Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

I’m going to lead off with something that’s kind of small and petty, but it bothers me too much to wait: Aladdin and the King of Thieves, the second direct-to-video Disney sequel ever, and the second sequel to the 1992 blockbuster Aladdin, was released in 1996 on home video, in a 4:3 aspect ratio. This makes perfect sense, given that virtually all televisions at that time had just such dimensions, […]

Going to quite the Disney Top Tens with this one, and one of the most damnably difficult lists I’ve ever put together, it is. The ten best musical numbers in any Disney feature, as defined by the quality of the song, the visual, the performance, and so on and so forth. I have elected to limit myself to one per feature; the film that would have otherwise dominated the list […]

Once again, it all comes down to Howard Ashman: it was in the late 1980s, as animation was purring along for The Little Mermaid, and the story for Beauty and the Beast was just barely starting to take form, Ashman suggested another musical project for Disney: an adaptation of Aladdin, one of the tales in the European versions of the collection of Arabian fairy tales, One Thousand and One Nights […]

Happy May Day everyone! It feels a bit presumptuous to start looking at a new month of releases when I still have to catch up from April – I hear that there’s been an Avengers picture that made a bit of money. And just as soon as I have any sort of chance to clear five consecutive hours out of my schedule to catch up with it, I’ll be happy […]

Mid-April is awfully early to be thinking about summer already, but Marvel and Disney have decided for the rest of us that the summer movie season begins this year on Friday, 26 April, with the release of Avengers: Endgame. To prepare, this episode will be all about the blockbuster movies to come: the superheroes, the living toys, the monsters who fit inside your pocket, the Hobbses and the Shaws. In […]

There’s a large section of Disney enthusiasts who, like me, cannot stand these live action remakes. For almost ten years now, the Walt Disney Company has spent a lot of time and money to produce big budget retellings of the most popular movies in their animated canon. Because we live in the age of nostalgia, these movies have proven to be huge commercial successes, and Disney has doubled down on […]

If you’ve seen Stranger Things or the recently released zeitgeist-embracing adventure The Kid Who Would Be King, you know there’s no shortage of nostalgia for the decades in which most of the folks reading this grew up. The 1980s and ’90s are en vogue and ready to transport you back to your Topanga poster-covered walls of your bedroom. Or whomever you were into at the time. Maybe it was just […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, a hitman has a bodyguard. Do you perceive the knee-slapping humor of this incongruity? Because we tend to think of hitmen as being sufficiently capable to bodyguard THEMSELVES. Sadly, not […]

A review requested by Robert Hamer, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. It’s important to get it read into the record, right up front, that in a very real and very important sense, The Thief and the Cobbler doesn’t actually exist. Parts of it exist, and from these parts, we can generally extrapolate what the movie might have been like. This is indeed […]

A review requested by a contributor who wishes to remain anonymous, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. And now we come to a question of some real urgency: what the living hell happened to Don Bluth at the start of the 1990s? There’s a simple answer to that, of course. After Bluth spent the ’80s routinely handing his former employers at Disney their […]

A review requested by James Miller, with thanks for donating to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There’s nothing at all weird about a 1990s animated fairy tale/Disney knock-off with weak musical numbers and hardly any budget. In fact, this is one of the least-weird things imaginable: attempting to copy what works, cutting corners, and doing a poor job of it all is the very heart and soul […]

A review requested by Rebecca S, with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. Toys is one of the best examples I can think of why “kill your babies” is held to be important artistic advice. It is also one of the best examples of why I’m always privately happy when artists leave their babies alive, even if – especially if – they’re malformed and […]