Tag Archives: film

My Thoughts on: Flubber (1997)

*This review was requested from a Patreon subscriber as part of his monthly reward

I first watched Flubber years ago (I don’t think I saw it in theaters, but it was still pretty new when I did see it), and I was excited at the chance to get to see it again.

For those who haven’t seen it, Flubber is actually a remake of The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), a film starring Fred MacMurray as the titular professor who discovers “Flubber.” The remake starred the late Robin Williams as Philip Brainard, a brilliant if absent-minded professor who is trying to save the college he teaches at while also trying to hold on to some semblance of a social/romantic life with his long suffering fiancée Sara (Marcia Gay Harden). His life changes when he discovers the miraculous (and seemingly sentient) substance he dubs “Flubber.”

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Considering the film is 22 years old, the CGI for Weebo (Brainard’s floating robot assistant) and especially for Flubber holds up extremely well. Even though Flubber is only a digitally created ball of green stuff, there’s so much life imbued in its movements, that I at least had no problem accepting that it was real, both then and now. And Weebo…I knew there was a reason I remembered that character so much. Weebo (voiced by Jodi Benson no less) is just awesome, and baby Weebo? Melts my heart every time.

That’s not to say that all of the effects held up as well as I remembered. The last fight, for example, where Brainard uses “sprayable Flubber” wasn’t quite as good as I remembered, though I’m not sure how seriously we were supposed to take it. However, one of the things I still found immensely funny was all of the things that Flubber allowed you to do, everything from jumping unnaturally high to helping cars to fly. And Flubber is such a mysterious substance that you really can believe that it can do all of these things.

As much as I enjoyed this film as a child, and still do, it was bittersweet watching Robin Williams do what he did so well, playing a brilliant part and making me laugh as only he could. It’s been almost five years, but it still hurts that he’s gone.

Overall, Flubber holds up as a fun Disney film that you should definitely see if you haven’t already. A big shout-out to @reaperofdarkn3s for requesting a review of this film. Let me know what you think about Flubber in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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The King and I “Shall We Dance?” (1956)

One of the major plot points of The King and I is the king’s desire to have Siam viewed as a modern country, in large part to prevent foreign powers (like the British) from attempting to seize the country and make it a protectorate/colony. Toward this end, the story builds toward a grand ball where the king receives a British delegation that ultimately goes over very well. After the ball, the King and Anna continue to talk, and the discussion turns toward how women like her view dances like this. This is the start of “Shall We Dance?” and it’s one of my most favorite show tunes. Anna starts the song while the king watches in typical puzzlement.

We’ve just been introduced,
I do not know you well,
But when the music started
Something drew me to your side.
So many men and girls,
Are in each others arms.
It made me think we might be
Similarly occupied.

Shall we dance?
On a bright cloud of music, shall we fly?
Shall we dance?
Shall we then say “Goodnight and mean “Goodbye”?
Or perchance,
When the last little star has left the sky,
Shall we still be together
With are arms around each other
And shall you be my new romance?
On the clear understanding
That this kind of thing can happen,
Shall we dance?
Shall we dance?
Shall we Dance?

During the song, Anna begins to dance, and the king demands she teach him how as well.  As Anna teaches the king to dance, the song reprises, but it gradually becomes much more intimate, especially when the king catches on to the correct way to hold your dancing partner. The final instrumental reprise of the song is a beautiful moment when the king sweeps Anna around the ballroom. It’s a beautiful moment, and one I still dream of experiencing myself at times.

I like this song so much, it is, for me, the perfect expression of how a girl like me feels at a dance. When you’re dancing with a young man you’ve just met, anything seems possible, a quick meeting could turn into a romance just like that, you never know! And it’s also a perfect feel-good moment between Anna and the king. Whatever relationship there is between them peaks during this song and it is just perfectly executed.

What do you think about “Shall We Dance?” Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

The King and I “The March of the Siamese Children” (1956)

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My Thoughts on: Midsommar (2019)

*some minor spoilers may have gotten out without me realizing it

Where do you start with a film like Midsommar? I’ve been puzzling over that ever since I got home.  See, Midsommar was nothing like what I expected going in.

In fact, I think it was better.

The biggest thing that surprised me about Midsommar was how much it resonated with me. I did not expect to identify so closely with Dani (Florence Pugh), who travels to Sweden with her boyfriend and his friends to see the titular festival. Dani really does remind me of me, especially early in the film when she talks about her fears of driving away her boyfriend Christian (Jack Reynor). I’ve had near identical conversations in my brain at times, and from that point on, no matter what happened, I was firmly in Dani’s corner for the rest of the story.

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And what a story. I admit I was afraid going in because Midsommar was described as belonging to the horror genre, a film genre that most of you know by now I try to avoid whenever possible. But this…this isn’t like any horror film I’ve ever seen before. There’s a few scary moments to be sure, but nothing like what I expected.

As for how to describe the story…honestly I’m still not sure if I can put it into words. On the strength of one viewing, I’d have to say a lot of Midsommar is about Dani finding herself as she’s immersed in this strange and yet oddly wonderful world deep in the Swedish countryside. I say that, despite knowing that there are some parts of this village’s life that deeply disturb me (for spoiler reasons I won’t say what they are). But apart from those, I found myself drawn to how the villagers live together. Unlike some stories, I feel like the villager’s actions are 100% genuine, there’s no evil entity in the shadows, no monsters to be fed (well, not in the conventional sense), just villagers living the life that has always worked for them.

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My favorite part of Midsommar is watching how Dani slowly, very slowly, begins to grow (the Maypole scene was superb) and learn to deal with her emotions. She goes through a lot in this story, and it was absolutely cathartic to see her end up in what is arguably the perfect support network (unlike before where she was largely left alone with her emotions).

Overall, Midsommar is one of the best films I’ve seen so far this year. It drew me in, it held me, and it certainly didn’t feel 2 1/2 hours long. If you get the chance, go see Midsommar in theaters while you can, you won’t regret it.

What do you think about Midsommar? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Three Outlaw Samurai (1964)

As I’ve mentioned once or twice here on the blog, I’m a big fan of Japanese cinema, particularly samurai films. Today, after several previous attempts, I finally got to watch Three Outlaw Samurai, directed by Hideo Gosha, one of the samurai films I have in my collection. The film is, apparently, an origin story for a Japanese television series of the same name.

Three Outlaw Samurai reminds me a little bit of Harakiri, in that part of the story deals with the seeming futility of trying to change the system. See, most of the film revolves around the farmers of a certain area trying to appeal for better living conditions, going so far as to draft a petition for the lord to read when he passes through. However, the magistrate of this area wants it all hushed up and the titular samurai, at various points in the story, end up in the middle of the conflict.

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I mentioned futility because it feels like the story is leading up towards a meeting with the lord, where the petition will be presented and things will get better for the farmers. However, when the moment comes, when the samurai presents the farmers with the petition and urges them to run after the lord, they do nothing. And in frustration, the samurai who brought the petition to them throws it down and walks away. My initial reaction was to say “Well what was the point of that?” So much revolved around getting that petition and it ultimately does nothing. But then I considered that maybe the point they were trying to make is that societal change can only occur if the people really want it. After suffering great losses at the magistrate’s hands, the people are too scared to come forward now. In other words, they’re just not ready to make a lasting push for change. Recognizing this, the samurai move on to other adventures.

If you like samurai films, you will enjoy Three Outlaw Samurai. One detail I really like about it is that the one samurai is played by Tetsuro Tamba, who also played “Tiger” Tanaka in You Only Live Twice. I also enjoy watching how the three very different samurai come together and interact. One is rather cynical, he’s seen and done it all; one loves food and is described as a “country bumpkin samurai”; while the third is a rather spoiled samurai who likes his luxuries. They’re so different, and yet they end up meshing very well by the end of the story.

If you’ve seen Three Outlaw Samurai, what do you think about it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

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Film Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Corpse Bride (2005)

I’m fourteen years late to the party, but I’ve finally been able to watch Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride, a film I’d seen clips of but never watched all the way through until recently. I’m kind of surprised I put it off this long, because I’ve been a fan of stop-motion animation for years and this film is one of the best examples made in the last 20 years.

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The story revolves around the misadventures of Victor van Dort (Johnny Depp), a shy man who is meant to be marrying Victoria Everglot (Emily Watson) the next day. Except, while practicing his wedding vows in the wood, Victor suddenly finds himself married to an undead bride named Emily (Helena Bonham Carter), who is determined to make the marriage stick despite the fact that she’s, well, dead, and he isn’t!

While a lot of Corpse Bride is hysterically funny, particularly some of the sequences in the Land of the Dead, there is much that is deadly serious and, in keeping with Tim Burton’s style, quite dark. For example, Victoria’s parents are clearly terrible people who have no concept of love, not even for their own child. Victor’s parents aren’t much better, they’re far too focused on moving up in society. And then there’s the story of Emily, the titular Corpse Bride. Her story is so sad: a mysterious man convinced her to grab her family fortune and run away with him to elope. All well and good, except he killed her and ran off with the money! Poor Emily died before she really had a chance to live, and it makes me so sad just thinking about it.

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And then there’s Lord Barkis Bittern, quite possibly one of the most despicable villains I’ve ever seen. Just from the way he struts around, you know he’s up to no good, but he’s actually far worse than you think. Once it comes out that he’s the one who killed Emily all those years ago (and he would’ve done the same to Victoria except she doesn’t have any family money), the expectation is that something terrible should happen to him as punishment. And oh boy, does Tim Burton ever deliver. After mistakenly drinking poison while mocking Emily, Bittern ends up dead as a doornail and is dragged off screaming to the Land of the Dead, to a hopefully gruesome fate. I’ve rarely seen a comeuppance more fitting.

Another thing that makes Corpse Bride a lot of fun to watch is the awesome soundtrack provided by Danny Elfman (who has collaborated numerous times with Tim Burton). Elfman also plays Bonejangles, the singing skeleton who tells Victor the story of Emily. And speaking of music, I absolutely love the duet that Victor plays with Emily, not only is it beautiful music, the animation that goes with it is simply flawless.

If you haven’t seen Corpse Bride, it really is worth watching. Even though the film is 14 years old, the stop-motion animation holds up very well, and I’m already looking forward to watching it again.

What do you think of Corpse Bride? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Animated Film Reviews

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Oliver & Company “Good Company” (1988)

As with the Oliver Twist story that inspired this film, our feline Oliver finds himself taken in by a wealthy family after a robbery attempt goes bad. More specifically, Oliver is happily adopted by Jenny Foxworth, who is feeling very lonely since her parents have just let her know they won’t be home from an international trip in time for her birthday. If Jenny seems familiar, that’s because she was originally supposed to be Penny from The Rescuers (1977) who, if you remember, was adopted at the end of the film. An early concept was for Oliver & Company to pick up and continue Penny’s story, but the idea was eventually abandoned.

In “Good Company,” Jenny takes great delight in spoiling her new pet, getting Oliver a collar, and taking him around the park, much to the increasing jealousy of the family poodle Georgette.

You and me together we’ll be
Forever you’ll see
We two can be good company
You and me
Yes, together we two
Together, that’s you
Forever with me
We’ll always be good company
You and me
Yes, together we’ll be

(Instrumental break)

You and me together we’ll be
Forever, you’ll see
We’ll always be good company
You and me
Just wait and see

“Good Company” is the literal definition of a feel-good Disney moment. It’s simply heartwarming to watch Oliver and Jenny enjoy being with each other as they have fun throughout the day. Of course, being a Disney film, you know this won’t last (not if the jealous Georgette has anything to say about it), but it’s fun to enjoy it for now.

What do you think about “Good Company”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Oliver & Company “Why Should I Worry?” (1988)

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

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Lady and the Tramp “He’s a Tramp” (1955)

Most Disney films that have a romance sub-plot tend to follow the following pattern (in broad strokes): guy meets girl; they fall initially clash; they fall in love; they have a potentially relationship ending fight; they reaffirm their love and live happily ever after.

“He’s a Tramp” comes not long before Lady and Tramp have the aforementioned fight. Having ended up in the pound after trying to chase chickens with Tramp, Lady ends up finding out a lot more about Tramp. According to one sultry canine (voiced by Peggy Lee), Tramp is a notorious womanizer, and Lady is far from the first to succumb to his charms.

He’s a tramp, ba boom boom
But they love him
Breaks a new heart
Ev’ry day
He’s a tramp
They adore him
And I only hope
He’ll stay that way
He’s a tramp
He’s a scoundrel
He’s a rounder
He’s a cad
He’s a tramp
But I love him
Yes, even I
Have got it pretty bad

 

You can never tell
When he’ll show up
He gives you
Plenty of trouble
I guess he’s just a
No ‘count pup
But I wish that he
Were double

He’s a tramp
He’s a rover
And there’s nothing
More to say
If he’s a tramp
He’s a good one
And I wish that I
Could travel his way

Finding out that she’s not even Tramp’s first love is naturally heartbreaking for Lady, who is taken home shortly thereafter. This song actually went over my head when I was little. I realize now that Tramp is being described as someone who is a rogue, unfaithful, etc., everything that Lady doesn’t want to hear about someone she’s just fallen in love with. This nearly leads to the end of Lady and Tramp’s relationship, but thankfully Tramp proves himself in the end.

What do you think about “He’s a Tramp”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Lady and the Tramp “The Siamese Cat Song” (1955)

Lady and the Tramp “Bella Notte” (1955)

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

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