Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

In 1941, the fate of the Disney Studios rested upon a single film, for the second time in four years. The one-two punch of Pinocchio and Fantasia, both of them costing astronomical sums and both of them crashing and burning at the box office, had left the company teetering right on the edge of bankruptcy. The last-ditch effort to get some money in the studio coffers was to make an […]

We’re two months into one of the weakest years for box office in recent memory, though that’s about to change in a huge way. Quality-wise, though? I have my doubts, give or take a pair of genre films that look, respectively, gloriously trashy and just plain good. It’s a scrawny-looking sort of a month: only eight wide releases across five weekends, at least two of which are transparently just getting […]

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 […]

Really, how is anybody supposed to cope with something titled Disney Princess Enchanted Tales: Follow Your Dreams? It sounds like the direct translation from the Japanese of an anime series that finds the Disney Princesses joining forces to fight their robot doppelgangers on a floating island in outer space. Or at least like Disney’s long-forgotten attempt to break into East German children’s entertainment. What is actually is, is the first […]

The responsible critic is supposed to at least give a movie the chance to defend itself, and this I did not do with Bambi II: I approached it with knives drawn, and have only myself to blame for hating it as much as I had every intention of doing. This is not, after all, like other sequels to Disney’s older movies, like Cinderella and Lady and the Tramp, films from […]

In the dark days of the early Aughts, when Disney animation was at its lowest ebb since the 1970s with critical and commercial washouts like Atlantis: The Lost Empire dragging the brand name down into the muck, everybody had an idea to save the company. Throw out Michael Eisner; re-commit to the most beautiful possible traditional animation; get the hell away from traditional animation; copy DreamWorks and Pixar; stake out […]

America’s entry into World War II, depending on which economist you listened to, finally lifted the country out of the last draggy bits of the Great Depression; yet it was not all good news for everybody*. Walt Disney, was among that small population of folks who’d done just fine for himself during the worst of the Depression, riding the public’s appetite for silly, diverting entertainment as successfully as any movie […]

In 1940, Walt Disney was struck with the biggest setback in his career in over a decade: having raked in piles of cash never before seen in the history of Hollywood with his instant-classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, he proceeded to roll the dice on two ambitious, costly animated features, two works which wouldn’t only prove that Snow White was no mere accident, but which would absolutely flatten […]

From among the Video Nasties Along the sliding scale of cinematic viciousness, there are certain projects which have the tang of notoriety about them from an entirely conceptual perspective. You do not need to see a Nazi sexploitation flick, for example, to know that “Nazi sexploitation” probably describes a pretty sleazy, trashy affair (you would not be entirely correct). Nor is it strictly a matter of genre or storyline that […]

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 […]

The listmaker in me couldn’t help it: I’ve ranked the animated Disney features from best to worst, including a score out of ten. This list is subject to change without notice. But for right now, I’ll offer notice: throughout 2016, I’m rewatching the Disney canon on my downtime, and I’ll potentially tweak a lot of this list throughout that process. Expect the new final version to be in place by […]

It was pretty obvious, I think, that this project found me slightly too ready to run off at the keyboard. Just so we all know exactly what that entails, here’s the final tally for the Disneython at Antagony & Ecstasy: 166,509 words. That translates to 665 manuscript pages, assuming an average of 250 words per page, and no illustrations. Think on that before you encourage me to turn these into […]