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Dexter's Laboratory (1996)
It has been 20 years since it premiered. I have watched this show RELIGIOUSLY. What I liked about it are not only the designs in the characters and backgrounds, which reminded me of this old obscure animated film called LITTLE ORBIT AND THE SCREECHERS FROM OUTER SPACE (1979), or the pop culture references and spoofs, but I found out that Dexter had backbone. Unlike other cartoons where the character falls victim to the aggressor, where he looses, suffers and cries or uses dumb luck to get out of the mess, Dexter bounces back, he fights back, he bites back and triumphs over his aggressors! Kind of like what Flash Gordon, Superman, Captain Marvel or Buck Rogers did back in the great depression. After watching it, I felt like as if I drank a bottle or can of courage. I can take on the day without cowering. This show gave courage and boosted morale to the poor folks in need of some back bone. It worked well on me. Also, the episodes were exciting and it brightened my day! If I missed out on an episode, I can't sleep! (Metabolism, don't let me down!) So here my top 11 favorite episodes.
11. Mock 5 Direct spoof of SPEED RACER. This episode is not only well written but well researched!
10. Accents you hate A play on words on the word "accentuate" which means to make more noticeable, is deep and if anything, the big dumb bully learns the hard way not to pick on kids with funny accents. If you mess with one or three, you will mess with the whole bunch.
9. Fillet of Soul A great spoof of horror films with good pop-culture references(e.g. Ghostbusters). 8. The Golden Diskette I love this cartoon, not because it is a direct spoof of WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, because of the design and the song, "Your Brain is like a Computer". It just sends me back to Memory Lane (specifically the 1980's).
7. A Beard to be Feared A spoof of 70's action films and blackspoitation pictures like SHAFT. I got a kick out of the groovy 70's music because I watched and listened to the TV shows, commercials and music of the 70's. Oh yes, I get it, there is some drug reference. At first, I didn't get it, but now I got it.
6. Hunger Strikes A direct spoof of the 70's TV show THE INCREDIBLE HULK with Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno.
5. Photo Finish A spoof of James Bond movies such as GOLDFINGER. You see him team up with an older and pretty woman, Katka and fight one, which happened to work for the villain Red Eye! The music, pacing and design is awesome. This makes up for "Sassy Come Home" did to me. Turn me off. It also gave me courage!
4. Don't Be a Hero A spoof of super heroes. Of all the things I got a kick out of this episode, was the part where Dexter finally got bitten by radioactive spider and turns into one. When the transformation kicked in, it spoofed Spidey's spider-sense from the 1970's live-action show, SPIDER-MAN with Nicholas Hammond. I laughed so hard!
3. G.I.R.L. Squad Dee Dee. Mee Mee, and Lee Lee, start keeping a look out and try to take down a neighborhood criminal. I liked it because of the 70's music. It is direct spoof of not only THE M.O.D. SQUAD and CHARLIE'S ANGELS but the line "It's crime licking time" is a spoof of "It's crime fighting time" from the 80's cartoon, "C.O.P.S." Still, I loved this episode.
2. Dee Dee's Rival This is why Dee Dee needs a spin-off. We get to see the day in the life of her and her dance class. I got chills when I saw her rival, Ogla Astrinominov or Lalavava. (Thunder clap.) What was that? My friend Stanley S. Swanson, creator of the web-series "The Sexy Stretchy Show" said that he had a crush on her dance teacher. Look up that show on Youtube.
1. Last But Not Beast I loved this show. This is the episode to END the show! I loved it, because it reminded me of the 80's and my love for kaiju eiga. The song being played is awesome!
Season 3 and 4 jumped the shark! I recommend that show. Who know, this might inspire people to grow up to be scientists. Rated TV-G, but it contains mild cartoon violence and peril. Not to mention some images that politically correct people will find sexual (e.g. Miss Physics, Agent Honeydew, Lisa the Babysitter or Dee Dee's Dance Teacher, Ms. Babcock). I do not think it is fit for a reboot. Just look at POWERPUFF GIRLS. It got rebooted recently and I have to say that in the words of special-effect man, Roger Dickens, "It is the right project, but in the wrong hands." So give it a watch because it is rated TV-G.
Snoopy Come Home (1972)
More tear-jerking and less funny.
I saw this movie when I was four. I loved it as a kid, but now that I saw it with a new set of eyes, I found out that this is pure childhood melancholy! Apart from the film's opening theme song, which is downright catchy, there is this song that goes like this: "Me and you, a two-man crew. We are the best of buddies. We are the best of buddies." That song is happy. Another funny moment, was at the goodbye-party where Snoopy got bones for gifts given by the gang. Also, the part where Snoopy and Woodstock are on their way and they see a worm. Let's not forget the Snoopy vs. Linus and his boxing match with Lucy. That was funny. Humor aside, the 75% of the film is a tearjerker. Snoopy gets a letter from his original owner and has to go and meet her. Charlie Brown doesn't get it and the beagle's departure sends the whole gang to an uproar! Along, the way, Snoopy and Woodstock run into a common obstacle the "No Dogs Allowed" law. This sad story was a feature length adaptation from a comic strip that Charles Schultz made in 1968. If you think that is one surprising fact, another one is that the Sherman Brothers (the duo behind the MARRY POPPINS songs) wrote the songs. This is an attempt to make it commercial and to cater it to those who watch Disney and Saturday morning cartoons as seen with Snoopy saving Woodstock from the crazy animal-lover. (Call the ASPCA!) So if you think Disney is the only one that makes sad stuff, guess again. SNOOPY COME HOME is not the only one. CHARLOTTE'S WEB (1973) is a sad one (another one with songs by the Sherman Brothers). AN American TAIL (1986) is another. The ending to the Chuck Jones cartoon, WHAT'S OPERA DOC? (1957) is another. Recently, the FAIRLY ODDPARENTS episode, "The Grass is getting Greener" is an example. Another thing that made me rethink about this movie is that this was the last movie made by Cinema Center Films which was created by CBS. In fact, this was the last movie by Cinema Center Films and it was closed down because it was a flop! Why did it flop?
1. Most people wanted to see their animated movies in the same or similar fashion as Disney. Which leads to two.
2. It tries to be like Disney with the avid musical numbers. (Did you know that aired on the Disney Channel a few times?)
3. Too depressing.
This film and THE REVENGERS were biggest flips from Cinema Center Films' biggest flops. Gee, if they only made a monster movie. Speaking monsters if you look in the background of the scene where Peppermint Patty and Charlie Brown are at the amusement park, you see posters that read "Dinosaurs", "Dragons" and "Moon Monsters." This is because that monsters were popular to kids, (specifically boys). This was in a time where monster movies were easily accessed to kids before political correctness ruined it. Speaking of politically correct, nobody wants to make a sad film, which is why there are a lot of cartoons that are wacky, upbeat, noisy and crude. Not to mention unintentional shock as seen in those post-2010 shows on Cartoon Network. So if your kids are hyped up on those wacky cartoons, give them a nice tranquil movie like this one. It brings back this innocent charm, so it is rated G.
A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)
50 Years and it is Still Timeless.
I saw this special when I was a kid. I enjoyed it. I saw this special when I was a teenager. I still enjoyed it. I saw it recently and I still enjoyed it. What does it come to show, it holds the test of time! This is the one that started it all. The voices are cute and the music is great. It is a sweet little special, even though the animation and design is basic. When it went into production, they got crack a few eggs to make an omelet. For instance, the voices were done by children, the laugh-track was rejected and there was a Bible quotation in the special. This is such a sweet little special and I highly recommend it! Most specials these days go over the top and poorly or in a goofy or weir manner (I am talking you Cartoon Network). Give the special a chance, because a world where nothing is quaint, there is some quaint stuff hiding around here, there and under our noses. Fight for innocence, quaintness, positivism and good messages. Bottom line: Give it a watch! Rated TV-G, so it is fun for kids and the entire family! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
Great movie, but I don't see what the fuss is all about here.
As you know I like Tim Burton but the thing about it is, that this movie got a lot of flack by the general public. I enjoyed it, because I not only like stop-motion animation, but I like old horror films. I bet James Rolfe of "Angry Video Game Nerd" and Cinemassacre fame, would enjoy it. So here are some possible reasons why this picture got some flack.
1. It is animated with stop-motion animation, CGI is the biggest money maker when it comes to family films and special effects. "Hotel Transylvania" beaten that movie in the box-office.
2. Too dark and creepy, but that's the nature of his works. This leads to three.
3. Generation gap. There are a tone of references to the old movies of the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. Nobody would get it unless you are over the age of thirty. ("Gremlins" got referenced in this movie and it is the director's way of saying that he is hip and cool like anyone who grew up in the 80's.) Plus we are in an age where we can't let our kids watch horror films (old or new) until they reach a specific age. This leads to four.
4. Black and white. Nobody makes movies in black and white! Kids will be turned off by that sort of stuff. Although "The Artist" was a smash hit, still, we watch our movies in orange and teal. I mean color.
5. People jumped to conclusions that his remake of "Alice in Wonderland" and the film adaptation of "Dark Shadows" were flops.
I like the short for which the movie is based on and I liked the feature for which it is based on. Bottom line: It is best to show this to kids over the age of seven, which leads to the reason why it is rated PG because of the fact that it contains, crude humor, peril and some scary scenes that (man do I love saying it) can make "Scooby-Doo" look like "Sesame Street". (That funny analogy never gets old.)
Son of Frankenstein (1939)
The horror continues.
So here's the story. I was watching "The Pink Panther" on KBHK TV-44 (please read my "Sprinkle Me Pink" review) and I saw a commercial for "The Son of Svengoolie". I saw a skull with a mustache and he was talking about a movie called "The Son of Frankenstein." I was amused by not only the monster that was shown in the clip, but the skull, because it reminded me of the "Sesame Street" skit with the Count called "Bones Inside of You". Bear in mind I was four when I saw this commercial and I grew up in the 1980's which is a time where things were politically correct for juvenile thrill-seekers. Fast forward to some time in the middle of 2015 where I finally saw the movie on "Svengoolie" and let's just say, I loved it and it is not bad. The music is great and the cinematography is wonderful. My favorite part was when he sees himself on the mirror and starts growling because we found out why people were scared of him. Also the inspector is a character that got spoofed in Mel Brooks parody, "Young Frankenstein". All in all it is a pretty good film and that is all what I got to say about it. Not rated, but it contains some scary scenes and peril.
Pickle and Peanut (2015)
What the hell is this?
This is one of the most atrocious cartoons ever made. I know why this cartoon got made. Disney wanted to make a cartoon to cash-in on the success of such shows as ADVENTURE TIME, THE REGULAR SHOW, THE AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL and UNCLE GRANDPA (read my reviews). They are trying to make a show to cater to the viewers who watch Cartoon Network. Let us look at the shows on Disney XD. There is GRAVITY FALLS, WONDER OVER YONDER, STAR VS. THE FORCES OF EVIL and PICKLE AND PEANUT. One of these shows is not like the others! These three shows I mentioned have a nice storyline that is well written, character designs that are pleasing to the eye and awesome, but catchy theme songs. PICKLE AND PEANUT has character designs that were designed by a high school student who drew it on his notebook out of boredom. The animation is in the standards of a sophomore student who is taking animation classes at an art school. The voices are made just to lure people in like the time I found out that their boss, Mr. Mjart (pronounced MEE-art), was voiced by Matt Chapman, who was known for making the online cult series, Homestar Runner. I watched some episodes because of Matt Chapman's voice talent. The voices of Pickle and Peanut are not bad because they are teenagers. They are not irritating. I mentioned early that PICKLE AND PEANUT is trying to cash-in on Cartoon Netowrk, specifically THE AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL. That show is a Frankenstein Monster made up of various animation techniques with voices that would make you want to rush to the remote and press the mute button! This is a cruder, but more eye-pleasing version of that beast. Also, like the four shows on Cartoon Network, there is shock moments on PICKLE AND PEANUT. According to Butch Hartman (creator of FAIRLY ODD PARENTS, DANNY PHANTOM and T.U.F.F. PUPPY) he doesn't like the way cartoons are going now with all their shocking moments that could make SCOOBY-DOO look like SESAME STREET. Ususally I judge a show after six episodes, but thanks to a "This Season On Pickle and Peanut" trailer on YouTube, I jumped to conclusions. Craig McCracken (creator of Cartoon Network's POWERPUFF GIRLS (there is a reboot coming out next year), FOSTER'S HOME FOR IMAGINARY FRIENDS and Disney XD's WANDER OVER YONDER) says that he never liked the way cartoon were going, which is why he created WANDER OVER YONDER. So yes I think that Disney is trying to jump into the "shocking and messed up cartoon" bandwagon. Walt Disney is turning in his grave and he said that he never followed any trends. Bottom line: Stay away from it and avoid it at all costs. Stick to the previous Disney XD shows I mentioned. Rated TV-Y7 for crude humor, goofy peril, all manner of wacky going-ons and shock moments (shouldn't this be rated TV-PG for the shock moments).
Inside Out (2015)
Smart, heart-warming and super funny.
I saw this movie and I was impressed! Back by popular demand, it's "Matthew Praises!" It is not just the run of the mill family movie with CGI and celebrity talents, this one is psychologically well-researched! It is a mixture between Dinsey's World War 2 propaganda short "Reason and Emotion" mixed with Roger Hargreaves' "Mr. Men". The reason why I said that is because all the emotions are controlling the girl's head just like in that cartoon. Second, I said the latter part of the comparison because like Roger Hargreaves, the were thinking, "What would a personification of an emotion would look like?" What would a memory bank be depicted and how would the subconscious or dreams look like? The skin of the emotions look like felt, kind of like The Muppets, except they sparkle like some sort of fire. The film gave out a good side-effect which was controlling your emotions. A father took his kid to see the movie and after watching it, he took his son to the pool and he climbed up highest diving board and dived into the pool and his father asked why he did that out of curiosity and he said that fear was driving the bus. Before the feature, there was an introduction by Pete Docter, the film's director, talking about the joy of going to the movies and the short, "Lava" about two volcanoes in love. Bottom line: You will laugh, you will cry and you will understand why! So come on and give it a watch it is fun for the whole family. There is no shocking moments like the ones seen on Cartoon Network today. I am positive that you will enjoy it. Bottom line: A must-watch. Rated PG for thematic elements (like references to profanity) and some action (more like some peril, but seriously MPAA raters you are just over-reacting, it should be rated G). This has been another "Matthew Praises."
Revenge of the Creature (1955)
The Gillman Returns
The lovable monster is back and only this time it is like the other half of the underwater KING KONG story. The monster gets captured from his comfort zone, gets sent to Florida and escapes and wrecks havoc. Speaking of KING KONG, Chris Mueller Jr., who designed the Gillman costume (read my review on CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON), was assigned to make the costume for Universal's unmade epic, THE LEGEND OF KING KONG, but it never got made. REVENGE OF THE CREATURE was released in 3D, this was interesting to see that creature back in action. The music is great and the cinematography is awesome. Once again, SVENGOOLIE was the one that sent me here. I said it before and I said it again, this movie has no right to be remade. I highly recommend it, but like the first film, it is best for children over the age of seven and accompanied by an adult since it has no rating. Strange, the first film was rated G when it was released in 1972. Oh what the hey, this movie is rated G by my standards.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
80 years and still awesome!
I heard about and read about. I finally saw it on SVENGOOLIE and I knew that it was one of those sequels that were better than the first film! Scenes from this movie were based on other elements from the Mary Shelly story, which also got spoofed in the Mel Brooks film, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN (1974). My favorite character was Dr. Petoreus he is interesting and downright evil. He showed him his previous experiments which were shrunken people. That scene was contrasting because it was too comical. (In 1933, Universal was going to make an adaptation of GULLIVER'S TRAVELS, but it didn't get made, so this scene answers the question on what if the story got adapted.) This movie also has background music that was perhaps, an attempt to cash-in on the success of the original KING KONG. Before KONG got made, there were a lot of horror films that did not rely on background music and just silence. As the expression goes "Silence is Golden", but sometimes it can be unsettling and disturbing to build terror. It worked with two Universal horror films like Dracula and FRANKENSTEIN, and Paramount's ISLAND OF LOST SOULS. The Bride is as iconic as her male counter-part, her Hammer iteration from FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN, lacked the charm and it looked too attractive and less scary. So kudos to this movie, although it is a success, causing UNIVERSAL to make DRACULA'S DAUGHTER, this movie got a bad case of sequelitis causing them to make more sequels like SON OF FRANKENSTEIN, GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN and FRANKENSTEIN MEETS THE WOLFMAN (which caused them to crossover with Dracula). I highly recommend it so give it a watch. Not rated, but it is best off for children ages 7 and up to watch it with their parents.
One Million Years B.C. (1966)
Epic and Wonderful
Back by popular demand, it is time for "Matthew Praises." I remember seeing a brief clip of on READING RAINBOW in the episode "Digging Up Dinosaurs." That clip made me believe that dinosaurs looked and sounded like that. (I was four so this was before JURASSIC PARK which came out when I was nine.) Although Raquel Welch's beauty was there to make the picture sell, I think it was Ray Harryhausen's animated beasts that really made it enjoyable to me. The music is great, but by today's standards it looks good, but the iguana and tarantula (eating crickets) made it look cheesy. After all, they wanted to pay homage to the original 1940 classic. I mean, the 1940 film ONE MILLION B.C. was clunky. It had dinosaur effects ranging from lizards with horns and spikes glued on their bodies to men in suits. Kind of like those FLASH GORDON serials from the 1930's by Universal. This movie had better monster effects. If anyone asks me what is your favorite movie where the remake is better than the original, I would say ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. made by Hammer. Hammer was planning to make a big monster movie after the success of making their Gothic horror films like THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, HORROR OF Dracula, and the 1959 remake of THE MUMMY. They wanted to remake KING KONG, with Ray's special effects skills, but they couldn't afford the rights form RKO so they ended up remaking ONE MILLION B.C. I saw this movie on Turner Classic Movies and I highly recommend it. The film was such a success, that there were cartoons that cashed in on it like Pink Panther's EXTINCT PINK (1969) and PREHISTORIC PINK (1968) and a porno parody called ONE MILLION AC/DC (1969) (Read my review, it's a "Matthew Rants" one). Followed by WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH (1970) (read my review on that one). Not rated, but it contains violence, nudity, peril, some gore and one scary scene (specifically that tarantula). Best viewable for children over the age of 7.