Life List: Watch All of the 50 Greatest Cartoons Ever Made

November 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

So Far, I’ve watched ten of the 50 Greatest Cartoons Ever Made. I thought starting at the bottom of the list made most sense.

My favorite so far is the longest: The Man Who Planted Trees, which won the Academy Award for the Best Animated Short in 1987. It’s a Canadian film, and the English version is narrated by Christopher Plummer. Have a look:

50. Felix in Hollywood
49. The Dover Boys
48. The Unicorn in the Garden
47. A Corny Concerto
46. Quasi at the Quackadero
45. The Book Revue
44. The Man Who Planted Trees
43. The Barber of Seville
42. The Cat Concerto
41. Rooty Toot Toot
40. Peace on Earth

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Your Princess Is in Another Castle

April 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Now I’m off to watch Bringing Up Baby.

Combination Plate

November 18, 2007 § 1 Comment

The magical elixir of Advil and Elavil worked wonders last night, and I slept until 9:00 this morning. Does this happen to anyone else? The time changes and all of a sudden you have an extra hour to sleep, but find you need two? I’m almost able to justify it to myself— an extra hour in bed is another hour that the heat is off— but deep down I know I’ve just wasted two of our nine allotted hours of daylight. And I feel suitably ashamed about it, thanks Catholic Church.

We just finished watching Reefer Madness and WOW, what an incredible piece of cinema! And by that, I don’t just mean I was incredulous with regard to the acting prowess and production values (although I was), but I was also incredulous as to the fantastic claims the film sets forth. The take-home message seems to be Marijuana is no gateway drug, but the fifth circle of Hell itself (that’s quite the image makeover, marijuana, you sellout).

But please don’t take my word for it; do yourself a favor and watch it yourself some chill November evening, possibly with a bowl of Doritos and a thick spliff nearby. So many favorite parts: the dancing, the piano-playing, the hit-and-run— and that’s all in the first fifteen minutes!

Don’t you think it’s time for spammers to go legit? The unorganized way they all do business can’t be getting them very far; I mean, with all those spelling errors and typos in their mailings, no one could believe they’re professionals. In business, the best way to make your customers take your seriously is to take yourself seriously. So why not start up a trade journal, fill in a few forms at the registry of joint stock, and go about the whole thing logically?

Maybe at SpamCon 2008 in Atlantic City they could all compare databases after the keynote: “Yeah, we’ve found easymark88@shadypines.net will believe any promise about dick creams” or “ferengi238@eldervillage.com is a pillar of our company— she couldn’t care less about equitable distribution of Nigeria’s gold export revenue”. You know, to hone their mailing lists, use their resources more effectively, and keep the vi.a.gra out of my inbox.

Or, I suppose, if they really want to collect regular income with no effort, they could get into property management.

Weekend Wrap-Up

October 15, 2007 § 4 Comments

So, oops, it’s been a week. And a half. Good thing NaBloPoMo doesn’t start for a few weeks. Incidentally, is anyone thinking of doing NaNoWriMo, too? That strikes me as impossible, but I suppose you’re not meant to start from nothing.

Anyway, when last we spoke, I had just secured tickets to the Sexsmith-Barber concert in Chester. It was fantastic. Lots of mid-fifties to mid-sixties people in the audience, but a few younger faces, too. Ron Sexsmith, of course, is a Canadian legend, beloved by the likes of Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Elton John, blah blah blah. He’s never generated much of a fan base, it seems, because all the famous people have been hoarding him, so you should go download some stuff from iTunes right now, just so you can be in-the-know, too.

Back? OK.

Jill Barber is actually based in Halifax, but she’s toured all over the country in the past two years, and Thursday night she kicked off a new tour. Her voice is both old-timey, smoky French cafe and really fresh and new, and the performance was fun and light— there was an electric mandolin in evidence, which pretty much spells heaven to me.

Ron Sexsmith’s set was a bit more subdued. Apparently there wasn’t money in “the budget” (whose?) to pay his whole band for the gig, so it was an acoustic affair, with just him playing guitar and keyboard. Which was perfect for both me and Richard who was enjoying the start of a two-day migraine, but Sexsmith seemed a bit disappointed. It bothers me that a man who’s been playing his heart out for twenty years— to great critical acclaim— still has to compromise. But then, muddling through is what we all do, disappointments and all.

Anyway, great set, and he took requests, which was another sad moment; clearly most of the crowd just knew his name, not his work, so they didn’t have any requests. I’m too shy to yell, and there was a guy behind us who kept shouting during applause “How about Secret Heart?” I like to imagine Bob Dylan’s reaction to that kind of thing: in the face of my decades of work and four-inch-thick songbook, you want to hear that one song someone else made famous?

Though I imagine Dylan would be much more of an asshole about it than Sexsmith was. He played it eventually, and very graciously.

On Saturday we saw Elizabeth: The Golden Age, which, despite its mixed reviews, was exactly what it should have been. A fantastical, sweeping costume drama with a little bit of acting and an eensy smidge of history thrown in. My only quibble is that the sea battle wasn’t long enough. And although I couldn’t watch it, I appreciated the inclusion of a (brief) scene wherein a Protestant’s tongue was cut out before he was shot. It behooves us in the West to be reminded forcefully and often that we have a recent history of fundamentalism and fanatacism.

Yesterday we went to the Annapolis Valley to collect pumpkins for slaughter this Halloween. The weather was tempestuous and moody, which made great cloud formations for photos. Late in the afternoon we were on the Acadia campus Geocaching and looked up to discover the brightest, fullest rainbow I’ve ever seen. There was a double arc for a few minutes, too, the whole thing circling the campus. It was raining so hard though, no one else even noticed.

acadia-rainbow.jpg

Some Photoshop fiddling is required to correct the colors (to what they really were)> But you get the idea.

And finally, this optical illusion. Which way does it spin for you? After a bit of struggling, I can make her twirl clockwise at will, but counterclockwise is my natural state. If you’re having trouble, close your eyes and think either of a famous painting I use The Scream because it’s easy to keep in my head) or some rote memorization from history class, whilst simultaneously urging her to spin the way you want. Let me know how it turns out.

Hedgehog in the Fog

July 3, 2007 § Leave a comment

I posted this a few weeks ago, but it mysteriously broke the site, so I took it down. Part of the reason I keep this blog is to organize and share links I find useful or affecting, and this is one of those.

Hedgehog in the Fog is based on a Russian folk tale, and animated by award-winning filmmaker Yuriy Norshteyn, who according to Wikipedia, has been working on a feature-length film called The Overcoat since 1981. I, for one, can’t wait to see it.

UPDATE: It broke again, but I’ve fixed it; I may be magical. To anyone else who’s using MarsEdit 1.1.7 on an iBook G4 to edit a WordPress 2.x site (there are probably three of you on Earth): if you’re adding a YouTube video to your blog, don’t use the WordPress Editor in browser to write or edit the post. It will vomit, go blind, clutch its throat, and fall down dead. Use MarsEdit instead.

Movie Review: The Brothers Grimm

February 26, 2007 § Leave a comment

I thought I’d add a brief film-review section. I hate being stuck at Blockbuster or Video Difference faced with everything not in the New Releases section, and no idea what to choose. My first thought was only to recommend the movies I liked, but that’s not fair— why should you have to suffer through, say, The Brothers Grimm?

So anyway, I’m not doing New Releases, and I’ll try not to give away plot details… and bear in mind, I am in no way a movie critic. To wit: The Brothers Grimm.

(2005) I really wanted to like this— the terrific, campy sets and over-the-top acting, the fairy tale backstories— but it just wasn’t very good. Terry Gilliam directed, and I remember reading a review saying he let his imagination run away with him in the visual effects department, to the detriment of all other aspects of the film. The sound seemed uneven, the script seemed to be a series of four or five two-minute skits, repeated several times, and barely strung together with the intervening scenes.

I’m also bothered by how many films in which Monica Belluci plays a beautiful object. She’s hired on the basis of her looks, and looking pretty is all that’s expected of her: Here, she is an evil queen who enchants men with her looks. In Malena, she was a woman judged on the basis of her seductive appearance. In The Matrices, she was the wife of The Merovingian, and functioned mainly as window dressing. I’d like to see her act someday.

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