As I have been doing my reviews people have asked me ‘what is your favorite of what you’ve reviewed so far?’ It’s tough because I like all of them for different reasons. But I thought it would be fun to give some highlights of the first 20 years of Disney which I just finished by reviewing Sleeping Beauty.
Overall Best Film- Cinderella
It’s really hard to decide but I’d pick Cinderella because it has the whole package. It’s got a likable heroine who we actually get to know, great songs, it’s got artistry in scenes like Sing Sweet Nightingale, a terrific villain in Lady Tremaine, brilliant voice work and just the right touch of humor.
Overall Worst Film- Three Cabelleros and Fun and Fancy Free
I gave 2 films D grades, Fun and Fancy Free and Three Cabelleros. FFF I thought was just lazy. The Bongo story is odd and…
Today sucked. My computer died in the middle of working on a project for work for the 7th time in 2 months. Then I was on the phone with HP and trying to get a printer to work for a tenant and it wouldn’t. Then another printer would’t work. Then a scanner wouldn’t work.
Tonight tried to do some videos for my channel and spent about 4 hours to face 2 corrupted files that were edited and a complete mess!
Needless to say it was just one of those days….
On days like today I try to go to a happy place. And for me it is always the same. The happiest I have ever been was on the North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii. I literally think about it every day I’m not there and one of the dreams of my life is to have a little place to go to on the North Shore whenever I want. Even if it was 200 square feet and had a shared bathroom I wouldn’t care because I’d be where I love.
When I was asked to write this blog I thought what would be the perfect day on the North Shore and this timeline immediately came to me.
My Dream Day on the North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii.
First thing I would do is wake up early and head towards Sunset Beach. At SB they have a lovely bakery and restaurant called Ted’s Bakery. Ted’s is famous for their cream pies (they were selected by Food and Wine Magazine as one of the US best pumpkin pies and that’s not even their specialty.
With a good breakfast you are ready to go to Waimea Bay which has great surf most of the year and a long shoreline. Parking is small so you may have to sit in your car and wait till someone leaves. Don’t worry it is worth it.
I mean does it get better than that? Not for me.
Although signs warn against it many jump off the large rock into the bay.
You can surf, enjoy the waves, swim, or get some sun. Last time I was there I even saw some dolphins
Here I am with the surf boards after a day in the water
Once you are ready to leave the beach you can go over to the Waimea Bay Falls and take the leisurely trail to swim with waterfalls. I am not a hiker but this trail is super easy and beautiful. Plus, swimming in the falls is super fun.
After all that you will be exhausted, so head over to the shrimp trucks like Giovanni’s.
Full of delish food, beautiful waves and scenery you will be ready to crash and then start all over again.
We’ve made it my friends. The end of the package films!!
And I’m glad to say this last one is the best, and it continues Disney’s great tradition of taking risks and doing things that are unexpected. Next we have:
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad was released in 1949 and did well at the box office but became a fixture of the 1980’s and 90’s airing on Disney channel around Halloween. Both of the stories of Ichabod Crane and Toad are pretty dark for Disney but then again Disney has often been pretty dark. The devil in Fantasia. Pleasure Island in Pinocchio. The haunted forest in Snow White.
One of my favorite critics on youtube, the Nostalgia Critic, has a great series Disneycember which is worth checking out and he has this video on why we so often scare children in movies. It has some foul language…
So I’ve had a lot of down time lately…literally. Fortunately my knee is healing right on schedule and I feel confident it will continue to do so. Still only so much a girl can do when confined to 2 rooms for most of the day.
Of course I have been doing my Disney challenge which if you haven’t followed the blog it has turned out great! I’m in the slog of the package films from the 40s but I bet you don’t know much about them so it will be fun for you (probably more fun to read my reviews than for me to watch them…)
Another thing I’ve enjoyed is finally watching the Amazing Race Canada and Amazing Race Australia vs New Zealand. They are completely awesome! So much better than the last 4 or five seasons of Amazing Race US. Especially the last season where the challenges were too backyard carnival, no travel drama, too few cities and thoroughly whiny winners. (If I had to hear ‘we are so old’ or ‘Wa wa, they U-turned us’ I think I would have screamed).
Honestly the premiere of Amazing Race Canada was better than the finale of Amazing Race US. I hope TAR US you are taking notes! The host is great for Amazing Race Canada and they have an eclectic group. On both the Ausie and the Canada cast I don’t feel the casting was as gimmicky as the US casting has gotten.
Now there is always the bickering couple, blonde girls, child/father, alpha-males, reality tv couple, newlyweds. It’s become so predictable but in these international versions they have blondes but they are smart and actually good at the game. In Canada they are hockey players and they have oddly been very good at every challenge except playing hockey…They are more than the color of their hair.
I particularly like the cast for the Australia vs New Zealand because the country loyalty adds a layer of strategy which is interesting. Suddenly a team you might U-turn because they are strong you don’t because they are for your country. We will see how long that lasts but so far been great.
For both casts they do some challenges at home but it doesn’t matter a bit. You are still getting to know a culture and doing fun challenges. I guess for me it is foreign where they are showing but I still think they are good challenges that have been very physical but fun.
Anyway, there are lots of ways to watch both shows. Look on youtube or watch on the shows websites.
These international versions are reminding me why I liked the show to begin with. It’s pretty amazing!
So after the grant was finished with Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros Walt Disney was left with a problem. The army took many of his artists into it’s service and much of the rest of his staff was busy making training videos and propaganda films for the US Government.
If Walt wanted his feature film division to stay in tact and be functional after the war he would have to do something to keep releasing films. That is why we get the next 4 short subject or package films. Anyone can tell these are scrapped projects picked up again, clumsily clobbered together to get as close to an hour of material as they could because that is literally what they are.
In some cases that produced hidden gems. In others boring segments that should have been kept in the scrap pile, but in many more cases it creates things…
I just wanted to give you guys an update on my knee. This week was huge! I saw improvement everyday and I was very good about staying off my knee as much as possible. I even had a ticket to Wicked today but didn’t want to push it so I sold it to a friend.
It’s weird I feel secluded from the rest of the world. Like I’m in some kind of tunnel or bomb shelter. I see my roommate and visitors and interact with others (including work) online. It’s amazing how quickly you can cut yourself off from people. It is also amazing how quickly the human brain gets used to a new routine, a new way of doing things. Staying upstairs for days feels oddly normal.
So, what have been doing to keep myself busy upstairs? Well, a lot of work which has been great. I met some of my coworkers when they were here for the OR Show and told them some of my ideas for youtube and they loved it!! They liked it so much they asked my boss if I could participate in a conference call on Wednesday and share them. I made a power point presentation explaining my ideas and it went great!!!
We’ve been working on this spreadsheet project at work which is fine but I’m really excited to do something a little more creative so hopefully that will be starting after the presentation.
I’ve also been having fun diving into my old VHS collection because my friend Sharla is moving to Malaysia and she sold me her collection and her TV/VCR combo. I watched Aladdin and Snow White on it. So fun.
I think I had built it in my brain there was a huge difference between VHS and DVD/Blu-ray and there is but not much. I was surprised how long it took to rewind. Seemed like forever.
As you’ve seen from the reblog I’ve also started a new blog I’m very excited about. If you like what I’ve said on this blog about movies please follow me on http://57disneyreviews.wordpress.com/ as I watch all 57 Walt Disney animated films (there may actually be 62 depending on where I draw the line).
I already have posts on Snow White, Pinocchio and Fantasia. I know you’ll enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. The melding of mediums in animation is just amazing. I love it.
I also couldn’t help but do some shopping upstairs ala QVC. I know what you are thinking but I sincerely like what I bought. So cute!
Aside from that I’ve been heating up microwave food, still filming my videos, watching big brother, listening to podcasts, getting my manga read for my next Adventures in Reading, resting, and heading downstairs once a day. It’s a very exciting life!
I was pretty frustrated last week but am feeling positive today so hopefully next week I’ll be close to as good as new!
It certainly does make me grateful for all those times my knee does work without pain. It also fills me with even more admiration for my Mother who went through bedrest for 4 of her children. I can’t even imagine how hard that would be for months and months.
It has been a tough time in many ways but also a chance to think and be reminded of how many wonderful people I have in my life. How many people all around the country are praying for me and anxious for my recovery. How many people have been by for a visit or to offer assistance. It’s humbling to need service but a good experience too and I’m so grateful.
I was very sad to miss out on the Deer Creek swim on Saturday but I went out and finally tried the Bake 360 brunch menu. So delish! Thanks to Emilee for helping me do that.
In the end I’m just grateful for this time as Upstairs Rachel but also ready for it to be over. Please continue to send those prayers.
Production- (If you want to read about the segments skip down to Segments)
In modern movies typically we see a hit followed by a million imitators. Not the case with Disney. Even in later, more commercial years they followed Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast with the different feels of Aladdin and Lion King. However, this was never more true than in the early years. A mammoth hit of Snow White was followed by 4 films that couldn’t be more different- Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi.
Fantasia was the 3rd animated feature film by Walt Disney Studios and it is a bold undertaking to be sure. Originally Walt was worried the character of Mickey was going to be forgotten by the public and even the studio. As his master creation Walt didn’t want this to happen and had developed an idea for the Sorcerers Apprentice. Music had been written…
I’m not going to reblog all of these but just while the blog is starting I thought it was a good idea.
So I faced my childhood fears and watched Disney’s second animated feature Pinocchio. It’s pretty intense and bizarre. Check out the review
So now we get to a terrifying moment of my childhood- watching Pinocchio. And on a rewatching I have to say I was perfectly valid in being scared! It’s kind of a nutty movie but in a way I now find quite brilliant.
Bambi was originally meant to be Disney’s second animated film but with delays that honor went to Pinocchio. It debuted in 1940 and was initially a huge flop. It wasn’t until a re-release in 1945 that the studio began to make back it’s investment.
It won Oscars for Best Original Score and Best Original Song and is considered by some as Walt’s masterpiece.
It was certainly a bold undetaking. All the post- Snow White movies were very bold. I think we have an idea of the 30’s- 50’s as being squeaky clean and polished but that’s definitely not the case with Disney. Snow White, Bambi and Pinocchio…
To begin this project of course we have to start where it all began. The first full length animated film- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Debuting in 1937, Snow White was not only a creative success but a commercial hit as well. Earning $8 million dollars in its initial release, making it the highest grossing film at the time. Walt Disney was given an honorary Oscar in 1939 for his achievement and the 7 Dwarfs became marketing icons on all kinds of merchandise, creating a commercial profitability which film had not seen to that point.
Work on the film began in 1934 with an initial budget of 250k. For a time it was called ‘Disney’s folly’ because Walt had to mortgage his house and ran up a cost of nearly 1.5 million to produce.
Disney was fond of the 7 Dwarfs and many different personalities were tested including Tubby…