Cheers & Jeers
This week I decided that my occasional nod to the world’s most beloved anti-Semite, Walt Disney, is not sufficient. Therefore, I’ve decided that this week’s installment of Cheers & Jeers will be all about Disney. I won’t repeat my love for “The Lion King,” because I don’t recycle like that. Who do I look like, Seth MacFarlane? You’ll get six fresh, unpasteurized commentaries on the first world’s source of childhood, so here we go! Anyone interested should email a sample cheer or jeer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHEER of the week: to “Beauty and the Beast”
This movie broke ground for Disney movies to come. It was the first movie to incorporate computer animation (for a total of five seconds or so), setting the stage for fully computer animated goliaths such as “Toy Story.” Beyond that, it started the trend of presenting a compelling story for children while also giving them a horrible life lesson. Nothing says “I love you” like Stockholm Syndrome! This was followed in “The Lion King” not by the popular motto “Hakuna Matata,” but by the writers’ original motto idea: Kill your uncle, get a kingdom. This movie also popularized the formula of producing a musical with a lovable sidekick that Disney used to death for the rest of the decade. Don’t believe me? Fa, Mulan! In exchange for Eddie Murphy’s career, “Beauty and the Beast” introduced children to musical theater and Broadway. Fair trade. This movie also taught me valuable lessons about being a man. Between the Beast’s mane and Gaston’s chest hair, I’ve discovered that the keys to getting the girl are to borderline (or outright) kidnap her and be really hairy. Thanks, Disney.
JEER of the week: to Disney World
I don’t mind admitting that I don’t know the difference between Disney World and Disneyland. As far as I’m concerned, they’re both just super fun places that my parents never took me to and I have resulting latent resentment towards them for it. One great reason to not like Disney World is that it’s in Florida. It’s strange that Florida looks like nation’s comically undersized penis because it smells like the nation’s ass. Once you’ve mentally and olfactorily prepared yourself for the trip to Disney World, you had also better be ready to shell out serious money to go. Even looking at the park costs $100. The only truth in that is that Disney World reflects real life: Dreams really do come true… if you can afford it. For those who can’t, you just pop in your most worn out Disney VHS, close your eyes, and let Alan Menken take away your pain.
CHEERS to Disney Channel
Hi! I’m Cheers & Jeers and you’re watching Disney Channel! Bah-bah-bahhh-bah. I want to make clear that I’m cheering only the original generation of Disney Channel stars. Demigods like Shia LeBouf, Hillary Duff, Christy Carlson Romano, and of course Raven-Symoné, who all contributed to shows and movies that have become staples of my childhood on par with Disney’s feature films. Whether it’s discovering that you shouldn’t put twinkies on your pizza, learning that “The Even Stevens Movie” was just a rip-off of “The Truman Show” legitimized by a “Saturday Night Live” alum or being taught that seeing the future doesn’t always mean things will work out as planned, Disney Channel has valuable lessons to send to its viewers. Then “High School Musical” happened and all hell broke loose. I prefer not to think of those days. Remembering the heyday of a lovable bancon-munching sidekick or a poorly drawn naked mole rat allow me to crystallize the Disney Channel at its best.
JEERS to the 2000’s
I have a love-hate relationship with 2000’s-era Disney movies. On the one hand, movies like “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles” and the first “Pirates” movie became instant classics and are just as entertaining as the movies that defined my childhood. But somehow, they’re just not the same. It’s like switching milk brands: it’s the same 2% you know and love, but it’s just a little… unfamiliar. It’s hard to put your finger on it (giggity), but not being traditionally animated or being closely tied to my childhood prevents me from connecting with 2000’s movies. The one exception is “Atlantis: The Lost Empire.” That movie is traditionally animated and early enough in the 2000’s to be rightly associated with classic ‘90’s Disney. Beyond that, however, I consider 2000’s Disney to be the Dark Ages of the company. This godless period had the audacity to hire Larry the Cable Guy for a movie. Don’t even get me started on the Black Death known as the Lohan dynasty. Suffice to say, Disney should take this new decade as a chance to move in a new direction, but for the love of God, that new direction cannot be One Direction.
CHEERS to “Fantasia”
The character Mickey Mouse may have been created in the iconic short “Steamboat Willie,” but he was undoubtedly made famous as the Sorcerer’s apprentice. The sorcerer, appropriately named Yen Sid, may have been able to synchronize Moses-like waterbending to the crash of cymbals, but it was the cymbals themselves that were producing magic by introducing classical music to children. Apparently, it also causes me to wax poetic in the middle of a comedy column. The original music videos, “Fantasia” succeeded in publicizing famous works, some by still-living composers like Igor Stravinsky. It also managed to get some controversy by incorporating a healthy dose of racism in one of its songs. Apparently, depicting black stereotypes is frowned upon in children’s movies, but is present in many Disney films. “Fantasia” was popular enough to justify a sequel, “Fantasia 2000,” which featured a new set of songs with new animation to accompany it. This installment managed to avoid gratuitous racism, so this is the rare case where the sequel is actually better than the original.
CHEERS to “Miracle”
It’s difficult for Disney to pull off a live-action movie and have it be worth seeing. However, “Miracle” has all the inspiration of an animated movie with the added bonus of Kurt Russell. Based on the true story of the United States winning the Cold War in the famous and bloody Battle at Lake Placid, “Miracle” tells the tale of US troops without supplies in the dead of New York winter and having to stave of Soviet tanks using only hockey sticks. After a preliminary victory, they cross the Hudson on a giant hockey puck and enter Vermont to boost the nation’s morale by protecting the precious skiing industry. This is the synopsis I found on the Internet, anyway, so I’m assuming that this is true. Miracle is the ultimate pump-up movie. Got a sports event? Pop it in on the bus. Need motivation for spring cleaning? The infamous “Again” scene will have you dusting those surfaces until you gasp in between dry heaves that you clean for the United States of America. The only reason why the movie is even believable is because it actually happened, which makes this a particularly heartwarming Disney movie. Hopefully the SEAL Team 6 movie will be just as inspiring… and also star Kurt Russell.