Tag Archives: Don Bluth

All Dogs Go to Heaven “You Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down” (1989)

bc478873bd3133d9b5bf003e808ade18.945x497x1.png

All Dogs Go to Heaven “You Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down” (1989)

After literally digging his way out of the city pound (the canine equivalent of prison), Charlie (Burt Reynolds) and his long-suffering best friend Itchy (Dom DeLuise) make their way back to the casino that Charlie used to run with Carface (Charlie’s name is conspicuously scratched out on all the signs). All of the dogs are shocked to see Charlie, since apparently he was meant to be “on death row” (scheduled to be euthanized if I had to take a guess). Charlie doesn’t have a clue that it was Carface who set him up to be taken away in the first place, he’s too busy enjoying his freedom. As Charlie explains (with Itchy’s help), nothing is ever going to keep this dog down!

Why settle for a couple of bones when you can have the whole bank?”
Oh you can’t keep a good dog down (No sir)
No you can’t keep a good dog down
I’ve seen pain and hurt, I’ve eaten dirt (That’s true)
It’s hard to buy but even I have been jilted by a skirt (He lies)
But look out, I’m still around
Cause you can’t keep a good dog down

Ya can’t keep a good dog down (No you can’t)
No no no no, you can’t keep a good dog down
I’ve been bought and sold
He’s been warm and cold
But ten to one I’ll still be runnin’ rackets when I’m old
Not in some cage in the city pound
Cause you can’t keep a good dog
Can’t keep a good, I say you can’t keep a good dog down

In him’s the luck of the Irish
The pride of the German
And even a bit of Siam
Siam? You see the come of the English
The charm of the Spanish
A pedigree certainly ain’t what I am
So call me a mixed up pup
(You’re a mixed up pup)
But the only way this pup knows is up
Ya can’t keep a good dog down
Ya can’t keep a good dog down

maxresdefault (4).jpg

I need to talk about this verse before we move on to the rest of the song. I nearly fell over in shock when Itchy did the line “And even a bit of Siam” complete with a bowl on his head and a faux Asian face (granted it’s not as extreme as older Asian stereotypes, but still!) The reference to Siam is not a problem in and of itself as the film takes place about 4 months before Siam became Thailand (while only the year 1939 is given, Carface later mentions Mardi Gras which takes place in February). No, my problem is that in a film made in the late 1980s, they thought it was okay to include a racist, Asian stereotype. That is not okay!

This concludes my rant, now back to the song:

He’s been fat and thin
I’ve been out and in
He tried a life of virtue
But prefer a life of sin
So tonight when we own this town
I’ve known hunger, I’ve known thirst
Lived the best and seen the worst
But the only way I know to finish best to finish first
So watch out when you hear this sound
Cause you can’t keep a good dog, no ya
Can’t keep a good, I say you can’t keep a good dog down
You can’t keep a good dog down!

Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise were friends for many years and you can really feel a solid dynamic between them as they perform this song. The song makes it clear that Charlie is popular, charismatic and a confirmed crook (the last verse even mentions “He tried a life of virtue but prefer a life of sin” It’s not wonder Charlie is so nervous about judgement once he arrives in Heaven). I also noticed that despite being a dog, Charlie acts remarkably human during this scene (in that he stands and performs on two legs). Most of the time Charlie gets around like a regular dog, but this is a noticeable exception (sometimes I wonder if Bluth originally meant to make the dogs more anthropomorphic and then changed his mind).

The Siam moment aside (do let me know what you think about that in the comments), “You Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down” provides a rousing musical start to the film. Which is good because the story only gets darker from here (at some point I’ll write some articles pointing out all the Nightmare Fuel aspects of this film). In the meantime, let me know what you think about “You Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down” in the comments below and have a great day! Thanks for helping the blog reach 650 followers!

See also:

All Dogs Go to Heaven “Let Me Be Surprised” (1989)

All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 “It Feels so Good to be Bad!” (1996)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Advertisements

All Dogs Go to Heaven “Let Me Be Surprised” (1989)

a854007f011c7377a9802fd0897ba44a.640x360x1

After being murdered by his supposed friend and business partner Carface, Charlie B. Barkin (Burt Reynolds) is shocked to find himself in the Hall of Judgement being looked after by Annabelle (Melba Moore), an angelic whippet. Having been a criminal most of his life, Charlie fears judgement, but Annabelle assures Charlie that “all dogs go to heaven” because dogs are naturally loyal and good (she clearly doesn’t know Charlie in the slightest). Annabelle further explains that Charlie has to be dead because the watch representing his life has stopped and that “no one can EVER go back.” Charlie, used to the thrills of being a criminal, is instantly stifled by the utopian atmosphere of heaven, where (according to Annabelle) there are never any surprises. Charlie doesn’t like this one bit and this is the set up for “Let Me Be Surprised.”


I need Brazil
The throb, the thrill
I’ve never been there, but someday I will!
Adventure and danger, love from a stranger
Let me be surprised!

Today there’s sun; they said there’d be snow
When all’s said and done
It’s fun not to know!
What keeps my heart humming, is guessing what’s coming
Let me be surprised!

1620115_1490563101509_full

Oh! Ain’t it great
Annabelle: (Ain’t it great?)
Charlie: When fate makes you wait?
The world seems mirthless
And you feel worthless
Then suddenly,
There’s a big bone on your plate!

Annabelle: Oh, Charlie, please remember
Down there’s a world of used cars,
And singles’ bars,
Broken dreams,
And out-of-reach stars!
Charlie: But, it isn’t over
Not for this Rover

As Charlie keeps Annabelle distracted, he locates the watch that represents his life and begins to wind it up (having previously asked if he could do just that to keep his life going). It doesn’t take the whippet long to notice and she doesn’t like what she sees one bit!

all-dogs-go-to-heaven-still-02_1050_591_81_s_c1.jpg

I don’t like to steal (Ha, ha!)
But I don’t buy this deal
In ’bout 3 seconds, she’ll have realized (Ha, ha!)
And she’s gonna be…
Annabelle: Charlie, what are you doing?
Charlie: Wait’ll you see!
Annabelle: What’s that you have behind your back?
Charlie: She’s gonna be…
Annabelle: Charlie, don’t wind that watch!
Charlie: Surprised!
Annabelle: CHARLIE!

The moment the watch starts ticking again, Charlie is unceremoniously ejected from Heaven with Annabelle mournfully shouting after Charlie “You can never come back…” Apparently, the penalty for extending your life (or “stealing life” might be the better term) is going straight to Hell the next time you die. That’s why, for most of the remaining story, Charlie will do just about anything to make sure that watch keeps ticking. Of course that all changes once he really gets to know Anne-Marie (Judith Barsi), but that’s a story for another day.

It really shows how selfish Charlie is when he’d rather go back to Earth than stay in Heaven. I really don’t think he counted on being sentenced to Hell for going back though, he just wanted to be alive a little longer. What do you think about “Let Me Be Surprised”? Given how dark this movie can get (it IS a Don Bluth film after all) this whole sequence is surprisingly lighthearted (except for the part where Annabelle happily says “Welcome to being dead”). Let me know what you think about this song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

All Dogs Go to Heaven “You Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down” (1989)

All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 “It Feels so Good to be Bad!” (1996)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

 

Thumbelina “Let Me Be Your Wings” (1994)

3-0.jpg

Thumbelina “Let Me Be Your Wings” (1994)

In one of Don Bluth’s last animated ventures (the studio closed the following year), Thumbelina follows the titular character as she lives a relatively happy life with her mother in the countryside. The one thing that makes Thumbelina unhappy, however, is the apparent reality that she is the only person her size (she’s only as big as a thumb after all). All of this changes one night when Thumbelina meets the fairy prince Cornelius, who is enchanted by her singing. The pair go for a whirlwind ride on the prince’s bumblebee where he proceeds to woo her with “Let Me Be Your Wings.”

Let me be your wings
Let me be your only love
Let me take you far beyond the stars

Let me be your wings
Let me lift you high above
Everything we’re dreaming of will soon be ours

Anything that you desire
Anything at all
Everyday I’ll take you higher
And I’ll never let you fall

Let me be your wings
Leave behind the world you know
For another world of wondrous things
We’ll see the universe and dance on Saturn’s rings
Fly with me and I will be your wings

25

“Let Me Be Your Wings” is the quintessential romance song. As Thumbelina has no wings of her own, Cornelius vows he’ll be her “wings” instead and give her everything she ever wanted. Of course, this song does suffer from the flaw found in a lot of pre-2000 animated films in which we have a hero (Cornelius) professing love to a heroine (Thumbelina) that he’s only just met. Of course you can be attracted to someone right away, but professing eternal love and wanting to marry right away? It’s not exactly a realistic depiction of love is it? However, putting that aside, it’s easy to feel happy for Thumbelina as Cornelius shows her a night to remember. Given what happens next though, I’ve always found myself wishing that Cornelius had just whisked her away to the fairy kingdom then and there (which would have avoided so many problems).

What do you think of “Let Me Be Your Wings”? Let me know your thoughts about the song in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Thumbelina “Marry the Mole” (1994)

Disney/Dreamworks/Pixar/etc. Soundtracks A-Z

Become a patron of the blog at: patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook

Disturbing Bluth #6: Meeting Brutus in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

I couldn’t leave The Secret of NIMH without talking about this one moment in particular. To this day it never fails to make me jump in surprise (though thankfully not in fear like it used to), and that is the moment when Mrs. Brisby encounters Brutus the rat.

The-Secret-of-NIMH.jpg

The Secret of NIMH (1982)- Into the Rosebush/Brutus

Up until this point, Brisby’s journey through the rose bush has only been mildly scary, but nothing close to disturbing (no mouse eating spiders this time). I’m still surprised that she got as far as she did without encountering any rats, but given we later learn that the rats are in a special meeting, it makes sense.

What makes the run-in with Brutus even more disturbing is, right before it happens, Mrs. Brisby discovers a beautiful garden (with awestruck music to highlight the moment). There are flowers everywhere and what looks like a jeweled brooch leading into the next part of the bush. But here is where Mrs. Brisby’s luck finally runs out. Just as she’s leaving this area, all the flowers around her close up and I’ve always taken this as a clue that something is about to happen because out of nowhere (literally, it’s a textbook jump scare) comes Brutus, a huge rat with a scary looking pike (that emits electricity when banged against the ground).

Secret-of-nimh-disneyscreencaps.com-4147.jpg

It doesn’t help any that the moment Brutus appears the background turns dark and red. Even worse, Brutus doesn’t say a word to the terrified mouse, even when she plainly states her purpose is to see Nicodemus and that the Great Owl sent her. If anything, the words seem to provoke Brutus into striking out with the pike again. It’s terrifying, disturbing, and for many years I did not watch this film because of this moment. The house sinking couldn’t keep me away, Jenner or the Great Owl couldn’t either, but Brutus? Oh yes, he scared me plenty, even though a closer examination of the scene reveals that the rat is only chasing her away and not actually trying to kill her.

Shop Movies + Spend $35, Get Free Shipping

 

The one thing about this scene that has always bothered me (besides its disturbing nature) is, why did Brutus stop chasing Mrs. Brisby? If he really wanted to make sure she was leaving, he should have chased her all the way back to the entrance. Instead he just…stopped. It just feels weird to me, especially since on the way back in with Mr. Ages, the pair of mice don’t encounter Brutus again (or if they do it’s not shown, but you’d think there’d be a scene where the older mouse would tell the rat “She’s with me.”)

That issue aside, what do you think of the scene where Mrs. Brisby encounters Brutus? Did it disturb you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Disturbing Bluth #1: The Secret of NIMH (Overview and Trivia)

Disturbing Bluth #2: The Secret of NIMH: Dragon the (Demon) Cat

Disturbing Bluth #3: The Great Owl in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Disturbing Bluth #4: Jenner in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Disturbing Bluth #5: The House is Sinking in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Disturbing Bluth #5: The House is Sinking in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

*If you know anything about The Secret of NIMH then you KNEW this scene was going to be talked about eventually*

By far the most disturbing moment in The Secret of NIMH comes at the end of the film, though you don’t see it coming at first. This is because it appears that the big climax of the film has already happened: Jenner and Justin have just fought a huge duel that ended with Jenner dead (along with his associate Sullivan). With the rats now warned that NIMH is coming, Mrs. Brisby naturally heads back to the fallen house (which smacked into the ground rather hard when the machinery collapsed). The children are alright (WHY the rats didn’t take them out of the house before they started moving it I don’t know) and it seems like we’ve dodged a massive bullet….and then the music starts. This scene is a grade A example of why I study film music: even before the house starts sinking into the mud, the ominous suspenseful tone should tell you that something very bad is about to happen. Jerry Goldsmith, the composer for this film, put all his talents to work here and he did not disappoint.

84

The Secret of NIMH (1982): The House Sinking Scene

I should note, this was actually foreshadowed earlier in the film. When the rats and Mrs. Brisby are traveling on the boat, it’s revealed that much of the ground under the farm is hollow, with Justin muttering that it’s all going to collapse someday. The implication then, is that the force of the Brisby home smacking into the ground caused a partial collapse underground which is why the house is now sinking.

As the realization dawns that the house (with the children inside!!!) is sinking into the mud, the music rises quickly into a turmoil that reflects the panic of Mrs. Brisby and the surviving rats. After all, given the esteem they have for Jonathan Brisby, they couldn’t live with themselves if they let his children die. There’s a frantic race on to attach the house (built into a cement block) to any number of lines and stop it from sinking completely. Meanwhile, we actually get a look inside the house as it’s filling up with mud. There’s no sign of Timothy (who, I remind you, is bedridden) and the other children are shrieking “Get us out of here!!” This in itself is disturbing as you don’t normally see children (in animation or live-action) put into such direct peril. Oh it’s been implied before (such as the huntsman nearly stabbing Snow White) but it’s never been so immediate a danger as what we see now.

NIMH3569.png

The worst moment of the scene comes when the final line keeping the block up snaps and the home is pulled down into a whirlpool of mud while Mrs. Brisby is hauled to safety by Justin. The implications are downright macabre: according to what we just saw, all the children (and Auntie Shrew she’s still inside remember) are dead and Mrs. Brisby has now lost her entire family. It’s heart-wrenching, disturbing and once I fully grasped what was going on, this scene screwed me up in the head for years. Now, even though this is set right less than a minute later (in a spectacular piece of animation I might add), that doesn’t change the fact that we the audience had to go through this first.

This scene is the perfect example of Bluth’s belief that children can take just about anything so long as there is a happy ending afterward. Given my experience however, I don’t think this is true. But what do you think? Is the scene any less disturbing with the happy ending that follows? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Disturbing Bluth #1: The Secret of NIMH (Overview and Trivia)

Disturbing Bluth #2: The Secret of NIMH: Dragon the (Demon) Cat

Disturbing Bluth #3: The Great Owl in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Disturbing Bluth #4: Jenner in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

 

 

Disturbing Bluth #4: Jenner in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Given that The Secret of NIMH is 36 years old, I sometimes get the feeling that people have forgotten just how disturbing Jenner (the primary rat antagonist) really is. From the moment Mrs. Brisby arrives in the rats’ secret home under the rose bush, she hears about Jenner and how he keeps challenging Nicodemus for leadership of the rats. But there’s so much more to the villain that makes him deeply and truly disturbing.

Brisby_Jenner.jpg

The Secret of NIMH (1982): Jenner before the Council

For starters, look at the picture above: this is when Jenner is putting on his ‘nice’ facade for Mrs. Brisby. Even when he’s trying to appear good he looks terrifying. Second, Paul Shenar, Jenner’s voice actor, gives the character a rich, deep voice. This makes Jenner a good speaker and also serves to partially hide how savage he can be. Part of what makes Jenner so disturbing is that he genuinely has no sense of long term consequences and his empathy is non-existent (making him something of a sociopath).

Shop Movies + Spend $35, Get Free Shipping

 

Even when confronted with the news that NIMH is coming to the rose bush in the morning (and deep down Jenner has to know there’s no reason for Mrs. Brisby to lie), Jenner decries her news as lies simply because it ruins his plans to stay in the rose bush. Third, Jenner is a master manipulator as can be seen in his interactions with Sullivan, a not-so-smart rat who finds himself roped into Jenner’s plans. Jenner openly mocks Sullivan, which is in itself cruel but not disturbing. He convinces the weak-willed rat to go along with him and that everything will be better once Nicodemus and Justin are dead (it’s implied that Jenner will kill the latter as well).

The Secret of NIMH (1982): Jenner’s Plan

Jenner: With Nicodemus out of the way, what’s to stop us from taking over?

Sullivan: Jenner, you can’t kill Nicodemus.

Jenner: No taste for blood, eh? They’ve taken the animal out of you.

The disturbing part comes at the climax of the film when the Brisby home is being relocated by the rats using complex machinery. Jenner wants to sabotage the equipment so that Nicodemus will be killed in the ensuing collapse but Sullivan doesn’t want to do it. This prompts Jenner to hold Sullivan at sword point, implying that if he doesn’t go through with it, he’ll kill him.

Jenner: [Holding a sword to Sullivan’s throat] Don’t get any ideas, my friend. You’re in this up to your neck.

efa5c46c35baed4a7ffb3e8cd358e2e7--the-secret-of-nimh-art-gallery.jpg

The Secret of NIMH (1982): Jenner vs Justin

Despite this threat, it’s genuinely shocking when Jenner actually goes through with it in brutal fashion, slicing Sullivan’s throat with his sword when he throws Justin (Jenner’s rival) a weapon to defend himself. It’s one of the most graphic things I’ve ever seen happen to an animated character, but the best is saved for Jenner himself. After a lengthy sword fight, Jenner is wounded in the stomach by Justin, but not fatally. As Justin mobilizes the rats to get ready to leave, Jenner sneaks up from behind to deliver a killing blow…only to be literally stabbed in the back by a dying Sullivan, falling to his death in the mud.

Jenner is a character that gave me nightmares for years and he still remains one of the more disturbing aspects of The Secret of NIMH. What do you think of Jenner? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Disturbing Bluth #1: The Secret of NIMH (Overview and Trivia)

Disturbing Bluth #2: The Secret of NIMH: Dragon the (Demon) Cat

Disturbing Bluth #3: The Great Owl in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Disturbing Bluth #3: The Great Owl in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

Early on in the story, the plot centers on Mrs. Brisby’s quest to speak to the Great Owl about how to keep her family safe from the farmer’s plow. Normally the family simply relocates, but the youngest son Timmy is sick with pneumonia and can’t go outside. Mrs. Brisby eventually agrees to be flown to the Great Owl’s tree by Jeremy (the talkative crow that she saved from Dragon).

Img-000415.png

The Great Owl in The Secret of NIMH (1982)

From the outset there’s already a minor level of disturbing to this scene. Even though the music is happy (as Jeremy is flying), the sky is bright red behind them (that’s not ominous at all). And the forest they approach doesn’t exactly look friendly either. Then there’s the matter of the owl’s tree itself. Go to the video of this scene and check out the entrance: it’s a dark, spooky tunnel filled with cobwebs (that image alone gave me nightmares) and then it gets worse! Just as Jeremy assumes there’s nobody home, you hear this unearthly sound come from inside, a loud rustling and then the deepest, most ominous voice intones “Step inside my house.” (I should mention the Great Owl was voiced by the legendary John Carradine). All of this is disturbing enough, the Great Owl doesn’t sound at all welcoming and, as Mrs. Brisby has pointed out several times, “owls EAT mice!”

34.jpg

Regardless of her fear, Mrs. Brisby enters the tree and we swiftly come to the second most disturbing portion of this scene. As she unwittingly approaches the Great Owl (whom you can see on the right hand side if you look closely at a long shot of the inside of the tree), a terrifying spider descends behind her. As a lifelong arachnophobe, this moment has traumatized me for years (the ominous music doesn’t help in the slightest). But just as Mrs. Brisby notices the spider, out of nowhere a clawed foot reaches out and crushes it into a pile of goo. And that’s when you realize the owl is right there and he is TERRIFYING. His eyes are two glowing orbs and there’s a sickening moment when you realize his head is crooked upside down and he slowly wrenches it upright. Also he’s covered in cobwebs, which always spooked me for some reason.

Spider_(The_Secret_of_NIMH).jpg

Thankfully, as the scene progresses from here the level of disturbing falls dramatically as it comes out that the owl, for all his scariness, isn’t that bad (and he does give the best advice he can). That doesn’t change the fact that this scene with The Great Owl is highly disturbing (and there are worse examples to come in this film!)

What do you think of the Great Owl in The Secret of NIMH? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Disturbing Bluth #1: The Secret of NIMH (Overview and Trivia)

Disturbing Bluth #2: The Secret of NIMH: Dragon the (Demon) Cat

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂