#304- Fantasia

Quick recap: 8 pieces of Western Classical music are illustrated by the Walt Disney company.

Me, after eating that whole pizza the other night

Fun (?) fact: To this day, Disney still receives complaints from parents about the ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ sequence. It was removed from the film for several years after so many people complained that it frightened young children but later brought back to teach those kids to suck it up.

I blame the large nipples

My thoughts: I made invited my seven year old to watch Fantasia with me, hoping to further cultivate a love of music like I have. I loved this movie as a kid, but then again, I’ve always had a thing for Classical. My grandmother used to listen to it often and I remember falling asleep to various pieces at night, painting pictures in my head as the music swelled around me. Alas, this bonding moment with my son was not to be because he was asking to turn it off within 5 minutes. It wasn’t a complete wash, as you will see as I break down each segment:

Toccata and Fugue in D Minor– the animation was just a bunch of abstract art, which is basically the very definition of torture for a kid. The look in his eyes as the music continued was one of betrayal, since I had promised him he would enjoy it.

Nutcracker Suite- My kid loves The Nutcracker and wanted to listen to it constantly around Christmas. He enjoyed this segment better but would’ve much rather seen the ballet than the changing of seasons. The mushrooms dancing (albeit a little racist) was pretty cute.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice– Mickey Mouse saves the day! My son thought the animation was really funny, except for the scene when he chops up the broom into little pieces.

Rite of Spring- The animation for this one started with the birth of our planet and ended with all the dinosaurs dying off. My kid has never really been into dinosaurs so he was mostly bored. I was amused watching what people in 1940 understood about our universe.

The Pastoral Symphony– The setting for this piece is Mt. Olympus. There are various centaurs, unicorns, and gods and not a nipple in sight. It was really creepy after awhile, this nipple-less world. My son thought the baby pegasus were cute but lost interest with the centaurs were hooking up. I don’t blame him.

Dance of the Hours-My son enjoyed this one as well, but didn’t understand how an alligator could lift a hippo. Buddy, you have no problem with an ostrich ballerina but an alligator and hippo dancing gives you pause? Moving on.

Night on Bald Mountain- My kid’s favorite holiday is Halloween so I thought for sure this would win him over. NOPE. Not even the screaming ghouls did the trick.

I’m sad that this movie didn’t really hold up as I remembered. On the positive side, I know what I can put on as punishment the next time my kid drives me crazy.

Final review: 2/5, although I would’ve rated it higher had I watched alone

Up next: Man of the West

#269- The Princess Bride

Quick recap: A classic fairy tale- kings, queens, knights, pirates and Billy Crystal.

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Fun (?) fact: Cary Elwes, who played Westley, later continued his stunning career by playing the villain in Twister. Yes, there was a villain. No, it wasn’t the tornado. OR WAS IT?

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Jonas! Why didn’t you just listen to Bill Paxton? WHYYYYY??

My thoughts: Before I start the review, let me make a couple of points: 1 being that I didn’t watch The Princess Bride until I was an adult and 2 yes I do have a sense of humor and anyways, my mom thinks I’m hilarious so isn’t that all that really matters in the end?

As you probably already guessed, I didn’t really care for this movie. It’s not to say I didn’t like it or that I thought it wasn’t very good. I mostly just don’t get the cult following it has. The local Alamo Drafthouse does Princess Bride quote-alongs often, at almost the same frequency as Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which is just downright silly to me. I was entertained but not to the point that I would watch this 20 times in a row and then squeal with delight every time someone made a reference to the movie.

I truly feel like I’m being unfair to this movie, having only seen it as a jaded, cold-hearted adult. My six year old loved it, so to me, The Princess Bride did its job. He cracks up every time he hears the ‘My name is Inigo Montoya’ quote and it’s not hard for me to imagine him one day growing up and watching a midnight screening at a local movie theater to bring back all those good childhood memories. As for me? I thought it was a sweet movie and creative, and yes, even funny sometimes, but ultimately, a little out of my age range. Sorry.

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Final review: 3/5

Up next: Happiness

 

#243-E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Quick recap:

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I remember another gentle visitor from the heavens. Who came to earth… and then died… only to be brought back to life again. And his name was: E.T., the extra-terrestrial. I love that little guy.

Fun (?) fact: E.T. is actually a plant-like creature and neither female or male

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This might be my new favorite reaction gif

My thoughts: This movie has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. Back when VCRs were hella expensive, Three-year-old Me would carry around the VHS tape everywhere I went on the off chance someone would feel sorry for me and let me watch it. It wasn’t until I ended up in the hospital when I was 5, that I finally got my hands on a VCR proving that a) sometimes you have to go to extremes to get what you want  and b) Chicken Pox is no laughing matter.

I’ve sat through E.T a handful of times as an adult and each time I’m amazed by how much the movie still affects me. I choked up as always during the scene when E.T and Elliott are in the bathroom dying, but there was this added layer to the movie where I identified more with the mom than I have in other viewings. It was almost as if I was watching something for the first time, noticing what the mom is going through as she deals with a separation on top of taking care of three kids, one of whom brings in an alien that almost kills him. It’s a lot to take in and though she doesn’t always handle things perfectly, she sees the bond Elliott and E.T have and she respects it, even though the consequences are so serious.

On paper, this movie looks like it would be a major train wreck. This kind of cutesy-buddy story about an alien and boy just doesn’t work most of the time, as evidenced by the many copycats that came after *ahem* Mac and Me. But throw in Spielberg and John Williams and you are at least heading in the right direction. There are so many iconic scenes in this movie- the bikes flying in the air, E.T and his glowing finger, and the score is still my favorite from everything Williams has done. I don’t know how an adult might react to viewing this film for the first time, although I can predict that it would probably be negative. The film itself is shot through the perspective of a young boy because it is a movie meant for children. It meant so much to me as a kid and I carried those lessons with me through adulthood.

Final review: 5/5

Up next: The Last Wave

 

#223- A Christmas Story

Quick recap: A young boy wants a BB gun for Christmas and this is his story. A Christmas story, if you will.

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Me, most days

Fun (?) fact: The raunchy comedy Porky’s is the reason we have A Christmas Story. Bob Clark directed both and the success he got from Porky’s allowed him to venture into the world of holiday movies.

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Me, most days

My thoughts: Merry holidays to you and welcome to a SPECIAL EDITION of my blog. I never do timely reviews, except for that whole month of timely reviews I do in October. And all those times I reviewed war movies during American holidays. But this is legit timely, so let’s get on with it.

So, yes, I have seen A Christmas Story many times (I’m not a monster), but my husband hasn’t (probably not a monster, but this doesn’t help his case).He grew up in a more sentimental setting, whereas I’m not a ‘Christmas’ person at all- I don’t watch holiday movies, I don’t do Elf on the Shelf, and I don’t decorate the house. Really, A Christmas Story is about the only movie I can stomach, which is about a good of a review that I could possibly give it.

It’s really difficult to pin down whether this is a ‘good’ movie or just a better movie than what else is out there. It’s been a few years since I have seen it and I was a little worried that it wouldn’t hold up like I wanted it to. A few minutes in, however, I realized there was nothing to worry about. Many of the scenes that everyone loves- the lamp, Randy eating like a pig, the bunny suit- are legitimately funny, and even my husband laughed so we can stay married for now. I was also relieved that the film never dips into schmaltz or sentimentality. There are sweet scenes, but nothing that made me roll my eyes.

I think the reason I gravitate towards A Christmas Story is because it is closer to real life than other holiday films. Ralphie’s family isn’t perfect by a long shot and they aren’t in search of holiday spirit or a Christmas miracle. It’s a simple story about a kid that really wants something for Christmas and then gets it. I can get behind that.

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Me, most days

Final review: 4/5 because I can’t bring myself to give a Christmas film a perfect score.

Up next: 8 1/2