David Cronenberg (1991)

Naked Lunch is a 1991 science fiction drama film co-written and directed by David Cronenberg and starring Peter Weller, Judy Davis, Ian Holm, and Roy Scheider. It is an adaptation of William S. Burroughs’ 1959 novel of the same name.

“Nothing is true; everything is permitted.” Welcome to Interzone, the hellish playground of William Burroughs’ ‘Naked Lunch’. Along with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, Burroughs was among the central figures of the Beat generation. Over a frenzied decade bridging the 1950s and ’60s they were instrumental in reshaping America’s cultural landscape, tearing up their elders’ starchy doctrine and blazing the trail for the counterculture that followed. As dynamic, brilliant young things they seemingly make for ideal cinematic subjects, but only one film managed to capture something of the essence of its author and the Beat generation at large: David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch.

A key idea of the Beat generation was to treat the most authentic, uncensored human thoughts and desires as art. In a buttoned-up society, they challenged social norms via their insatiable appetite for sex, drugs and confessional intimacy. ‘Naked Lunch’ was banned for years in the US and even taken to court for its perceived obscenity, while Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ suffered a similar fate. Both eventually won their respective trials, ultimately helping to liberate American publishing. Liberalisation was, in many ways, what the Beat generation was all about: from strait-jacketed literature, from sexual repression, from lock-step social conformity.

The problem with films about the Beat generation is that so few are genuinely transgressive. But Naked Lunch is a different beast altogether. As is protagonist Bill Lee’s typewriter – it’s an insect that groans with pleasure as he works it, crowing for him to rim its pulsing sphincter with drugs. Bill Lee is really Burroughs, and Cronenberg’s film is about his becoming a writer – his relationship with his typewriter. Rather than attempting to adapt the book in a literal sense, Cronenberg treated Burroughs’ schizoid prose as a secondary source. He gave it structure, but it remains essentially a bizarre work.

To read more of this article by Tom Graham follow the link: https://lwlies.com/articles/naked-lunch-david-cronenberg-william-burroughs/

Ralph Bakshi ft. Jefferson Airplane (1981)

The song Somebody to Love by Jefferson Airplane was featured on the movie American Pop by Ralph Bakshi in 1981.

Following the production struggles of The Lord of the Rings, Ralph Bakshi decided that it was time to work on something more personal. He pitched American Pop to Columbia Pictures president Dan Melnick. Bakshi wanted to produce a film with an extensive soundtrack of songs which would be given an entirely new context in juxtaposition to the visuals in a film. While the film does not reflect Bakshi’s own experiences, its themes were strongly influenced by individuals he had encountered in Brownsville. The film’s crew included character layout and design artist Louise Zingarelli, Vita, Barry E. Jackson, and Marcia Adams, each of whom brought their own personal touch to the film. Bakshi once again used rotoscoping, in an attempt to capture the range of emotions and movement required for the film’s story. According to Bakshi, “Rotoscoping is terrible for subtleties, so it was tough to get facial performances to match the stage ones.”

The score for American Pop was composed by Lee Holdridge. As the result of his reputation as an innovator of adult animation, Bakshi was able to acquire the rights to an extensive soundtrack, including songs by Bob Dylan, Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, The Doors, George Gershwin, The Mamas & the Papas, Herbie Hancock, Lou Reed, and Louis Prima, for under $1 million in permissions fees. Due to music clearance issues, the film was not released on home video until 1998.

Don Hall & Carlos López Estrada (2021)

Check out this new look at Raya and the Last Dragon featuring the brand-new song Lead the Way by Jhené Aiko. Experience the movie event in theaters or order it on Disney+ with Premier Access March 5. Learn more: http://disney.com/raya

Raya and the Last Dragon takes us on an exciting, epic journey to the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together long ago in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it’s going to take trust and teamwork as well.

Raya and the Last Dragon features an outstanding voice cast, including Kelly Marie Tran as the voice of the intrepid warrior Raya; Awkwafina as the legendary dragon, Sisu; Gemma Chan as Raya’s nemesis, Namaari; Daniel Dae Kim as Raya’s visionary father, Benja; Sandra Oh as Namaari’s powerful mother, Virana; Benedict Wong as Tong, a formidable giant; Izaac Wang as Boun, a 10-year-old entrepreneur; Thalia Tran as the mischievous toddler Little Noi; Alan Tudyk as Tuk Tuk, Raya’s best friend and trusty steed; Lucille Soong as Dang Hu, the leader of the land of Talon; Patti Harrison as the chief of the Tail land; and Ross Butler as chief of the Spine land.

John Halas & Joy Batchelor (1954)

Britain’s second animated feature, which, despite the title and Disney-esque animal animation, is in fact a no-holds-barred adaptation of George Orwell’s classic satire on Stalinism, with the animals taking over their farm by means of a revolutionary coup, but then discovering that although all animals are supposed to be equal, some are more equal than others.

Animal Farm was written by George Orwell in 1945. It is an allegorical novella, first published in England. The book tells the story of a group of farm animals who rebel against their human farmer, hoping to create a society where the animals can be equal, free, and happy.

A. A. Milne (1926)

Dedicated to Winnie-the-Pooh creator A. A. Milne who died on this day in 1956.
I wanted to post this in tribute to his memory and contributions to storytelling and the world of animation.

A. A. Milne was an English author, best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various poems. Milne was a noted writer, primarily as a playwright, before the huge success of Pooh overshadowed all his previous work. Milne served in both World Wars, joining the British Army in World War I, and as a captain of the British Home Guard in World War II.

He was the father of bookseller Christopher Robin Milne, upon whom the character Christopher Robin is based.

Winnie-the-Pooh is a fictional anthropomorphic teddy bear created by English author A. A. Milne and English illustrator E. H. Shepard.

The first collection of stories about the character was the book Winnie-the-Pooh (1926), and this was followed by The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Milne also included a poem about the bear in the children’s verse book When We Were Very Young (1924) and many more in Now We Are Six (1927). All four volumes were illustrated by E. H. Shepard.

In 1961, Walt Disney Productions licensed certain film and other rights of Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories from the estate of A. A. Milne and the licensing agent Stephen Slesinger, Inc., and adapted the Pooh stories, using the unhyphenated name “Winnie the Pooh”, into a series of features that would eventually become one of its most successful franchises.

In popular film adaptations, Pooh has been voiced by actors Sterling Holloway, Hal Smith, and Jim Cummings in English, and Yevgeny Leonov in Russian.

Heffalumps and Woozles! Beware!

Richard Williams (1977)

Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure is a 1977 American live-action/animated musical fantasy film directed by Richard Williams, produced by the Bobbs-Merrill Company, a publishing arm of ITT, and released theatrically by 20th Century Fox. A 1941 short film had previously featured the Raggedy Ann and Andy characters created by Johnny Gruelle.

Wolfgang Reitherman (1967)

The Jungle Book is a 1967 American animated musical comedy film produced by Walt Disney Productions. Based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 book of the same name, it is the 19th Disney animated feature film. Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, it was the last film to be produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production. The plot follows Mowgli, a feral child raised in the Indian jungle by wolves, as his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to convince him to leave the jungle before the evil tiger Shere Khan arrives.

The early versions of both the screenplay and the soundtrack followed Kipling’s work more closely, with a dramatic, dark, and sinister tone which Disney did not want in his family film, leading to writer Bill Peet and songwriter Terry Gilkyson being replaced. The casting employed famous actors and musicians Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, George Sanders, and Louis Prima, as well as Disney regulars such as Sterling Holloway, J. Pat O’Malley, Verna Felton, and the director’s son Bruce Reitherman as Mowgli.

The Jungle Book was released on October 18, 1967, to positive reception, with acclaim for its soundtrack, featuring five songs by the Sherman Brothers and one by Gilkyson, The Bare Necessities. The film initially became Disney’s second-highest-grossing animated film in the United States and Canada, and was also successful during its re-releases.

Bill Melendez & Charles M. Schulz (1972)

Snoopy Come Home is a 1972 American animated musical comedy-drama film directed by Bill Melendez and written by Charles M. Schulz based on the Peanuts comic strip. The film marks the on-screen debut of Woodstock, who had first appeared in the strip in 1967. It was the only Peanuts film during composer Vince Guaraldi’s lifetime that did not have a score composed by him. Its music was composed by the Sherman Brothers, who composed the music for various Disney films like Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The film was released on August 9, 1972 by National General Pictures, produced by Lee Mendelson Films and Cinema Center Films.
Despite receiving largely positive reviews, the film was a box-office bomb.

Dave Fleischer (1939)

In this animated tale, seaman Lemuel Gulliver (Sam Parker) is the sole survivor of a shipwreck on the distant land of Lilliput, whose people are no bigger than peanuts. Unaware of Gulliver lying on the beach, King Little arranges for the marriage of his daughter, Princess Glory (Jessica Dragonette), to Prince David (Lanny Ross), the son of neighboring King Bombo. Angered when King Little refuses to agree on the wedding song, Bombo declares war just as the villagers discover the giant Gulliver.

Based on the novel written by Jonathon Swift, 1726.

Don Hall & Carlos López Estrada (2021)

Raya and the Last Dragon is an upcoming American computer-animated adventure fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Walt Disney Animation Studios for distribution by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The 59th film produced by the studio, it is directed by Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada, co-directed by Paul Briggs and John Ripa produced by Osnat Shurer and Peter Del Vecho, written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim, and music score composed by James Newton Howard. The film features an almost-entirely Asian American cast, including the voices of Kelly Marie Tran as the titular Raya and Awkwafina as Sisu, the last dragon, along with Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh, Benedict Wong, Izaac Wang, Thalia Tran, and Alan Tudyk.

Raya and the Last Dragon is scheduled to be released theatrically in the United States on March 5, 2021. The film will also be simultaneously available on Disney+ with Premier Access, particularly in response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s negative impact on movie theatres across the United States, with many of them remaining closed.

In Memory of

David Bowie & Jim Henson (1986)

I really should have posted this yesterday and the Jim Henson documentary today. Nonetheless, in honor of David Bowie’s birthday yesterday and to follow up with the Jim Henson documentary here is a tasty tidbit from the legendary Labyrinth. Please enjoy.

Labyrinth is a 1986 musical fantasy film directed by Jim Henson, with George Lucas as executive producer, based upon conceptual designs by Brian Froud. It revolves around 16-year-old Sarah’s quest to reach the center of an enormous otherworldly maze to rescue her infant brother Toby, whom Sarah wished away to Jareth, the Goblin King. Most of the film’s significant characters, apart from Bowie and Connelly, are played by puppets produced by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

Tim Burton (1982 & ’84)

Vincent is a 1982 stop motion short horror film written, designed, and directed by Tim Burton, and produced by Rick Heinrichs. It is the second Disney horror film, the first being The Watcher in the Woods. At approximately six minutes in length, there is currently no individual release of the film except for a few bootleg releases. It can be found on the 2008 Special Edition and Collector’s Edition DVDs of The Nightmare Before Christmas as a bonus feature and on the Cinema16 DVD American Short Films.

The film is narrated by actor Vincent Price, a lifelong idol and inspiration for Burton. From this relationship, Price would go on to appear in Burton’s Edward Scissorhands. Vincent Price later said that Vincent was “the most gratifying thing that ever happened. It was immortality — better than a star on Hollywood Boulevard”.

Frankenweenie is a 1984 short film directed by Tim Burton and co-written by Burton with Leonard Ripps. It is both a parody and homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein based on Mary Shelley’s novel of the same name. Burton later directed a feature-length stop-motion animated remake, released in 2012.

Tim Burton featuring Shiny Toy Guns (2008)

The Finale is the final song of the movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is sung by Jack Skellington as he realizes that he is the Pumpkin King and that he must return to Halloween Town in order to help the citizens fix Christmas. Later, Santa thanks Jack for helping him save Christmas by bringing snow to Halloween Town. Jack and Sally sing together under the moonlight in the final scene as they lovingly embrace and kiss.

Written by Danny Elfman (1993)

Cyclops: Jack!
Corpse Father: Jack’s back!
Undersea Gal: Jack?
Winged Demon: Jack’s okay!
Offscreen Voice: He’s all right!

Chorus: Jack’s okay, and he’s back! Oh, yay!

(with Corpse Kid)
He’s all right!

(with the Mayor)
Let’s shout, make a fuss
Scream it out, wheee!

Jack is back now, everyone sing
In our town of Halloween…

(“What’s This?” verse)

Corpse Kid: What’s this?

Cyclops: What’s this?

Harlequin Demon: I haven’t got a clue…

Mr. Hyde: What’s this?

Clown with the Tear-Away Face: Why, it’s completely new!

Offscreen Voice: What’s this?

Wolfman: Must be a Christmas thing…

Offscreen Voice: What’s this?

Mayor: It’s really very strange…

Chorus: This is Halloween
Halloween, Halloween, Halloween

What’s this, what’s this? (verse repeated three more times)

(instrumental verse)

(“We’re Simply Meant to Be” verse)

Jack: My dearest friend, if you don’t mind
I’d like to join you by your side
Where we can gaze into the stars

(with Sally)

And sit together now and forever
For it is plain as anyone can see
We’re simply meant to be

Tim Burton featuring Plain White Tees (2014)

Poor Jack is a song from the film, The Nightmare Before Christmas. It is sung by Jack after he survives an explosion in Christmas Town that was meant to kill him. The song is about Jack confronting his guilt surrounding the mess he made of Christmas Town. He then chooses to remain the Pumpkin King and rushes off to save Sandy Claws.

Written by Danny Elfman (1993)

What have I done? What have I done?
How could I be so blind?
All is lost, where was I?
Spoiled all, spoiled all, everything’s gone all wrong

What have I done? What have I done?
Find a deep cave to hide in
In a million years they’ll find me
Only dust and a plaque that reads here lies poor old Jack

But I never intended all this madness, never
And nobody really understood, well how could they?
That all I ever wanted was to bring them something great
Why does nothing ever turn out like it should?

Well, what the heck I went and did my best
And by God I really tasted something swell, that’s right
And for a moment, why I even touched the sky
And at least I left some stories they can tell, I did

And for the first time since I don’t remember when
I felt just like my old bony self again
And I Jack, the Pumpkin King
That’s right I am the Pumpkin King

And I just can’t wait until next Halloween
‘Cause I’ve got some new ideas that will really make them scream
And by God, I’m really gonna give it all my might
Oh, oh, I hope there’s still time to set things right Sandy Claws

Tim Burton featuring Amy Lee (2008)

Sally’s Song is sung by Sally Finklestein in the film, The Nightmare Before Christmas after her plan to stop Jack fails. During her song, she sings about how she hopes that Jack is safe,
yet she feels that Jack will never accept her feelings for him.

Written by Danny Elfman (1993)

I sense there’s something in the wind
That feels like tragedy’s at hand
And though I’d like to stand by him
Can’t shake this feeling that I have
The worst is just around the bend
And does he notice my feelings for him?
And will he see how much he means to me?
I think it’s not to be

What will become of my dear friend?
Where will his actions lead us then?
Although I’d like to join the crowd
In their enthusiastic cloud
Try as I may, it doesn’t last
And will we ever end up together?
No, I think not, it’s never to become
For I am not the one

Tim Burton featuring Tiger Army (2008)

Oogie Boogie’s Song is the main villain song from the film, The Nightmare Before Christmas sung by Oogie Boogie and his prisoner, Santa Claus. Due to time constraints, the instrumental break was cut from it in the film, while the second verse was omitted because its sequence which was to feature bugs dancing on Oogie Boogie’s arm was deemed impossible and too difficult to animate after being storyboarded. But both were present on the soundtrack of the film.

Written by Danny Elfman (1993)

Oogie Boogie:
Well, well, well, what have we here?
Sandy Claws, huh?
Ooh, I’m really scared!
So you’re the one everybody’s talkin’ about?
Ha, ha, ha, ha!

You’re jokin’, you’re jokin’!
I can’t believe my eyes!
You’re jokin’ me, you gotta be,
This can’t be the right guy!

He’s ancient, he’s ugly;
I don’t know which is worse!
I might just split a seam now
If I don’t die laughing first.

When Mr. Oogie Boogie says
There’s trouble close at hand,
You’d better pay attention now
‘Cause I’m the Boogie Man!

And if you aren’t shakin’,
There’s something very wrong!
‘Cause this may be the last time
You hear the Boogie Song!

Woah

Skeletons:
Woah

Oogie Boogie:
Woah

Skeletons:
Woah

Oogie Boogie:
Woah

Bats:
Woah

Oogie Boogie and Chorus:
I’m (he’s) the Oogie Boogie Man!

Santa:
Release me now or you must face
The dire consequences
The children are expecting me
So please, come to your senses

Oogie Boogie:
You’re jokin’, you’re jokin’!
I can’t believe my ears!
Would someone shut this fella up?
I’m drownin’ in my tears!

It’s funny, I’m laughing;
You really are too much.
And now, with your permission,
I’m going to do my stuff…

Santa:
What are you going to do?

Oogie Boogie:
I’m going to do the best I can.

Oh, the sound of rollin’ dice
To me is music in the air
‘Cause I’m a gamblin’ Boogie Man
Although I don’t play fair.

It’s much more fun, I must confess
When lives are on the line
Not mine, of course but yours, old boy,
Now that’d be just fine.

Santa:
Release me fast or you’ll have to answer for this heinous act!

Oogie Boogie:
Oh brother, you’re somethin’!
You put me in a spin! You aren’t comprehending
The position that you’re in.

It’s hopeless, you’re finished
You haven’t got a prayer
‘Cause I’m Mr. Oogie Boogie,
And you ain’t goin’ nowhere!