I had a conversation with my cat the other day. It went something like this.
“WHAAT? After all you’ve put me through, you expect me to help you just like that? JUST LIKE THAT?”
For those of you paying attention, yes. I do have a conversational cat. If you ever get a cat, I hope it does the same because it allows to reenact scenes from Lilo & Stitch. But, my sudden urge to reenact a scene from this movie got me thinking.
There is a lot of
rhetoric that surrounds Disney movies from my childhood. There’s this idea that the Disney princess movies were bad for people, portraying scenes of Stockholm syndrome, women thinking they can change a man, the only goal is a man…yada yada had TL:DR (which stands for Too Long: Didn’t Read, by the by).
What still strikes me is that I don’t find those movies to be the ones that followed me into adulthood.
I was probably a weird kid.
To this day, my favorite animated Disney movie was The Sword in the Stone. I wanted to have a talking owl that spoke almost exclusively in back-sass. I loved the music. Another Disney movie that stands out is Bedknobs and Broomsticks. There may have been some attachment to it out of novelty, because we didn’t actually own that one. We had to check it out from the library.
When I reached adulthood, the soccer match and Portobello Road weren’t as interesting as the fact that she’s FIGHTING OFF A NAZI INVASION. Remember that, kids? That’s right. Mrs. Potts is a witch who saved England from Nazis and would have gotten burned at the stake for it.
Another favorite was The Great Mouse Detective. I have found myself quoting things only to question where it was from to discover when I stubbed my toe and started saying, “My foot, my foot, my only foot!” I was quoting the evil bat from that movie.
Lilo & Stitch, The Rescuers, A Kid in King Arthur’s Court, The Rocketeer. The closest I had to a favorite Disney princess movie was Robin Hood. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the princess movies. They just weren’t the running down the VHS player.
I guess my question is: where have all the side movies gone?
Do you guys remember Blank Check? Why aren’t there anymore Blank Checks? Or Tall Tales? Or Mighty Ducks?
Everyone remembers Cool Runnings, but what’s the Cool Runnings of the 00’s? Where’s the Homeward Bound of 2010? (Don’t tell me it’s the “Dog’s Purpose” movies unless there’s a talking cat named Sassy) Where’s my Honey, I Shrunk the Kids?
Please, please, please do not read this as me wanting a reboot of these things. I don’t want them to come back. I want them to stay safe where they live in my memory. Sure, there’s a place for a live action Dora the Explorer movie, but I feel like there’s a bigger piece of our culture missing here.
The movies I loved may not have been the most popular movies Disney was making, but they were still making them for people like me. The money they made on the princess movies were enough to fund the weird, quirky, emotionally devastating and still-interesting side projects. And, I DO think most people have stronger memories about Lilo & Stitch than they do some of the other Disney products of the time.
Here’s the thing, Disney:
Star Wars and Marvel have basically given you a blank check (brought it back). Maybe start taking some risks on these kinds of projects again. You never know who’s watching. I hope this is an idea that will be carried out on Disney+.
And, while we’re waiting for a new batch of off-color Disney movies, I encourage you to go back and find some of those gems you may have missed. They’re worth a watch.
But, lately, whenever anyone gives me grief about the movies I’ve deemed good enough to own, I have a response:
There’s a moment.
When we think of our favorite movies, do we think about how great the movie was, how amazing the cast performed, how wonderful the soundtrack is?
Well, yes. Those are things you take into consideration.
But, usually, you have a moment. You have that one scene in the film where you were all in. It’s not a forgotten art. The Moment is a gut-punch. It’s the emotional moment that grabs you by the throat and pulls you in. When you see the Moment, you know there’s so much more, something deeper there. Something more to be mined.
And, there can only be a Moment. You can’t make a whole movie of Moments. Without what surrounds it, a Moment is nothing. The rest of the movie can be awful, as long as it has that one, great Moment to raise it above everything else.
The Moment is more prevalent in dramas, but it also comes in other movies. It doesn’t matter how many fight scenes, how great the CGI, without a Moment, it’s just another movie.
I’m a Moment Hunter. And, it’s not easy. Not every movie has one. You have to dig through a lot of garbage to find any treasure. As a writer, I always wonder if I can capture a Moment. Will I recognize it when it floats through my brain? Will it mean as much to me as it would to a reader or a viewer?
What’s your favorite Moment? Is there a movie you love just for its Moment?
I just got back from…wait for it:
THE SET OF IRON MAN 3.
So, I guess, the obvious question: No, Robert Downey, Jr. wasn’t there. It was second unit. Or not even that. Principal shooting has been done on Iron Man for awhile. No, this stuff was filler. Extra scenes that just need to fill the seams in the movie. Doesn’t matter. It was still awesome.
Great stuff below. (more…)