Month: October 2013

zoo

Check this Guy Out!

My brother’s band Feeding Time at the Zoo have released their first EP and you can listen to them here and you should listen, and like and share and download and tweet and cyber…surf (I’m old) because it is seriously awesome.

Really, it’s the shit. Really, really good.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “Well, of course he’s going to say it’s good, it’s his brother.”

WRONG!

Because right now, we are embroiled in a bitter inheritance dispute and if I could do anything to hurt him, I would. But I can’t badmouth this track, it’s just too good.

"Ha! Just as I planned, brother! And soon, the plantation shall be mine!"

“Ha! Just as I planned, brother! And soon, the plantation shall be mine!”

"Never! Our parents promised that land to the orphanege!"

“Never! Our parents promised that land to the orphanage!”

"Yes! But they tragically died in that plane crash, leaving everything to me in the will!"

“Yes! But they “tragically” died in that plane crash, leaving everything to me in the will!”

"You bastard! That will was a forgery and I'll prove it!"

“You bastard! That will was a forgery and I’ll prove it!”

"No need, Mouse!"

“No need, Mouse!”

"Doctor Drake Ramoray!"

“Doctor Drake Ramoray!”

"Yes! And I have shocking news! Your parents are still alive! AND THEY'RE NOT YOUR PARENTS!"

“Yes! And I have shocking news! Your parents are still alive! AND THEY’RE NOT YOUR PARENTS!”

TO BE CONTINUED?

The_nightmare_before_christmas_poster

Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #666: The Nightmare Before Christmas

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

***

Hi everyone. So, unfortunately I’ve got some bad news. I know you were all looking forward to my review of Emperor’s New Groove but I’m afraid I just wasn’t able to get it done on time. Sorry. I’ve actually been going through a lot of personal problems recently that’ve been making it hard to write. You all know of course that I recently suffered a severe trauma.

Why God?

Why God?

But reviewing Dinosaur was just the straw that broke the mouse’s back. I’m just…

I’m tired of this. I’ve reviewed over forty movies now and it’s just getting so hard to come up with new jokes every two weeks. It’s just the same routine over and over again.

And I! Mouse! The Un-shaved king…have grown so tired of the same old thing…

Oh, don't say that meu amigo. You just need a little break.

Oh, don’t say that meu amigo. You just need a little break.

Hmm…you seem vaguely familiar. I feel like I know you, but blocked out the memory for some reason. Weird.

I get that a lot. You know what you need? You need to review something a little different. Like this!

I get that a lot. You know what you need? You need to review something a little different. Like this!

The_nightmare_before_christmas_poster

The Nightmare Before Christmas? Well, it is a great movie. And it is Halloween. But…no, I couldn’t. It’s not part of the canon!

You've reviewed plenty of movies that aren't in the canon. You even reviewed An American Tail when you were in the Bluthverse.

You’ve reviewed plenty of movies that aren’t in the canon. You even reviewed An American Tail when you were in the Bluthverse.

That’s true…wait, how could you know that?

Let's just say I'm well informed. Come on Mouse. Review the movie. You know you want to.

Let’s just say I’m well informed. Come on Mouse. Review the movie. You know you want to.

No, no. I can’t. All the reviews I do are in strict chronological order. Nightmare Before Christmas came out in 1993, I’m already into 2000.

And what a great decade that was! You're right. I'll leave you to review Brother Bear, Chicken Little, Home on the Range...

And what a great decade that was! You’re right. I’ll leave you to review Brother Bear, Chicken Little, Home on the Range

Okay! Okay! You’ve talked me into it. I mean, it’ll be fine. So I temporarily forsake my sacred oath to review all the canon Disney classics in order? What’s the worst that could happen?

What indeed?

What indeed?

Okay. So, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Little basic housekeeping out of the way first, this movie was in fact neither written nor directed by Tim Burton.

Yeah, NO idea why you might think that.

Yeah, NO idea why you might think that.

You’ll remember from the Fox and the Hound review that Tim Burton was an animator at Disney before leaving to become a big time Hollywood muck-a-muck. He came up with the concept for the film, based on a poem he himself wrote in 1982, and designed most the of the characters but when the time came to actually shoot the thing, Burton was too busy making Batman Returns and handed directing duties off to Henry Selick, and scriptwriting chores to Caroline Thompson and Michael McDowell. However, I don’t want to undersell Burton’s contribution as this is still probably the most “Tim Burtony” film ever made. That’s really down to the fealty with which Selick treated Burton’s designs and ideas. I mean sure, they put Burton’s name over the thing because he was the bigger draw, and that kind of sucks for Selick…but at the same time,  it does very much feel like Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. But of course, the clues are there that Burton didn’t actually direct it. Because Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter aren’t in it and Burton never does anything without Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. And I’m not just talking about movies, either. Burton doesn’t go to the bathroom without Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter (Depp pulls the fly down, Carter pulls it back up).

Nightmare has two big influences, the old Rankin/Bass stop-motion Christmas specials and even more so, the 1966 animated version of Dr Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Jack Skellington was envisioned by Burton as being a kind of anti-Grinch, a macabre character who adores Christmas instead of loathing it, but whereas the Grinch changes once he comes to understand Christmas, Jack never does and the movie implies that really that’s okay. Christmas is not for everyone.

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Dinosaurmovieposter

Disney Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse #39: Dinosaur

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

“All that remained of his herd were his mother, grandmother and his grandfather. He knew them by sight, by sound and by their love.”

The Land Before Time, 1988

“That, children, is what’s known as a jerkasaurous.”

Dinosaur, 2000

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the classic Disney movies are a lot like hardcore porn, and I’m not just saying that because putting the words “dinosaur” and “porn” in a blog post is my best chance of scamming a few page views before this “dino-erotica” news fad runs its course.

I’d say “don’t judge me”, but honestly I’d think less of you if you didn’t.

What I mean is, it’s hard to exactly define what makes a Disney classic, but you know it when you see it. Like porn. Even dinosaur porn. Read my blog, perverts. Take for example, Sleeping Beauty and The Avengers. They’re both technically Disney movies in that they were released by Walt Disney studios, but one is considered part of the canon classics and the other isn’t. Why is that? It’s not because Sleeping Beauty is wholly animated, because there are plenty of movies in the canon that are partially or even mostly live action (Saludos Amigos for example.) It’s really more just a question of looking at a movie and saying “Yes…this fits.” Today’s movie did not clear that barrier when it was first released. Disney did not consider Dinosaur  part of the canon classics, which means that by rights I should have skipped over it and should be pissing my pants right now watching the side-splitting awesomeness of The Emperor’s New Groove. But no, Dinosaur has since been retroactively shoe-horned into the canon and it’s all thanks to one person.

You are fucking DEAD blondie.

You are fucking DEAD blondie.

Sigh. Look, Rapunzel? I’m glad you now get to call yourself the fiftieth canon Disney movie. Good on you. You earned it, what with being the beloved fairytale princess character who rescued the flagging fortunes of the Disney studio.

In Disney's defence, it's only the fourth time that's happened.

In Disney’s defence, it’s only the fourth time that’s happened.

I just have one question, Rapunzel. Did you have to ruin my life to do it?

See, I hate this movie. Like a lot. Like, “congratulations Black Cauldron, you no longer live at the bottom” hate it.

Dinosaur was in the works for a long time, originally pitched to Disney as a stop-motion film by none other than Paul Verhoeven. Because, when I think of creators and studios who were made for each other…I do not think of Paul Verhoeven and Disney. At all. Like, not even a little. Verhoeven’s original pitch was for a silent, almost nature documentary film which would be extremely violent and end with the extinction of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous. And yeah, Paul? Did you just get high and walk into the wrong studio? Disney instead decided to sit on the idea until computer effects technology had advanced enough to create realistic animated dinosaurs and that is your problem right there. People who like this movie always mention the visuals. The whole advertising campaign was just showing the first few wordless minutes of the movie to showcase the animation. The damn tagline is “Like nothing you’ve ever seen”. This was a movie made to showcase special effects technology, not because anyone involved had a story to tell. Which is why everything outside the animation is rote, tacked-on, hacky and mediocre. And even the animation isn’t that great. I mean, I suppose it’s impressive considering it was Disney’s first fully computer animated feature.

Actually Mouse, since it uses live action backgrounds it's only partially computer animated...

Actually Mouse, since it uses live action backgrounds it’s only partially computer animated…

NIT, SHUT UP I AM IN NO MOOD FOR PEDANTRY!

Deep breath.

Okay, I always try to be positive so let me tell you the two things I like about this movie:

1) I like that they avoid the usual T-Rex/Triceratops/Stegosaurus/Diplodocus clichés and actually use some more obscure dinosaur species.

2) There is the kernel of an interesting debate here about a society’s obligation to look after its most vulnerable members versus the greater good of the strongest and fittest. Kind of…the Obamacare debate with dinosaurs.

Aaaaand…

That’s it. Nothing left but to unhinge my jaw like a python and let the bile gush forward.

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Ah well, ’twas not to be…

So unfortunately, this time around the Unshaved Mouse is out of the running for the Blog Awards Ireland. Although it didn’t make it into the top ten, it held steady at around the 14/15 mark which, for a one year old blog run by a single rodent I think is pretty damn good going. And not’s not down to me, that’s down to you. I want to thank everyone who voted and who put up with my constant haranguing for more votes. I didn’t enjoy it, but I did quite enjoy getting back into weekly posts and finding stuff to write about outside of my usual Disney wheelhouse. In fact, if I get nominated next year, I’d like to make October “Post-a-week” month.  Anyway, your support has meant so much to me the last few weeks, and has made me feel simulataneously proud and humble. That shouldn’t be possible, but here we are. I am so damn prumble right now.

Thanks everyone,

 

Mouse.

Vincenzo Camuccini, "Morte di Cesare", 1798,

Time to do to the Senate what the Senate did to Julius Caesar

So here in Ireland (tomorrow actually) the voters are going to the polls to cast their ballots in a national referendum to abolish Seanad Éireann, the Irish Senate.  My American readers are probably thinking right now “Abolish the senate? That’s crazy!”
Or "Why stop there?". One or the other.

Or “Why stop there?”. One or the other.

So let me explain why I’m actually completely in favour of this. For background, the Seanad is not like the American senate, instead being more like the British House of Lords. Members are not elected, but instead appointed by the Taoiseach, the two largest universities and members of the lower house, the Dáil. So what does it do? Two things:

1) Fuck
2) All
Originally, the Seanad did have some power to significantly delay legislation. It was envisioned as an advisory body to the Dáil, that could send back legislation to be reviewed and altered but could not block the passing of a bill outright. Then the Seanad was briefly abolished and brought back in 1937 with even less power and it’s now pretty much a talking shop that cannot propose legislation and cannot delay legislation for longer than 270 days. Unless it’s a bill relating to government spending or taxation in which case the Seanad can delay it for a whopping three weeks. The current government campaigned partially on a platform of abolishing the Seanad and maybe spending the €8 Million a year it costs on a nice day out. The polls are currently showing that the voters are strongly in favour of abolition and I happen to be one of them. I’m not nescesarrily writing this to argue for a YES vote, but I wanted to take a moment to respond to some of the arguments that people have been making in favour of keeping the Seanad.
“What’s the point in saving €8 Million a year? It’ll just be going back to the government and they don’t care about easing the hardship of ordinary people.”
Okay, so common misconception. The government is not in fact Sauron, Lord of Mordor. They don’t have a machine in the basement of Leinster house that runs on tears and starving orphans. The government would very much like to lower your taxes to zero and give everyone a monkey because that gets them votes and they like their jobs, thank you very much. The longer austerity goes on, the greater the chances are that they get chucked out in the next election. They’re not stu…they’re not THAT stupid. The reason we’re living in a Dickensian novel is because we don’t got no money. You want things to get easier? Look for stuff that we don’t need and that we’re paying money for. €8 Million a year is not a lot in the grand scheme of things but it’s not nothing and having it to hand means the next budget will be €8 Million less harsh.
“Even if it has no real power, it still provides a valuable forum for discussion and debate.”
Is something that someone said with a straight face referring to a body that had to take a quorum count the day it was debating its own abolition.
“By voting yes, you’re just giving the senators an early retirement and a fat pension.”
The senators already have early retirement and a fat pension. It’s called being a senator.
“It’s just a power grab by the Dáil.”
Surely, that would imply the Seanad has power to grab?
“We need the Seanad to keep an eye on the corrupt Dáil.”
The Seanad is not a watchdog against corruption, the Seanad is a vehicle for corruption. Senate seats are essentially gifts, a cushy job that allows the Taoiseach and the TDs to reward the party faithful for services rendered.
“You can’t have a functioning democracy without two houses.”
Well, actually, I’d argue that a government consisting of one directly elected body is more democratic than one consisting of one directly elected body and one wholly unrepresentative one elected solely by the political elite. I mean, the word “elitist” gets tossed around too casually these days but what else do you call a house of government of the elite, by the elite and for the elite?
“We should REFORM the Seanad, not abolish it.”
Okay, for the time being I will grant you that it’s preferable to have two houses instead of one in a democracy (I’m not sure exactly what you’re basing that on, but I’ll let it go). How do we reform it? What form will it take? How much will it cost? How long will it take? Probably a long time, right? So how about we work on a plan for a new improved and more representative Seanad for however many years that takes. And in the meantime, we get rid of this useless, expensive, obscenely undemocratic eyesore that is the Seanad in its current form? Any meaningful reform will involve pretty much destroying the current Seanad root and branch anyway so why not save a few million euro over the next five years while we hash out a plan for a Seanad that actually works?
And finally…
“Well, they abolished the Senate in Star Wars, and look how well that turned out.”
Uh, yeah, the senate was still around right up until the start of A New Hope. It existed for the majority of Palpatine’s reign.  And it also did absolutely nothing.
Pictured: A senator.

Pictured: A senator.

Exercise your vote, 04 October 2013.

Fantasia2000_Poster

Disney Review with the Unshaved Mouse #38: Fantasia 2000

(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not for profit. All images and footage used below are property of their respective companies unless stated otherwise. I do not claim ownership of this material. New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White.)

Unshaved Mouse?

Unshaved Mouse?

Yes? Who are you?

Yes? Who are you?

I'm Court Appointed Attorney Antarctica. I'm to represent you at your trial.

I’m Court Appointed Attorney Antarctica. I’m to represent you at your trial.

Give it to me straight. What are my chances?

Give it to me straight. What are my chances?

Don't worry about it. I actually think we've got a very strong case.

Don’t worry about it. I actually think we’ve got a very strong case.

Really?

Really?

Sure. See, Comrade Crow may have taken over but it's still your blog. And the only way he can change the name of the blog is if he can prove you've failed in your duty as a Disney reviewer.

Sure. See, Comrade Crow may have taken over but it’s still your blog. And the only way he can change the name of the blog is if he can prove you’ve failed in your duty as a Disney reviewer.

Wow! That's great! He'll never be able to prove that!

Wow! That’s great! He’ll never be able to prove that!

Just relax. I'll have you out of here before my icecaps melt.

Just relax. I’ll have you out of here before my icecaps melt.

This is a lawyer!

This is a lawyer!

All rise for the Honorable Judge Claude Frollo.

All rise for the Honourable Judge Claude Frollo!

Has the prosecution prepared a  statement?

Has the prosecution prepared a statement?

Indeed, your honour. Comrades! For too long we have languished under the yoke of this detestable rodent!

Indeed, your honour. Comrades! For too long we have languished under the yoke of this detestable rodent!

UP YOURS CROW!

UP YOURS CROW!

He claims to be a reviewer of Disney movies, and yet not one week ago he devoted an entire post to non-Disney animated films!

He claims to be a reviewer of Disney movies, and yet not one week ago he devoted an entire post to non-Disney animated films!

You honour, my client has repeatedly re-affirmed his loyalty to the Disney canon. If this is the best the prosecution can do I feel sorry for them.

Your honour, my client has repeatedly proven his loyalty to the Disney canon. If this is the best the prosecution can do I feel sorry for them.

His views on Disney movies have frequently been contrarian, laughable, or just plain idiotic!

His views on Disney movies have frequently been contrarian, laughable, or just plain idiotic!

... Swanpride?


Swanpride?

Your honour, who here DOESN'T hate Aristocats?

Objection, your honour, who here DOESN’T hate Aristocats?

Sustained.

Sustained.

Very well, I shall prove the Unshaved Mouse is unfit to review Disney movies. Mouse, tell the court which you prefer Fantasia...or Fantasia 2000!?

Very well, I shall prove the Unshaved Mouse is unfit to review Disney movies. Mouse, tell the court which do you prefer; Fantasia…or Fantasia 2000!?

Oh. Well, on balance I'd say I probably prefer Fantasia 2000.

Oh. Well, on balance I’d say I probably prefer Fantasia 2000.

...

Your Honour, I cannot in good conscience defend my client. I urge you to find him guilty.

Your Honour, I cannot in good conscience defend my client. I urge you to find him guilty.

Wait what?!

Wait what?!

I recommend death by fire ants. Kill this sick freak!

I recommend death by fire ants. Kill this sick freak!

Where did you get your law degree?!

Where did you get your law degree?!

WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR SOUL!?

WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR SOUL!?

Okay, yes. It's not a popular opinion but let me explain why. And then I will accept the courts judgment. Agreed.

Okay, yes. It’s not a popular opinion but let me explain why. And then I will accept the court’s judgment. Agreed?

The court acedes.

The court accedes.

Very well.

Very well.

NO! KILL HIM NOW!

NO! KILL HIM NOW!

I just came to this blog because I was told there were Disney reviews here and I have no fucking idea what all this bullshit is.

I just came to this blog because I was told there were Disney reviews here and I have no fucking idea what all this bullshit is.

Okay, yes. It's not a popular opinion but let me explain why. And then I will accept the courts judgment. Agreed.

New to the blog? Start at the start with Snow White. It’s right up there at the top.

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