Posts Tagged ‘Nightmare Before Christmas’

30-Day Challenge: Film

May 25, 2020

1 – The First Film you Remember Watching

I am sure I watched many movies before it but the first movie that was an event, that I remember when I saw it was the 1989 version of Batman. At age 7, I was already a big fan of the character and this would be the first time that I got to stay up to watch a movie. I was so excited and the movie definitely lived up to the hype and continues to do so. This movie still has one of the greatest impacts on my creativity and imagination. This was peak Tim Burton, who worked within the framework of the comic books to create something absolutely new and fresh. Michael Keaton does such a good job of playing both Bruce Wayne and Batman which is a difficult balance to pull off. Jack Nicholson is so good as the Joker with so many quotable lines but a sinister edge to it that just works. The production design and the Prince soundtrack should not work but somehow do.

2 – A film that you like that starts with the first letter of your name

This movie absolutely came out of left field for me. I had never heard of the comic book prior to the release of the film but I wish I had. Still, it was really fun going in blind. The movie is delightfully wild and absurd. It is definitely up my alley as it is both a comic book movie and a video game movie (although it is not actually adapting a specific video game). The movie uses video game terminology and tropes to tell a compelling story about figuring out your life. For those who have not seen it, the elevator pitch is that Scott Pilgrim must defeat Ramona’s seven evil exes if he wants to be her boyfriend. However, the movie has way more to offer than just that. The movie is filled with deep moments accompanied by goofy and offbeat humor. It is probably Michael Cera’s best performance to date. On top of that there are a bunch of great comedic roles from Chris Evans, Brandon Routh, Jason Schwartzman, Aubrey Plaza, and Anna Kendrick. We also get Mary Elizabeth Winstead as she was really coming into her own. I once chose this as my birthday movie for the express purpose of messing with and confusing my family.

3 – A film whose title has more than five words

Dr. Strangelove (for short), was a great watch when I first saw it. It is a zany comedy about one of the darkest subjects that you can joke about. Total nuclear annihilation. Set in the middle of the Cold War, a simple mistake threatens the safety of the world. There is a huge cast of characters, all parodying some portion of the Military-Industrial Complex. Three of the major characters are played by comedy legend Peter Sellers. He transforms himself into three very insane characters, the kind of people you hope are not in charge of nuclear weapons but who you fear are. There is also Slim Pickens as exactly what I think of the military. George C. Scott actually plays an over the top comic character which is usually out of his comfort zone. The movie is directed by Stanley Kubrick who is not exactly known for making sunny movies but he was able to inject the story with plenty of dark and zany humor. Additionally, this was my dearly departed friend Joe’s favorite movie so it will always be even more special to me. It is definitely a blueprint for later movies like Death of Stalin which makes the audience laugh as atrocities are performed.

4 – A film with a number in the title

This movie unexpectedly threw me for a loop. This movie is based on a Stephen King short story that I never read. It is one of the simplest adaptations of King’s work and has an astonishingly small cast. The main characters are played by John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Cusack plays a writer who has recently experienced great loss and travels around the country debunking the supernatural. Receiving a mysterious challenge, he is in for the fight of his life. The movie is a pure horror movie. It relies mostly on psychological pressure than petty jumpscares. Cusack is great as a skeptic who is suddenly shown the light. The movie thrives on unreality and the special effects that show that are absolutely brilliant and understated. This is also possibly Samuel L. Jackson’s most subtle role and it is so interesting to see. The movie feels way deeper than most adaptations of King’s work and that helps drive the point deeper. It is light on plot and heavy on character moments which actually also helps prevent the usual Stephen King rambling. There is also a devious sense of humor running through which twists the knife even further. This was definitely a predecessor of effective horror storytelling like the legendary PT and so many other surreal horror stories about psychological torture.

5 – A film where a character has a job you want

I was always intensely interested in keeping archives and researching things. Indiana Jones was always a fascinating character and for sure I wanted to be him when I was a little kid. I even had a copy of his famous fedora for a little bit. I also wore a tiny bomber jacket with a map on the inside. I wanted to be an adventurer just like him. However, after growing up a bit I realized that I really did not want that. Indy is a professor and I really do not like talking in front of crowds. I also think the rest of his work is pretty dangerous. However, the people who research and catalog the supernatural things, that seems way more interesting to me. We first see this organization at the end of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. We next see evidence of them in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. If I read between the frames well enough, those scenes mean somebody is in charge of keeping tabs on magical and highly advanced technology. That definitely sounds like an interesting job.

6 – Your favorite animated film

I have written about it many times before but hands down my favorite animated film is The Nightmare Before Christmas. Henry Selick really brought to life a neat little world full of fun lore and interesting characters. It is a great look at depression, passion, and boundaries. Skellington Jack is such an innocent soul for the King of Halloween and it is hard not to see my own bouts with depression in his. I also definitely see Jack’s passion and sense of fairplay in myself. The portayal of Santa Claus is one of the best in cinema history. I would put him up there with the portrayals from Klaus, Ernest Saves Christmas, and The Christmas Chronicles. Santa is best when he is a rounded character who is not saintly good but good because he earnestly sees good and evil in the world and chooses good. Sally is just such an interesting character and it was not often back in the early nineties where a woman was portrayed as the smartest character. The whole cast of characters are so well designed and the animation and music are superb.

The Nightmare Before Christmas

April 16, 2019

(SPOILER ALERT for The Nightmare Before Christmas. Go watch it and come back or read on at your own risk)

I am a huge fan of The Nightmare Before Christmas. I have written about the movie several times before. Last year, during the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I started a tournament bracket for best Disney Animated film and I took Nightmare Before Christmas all the way to the finals and the movie won the whole thing. You can find those words in the First Round, Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals, and Finals. Basically, I talked about how I have dealt with both anxiety and depression in my life and how the movie mirrored a lot of moments in my life. I also talked about how Danny Elfman’s music was probably the best he will ever achieve in this movie. I also related how I had experienced my own job-based depression and I learned to better balance my life and work. I also finally found a job that I love doing which allows me to kick ass by day and be creative by night. I am almost always thinking about this movie in one way or another so I want to express some of that.

A thought I literally had last night as I was driving home from work was sparked by the lyrics of “Town Meeting Song”. The song suddenly resonated with me even more when I realized a few things. First, I feel like the song is mostly about cultural differences but I will set that aside for the moment. The song takes place about halfway through the movie and Jack has just arrived back from Christmas Town. He is bubbling over with excitement about this huge discovery that he has made. Then he tries to explain something that he does not fully understand himself. He talks too quickly and when his audience does not get it, he keeps plowing forward instead of going back to clarify. This is so relatable. The more excited I am, the more I tend to ramble and throw things out there. It is excitement through the lens of anxiety. When I have a moment to breathe and maybe write things out, I do so much better at explaining everything in a linear manner. Part of the real emotional conflict of the movie begins here.

Even if Jack explained himself better, his endeavor would probably still be doomed. Jack loves Christmas because it is a shiny new toy but he does not really understand it himself. He proves that in “Jack’s Obsession” when he experiments and tries experiments to dissect Christmas. As I got older, I grew to appreciate this scene better. Jack is trying too hard. Christmas is not world peace or famine relief. It is a holiday intended to be a simple and good time. Sometimes you just learn to enjoy things by taking a deep breath and a break and coming back to things later. I have solved a lot of my problems by letting my mind wander and coming back to things. A problem that had bested me previously was now something I easily dominated. Jack also isolates himself from everybody else in the town. Sometimes another perspective can help you figure out a problem. Another set of eyes could have been just what Jack needed.

Continuing along that line of thinking, I was trying to think of what Jack could have done to actually succeed at his mission in this movie. He clearly got the citizens of Halloween Town excited about the possibilities of Christmas but he was having trouble getting everybody to see his vision. At first, I thought that Jack should have taken the townspeople in small reconnaissance groups to actually show them Christmas Town. That way they would have actually seen and understood what Jack was telling them about. Then I realized how stupid that idea was. It is just spreading the problem around. The secondary conflict of this movie is between Jack’s vision of Christmas and the rest of the world’s vision of Christmas. In order for Jack to succeed, those two visions should be one. If he had actually stopped to talk with Santa Claus then he could have set up a cultural exchange between the two towns. Of course, that would have stopped him from having a huge life event that allowed him personal growth and allowed him to overcome the main conflict of the story.

Of course, he does not stop and talk to Santa Claus because he does not believe he needs to. I feel that this is because he has a confidence problem stemming from depression. Jack has been the King of Halloween for a long, long time. We are never told but I always thought it was probably since the advent of the holiday (whatever that means). He has gotten really good at his job which means that everybody is always looking to him for guidance and saying what a good job he is doing. Part of his depression is that he is disinterested in his job because he is too good at it. He discovers Christmas and is happy at a possible new challenge. However, he is still stuck in that mindset where he is the king of all he sees. So he dives into Christmas with overconfidence. Shaking loose from depression is not that easy and he literally crashes and burns. It is only when he accepts who he is and learns to not be complacent that he truly starts to find happiness.

So those are a few thoughts I have had recently and I hope they let you love this movie a little bit more. Please tell me what you think about The Nightmare Before Christmas or tell me why I am wrong about it being the best Disney movie.

 

(Written on 4/11/19)

Top 11 Favorite Disney Villains Pt. 2

November 3, 2018

We now return you to regularly scheduled programming.

Top 11


5 Ursula (The Little Mermaid 1989)

Ursula was a sea witch who lived near the kingdom of Atlantica somewhere under the sea. From the looks of it, she lived on the outskirts of the kingdom where few people dared to go. She lived among the bottom feeders and decay of the ocean. She lived there because she had been banished by King Triton, the ruler of Atlantica. Her crimes are unexplained but, based on her actions during the plot of the film, she probably deserved her banishment. Even so, she has plotted her revenge against Triton for a long time. She is a practicer of magic and, like Dr. Faciler above, has great power to make magical bargains with merfolk. She is akin to a crossroads demon. Through the power of the bargain, she has been able to punish merfolk who were foolish enough to leave Atlantica to visit her. She makes magical bargains with these poor unfortunate souls and when they cannot hold up their end of the bargain, she is able to transform them into helpless sea polyps. Eventually, she targets Triton’s youngest daughter Ariel who wishes to connect with the human world. She agrees to transform Ariel into a human in order to pursue Prince Eric but she stacks the deck in her favor by taking Ariel’s voice in the bargain. Without the gift of speech, Ariel finds it more difficult to make a true connection with the object of her affection. When Ariel comes close to beating the odds, Ursula uses her magic to hypnotize Eric to win the wager. She then uses Ariel as a bargaining chip in order to take Triton’s power. Now having succeeded in her revenge, she remains petty and tries to kill Eric and Ariel and that leads to her getting killed in the tussle. If she had simply gone back to the sea and consolidated her power, she could have easily killed Ariel, Eric, and the rest of both royal families.


4 Jafar (Aladdin 1992)

Jafar was the Royal Vizier of Agrabah, a Middle Eastern-flavored land ruled over by a Sultan. In many Muslim countries, the Vizier is a high-ranking political advisor and Jafar had somehow made sure to ascend to this position. He was the Sultan’s most important adviser and he wielded great political power acting often as the Sultan’s voice. Based on what we know of the Sultan from the film, Jafar may have been the most direct cause of the disparity between economic classes in Agrabah. While it is not completely his fault, he has an obvious disdain for the working class and the poor and probably never did anything to help. He uses the country’s rules to help him manipulate the Sultan into making decisions favorable to Jafar’s plans of domination and power. His magic seems to be derived mostly from researching and obtaining enchanted objects. Eventually, his goal becomes to find the legendary Cave of Wonders where he will find a genie who will grant his wishes for the power to achieve his goals of domination. When that plan initially fails, he becomes desperate and tries to force marriage on the Sultan’s daughter, Jasmine, in order to inherit the power he wants. He uses mind control and manipulation to try to achieve that. Eventually, he successfully obtains his wishes and becomes a powerful sorcerer and seems to have more ready access to magic. He uses that to punish those he felt wronged him, damage the city, and even tries to enslave the mind of Jasmine. He tries to kill her when that does not work but he is felled at the last minute by his own hubris. Jafar always desired power and used the rules to manipulate those around him but, in the end, he was captured by somebody else’s rules.


3 Hans Westergaard (Frozen 2013)

Hans was born as the thirteenth son of the king of the Southern Isles. His family would often mistreat him and he always felt that he got lost in the shuffle when it came to the royal family. As one would expect, he was bullied by his older brothers and he felt neglected by his parents. As a result, he grew bitter and desperate for some sort of path to power so he could finally be above his brothers. The problem was that he was so low in the line of succession that he would never become king of the Southern Isles. He decided to try and marry the newly crowned queen of Arendelle, Elsa, in order to escape his position. When Elsa proved to be inaccessible, he targeted her naive younger sister Anna. He used her desperation for human contact and her storybook outlook of love to manipulate her into agreeing to marry him the first day they met. He planned to use this love as an open door to become the heir to the throne of Arendelle. His marriage proposal caused friction between the sisters and caused the Queen to curse the land into eternal winter. He used that crisis to further ingratiate himself to the citizens of Arendelle by leading relief efforts. He allowed the Duke of Weselton to drum up anti-Elsa sentiment which led to an assassination attempt on the fugitive Queen. He later decided to let Anna die, blame it on Elsa, and then execute Elsa for the crime and also to bring back summer. That plan ultimately fails as the sisters are able to reunite and refute his claims of marrying Anna and he is defeated and captured. He is sent back to his former life to be punished by his father and his brothers. In the end, he tried to escape a bad situation the wrong way and he made it worse.


2 Mother Gothel (Tangled 2010)

Gothel was a witch living alone in the wilderness when she observed a single drop of sunlight fall to the Earth. She tracked the point of impact and found a flower infused with its magic and she found that being near the flower had healing properties and stopped the aging process. She hid the flower’s existence and used its magic for hundreds of years to stay young and healthy. Eventually, the kingdom of Corona came into existence nearby and she avoided it. When the Queen of that kingdom grew deathly ill, Gothel was powerless when guards found the legendary flower and it was used to heal the Queen. The flower’s magic passed on to the Queen’s daughter, Rapunzel, and her hair gained the healing properties. Gothel decided to kidnap the baby and raise her in her tower in the wilderness in order to maintain that healing magic for herself. So, first she kept the flower a secret so that only she had access and then she kidnapped a child for the same reason. She positioned herself as Rapunzel’s mother in order to control her but never loved the child. She constantly ground Rapunzel down with passive-aggressive and sarcastic behavior and kept her isolated and ignorant. When Rapunzel convinced Flynn Rider to guide her away from the tower, Gothel was furious and desperate. She hired mercenaries to track the pair down, perfectly willing to let them harm Rapunzel and kill Flynn. Even at the end, she tried to manipulate her false daughter who was also her kidnapping victim into choosing to be re-imprisoned in exchange for Flynn’s life. She dies when Flynn does what she could never do and sacrifices the magic for somebody else’s happiness.


1 Oogie Boogie (The Nightmare Before Christmas 1993)

Obviously, the world of Halloween Town is different from ours and morality plays out a little differently. However, when it comes to Oogie Boogie, he is clearly on one side while the rest of the town is on the other side. The citizens of Halloween Town like to scare and disgust the humans of our world but none of them seem to actually want to harm anybody. Obviously, our world responds well to being scared on Halloween but not the rest of the year. However, Oogie has a different idea about Halloween and his kind of fear and desire for harm are not fun for anyone. Because of this, Oogie seems to have been banished and ostracized by the rest of Halloween Town except for his minions. He is constantly scheming to take over Halloween and he would probably make it a much darker holiday. It is obvious that he has taught his minions to be more violent than the other citizens as demonstrated in their song. If he was successful in his plans, it is sure that the world at large would suffer and humans might die. He is constantly kept in check by the presence of Jack Skellington, the only thing he seems to actually be afraid of himself. When Jack gets distracted by depression and Christmas, Oogie sees his opening and convinces his minions to give him Santa Claus. He tries to consume Santa Claus. Although it is unclear what this would have achieved, at the very least it would have at least magically damaged Christmas if not outright killing it. In the end, he was defeated (but not killed) because fear made him run from Jack and he was defeated by his carelessness.

Disney March Madness 7: The Semi-Finals and Finals

August 25, 2018

Bracket

We have come down to the wire so this entry is going to be more about the impressions I got from the final four films both initially and over time. As we get into the nitty-gritty, I am going to drop a spoiler warning here just in case.

Moana vs. The Nightmare Before Christmas

Moana was a revelation for me when it was released. It continued the evolution of Disney Animation Studios that Frozen had started. It took lessons learned in movies like Frozen and The Frog Princess and took them further. Moana was just such an interesting character. I could feel her frustration at not being able to satisfy her curiosity and her wanderlust. Having dreams but never getting to realize them is a very human experience. She also felt like I did as a teenager. You are tired of listening to your parents but you know they are both right and wrong about everything. Last time I did not talk alot about the grandmother character but she was so important. Most of us have that family member (or more than one) who wink at us and agree that our parents are full of crap. They encourage us by treating us like a human being rather than a child. Their behavior toward us is not as colored by fear for us and the other biases that a parent has. Moana is also about our internal compasses. There is that moment in our development where we stop using the compass that our parents and loved ones provided for us. We start to make decisions on our own. Sure that leads to us making a few mistakes but it is important to make our decisions and plot our own courses.

In direct opposition to the Moana, let us take a look at the love story in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Whereas a lot of previous Disney films had romance as their main plot, it is a subplot in this movie. Jack is not looking for romance like many Disney Princes or Princesses. He is looking for something that is missing from his life but it has to do with lacking a feeling of fulfillment in his life. As expressed, it is mostly focused on something lacking professionally. For Jack, the love story is treated as a bonus. It is something that he did not need but he allows himself to have in the end. Also, Sally is not your usual female in a disney animated film. She is not a damsel in distress and in fact she spends the whole movie trying to save Jack in somewhat of a reversal. As a literal captive, Sally wants a new life just as much as Jack does. On top of that, she repeatedly forgets about her own plight when she sees him hurting. She feels bad for her friend and wants to see him happy again. In turn, Jack sees her as a good friend but he loses sight of that due to depression and then excitement. When they come together at the end it is two friends who realize they fit together. They love each other and they are ready to start again at a new level.

Main Character: Both main characters are relatable to me but Jack edges ahead by being more universally relatable.

Supporting Characters: Nightmare has a lot more supporting characters than Moana. One of Moana’s is The Rock but each character in Nightmare is given a lot to do and a lot more personality.

Villain: The main villain of Moana has no lines while Oogie Boogie is one of the most dynamic villains in animation history.

Music: This is tough. I would actually say that Moana’s Lin-Manuel Miranda just barely beats Danny Elfman’s music.

Story: For me, the story of overcoming depression is more impactful than a journey to fix the world and find your place in it. It just felt more real.

Animation: While Moana’s animation is smooth and beautiful, there is something about the novelty of good stop-motion animation that just feels better to me.

Winner: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Coco vs. Inside Out

In Coco, Miguel is forbidden to play music and, possibly because of that, he is drawn into it further. He slowly develops a love for music and he seeks to achieve his dream of becoming a musician like his ancestor. I know a little bit about that. When I was in high school, I wanted to study theater in college. I was told that I should minor in theater so that I had a back-up plan. To me, that felt bad (though in hindsight it was spot on). When my folks told me that I could apply to major in theater, it was such a validation of my feelings and my dreams. In Coco, Miguel gets to have that same feeling. His living family tells him that he cannot pursue music. He travels to the underworld and his family there also tells him no and he is given the choice between music and life and he still finds that choice difficult. In the afterlife, he finally gets to perform in front of a crowd for the first time and he loves it. When he plays a second time, he finally gets that validation from a family member and it gives him even more courage. He is eventually able to convince his entire family, living and dead, to let him give music a try. In life, true validation comes from inside. Miguel knew he wanted to be a musician and when it starts to work out, he is sure of it. However, getting the blessing of his family is a welcome confirmation and it makes it easier to be happy and successful.

In Inside Out, Joy and Sadness are separated from mission control and are therefore unable to exert their influence on Riley. While this happens because of an accident (in Riley’s brain) it actually ends up illustrating a key point of emotional and neurological processes. Riley has been forced to move to a new city and she has to leave her comfortable routine and her friends behind. That is difficult enough for anybody but Riley is a young teenager and she has difficulty processing the feelings that come from that change. When Joy and Sadness are misplaced, it is exactly like depression. She does not feel sad but she definitely does not feel happy. She feels very close to nothing. That is what depression is. You just do not feel a lot of feelings and it takes a while for those feelings to return. One of the other key themes of the movie is growing up. While Joy and Sadness are separated from mission control, they are constantly in danger as the worlds inside Riley’s mind are literally ripped apart and new worlds start to be created. These worlds represent Riley’s interests and parts of her personality. As she loses interest in something, that world is destroyed and new interests create new worlds. Again, we see the effect of depression as the un-feeling starts to destroy any interest she has in anything and the worlds inside her mind start to crumble. That is also what depression is when you have no interest in doing anything.

Main Character: Miguel is a more rounded main character than Joy and Sadness who are fun but only aspects of personality.

Supporting Characters: Miguel’s family is a lot more varied and fun than

Villain: Inside Out does not really have a villain but Coco’s villain would win anyway.

Music: This is no contest as the Mexican guitar stylings far outweigh the more orchestral Inside Out.

Story: The supernatural journey that ends in a very grounded way beats a teenager’s emotional self-discovery.

Animation: The animation in the two is comparable but the art direction in Coco is so much better.

Winner: Coco

Coco vs. The Nightmare Before Christmas

I could go on and on about how I love the Day of the Dead but that is not the main reason that I love this movie so much. My grandmother had several strokes during her old age and those strokes and heart problems contributed to dementia. It started slow. She started to forget a few things here and there. Pretty soon after that, she was caught wandering the streets and had to be brought back home. Eventually, you could come into the room and remind her who you were, leave the room, reenter, and she would have already forgotten you. Eventually, she forgot everything. At its roots, Coco is about memory. Miguel does not know who his great, great grandfather is. He does not know because most of his family never met him. His great-grandmother is suffering from memory loss and has been slowly forgetting her father. At the end of the movie, we get to see the scene above. Miguel sings in a house without music for the first time and he sings a song that his great, great grandfather wrote for his daughter. We see that song stir her memories and that allows her to experience the joy of the memory of her father once again. It is a beautiful moment both because it is full of pure emotion and also because it is supported by the supernatural adventure that happens before.

The part of The Nightmare Before Christmas that I love the most is actually about depression. It resonated with me a lot more later in life. Jack has been the King of Halloween for a long time. He has gotten so good at it that he has started to get bored and that has led to him falling into a deep depression. When I worked at a theater up in New Jersey, I eventually reached the same place. A lot of shows felt the same as the last and I got bored and tired. I eventually decided that I did not want to go back and I returned to Baltimore to start again. I got another job and I worked hard for years and then I got bored again and depressed again. Jack happens upon Christmastown and suddenly his life has a new purpose. He is excited by having this new thing in his life even if he does not fully understand it. However, even that does not last for long and once again he finds himself depressed again. In the song above, he pities himself but then he has a revelation and he realizes that he is what he is and he embraces that. Similarly, a year ago I realized something. My job cannot make me happy. My family cannot make me happy. Things cannot make me happy. Only I can decide to be happy and my life has been more positive ever since. Jack and I had that same revelation where he decides to find the happiness in what we do and who we are with instead of letting doubt consume us. It is the only way to live, even if you are an undead skeletion.

Winner: The Nightmare Before Christmas

March Madness 1: Disney

April 14, 2018

Bracket

So March has come and gone but March Madness lives in people’s hearts forever, right? The thing about that is that I am not a basketball fan. While I played pickup games in middle school, I was never a fan because Baltimore does not have a team. If Baltimore does not have a team, I quickly lose interest in those sports. What I am a big fan of is Disney animated films and Pixar (before and after acquisition by Disney). I heard about this bracket and how it was driving everyone crazy and I thought it would be fun to fill it out and then explain my choices. Art is subjective and ranking things is absolutely just an exercise in examining your personal tastes. In other words, don’t get mad at me for my choices.

 

Lion King vs. Tarzan

This was an easy one to start of with. Tarzan has an interesting story about discovering one’s place in the world and also the evils of poaching. Lion King tells the story of a son’s love for his father and is basically Hamlet but with lions. While both are adaptations of established stories, Lion King has a lot more to say. Lion King also talks about duty vs. enjoyment and overcoming your fear to do what is right. It is a much more inspiring story. Lion King also has better music as Elton John and Tim Rice beat Phil Collins any day of the week, at least in my opinion. The Lion King also is funnier when it tries to be funny and more touching when it needs to be touching.

The Princess and the Frog vs. Lilo and Stitch

This one was a little harder. I like that Lilo and Stitch does not have a romantic subplot and it depicts Hawaii more as it actually is. It is a movie about sisters and misfits finding a family. It is honestly a really great movie. The Princess and the Frog is a movie about working hard for what you want but also trying to find the fun in life. The work/life balance message is something that is important to me. Also, The Princess and the Frog is a musical which uses great jazz tunes including a song actually sung by Dr. John. That definitely edges it ahead. It also does not hurt that Tiana is the first African American Disney Princess.

Tangled vs. Big Hero 6

It got difficult again. Big Hero 6 was a comic book series I read when it first came out. It was a charming and fun series with a lot of brand new heroes, Silver Samurai, and Sunfire. The movie version was really fun and had a different take on the character Baymax that knocked my socks off. It also did a great job with the theme of dealing with death. I also love superhero movies a lot. However, Tangled is an underrated movie that kind of paved the way for a new wave of Disney Princess. This new take on the Rapunzel story is really strengthened by the undeniable, bouncy energy of Rapunzel and the offbeat, goofy humor of the movie. This movie was a go to for a while when I was depressed to try and get me out of it.

Frozen vs. Moana

This was a totally unfair first round matchup. When I first saw Frozen, it blew me away. It was a total game changer when it came to Disney Princess animated movies. Setting aside that it had Kristen Bell in it, it also was the first of those movies that did not have a real romantic subplot. It was more about the love between sisters than the love between two people who had just met. Moana has even less of a romantic subplot and it is about being true to yourself and following your passion while staying true to your roots. It is a truly beautiful movie both visually and figuratively. It also has songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda who does so well that he ended up defeating the unstoppable catchiness of the songs of Frozen. That alone is saying something.

Aladdin vs. Hercules

Like most people, I love Hercules. It has a lot of snappy humor and is a great adaptation of various Greek myths with a slick modern style to it. The animation style is fun and it has an interestingly complex love story that comes second to a story about believing in yourself and becoming a hero. However, I have a big history with Aladdin. Back then I was a superfan of Robin Williams but the event that really cemented my love for the movie is when I watched it on drugs. To be fair, I watched it as I lay in the ICU after heart surgery in fifth grade. The movie has absolutely beautiful art and awesome voice talents. The story is also about believing in yourself but it is also about seeing people as they are and the power of friendship. The songs by Alan Menken are leagues above most Disney movies as well.

The Little Mermaid vs. Pocahontas

This one was easy. I really dislike Pocahontas. It is the only major release Disney Animated Movie that I dislike and that’s saying something. It is a historically inaccurate portrayal of a woman who was mistreated as a Native American by European colonists. The art style is also kind of off-putting to me for some reason. Also, I never liked the music very much. The Little Mermaid, on the other hand, is a really fun movie and a happier take on the Hans Christian Andersen tale. The music is all so fun to sing along to and the humor is cute and enjoyable. I love the theme of feeling like you are in the wrong place and yearning for a place that just feels right to you. It also has some interesting magic spells and supernatural powers go along way with me.

Mulan vs. Zootopia

This is a weird matchup. Zootopia is a really interesting movie that has a lot to say about racism and affirmative action. It disguises that message behind really well-animated animals living in a big city together. I love the world building involved in that and the story is a great roller coaster that has a lot of ups, downs, twists, and turns. Mulan is a great tale about the clash between following tradition and being who you feel you need to be. It also has the first Disney Princess who could fight. The animation is also really pretty with its own style that clearly illustrates that we are in China. What edges Mulan ahead as the clear winner is the music. Mulan has a lot of great, singable songs. Mostly I am thinking about I’ll Make a Man Out of You which was written by Donny Osmond of all people.

Beauty and the Beast vs. Nightmare Before Christmas

This one is not even fair. Beauty and the Beast is a beautiful movie. The art is a shining example of what 2D animation can be and the art style was so unique. It also introduced us to a heroine who was smart, brave, and who would not back down. It also introduced a romantic couple who believably wanted nothing to do with each other who were also both questionable individuals. The story does a good job of showing two parallel character arcs with a satisfying conclusion. The songs are also among the best in Disney. Nightmare Before Christmas is a movie that I watch every year at some point between Halloween and Christmas. It is yet another movie that I have used to battle depression because the movie itself is about battling depression. It is also the only movie on this list that uses stop-motion animation which is done so well I sometimes thought of it as live action. On top of all of that, it has music from Danny Elfman at the peak of his abilities. Every song is awesome and portrays so much emotion that I cannot ever let this movie go.

Alright, this one is getting a bit too long so I will have to continue it at another time. Of course, part 2 will have to wait until sometime after April but I am excited to get back to it! In the meantime, feel free to offer your own opinions. As I said, art is subjective and I am not “right” and you are not “wrong”.

Top 11 Horror Movie Connections

October 30, 2015

So, I whipped this up because I love imagining what’s beyond the limits of a film. I readily admit that this is barely researched. I also admit that I know there’s a simpler story for a lot of these examples. I also admit that these were fun to write. These are the top eleven horror movie connections with greater story implications.

Xenomorph
11 Xenomorph Skull (Predator 2)

Alright, we start with a well-known easter egg in the background of the lesser-liked sequel to a great, yet cheesy Schwarzenegger film. This crossover is actually happened so it’s not the most exciting on the list to me. However, back when Predator 2 was released it took a quick eye to pick this out. It was casual confirmation that the two awesome franchises might share the same world. It opened up a lot of possibilities where we could have (and still could see) some awesome stuff. An interesting side note: the xenomorph skull looks an awful lot like the xenomorphs in Alien and Aliens which are set centuries after Predator 2. Does this mean that there were no advances in xenomorph evolution for centuries? Considering that xenomorphs use other species as incubators, they must have some dominant genes. Maybe, they’re a genetically manufactured species?

Max
10 Max Schreck (Batman Returns, Shadow of the Vampire)

Batman Returns is a pretty good Batman movie (Catwoman is great though) and it has some very memorable characters. You have your Batman, your Penguin, your Catwoman (rowr!) and you have the corporate villain who doesn’t really have a comic book counterpart. Max Schreck is the tycoon who isn’t above manipulation, fraud and even murder to earn money. He’s pretty much an unrepentant evil monster who easily out-evils the other two villains put together. The thing is, he started out with the last name Schreck and his parents called him Max. Max Schreck is a little known film actor who worked in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Of course, the one movie of his you might have a snowball’s chance in Hell of knowing is Nosferatu in which he plays the vampiric Graf Orlok. Not only that but in Shadow of the Vampire, a fictional telling of the making of Nosferatu, it’s revealed that Schreck himself was a vampire. Am I saying that Max Schreck (Batman Begins) is a vampire? Well, definitely figuratively as a sort of financial vampire. A bit of a stretch but it makes me smile.

Bachman
9 Bachman (Sons of Anarchy)

Alright, Sons of Anarchy isn’t a horror movie or even a horror television show. Instead it was a long-running show about a motorcycle club’s politics and crimes and the personal lives of the members. It’s a great show (at least as far as I am in it) but it definitely has its dark moments. Without giving away too much, during Season Three of the show a couple of main characters need a body to completely disappear. They call in a guy they know and a character played by Stephen King shows up and claims that his name is Bachman and that he is a cleaner. He plays his scenes pretty low key but there’s definitely a creep factor to his lines and delivery. So, “Richard Bachman” is an alias that King has used freely to publish a few of his books (The Regulators for example). What if Sons of Anarchy’s Bachman is supposed to be Stephen King? What if that’s what he does in his spare time? He travels around and makes bodies disappear for some extra cash but mostly for the fun of it.

Midwich

8 Midwich Elementary (Silent Hill, Village of the Damned)

Village of the Damned is a B Horror movie where weird albino children appear who have psychic death powers that they use to hold adults hostage and get what they want. It capitalizes on how creepy kids can be without even trying. It takes place in the Midwich, England and therefore the creepy kids all attend Midwich Elementary as the adults try to figure out how to survive their predicament. In the Silent Hill video game series (and the first movie) characters encounter a Midwich Elementary where the kids of Silent Hill attend school apparently. It’s situated on Midwich Road but I would still think it would be called Silent Hill Elementary because it’s in Silent Hill. Of course, many places in America are named after places in England but I have a more fun theory. What if the supernatural forces that swirl through Silent Hill were attracted the residual psychic resonance of Midwich Elementary. What if the town wanted to possess such power and somehow transported the school to Silent Hill and then cannibalized it to create its own school?

Chalk Door
7 The Chalk Portal (Beetlejuice, Pan’s Labyrinth)

In Beetlejuice, Barbara and Adam Maitland find a spell to access the Netherworld. The spell has them draw a door and knock three times and the wall opens to expose a portal to a world beyond our own. The book they get their spell from is readable by mortals who aren’t deceased and later in the film a spell is even successfully performed by a mortal man. Granted, the spell that is used isn’t the chalk door spell but there’s nothing to say it couldn’t be done by a mortal. In Pan’s Labyrinth, the main character Ofelia is given magic chalk by a seriously untrustworthy faun who instructs her to use it to form a door. She does and is transported to a dark, twisted version of a faery lair of sorts in order to further her weird faery scavenger hunt. (Seriously, just go watch the movie. It’s amazing.) It’s almost the same dang spell! It involves the drawing of something in chalk that ritual makes real. It’s almost like the spell relies on the user’s imagination to work. Could these two spellbooks overlap? It’s interesting to think about.

Whiteboard
6 “Deadites and Evil Molesting Tree” (Cabin in the Woods)

Cabin in the Woods is an interesting dark comedy/horror movie because it tears horror movies apart while paying so much tribute to them. I could sit here and list dozens of little homages to a lot of horror franchises that range from subtle to brilliant. However, the main thing about these homages and easter eggs is that most of them look like knockoffs of the originals. They’re close but no cigar. Early in the movie, when certain characters are cataloguing supernatural threats, you actually see the words “Deadites” and “Angry Molesting Tree” very close together. These are very specific words that only relate to one movie which is Evil Dead 2 (basically a gorier remake of Evil Dead). Deadites are practically a registered trademark of the Evil Dead movie and video game series and the Angry Molesting Tree is a pretty infamous part of the second movie. What I’m saying is that those words really don’t apply to anything else. Now, I don’t want to give away the premise of an awesome movie by saying this but could “they” be responsible for the events of Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2?

Ethan
5 Striped Shirt (Nightmare Before Christmas, The Addams Family)

In the Addams Family movie from 1991, there’s a very clear art direction which includes brilliant costumes that fit the tone of the movie exactly. One of the prominent costume pieces is Pugsley’s shirt which is a distinctive black and white horizontal striped shirt. The actor playing Pugsley is a young man and is more than a bit chubby, mostly as a visual counterpoint to his thin sister Wednesday. In The Nightmare Before Christmas, there is a little zombie boy who participates in all of the shenanigans of the movie as one of many good-hearted yet misunderstood characters. He wears a shirt with black and white horizontal stripes and he is pretty portly himself. Granted, he’s a little more plump than Pugsley but he’s dead and sometimes dead bodies bloat. If anyone on Earth would have access to Halloweentown, it would probably end up being the Addams Family. So is the dead little boy Pugsley? I don’t think so but they may have shared some fashion tips. Alternately, Pugsley may have shipped some hand-me-downs to Halloweentown.

Chucky4 “Chucky on Crack” (Leprechaun in the Hood)

This next one is just a little bit of evidence but the idea excited me too much to put it lower on the list. I am a sucker for both the Leprechaun and Child’s Play franchises. In Leprechaun in the Hood (Leprechaun 5), two gang members are startled by their first meeting with the Leprechaun. (As we probably all would be). One of them calls the Leprechaun “Chucky on Crack”, not being familiar with the little demon in front of them. There are many similarities between Chucky and the Leprechaun. They’re both vertically challenged and they both rely on ancient magics. Chucky is fueled by Voodoo magic which somehow keeps his little doll body mobile and able to swing melee weapons. The Leprechaun relies on some sort of ancient Irish magic of his own which allows him to basically break reality. Maybe, just maybe, these gang members called him “Chucky on Crack” because Chucky is a well known urban legend. I want a Chucky vs. Leprechaun movie so bad.

Santa Mira3 Santa Mira (Halloween 3, Invasion of the Body Snatchers)

I have a soft spot in my heart for Halloween 3: Season of the Witch mostly because it’s a good movie but also because a lot of people don’t like it. One of the most eerie parts of Halloween 3 is how ordinary people are replaced by unfeeling automatons who serve Silver Shamrock with undying loyalty. This all took place in the town of Santa Mira, California which was also the site of another famous horror movie. Invasion of the Body Snatchers features Santa Mira getting slowly taken over by aliens who replace human beings with emotionless copies. Both plots are only discovered because one man infiltrates the situation and flees to warn the world. It’s definitely too much similarity to simply be a coincidence. Imagine you’re Conal Cochran and you need guards for your big, magical terrorist plot. You think of androids and then you do your research about the Body Snatchers incident. Maybe you get a hold of info from Body Snatcher technology and you use it to perfect your android copy technology in the same town the original incident it went down.

Necronomicon
2 Necronomicon (Jason Goes to Hell)

The Necronomicon was an important object and an intesely detailed prop created for the Evil Dead series. In Army of Darkness we see it in great detail in a time lapse sequence that explains exactly what it is. It’s a book written in blood and bound in human skin and it contains information and dark spells relating to the deadites and the great magical force of the Evil Dead. Somehow such an important book often finds itself lost and in clear sight of people who could stumble onto its evil. First a cabin and now strewn among a whole lot of other magical items in a Friday the 13th movie. Among the many items in the Voorhees house, the Necronomicon is clearly visible as not many books have a face with a gaping mouth on them. This is another one that needs no speculation because the prop was confirmed by Sam Raimi. Later, in the comic books, Ash has to ride to the rescue to take out Jason and Freddy when Freddy gets a hold of the Necronomicon.

Freddy's Claw
1 Freddy’s Claw in Evil Dead 2

Speaking of unmistakeable props, Freddy Kruegger is a vicious killer/dream demon who takes out his victims in very creative ways. However, one of the most iconic parts of Freddy’s image is that unique clawed glove that has drawn the blood of so many teen victims. In Evil Dead 2 you can pretty easily spot Freddy’s glove hanging in the barn. Ash apparently doesn’t notice it but it is a clear sign that Freddy has entered his world. Now, I’ve already covered how Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash became a thing when it was published in the comic books. However, there’s something else in play here. In New Nightmare we are introduced to the concept that Freddy Kruegger is a real dream demon originally from our world aka the world you’re sitting in right now. He was only tamed by making movies about him which trapped him in the film world where he harmlessly killed fictional characters. What if, between Nightmare movies, they desperately wrote Freddy into Evil Dead 2 to keep him at bay for a little while?

Top 11 Annoying Sidekicks

September 14, 2015

Top 11

So, I came up with this post while thinking about Tom Kenny. To be fair, I hold no ill will for Tom Kenny but he does voice one of the most annoying characters I have encountered in all of the fiction I have consumed. Thinking of him made me remember that he has worked on other projects and isn’t always paid to be annoying. I thought about all the “annoying sidekick” characters and I started to feel disgust. Then I thought of all the ones I liked anyway and I smiled. I had made a promise to myself recently to try and keep this blog positive. If I have a negative review that’s fine. I can’t help but share that with the world. Still, I think when it comes to fiction I tend to make a positive out of a negative so why shouldn’t I try that here?

I decided to limit the list only to the mediums where I could hear the character. In books and comic books, the character’s voice comes partly from my own head. Also, I couldn’t really think of any annoying characters in comics and books that would end up on this list. The list is full of characters who were annoying but somehow redeemed themselves enough or otherwise wormed their way into my heart.

11 Hannibal King (from Blade: Trinity)

I have spoken of Blade: Trinity before in my Blade Retrospective and I mostly hold with what I said about it over 7 months ago. The movie is the third time we follow Wesley Snipes as Blade as he tries to kill off hordes of vampires and stop a vampire plot to take over the world. Blade is a character of few words and therefore the characters around him often have to fill in the dialogue around him. Except, Ryan Reynolds won’t shut up. Seriously, he just keeps talking and talking and telling jokes to absolutely no reaction from the rest of the cast of characters. At some point, it starts feeling hollow and lame. How did it get better? He got no reaction from the rest of the cast because of the laziness of the lead actor. Snipes was often not on set so Ryan Reynolds often improved a lot of these jokes to thin air. I also noticed that beneath the character’s glib delivery, there is a bitter, world weariness to the character. When I learned all of that I respected Reynolds as an actor a bit more.


10 Nate Westen (from Burn Notice)

A friend of mine back in New Jersey introduced me to Burn Notice. When I checked the show out it was a mini-rennaisance for the USA Network where all sorts of great shows were coming out. I was lured into watching the show because of Bruce Campbell and the promise of fairly MacGuyver-esque chicanery going on weekly. The only warning I received was that the main characters brother is annoying but not to worry too much about that. My friend was right. Nate Westen is every deadbeat brother combined with every character who gets into dumb trouble and must ask the hero for help. The character is pretty selfish but also has a chip on his shoulder about Michael and their combined father issues. He does all this while brother is struggling through problems with criminals, black ops intelligence and all sorts of dangerous characters. How does it get better? The character grows up. He struggles and finally admits his faults and tries to improve. He becomes a family man and a stable ally for his family, choosing to set aside the past and look toward the future.


9 Ruby Rhod (from The Fifth Element)

When the Fifth Element came out, I instantly fell in love with it. Everything about it interested me. In my opinion, the movie has a great marriage of many excellent elements. The amazing soundtrack, the quirky characters, the extensive world-building, the beautiful art direction and even the somewhat cheesy dialogue. Chris Tucker bursts into the movie like a wrecking ball swinging from a speeding bullet train. He portrays a futuristic show host/reality radio star. He uses a high pitched, high speed delivery that is full of very strange slang. He instantly annoys the main character and probably every single person who ever saw the movie. How did it get better? Beyond his strange behavior, he’s actually pretty human. He’s terrified in terrifying situations and acts like every spoiled celebrity we’ve ever seen. By the end of the movie it’s strangely endearing because I realize that it’s not an act. He is as excited, anxious and crazy as he acts.


8 Robin the “Boy” Wonder (Batman ’66)

Don’t get me wrong, I watched he hell out of Batman ’66 during afternoons after school where my brothers and I could watch all the Biffs and Bams happen. I hadn’t even read any Batman comics yet but I had seen Batman (1989). I knew that Batman and comedy could work together. I also knew that Batman worked with Robin the Boy Wonder. However, Robin was pretty annoying. He was an insufferable know it all. I particularly hated how Robin reacted in the presence of one of the Riddler’s riddles. Somehow he knew the complicated answers and it made no sense. He also had none of the style, charm or (strangely) intelligence of Robins in the comic books. How did it get better? I realized that those moments I hated were the writer’s fault and the fault of 60’s love affair with camp. I learned to embrace how wrong he was.

7 The Mayor (from Nightmare Before Christmas)

Politicians are hard to portray in television, movies and such. At least, that’s what I’ve gathered from all I’ve seen so far. Politicians seem to be portrayed as either corrupt devils or perfect political beings that please everybody and even sometimes fight off terrorists or alien invasions. The Mayor of Halloweentown has such an annoying voice and is almost constantly whining throughout the movie. He is constantly pestering the main character who has more than enough problems thank you very much! He does nothing, he says nothing of value. How did it get better? I grew up. I realized that the Mayor is just trying to be the best politician he can be. He is a parody of how a lot of us see politicians. He is literally two-faced and spends most of his time in a black and white world. He knowingly hitches his wagon to the hottest celebrity in town and relies on everybody else to do all of the work. Taken that way, it’s actually pretty funny and biting commentary.


6 Claptrap (Borderlands series)

I’ve spoken about the Borderlands series of video games on a couple of occasions. The video games tell the story of a post-apocalyptic future of a planet named Pandora. The characters meet a lot of weird characters who either help or harm them. In the first game, they are confronted by a model of robot called Claptraps who are mostly there to access door panels and other electronics. They speak with a high-pitched robot voice and are highly excitable. They were universally hated. In fact, they were so universally hated that when people found out that they were almost exterminated between games, they were happy. When they made the Claptrap into a character class in the third game, there are a series of four prompts when you try to select it that ask if you are really, really sure. How did it get better? It’s supposed to be annoying. What finally made me accept that completely is seeing how annoyed Handsome Jack is when he encounters Claptraps. If the horrible villain hates it, how can I?


5 Scrappy Doo (from Scooby Doo)

Scrappy is one of the most universally hated characters that I have ever experienced. In fact, he has a trope named after him. Scooby Doo and Mystery Inc. travelled around the country and exposed all sorts of fake ghost and monster sightings. They revealed the “hauntings” as pretty contrived and pathetic felonies. Scooby was the token talking dog whose cowardice somehow always saved the day against all odds. At some point, the gang was joined by Scooby’s pint-size nephew Scrappy and we learned that Doo is apparently a surname. Scrappy was brave to a fault. He was constantly touting his “puppy power” and had to be stopped from charging after dangerous monsters. Of course, being a youngster he was given a confident and somewhat annoying voice. How did it get better? He charged at dangerous criminals while everyone else cowered. That takes bravery. Also, the character was basically a kid and can’t we allow him to be a little stupid? It’s admirable that he thought he could take on the world at his size even if it was a little unrealistic. If the grownups had been as brave as Scrappy then maybe they could have rushed the unarmed criminals and saved us a half hour.


4 Wesley Crusher (from Star Trek TNG)

My first exposure to the Star Trek universe was Star Trek: The Next Generation. I will always hold a place in my heart for the crew of the USS Enterprise-D and its journeys of exploration. The Enterprise-D was primarily a vessel for exploration and was built large enough to bring the families of crewmembers to ease the long tours of duty. So it was that we were introduced to the young son of the resident Chief Medical Officer, Wesley Crusher. Wesley was brilliant and knew it. He always found himself underfoot when it came to the crew, usually in the engineering section. In a crisis, he pushed his way into the conversation and solved the problem in the place of grown up individuals who were being paid to solve these problems. I hate to borrow a term from online jerks but he was definitely a tryhard. How did it get better? Several different things happened. Wesley started to grow up and distinguished himself as an exceptionally intelligent young man. He also proved how loyal he was to the staff of engineering and the ships captain. He proved himself to be serious and more mature than other kids his age or at least far more mature than I was.  The writers actually tried harder too.


3 Dawn Summers (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

I watched Buffy a lot later than most fans of the show but I had somehow insulated myself from a lot of the more terrible spoilers. When I arrived at the fourth season, I was especially surprised and startled by the spoiler that I will relate next. In the first episode of season 5, Buffy is annoyed by her younger sister Dawn. Unfortunately, this also confused all of the fans at home. See, for four seasons Buffy was explicitly an only child and now she had a younger sister to contend with. The show refused to explain it for a while until we found out that Dawn was created by a spell in order to protect the world and everyone’s memories were changed. In the meantime, we experienced Dawn being a little bratty sister. She got in the way, she got in danger and was mostly a device for Buffy and her friends to protect. How did it get better? Dawn grew up. She formed relationships beyond her sister. Through those relationships she discovered a personality of her own. She reconciled with her sister and accepted how screwed up their life was. At times she even became a voice of reason when Buffy and her friends got turned around.


2 Olaf (from Frozen)

The first trailer for Frozen did not inspire confidence. You can actually see it above. It features a living snowman wrestling with a moose over a carrot which is supposed to be the snowman’s nose. There is little dialogue in the trailer and very few cues on what the movie is actually about. There’s no hint of of the brilliant performances from Idina Menzel and Kristen Bell just a dorky snowman and a confused moose. At the time I had become fed up with pointless sidekicks, especially in animated movies. I had just experienced the stupid slugs in Epic and I had shut that movie off. I was disappointed as the animal sidekicks in Tangled had been tolerable and here was a whole teaser devoted to the dumb sidekicks. I had only heard Olaf say one word but I knew he had a dorky voice and he would be in almost every shot and the whole thing would be ruined. How did it get better? He wasn’t actually all that different from what I expected when I saw the movie. However, he wasn’t as dumb and omnipresent as I thought he would be. He was naive but optimistic and actually a character I wouldn’t mind hanging out with. He also had several, pardon the pun, heart-warming moments that made him more than just the comic relief.


1 Mr. Meeseeks (from Rick and Morty)

This is probably the most obscure name on the list. It’s also the first character I thought of for this list because I mistakenly remembered that he was voiced by Tom Kenny. In the episode he appeared, copies of Mr. Meeseeks are summoned to help various characters accomplish tasks. They yearn to complete their task so that they can return to oblivion as every moment is agony for them. However, because of their horrible voices, every moment they are on screen is agony for the audience. Every single word is spoken in the same slightly raspy, high pitched squeal without exception and without mercy. They also all constantly spout the same catchphrase “I’m Mr. Meeseeks! Look at me!” How did it get better? The voice never gets better. However, the instant one of the Meeseeks starts speaking intelligently and eloquently in that annoying voice I couldn’t help but laugh. They each have so much insight into psychology, sociology and any other school of thought. From there the concept of the Meeseeks as a species became more interesting and their existential crisis became far more compelling than their horrible voice. They were the anti-Spongebobs and I couldn’t be more pleased.


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