Saturday, June 30, 2012

D52 Review - The Great Mouse Detective

I am very, very pleased with my re-watching of this film. It’s one of those films that I loved as a kid and still love now! We open on toymaker Scrooge McDuck and his daughter Olivia, with the opening moral that Scottish people talk funny. He makes her a dancing doll for her birthday and things are going swimmingly until a jive-talking bat comes in to ruin things. (I recall every time the bat pops out in surprise scared the crap out of me as a kid.)

Olivia is come across by Dr. Dawson (subtle) who looks a lot like my grandfather. He takes her to find Basil of Baker Street, who is immensely full of himself and hard at work at trying to compare bullets the old fashioned way. (And doing it in a much more entertaining way than CSI. Burn!)

After coming up short and (somewhat ironically) stewing in his melancholy with a violin, Olivia said that her father is kidnapped and she wants Basil to find him. After some pleading and the dreaded puppy dog – er – little mouse eyes, he gives in. Dawson naturally comes along for the ride.

Apparently, Scrooge has been kidnapped by Ratigan, who wants him to make an animatronic Queen so that he can take over Buckingham Palace. Scrooge vehemently says that they don’t care what they do to him, but he won’t do it. However, Ratigan, in typical villain fashion, goes “Who said anything about YOU?” Indicating that he’d better get it done or its curtains for Olivia. (On a little side note, the threatening of spouses/family members is a time-tested villain tactic, but it works, and I guess that’s why it’s lasted as long as it has. It’s sorta truth in animation, because even the battle-hardened hero who is impervious to torture is only too eager to cough up the secret code if the villain suddenly shows him his wife with a gun to her head.)

The reason I went into that tangent is because I LOVE Ratigan as a villain. He’s voiced by the immortal Vincent Price, who is perfect for the role, and I love the villains who look more threatening when they smile. Like when he gets angry for a brief second and then smothers it under a grin, showing that underneath he’s seething but can charm you into a false sense of security. That’s terrifying. Also, it’s a blink-and-you-miss it type thing, but in one scene where he does that and then raises his hand to touch the bat’s wing, the bat cringes as if he’s going to be hit. It definitely shows just how good of a villain he is.

Not to mention the fact that he has one of my favourite villain songs EVER. It’s just so catchy! It was on my Sing-Along-Songs album, with the line “more than the widows and orphans you drown” casually snipped out, and thankfully without Garfield’s parallel universe twin. (That cat is disgusting.) Toby, however, is not, and is also quite striking in resemblance to certain dogs from Lady and the Tramp, Fox and the Hound, etc. I wonder why…

Olivia ends up getting kidnapped by the bat, and the robot Queen (which everyone is too stupid to see is fake, of course) goes on to host her Jubilee. But naturally, Basil shows up to save the day! It all leads up to a fight scene on Big Ben, which is actually a great sequence. I love how Ratigan gradually loses his gentlemanly demeanor and turns into a teeth-baring, hairy, rage-filled rat. It’s definitely just as threatening as his smothered charm before. The film ends with Basil teaming up with Dr. Dawson to take on any case that might come to their door.

This film is great! It’s so underrated and I’m glad it recently got a DVD release, because more people need to see this film. It’s a definite prelude to the Disney Renaissance and it can only get better from here. At least for the next couple of films. (Looking at you, Pocahontas.)

D52 Review - The Black Cauldron

This is easily the prettiest and most boring movie that Disney has ever put out. I haven’t read the book in a while, but I don’t remember Taran being that much of a douche, Elionwy being that useless, and the munching-and-crunching Punky Brewster sidekick being so annoying. It’s a visually beautiful film, but sadly, animation cannot make a movie, and this proves it.

You can partially blame this on the late review, but mostly on the actual movie, that I’ve pretty much forgotten what happened. I watched it and was just so BORED; bored enough that I really didn’t care what happened with the movie. That’s definitely a bad sign.

Skeletor apparently wants the Black Cauldron that he isn’t even sure exists, and apparently the moral of the movie is “No fat chicks.” (I’d suck at writing movie synopses.) Also, apparently the pig is magical or is on some sort of acid trip.

There’s a reason this movie is pretty much lost to obscurity, except for being somewhat “adult” compared to other Disney films, though I couldn’t really see why. Tim Burton apparently worked on the film, but many of his scenes were largely cut from the film, so it doesn’t even have that going for it. I highly doubt there will be a high-profile DVD release of this anytime soon.

But after this is something that I’m hoping will largely make up for this utter disaster of a borefest.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Taylor Reads Twilight - Twilight: Chapter One

Or How I Learned to Keep Whining and Hate Sparkly Vampires

Okay! It’s time to set this project into motion. It’ll be hard to get through these books, but I’m sure I’ll be able to vent my frustrations much more clearly than I could in a simple internet meme. Let’s not waste any time and start with the preface.

I’d never given much thought to how I would die – though I’d had reason enough to in the last few months – but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this.
I started breathing across the long room, into the eyes of the hunter, and he looked pleasantly back at me.
Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of someone else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.
I knew that if I had never gone to Forks, I wouldn’t be facing death now. But, terrified as I was, I couldn’t bring myself to regret the decision. When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it’s not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.
The hunter smiled in a friendly way as he sauntered forward to kill me.”

The preface doesn’t do much for me. Also, I hate books that try to write in the first person. I know it’s a point of view story, but it’s so easy to mess up with things like this and run into a place where you just can’t make it fit into that kind of style. Which I’m sure we’ll run into. 

We open the story itself with Isabella Swan and her mother driving to the airport. Bella is moving to Forks, Washington to live with her father since her mother has recently gotten re-married.

“My carry-on item was a parka.” *whew* Oh, thank God. For a minute there I thought I’d have to go this whole story without knowing what her carry-on item was!

It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade that my mother escaped with me when I was only a few months old. It was in this town that I’d been compelled to spend a month every summer until I was fourteen. That was the year I finally put my foot down; these past three summers, my dad, Charlie, vacationed with me in California for two weeks instead.”

Wow. I already dislike the protagonist within the second paragraph. Am I the only one who sees that as really selfish? “I hate visiting my Dad where he actually lives, I’m gonna make him buy a plane ticket and take me somewhere else if he wants to see his own daughter!”

Bella, “my mom said to me – the last of a thousand times – before I got on the plane. “You don’t have to do this.” My mom looks like me, except with short hair and laugh lines. I felt a spasm of panic as I stared into her wide, childlike eyes. How could I leave my loving, erratic, harebrained mother to fend for herself? Of course she had Phil now, so the bills would probably get paid, there would be food in the refrigerator, gas in her car, someone to call when she got lost, but still…”

And it’s clear that she doesn’t have an exalted opinion of her mother either. In Bella’s opinion, it’s a wonder that she can dress herself, let alone actually get anything done. There’s no explanation or evidence given of why she would have a disorder, dementia or anything else to make this valid. She’s just some sort of helpless human being, and Bella doesn’t want to leave her behind. Like she hinted at in the preface, the author wants us to see Bella as some sort of caring human being, but here it just doesn’t work. It’s like Bella is jumping up and down going “I’m selfless, dammit! Look at me! Look at how selfless I am! Pay attention!”

Bella lies through her teeth and says she wants to go to Forks, and the mom says once again that she’ll come get her if she changes her mind. “But I could see the sacrifice in her eyes behind the promise.”

I…just…buh…what? What does that mean? I could give you guys context but it wouldn’t help. I cannot make heads or tails of that sentence. Charlie picks her up once she arrives in Forks, and it’s revealed that he’s the Police Chief of the town. Bella keeps saying to herself that she really, really wants to buy a car since she doesn’t want to degrade herself by riding in a police cruiser with her father, because that’s terrible. *rolls eyes*

As they’re driving to Charlie’s house, Bella notices just how green the city is, all the shrubbery and plants and trees and whatnot. While it is a real town in Washington, the city is not at all like the author describes, which makes sense since she didn’t visit the town until AFTER THE BOOKS WERE WRITTEN. Stephenie Meyer – queen of the research fail.

“I found a good car for you, really cheap.” He announced once we were strapped in.

“What kind of car?” I was suspicious of the way he said “good car for youas opposed to just “good car.”

Okay, I’m officially not on this character’s good side. There was nothing wrong with what Charlie said to her. Cars are different for different people! Saying he found a good car “for you” is a perfectly fine thing to say, since he had you in mind! But all you could think of was your own damn self and not that your father just bought you a fucking car! It doesn’t matter how shitty it is, you have a fucking car! Some teenagers would kill for that, Bella!

And then she grills him about it (pun intended) and finds out the car is not only old, but he bought it from an old neighbor, Billy Black, who can’t drive it anymore since he’s in a wheelchair.

Do you remember Billy Black down at La Push?” La Push is the tiny Indian reservation on the coast.


“He used to go out fishing with us during the summer.” Charlie prompted.

That would explain why I didn’t remember. I do a good job of blocking painful, unnecessary things from my memory.

WOW. There was just so much horrible in that one sentence that I don’t even need to lampshade this. That was awful.

“How cheap is cheap?” After all, that was the part I couldn’t compromise on.

“Well, honey, I kind of already bought it for you. As a homecoming gift.” Charlie peeked sideways at me with a hopeful expression.

Wow. Free.

….I hate you.  Plus, hooray for sentence fragments! (Okay, okay, I know I’m trying to re-cap this, but I thought I needed to quote just to convey how much of a dislikable protagonist this girl is. But now, moving on!)

They get to the house, and Bella changes her mind about the truck as soon as she sees it, which only solidifies the fact that she’s a materialistic bitchbag. She goes to her bedroom, which is the same bedroom she had when she was a baby, except they replaced the crib with a bed and added a computer so she could keep in touch with her mother.

“There was only one small bedroom at the top of the stairs, which I’d have to share with Charlie. I was trying not to dwell too much on that fact.”

Okay, I’m going to give her a LITTLE credit on this one. Female teenager sharing small bathroom with middle-aged father? Not always fun. However, I’m still going to tell her to suck it up because at my old house, I had to share a small bathroom with a teenaged sister and two teenaged brothers, which is DEFINITELY not fun. So shut up, Bella.

It was nice to be alone, to not have to smile and look pleased; a relief to stare dejectedly out the window at the sheeting rain and let just a few tears escape. I wasn’t in the mood to go on a real crying jag. I would save that for bedtime, when I had to think about the coming morning.”

Oh my god, QUIT WHINING. This is more pathetically “I’m so tortured” than the poetry I wrote in high school. Speaking of high school, she’s definitely not looking forward to Forks High School, which only has *le gasp* 357 students compared to her old school of over 700. Something tells me the smaller surroundings won’t do much for her ego. But I digress.

Now Bella whines because she’s not looking like a girl from Phoenix should – “I SHOULD be tan, sporty, blonde – a volleyball player or a cheerleader perhaps – all the things that go with living in the valley of the sun.” Seriously, you’re not going to be seen as a freak because you don’t look like you came from where you are. You’re going to be seen as a freak because you’re a horrible person.

“Instead, I was ivory-skinned, without even the excuse of blue eyes or red hair –“

…seriously? I have blue eyes AND red hair, and I’m not as pale as I could be, but that’s largely related to living in Austin, Texas. True, I AM pale where the sun doesn’t hit and during the winter, and I pale in comparison to other people’s tanned skin (ah cha cha cha cha) , but don’t use that as a justification. It demeans us both. (Also as we’ve all probably noticed, she’s describing herself exactly the way Stephenie Meyer looks in real life. While the author has insisted it’s not an Author Avatar, we know better than to take her at her word.)

The next morning she gets ready for school and Charlie goes off to his job at the police station. Bella finds herself very uncomfortable with all the photos of her and her mother he has around the house, namely their wedding photo and a procession of Bella’s school pictures.

Those were embarrassing to look at – I would have to see what I could do to get Charlie to put them somewhere else, at least while I was living here.”

“It was impossible, being in this house. Not to realize that Charlie had never gotten over my mom. It made me uncomfortable.”

Oh, well EXCUSE the crap out of him for not being entirely over your mother, because it’s so easy to just get over a woman who ran out on you and took your baby daughter with her RIGHT AFTER YOU WERE BORN and only get to see her a month out of the year! But no, that’s too difficult for the daughter to handle, so you only get two weeks out of the year, and you don’t even get to spend it at home! And now you come to HIS house, living on HIS dime, eating HIS food, driving a car that HE bought for you, and you’re suffering from the agony of life because he still has your school pictures up. What. A. LOAD.

She dons her jacket – which she describes as it having the feel of a “biohazard suit” – and headed out into the rain. Then she says the car has a ‘flaw’ because the engine starts quickly and then idles very loudly. Why is that a flaw? The engine’s working just like it’s supposed to!

Where was the feel of the institution? I wondered nostalgically. Where were the chain-link fences, the metal detectors?”

Why are you feeling nostalgic and sad that the school DOESN’T feel like a prison? Are you just that excited to be emo and completely tortured and unpleased with the world? What a bitch. She goes into the office to get her schedule and find her way around.

There were three desks behind the counter, one of which was manned by a large, red-haired woman wearing glasses. She was wearing a purple t-shirt, which immediately made me feel overdressed.”

I have yet to receive my check for this cameo, Meyer. Get on that.
She tells them who she is and is embarrassed by how the “immediate awareness lit her eyes” because they’ve been expecting her. How is that a bad thing? I know it’s a small town, but they honestly don’t care about family drama that went on nearly twenty years ago. All they know is they have a new student and need to get her introduced. Would you rather you went in and they didn’t know who you were?

I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was going to bite me.” ZOMG I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

She heads off to English class and is upset because she feels everybody staring at her even though she’s sitting in the back row. “I kept my eyes down on the reading list the teacher has given me. It was fairly basic: Bronte, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Falkner. I’d already read everything. That was comforting…and boring. I wondered if mom would send me my folder of old essays, or if she would think that was cheating.”

Basic?? That’s a pretty damn good reading list for somebody in a small town! Even in bigger towns like mine (population about 60,000) I would’ve killed for that kind of reading list. Though some of my favorite books are the ones I had to read for class, so I can’t really complain. And yes, IT IS CHEATING. How could that possibly not be??

After the bell rings, Bella has a boy introduce himself to her and offer to show her where her next class is. The first thing Bella notices is how he has skin problems and “hair as black as an oil slick.” And how he’s the “over-helpful chess-club type.” Y’know, for somebody who was worried that you’d be seen as a freak, you’re really being hypocritical here! Do you know how hard it is to find nice, helpful guys in high school at that age? Or even people who will pay attention to you? Not easy!

They make conversation as they walk to class and Bella reveals she’s from Phoenix.

You don’t look very tan.”

“My mother is part albino.”

He studied my face apprehensively, and I sighed. It looked like clouds and a sense of humor don’t mix. A few months of this and I’d forget how to use sarcasm.

Or maybe he didn’t laugh because THE JOKE WASN’T FUCKING FUNNY. I mentioned some unfortunate implications in this book, and here’s one of the first glaring ones: Bella is extremely prejudiced based on looks. She thinks that everyone in Phoenix should be tan and athletic and considers herself freakish because she isn’t. The first thing she notices in the office is that the redhead lady is ‘heavy’ and wearing a purple t-shirt. She meets a really nice kid who knows she’s new and wants to help her out, and all she can think of is that he’s a nerd who has acne.

And it only gets worse! The reason she’s attracted to Edward and his family? Because they’re ‘beautiful.’ All of the good people in the book? Attractive. All of the evil people? Ugly. All of the ethnic people in the story are ‘poor’, while the beautiful porcelain-skinned people have their own money practically printed for them! Tell me, Meyer, WHY are we supposed to like this character? Why are we supposed to empathize with her?

She fakes her way through talking with a couple of other students and then heads to the lunchroom. While there, we first meet the Cullen family, and of course, Bella is enthralled by the way they look.

They didn’t look anything alike. Of the three boys, one was big – muscled like a serious weight-lifter, with dark, curly hair. Another was leaner, but still muscular, and honey blonde. The last was lanky, bulky, with untidy, bronze-colored hair. He was more boyish than the others, who looked like they could be in college, or even teachers here rather than students.”

“The girls were opposites. The tall one was statuesque. She had a beautiful figure, the kind you saw on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, the kind that made every girl take a hit on her self-esteem just by being in the same room. Her hair was golden, gently waving to the middle of her back. The short girl was pixielike, thin in the extreme, with small features. Her hair was a deep black, cropped short and pointing in every direction.”

So it’s some weightlifting douchebags, buxom bathing suit bitches, and Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? (Run, Lisbeth! I love you, you’re a great character! Run while you still can!)

I beg of you all, read this instead. It's so much better and has much more powerful female leads.
Bella simply can’t take her eyes of them because they’re “devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful”. After asking her classmates who they are, it’s revealed that the boys are Edward and Emmett Cullen and Alice Cullen and Rosalie and Jasper Hale.

They’re all together though, - Emmett and Rosalie, Jasper and Alice, I mean. And they live together.” Her voice held all the shock and condemnation of the small town, I thought critically. But if I were being honest, I had to admit that even in Phoenix, it would cause gossip.

Since when is living with a significant other gossip-worthy? Nowadays living with friends or someone you’re not married to isn’t even worth a raised eyebrow. This was written in 2005, I don’t think it was such a big deal back then either. Though, this is probably the first of many heavy-handed, obvious Mormon themes throughout these books. Despite what Anne Rice’s many flip-flops have taught you, Meyer, vampires and Christianity do not mix. (Although Rice could’ve taught you how to be a better writer.)

After discussing the fact that they’re all either adopted or foster children, living with Dr. Cullen and his wife, Bella’s classmate Jessica gives her the impression that she doesn’t like the Addams Family much.

With the glances that she was throwing at their adopted children, I would presume the reason was jealousy. “I think that Mrs. Cullen can’t have any kids, though.” She added, as though that lessened their kindness.”

Okay, so you might be thinking ‘Meyer is trying to paint Jessica to be the bad person for saying that people who can’t have kids aren’t really people’, but sadly, this is an Author Filibuster. I’ll elaborate more on it in the later books, but there are several cases by this writer of her portraying women either childfree by infertility or childfree by choice as being “less than women” and something to be scorned as freaks of nature. Fuck you, Meyer.

And naturally, Bella sets her eyes on Edward. What a shock.

That’s Edward. He’s gorgeous, of course, but don’t waste your time. He doesn’t date. Apparently none of the girls here are good-looking enough for him.” She sniffed, a clear case of sour grapes. I wondered when he’d turned her down.”

Can you stop being a bitch for two seconds, Bella? Seriously.

Bella goes to her Biology II class and – surprise! – gets to sit next to Edward as her lab partner since he’s the only guy who doesn’t have a lab partner. For some reason, Edward acts as though he’s about to punch Bella in the face the entire time. I can’t necessarily blame him; maybe he’s been reading this book. She describes him as having his fists clenched, staring at her angrily like he’s going to murder her, hating the scent of her strawberry shampoo, and racing out of the room before anybody has even left their seat.

Bella of course decides to cry and whine about this, despite the fact that she’s met several other nice people during her day, and gains a new patsy, Mike. He helps take her to her next class (of course) and reveals that he used to live in California. Since he knows what the sun is, she calls him the nicest person she met that day (or maybe the nicest person without acne) and Mike shows great wisdom in saying Edward Cullen is “weird.”

He’s a weird guy.” Mike lingered by me instead of heading to the dressing room. “If I were lucky enough to sit by you, I would’ve talked to you.”

High school boys do not talk that way. Seriously, even the nicest ones don’t. This is NOT accurate. These are lines that twenty-somethings use to get dates, not high school boys making conversation on their first day. After a quick two-minute gym class, she goes to the receptionist to turn in her teacher’s signatures.

Edward Cullen is there, and he’s trying to get transferred into a different Biology class. After realizing that it can’t be done, he looks at Bella like he’s going to murder her again, and stomps off. She goes out to her truck, starts crying, and drives away.

This chapter is awful. The writing is bad, the scenes move way too quickly, Bella is a completely unlikeable character, and this is not an accurate depiction of high school! And of course, if Bella and Edward are “twoo wuv” and are going to get together, why would she like that guy after she fears for her life every time he looks at her? And if she was trying to gain sympathy for this character, she lost all possibility of that within the first few paragraphs.

Something tells me it’s only going to get worse from here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Taylor Reads Twilight - Introduction

On June 2nd, 2003, Stephenie Meyer woke up from a wet dream about a sparkling vampire in the middle of a meadow and there was a disturbance in the literary force. Never have I seen such a media sensation take the internet by storm for all the wrong reasons. Harry Potter had a massive surge of popularity that’s still being felt today despite the books and movies already being over and done with. But that was because the books and movies were genuinely good, showing kids as well as adults that reading is magic. (No copyright infringement intended to Lauren Faust.)

I discovered Twilight at the library shortly after its release. All of the females at my high school were singing its praises, and the huge waiting list piqued my curiosity, because if it has a long waiting list at the library, it has to be good, right?


I didn’t even bother leaving the library with the book; I sat down and read it in one of their chairs since I had a few hours to kill. I was unimpressed. I wasn’t quite mature enough to understand the unfortunate implications or the hackish writing (though I picked up on a few things) and could only wonder why a book this underwhelming was suddenly the next big thing. I didn’t bother with the rest of the series.

"One! One knock-out punch! AH AH AH!"
Why am I coming back to it after all this time? Well, I have a bit of a reader’s conscience. I have a rule for myself that I shouldn’t blast a book if I haven’t read it. While I could defend myself on the first one, I couldn’t defend myself for the rest of the series, and I wanted to get a better grasp of why I think these are some of the worst books I’ve ever seen published. 

Seriously, go on a Twilight forum and bring this with you. I never lose!
I’m going to be re-reading Twilight, and I’ve borrowed my little sister’s copies of New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn, though I don’t think I’ll need to return them, because she read them and hated them too. (I’ve never been so proud. *sniff*) I’ll be doing these books in chapter-by-chapter format, recap-style. Will I find elements about these I like? I doubt it, but I’ll try to be as honest as I can. I hope you enjoy the undying effort I make for you all.

D52 Review - The Fox and the Hound

I wasn’t looking forward to this one much. I don’t remember a lot about this story, except the fact that I bawled my eyes out at the ending as a kid. It still made me misty-eyed this time around, and since I was older I was able to get the social commentary of the moral.

Naturally, this movie is pretty much the “Why can’t we be friends?” story, where two animals who are supposed to be enemies become friends since kids can see things a lot clearer than adults can, and oddly enough, have a better sense of right and wrong than we do. It’s pretty clear when you think of the typical conversation kids have with their parents and this kind of clash happens:

“Why can’t I play with them?”

“Well, because they’re different!”

“Why are they different?”

“Because they look and act different!”

“…but that doesn’t seem fair!”

“Well….it’s always been this way, so we can’t change it now! Go to your room!”

And the cycle continues. The animation continues to look wonderful, and Jesse (being the handsome realm of animation trivia that he is) informed me that, at the time, this was the most expensive animated film produced. They have a song in it, The Best of Friends, which was on one of my beloved Sing-Along-Songs tapes as a child. It still tends to rip out your heart and stomp on it to this day. (It also sounds suspiciously like Stevie Wonder, though I couldn’t find any evidence it was him.)

It’s pretty much Bambi, since we were overdue for a rip-off from that. (Also, am I the only one who sees Maid Marian’s face on the surprise love interest for Tod?) Like I said, the ending made me tear up, plus I’m not sure why the widow is suddenly tending to Amos Slade’s injuries. (Maybe so she can hear him in pain? Which I honestly wouldn’t mind.)

Is it bad? No. Will I actively seek it out and watch it again? Also no. It’s a good film, but there’s only so much childhood trauma I can take in a day.

D52 Review - The Rescuers

This is one of the few Disney films (if not the only Disney film) where I remember seeing the sequel rather than the original. (I even remember seeing the commercial for The Rescuers Down Under coming to VHS. Remember when you had to shell out $25 a pop for those things?)

The scenery and animation in this is GORGEOUS, which is no surprise, considering Don Bluth was involved in this. The music is enjoyable and very soothing, which was a surprise considering music in these types of movies are usually forgotten due to their badness, not to their obscurity.

We begin with a girl dropping off a message in a bottle, which is discovered by a society of secret mice. (Foreshadowing to The Rats of NIMH, or am I giving this too much credit?) They sing a thinly-veiled parody to the Mickey Mouse Club theme, and then get down to business. The janitor insists on going with the beguiling agent of questionable accent, since “a woman shouldn’t go alone”, though obviously she’s proven she can do the job.

And they seek out the Disney Orphan of the Week, Penny. She’s upset because she’s an orphan and the latest couple who looked at her picked a redheaded girl instead. (Way to make me feel guilty, movie.) Medusa, and her partner, Mr. Snoops, are on a quest to find the world’s largest diamond, the Devil’s Eye. So naturally, they have to kidnap Penny. I…don’t quite get WHY they need to kidnap her, unless it’s just For The Evulz.

Medusa is pretty much a direct caricature of Cruella DeVil, which was explained to me when Jesse told me that this was originally intended to be a sequel to 101 Dalmatians. It makes me wonder if a sequel that close to the original source material would’ve been better than one today, but I digress. Orville also strikes me as foreshadowing to Scuttle, the antique rater from The Little Mermaid. (There needs to be more albatrosses in fiction, dammit! What are you guys doing to help the problem??)

This film was pretty okay! Like I said, animation and music weren’t lacking for much, though I found myself pretty bored with the story at times. I guess there’s a reason it isn’t very popular. And can we stop with the animal centric stories already? But since the next movie up is The Fox and the Hound, apparently not.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Top 10 Cheesy-Underwhelming Love Songs

Have you ever wanted to count every single grain of sand on the beach? Why such an unambitious task? Give yourself a real challenge; count all the love songs that have been released over the years. You could go back further than the days of Chaucer and still not be close to finished.

However, love songs are far from perfect. Everybody has a different idea of love. Love can be traditional, love can be unconventional, love from friendship, love for your children or family, and of course, romantic love for your mate. But while everyone’s notions are love are different, there are some songs that even the most non-conventional of lovers would raise an eyebrow at.

Here are some of the Top 10 Cheesy or Underwhelming Love Songs, at least by my standards. They can be due to lyrics, concepts, or just plain oddness that I don’t know how could’ve made it onto the air as a “love” song. 

10. Paradise by the Dashboard Light – Meatloaf

It’s extremely evident by the lyrics, but this song is pretty much about Meatloaf and his high school girlfriend getting hot and heavy in the car at make out point. Don’t get me wrong, I love this song. Its fun, it’s catchy, it’s a karaoke classic, but there are so many things you can point out with this.

Ain’t no doubt about it, we were doubly blessed – cause we were barely seventeen and we were barely dressed.” Two seventeen year olds, in the back of a car, with all the usual hormones going on, sans clothes – yeah, something tells me restraint isn’t in their vocabulary.

The radio broadcast part I actually thought was really clever, and I gotta say, I’ll never listen to a baseball broadcast without yelling out “That’s what she said!” again. Just as the boy is about to slide into home (giggity) the girl pipes up with “Stop right there!”

Okay, this is where I have mixed feelings about this song. Of course, the girl is bringing up a valid point. She’s in the backseat of a car with this boy (and it’s implied that they’ve never gone ‘all the way’ before) and she wants to know that it won’t just be a one night stand. That’s common for girls who are losing their virginity, or ANYBODY losing their virginity. It’s a special thing you’re giving up, you don’t wanna go through something so personal and then have the guy or girl walk out on you without so much as a cuddle.

But despite being a girl who’s been in that situation, I sympathize more with the boy on this one. The boy was probably JUST getting ready to go through with this – and then she suddenly says “Hold on, here’s a bunch of questions that will dictate our entire future?” If you were gonna go all the way, wouldn’t you have discussed this BEFORE? Y’know, asked him before you got in the car if you guys were serious or not?

Asking him when he’s  probably the horniest he’s ever been in his life, seeing the thing that all teenage boys crave most right in front of him, blood flowing more down below than to his brain, is not fair to him, and it’s not fair to the girl, either! You’re most likely going to be getting a bullshit answer because the boy can’t think straight! That’s one of the times where most likely – I know not all guys are like this, but most likely – he will promise anything and everything you wanna hear so that he can get rid of this tension.

And the boy tries to get out of it, going “Let me sleep on it” since he knows he’s probably gonna change his mind after things have calmed down. But she keeps pushing and pushing and he swears on his mother’s grave that he will love her until the end of time because blue balls were just too much to bear at that point. And it’s such a gloomy ending, too.

“It was long ago, and so far away, and it was so much better than it was today…

So, since he’s too honest to break his vow, he’s stuck with a girl he hates being around, all for some high school nookie. Seriously, you can’t help but feel sorry for this guy.


9. Eleanor – The Turtles

This is another song I actually really like. It’s catchy, it’s mostly a good love song, but the reason it makes it onto this list is mainly for one reason: the chorus.

Eleanor, gee I think you’re swell, and you really do me well, you’re my pride and joy etcetera…”

…etcetera? Was this written by Anna and the King? Did you just run out of adjectives or get bored and waved your hand and go “Eh, you know the rest.” That’s….kinda rude.


8. (You’re) Having my Baby – Paul Anka

Okay, some of you might be crying foul right now because I’ve made it clear that I wish to be childfree in life, but that’s not the reason I put this on here. Having a baby can be a very romantic thing for partners to go through! You’re creating something new with the best of both of you! But the reason this makes it onto the list, is this song just sounds WRONG.

You’re having my baby, what a lovely way of saying how much you love me…

Throughout the song, it’s always referred to as ‘his’ baby, not ‘their’ baby. Nitpicky yes, but the woman is doing all the work here. And also her response:

I’m a woman in love, and I love what it’s doin’ to me…”

Yes, because nausea, morning sickness, varicose veins, swollen feet and ankles, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, back pain, sleeplessness, limited mobility, blood clots, losing control of your bladder, incredible labor delivery pain, episiotomies and losing all sorts of blood, placenta and fecal matter on a doctor’s table while you scream that it’s all your husband’s fault just SCREAMS romance, doesn’t it?

Didn’t have to keep it, wouldn’t put you through it, you could’ve swept it from your life, but you wouldn’t do it, no you wouldn’t do it…”

…okay, hearing about abortion in a song from the sixties is WEIRD. Surreal kinda weird. And also…is this just me, or does this guy actually sound like he resents this girl not going through with terminating? If so, this just opens a whole new realm of uncomfortable implications. If you’re having a baby, fine, but…jeez, keep it to yourself.


(Unable to find non-cover version of this song on YouTube. Sorry.)

7. Everything I Do (I Do It For You) – Bryan Adams

Ah, yes, the song that launched a thousand weddings. I never liked this song. Everything you do, you do it for me? Well…what kind of things are you doing, dude?

Are you committing horrible human sacrifices? Are you painting walls with your own urine? Are you running down the street naked with my name scrawled across your chest, hoping everybody will see that somebody got close enough to you to know their name? Are you making a video game movie starring Dennis Hopper in his most uncomfortable role? I know he meant for it to come across as romantic and “Oh, you inspire me, you’re gonna make me do everything because I’m so charged by your love” but…it doesn’t come off that way to me.


6. Yellow – Coldplay

Yellow is not a very appealing color to me. It hurts my eyes. Yellow can be done right, provided the color suits the person, but I don’t look very good in yellow. And you comparing everything to the color yellow just sounds…Freudian.

Look at the stars, look how they shine for you, and all the things that you do…yeah they were all yellow.”

Yes, because yellow looks so much like blindingly white.

“I wrote a song for you, and all the things that you do, and it was called Yellow.”

Uh…great. I’m sure you think that’s very poetic of you. Your LiveJournal will be so enthralled to hear about it.

“I swam across, I jumped across for you, oh what a thing to do…cause you were all Yellow.”

You swam a river to find a cure because I had malaria? *SA-WOOOON*


5. You’re my Home – Billy Joel

I LOVE Billy Joel. He is responsible for a ton of my favorite songs. And I actually really, really like this song! It sounds really romantic! Saying that you’re at home whenever you’re with your partner, it doesn’t matter what particular dwelling you may be in? That’s really sweet to me! Why is it on this list?

Okay, Billy. We’re at the very end of the song. You’re about to bring it to a close. We’re already swooning over everything you’ve sang for us so far. Win us over, Piano Man.

You’re my castle, you’re my cavern and my instant pleasure dome – “

Wait. What?

Instant pleasure dome –“


Instant pleasure dome – “




4. Baby’s Got Sauce – G. Love and Special Sauce

This is one of my Mom’s favorite bands, so I had to sit through their albums all the time in the car. This is one of those songs that just makes you go…”buh?”

My baby got sauce, your baby ain’t sweet like mine, she got sauce, your baby ain’t sweet like mine, she got sauce, she ain’t just sweet…”

Donner, party of two, your table is available.

That’s some funky lemonade you got going there, babe, is it special for me?”

….Coldplay, I apologize for calling you Freudian.

Miss I’m your mister, my sister’s your sister, my mother’s your mother, father’s your father – “

I EXTREMELY apologize for calling you Freudian.

That’s all I can get through, man. Just…why? Why?


3. Escape (The Pina Colada Song) – Rupert Holmes

Everybody knows this one.

Guy has girl. Guy is bored with girl. Guy looks at personal ads while she’s asleep. Finds girl who seems new and exciting and into all sorts of romantic shit like champagne, fruity drinks and making love on sharp rocks, sand, and salty water. Guy writes back, says “Please save me from this boring lady and get some sand in my pants, baby.” Guy meets girl at bar and – SURPRISE! It’s his boring ladyfriend! Apparently they didn’t bother to actually find out what each other liked but now it’s okay since they have a weird beach fetish!

So…they both cheat on each other, and then realize that they’re actually more interesting than they originally thought? Well, when you think about it, no harm no foul. They’re both essentially getting what they want out of the deal.


2. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Deep Blue Something

Speaking of couples knowing nothing about each other:

You say that we’ve got nothing in common, no common ground to stand on, and we’re falling apart…you say the world has come between us…our lives have come between us…but I know you just don’t care…”

“Then I say, ‘What about Breakfast at Tiffany’s?’ She said ‘I think I remember the film, and as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it.’ And I said, ‘Well that’s the one thing we got.’”

….do I really need to explain this one? Basing your entire relationship off both of you kinda sorta liking an old Audrey Hepburn movie? Its one thing if a couple has a special movie together, but you don’t even really like it that much! It’s just something you’re clinging to so you don’t have to find anybody else! Jeez, this makes Meatloaf’s story seem almost less sad.


1. Lovefool – The Cardigans

And this is probably the saddest one of all.

This is a song where the lyrics are very depressing and also kinda sexist, but it’s such a catchy, peppy sounding song that it got so much radio play. And I gotta say, I think it’s a good song melody-wise. If you ignore the lyrics, it’s nice to listen to! But if you listen to the lyrics…god, it’s DEPRESSING.

Girl realizes her boyfriend doesn’t love her anymore. Girl is still head over heels in love with guy. Girl doesn’t want guy to break up with her. Girl’s mother tells her that she’s better than this chump and should find someone who actually deserves her and cares about her. Girl says “Fuck that, I still love this jerk” and outright tells this guy “It doesn’t matter whether you love me or not, just don’t leave.”

That is a HORRIBLE message. If your boyfriend isn’t interested in you anymore, yeah it hurts, but you shouldn’t insist on staying out of delusion and begging him to “pretend” that he loves you! 

What makes it even worse is this concept can actually be done RIGHT. Dusty Springfield, one of my all-time favorite artists, did a song called “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me” where there’s a man she needs and begs him to stay close, at least for now. She can’t help but love him, but she’ll never make him stay. It’s heartbreaking, it’s soulful, it isn’t sexist, and it’s a beautiful song.

Whereas this one…it’s just so desperate and pathetic and needy and the girl is sounding like a borderline stalker. Not caring whether or not a guy loves you as long as he pretends to your face just screams relationship issues, and I really feel bad for this girl. It’s clear she does deserve better, but she doesn’t know it. And she’s clinging to this guy so hard since she can’t or won’t see what really needs to happen.


Well, there you have it. I hope you found something to identify with, or laugh at, or maybe even something you disagree with me on. I look forward to seeing if anybody in the comments likes Bryan Adams enough to start a flame war. And remember girls; don’t just let any boy have your sauce.