Tag Archives: Disney

The Set of 400: #229 – My Favorite Prestidigitonium

Today! Because I can’t be a king, Archimedes. I don’t know anything about ruling a country –

The Sword in the Stone (1963)

Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman (x2)

Starring Karl Swenson, Rickie Sorensen, Sebastian Cabot (x2), Martha Wentworth, Alan Napier, Norman Alden, Junius Matthews

Another staple of the ’80s household, The Sword in the Stone seems to fade from the collective memory more with each passing year. I had never been to any Disney theme park before 2016, and then in rapid succession went to America’s both in six months, and for the life of me I didn’t see a lick of Sword in the Stone merch, and these are places simply teeming with swag. I could be wrong, but it seems like the handful of Disney films we really watched to death as kids are sorely represented now, in favor of recent hits (which makes total sense) and massive favorites, of the Dumbo, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White variety (which also makes sense). Couldn’t they create a Curiosities Corner, for mid-range animated films that aren’t exactly beloved classics but still have a passionate fanbase? There are a number of these films still to come, so I won’t completely illustrate which I’m referring to, but Sword in the Stone absolutely fits the bill.

Not on the list, but The Great Mouse Detective didn’t warrant so much as a Ratigan jock strap either

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The Set of 400: #254 – My Favorite Spinning Wheel

Today! Because I walked with you once upon a dream –

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Directed by Clyde Geronimi (x2)

Starring Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Taylor Holmes, Marvin Miller

The older films categorized as Disney Princess movies don’t have a lot of appeal for the young boys, I can tell you from experience. Snow White has those dwarfs, sure, but the rest of that thing is snoozeville. Cinderella is pure little girl fantasy – who is a young lad supposed to connect with there, Gus Gus?! I’m not saying all movies need to be aimed at all people, that’s obviously ridiculous, but I grew up with sisters, and got a steady diet of girl-centric entertainment, most of which I did not enjoy. Nowadays I might be able to find more fun in all those birds sewing dresses or whatever the hell goes on with Cinderelly, but back then, not so much.

Okay, Gus Gus is fine

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The Set of 400: #299 – My Favorite St. Bernard Nursemaid

Today! Because I have the strangest feeling that I’ve seen that ship before. A long time ago, when I was very young –

Peter Pan (1953)

Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske

Starring Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried, Tom Conway, Paul Collins, Lucille Bliss, June Foray, Mel Blanc

Cast your mind back with me, if you will. No, not to the early days of the Eisenhower administration, when this charming, somewhat racist cartoon was made – but to the Christmas movie season of 1991. Twelve year old Joe was on the cusp of publishing his first Favorite Movie List – I’m sure you remember, it was in all the major news outlets of the day, all shuttered now by a general lack of interest in journalism. Perhaps some preliminary versions of it had already floated out to the world, through gossip mongerers or paid informants. And the going word was that Steven Spielberg’s new take on the old J.M. Barrie classic was making a big impact in dorky Joe’s life, that it might even supplant the long-understood top movie of his list (Tim Burton’s exceedingly dark and campy take on a ’60s superhero TV show).

More on this later

Springing from that film – the critically derided but much-beloved (I assume) by kids of my generation Peter Pan update Hook – came a renewed interest in the Disney classic, and given that in those days there was no telling how long it may take for a popular movie to make its way to videocassette, I turned to the next best thing. But in retrospect… Continue reading

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The Set of 400: #391 – My Favorite Cartoon Shakespeare

Today! Because it hurt that my friends never stood downwind –

The Lion King (1994)

Directed by Rogers Allers and Rob Minkoff

Starring Matthew Broderick, James Earl Jones, Rowan Atkinson, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons, Moira Kelly, Nathan Lane, Ernie Sabella, Cheech Marin, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Robert Guillaume

Even if it doesn’t have the most entries on this list, I often hold up 1994 as being possibly the best year ever for movies. The highs are just so high – and it kicks off with what was the top grossing animated movie ever for a very long time afterward. Coming on the heels of the superior The Little Mermaid/Beauty and the Beast combo and the funnier Aladdin, Disney crashed the summer and dominated with what is often accurately described as “Savanna Hamlet.” Home video was already well established by this point, however in the early ’90s you saw successful movies stay in theaters for lengthy runs, and I ended up seeing Lion King some five times at movie theaters and drive-ins across ’94 and ’95. This would stick around at least tied for Movie I Saw in Theaters Most for many, many years. Continue reading

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Pixar’s WALL•E – “A Masterpiece”

The landscape of cinema and entertainment was irrevocably altered on June 28th of this year, with the release of Pixar’s latest computer animated epic, WALL·E, which proved itself to be not only the best yet production of the Disney-owned company, but to be unquestionably, inarguably the greatest motion picture ever made. 

The Best Film of All-Time

That’s right.  Ever.  And it’s not even close.  This is a film in a class so distinctly its own that it barely can be squeezed into the existing parameters of how we define a movie.  It so outdoes everything that’s come before that it is almost like watching some new, far superior form of entertainment unlikely ever to be duplicated. Continue reading

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