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Sex and its complications
Sex, sex, sex, and more sex. Flip on the TV, and what do you see? Sex! Almost every movie not created by Disney and Pixar contains at least one obligatory sex scene. I'm not saying sex is wrong or evil, but too much or too little of one thing is not good for an individual.

The moral of this movie is: Don't have sex on a whim. This movie gives all the reasons why not to. In the beginning of the film, I thought it was going to be some flaky flick about sex this and sex that, but instead it used sex to make a point.

Here's an instance that takes sex scenes and puts them into a more realistic perspective. In one of the beginning scenes, the couple wants to do the mile high club, and the characters find out just how cramped and unsexy it feels to do it in an airplane bathroom.

The strongest example is when Jennifer's character abruptly has intercourse with the author. 1. She's married. 2. She wasn't sure if he was her father. 3. The man slept with her mother and grandmother allegedly. Sleeping with him was an obviously stupid thing to do, but since this is movie-land, having sex with someone just because they are hot is idyllic.

Aniston's aftermath involved finding out the scary yet still false news that the man was her father. This temporary terror lead her into a perfect spasm that was well acted!! It was a shock like Oedipus realizing his fate except in the form of Electra. The rest of Jennifer's consequences involved facing her husband and having to tell the truth that she cheated on him. Real life is not like a James Bond movie where the alpha male of a spy lives on the edge and gets all the women - No. Real life is coming home to your spouse and dealing with the consequences at one point or another.

All Dogs Go to Heaven

Calling all dog lovers!
My dog recently passed away, and this was a movie I loved as a kid, so I had to see it to try to cheer up.

(Beware of Dog, I mean Spoilers.) This movie isn't just for kids and it's far from ordinary. It was set in New Orleans in 1939. First and foremost, the dog was not portrayed as an extra family member in this film, but as an adult with his own complicated life to deal with.

In the beginning, Charlie is not too different from his dishonest and brutal business partner, Carface. He is money driven, greedy, and just escaped death row, as he states in the start of the feature. The difference between Charlie and Carface is that Charlie can learn and is willing to listen to others; Anne Marie and his sidekick, Itchy. Carface will not even listen to the fat, ugly dog with the big glasses who happens to be closest to him.

Carface attempts to murder the hero, because he wants 100% of the profits in their business and won't settle for only 50% - a highly unusual way for a German Shepherd mix to die. Also, being eaten by a prehistoric sized alligator who ends up sparing your life because you can sing is highly unlikely whether you are a dog or not. This is a cartoon, and that's why it is logical here.

Carface's method of revenge is through murder, while Charlie believes success is the best revenge, financial success that is. After surviving death, he starts a business by taking Carface's source of financing, a highly talented girl who possesses the ability to communicate with animals. They win a whole bunch of races, and Charlie tells her he'll give the money to the poor - hint hint: Charlie and Itchy live in a junkyard, and are therefore poor. He uses the money toward his casino/bar/theatre, and not the other "poor." The reason why Anne Marie has the ability to talk to animals is that she has compassion, and she listens carefully. She teaches Charlie ethics by pointing out his gambling, lying, and stealing. Charlie tries to make up for it by buying her dresses. She added the ethics that his business needed, while Charlie did management, and Itchy provided construction.

Carface uses violence and property damage to tear down Charlie's business, which is unprotected by the government. Charlie loses everything and all he has left is this little girl. In the end he had to choose between her life and his own. He first grabs the watch out of self preservation, and sets it down when the girl started to sink. Both the girl and the watch were sinking, and he had to choose which one, and he chose the girl.

The great part about this movie that focuses on a person's ability to learn right from wrong over time, and a child's ability to cope with the natural occurrence of death of their pet, is that it never shows anyone dying! The watch symbolizes his life, and the watch is shown being submerged and stopped. All the deaths were suggestive, even for the villain. I didn't cry during this movie until now, and I have gotten so much more out of it, that I had to write it down and share it with you.


A Personal Favorite
This movie is so poor that it's good! It's so good because it is unintentionally funny. The director originally intended this movie to be a serious children's film. I first saw a few excerpts of this movie in Russian Fairy tales class, and I just had to have a copy of it.

Even if you have never heard of Father Frost, Jack Frost, or Morozko, you can still enjoy this film. It will seem even more random and weird. If you have advanced knowledge of the stories, this will still strike you as hilarious, because sometimes the fairytale rules are broken in this version of the story.

If you are a serious person, go see a more serious film. However, if you love weird, fun movies, with dorky special effects, see this film. It is good for its dorkiness, its randomness, and nonstop humor that only non-cynics can understand.

The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea

Fun if you don't take it seriously.
Since the Little Mermaid was one of my favorite Disney movies when I was little, I was curious about its sequel.

The Little Mermaid(one) is a classic animated feature with top quality everything, a grand music score, and targets a general audience. In contrast, the Little Mermaid 2 is targeted primarily at young children, because it is spontaneous, reflects a child's self perspective, the music is bouncier and less dramatic, and the ending feels like recess.

The Little Mermaid 2 starts out when baby Melody is presented to Ariel's side of the family. Abruptly without any visual cues to aid the drama, a giant tentacle grabs the baby. I laughed, wait a minute it's not funny, the baby's being attacked! Okay, I'll stop laughing. Morgana's crime in broad daylight and her spontaneity, takes away potential drama since it happened so quickly.

Throughout the feature, Melody seems superhuman, which I defend is how most children envision themselves. This quality in Melody's character is clearly brought out toward the end when she fights Morgana without an inch of fear on her face.

Like the first movie, Melody has a lot of Ariel's problems, except the reverse. Queen Ariel turns out to be like her father by restricting her from the ocean, whereas King Triton restricted Ariel from the surface. Ariel and Melody both rebel against their parent.

The music is more emotionally moving in the first. This sequel has a bunch of songs, but not as much orchestral work went into it. It's great for little ones, because it doesn't take an orchestra to impress them.

The ending in the first movie was strong and uplifting. The sequel ends with a bouncy song and everyone playing in the water. It's definitely more targeted at kids, because instead of the ending being solemn and leaving you blown away, this ending leaves you thinking, "It's time for recess!" Ultimately, this movie is fun for kids, so we should let them have fun.

Winx Club

Cute Cross over
It is a colorful cross between Sailor Moon and Harry Potter. In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with that. Some people complain about it being a ripoff of Sailor Moon, but Magical Girls are the prototypical super heroines in Japan just as Super Man is the prototype super hero in America. In other words, if someone says "super hero," a man in a red cape who flies tends to come to mind. Likewise, if you say Magical Girl, certain traits come to mind.

It's not the most original series, but as time accumulates history, it gets harder and harder to make up something truly original.

As for their "anorexic" figures, they are not unprecedented. For half a century, people have complained about Barbie. Cartoons and dolls are only abstractions of the human form. Mattel tried to make Barbie "normal," and then suddenly MGA Entertainment makes Bratz, and kids start wanting Bratz dollz like crazy. People seem to want the abstract; accentuating the hair, lips, hips, and sparkling eyes. Barbie never made me feel anorexic, however when I saw other girls with flat tummies, human girls - not dolls or cartoons, I felt insecure. Therefore, Winx and the like will not make girls anorexic; they're just cartoons - abstractions of the human form.

Overall, this is a fun show for a wide range of youths. Each character has a special, magical talent. In addition, each character has problems to overcome. Each fairy has a pixie friend (Chibi) who also possesses special powers. Another reason why I like this show is because the fairies are racially diverse. Leyla of course is of African descent, Flora is Asian, and Techna is British.


In the Middle
In my opinion, it's not the greatest film in the world, but it's not as bad as critics raved it to be.

My curiosity spikes in the beginning as to why all the shoes were being recalled. Even if the design was unpopular, the shoes would just be put on sale incrementally, and the profit margin would decline. If I were in Orlando's shoes, I'd aggressively defend myself, demanding to know all the facts before leaving.

The part with the suicide-bicycle-machine is not meant to be taken seriously in its intent, because it's just not realistic enough. Instead the point of that scene was to demonstrate Drew's thoughts. That machine was a caricature representing what he felt like doing, not necessarily that he genuinely would.

There were some parts that irritated me, such as the scenes with the family and that kid. The comic relief part of all the family frustration was that video where a man is blowing stuff up. I wish that video existed, because it would be useful to some kids I have known.

Claire was the ointment to Drew's wounding depression. She was just kind of weird and wacky. She lightened Drew up, and let him let go of emotional baggage. The character is a personality hard to come by, which makes a fair number of people think her character is not realistic. She is free spirited, and not tied down by society's expectations.

Some parts seem to drag, and I think the director should have cut to the chase and get to the scavenger hunt-road trip quicker. All the parts of the movie that seemed to drag came together, and this ending part seemed to be what the story was about. The story could have been about a road trip and meeting the mysterious girl he met once. All the antecedent action leading up to the road trip could have been flashbacks in between destinations of his trip, allowing you to get to know Drew and Claire better.

Purinsesu Chuchu

Not as girly as the title implies...
It's cool because it's about a storyteller's tales that continue to exist beyond his death. In the tales, there is a ballerina who turns into a duck when she gets low self esteem, especially over a boy. She has to go to a body of water to become human again every time. Then there are these other characters who are anthropomorphic ballet students. The teacher is a cat in a jogging suit who threatens to marry everyone. It's great because it is unique, weird, and far out. By the title, people would think it's mostly for girls, but it's not if you know the plot. It's one of these cool animes that hasn't been released to the USA on DVD. If it is already, I'll be ready to pounce on the DVD and claim it as mine.

Edit: I have the series now, and I continue to enjoy this brilliant anime.

Yakitate!! Japan

The premise of this anime series is about bread, of all things to base a plot on! I truly laughed. The main character has a special bread making power that he was born with, and he goes off to bread baking school. I wish it were available on DVD, and it doesn't matter if it's subtitled or dubbed - it's that good. Even the theme song alone is funny. At one point in the theme song, there's an African-Japanese man with an afro on horseback, wielding a French baguette as if it were a samurai sword. These images will not make sense unless you see the anime. You'll laugh until your sides hurt. It is definitely the most unique anime I have seen thus far.

The Little Mermaid

A classic animated feature.
This is one of those important cartoon movies that people from my generation, when it first hit the theaters, will share with their own children and grandchildren.

The fun part about seeing an old childhood favorite is seeing it differently when you are an adult. King Triton is moreso a father figure than a monarch. However, his given title implies that he represents a political figure heading a monarchy. Ursula's first lines indicate she formerly held a government job under Triton and then was discharged for who knows what, and now she wants revenge. Ariel clearly represents the average teenager, adventurous and rebellious. King Triton is not very good with foreign affairs concerning the Human kingdom. Ariel becomes the ambassador for the humans and mermaids, through her love for one human.

At the end, King Triton shows up !alone! to save Ariel from the sea witch. As a king, he should show up with an army and bodyguards, considering Ursula is a dangerous outlaw. Plus, Ursula pulls out the contract that Ariel signed. Ariel is a minor, therefore that contract is not legally binding. She says, "Ya see? This contract is legal, binding, and unbreakable...even for you!" King Triton could easily counter that, stating, "Legal? Under what kingdom? I never authorized this sort of document under your establishment. Plus my daughter is under 18! She can not sign contracts yet!" Since he didn't think about these ideas, he signed the contract to free his daughter, being the father figure that he is. Ursula seized the crown and the trident, both equivalent to the gold standard in the mermaid treasury. She grows 500 feet and wages marine based war to overthrow the government.

This is why it is such a great movie, because you can watch it again as an adult and enjoy it with a totally new perspective.

Little Miss Sunshine

Better than my first impression.
When I first saw the previews to this film, I thought it was going to be a pain by the way the family was bickering in the beginning. However when I saw this film, it exceeded my expectations by far.

Here come the spoilers, watch out.

Dwayne's philosophical point that life is a beauty pageant surfaces toward the end. This changes the tone of the film, considering after seeing everything the family went through and seeing their quirks that make them different from society.

The rest of the family was depressed and angry, while Olive was still pure to the world around her. Dwayne, like any good brother, tries to stop Olive from competing, thinking the pageant will ruin her healthy psyche. However Olive proceeds and beats the system of the beauty pageant. All the other girls looked like little Stepford wives. Instead of sheepishly trying to be the same as them, she remained pure to her natural self.

A professor once told me a good quote - "There is a thin swimsuit between a porn star and a beauty queen." In a way, these pageants make the little girls sleazy in the sense that they are trying to mature too quickly sexually. Olive brings out this point in her dance, whether she realized it or not. It's as if the grandfather's spirit was saying, "Is this what you want? This is what a beauty contest truly is. There!" In her strip dance, she was more bodily covered than the other girls.

The end was so important, because it brought the family together. Olive won without winning. The song Super Freak, although it is a sex related song, holds a different meaning in this scene. It was a way of saying she is a freak and she is proud of it. The family jumps onto stage, one by one. Frank, the one who was clinically depressed in the beginning, is now jumping around happily. Dwayne realizes realizes there is a way to beat the contests of life and joins. Everyone is dancing in a circle, proud of who they are, and proud of their daughter. They are a family of superfreaks, and they accepted themselves and each other.

Happily Ever After

Through the eyes of an Adult
When I was a kid, I got this movie for Christmas. It was one of those videos I really loved. At that time, there was a magical quality it had that most children experience in animation/fantasy films. It made me smile.

I went down memory lane and watched it again. I enjoyed it, but in a different sort of way. I caught all Lord Malice's gay innuendos, and laughed my butt off, because I never saw it that way before.

Unlike what some people may say, I think this is a fun movie, and the music isn't really that bad considering the expenses that went into the feature. Disney always has a grand orchestra, while Filmation, if you listen closely during Thunderella's song, had only a couple keyboards. The strange part is that the lady who played snow white actually has singing talent, but she didn't get a big song like most main characters do in animated films. She sings the song in the credits. I think they should have done more with her vocal talent. Other than that, it's a fun film.

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