Tim Burton (1984 & 2012)

Happy Halloween!

When a car hits young Victor’s pet dog Sparky, Victor decides to bring him back to life the only way he knows how. But when the bolt-necked “monster” wreaks havoc and terror in the hearts of Victor’s neighbors, he has to convince them that Sparky’s still the good, loyal friend.

Frankenweenie is a 1984 featurette 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 1818 novel Frankenstein.

Burton was fired by Disney after the film was completed, as the studio claimed that he had been wasting company resources and felt the film was not suitable for the targeted young audiences.

Tim Burton later directed a feature-length stop-motion animated remake of Frankenweenie with production help from Disney, which was released on October 5, 2012.

The 2012 feature-length remake of Burton’s 1984 short film of the same name is also both a parody of and homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein, based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 book Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. In the film, a boy named Victor Frankenstein uses the power of electricity to resurrect his dead Bull Terrier, Sparky, but his peers discover what he has done and reanimate their own deceased pets and other creatures, resulting in mayhem. The tongue-in-cheek film contains numerous references to and parodies of elements of Frankenstein and past film versions of it, other literary classics, various horror and science-fiction films, and other films which Burton has directed or produced.

Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Joshua Meador & Robert Cormack (1946)

Casey at the Bat
Peter and the Wolf
The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met

Make Mine Music is a 1946 animated musical anthology film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the 8th Disney feature animated film, released on April 20, 1946.

During World War II, much of Walt Disney’s staff was drafted into the army, and those that remained were called upon by the U.S. government to make training and propaganda films. As a result, the studio was littered with unfinished story ideas. In order to keep the feature film division alive during this difficult time, the studio released six package films including this one, made up of various unrelated segments set to music. This is the third package film, following Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.

The musical short stories included in the Make Mine Music anthology include The Martins and the Coys, Blue Bayou, All the Cats Join In, Without You, Casey at the Bat, Two Silhouettes, Peter and the Wolf, Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet, and The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met.

“The animation, color and music, the swing versus symph, and the imagination, execution and delineation—that this Disney feature (two years in the making) may command widest attention yet. The blend of cartoon with human action has been evidenced before; here Disney has retained all his characters in their basic art form, but endowed them with human qualities, voices and treatments, which is another step forward in the field where cartoons graduate into the field of the classics.”

Abel Green of Variety

“More entertaining than others, but all are good, and each has something to please movie-goers of all tastes and ages. It is a delightful blend of comedy, music, pathos, animation, and color, given a most imaginative treatment.”

Harrison’s Reports

“A brilliant abstraction wherein fanciful musical instruments dance gayly on sliding color disks, sets of romping fingers race blithely down tapes of piano keys and musical notes fly wildly through the multi-hued atmosphere—all to the tingling accompaniment of Benny Goodman’s quartet playing the ancient and melodious torch song, ‘After You’re Gone’. Color, form and music blend dynamically in this bit, and a rich stimulant of sensuous rhythm is excitingly achieved.”

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times

“A picture of much inventiveness and imagination. The lighter the picture is, the more is its excellence demonstrated, it might be noted. And while music is the keynote of the production, it ranges well into comedy, and plentifully into swing.”

Edwin Schallert of the Los Angeles Times

Walt Disney (1942)

Disney animators tour South America and present four animated shorts inspired by their trip.

Saludos Amigos is a 1942 American live-action animated anthology film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the 6th Disney animated feature film. Set in Latin America, it is made up of four different segments; Donald Duck stars in two of them and Goofy stars in one. It also features the first appearance of JosĂ© Carioca, the Brazilian cigar-smoking parrot. Saludos Amigos premiered in Rio de Janeiro on August 24, 1942. It was released in the United States on February 6, 1943. Saludos Amigos was popular enough that Walt Disney decided to make another film about Latin America, The Three Caballeros, to be produced two years later. At 42 minutes, it is Disney’s shortest animated feature to date.

Directed by Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Norman Ferguson, and Bill Roberts.

Story written by Homer Brightman, William Cottrell, Richard Huemer, Joe Grant, Harold Reeves, Ted Sears, Webb Smith, Roy Williams, and Ralph Wright.

In early 1941, before U.S. entry into World War II, the United States Department of State commissioned a Disney goodwill tour of South America, intended to lead to a movie to be shown in the US, Central, and South America as part of the Good Neighbor Policy. This was being done because several Latin American governments had close ties with Nazi Germany, and the US government wanted to counteract those ties. Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters were popular in Latin America, and Walt Disney acted as ambassador. The tour, facilitated by Nelson Rockefeller, who had recently been appointed as Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), took Disney and a group of roughly twenty composers, artists, technicians, etc. from his studio to South America, mainly to Brazil and Argentina, but also to Chile and Peru.

The film itself was given federal loan guarantees, because the Disney studio had over-expanded just before European markets were closed to them by the war, and because Disney was struggling with labor unrest at the time (including a strike that was underway at the time the goodwill journey began).

The film included live-action documentary sequences featuring footage of modern Latin American cities with skyscrapers and fashionably dressed residents. This surprised many contemporary US viewers, who associated such images only with US and European cities, and contributed to a changing impression of Latin America. Film historian Alfred Charles Richard Jr. has commented that Saludos Amigos “did more to cement a community of interest between peoples of the Americas in a few months than the State Department had in fifty years”.

The film also inspired Chilean cartoonist RenĂ© RĂ­os Boettiger to create Condorito, one of Latin America’s most ubiquitous cartoon characters. RĂ­os perceived that the character Pedro, a small, incapable airplane, was a slight to Chileans and created a comic that could supposedly rival Disney’s comic characters.

Emma Cooper (2022)

In Celebration of Marilyn Monroe’s birthday, born on this day in 1926, I present to you The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes. Hollywood icon Marilyn Monroe’s tragic death spawned conspiracies and rumors for decades, often overshadowing her talent and shrewdness. By piecing together her final weeks, days, and hours through previously unheard recordings of those who knew her best, the film illuminates more of her glamorous, complicated life, and offers a new perspective on that fateful night.

The Mystery of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes is a 2022 American documentary film directed by Emma Cooper for Netflix. It is centered around the life and untimely death of American actress and cultural icon Marilyn Monroe and is told through archival footage and unseen interviews with friends of the star. The film was released on April 27, 2022.

Tim Curry (1975)

Happy Halloween!

Hey! Might as well give today a Transylvania theme!

Sweet Transvestite is a song from the 1973 British musical stage production The Rocky Horror Show and its 1975 film counterpart The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The song is performed by the character, Dr Frank N. Furter, originally played by Tim Curry.

Kirk Thatcher (2021)

Muppets Haunted Mansion is an upcoming American puppet comedy film based on The Muppets and the ghost train attracion at Disneyland The Haunted Mansion. The film is set to be released on October 8, 2021, via Disney+. This was one of Ed Asner’s final works before passing away from natural causes.

Having survived every one of his daredevil performances, Gonzo takes on his biggest challenge yet at The Haunted Mansion where he must spend one night there.

Hayao Miyazaki (1984)

NausicaÀ of the Valley of the Wind is a 1984 Japanese anime film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, based on his 1982 manga. It was animated by Tokuma Shoten and Hakuhodo. Joe Hisaishi composed the score. The film stars the voices of Sumi Shimamoto, Goro Naya, Yoji Matsuda, Yoshiko Sakakibara, and Iemasa Kayumi. Taking place in a future post-apocalyptic world, the film tells the story of NausicaÀ, the young princess of the Valley of the Wind. She becomes embroiled in a struggle with Tolmekia, a kingdom that tries to use an ancient weapon to eradicate a jungle full of mutant giant insects.

Ethan Spaulding (2014)

Batman learns he has a violent, unruly preteen son, secretly raised by the terrorist group the League of Assassins.

Son of Batman is an animated superhero film. It is the third film in the DC Animated Movie Universe. It is an adaptation of Grant Morrison and Andy Kubert’s 2006 Batman and Son storyline. The film was released in 2014.

Son of Batman is the third installment in the DC Animated Movie Universe. It was released in 2014. It’s the first installment of the Batman saga in the DCAMU. This is also the first film to include Damian Wayne’s character arc.

Batman learns he has a son, Damian. And to further complicate matters, the mother is Talia al Ghul, daughter of one of his most dreaded enemies, Ra’s al Ghul. When the odds quickly turn against Batman and Damian, Batman must become both father and mentor to the aggressive, agile new Robin. Together they form an uneasy alliance to try and thwart the criminal enterprise of Deathstroke and his army of Man-Bats before there are international consequences.

Jim Jarmusch (1986)

Down by Law (1986 film) poster.jpg

Down by Law is a 1986 American black-and-white independent film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch and starring Tom Waits, John Lurie, Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, and
Ellen Barkin. The film centers on the arrest, incarceration, and escape from jail of three men. It discards jailbreak film conventions by focusing on the interaction between the convicts rather than on the mechanics of the escape. A key element in the film is Robby MĂŒller’s slow-moving camerawork, which captures the architecture of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou to which the cellmates escape.

Featuring Big Gay Al’s musical number

I’m Super!

Trey Parker & Matt Stone (1999)

Happy Pride Month!

Big Gay Al is a stereotypical homosexual man who first appeared in the Season One episode, Big Gay Al’s Big Gay Boat Ride. He is known for his flamboyant and positive demeanor and usually responds to the greeting “How are you?” with an upbeat “I’m super! Thanks for asking!”

At the USO show before the troops entered the American-Canadian War, Big Gay Al started the song I’m Super at the request of Stan Marsh and Kyle Broflovski, who needed a distraction so The Mole could free Terrance and Phillip.

Bigger, Longer & Uncut is a 1999 American adult animated musical comedy film based on the animated sitcom South Park. Directed by series creator Trey Parker, the film stars the regular television cast of Parker, series co-creator Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman, and Isaac Hayes, with George Clooney, Eric Idle, and Mike Judge in supporting roles. The screenplay, written by Parker, Stone, and Pam Brady, follows Stan Marsh and his friends Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman and Kenny McCormick as they sneak into an R-rated film starring their idols, Canadian comedy duo Terrance and Phillip, and begin swearing incessantly. Eventually, their mothers pressure the United States to wage war against Canada for allegedly corrupting their children, giving Stan, Kyle, and Cartman no choice but to unite the other children, fight their own parents, and rescue Terrance and Phillip, while Kenny tries to stop a prophecy involving Satan and Saddam Hussein’s plot to conquer the world.

South Park is an American animated sitcom created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone and developed by Brian Graden for Comedy Central. The series revolves around four boys — Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, and Kenny McCormick — and their exploits in and around the titular Colorado town.

Don Hertzfeldt (2008)

This is the second chapter of a three-part story about a man named Bill from the It’s a Beautiful Day trilogy.

A series of dark and troubling events forces Bill to reckon with the meaning of his life —

or lack thereof.

“A masterpiece. I can’t even begin to articulate my thoughts about the film but it just gave me shivers and I wasn’t able to attend the party after the screening. Just had to be alone. It had this effect on a number of other people here too. Stunning, beautiful, tragic, absurd work.”

– Chris Robinson (Ottawa International Animation Festival)

I Am So Proud Of You is, I think, as good a pick as any for film of the year. Certainly as good as Synecdoche, NY, and just as full of grand and complex thoughts about life and death and bodily fluids and years rapidly advancing, coming to ends and beginnings, back and forth, over and over, until one slips indistinguishably into the next.”

– David Lowery (Filmmaker)

David Lynch (2015)

David Lynch Theater Presents: FiRE (PoZaR)

“The whole point of our experiment was that I would say nothing about my intentions and Marek would interpret the visuals in his own way. So I say it was a great successful experiment, and I loved the composition Marek wrote for the Penderecki String Quartet.”

David Lynch

“I thought it was a very melancholic film in a certain sense and also very poetic. Without trying to be too explicit, I tried to illustrate further what David was doing. For example, there is something that looks like a hailstorm and I used a lot of pizzicato, but I also used a soaring melodic line to add a lyrical element to it.”

Marek Zebrowski

Written, Drawn, and Directed by David Lynch
Animated by Noriko Miyakawa
Music by Marek Zebrowski
©2015

Nigel Finch (1978)

BBC program Omnibus features Nigel Finch’s 50-minute 1978 documentary of Hunter S. Thompson and Ralph Steadman, with cameos by John Dean, Brian Doyle, Bill Murray, Ray Romano, and more.

Fear and Loathing on the Road to Hollywood, also known as Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision, is a documentary film produced by BBC Omnibus in 1978 on the subject of Hunter S. Thompson, directed by Nigel Finch. The road trip/film pairs Thompson with Finch’s fellow Briton and illustrator Ralph Steadman. The party travel to Hollywood via Death Valley and Barstow from Las Vegas, scene of the pair’s 1971 collaboration. It contains interviews with Thompson and Steadman, as well as some short excerpts from some of his work.

Jerry Garcia & the Grateful Dead (1977)

UNLOCKED! Enjoy The Grateful Dead Movie and please donate to Feeding America if you can.

Jerry Garcia directs this concert film of highlights from the five-night run at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom that capped off the Grateful Dead’s 1974 tour. The film is distinguished among concert films for its unusual focus on the band’s fans and their often extreme commitment to the Deadhead lifestyle. The documentary also features interviews with band members, including Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir, and Phil Lesh, and includes a short but lively recap of the group’s history.