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List specials come and go, but "100 Scariest Movie Moments of All Time" is different. Made by Bravo and done VH1 style, the best word to describe it is just "fun." A group of guests were rounded up to discuss each movie in turn, and they're a wide-ranging bunch at that. From the masters of horror (Stephen King, Wes Craven, etc.) to comedians to people who have nothing to do with movies at all, everyone has something to say. I sometimes think the Coors Twins were just hired to recite the "Come play with us. Come play with us," line from "The Shining" in an eerie unison.
The horror movies themselves don't seem to be in any particular order. "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" is ranked high above "Child's Play", and the #1 spot will likely leave you scratching your head. But it's not a big flaw. The movies too are wide-ranging. The big boys of terror have their moment in the spotlight. But also expect to see obscure/or foreign films that, while not as popular as Freddy and Jason, can be more terrifying than you'd ever imagine.
The list itself might be scary, but there's no shortage of humor. The commentators don't hesitate to joke about even the scariest moments; they're funny, too. One such moment is after the hobbling scene in "Misery", and someone says "I didn't walk for, like, six weeks after that." This gives the whole special the feeling you're discussing horror movies with a group of friends.
Bravo shows reruns occasionally, so I'd recommend checking the guides. You won't be disappointed by this one. At least it's better than that awful "50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs...Ever".
Some of the best children's stories are not on Nickelodeon or in published in Highlights, but hiding in the darkest corners of run-down movie stories. Leo the Lion is a perfect example of this. Even though I was already around seven or eight when I had the pleasure of first seeing this movie, it instantly became one of my favorites. Today that copy is sitting on my dresser, almost broken from being played so much.
The title character is a lion king who doesn't care one bit for the animals he's supposed to be in charge of ("We demand your attention!" "Or your resignation!") He's happier just to lay around in the sun and steal from weaker animals. And to top it all off, he's too stupid to notice that animals are going missing. Sounds like George W. Bush turned into a big cat.
Naturally, kiddie movie protocol demands a cute little kid to get through to the big guy. And in this case, it comes in the form of a lion cub (strangely, his mother never named him. Leo eventually starts calling him Tooie.) He's left to fend for himself when his mother is captured by poachers to be sold to a circus and it's then that he meets Leo. Long story short, he wins the king over and they plan to free all the animals that where captured, all the while teaching Leo about being kind to others. And stuff.
The plot? Predictable. The villains? Beyond cliché. But that's to be expected and Leo the Lion really is a sweet story. In fact, it has a good share of moments that deserve an "awwww!" With his big sad eyes, strange chocolate points, and the fact that his life sucks, Tooie is downright adorable. I wish I knew who did his voice...they're very, very good. So is Leo's, if a tad overboard with the gruffness.
Quite possibly the best thing about this movie is the music. Leo the Lion has an incredible soundtrack for a low-budget, made for children under six. The opening theme is just plain catchy and I dare you not to tap your toes to it. The second is sung by Tooie post-orphaning but pre-Leo, when he's alone and desperately trying to take care of himself...he sounds so genuinely heartbroken. The third is the "Hey, audience! Leo's changed! He's a nice guy now! See? See? See?" It's not as good as the other two but not at all unlikable.
Leo the Lion is not Disney by any means. In fact, it must be viewed as what it is--a short movie meant to entertain a few kids--to be enjoyed. But I think it's a sweet little gem of a movie that, as well as its intended purpose, can easily put a smile on the face of adults. It's a shame more people don't know about it.
Frosty Returns (1992)
Worth seeing once
It's funny. Usually if we love a Christmas special as children, we'll be loyal to it forever. But I suppose there's exceptions to every rule and for me, Frosty Returns is that exception. I loved it to death when I was little-Miss Carbuncle cracked me up ("Where there's snow there's slush, and where there's slush there's ice, and where there's ice there's broken hips, and where there's broken hips there's substitute teachers!!"). She still does, as a matter of fact, but the rest of the show is just bad.
Frosty Returns is about-you guessed it-Frosty the Snowman returning. He acts nothing like he did in the original, spouting out things that seem to be jokes and dancing at completely random times. Strangely, it seems he can survive without his hat now. In the town of Beansboro he meets up with Holly DeCarlo. Holly wants to be a magician and she isn't really unlikeable, but her only friend is a token nerd named Charles. About five seconds after she and Frosty meet up, they find out a product called Summer Wheeze is being used by everyone in town. Basically, it's an aerosol spray that melts snow in seconds and creates instant spring. From then on Holly and Charles try to both save Frosty and stop Summer Wheeze.
You won't find any mention of Christmas here. Winter is the thing being saved. The word that annoys me is SAVED. The way Holly and Frosty talk about Summer Wheeze, you'd think it was bottled AIDs designed to wipe out dangerous minorities. And it's maker, Mr. Twichell, is the made out to be the epitome of evil-from the horrible way he's drawn to his cat. He keeps babbling on about how he wants a crown, because everyone loves Summer Wheeze. Forget the millions he's sure to make-give the man a crown.
I've always tried to be Earth friendly and I'm sure Summer Wheeze is a very bad thing. But I admit if a product like it existed, I'd buy thirty cans. The area I live in gets around 144 inches of snow a year, and it lasts into late March. It's like clockwork-I love December, tolerate January, get annoyed in Feburary, disgusted in March, and by the time Spring comes around like an angel of salvation, I'm ready to put a bullet in my head.
What Frosty Returns does is lecture for thirty minutes about how winter isn't bad-we NEED winter, it's fun, pretty, magical! We won't let old Stinkypants Mr. Twichell take it away! Uh, Holly, Frosty, sweeties...YOU DON'T HAVE TO DRIVE IN THE (expletive) STUFF!!! SHUT UP! AND STOP SINGING! Aside from all that, Frosty Returns still is annoying. The animation looks a lot like Charlie Brown except bright and irritating. Even Holly and Charles show shades of Peppermint Pattie and Marcie in that a) Holly treats Charles like dirt, b) Charles looks exactly like Marcie with brown hair and empty, white eyes, and c) There's a very good chance the two are going to grow up and get married.
Now that's something to think about while you're watching.
As Christmas movies go, The Year Without a Santa Claus is just "meh."
It's the story of how Santa gets a cold (big fat whoop, I had a cold when I was watching this) and decides he's not going to do Christmas this year. Nobody believes in him, he whines. This doesn't sit well with Mrs. Claus. She almost decides to dress up and do it all herself, but for some reason abandons this plan. So instead she sends out the ambiguously gay elves Jingle and Jangle, along with Vixen the reindeer (why Vixen I'm not sure. While adorable, she's just a fawn and the trip really does a number on her health) to prove there's some Christmas spirit left. Eventually Santa follows to bring the trio back.
While the special itself is mediocre at best, Heat Miser and Snow Miser make it all worthwhile. Once I realized Snow Miser was indeed wearing pants, I took my head out of the oven and he became my favorite of the two brothers. He's as funny as a 70s character can be. Heat Miser has cool hair. Hmm...not the right word, since it's made of fire. Anyway, the two absolutely hilarious together, bickering like kindergartners but becoming good little boys when their mother comes around. The scene where they make threatening gestures at each other behind her back is priceless. And I'm not even going to get started on their songs-suffice it to say you'll find yourself singing them at inappropriate times.
The rest of the show is a roller-coaster of good and bad. Mrs. Claus is certainly one of the better characters, with a nice amount of wit. As she introduces an ugly little boy named Ignatius Thistlewhite, she comments "Nice name" with the tiniest bit of sarcasm. But when we actually meet Ignatius ("Iggy") and his equally ugly family, the plot takes another nosedive. Everyone sings to Iggy about why he should believe and Santa cuz Santa's good and nice and sweet and fat and jolly and doesn't carve his name into trees or beat his wife.
Conclusion: The Year Without A Santa Claus is better than Rudolph's Shiny New Year, worse than a lot of other cartoons. See it all once, then just watch it for Heat and Snow Miser. It makes an amusing Christmas special to watch with a cup of hot chocolate.
Tottoko Hamutaro (2000)
Like adding several spoonfuls of sugar to your Pepsi
Watching Hamtaro is a lot like eating paint chips. It's semi-interesting and even sweet, but before long you realize your brain is turning into a thin, soupy mush.
I used to have a hamster named Sakura and before she met an untimely death a few months after I'd bought her, I think she could have written a better plot than this. Hamtaro is a fuzzy wittle hamster who lives with his owner (named Laura and voiced by Moneca Stori, who turned Kagome from Inuyasha into a giggly moron and killed what was a wonderful anime). Every day when she scampers off to school, he goes to a tiny little clubhouse to play with his fuzzy wittle hamster friends and have all kinds of adorable adventures in their brightly colored world. Egh, I feel dirty just writing about it.
The little vermin are referred to as "ham-hams." It's supposed to be cute, for some reason-personally, I like "hamster" much better. It conjures up pictures of a chubby, fluffy little rodent and not of a pig's dirty end. In an effort to cram more cute down our throats, most of the ham-hams wear clothes and drink tea, though I don't know where they got the fire to make it. They even have wee little teacups! :D :) :l :( :(_ _ X(
Some things about this show are downright disturbing. I'm talking about Boss, the lead hamster, and his perverted lust-er, sorry, "crush" on a pretty little French hamster named Bijou. If Boss were a human, I'd say he'd be in his late 40s to early 50s. Bijou looks and sounds like she's 8. So apparently pedophilia is funny! Tee hee!
No matter what the episode, they all end the same way. Laura writes in her diary with Hamtaro sitting nearby. They both replay the day's events, just in case the viewer gave up on caring and went to go get some danish. Laura closes her diary and says to Hamtaro, with a big, possibly Ritalin induced smile, something along the lines of "That was a great day we had. And I bet tomorrow will be even better!" Maybe, Laura. Or maybe your parents will be hit by a car. Oops, you guessed wrong! Off ya go to live with cruel foster parents.
Then the credits roll and Hamtaro does a mildly suggestive dance, freeing us until the next episode.
I watched this show for a while simply because it actually was sort of cute, especially the hamsters' made up language (consisting of words like "heke?", "kush, kush, kush", and Penelope's "Ookyu!" **** you indeed, you little sweetie!) But even that was taken away. Now the hamsters all have tiny bodies and ugly, bulbous heads instead being pudgy and at least slightly realistic. And there goes any chance of Hamtaro being watchable.
Bottom line: This isn't anime, this is nonsense. Send it back to the fiery, sugary depths it came from. If want to see cute talking rodents, I'll watch Secret of NIMH or maybe Redwall. Give me the intelligence and loyalty of a rat any day.
Wolf's Rain (2003)
Ever have a dream that makes very little sense, but you wake up with tears in your eyes? You lay there in a daze, wishing you could get the dream back. You don't understand it, but you know you've just seen something incredibly beautiful.
Well, Wolf's Rain is a lot like one of those dreams.
The story is fairly complicated. It's the future and the world is slowly dying, broken up into cities run by nobles. Wolves are considered mythical creatures, but they live right among humans (they can change form in the blink of an eye.) The story centers on four wolves named Kiba, Tsume, Toboe, and Hige (their names mean Fang, Claw, Howling, and Whisker, respectively) who set out on a journey to find a place called Paradise.
I'm probably a little biased. As my name suggests, I eat up anything to do with wolves like blueberry pie. Even my online alter-ego happens to be one. But even if you don't worship all things wolfy, you'll probably like this show. The animation is clear and very realistic, from gently falling snow to splattering blood. The music is some of the best I've ever heard-I used to watch this show just to hear "Gravity". Superb voice acting and dubbing, which is what bumped this show up past Inuyasha on my "favorite anime" list.
Even though the final seconds of the series create a horribly disappointing ending, it doesn't matter too much. Each episode grabs you and holds you, then leaves you speechless at the end. I dare you not to get teary eyed as the end draws near and characters start dying.
There's nothing more to say, except go watch Wolf's Rain right now. Really, just do it. It has a surreal beauty that goes beyond any other cartoon I've ever seen.
Five stars, 10/10, 110%, perfect, brilliant.
Invader ZIM (2001)
Rest in Peace, solider...
What can you say about Invader Zim? If I could, I'd just call it abso-friggin-lutley-fan-bloody-tastic and leave it at that. But I obviously can't do that or my review would be much too short.
The show was about an alien from Irk, a military planet bent on conquering the galaxy. They did this by sending out invaders to study the planets' weaknesses, softening them up for the Irken armada. Enter Zim, who single-handedly ruined the first attempt at galactic conquest by accidentally attacking the planet. He's also very short and since height determines status on Irk, this is bad for him. He "quits being banished" when he hears about Operation Impending Doom II and begs the Almighty Tallest (leaders of the planet--remember the height thing)? for a second chance. They finally send him to a "secret planet," expecting him to die and thus be out of their way for good. Zim doesn't die, but arrives on Earth, where he makes himself a very crude disguise and house. He joins the skool (I'm not kidding, that's the way it's spelled all throughout the show) hoping to learn more about the planet, and that's where he meets Dib. Dib loves paranormal things and is the only one who sees through the disguise...but of course no one believes him. From that point on, Zim tries to destroy the earth and Dib tries to capture/expose him for what he really is. This isn't a pathetic "Ash and Team Rocket" rivalry either. These guys think nothing of killing each other, especially in Zim's case. Look to episodes like "Dark Harvest," "Room with a Moose," and "Nanozim" for proof. It can get pretty dark, though still pretty appropriate for kids. My 9 year old cousin likes it fine.
There are so many good things about this show I don't know where to begin. The animation is what you'd expect from Jhonen Vasquez, and puts other cartoons I've seen to shame (*coughWildThornberriescough*). The music matches the mood of the show, from the pulsing theme to the surreal disco of the Mexico scene in "Walk of Doom." Flawless voice acting-especially with Richard Horvitz, who can turn Zim from evil to adorable in seconds, and Rikki Simons who masters Zim's idiotic robot slave, GIR. There's a lot of background behind the plot and characters. If you care to look, you can find information on the Irken's history, biology, and economy-it's really a smart show! The secondary characters are amazing too. Miss Bitters is the creepy teacher with some of the funniest lines in the show ("The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions"). Gaz is Dib's Gothic sister who plays video games nonstop. Even the people standing in the background can give you a laugh (and be sure to look for the many cameos!)
And to think that all this was canceled, probably to make room for more Spongebob and Jimmy Neutron. The way Nick slowly killed the show through budget cuts and censorship proved they don't want to entertain older viewers like they did in the old days, so in a way the whole channel died with the show.
Good-bye Zim. Thank you for the gift of laughter we can never repay.
OK, I'll be honest. I saw a preview for this on Samson and Sally when I was VERY little, thus I don't really know what its about. But nobody else seems to have even come to this board, so I'll review it.
Foofur appears to be about a dog...a very ugly blue dog. He lives in a house with some equally ugly dogs. They do stuff, and since this was a children's show I assume that "stuff" involved wholesome lessons.
Well, that concludes my review of Foofur. Oh yeah, and there was a very cute Chihuahua. I like Chihuahuas.
Max & Ruby (2002)
I saw this once when I had a cold and the only alternative to Nick Jr. was political shows and Jerry Springer. To my surprise, I found it very sweet. OK, OK-it was downright adorable!
The show is about two little white bunnies, Ruby (age 7) and her little brother Max (age 3) and the trouble they get into. Actually, the trouble Max gets into because his stupid sister won't watch him. I'm sorry to say it, but Ruby is a terrible guardian. She neglects Max in favor of playing with her dolls (they have stupid names like Curly Shirly and Quack Quack Duck). If she bothers to play with him, it usually involves dressing him up with makeup like a prostitute. In an episode I saw just today, Max was hungry. You could tell because he kept saying "hungry!" Apparently Ruby is oblivious to his starvation and hauls him upstairs to give him a bath. While she fills the tub, Max goes down and gets a tub of sherbet. Ruby finds him and takes him back to the bathroom, sherbet and all, and then leaves him unattended in the tub to go get soap (real good parenting, honey. While you ramble about peach soap, Max is floating face down in the water.) She comes back to find that he has brought his sherbet into the tub, spilled it, and the water is now full of it. While she prepares a new bath, Max goes down for more food. Ruby brings him back up with the food, goes to get towels, Max spills the food in the water. This is repeated THREE TIMES. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS SACRED, RUBY, JUST GET THE CHILD A SANDWICH AND LET HIM EAT IT DOWNSTAIRS!
Like I said, Ruby is a horrible guardian. I have no idea where their parents are-maybe on vacation. I personally have a theory that they were killed in a bar fight and social services doesn't exist in the rabbit world. But I digress. The wonderful thing about this show is how Max outsmarts Ruby. He usually finds a way to get what he wants/or solve a problem despite Ruby's constant barrage of "No, Max!" Oh, and the look he gets on his face when he does. First he narrows his eyes at Ruby, as if saying "Nasty old wench." Then he pulls back his ears with this clever little smile...it's one of the cutest things I've ever seen.
Best of all, there really don't seem to be any morals in the show. Just things like "Listen to others, don't be like Ruby!" and "If you're smarter than someone else, you can succeed at whatever you want." These are very thinly veiled and probably not intentional. But unlike the lessons in Dora the Explorer, they can be used in real life!
Cute, funny, and just a little evil-I give Max and Ruby 7/10!
I've been waiting for this movie...
********BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS!*************
The Land Before Time was one of my favorite movies when I was around 4-5. It actually taught me about death. It's a cherished childhood memory, therefore I'd like to see it treated with a little respect. Instead I've seen it abused over the years, milked for sequels whenever the studio goes broke. Each one is worse than the last, chock full of fruity singing. So wasn't I surprised when I saw LBT X!
Honestly, it's like a breath of fresh air after being stuck downwind from a fart. Where do I begin?
First of all, the voice acting is better. Instead of paying some homeless guy with a sandwich and a roll of toilet paper, some actual celebrities were hired. And who should be supplying the voice of the most important character, but Kiefer Sutherland! This is a big thing for me, I'm a huge Kiefer fan. So much that I don't really give a toot about other important people voicing other important longnecks.
Second of all, the plot of the first movie ties in with this one. In all the other sequels, Littlefoot is just happy as a clam and never mentions or even thinks about his mother. For the love of cake, people, she died in front of him! If your mother was shredded apart by a vicious dinosaur and you were left to survive yourself, would you be frolicking around singing songs? I don't know about you, but I'd be cowering in my "safe corner". Not to mention Littlefoot's home is rife with morons. But not in this movie. Here, a series of dreams leads Littlefoot to a place where he meets his father. Finally he's forced to take off his rose-colored sunglasses and remember his past. The result is a movie that's at least somewhat mature.
A nicely thought out plot (parts actually mirror a fan fiction story I wrote), Kiefer Sutherland voicing Littlefoot's father, and I really don't think there were quite as many songs. All together I'm more than satisfied with this movie. Granted, there are better cartoons out there to entertain you. But if you were a fan of the first movie and are disgusted with the sugary sequels, I think you'll find Land Before Time X pleasantly refreshing.