

Monday, 14 May 2018

Musical Monday #164

When I was a kid, one of my videos started with a trailer for Disney's Oliver & Company.  This was a film that hadn't been released on video (probably because it wasn't very good) and therefore was an unobtainable dream, and I really wanted to see it.

It was finally released many years later and I saw it as a teenager, and let's just say it did not live up to that dream.

I've seen it again since, and it's not awful, but well, I can't see it being anyone's favourite.

But today I felt like a laid back city slicker tune.  So here is

Why Should I Worry from Oliver & Company.

For all his bravado, I think someone needs to tell that dog that street smarts would actually let you know to avoid deliberately jumping in wet cement.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Musical Monday #163

Okay, so here we are.  Season 3 of Crazy Ex Girlfriend.  It started out spectacularly.  The first episode was amazing and I think the second episode had FIVE songs in it, a series record, but after that, I’ll be straight with you, I did not enjoy season 3 as much as previous seasons.  But I don’t know whether this is the show’s fault or not, because the exact same thing happened with iZombie season 3. 

Both shows were recommended to me at the same time by Community fans.  I fell in love with both shows during their pilot episodes.  I binged the first two seasons on Netflix in a couple of days.  But when season 3 came around, it was put on Netflix the day after it aired in the USA so I had to watch it network TV style, i.e. one episode a week with dumb hiatuses for midseason finales and winter holidays and whatever other stupid reasons American TV has to torture me.  The experience of watching season 3 was so different from watching seasons 1 & 2 that I don’t know if the material was genuinely inferior or if it’s just much harder to care about something spread so thin and you can’t remember how it even started by the time it ends. 

But it is possible that season 3 is simply less good than season 1 and 2.  This happens to good shows all too often.  They catch seasonthreeitis.  Season one has a great premise and interesting characters and it’s all bouncy and fresh and it builds to a decent finale, season two continues with the side arc stuff that didn’t get wrapped up in season one, inverts season one stuff in a cool or meta way, while the characters are more developed and the show knows its strengths and builds to another satisfying finale.  But then in season three, they’ve got no original arc left, so they have to make up something new, they start playing around with the premise and the characters, afraid the audience will get bored, and they ruin it. 

Don’t believe seasonthreeitis is real?  Here’s a random selection of some shows I enjoyed that all lost their way in season three: Star Trek: The Original Series, Blackadder,  Due South, Star Trek: Voyager, Jonathan Creek, Arrested Development, Rev., The Flash, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,(and maybe X-Men Evolution, but I don’t really remember).  I’m pretty sure iZombie will be making it on to that list if I ever watch it again, but Crazy Ex Girlfriend may yet be saved by a rewatch in genuine binge style as TV should be enjoyed.

SPOILERS AHEAD.  You were warned.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend season 3 is certainly the darkest season to date, but so was season 3 of Bojack Horseman and that’s a damn masterpiece.  There’s no Greg of course, which would be okay if they hadn’t desecrated his memory, but they did and I kinda hate them for that.  This all led to Rebecca hitting rock bottom.  Each season has a moment where she’s at her lowest, in season 1 she went broke, realised that she was acting like a villain and ran back to New York, in season 2, having lost both Greg and Josh, she set fire to her apartment and tried to reinvent herself, and in season 3, after going completely off the rails, pushing everyone away and sleeping with Greg’s dad, she runs back to New York and then attempts suicide.  This leads to her properly addressing her mental health issues and pretty much forgetting about Josh, which all makes for deep and interesting character development, and I’m on board with that. 

However, the show does seem to forget it’s a musical at times.  Songs are shoved in halfway through an episode as a sort of afterthought, which is disappointing. 

Then there’s Nathaniel.  Now I don’t mind Nathaniel, at times I even like Nathaniel, like, y’know, when he’s pooped his pants or whatever.  If he’s pathetic, I feel sorry for him.  But I cannot STAND him as Rebecca’s new romantic interest.  I know that she’s always been pretty obsessed with sex, but their entire relationship is based on sex and nothing else.  With Greg she had a funny rapport and they got on as friends, with Josh they had an emotional connection and saw the best in each other, but with Nathaniel it’s just a physical attraction so I really don’t give a crap.  She pretty much uses sex as a barter with him in season 3, they compare him to Christian Gray which is horrifying, when she has to stop seeing him due to, oh yeah her mental health issues and suicidal stuff, he gets all petty and mean about it, and later he claims to love her while he spends eight months cheating on his serious girlfriend.  This is not a man we can ever sympathise with. 

Oh, yeah, and then there’s THAT episode.  In one ep, we skip EIGHT months.  The only reason for this appears to be so that the show can end with the traditional TV trope of a pregnant character having a baby in the finale.  It throws away so much potential character development that I’m not sure the show can ever recover from such a bizarre move.  Now I will certainly never be able to root for Rebecca and Nathaniel as a couple, while Valencia changed sexuality OFF SCREEN (remember when Darryl got an entire season arc devoted to his sexuality?).

Meanwhile, Darryl, who’s about to become a single father, is completely sidelined almost into oblivion, Rebecca’s relationship with her mum has been pretty much dismantled, Paula just keeps going through the same plot arcs over and over, Greg can pretty much never return now he kept complete radio silence through Rebecca’s suicide attempt and Josh is still here, wandering around in the background with no plot relevance.  Sucks to be him. 

So yeah, I dunno.  It’s pretty telling that my favourite songs from this season are all from the start, but there were some wonderful moments later on, I’d love to dig further into Rebecca as a character, just if Nathaniel would get lost that would be nice (Josh punching him out made me cheer in delight).  Maybe it’ll seem better after a rewatch.

Anyhoo, here are my favourite songs from season 3:

Let’s Generalize About Men from Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode 'Josh's Ex-Girlfriend Wants Revenge'.

Strip Away My Conscience from Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode 'To Josh, With Love'

Where’s Rebecca Bunch? from Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode 'Josh's Ex-Girlfriend Wants Revenge'

Monday, 23 April 2018

Musical Monday #162

I had a mildly tempestuous relationship with season 2 of Crazy Ex Girlfriend, for a little time feeling like I had become Crazy Ex Girlfriend’s crazy ex-girlfriend.

I had binged the entire first season in one weekend (sometimes The Housemate goes away and Netflix becomes my new best friend).  I started off with season 2 the same way and came to a crashing halt shortly after as I suddenly realised at the end of his penultimate episode that my favourite character was about to leave the show for good.

Savvy people who knew which actor was only signed to a one-year contract saw this coming.  I was totally blindsided.  In utter shock and horror, I stopped watching.  I don’t deal well with losing a beloved character.  I still haven’t forgiven Due South for losing Ray and I’ve never watched a single episode of Jonathan Creek after Maddie left.

But Crazy Ex Girlfriend is such a good show that I missed it, so I watched some youtube videos ABOUT the show, which eventually convinced me to continue. 

And, y’know, it’s still really good.  (Although part of me will always be waiting for Greg’s glorious return).

So here are my favourite songs from season 2.  It was a little easier to pick than season 1, because while the songs are still really good, I wouldn’t say they were all so perfectly brilliant as every song in season 1, and because my absolute favourite song of the entire series is in season 2 (I tear up EVERY time I see or hear this song), so I only had to pick another two songs to accompany it.

The following song perfectly encapsulates how the audience is feeling:

 Who’s The New Guy? from Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode ‘When Do I Get To Spend Time With Josh?’

The following song is spread across the whole episode, which is why it’s a bit disjointed as a youtube vid.  Despite their delightful teasing with reprises, so far, this song is the only time the show has had a song that keeps coming back in one episode, which makes it kind of special:

 Santa Ana Winds from Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode ‘Josh Is The Man Of My Dreams, Right?’

The following song was censored in the actual episode.  Several songs have explicit and slightly more family-friendly versions, generally to swap out the F-word for something more benign or to avoid sexually explicit references.  I have no problem with that because generally the explicit versions are gross.  But in this case, the word the censors have a problem with is ‘shit’.  Is shit even a swearword?  How is that something that has to be censored, but the word ‘bitch’ is allowed all the time?  Shit doesn’t even mean anything particularly bad, whereas bitch is a horrible, belittling term.  Screwed up censors if you ask me.  Anyway, this is the only song that is bleeped rather than rewritten, because the rude bit is irreplaceable.  Luckily, youtube provides us with the proper, un-bleeped version.

 It Was A Shit Show from Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode ‘When Will Josh And His Friend Leave Me Alone?’

See you next week for season 3...

Monday, 16 April 2018

Musical Monday #161

Every time I say to somebody that one of my favourite contemporary shows is Crazy Ex Girlfriend, and get a blank, uninterested stare back, so I say “it’s a musical!”, they react in one of two ways.  A few people say, “Like Glee?”

And I have to calmly say “No.  Because Glee isn’t a musical.  Glee is a show about singers (covering famous songs so that everything sounds the same).  A musical is when characters burst into song during moments of heightened emotion in their daily lives to extend the plot or show their inner thoughts (using original music).  Not the same thing.”

I don’t know what it is about Glee that gets me riled up.  Either it’s that I tried watching a few episodes back in the day and just couldn’t find what was supposed to be remotely appealing about it, or because Community told me to hate Glee, and Community wouldn’t lie.

Anyway, MOST people just react to the news that Crazy Ex Girlfriend is a musical by saying “That’s what puts me off” or “I don’t think I’d like that.”

Even though EVERYONE gets super excited every time one of their favourite shows does a musical episode, which practically everything feels the need to do ever since Buffy The Vampire Slayer normalised the concept.

What the hell is people’s problems?

I gotta admit I felt nervous myself watching the first episode, but a couple of people recommended it and so I gave it a go, and here’s the thing about Crazy Ex Girlfriend: It’s REALLY good.  It’s incredibly witty.  All the time.  All the songs are funny.  There’s nothing to feel embarrassed about, because it’s on your side.

It’s an intelligent and deep show while also being irreverent and witty.  The music pretty much covers every single style there is, some songs are more direct parodies or homages to famous pieces and others are more just using a certain style, but even when it’s a genre that I wouldn’t listen to for fun, the lyrics are so witty and the action is so slick or juxtaposed or clever or y’know, just gonna say this again, WITTY, that I can still love it.

And all the stuff between the songs, which is the majority of the show, is so funny and interesting and involving, that I genuinely care about these characters.

Plus, it makes a deliberate effort to be inclusive of different people, regarding sex, race, sexuality, age, size and mental health, so there’s pretty much nothing to dislike about it.

So for Musical Monday, here are my three favourite songs from Season One.

They were really hard to pick because I don’t think there’s a single dud in the entire first season.

I Gave You A UTI – Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode ‘Why Is Josh In A Bad Mood?’
Performed by Santino Fontana
Written by Adam Schlesinger, Steven Gold and Rachel Bloom

After Everything I’ve Done For You (That You Didn’t Ask For) – Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode ‘Paula Needs To Get Over Josh!’
Performed by Donna Lynne Champlin
Written by Adam Schlesinger and Rachel Bloom

West Covina – Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode ‘Josh Just Happens To Live Here!’
Performed by Rachel Bloom, among others
Written by Rachel Bloom and Jerome Kurtenbach

See you next week for season two.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Musical Monday #160

Having finally completed my ranking of all the Disney 'classics', I thought that Musical Monday should celebrate just what I had to sit through.  So here's how even in one of Disney's WORST films, they can still bring a tear to the eye with clever use of a manipulative song.

Will The Sun Ever Shine Again from Home On The Range
Performed by Bonnie Raitt
Written by Alan Menken, and Glenn Slater

According to Wikipedia, Alan Menken wrote this song as a reaction to 9/11.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

All The Disney Studio Animated Movies Ranked Worst To Best

Remember when you were a kid, and you’d see a trailer for ‘Walt Disney’s thirty-third animated motion picture classic’ and you’d think, wow that’s a lot of classics, I wonder what they all are?

I thought I knew my Disney cartoons pretty well, until I played Disney trivial pursuit and was convinced the game was making the films up.  What the hell is a caballero and why should I care?

So I decided to watch all of Disney Studio’s Animated Movies, starting with Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs and finishing with whatever the latest one is by now (currently Moana, but when I first came up with the idea it was either Wreck-It Ralph or Frozen, and I’ll try to update the list every time a new one comes out).  At first I was just doing it for fun, and later I decided to start again with a more critical eye.  So I watched all the movies (mostly twice, some of them I’ve seen a thousand times before and some of the really obscure ones that took a long time to track down, just once), mostly in chronological order, and then I ranked them in order of worst to best.

Now, firstly, this is just my opinion and Disney cartoons are strangely personal things, so don’t fret when we disagree.  Pretty much whichever movie you grew up with on video is going to be impervious to criticism for you.  That doesn’t make it a good movie, but it makes it something that can genuinely affect your emotions, and that’s pretty important.  I know different people who would swear blind that Aladdin, Beauty And The Beast, Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Sleeping Beauty, The Aristo Cats and Wreck-It Ralph is the undisputed greatest cartoon ever made.  I happen to think that some of those movies are complete turds, but it doesn’t matter, so long as it makes you happy.

And secondly, I didn’t use any scientific criticism to rank these movies.  I just rated them based on how they made me feel after I watched them and how much I could bear to have to sit through them again.

And so I give you all fifty-six Disney Studio Animated Movies in order of worst to best:

56. The Three Caballeros [1945]

All pictures on this post belong to Walt Disney Studios

During the 40s, (coming between Bambi and Cinderella) Disney made six ‘package’ films, which is basically a bunch of shorts rammed together into an incoherent and often boring mess.  They’re pretty obscure now, often only seen when their shorts are released separately.  They stick out starkly from Disney’s other movies because, along with the Fantasia movies, they’re the only ones that don’t have a central plot and hero and are therefore the hardest to sit through.  But this is the worst one.

Strung together with the loose ‘plot’ of Donald Duck opening presents from his friends in Latin America, this is a weird and boring film.  First Donald watches a documentary on funny birds, then he shrinks down to join his friend José in a book of Brazil, in which they dance with live action humans.  Then they meet a loud and annoying cockerel from Mexico, suddenly become the three caballeros despite having only just met the third guy this second and enter various live action photographs of Mexico in which Donald tries to get it off with any human woman he spies.  It ends up in a lurid trippy dream sequence.

55. Saludos Amigos [1943]

This movie took me the longest to track down.  It’s similar to The Three Caballeros in that they were both made as a goodwill gesture to Latin America, but as the first of the two, while less trippy than its ‘sequel’, this one contains no plot at all.  It’s basically an hour long advert for South America, handled with a bunch of animated shorts which you couldn’t even call cartoons.  It’s the kind of thing that these days would be a blu-ray extra showing how the animators on a real movie visited the country where they wanted to set their film to do some cultural research.  Donald Duck and Goofy appear, and fail to raise any laughs.  It’s the first introduction of José Carioca (who I really liked in The Three Caballeros), confusingly called ‘Joe’ even though we see his business card clearly says ‘José’ (surely that’s a direct lack of goodwill?) but he barely speaks and does nothing.  Its saving grace is this film is unbelievably short.

54. Melody Time [1948]

This is basically Fantasia without classical music.  So Fantasia without the only thing that made it any good.

53. Make Mine Music [1946]

Similar to Melody Time in that it’s a bunch of musical shorts strung together.  Ten in total, and the first eight are all awful.  I would’ve turned this off after five minutes if I wasn’t dedicated to this research.  Bored out of my mind, the only entertainment I could glean was from following the pattern of ‘serious’ and ‘fun’ shorts.  If one short is particularly dull then at least you know the next will be zany.  However, the final two shorts were actually watchable (one a love story between two hats and one an operatic tragedy about a whale), so the overall feeling of mind-numbing boredom was relieved.

52. Fun And Fancy Free [1947]

Inspired by the short story Little Bear Bongo by Sinclair Lewis and the fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk, this is basically two shorts, one of Bongo the bear and one of Mickey and the Beanstalk, stuck together with Jiminy Cricket in live-action Hollywood, firstly playing a talking record about domestic abuse to cheer up some toys and then party-crashing a ventriloquist who has invited a little girl alone to his house at night.  Creepy stuff, but at least there are narratives here and the narration in both stories is kind of entertaining.

51. Fantasia 2000 [1999]

It’s very short and the new stories really aren’t worth having to sit through another Fantasia.  None of them add an interesting enough spin to the music: the music itself conjures more interesting and dramatic ideas.  And silent cartoons in which things happen because the music got louder and not because of narrative drive all stuck together just doesn’t make a particularly fascinating film, while the in-between segments of ‘current’ celebrities talking to camera are a little skin-crawly.

50. Fantasia [1940]

Fantasia is a bunch of shorts, some with plots, some just with characters dancing to the music and some entirely abstract using different animation techniques, set to classical music.  While it’s entertaining enough, especially for younger children who don’t need much more than colour, sound and movement for stimulation, it can also be rather dull and frankly adds little enjoyment that couldn’t be derived from just listening to the classical music.

49. The Fox And The Hound [1981]

Inspired by the novel The Fox and the Hound by Daniel P. Mannix but by all accounts not bearing much relation to that bleak tale, this is the story of a fox cub and a puppy who become friends only to learn they’re supposed to be enemies.  Moral: Don’t kill your friends.

This story really doesn’t work, not least because the ‘best friends’ of fox cub and hound puppy only know each other for three days.  It also feels like really bad taste to show the villains from Bambi (HUNTERS) in comedy scenes.  Apart from that, it’s boring and has no likeable characters.

48. Bambi [1942]

Inspired by the novel Bambi, A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten, this is the story of a fawn who grows up in a forest where hunters keep killing everyone.  Moral: Hunting animals is evil.

This film is slow and mostly devoid of plot.

47. Alice In Wonderland [1951]

Disney’s second attempt at adapting a novel, this film is based on Lewis Carrol’s The Adventures Of Alice In Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass.  It’s the story of a little girl who falls asleep during her lessons and chases a rabbit down a hole into a nightmare dream nonsense world.  Moral: Don’t be curious.

It’s very imaginative and bouncy, so there’s a basic level of enjoyment to be had, but the lack of narrative drive and the fact that Alice is trapped in a nightmare world (it’s actually quite a good depiction of what dreaming is like) filled with characters who are always mean or angry certainly disturbed me as a child and makes it one I’d rather avoid now. 

Side note: the Walrus is reminiscent of Honest John from Pinocchio.

46. Peter Pan [1953]

Supposedly an adaptation of the play Peter Pan by ‘Sir James M. Barrie’, this is the story of three children who follow a magic boy to a magic island and fight some pirates.  Moral: Children are selfish so growing up isn’t the end of the world, although don’t rush into it either.  Rather a mixed message actually.

Probably enjoyable enough for the younger viewer, but it’s severely lacking in any identifiable characters and while it portrays the heartlessness of children and Wendy’s distance from them as she grows up rather well, Captain Hook isn’t a patch on Barrie’s version, which is very disappointing, while all the really good bits of the original tale have been completely neutered, even going so far as to switch the roles of Hook and Pan in the final fight to portray Peter in a positive light.

45. Home On The Range [2004]

The story of a show cow who loses her home so moves to a dairy farm only to face losing that too, so goes on an adventure with two other cows to catch a cattle rustler and claim the reward.  Moral: You can achieve great feats no matter who you are; heroes don’t come in traditional shapes.

The animation is ugly and jagged.  The humour is terrible, with jokes such as protracted belching, chickens laying eggs in shock and references to breast implants.  The cows, especially Maggie, aren’t interesting leads.  Thankfully the villains are entertaining and the songs, though rare, are nice. 

44. Frozen [2013]

Inspired by the fairy tale The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, but bearing almost no resemblance to it any more, this is the story of two sisters who are pulled apart because one of them has magic ice powers.  Moral: Love is better than fear and don’t repress your emotions.

This movie makes me so mad!  Hans doesn’t convince remotely as the villain until well over an hour into the film and his plot doesn’t really make sense.  The ‘true love is a myth’ joke is really mean and the whole thing teaches some shoddy morals.  It’s wrong to fall in love with someone you just met, despite the fact that that’s exactly what Anna does with someone else.  Also Elsa is horrible to Anna and that song everyone’s obsessed with is dumb.  The characters are really bland.  The idea that Elsa just needs love to control her powers is stupid because that’s the one thing she’s had consistently all along.

43. Winnie The Pooh [2011]

Based on the Winnie the Pooh books by A. A. Milne and E. H. Shepard, this is the story of a teddy bear who thinks his boy has been abducted by a monster.  Moral: Put your friends before yourself (and you’ll get rewarded even more).

Not sure why we needed another Winnie The Pooh movie.  Its greatest strength is in using the narrated book format from the first film.  Otherwise it’s fairly boring and occasionally creepy.  The plot meanders about pointlessly and Pooh is surprisingly selfish.  Even the ending in which he puts Eeyore before his hunger results in him getting even more honey, which he knew would happen.  Christopher Robin’s voice is too young for the animation.  Rabbit’s voice sounds too much like Spongebob Squarepants (same actor) but for some reason the animation reflects this.

42. Chicken Little [2005]

Inspired by the nursery rhyme Henny Penny (or Chicken Licken), but only so far as the ‘sky is falling’ line, this is the story of a chick who realises aliens are invading but no one believes him.  Moral: Parents should be there for their kids no matter what and you should talk about your feelings or nothing will get resolved.

Disney’s first full 3D animated feature.  It’s really naff and not very funny, and the alien invasion plot, which is at least exciting, doesn’t get going until halfway through and they almost immediately realise it’s a misunderstanding.  The ‘dad doesn’t pay attention to him’ plot is stirring at least but it’s far too much the text rather than the subtext with Abby endlessly going on about how they need to talk.

41. The Aristo Cats [1970]

The story of some spoilt cats who are left money in a will so get abducted by a greedy butler and have to make their way home with the help of an alley cat.  Moral: Friendship and loyalty are more important than money.

Back in these days, most Disney films were more episodic than reliant on plot or character.  This is yet another one that isn’t exactly dripping in plot.  It’s all right, but there isn’t really a main character, and if it’s Duchess, she has almost no personality or action in her.

40. The Black Cauldron [1985]

Inspired by The Chronicles Of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander, but mostly coming across as a rip off of The Lord of The Rings.  I don’t know if that’s the book or the movie’s fault.  Probably the movie.  It’s the story of a boy who has to look after a psychic pig and stop evil taking over the land.  Moral: Friendship is more important than your dreams and true bravery isn’t glamourous.

Despite the exciting fantasy plot, this is strangely dull, mostly hindered by the flat characters, poor child voice acting and the infuriating overuse of names in the dialogue. 

Side note: this is the first Disney cartoon to actually show blood.  Taran has a cut lip after a dragon pins him.  There’s also residue blood on the chopping block and possibly blood comes out of the cauldron.  Also the first of these movies not to have starting credits.

39. Brother Bear [2003]

The story of a guy who kills a bear out of revenge and is magically transformed into a bear as punishment.  Moral: Love is very powerful.

The comedy moose are unbearable and aren’t even plot relevant.  Kenai isn’t a remotely likeable hero.  The point is that he’s on a personal journey and will learn the error of his ways, but I don’t want to spend time with him, and his getting to like Koda feels totally unearned.  Plus, the whole plot revolves around the fact that Kenai murdered Koda’s mother, which is incredibly uncomfortable viewing.  Also the scene in which Kenai realises that bears are super great and living beings aren’t there to be killed by man and he’s happier with them than humans involves the bears massacring fish who are trying to get to where they procreate, not taking into account that fish are alive too.  This is topped by the after-credit sequence making a joke out of a fish screaming for mercy and being killed by bears.

38. Dinosaur [2000]

The story of a dinosaur who was raised by lemurs trying to save a bunch of migrating dinosaurs from death.  Moral: Challenge the way things are if they’re wrong and compassion is the true survival.

At the start there’s some breath-taking scenery, but the characters are unbelievably bland and considering what you could do with a story about dinosaurs, what they come up with is uneventful and dull.  It’s way too dark; starting with a mother’s nest being destroyed, and then all the lemurs are obliterated.  What future do these creatures have with meteor strikes happening around them and the fact that we know their species will go extinct?  The closing narration seems desperate to make up for it.  Also lemurs weren’t around at the same time as dinosaurs.

37. Beauty And The Beast [1991]

Based on the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, this is the story of a girl who agrees to be taken prisoner by a monster in return for her father’s life.  Moral: Real beauty is on the inside.

It’s actually kind of boring.  Belle’s supposed to be intelligent and brave, but the books she reads are romances, she does nothing during the finale and she comes across as a snob.  Beast is just a complete jerk, and his relationship with Belle, apart from being a hostage situation, involves her having to teach him to read and how to feed birds.  It’s not something that should become romantic.  While Gaston, though repulsive, has an utterly lame villain motive.  Scenes involving any of them are dull, the songs aren’t very interesting and it all comes down to this spell which makes no sense: Was Beast’s rudeness really worth corrupting an entire kingdom?  How has everyone outside it forgotten about it within ten years when it’s in walking distance?  Why would the enchantress punish a child anyway, because he would have been eleven at the time, which explains why he acts like a child throughout?  And was Chip born a cup, because he’s clearly under ten? 

Side note: this is the first Disney movie to have one of those ghastly nineties pop ballads on the end, presumably to drive you screaming out of the cinema as quickly as possible.

36. Treasure Planet [2002]

Inspired by the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, except in space, so actually nothing like Treasure Island whatsoever.  This is the story of a juvenile delinquent who gets a magic map and travels across the universe to find treasure.  Moral: Stick to it and believe in yourself.

While it has some pretty cool visuals and can on occasion be exciting and even, when it comes to David Hyde Piece and Emma Thompson, funny, it relies on the hokey schmaltz of the relationship between Silver and Jim, which never rings true (this poop isn’t in the original Treasure Island novel).  It’s trying way too hard with the ‘bad boy makes good’ stuff and it’s full of bad jokes like ‘Flatula’ being a language of farts. 

Side note: for an emotionally disturbed child, Lilo of Lilo & Stitch had a lot more depth.  The repulsive animation of Silver harkens back to Fagin of Oliver & Company.

35. The Adventures Of Ichabod and Mr Toad [1949]

Supposedly telling the stories of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, this is another one where they just made two non-feature-length cartoons and nailed them together to make a movie.  We start in a library, where Basil Rathbone introduces his favourite literary character, Mr Toad.  Considering we’re in a library and what follows is the contents of a book, it’s hilarious that the cartoon bears almost zero relation to the novel of The Wind In The Willows.  It’s a bizarre adaptation with random new characters and plot devices and Angus McBadger.  Occasionally amusing, but so little like the book in any form that you wonder why they bothered.  Then we go back to the library where Bing Crosby introduces Ichabod Crane.  This one goes a lot better because Sleepy Hollow is a short story and far better suited to adaptation, and Bing is an entertaining narrator.

34. The Many Adventures Of Winnie-The-Pooh [1977]

Based on the books written by A. A. Milne and illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard, this is the story of a bunch of toys doing stuff.  Moral: Be nice to your friends even when they’re jerks.

The ‘book’ setting is by far the most interesting part of this film.  Unfortunately the episodic nature caused by this originally being three shorts stuck together and the fact that it takes numerous ideas from the already-episodic books but cuts all of the conclusions and punchlines leaves this as a very busy but plot-less and progression-less blob.  Also casting an actor who has previously played creepy villains (Cheshire Cat and Kaa) as the teddy bear is just odd.

33. Oliver & Company [1988]

Inspired by Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, but if they were all animals!  Yeah, actually not surprisingly nothing like it at all.  It’s what they advertised as a ‘Disney Twist’.  It’s the story of an abandoned kitten, who falls in with a bum and his dogs, then gets adopted by a rich but neglected little girl, and then is used as bait in a hostage situation.  Moral: Family is more important than money.

While the Jenny and Oliver stuff packs an emotional kick, and the dogs and their odd-for-a-Disney-film style of music are fun, the main problem with this film is a) that Fagin, a good guy, is repulsive and b) some of the plot is so ridiculous that it’s impossible to swallow.  See the entire finale culminating in Sykes driving his car into a subway and along the train tracks (WHY?!) and the good guys escaping getting hit by the oncoming train by their scooter just magically jumping on to the suspension wires above.  It’s just stupid. 

Side note: in Dodger’s number we see some dogs who may or may not be from Lady And the Tramp and One Hundred And One Dalmatians.  If it is them, then these dogs are between thirty and seventy years old and looking good.

32. One Hundred And One Dalmatians [1961]

Inspired by the novel The Hundred And One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, this is the story of a nasty woman who abducts a bunch of puppies to turn them into a fur coat.  Moral: …None really.  If someone steals something from you, go and find it and steal it back yourself?

On its own, this film isn’t that bad, but it’s hard for me to rationally think about it, because The Hundred And One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith is one of my favourite books of all time, and this is a disappointing adaptation, which cuts nearly all the humour, plot, character development and several great characters, not to mention randomly changing a few into male characters for no good reason.  In fact, when you consider that the white cat and Perdita have been cut, that Missis (now renamed Perdita), who is the most vibrant character in the book, is now completely bland, that Cadpig has been replaced with a personality-devoid Lucky and that Sergeant Tibbs has been changed to a male character, all the great female characters have been destroyed!  With the inclusion of lines like ‘better get on your make-up’ and ‘crazy woman driver’ there’s a real sexist feel to this whole sorry affair.  This film has always represented for me bad adaptations because it was the first case of book-to-movie that I was aware of and it drove me nuts as a child that other children were only familiar with the film version, having no idea that the novel existed at all and no interest in reading it.  So for all novels everywhere, POO to this film. 

Side note: some of the dogs from Lady And The Tramp are seen, despite it being set in a different era.

31. The Lion King [1994]

Supposedly Disney’s first original movie, although everyone now says it’s inspired by Hamlet and possibly rips off some anime cartoon.  It’s the story, as if anyone doesn’t know, of a lion cub who thinks he’s responsible for his father’s death and runs off to live with a meerkat and warthog.  Moral: Face your responsibility and learn from your past.

The main thing this movie has going for it is the amazing animation.  Kind of distracts you from the disturbing opening ritual of prey bowing to their executors.  The dark parts of the film are unbelievable.  Trying to add humour to child-murdering characters is misplaced.  Simba’s psychological trauma is way too much and he never really gets over it, he's just forced to take on responsibility he doesn’t want.

30. The Rescuers [1977]

‘Suggested’ by The Rescuers and Miss Bianca by Margery Sharp; it certainly bears little resemblance to the first of those books.  It’s the story of a rescue agency of mice, who send a woman (I know, can you believe it?) and a janitor to rescue an abducted child from a riverboat.  Moral: Faith makes things turn out right.

An unremarkable film, with weird animation that looks like cut-outs, dreary music and an uncomfortable sexist vibe, but you gotta love adorable orphan Penny.

29. Cinderella [1950]

Disney’s second full fairy tale adaptation, based on Charles Perrault’s Cinderella, it’s the story of a nice young woman who likes animals who is forced to work as a servant for her family instead of going to royal balls.  Moral: Never lose hope.

Although Cinderella herself is a decent hero, her mice sidekicks, who get just as much, if not more, screen time as her, are infuriating, while the Prince has one line the whole film, his entire story being told through the device of his father and the Grand Duke, and the villains get no comeuppance, other than the cat who never did anything other than be a cat.

28. Pocahontas [1995]

Inspired by the historical figure Pocahontas, though one must remember that the story of Pocahontas and John Smith was likely a fabrication by Smith anyway who was trying to cash in on her popularity at the time.  It’s the story of a Native American woman who falls in love with an English explorer, and is willing to sacrifice her life to stop bloodshed.  Moral: Don’t kill people just because they’re different to you and small actions have big consequences.

Excluding Colors Of The Wind, the songs are rather short and never really build.  While Pocahontas is a good lead, she still feels like a composite of Ariel (impetuous and curious of a new race), Belle (desiring adventure) and Jasmine (not wanting to be forced into a marriage).  Young women who want freedom was clearly a bit of a theme in the nineties.  Unfortunately, like her heroine predecessors, she is once again almost entirely defined by her romantic attachment.  The other characters aren’t very interesting.  There isn’t much plot or variance in setting.  Pocahontas and John seem to like each other due to no other reason than destiny.  And perhaps due to the ‘based on a true story’ nature, it’s all rather deflating, coz this stuff didn’t turn out well.  There’s an overuse of magic wind (her mother?) which is boringly reminiscent of The Lion King.

Side note: we see no blood at all in this film which actually makes it really confusing.  Kokoum is shot by Thomas and killed, falling into a pool of water, yet there’s no blood or wound, the same as when John takes a bullet later, so you keep thinking that they aren’t really hurt and don’t get what all the fuss is about.

27. Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs [1937]

The first fairy tale Disney movie, based on Grimms’ Snow White, but actually taking a lot of inspiration from Sleeping Beauty; it’s the story of a princess whose stepmother wants to murder her, so she takes refuge with some dwarfs.  Moral: Be good and nice even in the face of hardship and your dreams will come true.

Famous for being the first full-length animated film, the animation is certainly impressive and it’s entertaining, but there’s very little plot, most of the length being stuffed with comedy dwarf scenes that actually take place in the course of one evening.

26. The Sword In The Stone [1963]

Inspired by the novel The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White, this is the tale of Wart, a boy who wants to be a squire and is taken under the wing of the sorcerer Merlin for some mysterious unknown destiny.  Moral: Get an education and don’t accept your fate: you make your own. 

Fairly enjoyable but there isn’t much plot.  The brief scenes of Wart emoting are good, but the rest is just an excuse for some magic lessons.  Also it’s irritating how certain shots and sounds are repeated, making this feel rather cheap.

25. The Emperor’s New Groove [2000]

The story of a selfish ruler who gets cursed and turned into a llama and learns some humility.  Moral: If you’re selfish, no one will care if you die.

There are lots of almost looney-tune-esque jokes, in a direct turn away from traditional Disney, but they don’t quite land.  It lacks something genuine.  Yzma and Kronk are more entertaining than Kuzco and Pacha, who spend most of the film in awkward pauses.

24. The Rescuers Down Under [1990]

The story of Bernard and Miss Bianca going to Australia to rescue a boy from a psycho poacher.  Moral: Don’t let size and personality deceive you, greatness and bravery come in all forms.

I’m not sure why The Rescuers got a cinematic sequel, but this is fairly enjoyable.  Cody is much less interesting than Penny, both in helplessness and wiliness, but now the sexism of Miss Bianca needing a man to look after her has been swept under the rug, it’s more enjoyable to spend time with Bernard, who is practically superhuman by the finale.  However the ending leaves a lot to be desired because A) we never see the animals from McLeach’s lair freed, B) we never see Marahute reunite with her eggs (who are hatching without her by the end) and C) we never see Cody’s strangely faceless mother learn he isn’t dead.  McLeach says ‘the last you’ll ever see of them’ and he’s right.

23. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame [1996]

Loosely inspired by Victor Hugo’s novel Notre Dame De Paris, but that’s not a children’s book, so this story probably isn’t very reminiscent.  It’s the tale of a disfigured young man who’s enslaved in a bell tower by a total loon and falls in love with a gypsy.  Moral: Don’t persecute people for being different.

The music’s incredibly melodramatic and big and the film works okay as a dark and dramatic tale, but the comedy is awful, particularly the gargoyle number while Paris is burning and Phoebus is dying.  There are a surprising number of balls jokes and the comic gargoyles feel like they were inserted later to lighten the incredibly dark tale.  Frollo has ‘unholy thoughts’ about Esmeralda which is totally inappropriate for a children’s film.  Having Quasimodo lose out in love to a non-deformed heroic man isn’t exactly a great ending and he needed to be in it a lot more.

22. Hercules [1997]

Inspired by the myths of Hercules, this is the story of a boy who doesn’t know he’s actually a god, who has to prove himself a hero in order to go live with the other gods on Mount Olympus.  Moral: A true hero isn’t measured by his physical strength but by the strength of his heart.

I think the clichéd casting of Zeus as heroic and Hades as villainous despite what they actually got up to in legends always annoyed me.  Hercules saving the gods is way too easy: how did they all get captured in the first place?  It’s just tough not to side with Hades when the other gods lie around in the clouds all day having fun, plus he’s fairly entertaining.

Side note: Hercules is wearing Scar(from The Lion King)’s skin when he poses for a painting. 

21. Atlantis The Lost Empire [2001]

The story of a man who believes Atlantis is a real place, who goes on an expedition with what turns out to be a bunch of mercenaries.  Moral: Do the right thing, to help others, for adventure and knowledge, and you’ll be rewarded and have a clear conscience.  Do the wrong thing for money and you’ll get killed.

One of the more plot-driven films (these tend to be competent and exciting while on, but forgettable once over).  Once it gets to all the mystic crystal stuff, it’s fairly confusing.  A lot of people die. 

Side note: This is the first ‘twist’ villain, i.e. the first time we don’t know openly from the start who the bad guy is (these twist villains have become a tired trope of modern Disney movies).  This is also one of the rare Disney cartoons to contain blood: Milo is injured and when he puts his hand to the cut, it comes away bloody and when Rourke punches him, his lip bleeds.

20. Big Hero 6 [2014]

Disney’s first cartoon based on a comic book, this is inspired by Big Hero 6 Team and characters created by Man Of Action but probably not much like the comic.  It’s the story of an orphan whose beloved brother is killed and finds support in the robot his brother built before he died.  Moral: Help don’t harm.

Very well made, but so plot driven and relentlessly heart-breaking, it’s actually a bit dull.

19. Pinocchio [1940]

The first novel adaptation Disney movie, inspired by Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, it’s the story of a wooden puppet who is brought to life and has to prove he deserves to become a real boy.  Moral: Be honest, brave and unselfish and always let your conscience be your guide.

This film is a non-stop onslaught of incidents happening to Pinocchio, who’s a slightly irritating lead.  It’s exciting, scary and sad, but it’s pretty dark a lot of the time.  There’s no real plot thread or comeuppances.

18. The Jungle Book [1967]

Inspired (not very closely) by the Rudyard Kipling Mowgli stories, this is the tale of a boy who was raised by wolves in the jungle who has to return to the man village and doesn’t want to.  Moral: People belong with their own kind. :/

Another fairly enjoyable film with very little plot.  What makes it really good is the music, but the weakest point is that Mowgli himself is an irritating sulky little brat.  In Kipling’s stories, Mowgli spends most of his time with his four wolf brothers or with his best friends Bagheera and Kaa, so a film in which he spends no time with wolves whatsoever (for the boy raised by wolves he sure shows no regret on never seeing them again), Bagheera is a stern authoritarian and Kaa is a villain doesn’t really encapsulate the original ideas.

17. Tangled [2010]

Based on the fairy tale Rapunzel by Brothers Grimm, this is the story of a girl imprisoned in a tower by her ‘mother’ who escapes with the help of a rogue to find out why lights appear in the sky on her birthday.  Moral: …Don’t kidnap children?  Everyone has a dream that’s worth fighting for?

Although the villain plot is one of the most evil and the comeuppance is one of the most gruesome, otherwise this is fairly bland, mainly because Rapunzel and Eugene have hardly any personality between them.  Why did Gothel tell Rapunzel her real birthday?  That was only ever going to lead to all this coming out. 

Side note: the relationship between ‘mother’ and daughter is reminiscent of that between Frollo and Quasimodo in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame.  This is another bloody one.  Eugene’s shirt is soaked with blood after he’s stabbed.

16. Tarzan [1999]

Inspired by the novel Tazan Of The Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs, this is the story of a boy raised by apes who meets humans for the first time.  Moral: It isn’t what you look like that defines who you are.

The music’s crap and the plot’s rushed, and the comedy sidekicks are unbelievably boring, but Tarzan is actually a really likeable lead, which makes a change from the whiney or stupid leads of most other male-lead Disney films, and Jane is believably intelligent without needing to be rebellious.  It’s a bit too sad though, with Tarzan’s parents surviving only to die, and a baby being killed, and Tarzan never getting to see the world. 

Side note: although we don’t see anyone bleed, we do see bloodied footprints.  The English party have a teapot and cup that look like a lifeless Mrs Potts and Chip from Beauty And The Beast.

15. Mulan [1998]

Presumably based on the Hua Mulan legend, this is the story of a young woman who pretends to be a man in order to go to war in her sick father’s place.  Moral: Don’t persecute women.

The songs are disappointing but it’s a good story.  Finally a direct address on the sexism suffered by all previous Disney female leads.  There isn’t much plot though and the characters are a bit flat. 

Side note: this is the second Disney film to feature blood – when Mulan is struck by Shan Yu’s sword after the battle she realises she’s wounded, which is how she’s found out.

15. Moana [2016]

Inspired by the Māui myths, this is the story of a girl from an island-bound society who travels the sea to find a demi god to save her island from a darkness that’s corrupting it.  Moral: Everything you do shapes who you are and what others think doesn’t define you, only you know who you truly are.

Nice story of self-affirmation and female empowerment, but it’s not very eventful and too simple while the humour is really off (other than the chicken), it tries way too hard to be cool and the dialogue is often uninspired.  Because we’re dealing with myth, the timeframe is confusing: everything Maui has done is over a thousand years ago, while everything Moana sees of her ancestors is from presumably before and not long after that, in which case those boats are sure in good condition, sitting in a cave for hundreds of years, and has Maui really been sitting on that island doing nothing for that long?  The darkness is only just reaching the island after a thousand years but it gets cured as soon as Moana comes back, which is presumably a matter of weeks.  For a whole ocean of monsters they sure don’t meet any; they only have one dangerous encounter on the open sea.  Maui and Moana never really bond, perhaps briefly in montage but they fall out afterwards immediately, then he comes back for no reason.

Side note: Maui turns into the reindeer from Frozen and Tamatoa references Sebastian from The Little Mermaid after the credits.

13. Aladdin [1992]

Based on the fairy tale Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, this is the story of a goodhearted homeless boy who uses a genii to turn him into a prince.  Moral: Be yourself and don’t lie.

The strengths are clearly in the songs, animation and the comedy sidekicks.  Unfortunately Aladdin himself, despite being brave, noble and sly, is actually fairly wet and difficult to like (maybe it’s the sulking and lying like a baby all the time) while Jasmine, possibly the strongest female character to appear in a Disney film at the time, strong, brave, defiant and intelligent, is reduced to someone whose entire plot revolves around getting married (she won’t marry someone she doesn’t love, so lucky she manages to fall in love before the end of the movie and during the finale she’s left to suffocate and await rescue; note that her father changes the law that forces her to marry to allow her to choose whomever she wishes, not to allow her the freedom of not marrying at all).  There are also way too many ‘poignant’ moments, where characters sit down and think about their feelings.  We get it already, don’t lie and let people be free.  Jeez. 

Side note: Genie has a Pinocchio head to demonstrate lying and possibly Sebastian from The Little Mermaid comes out of a spell book.

12. Wreck-It Ralph [2012]

The story of a computer game villain who wants to prove he can be a hero.  Moral: You can’t change who you are, so be proud of yourself.

The computer game jokes are funny and generally it’s quite emotional, although the plot is a bit meh, but it’s too much of a contrivance that the bugs don’t know it’s a game and there’s far too much exposition. 

11. Bolt [2008]

The story of a dog who thinks he’s a superhero, but actually he’s in a TV show, who thinks his owner has been abducted so goes out into the world to rescue her.  Moral: The impossible can become possible.

The characters are likeable, the plot enjoyable, it’s funny and any story about a little girl losing her puppy is going to be touching, but you can’t get away from the utterly ludicrous premise that the dog doesn’t know he’s on a TV show or that the huge action set piece at the start could ever be made with the dog doing exactly what they need.  Even people in the film don’t care about this idea.  Also, Bolt thinking he’s a superhero when he isn’t and Mittens not understanding how someone could trust a human because she was abandoned by hers are painfully derivative of Buzz in Toy Story and Jesse in Toy Story 2.

10. Sleeping Beauty [1959]

Apparently based on the Charles Perrault version of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, this is the story of some fairies who have to protect a princess from a curse on her life.  Moral: Good triumphs over evil.

Although the stylistic, angular flat animation is rather off-putting, by making a little bit of effort with the relationship between Aurora/Rose and Phillip and having a very exciting finale, this is a lot more interesting than the previous fairy tale films.  Unfortunately there isn’t much to the title character at all, mainly because her story is told from the point of view of the fairies.

9. The Adventures Of The Great Mouse Detective [1986]

Inspired by the Basil Of Baker Street book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone, this is the story of a little girl mouse whose father is abducted, so goes to a famous mouse detective for help.  Moral: Don’t be a criminal.

Due to being a detective story, it’s relentlessly plot-driven and as such you never really have time to sit down with these characters and get to know them.  That said, Basil is such fun that you can’t come away from the film without enjoying yourself.  Unfortunately Dawson is completely cuttable.  There are dark and dramatic elements that are really exciting, and Basil is probably the only Disney hero who smokes (not including José the parrot), but some more heart would be welcome; there isn’t a single teary-eyed moment in the film. 

“Miss Flamhammer.”  “Flavisham!”  “Whatever.”

8. Robin Hood [1973]

Inspired by the legend of Robin Hood, but if they were animals, except they all act like humans so it’s irrelevant that they’re animals, this is the story of an outlaw who steals from Prince John in order to give money to the poor, so then Prince John taxes them into poverty and prison, where Robin has to rescue them, it’s all a bit of a circle really.  Moral: Help those in need.

An action-packed story full of heroic intentions, the animation is a little poor, and it doesn’t really focus on Robin Hood as a person, but for a romp, it’s good entertainment. 

Side note: Sir Hiss is reminiscent of the Grand Duke from Cinderella.

7. Lilo & Stitch [2002]

The story of two orphan sisters, one being raised by the other fairly unsuccessfully, and then the little girl adopts what she thinks is a dog but is actually a dangerous alien facing execution.  Moral: In a family, no one gets left behind or forgotten.

One of the more emotional films (as in, I cried throughout). [2019 EDIT: actually last time I watched this, it was so emotionally draining, I'm not sure I enjoyed it at all!]  By exploring behavioural problems and a broken home and social worker involvement, this is the most interesting film they’ve done.  It’s also cute and funny too. 

Side note: it’s about the love between two sisters, predating and a million times better than Frozen.

6. Zootropolis [2016]

The story of a rabbit who becomes a cop, only to be met by prejudice against her species, who has to team up with a con artist fox, who has also suffered prejudice against his species, to solve a case of animals going berserk.  Moral: You can be whatever you want to be.

Relentlessly plot driven which makes it weaker for repeat viewings, but having animals as the main characters is cool (it’s been too long!), it’s funny and smart and emotional and has an awesome anti-racism pro-vegan moral message.  Course, it would make a lot more sense if it was called by the American title ‘Zootopia’.  There was a lot of ballyhoo about this film practically inventing ‘anthropomorphism’ and doing animated animals like no one ever had before, and while that may be a bit over the top, you can see what they’re getting at; the whole premise revolves around how evolved animals from all over the world and totally different habitats really would function in one society.

5. Meet The Robinsons [2007]

(Vaguely) inspired by the picture book A Day with Wilbur Robinson by William Joyce, this is the story of an orphan boy genius who is passed over for adoption so many times that he decides to build a machine that will allow him to remember who his mother is and find her, except then a boy from the future arrives to tell him a villain from the future has come to sabotage his plans.  Moral: KEEP MOVING FORWARD (they’re not subtle about it).

All the orphan stuff is suitably tear-jerking, and there’s some fairly deep stuff here while the villain is absolutely hilarious.  However Todayland may be entirely the brainchild of Cornelius Robinson but the ludicrous advancements in technology that appear to be magic happening within Lewis’s lifetime and the complete insanity and cartoon-logic of the Robinsons are utterly impossible to believe.

4. The Princess And The Frog [2009]

Inspired by the book The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker, but as far as I can tell bearing no relation to it other than setting, this is the story of a poor hardworking girl who gets turned into a frog after reluctantly kissing a selfish prince who was already turned into a frog earlier.  Moral: What you give is what you get AND what you want isn’t the same as what you need AND love is what’s really important.

The plot doesn’t have a huge amount of steam and the sidekicks aren’t particularly likeable, BUT Tiana and Naveen are such wonderful leads that they carry the film. 

Side note: there are some similarities to The Little Mermaid but that’s not a bad thing. 

3. Lady And The Tramp [1955]

Supposedly inspired by the story Happy Dan, the Whistling Dog by Ward Greene but actually this element was added later, and the real inspiration was that the guy who wanted to make the film had a dog called Lady.  It’s the story of a dog who feels rejected when her owners have a baby.  Moral: Be nice to dogs.

I’m surprised by how much I apparently like this film compared to all the others.  I had it on video as a kid and never really paid it much attention.  But funny and emotional, it really works due to the consistent use of the dogs’ point of view.  It’s just an all-round well-made film.

2. Dumbo [1941]

Apparently inspired by Dumbo, the Flying Elephant by Helen Aberson & Harold Pearl, which is some kind of gimmick picture book thing, this is the story of a baby elephant who is bullied for having big ears and cruelly taken away from his mother and ostracized, until a mouse makes friends with him and they discover he has a wonderful ability.  Moral: The things that make you different are what make you special.

Despite being very short, this film tells a decent story (apart from the trippy drinking sequence).  Simple but effective.

1. The Little Mermaid [1989]

Based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, except Disney made it nice instead of horrible, it’s the story of a teenage mermaid who’s obsessed with humans, and after she saves the life of one and is punished by her own kind, makes a dubious deal with a witch to become a human.  Moral: Love conquers all.

This movie made a huge change from its predecessors and ushered Disney into a brief but new era of excellence.  It’s a continuous flow of awing moments, wonderful music and lots of laughs, unlike anything that came before it, and apparently anything after either.

So there you are.  You’re welcome.  Which are your favourite and least favourite Disney Animated Motion Pictures?