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Ugh, of all the Patreons in all the world…

Damn it damn it damn it.

We got a new Patron and you’re probably thinking “ooooh smameann, he seems nice.”

Well he’s not nice! He’s the opposite of nice! For you see, he is none other than my third-from-the-top arch-enemy, the Unscrupulous Mouse!

“What? I just want to support you!”

“I’m on to you villain!”

“Good, good. The plan proceeds on schedule.”

“Your asides are going to the front again.”

“DAMNATION.”

Finals baby!

“THE BLOG AWARDS WOULDN’T KNOW A GOOD BLOG IF IT MUGGED THEM AND STOLE THEIR WALLET!”

“THEY ARE CRAVEN HACKS AND FOOLS! WHO ARE THEY TO SAY WHICH BLOG IS BEST?! WHO MADE THEM ARBITERS OF OUR CRAFT?! WE MUST RISE UP, MY BLOGGING BRETHREN, AND OVERTHROW THIS TYRANNICAL CANCER ON OUR HOBBY!”

“Mouse! Mouse! You’re a finalist!”

“Oh my God let me fellate you!”

“What?”

“Nothing. Thank you so much you have no idea how bad I needed this!”

“What’s that you were saying…”

“LAA LALAAA LAAA I’M A FINALIST I’M A FINALIST I’M LOUDLY SINGING THE FINALIST SONG!”

“Hmm. Catchy.”

Huge thanks to the Blog Awards Ireland and all of you. You’re the reason I do this, and I can never thank you enough. Congrats to all the other finalists, deepest commiserations to those who didn’t make the final list (dudes, I been there, I know it hurts like a mother). And now, time to see what delightfully Mexican-esque animal has been chosen for my new badge.

Oh ha fucking ha.

Disney(ish) Reviews with the Unshaved Mouse: The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea

(Like Unshaved Mouse? Please consider supporting my Patreon.)

Some movies belong to a genre, others define a genre.

For example, if someone ever asked you “What’s Film Noir?” you could do no better than to plonk them in front of The Maltese Falcon and say “That.”

That movie perfectly encapsulates everything that we associate with the genre; the moody black and white photography, the moral ambiguity, cynical gumshoes, treacherous dames, shifty foreigners and all the fedoras in the world. We might argue over whether it’s the best Film Noir, but it’s definitely the most Film Noir.

It’s like, how much more noir could it be? And the answer is none. None more noir.

Which brings me nicely, like the old blogging pro I am, to Return to the Sea, which I feel confident in calling The Maltese Falcon of Disney Sequels.

“Well, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Yeah, don’t.”

I haven’t seen all the DTV sequels but I’ve seen enough.

I’ve seen enough like George C Scott saw enough in Hardcore.

But, fair is fair, they have occasionally been able to surprise me. Some of the very best, I’ll even concede, are slightly better than the very worst of the official canon. But Return to the Sea will not surprise you. If you picture the platonic ideal of “Disney Sequel”, this is it. This is exactly what you imagined. A palpable lack of effort leaches into every cel of this misbegotten thing. Mulan 2, whatever its crimes against its heroine, has a loopy, unpredictable “what is it going to do next?!” chutzpah that I have to admit I kind of enjoyed. But Return to the Sea provides the kind of soul crushing tedium that can only be provided by watching a movie you’ve already seen but worse in every respect.

Scalpels at the ready folks. Let’s make some sushi.

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A message for patrons

He everyone, first of all we have two new patrons to welcome:

Victor Nilsson: achieved fame in the late sixties/early seventies as a laid-back folk singer whose gentle, pastoral ballads masked his trenchant critique of the hippy lifestyle with such songs as “Free Love is Great, Until You Get Clap”, “Brother, how will you get a mortgage?” and “Your reflexive critique of the war in Vietnam is poorly thought out and reductive, man.”

Lance is the original leader of the Elite Four and a master of Dragon Type Pokémon.

Many thanks to both of these gentlemen.

Now, that that’s out of the way there is just something I needed to be sure that everyone is cool with. If you’ve signed up as a patron for $5 you can request one review every six months, whereas $10 patrons get to request a review every month. I repeat, you can request a review every month. This doesn’t mean that you’re going to get a review the same month you request one, it means you can add a review to the queue every month. Two reviews a month is still my limit in terms of output unless someone wants to sign up as a patron and match my current salary (please don’t do that, my reviews are not that good) and I’ll still be doing the regular series reviews as well as finishing off the last of the reviews from people who donated to help Mauricio. What I’m trying to say is, it will probably be a long time before I get to your specific review. Sorry, I’m just one rodent. Starting from the review after next I’m going to try to keep to the following schedule.

1)      Regular series review (X-Men/Marvel/Disney Canon if they ever get around to releasing another  one)

2)      Patron review

3)      Mauricio review

And repeat until the end of time. Once the Mauricio reviews are done that will free up an extra slot and I’ll be able to focus more on Patron reviews. Sorry if there was any confusion. If you feel that’s not what you signed up for, please feel free to amend your pledge or cancel it altogether, I won’t be offended.  Anyway, thanks again for your support and your patience.

A shout out to all you Patrons

Huge thanks to all of you new patrons who’ve decided to entrust me with your hard earned cash. I promise that the money will go to a worthy cause and certainly not towards building a mind-control ray that will make all human beings docile and amenable to being ridden around by rodents as our personal very tall horses.

But who are these patrons, you ask? Well, I’ve listed them below with an interesting fact about each one. If you would like to get your own interesting fact and support the blog, you know what to do.

A. Vartianen is a trickster God in Polynesian mythology.

Alex Hu discovered Wales.

Allison can’t fly, but can glide from roof to roof.

Amelia Mellor is the only person to ever win seven Nobel prizes for literature in the same year.

Anna Bale invented the hammock. Also, she’s my darling mother.

Aonghus Collins knows the difference between “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” and jam.

Ben Harding walked five hundred miles, and said “Sod it. No one’s door is worth this.”

Charlotte Hassel has a cameo in every Marvel movie, plus Spawn (she was Spawn).

Christian Kavanagh has blood that can bring Tribbles back to life.

Donnacha Mallen sailed the seven seas, but has never sailed their own heart.

Who knows what secrets lurk in the hearts of men? ED knows.

Eli Berg-Maas has never lost a game of Cards Against Humanity, because they keep the “David Bowie flying in on a tiger made of lightning” card up their sleeve.

Erin Barber shot the sheriff. Also shot the deputy.

Fabrisse ter Brugghe obeyed their duty to her heart, and plunged China into war.

Ian Rowe has his own brand of wine. It’s excellent, and is deservedly building a following.

J* smells like a cool autumn day.

Lupin the 8th? Oh fuck yeah.

Katherine Stokke was deemed “Too hot” for “hot or not” and was banned for life.

Mathom has worked as a body double for every US president for the last thirty years.

Michael Petrocelli likes his women like he likes his South American democracies; strong, independent and fully paid up members of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.

PurrElise floats like a butterfly, stings like a letter from your ex that makes you realise that it’s finally over.

Thanks again guys

Mouse

Please patronise me.

Hey guys. So for a while now people have been asking me why I don’t setup a Patreon page and the answer has always been; I’m Irish and the thought of asking people to validate my work by giving me money fills me with shame and causes the ghosts of a thousand nuns to rise from the grave and chase me through the village square demanding to know who the hell I think I am.

But Ms Mouse has been making the point that if i’m going to blow off date night again so I can stay up until 4 AM making Simpsons gifs to illustrate an obscure point about the Disney sequels I might as well get paid for it, y’know?

So here’s the deal, I’ve set up a Patreon thingy and I would like you all to put money in it (please excuse the technical jargon). Now, I’m not gonna lie to you. This is not a big fancy Patreon. It’s not like if you pledge $500 a month you’re going to get a lifetime membership to Unshaved Mouse World in fabulous Tampa (the local planning board are being a bunch of Nazis). This is a one-mouse operation and I don’t have that much to offer other than reviews and um…more reviews. But if you’ve enjoyed the blog these last six years and you feel like you could spare a few shekels it would be hugely appreciated.

Thanks guys

Mouse

On bad people and good art

A few days back a question was put to me in the comments that I decided needed a full blog post to answer. The question was this:

“Yo Mouse. There’s something that’s been on my mind for a while regarding the whole #MeToo movement: should movies and TV shows with actors/directors/whatever who are guilty of sexual misconduct be (to borrow a quote from your Song of the South review) “sealed away, never to be seen by human eyes again”, or could they still be watched but without forgetting the actions of the people behind them?”

Before I answer I would like to introduce you to Sharpson’s law: Dogma is inherently immoral.

What I mean is, if you take any moral principal, no matter how universally agreed, and make it absolute, sooner or later it’s going to do harm.

Killing is wrong. Absolutely. No question. But is killing always wrong?

Give me a few minutes and I could probably come up with dozens if not hundreds of instances where killing would be morally justifiable. This is the problem with dogma. It creates moral laziness. It turns ascertaining right and wrong into a box ticking exercise, and if you fall into that mode of thinking sooner or later you’re going to tick the wrong box. All this is my extremely pretentious way of saying, there’s no simple “yes” or “no” answer to this one.

As a writer, I think that the notion that only good people can create good art, and therefore if someone is revealed to be a bad person their art is worthless is absurd on its face. It’s also an extremely Victorian attitude. As Oscar Wilde said “Books are neither moral or immoral, they are well written or badly written. That is all.”

But that does not mean that we should never consider morality when it comes to art. We should consider morality in everything we do, and especially in a capitalist economy where how you spend your money is, more and more, seen as a kind of imprimatur. The Weinsteins of this world operated and continue to operate because we loved the art they created too much to care about the sins they committed.

But this opens up another question:

Harvey Weinstein created Pulp Fiction. But so did literally hundreds of actors, cameramen, techies, publicists, the writer, the director and on and on and on. Should all their work be consigned to oblivion because one of their number was a scumbag? That hardly seems fair.

On the other hand, refusing to let these considerations change your viewing habits at all looks a lot like “I just don’t care”, and “I just don’t care” is not good enough anymore.

So, instead of giving a hard and fast answer as to whether or not to boycott art by made by awful people, I’ll just offer some suggestions.

1)      If the offender in question is dead, it’s irrelevant. Yes, Wagner was a terrible Anti-Semite. But he’s been dust for decades and you refusing to listen to Ride of the Valkyries accomplishes nothing but inflating your own sense of moral superiority. Speaking of.

2)      If you’ve decided to boycott a particular artist, all well and good, but don’t do it just for bragging rights because it’s not about you. And especially…

3)      Don’t brag about boycotting art you were never going to patronise anyway. I’ll never watch The Apprentice or listen to Chris Brown, but even if Trump and Chris Brown were two of the nicest guys who ever lived you couldn’t make me with a gun to my head.

4)      Don’t insult or belittle someone who continues to appreciate the work of an offender. Everyone has a right to enjoy whatever art they wish. Flip side:

5)      Don’t insult or belittle someone who refuses to patronise the work of an offender. Everyone has a line in the sand and often it’s less a logical well thought out thing than an instinctive gut reaction. John Lasseter’s “Inappropriate Hugging” isn’t enough to get me to swear off Pixar, but I’m not going to watch that Gravity Falls episode with Louis C. K again. Does that make sense? Honestly, no. But that’s where my line is.

6)      Just…just…just be nice. Jesus.

7)      It is perfectly acceptable, and indeed laudable, to pirate the work of offenders so that they don’t see a red cent.

8)      Feel free to separate the artist from the art. But “separate” is not the same as “forget”.

9)      Last one. If you know that a piece of art was actually created by harming an innocent, then it’s no longer art, it’s snuff and should not be watched ( or at least not in unedited form). I’m specifically thinking of Last Tango in Paris but there’s almost certainly others.

Anyway, that’s my answer. I look forward to the reasoned and polite debate in the comments.

Wizards (1977)

Ah Bakshi, the man they couldn’t tame.

I’ve reviewed two of Ralph Bakshi’s movies now, and even though my feelings on them were, oh let’s just go with “mixed” I have to say I have been looking forward to this one quite a bit. Why? Well, partially it’s because the animation reviews tend to be more fun to write, and also because, even if I don’t think they’re necessarily good films, they’re always a hell of a trip and fascinating to watch and talk about. Look, the guy walked into mainstream animation and just started throwing petrol bombs and I’ve always said I’ll take fascinatingly bad over dully competent any day.

And yet, the more I read up on Wizards (Papa Bear Bakshi’s third feature) the more anxious I got. Wizards is Ralph Bakshi’s most popular movie, and the one that, by Bakshi’s own admission, no one gave him shit over and genuinely seemed to like. This is the movie that even the squares seem to dig.

“You sold out, man.”

“Fuck you, man.”

Could that work? Could Ralph Bakshi actually make a standard, mainstream animated film? Or would his movie lose that inherent grungy Bak-shit insane quality that’s really the only thing that makes his output interesting? What happens when Ralph Bakshi shaves and puts on some damn pants? Let’s take a look.

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Day 5

So today was my reading and the reason I delayed posting this is that I’m still a little overwhelmed.

It went well. It…went really well.

It started a little rocky because that long wordy first scene that I was worried drags a bit? Well, it drags a bit. But Scene 2 kicked everything into high gear and it just motored from there. I was really happy with how it was going.

Then it ended and after the applause the three judges (sorry, sorry mentors) got up to give their feedback.

And they were crying.

As Ms Mouse said later when I told here “That could be very good or very bad”. It was good crying, not “what have you done to theatre?” crying but as I found out later, the play touched a nerve with this American audience that I didn’t anticipate.

The ending of the play is sad, to be sure. Nikolai South agrees to be framed in exchange for the freedom of Lily, an artificial intelligence whom he has come to love. He spends almost thirty years in prison and is tortured and psychologically broken, losing his sight and his mental faculties.

Finally a revolution sweeps the old order away and he is reunited with Lily, but he is so damaged by his ordeal he can scarcely even remember her. So not cheery stuff but that wasn’t what elicited such a strong reaction from the audience.

There’s a character called Nadia, comic relief in some respects, a very young functionary in the new government. She’s overwhelmed, emotional, overworked and swinging wildly between extremes of joy and grief.

She’s the first character in the play who’s not living with the perpetual fear of death. And you know that if this nation is now being run by people like her it’ll be all right. The last lines of the play are Lily and her husband looking out over a post revolutionary landscape.

HUSBAND: It’s a wreck. It’s a wreck run by children.

LILY: Yes. Let’s see what they build.

Sonetimes people read things into your work that you never thought of or expected. For these Americans, this story of young people finally taking control and casting down an old brutal order…

Well, it hit pretty hard.

It was humbling to see. And I can never repay them.

I was also roped in last minute to narrate Tom Barna’s Past, Present, Future, a post apocalyptic retelling of the nativity. Rehearsal’s today, reafing tomorrow.

Tonight’s production was Sycorax, a one woman show about the mother of Caliban. Before the show started we were informed to our shock that Demene Hall, who plays Sycorax, had had collapsed in rehearsal and had to be evacuated out of Alaska for medical treatment. Instead, the play was read by its author, Y York, and dedicated to Demene.