Saturday, February 02, 2013

Disney Meme

There's a Disney Animated Feature Challenge I've seen on Tumblr lately (started here) and I thought I'd do it here becase it's a very snow Saturday morning and I've got nothing to do.

1: Your favorite character
My favorite Disney character is Scrooge McDuck. But since this is an Animated Feature challenge.... Donald Duck. He counts for Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros.

2: Your favorite official princess
Snow White, I think. But mostly because of Grim Natwick.

3: Your favorite official prince
The Beast. He's one of the only ones with any pathos.

4: Your favorite heroine (that isn’t an official princess)
I honestly can't think of one that I find that interesting as a real character, just going from the list of Disney features. I do like that they tried with Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame to finally create a post-feminist heroine, but I think her fate was still largely determined by all of the male characters around her, which kind of cuts her off at the knees. I don't know, if I could pick from anything Disney, I'd pick Clarabelle Cow.

5: Your favorite hero (not an official prince)

6: Your favorite cast of characters
The Jungle Book. I love the character designs, especially. And George Sanders. That was the Disney movie that made the biggest impression on me as a kid, for whatever reasons.

7: Your favorite friendship
Mowgli and Baloo, because it reminds me of me and my Dad 30 years ago.

8: Your favorite sidekick
Jiminy Cricket. Close second: Genie. Eric Goldberg is a genius.

9: Your favorite couple
Pocahontas and John Smith, but that has a lot more to do with how that movie reminds me of how Becca and I were still in our first year of dating when it came out.

10: Your favorite animal couple
Is there a way for this question to not sound weird and fetishy? The internet has made us all bad people. Also, I can't think of one that really holds my attention that much, except maybe Tiana and Naveen in their frog forms in The Princess and the Frog.

11: The pet(s) you wish you had
I'd like to have access to one of those carnotaurs from Dinosaur, but not as a pet, more as an instrument of revenge/super-villainy.

12: Your favorite villain
Here's where there's just a wealth to choose from. I must say, I'm torn between Shere Khan in The Jungle Book and Scar in The Lion King, even though they're both basically the same character with similar actors doing big line readings. Shere Khan has the edge, though, because George Sanders is so perfectly droll.

13: Your favorite villain song
I've listened to "Friends on the Other Side" from The Princess and the Frog about a hundred and eighty times. It's just so damn listenable.

14: The most chilling villain demise
The Horned King in The Black Cauldron. I was 9 when I saw that movie, and the whole flashing, melting face thing really scared me. I know that was a surprisingly common sight in the 1980s, but you know how, sometimes, when you're a kid animation seems weirdly more "real"? Yeah, that got to me.

15: A moment that makes you laugh until it hurts
The funniest thing in any Disney movie, for me, is the crazy animation as Donald Duck, Jose Carioca and Panchito Pistoles sing the title song in The Three Caballeros. That is spectacularly crazed. Ward Kimball was amazing.

16: A moment that makes you cry your eyes out
Jeez, where to start? Most Disney movies have made me cry, but probably none so much as Beauty and the Beast, when the Beast "dies" and Belle says "I love you." There's context at play, too; when I saw that movie, I was 14 and had just finished my awful freshman year of high school, where I was so outcast and still made fun of on a daily basis because of my weight, my terrible skin, and my unpopularity in junior high. So that movie struck that chord, too.

Immediate runner-up: "Baby Mine."

17: A moment that scares you
When I was a kid, there were countless moments. Today the one that still does it is Lampwick crying out for his mother as he turns into a donkey in Pinocchio.

18: A moment that makes you mad
Boy, that Aunt Sarah frustrates me in Lady and the Tramp. And when the other elephants make fun of Dumbo. And the outright evil of Lady Tremayne. What's up, Verna Felton? You were very, very good at what you did.

19: A moment that makes you happy
My heart kind of soars when Donald Duck and Daisy finally find each other again at the end of the Noah's Ark sequence in Fantasia 2000.

20: Your favorite musical number
How do I pick? There are so many great ones. But, since I mentioned it earlier, the pure craziness of "The Three Caballeros."

21: Your favorite romantic moment
I do like "A Whole New World." Or Beast giving Belle the library, because Belle, like people on Tumblr, doesn't love to read so much as she likes to hang out with a big book collection.

22: Your favorite ending
The end of Lilo & Stitch really gets to me: "This is my family. I found it all on my own. It's small, and broken, but good."

23: A line that inspires you
Hmm. The first thing that comes to mind is the narrator telling Winnie the Pooh that all stories have an ending. That sort of thing always inspires me. Endings and new beginnings, and stories being enriched by having endings in the first place.

24: The first movie you remember seeing
The first Disney movie I actually have a memory of seeing is the 1979 re-release of Sleeping Beauty.

25: A movie you think is underappreciated
Bambi. Simply because it's my favorite, and every time I tell someone it's my favorite they say they don't like it. Also Fantasia. I'm also sorry that it seems like The Princess and the Frog has been shoved aside so that Tangled can be vastly overrated by a generation who thinks Shrek was great filmmaking.

26: Your favorite movie of the Golden Age (1937-1959)
Is that what the Golden Age is considered now? Because at the time of the Golden Age, none of those movies were making money or being embraced by mass audiences or, in the 1950s, even Walt Disney himself. The real Golden Age is something like 1937 to 1941. But anyway, it's still Bambi.

27: Your favorite movie of the Dark Age (1960-1988)
The Jungle Book.

28: Your favorite movie of the Renaissance Age (1989-1999)
Beauty and the Beast or Tarzan. Tarzan is a really great distillation of some of the elements of Edgar Rice Burroughs that I really like (though it ignores a lot of the brutality and science fiction weirdness, which, fine, it's great for what it tries to be), but it's marred by lapses of taste like Rosie O'Donnell.

29: Your favorite movie of the Millennium Age (2000-present)
Lilo & Stitch.

30: Your favorite movie
Bambi. Really, I think the first five Disney movies--Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi--are real works of art. But Bambi is probably my second or third favorite movie of all time.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Some Links

:: Kyle Baker has works online you can read for free. I highly recommend King David.

:: The Most Dangerous Game as a series of tweets is the funniest thing I read all week.

:: Disney Animation has put the Oscar-nominated short Paperman online in full.

:: And, because I found it fun, a trailer for the Star Wars trilogy done in the style of a trailer for a JJ Abrams movie.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jim Henson Bufferin Ad from 1967

Another great old Jim Henson ad. No puppetry here, but it's a very interesting combination of score, sound, visual, and subtle effects that, surprisingly, simulate exactly what my worst headaches are like... The trippiest part, though, is hearing Henson's voice come out of an actor. That's just weird.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Kate Upton

How to Write for Buzzfeed in Two Easy Steps

1. Write three or fewer sentences along the lines of "Here's [x thing from the 90s]. That was certainly a thing that existed. The 90s, man." No more depth will be required.

2. Pad with a number of pictures and gifs. The gifs don't even have to be related, they just have to communicate a truly over the top feeling for how great Boy Meets World was, or something.

3. Congratulate yourself on effectively communicating in the post-literate, post-fact, "everything is perfect and flawless and criticism hurts me" generation. (step optional)

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Finished Reading Dune

I loved it. The last time I read it was in high school, 20 years ago. I grokked it much more this time. I've been reading it slowly because I didn't want to just steam through it; I really wanted to figure out the things I didn't quite understand when I was 16.

I know some of you are Dune fans, so let me ask: is it worth it to go ahead and read Dune Messiah? I never thought about getting into the rest of the series, but I find myself hungering to see what happens to Paul-Muad'dib and whether or not he can stop the jihad. Dune was such an interesting look at how a superhuman loses his humanity; I want to see if he can regain it, or if it's really lost.

What say you? Should I read more?

The Apollo 1 Astronauts

Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, 1967. They were the Apollo 1 crew who died in a fire on the launchpad while making a pre-launch test. This was NASA's Image of the Day the other day, and it just really struck me. White was the first American to walk in space. Grissom was one of the Mercury Seven. Chaffee was new to the program. Three great, brave people. Their tragic death led to changes in the design and engineering. Back then we didn't just give up.

I've been thinking about this today because of the news that Iran came up with a cover for testing a missile launched a monkey into space. How much farther would we be if we hadn't pretty much stopped and decided going to the moon was enough and why bother going anymore at all?

It's also the anniversary of the Challenger disaster in 1986. Tragedies used to not derail us. We kept going forward in their spirit. When will we do it again?

Random Random

This is honestly mostly negative and just getting out this negative crap. So if you're one of the many people who think I'm already barely tolerable and openly hostile, I don't mind if you skip this.

:: It just seems not normal to have a 47 degree day in January. We're in the range that might get tornadoes tomorrow, and definitely thunderstorms tonight. We get thunder during snowstorms now. "Thundersnow" is now a word I hear regularly. It's never not disconcerting to hear thunder in January. Is this just normal now? Two days ago it got down to 12 below zero at night. Today, it's 47. We've turned some kind of corner, because this is every year for the last five or eight years.

:: It's been over a year since DC Comics got rid of the red trunks on Superman's costume. I think it's time to stop complaining about it. They're not coming back, and even if they did, what does that actually change about the character? Remember when he had long hair in the 90s? Remember when they replaced the yellow in the symbol with black about a decade ago? What was the difference in the actual character? Nothing. Nothing at all. Why is it that instead of complaining about what DC have actually done to fundamentally change the character post-reboot, the fans complain much more loudly about a superficial difference that has no real effect? You don't see people bitching about how Batman doesn't have trunks anymore. Because who cares?

:: I couldn't care less about this whole Manti Te'o thing if I was actively trying.

:: I'm not the only person who was offended and uncomfortable by this weekend's weirdly homophobic Saturday Night Live episode, right?

:: If your website is as big as io9, you really need to start hiring some editors to proofread those articles, because holy shit. There really is a point where it stops being mechanical errors and misspellings and just becomes totally incomprehensible.

I know, House of Lies isn't the best show, but as long as Kristen is on it, I'll keep watching. I like it just enough where it's not a waste of time, but if Kristen took off, I probably wouldn't stick around. I am utterly tickled though that they've given her a nemesis, and it's Nia Long. I adore Nia Long. Nia Long is someone I've loved a long time, long enough to give Kristen some real competition for me. Diggin' this.

:: So Don't Trust the B--- in Apt. 23 got canceled. I'm disappointed, but hardly surprised. I thought it was a funny show. I hope Dreama Walker gets another show, but not something where she plays some plucky doctor in a medical drama or something. I can so see that happening.

:: Wow, this is going to be the 17th year of talking about JonBenet Ramsey?

:: So, I understand that you may not like her music and the focus on her dating life might annoy you, but does it make anyone else queasy that there's a whole section of our media and social networks that's perfectly comfortable slut-shaming Taylor Swift for dating a lot of people and then writing songs about her feelings? Because that just seems not cool to me. Where are the people giving John Mayer hell every time he writes a song about a failed relationship? I don't get why it's funny just because Taylor's a girl. It seems less funny because Taylor's a girl. It's the same queasiness I feel when grown men are telling Kristen Stewart (or any woman) that they need to smile. Seriously, stop it with your unconsciously patriarchal bullshit. Why the fuck does it make a difference to you? Stop telling little white girls what to do to make you feel more comfortable. No one tells men to smile. Get over it.

:: The mainstream media's major commentary on President Obama's second inauguration was "Ha ha, Beyonce didn't sing" and "Girl, Michelle Obama's bangs, wha?" Politics in America. Is it any wonder I can't even talk about this shit anymore?

:: I already like the second season of Girls much more than the first one, because this season I don't have to read all of that shit about how Lena Dunham is awful because ovaries or whatever the fuck it was supposed to be.

:: I can't help it. I don't think I'm superior to anyone. But when I see person after person after person complaining about how Tumblr's different and they're lost rather than taking the five or ten minutes to figure out how it works now, my first two thoughts are always "Wow, I hope you're never in a serious crisis" and "What's it like to not have any actual problems to complain about?" I feel bad. I know it can be frustrating when things change. But it's not like waking up and finding a hole in your roof is it?

:: Why I'm Glad Ben Affleck Isn't Directing Episode VII. Okay, see, this is why people hate fanboys. And this is why all of the "Fake Geek Girls" and the "Posers Who Only Like Something Because of a Movie" are way more fun than a lot of hardcore fans: because they can like something without being total assholes about it.

:: I want to stay in an underwater hotel.

:: Lucasfilm has decided not to release the other five Star Wars films in 3D. I'm not torn up about it, though any excuse to see Star Wars on the big screen is fine with me. Still glad I got to see The Phantom Menace again in the theater.

:: Please don't ask me a question that starts with "Don't you just love..." if you're going to get crazy with anger when the answer is no.

I feel like I should end with something cute to balance the negativity. Here's a baby and some puppies. I genuinely love this picture.

I'll try to be less negative... later.

Kristen Bell Mondays

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Song of the Week: "Screwdriver"

I dig Prince's new song.