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Femion » Rants

An Analysis of Disney Movies (by someone who is probably too old to still be watching them)

July 20th, 2008

Ever since around the age of 13, when I decided I was too old to still watch them, I came to the opinion that most Disney movies suck. Of course, I still saw they occasional latest release from Disney, as I had my neighbor’s kids and cousins to babysit.

Last week, after having the movie recommended by friends (Liam and Katherine) John decided to take me to see Wall-E.

Wall-E was amazing. It was cute, visually and sonically stunning. It was funny without being juvenile, smart without being pretentious. Even the ending credits (all 900 lines of them!) were interesting.

Encouraged by this, I decided to watch Enchanted, another Disney movie recommended to me by a friend (Laird). Enchanted also greatly exceeded my expectations of Disney movies. I also recently re-watched Mary Poppins with a couple of friends, and it seemed so much better than I remember it being.

I started to wonder - where Disney movies always this good? But then how to explain the crappiness of what about Robin Hood, The Haunted Mansion, The Pacifier or The Game Plan? Has Disney just been revitalized in the bast couple of years after a downward trend? In order to answer this question, I decided to graph the rottentomatoes.com ratings of major Disney releases (not the straight-to-DVD sequels like Pocahontas 2 or Mulan 2, I know those are going to suck) by year. This is what I found:

disneymovies.jpg

A few remarks:

Most of the first Disney movies ever made (Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia) are over 90%. The fraction of movies in what I’d call the ‘excellent’ category has been decreasing steadily with time. But this isn’t a good measure of the quality of Disney movies, as Disney now produces around twice as many feature movies per year as it did in its first decade of existence. Perhaps Disney put more effort into its movies when it only produced one or two per year, or maybe now that there are more we’re seeing a more normal distribution of ratings.

Pixar is Awesome Toy Story was the only Disney movie to get 100% in the 90s. Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc. and Wall-E were the top rated Disney movies of the 00s. Disney also rides high off of the imported Miyazaki movies (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke). But…

Computer animation does not a good movie make. Disney’s non-Pixar attempts at computer animated movies, such as Meet the Robinsons, The Country Bears, and The Wild, have all been suck-tacular.

Sequels are not meant for theatres. In 2003, Disney broke their rule that animated sequels being kept out of theatres by releasing The Jungle Book 2. It sucked. Movies that also sucked: the live action versions of 101 Dalmatians, and 102 Dalmatians. Children do seem to love repetition (most nursery rhymes use it), but sequels should only be used for television babysitting.

The main problem with children’s movies are that they are made for children. Bad Disney movies pander a child’s sense of humor or attention span. That’s why we get movies like Dr. Dolittle. Good Disney movies are the ones that still capture childlike innocence and wonder without relying on slapstick comedy or constant action. My research supervisor took his 4 year old daughter to see Wall-E, and they left 20 minutes in to the movie because she was getting bored. There were no talking characters or people doing silly things, just a robot and a cricket on a deserted planet. I always got bored or fell asleep watching Mary Poppins as a child, these days it moves at just the right pace.

Disney hasn’t made a decent non-computer animated movie in years. DisneyToons, the branch of Disney now making classic-style animated movies, is a recipe for suck.

Making movies used to take a lot of painstaking effort. Now they’re relatively cheap, which means that Disney can produce a lot of them without too much quality control. They make movies that only stupid kids want to see. Because of this, we seem to have forgotten that movies can have a G rating and still be entertaining for adults.

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Coding frustrations

June 13th, 2008

For most of today, I’ve been dealing with two programming annoyances. The first is in my work. I chose to write my programs in Actionscript instead of Java, and I think I’m now paying the price. As far as I can tell, the only way to incorporate outside data is with XML, and Actionscript references XML in a very irksome way. Think of XML as storing data as boxes inside of boxes. For example, an XML document could be of the form:
<box1>
<innerboxa>
</innerboxa>
</box1>
<box2>
</box2>
<box3>
<innerboxb>
</innerboxb>
<innerboxc>
</innerboxc>
</box3>
Now, I think it would make sense to be able to reference the stuff in inner box c by going xml.box3.innerboxc . But no. Actionscript ignores the names of the boxes and instead arranges the tags by a family tree. To get to innerboxc, you have to go firstChild.nextSibling.nextSibling.firstChild.nextSibling.
Anyway, I’ve gotten used to the Actionscript family tree system. The problem I ran into a few days ago was that Actionscript didn’t seem to be passing variables out of the xml scope into the global scope. At least, that was what I assumed was going on, from the forum threads I read. So I spent several hours trying out all the various solutions, and none of them worked. It turned out that my problem was that the functions using data from xml were executing before the xml data was loaded. A few minutes to write some timeline controls and it was fixed. So much for four wasted hours spent on the wrong solution.
I’m also working on a facebook application for the DSU. My second frustration is related to the facebook libraries that are required for facebook applications. They include files that don’t exist, or are in another directory. It seems like a really easy thing to fix, and facebook has been allowing people to develop applications for at least a year now.

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Just another reason why I’m so happy to be moving out of the dorm in April

February 12th, 2008

Exhibit A: the bottles of urine.

urinebottles.jpg

Note posted on the garbage room door by the cleaning lady.

My question would be: why? We live at most three doors from a mostly clean bathroom and I don’t think anyone has a medical problem preventing them from using it.

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In case you wanted a taste of life in my dorm room…

October 27th, 2007

Then play these two songs as loud as possible, leave the door open and go into the room right next to it. Then imagine having to listen to that every single day, from noon until 2 in the morning.
Yes, dear friends and relatives, these are apparently my neighbor’s two favourite songs:


Now imagine trying to do topology or second year calculus homework in that environment. Luckily, I have a best friend and boyfriend with quieter rooms.
Ugh. It’s starting up again.

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He’s an Orange Maaaan…

June 16th, 2007

do da doot da do do daaaa…

layton.jpg

Last night I went to see what Jack Layton, leader of the New Democrats, the third most powerful political party in Canada, had to say. It doesn’t sound impressive, but they’ve got 17.5% of the vote compared to the measily 0.34% acquired by the Libertarians in the states, and their founder Tommy Douglas is often attributed with the creation of Canada’s health care. (Sorry for lecture, Canadian readers)
I’ll probably end up voting for the NDP in the next election (which will be my first!) even though I disagree with a lot of the things on their platform, because the Liberals made a deal with the Greens that they wouldn’t run a candidate in Central Nova if the Greens stayed out of the riding of Stefan Dion, the liberal leader. The NDP candidate was a social studies teacher at my high school who I never had, although I had conservative friends who found her class a bit nutty.
Let me just say that I think I hate politics and I don’t look to any current politicians in Canada or the US with respect or admiration. Layton’s speech did nothing to change that. He’s not a very good orator and he had nothing novel to say than the typical ‘Guy in charge is bad because he breaks his campaign promises. I’ve never been in charge but I’ll keep my outrageous and unattainable campaign promises just because it’s easy to say it now.’ rhetoric.
A guy in the middle of the audience fainted and fell off his chair in the middle of his speech. People around him stood up and wondered if they should call 911, and Layton just went on telling his bad joke about Peter Mackay (not that I’m defending Mackay, the joke was unfunny), as if he was too concerned about his appearance to even feign sympathy for one of his voters.
Also, I’ve been wondering why Jack Layton says he stands up for working and middle-class families, not working and middle class people. Does that mean he doesn’t care for single, adult orphans or people who have become distanced from their family? As my dad suggests, it’s a piece of propoganda designed to make the NDP look less communist and more conservative without actually being conservative. Or maybe they’re trying to associate themselves with the fond memories people have of their own families, since it’s not just the NDP who do this.
Now, though I’ve been very critical of the NDP in this post, don’t think for a moment that I’m some right wing fanatic, because I’m not.
I’m just unsure that I want to be a socialist.

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I deleted my myspace account

May 4th, 2007

Because it’s one of the worst websites ever created, possibly even worse than hotmail. Facebook is the way of the future. So goodbye to:
- entering a verification code every time I want to login because I had the wrong password stored with firefox
- extremely long waits for pages to load
- music playing automatically when you load a page
- the gaudy, hideous images that get passed around like spam at holidays and when you ad someone as a friend
- having random people spamming my profile and having to block them each individually
- getting e-mail notifications every time someone spams my profile
- creepy messages from forty year old men
- no one is on myspace except preteens, cougars, basement dwellers, and indie bands
I think my yahoo 360 profile is soon to follow. It’s not quite as bad, but I suspect that it’s the reason for the requests for cybersex and english practice I get on my Yahoo messenger.
I know I could set my profiles to private, but then no one I actually know can find me. What would be the point?

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Five Reasons Why I don

August 22nd, 2006

1. Every single store has back to school shopping ads, from Lawton

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Horses Have Nice Gums

August 19th, 2006


My name is Catherine, a Real PersonTM, and I approved this blog post.

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Holy inflating planets, Batman, it

August 12th, 2006

If you watch television in North America, particularly the weather network and prime time news, you may have seen these Nasonex ads with the Antonio Banderas bee. I find them very obnoxious and cheesy, but ad hominem attacks and personal opinion aside, they are the work of Continuity Studios, led by Neal Adams. Among other things, Neal Adams is a comic book artist and known for his work on Batman. He is also a

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Whoa, Nelly, you’ve gone to far!

July 6th, 2006

I know I’m probably just repeating what most music reviewers have been saying, but I just felt like I needed to share in my disgust over this recent transformation. Do you remember Nelly Furtado a few years ago, when her Folklore record came out? When she was all ethnic and folksy and singer/songwriter-ish (though still mainstream) and she sang about things like loosing your identity and growing up, and being controlled in a relationship? I was a fan of hers then. I just let it pass when people called her “Nelly Retardo” because they just hadn’t gotten over her I’m like a bird days. If you need a reminder, here are too of her old songs. By the way, although my favourite song, Explode, never got to heavy rotation on muchmusic, it was animated in Halifax.
Explode

Try

And now, she’s gone and done this:
Promiscuous

Maneater

She dropped her last name and picked up a new career as a hip-hop singer/rapper. She started pumping out songs with 0 substance just to gain popularity. She used to be a role model, but now she’s another tool.
Nelly, drop the rap act and start using your last name again, please! Hip hop’s already got a Nelly who raps novelty songs like Hot in Here and Grillz. Do you really want to be confused with that?
On another note, Age of Mythology is a really fun game, although it’s been causing me to vegetate in my room for a while.

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