Tangled up in Blonde

Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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54 Responses

  1. 62across says:

    When Disney purchased Pixar a few years ago, they made (Pixar executive producer) John Lasseter Chief Creative Officer of both Pixar and Disney Animation.  The fruits of that decision are now coming to the screen, starting with The Princess and the Frog a year ago. IMO, Lasseter is a near Walt Disney level visionary.Report

  2. Rufus F. says:

    As much as I love the Pixar movies (just rented Toy Story 3 and was blown away by just how good it was) I’m glad to see they’re doing some more hand-drawn cell animation (I think they call this 2D animation in the industry) because, as a drawer and painter, the artistry catches my eye immediately. Probably because I don’t know much about how to do it, the same doesn’t happen with computer animation.Report

  3. Kyle Cupp says:

    I’ve been watching with my son some of the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki and some of the old Disney fantasies like the Black Cauldron.  He’s usually one to get up and want to play after a little television time, but he sat still and attentive while The Castle in the Sky and Howl’s Moving Castle played–and both are very long movies for children, over two hours.  Miyazaki aims less for emotional fireworks and more for a sustained incarnation of wonder.  His characters are all morally complex. Even his nastiest villains have more than a few touches of humanity and decency.  Anyhow, my son and I have both enjoyed what we’ve seen, and my wife and I really liked the not-for-little-kids Princess Mononoke, which we saw last night.  We’ll have to check out Tangled.
    (I hum Enchanted tunes at work).Report

    • North in reply to Kyle Cupp says:

      I like MIyazaki in a lot of films (spirited Away!!11!1one!) but I’ve always found Castle in the Sky preachy and I’ll never forgive him for how horribly he butchered one of my favorite childrens books when he made his version of Howl’s Moving Castle.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Kyle Cupp says:

      My 16-year-old son has recently become a huge Miyazake fan, so in the past month or so we’ve watched Howl’s Moving Castle, Princess Monomoke, and the more child-oriented My Neighbor Toroto and Ponyo. Looking forward to Spirited Away.

      As someone who grew up loving the Prydain books (I can still recall how excited I was when The High King was first published), I’m a bit afraid to find out what Disney did to The Black Cauldron.Report

  4. gregiank says:

    All i can say is, I’m glad you didn’t title this post Blood on the Tracks. That is not the name for a post about kids movies.Report

  5. Robert Cheeks says:

    Disney-no mas!
    Isn’t one of Disney’s subsidiaries into making rather nasty films?

    Me and the missus saw True Grit over the weekend. I intend to blog a review over at PoMoCon so tune in. Ironically, I was sitting there, in a theatre in Youngstown, Ohio carrying a larger calibre small arm than the antagonists and protagonists in the film…legally, of course.Report

    • A post about a Disney film turns into an excuse to tell us you carry? And that your gun is bigger than some fictional movie characters’ guns?

      TMI, dude. TMI.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

      My parents listened to pretty much only Gospel when I was growing up. The Blackwood Brothers, J. Stratton Shufelt, J.D. Sumner (I was named after him, I am told), and, of course, the Statler Brothers.

      The Statlers had a song called “Whatever Happened to Randolph Scott?”


      In any case, the song has this lyric that makes me laugh out loud each time I hear it:

      Everybody’s tryin’ to make a comment
      about our doubts and fears.
      True Grit’s the only movie
      I’ve really understood in years.

      Which is a long-winded buildup to my question:

      I haven’t seen it yet… is it any good?Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        And are they ever going to film The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, which has been their “next film” since before A Serious Man?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          They’re like some weird Bearded Spock Universe Tarantinos.

          Their movies are so technically precise that they are movies about movies.

          I don’t know that that would gel with The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. I wonder that they’d get in the way… I mean, they do better re-telling stories than telling them, if you know what I mean.Report

      • Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

        “..smoking cigarettes and watchin’ Capt’n Kangaroo..”

        Hey, see my link to my blog on True Grit above. I loved the ‘way’ it was filmed..cinematography? I thought it was the finest Western ever made.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

          I thought it was the finest Western ever made.

          That’s a bold statement, sir.Report

          • Robert Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

            And, you know I’m not given to hyperbole!
            Here’s my review of it:

            So take the lovely and vivacious Mrs. Jaybird and go see it. Fortunately Martha had tissues for me.Report

            • If I agreed that it is the finest Western ever made – or at least the finest I’ve ever seen – but for reasons having nothing to do with yours (and no mention of the way in which the townsfolk are portrayed in their racist handling of the Indian chief’s execution?), would you hold it agin’ me?

              I never would have thought that a 14 year old girl would be able to steal the show from two very good performances by The Dude and Matt Damon….but she did. And that scene at the end is still giving me chills four days later. It’s the first movie I’ve seen in years where I can’t think of a single complaint I have or thing I wish they’d done differently.Report

              • Rufus F. in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                Better than The Searchers?Report

              • Robert Cheeks in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                Mark, excellent comments. I know you are more sensitive re: perceived racial injustice than I am. Re: the insulting way the Choctaw was handled please keep in mind that most of the folks in that town had suffered or had kin suffer severe depredations at the hand of the American aborignial clans for over 150 years. I have friends in the Nations and we are straight forward re: the unpleasant history between our people.
                Yes, Mattie stole the show and if there ain’t six acting awards in that movie well than the damn commies run Hollywood. I pretty well lost it when Cole Younger was tellin’ Miss Mattie what happened to Rooster (damn, I’m gettin’ choked right now!!) and then when Iris started singing’ well I found myself in emotionally reduced circumstances.Report

              • [Spoiler Alert]

                For me, it was the horse-ride scene, when the horse gives way and poor Maddie screams for him. On the one hand, it broke my heart as a father. On the other hand, it was a beautiful moment when we realize that despite everything we’ve just witnessed for the last 105 minutes, Maddie is still a child. That whole scene from the moment they leave the cave to the moment they finish their ride, and especially the way in which it was filmed, completely altered the film from merely being an entertaining story of revenge to being an actually remarkable story. Without that scene, Maddie may as well have been a twenty-something, almost a stereotypical tough-as-nails female lead; with that scene, suddenly the first 105 minutes take on a completely different meaning.Report

              • Robert Cheeks in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                Mark, great stuff!
                Is it Mattie/Maddie? My hearing isn’t what it once was.
                Yes, you’re bringing back stuff…that ride had to do with Rooster’s redemption from a life of debauchery (he smoked tobacco!!!!!). He loved that little girl and he was NOT going to see her die no matter what he had to do and carrying her on short wind just broke my heart, and yes, you’re right that scene properly located people, events, narrative.
                I’m not sure the Coen’s know what they’ve done…if you have other thoughts please post ’em I may need them for smart ass commentors at the PoMoCon blog…he,he,he!
                Best Western ever made!Report

              • My accent hears “Maddie” and “Mattie” as the same thing, so don’t rely on me for the correct spelling there!

                That’s the thing about that scene – it was all that you just said, too, and my wife and I had a long conversation about that element as well. I’m seriously trying to think of the last movie that I found this worthwhile, with no real complaints. Slumdog Millionaire, maybe, but I enjoyed this far more. And before that, I’d have to go a really long way, largely because my movie watching has been pretty limited for the last 5 years or so.Report

        • RTod in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

          A bold statement indeed. Since I love Westerns and haven’t seen it yet, will you indulge me and share your second finest of all time?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to RTod says:

            Oooh! Oooh! Lemme guess!

            “The Outlaw Josey Wales”.Report

          • Robert Cheeks in reply to RTod says:

            RTod, my second favorite is Clint Eastwood’s “The Unforgiven.”Report

            • Rufus F. in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

              If you’ll forgive the name dropping, my wife’s Uncle shot The Unforgiven. I asked if he could get Clint Eastwood to come to our wedding, but he just laughed and I suspect he didn’t even try!Report

              • Robert Cheeks in reply to Rufus F. says:

                My only claim to cinema film is that I’m trying to get me and my buddy, Butch-the-Greek, parts in a Sci-Fi B flick being filmed in the area. Sadly, we’ve been ignored but I’ll keep on trying. Butch and I were member of the 50’s Ground Observers Corps and we watched for flying saucers and commie bombers. BTW, the name of the flick is “Ohio vs. the Flying Saucers!”Report

              • RTod in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

                An alien invasion flick, or a cold and bracing dystopian vision of the future of the Big 10?Report

              • Robert Cheeks in reply to RTod says:

                OSU remains the Big Ten’s last hope! The SEC has offensive linemen who can outrun our running backs.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Rufus F. says:

                my wife’s Uncle shot The Unforgiven.

                It didn’t deserve that. It was building a house!Report

            • RTod in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

              I always feel like The Unforgiven is the movie I’m supposed to say to be respected, but in my heart of hearts I really like Fistful of Dollars the best.

              Also, for just an ongoing slapped together string of ever-increasing-against-the-odds shoot ’em all down scenarios, you can’t go wrong with Josey Wales.Report

              • Robert Cheeks in reply to RTod says:

                RTod, not too much to argue about. For me it’s the justice/redemption/honor factor in The Unforgiven. The little shit who cut the whore’s face deserved a good killin’. I’m glad the girls had the money and Clint needed a gig.Report

        • Rufus F. in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Bob, I’d like to hear your thoughts on A Serious Man. It wasn’t their best film, but definitely very good and it was really interesting to see the Coen brothers explicitly dealing with questions of faith. It’s sort of the story of Job set in 60s suburbia.Report

          • Robert Cheeks in reply to Rufus F. says:

            Rufus, I musta missed that. I’ll order it from Netflicks and let you know. The Coen bros are good. I’d like it when they take their Hebrew heritage and examine the existential realities inherent in the tension of existence just as they did in “True Grit.”Report

    • Bob, Disney used to own Miramax which is what sparked that whole controversy. Miramax made indie films including some that might be deemed soft porn. I believe they sold Miramax however.Report

    • Heidegger in reply to Robert Cheeks says:

      Robert, you’re the greatest!! Packing lead and watching a Western–I have to try that sometime. Do you think the theater management would mind if I fired a few rounds up in the air during some of the rowdier moments? My favorite Western, hands down, is Shane. Nothing’s close, although there have been many, many great Westerns. High Noon, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly–always loved Red River–The Outlaw Josey Wales, a great masterpiece is Unforgiven; I really like the recent remake, 3:10 to Yuma with Crowe–he’s a helluva of great cowboy, too–as well as a commander and a gladiator, and for that matter, a schizophrenic (A Beautiful Mind). And don’t listen to Tony–you’re an original–may you always be that way! Now I just have to go out and buy a .44 Magnum Smith & Wesson model 29, watch Sudden Impact–and to really “make my day” shoot up the damn house! I also love The Rifleman TV series with Chuck Connors. And Kung Fu….with the late David Carradine (talk about a bizarre death). Robert you better get back on the ET watch—just heard aliens are responsible for all the dead birds and fish in Arkansas over the weekend. New video shows bin Laden and Al Qaeda taking responsibility–in closing, in the video, bin Laden says, “I’ll give you my guns, my chemical and biological weapons, and my suitcase nukes, when you take them from my COLD DEAD HANDS!!” This is serious. Obama has just ordered the evacuation of Arkansas and has not ruled out the use of the MK 41–a 25 megaton yield thermonuclear monster bomb, uttering these grim words to bin Laden/ETs “God ahead, make my day.” Scary stuff….Report

  6. Alan Scott says:

    ED, I’ve got some very bad news.Report

    • E.D. Kain in reply to Alan Scott says:

      All I can say is we’ll see how long that lasts. It’s like saying no more vanilla icecream with your Apple pie.Report

    • You all are probably too young to remember back when a Disney title would return to theaters, then disappear for “the for the forseeable future” which is to say until demand had built back up again. Then another money making theatrical run, then start the cycle over again.

      They’ve worked this gambit with VHS, and DVD, and now giving it a whirl with the entire “Concept Franchise.”Report

  7. AMW says:

    I’ve always considered Disney’s Golden Age: The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin.

    Really? I would consider that more of the Disney Renaissance. To my mind, the Golden Age is Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.Report

  8. RTod says:

    The hive-mind of the community never ceases to amaze me.

    I’m just realizing that Erik’s lovely post on Disney films, their music and artistry, and it’s connection to childhood – both his own and his three year old’s – is now off and running about violent Westerns, featuring lines like: “The little shit who cut the whore’s face deserved a good killin’. ”

    How can you not love the intertubes?Report