Top Ten Peanuts Specials

…………………………………………………….

Top Ten Peanuts Specials

Peanuts specials have been a television staple for half a century with 45 of them being released up to this point. I personally disliked quite a couple of them and at least half are not great, but those that are good are really worth seeing and there are enough truly great specials to fill one list with honorable mentions. So without further ado, here are the ten best Peanuts specials in my opinion.

10. You’re in Love, Charlie Brown

This 1967 Peanuts special has been adapted for ‘The Peanuts Movie’ in 2015 and is a quintessential Little Red-Haired girl episode. I loved how it ended on such a sweet note and Charlie Brown is so endearing here. But the special also benefits from a couple of terrific scenes with Lucy and Sally and both are very funny here. It isn’t the most polished special, but it is good enough that it deserves the tenth spot.

9. Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown

I just really enjoyed this one which is the newest and so far the last Peanuts entry, being released in 2011. It surely is overstuffed with too many plot points and uneven, but it works more often than not with a good couple of subplots. Naturally the standout aspect is the major storyline with Linus losing his security blanket and trying to get it back. This is his defining moment and it features him giving a heartwarming speech about insecurities.

8. A Charlie Brown Valentine

Another Little-Red Haired girl entry on the list, Charlie Brown accidentally invites both Peppermint Patty and Marcie to his party where he wants to talks to his crush. This special is convoluted, but frequently very funny and works great as a Valentine Peanuts story. I also found its ending to be wonderfully ambiguous and certainly one of the most memorable in the series.

7. Why, Charlie Brown, Why?

This is probably the most depressing that the series ever got. And although it was too dark at times, its honest treatment of cancer was groundbreaking at the time for the animation medium and certainly admirable. Linus is an excellent protagonist here as he falls in love with Janice, who suffers from cancer. The final moment where she throws her hat away and it turns out that she has hair meaning that she is treated was just beautiful to witness and so powerful.

6. Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!

Charlie Brown has to read a book for homework while all of the other kids celebrate the holiday. I found this story to be overly cruel to good old Chuck, but it was mostly very funny in this scenario and it features a great use of Sally, Linus and of course Charlie himself. They made use of this particular holiday really well here while also presenting a solid, relatable homework subplot.

5. Is This Goodbye, Charlie Brown?

Linus and Lucy are moving away and that naturally led to some poignant drama. However, it also led to a couple of important moments that we had never seen before it. The scene where Schroeder realizes that he cares for Lucy is just amazing and heartwarming. Sally is also hilarious with her Sweet Baboo obsession and the entire story ended in a typical manner, but was mostly very moving and wonderful.

4. It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown

This 1974 special features a terrific Easter theme and a great arc for Linus in one of his best storylines. He and Sally are so cute together and his obsession with the titular character was so well explored. But Peppermint Patty and Marcie also got a great subplot and it was funny watching their always infectious dynamic. This special only lacks in Charlie Brown himself, but all of the others are so great and memorable.

3. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Everything I said above also applies here as this one is also uneven with too little Charlie Brown and too many subplots, but it is great and better than the above entry because it features once again terrific Linus and a very good use of Snoopy who is here a World War I flying ace. His silent scenes were quite amusing and the overall special is overcrowded, but succeeds in most of its parts.

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas

Everyone loves this special and certainly it is very good. However, I myself do not find it to be the best Peanuts special and this second place indicates that. It was a bit too slow for me. But there is no denying the greatness in its plot which feels simplistic, but is an essential Christmas tale with a great holiday spirit to it. As the first entry, it also succeeds in getting us introduced with each and every character as all are very well utilized here.

1. Charlie Brown’s All Stars

Charlie Brown is a manager of a baseball team and is offered a help from the sponsor. He would get free uniforms, but if he gets rid of the girls and Snoopy because no girls or dogs are allowed to play in the team. He rejects that because he does not want to betray his friends and after the girls mock him for losing, they find out what he did for them and they make him a uniform out of Linus’s blanket. Needless to say, this storyline is just fantastic as it makes use of the sport and the protagonist’s losing nature really well. It also features such a wonderful ending, but is frequently hilarious and possibly the funniest the gang has ever been. Aggressive, funny and ultimately emotionally rewarding, this second Peanuts special has it all which is why it is without a doubt the best that the series has to offer.

Honorable Mentions:

Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown – A newer entry, but with a classic sports premise, it features such great Lucy while also being a funny vehicle for Marcie.

You’re the Greatest, Charlie Brown – This one is certainly uneven in terms of the quality, but is overall quite eventful, also very funny and Snoopy is very memorable here.

She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown – In this peculiar special, Peppermint Patty is a great protagonist, but Woodstock and Snoopy have rarely been funnier than in here.

Share

Ranking Disney Renaissance Films

…………………………………………………….

Ranking Disney Renaissance Films

The Disney Renaissance is the second best period for Disney after their Golden Age so naturally all nine of these movies are at least good and most are great. So because the critical/audience rankings are all very similar, I went with a personal opinion. All of these films are very good, but I ranked them by my own personal preferences and how I see them. So here is my ranking of all nine Disney Renaissance films.

9. Hercules

Yes, Hercules unfortunately takes the last spot on this list but that just goes to show how incredible this period was when a film as good as Herc wound up last. It certainly isn’t a great film as it is too irreverent and frenetic in pacing, but it’s such a fun, underrated film filled with likable characters (Megara ended up very high on my best Renaissance characters list), very authentic animation and a couple of entertaining musical numbers.

8. Pocahontas

Pocahontas did not deserve to have a 50s rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It is by no means a bad movie as it has such an important message, it deals with a great story and its animation is gorgeous. Its score is the standout as it’s powerful, moving and filled with a couple of great songs (Colors of the Wind is the second best Disney Renaissance song). But the reason why it ended up this low on my list lies in its messy tone as it doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be at times plus most characters are a bit bland.

7. Mulan

This is the Disney movie that has all of the ingredients of a classic film – the protagonist is a kickass, admirable female character, Reflection and I’ll Make a Man Out of You are amazing songs and the story is impressively mature and dealing with some interesting themes. But something just doesn’t click with me here and I guess that’s mostly the fact that the film is never as dark and as serious as the material needs and the humor and its supporting characters are admittedly weaker. It’s a good, at times even impressive film, but just not great.

6. Aladdin

This is the point on the list where we get from good to really good movies and sure enough, Aladdin is a 4.5 rated movie for me. Yes, the Genie is overrated and the humor here is very dated at times, but its Middle Eastern setting is put to great use here, the film is hugely entertaining and it has a bunch of memorable characters in it. The action is so good and the soundtrack is of course excellent. It is probably the best fun and irreverent Disney film ever.

5. The Lion King

The Lion King’s quality is undisputed. Its soundtrack is quite possibly the best ever for Disney as it has no fluke in it (Hakuna Matata gets the closest to being a failure), the animation is great, the characters are very well developed and its score is majestic and it makes such great, original use of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. And of course do not get me started on its opening as it is such a grand, truly monumental piece of filmmaking and the best ever opening scene in any film. But the film never quite recaptured the glory from that beginning and Scar is sometimes too careless and Timon and Pumbaa are too over-the-top. That’s why the film is a tad bit overrated to me and why it lands on the middle of my list and far from the top.

4. Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast isn’t as perfect as most would think, but it truly is the most romantic and elegant Disney has ever been. The animation is gorgeous and the ballroom sequence is one of the greats in film history. The film features a plethora of well developed characters, a timeless story and a couple of great songs with Beauty and the Beast, Belle Reprise and Be Our Guest being the highlights.

3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

This is a shamefully underrated film and the darkest that Disney has ever produced in my opinion, even rivaling ‘The Black Cauldron’ in that respect. Hellfire is not only a powerful musical number, but also one hell of a scene – dark and fascinating. Frollo is one of the best and most realistic villains from the studio, the story is for once dramatic and containing no fantasy elements whatsoever and it deals with very mature themes such as discrimination and lust. This is easily the most mature and adult film on this list.

2. Tarzan

Another unfortunately underrated film here and one of my personal favorites, Tarzan is not only a lot of fun as this adventurous and funny film, but it’s also emotionally engaging and very well told in terms of storytelling. Jane is such a great character and Terk is a great sidekick. The animation is excellent and the action is very exciting. The songs from Phil Collins are great in their own right. This film has it all and it’s an almost perfect Disney adaptation of this novel.

1. The Little Mermaid

I adore this movie to pieces and it topped all three of my Renaissance lists for many great reasons. First, the soundtrack. Part of Your World, Kiss the Girl and Under the Sea are undisputed classics. Secondly, the animation. It is the first truly great animation in a long time for Disney and it signaled the start of a great period for the studio. And of course you have the characters. Ursula is a superb and competent villain, Sebastian is the best sidekick ever, King Triton is a wonderful dad and Ariel is the heart and soul of the film. Whether it is her desire to become human or Triton’s fatherhood issues, the film is deep and meaningful while being consistently engaging and entertaining as well. It is the best Disney Renaissance film and the third best overall for the studio. A timeless classic.

Share

Top 20 Disney Renaissance Characters

…………………………………………………….

Top 20 Disney Renaissance Characters

These Disney characters left a lasting impression on me and every Disney fan during one of their most important periods which is of course the nineties. All nine movies got their representatives here and this is mostly a very personal list so some fan favorites and famous characters are not going to be here if I don’t like them myself. So here are the twenty best Disney Renaissance characters with a couple of honorable mentions.

20. Pocahontas

Pocahontas is a bit bland for sure, but still an important character for Disney and for Hollywood movies in general. Finally we see here a good, respectable presentation of Native Americans and Pocahontas herself is brave, selfless and ultimately a very positive and commendable protagonist. She’s certainly one of the strongest Disney princesses.

19. Iago

Now Iago is the definition of a fun henchman who even steals the show from Jafar at times. I like his Shakespearean name, the voice acting is great and his design is very interesting and memorable. He is evil for sure, but his frequently hilarious lines are what makes him such a strong and fun henchman character.

18. Esmeralda

Like Pocahontas above, Esmeralda is another admirably strong female character and this time an admirable presentation of a gypsy woman. I liked her relationship with both Quasimodo and Phoebus and to me she is not just a pretty love interest, but a strong, brave character in her own right.

17. Simba

Simba is at times obnoxious during his kid age, that’s for sure. But he is much more likable when adult and I cannot deny how strong his character is not only in development, but in terms of storytelling as his story is a great rendition of Hamlet. He is your regular Disney hero, but done well nonetheless.

16. Tarzan

Tarzan’s story is so well told in Disney form. Watching him grow up, face romance, danger and ultimately his past was an emotionally rewarding experience. His interactions with everyone else in the movie are excellent and he is a well written, likable and ultimately very satisfactory titular hero in such a frustratingly underrated Disney flick.

15. Aladdin

I have to be honest and say that I find Jasmine to be overly cocky which is why she is not on my list. Aladdin himself is also a bit arrogant, but I like him much more than I like her as he can be surprisingly likable at times and I liked that he is a different and realistic hero and not all that good a person at times. But his buddy relationship with Genie is where he shines as the two are adorable together.

14. Jane Porter

I love Jane and she is one of Disney’s most underrated female characters unfortunately. Her transition from a regular love interest and British woman to a free and wild girl is portrayed not only through the change of wardrobe, but also through the change in personality. Her relationship with Tarzan is surprisingly romantic and she is not only very sympathetic, but also unexpectedly funny at times.

13. Gaston

Gaston got a very typical Disney death, but regardless of that, he is a very good villain. He is interesting for being the first good looking villain and that provides us with many hilarious moments in the film. He is not only truly dangerous as a villain, but also frequently very funny with a couple of hysterical lines here and there.

12. Fa Mulan

Being probably the strongest Disney princess, Mulan is great for being a tough female character, but for using her brains to compensate for the lack of strength. Her story is powerful and especially timely now and she is not only strong and smart, but pretty and charming as well.

11. Scar

Scar made some truly awful choices and thus ended up being not as great as he could have been, but he is still a formidable villain in the movie. He straight-out killed his brother in an unforgettable tragic sequence, Jeremy Irons’ performance is excellent and he also received the best Disney villain song ever in delightfully evil and fun Be Prepared.

10. Jafar

Jafar is a low-key villain and I liked that about him. He again got not such a great ending, but his menacing, cold and calculating personality is different than most Disney villains and thus he is much more realistic and certainly creepier. His voice and looks are great, but he got this tenth spot for being very smart and not making a single mistake until that ending.

9. Ursula

Ursula is another villain who received a bad ending and surely her death where she got hit by a boat was ridiculously anti-climactic. But other than that, she is the second best Renaissance villain as she has such an interesting look to her – being based on a drag queen – she is very clever and she never made a single mistake and all her plans worked really well. She also has a solid song in Poor Unfortunate Souls and that whole scene is remarkable.

8. Quasimodo

Quasimodo, like Pocahontas, did not get an entirely happy ending as he did not get the girl, but he did step out of the church at least. This is Disney’s only special needs character and they did a great job portraying him as he’s likable without being too perfect, selfless and ultimately a very moving central character in such a dark film.

7. Belle

Belle is one of the best Disney princesses and a great transition from classic to modern princess as she isn’t too strong, yet she’s certainly not a damsel in distress. She is memorable for having a very natural look to her which was great and refreshing for a Disney heroine at the time. Belle is smart and caring, but also a bit full of herself which makes her more realistic.

6. King Triton

Probably the most underrated character on this list is King Triton who gets the sixth place. When you think about it, he is actually the most important character in The Little Mermaid and his story is so well told. He had to learn to let her daughter go which was immensely difficult to do. His love for Ariel is touching and he is the best and most wonderful Disney dad ever.

5. Beast

Beast is a great, different kind of prince for Disney and definitely groundbreaking for his time. Gaston is good looking and he is not. He was conceited and spoiled and he had to overcome that and become a better person in order to regain his human form and get the girl. Beast and Belle are the great Disney couple and he is the more human and fascinating of the two.

4. Megara

And yes, Megara gets the fourth spot here as another very underrated character from an underrated movie. She is one of my favorite Disney female characters as she’s such a great, different Disney girl than all the rest. Her turn from bad to good is so well established, her romance with Herc is wonderful and she is modeled after all those classic screwball comedy characters from the thirties which is why I love her so much. She looks more realistic as well and her sassy one-liners are a lot of fun.

3. Judge Claude Frollo

Easily the best Disney Renaissance villain is Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He never made a single mistake in the movie, he was consistently dangerous and calculating and his lust for Esmeralda and his conflict with his faith are so well established in one of the best Disney villain songs Hellfire. A truly diabolical and yet realistic character as there were a lot of Frollos during this period, he is definitely one of the best Disney villains ever.

2. Ariel

There are a lot of Little Mermaid characters on this list which was to be expected as that is my favorite Renaissance flick. Ariel is my favorite Disney princess and I know that I am in minority here as most find her to be a poor role model for going out of her length to get a prince. But I think differently. To me she did all of that as she not only wanted Eric, but to become human and experience their world which she thinks is better than the underwater world. Her story is the ultimate immigration story, but I love her for her personality which is quirky and charming, yet always sweet and caring. She is the most lovable and prettiest Disney princess and I love her so much.

1. Sebastian

And the first place goes to another Little Mermaid character and this time it is its sidekick Sebastian. His change in personality is done so well and smoothly; he went from being Ariel’s annoying parent of sorts to her friend and accomplice. His relationship with Ariel is sweet and touching and his interactions with King Triton are also superb. He got a great song in Under the Sea, his Jamaican voice is unforgettable and he is very funny yet having a distinct personality which is why he stands above most Disney sidekicks of the past and future too. Sebastian is such an endearing creation and not only the best Renaissance character, but also the very best Disney sidekick of all time.

Honorable Mentions:

Terk – This is another underrated character and I just love her so much. Terk is original as this butch female gorilla and her relationship with Tarzan is sweet and she’s very funny all the time.

Lumiere and Cogsworth – This comedic duo isn’t as great separately, but together they are very charming, lovable and quite funny.

The Genie – Yes, he did not get on my list as Robin Williams’ performance did not age well and is overrated, but Genie’s still a memorable character and he and Aladdin got a great bromance.

Scuttle – This hilariously stupid and yet caring bird is such a great sidekick and companion to Ariel and he got many great laughs in the film.

Grandmother Fa – She’s such a hilarious grandmother who stole every scene she got in Mulan and I wanted much more from her.

Share

Top 20 Disney Renaissance Songs

…………………………………………………….

Top 20 Disney Renaissance Songs

I love Disney songs so much and naturally the Renaissance from the nineties is their best period when it comes to music. All nine movies from this period feature quite a number of songs and all of them got their representatives which just goes to show how strong musically each and every one of them is. So I tried to include more underrated songs along with those established classics and thus this list is pretty diverse. Top ten was of course just not possible, but even with top twenty I struggled so much and surely this has to be the toughest list I had to come up with so far as all of these songs are amazing. So without further ado, here are my picks for catchiest, loveliest and ultimately the best Disney songs from the nineties.

……………………………………………………..

20. Prince Ali

This Aladdin song is surprisingly quite underrated and to me much better than Friend Like Me. But maybe that’s just me. The song has it all – a great scene which is essential for the plot and Aladdin’s character development, a great imagery and it is such a fun, catchy and ultimately very memorable tune in and of itself.

……………………………………………………..

19. Hellfire

Being easily the most mature entry on this list, Hellfire truly is one of the darkest songs/scenes that Disney has ever done. The singing is great as is the song itself, but the lyrics are clever and perfect as they showcase all of Frollo’s desires  in a very creepy manner accompanied by some pretty menacing and striking imagery.

……………………………………………………..

18. You’ll Be in My Heart

It may not be Tarzan’s best number, but it is still 1999’s worthy Oscar winner. This song is beautifully sung by Phil Collins and it is the heart and soul of the entire movie as it relies heavily on the relationship between Kala and Tarzan and the lyrics and the scene itself are incredibly heartwarming.

……………………………………………………..

17. Zero to Hero

If you ask me, this just might be Disney’s catchiest, if not the best song ever. It surely is irreverent and silly, but I love it for that. It is funny in lyrics and imagery, incredibly fast and frenetic, but fun instead of obnoxious for it and it features excellent singing. It is such an entertaining scene and I loved the shift in the song’s middle and that meant that we basically got two different songs here and both are great. Hercules has such an underrated soundtrack.

……………………………………………………..

16. Under the Sea

Although not my favorite song from The Little Mermaid by a long shot, I cannot deny the power of this song nonetheless. It is one of Sebastian’s finest moments and of course I love his character so much. The lyrics are great, the scene is important in terms of storytelling and for both his and Ariel’s character and naturally it is such an infectiously catchy, amusing tune.

……………………………………………………..

15. Belle Reprise

To me Belle is a bit overrated of a musical number, certainly very good, but not one of Disney’s best. But here I picked that number’s reprise as it is easily superior to it. It is too short, but it features good lines for Belle and such a magnificent, powerhouse finale that showcases Paige O’Hara’s beautiful vocals accompanied by gorgeous scenery and majestic orchestra. That moment is honestly angelic in quality.

……………………………………………………..

14. Reflection

Of Mulan’s four songs, only two are good and both ended up on this list as they are not just good, but simply great. This one I always thought to be too short, but still it does everything a Disney musical number should do – give an excellent motivation/explanation for the main character while providing us a greatly sung, wonderfully sounding song accompanied by gorgeous Asian imagery. It just might be the quintessential scene from the entire movie.

……………………………………………………..

13. Be Our Guest

This is such a wonderful, effervescent and incredibly catchy tune. Be Our Guest is definitely one of Beauty and the Beast’s top songs. The entire scene is pleasantly reminiscent to Silly Song from Snow White, it is visually arresting and so much fun, both in lyrics and in its energy. And that final part features some truly stellar vocals.

……………………………………………………..

12. Be Prepared

This is in my opinion the very best Disney villain song of all time. A defining scene for Scar, it features some striking Nazi influenced imagery and superb animation style. The singing is excellent and the lyrics are so good as they serve to propel the story forwards. Be Prepared is not only very catchy and sinister, but also showcasing Scar’s evil nature stupendously which is why it succeeds as the ultimate villain number.

……………………………………………………..

11. I Won’t Say I’m in Love

Hercules’ best song gets this high 11th spot and deservedly so. Megara is one of my favorite Disney characters and this scene and number showcase why I love her so much. She is such a different Disney female character than usual and I love her screwball comedy personality and mannerisms. I loved the setting of this scene, it arrives at just the right time in the movie and it features excellent, for once different lyrics for a love song and it is so damn fun and charming.

……………………………………………………..

10. Son of Man

Son of Man is Tarzan’s best song in my opinion because it is just so incredibly, even frustratingly so, catchy. The energy in its rhythm is palpable, the song serves so well as a transition from boyhood to manhood and it features such a wonderful, fun scene filled with some good gags. But because it is so hummable and unforgettable, it got into my top ten.

……………………………………………………..

9. God Help the Outcasts

God Help the Outcasts is a different kind of song for Disney. It speaks about poverty and discrimination and it is extremely important and tragic which is to be expected from this mature movie. A defining moment for Esmeralda, the scene is gorgeously animated and it is a part in the movie where everything stops and you just enjoy the beautiful vocals, a wonderful message and such heartbreaking lyrics. It is such a touching and very underrated song.

……………………………………………………..

8. A Whole New World

Unlike the above entry, this one is highly thought of and for good reasons. It is without any doubt the most unforgettable scene in Aladdin, the most romantic and the most visually dazzling. The words are romantic, the imagery is gorgeous and I loved its vocals and that it is a duet as those are rare. A Whole New World is a bit too short, but such a great, timeless musical number and one of Disney’s finest love songs of all time.

……………………………………………………..

7. Can You Feel the Love Tonight

I love Elton John’s version of Can You Feel the Love Tonight so much, but the movie version is pretty great as well. I loved that it is again a duet, the song is so catchy and moving and it is such a perfect romantic song for this movie and it’s accompanied by such stunning imagery. It is overall a great scene for Nala and Simba, but the opening of the song with Timon and Pumbaa is wonderful and certainly one of their best moments in the film.

……………………………………………………..

6. Beauty and the Beast

This is another highly regarded song and although not my top pick, I cannot deny the power of this ballad and its truly timeless quality. This scene is one of the best that Disney has ever created and Angela Lansbury is amazing here and it’s all the more admirable that she did the entire song in one take and on first try. It is a heartwarming number that is structurally perfect and filled with superbly written and unforgettable lines that describe the entire film so well.

……………………………………………………..

5. Circle of Life

Circle of Life features again superbly written lyrics that are meaningful and fit the action on screen so well. The singing is great and the chorus is of course beyond catchy and instantly recognizable to this day. It’s such a classic number accompanied by Disney’s finest opening (and quite possibly overall best scene) of all time. It is the finest part of The Lion King and the movie just never recaptured that raw power afterwards.

……………………………………………………..

4. Kiss the Girl

Such a gorgeous song, Kiss the Girl is one of my all-time favorites in one of my favorite Disney flicks. This scene is essential as the most romantic one in the film and truly watching Eric and Ariel on the boat together is so emotionally rewarding. But it is Sebastian who entirely steals the show here as he tries to help Ariel out by making the perfect atmosphere for the two to kiss. The imagery is stunning and the chorus is so damn catchy.

 ……………………………………………………..

3. I’ll Make a Man Out of You

This is my personal choice for the number three spot which may seem too much for some, but this number totally deserves it. Mulan doesn’t have a great soundtrack, but this is the song that propels the entire score to much greater heights. The entire scene is great as it is important in terms of storytelling and the lyrics are excellent, but it is the upbeat tempo that makes this song stand on its own and apart from regular Disney fare. It is an extremely catchy tune that never ceases to make me sing along to it.

……………………………………………………..

2. Colors of the Wind

I just love Colors of the Wind and hold the utmost respect for it which is why it gets the second spot on my list. The song is beautifully sung and highly enjoyable on its own, but the scene is majestic in its imagery and visually arresting. But the reason why it is the second best Disney Renaissance song lies in its lyrics. It teaches us about racism and prejudice but also about nature and the importance of it through simply beautiful and very descriptive lyrics. It is the kind of song that is never didactic as it’s rather subtle and ultimately so important and timeless in its message.

……………………………………………………..

1. Part of Your World

 This is it, my number one. And it comes from my favorite Renaissance movie which is of course the wonderful The Little Mermaid. Part of Your World is the best part of the entire film which says a lot honestly. It is Ariel’s tour de force moment with an amazing singing performance from Jodi Benson. This is what every Disney song should try to be – it not only gives us awesome lyrics and singing, but an overall great sequence and it’s essential for not only plot but more importantly character development for its protagonist. It is the ultimate ‘I Wish’ song and the ultimate Disney Princess song where we see just how much Ariel wants to be a part of humans’ and Eric’s world. It is extremely emotional and such a beautiful Broadway number filled with beautifully descriptive and heartwarming lyrics. It is not only the best Disney Renaissance song, but it just might be their best of all time.

……………………………………………………..

Honorable Mentions:

The Bells of Notre Dame – This song is too long, but its final moments are jaw-dropping in their majesty. It’s a proof of how great Disney once was at matching the music to the setting and time period of the film stylistically. So well done.

Two Worlds – Two Worlds is a beautiful opening for very underrated Tarzan. It features good, explanatory lyrics for the plot itself and it was a great way to open the movie on a high note.

Something There – Such a playful and charming scene gets accompanied by Something There –  a very romantic and sweet, though too short number.

One Jump Ahead – This is such an irresistibly fun tune that perfectly gets us acquainted with Aladdin as a character accompanied by fun action on screen.

I Just Can’t Wait to Be King – Infectiously catchy and so damn entertaining, this Lion King song isn’t one of its best, but it is pretty underrated in its own right.

The Virginia Company – The definition of an underrated song is The Virginia Company – a very fittingly old-fashioned song for the opening of Pocahontas. It is also very catchy and fun.

……………………………………………………..

Share

2nd Simbasible Awards

2nd Simbasible Awards

Top Ten Films of 2016

Best Film

Arrival 

Captain Fantastic   

Graduation

Doctor Strange  

Fantastic Beasts 

Lion

A Monster Calls

The Salesm

Fences

Silence

 

Best Indie Films 2016

Best Indie Film

10 Cloverfield Lane

Captain Fantastic

Hello, My Name Is Doris

Moonlight

Sausage Part

2nd Simbasible Awards

Best Blockbuster Film

Captain America: Civil War

Doctor Strange

Fantastic Beasts

The Jungle Book

The Mermaid

2nd Simbasible Awards

Best Director

Asghar Farhadi – The Salesman

Cristian Mungiu – Graduation

Garth Davis – Lion

Martin Scorsese – Silence

Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge

Top Five Male Performances of 2016

Best Actor

Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge/Silence

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Denzel Washington – Fences

Lewis MacDougall – A Monster Calls

Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

2nd Simbasible Awards

Best Actress

Amy Adams – Arrival

Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen

Natalie Portman – Jackie

Sally Field – Hello, My Name Is Doris

Viola Davis – Fences

Best Supporting Actor

Best Supporting Actor

Andre Holland – Moonlight

Dev Patel – Lion

John Goodman – 10 Cloverfield Lane

Mark Rylance – The BFG

Sunny Pawar – Lion

2nd Simbasible Awards

Best Supporting Actress

Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Nicole Kidman – Lion

Priyanka Bose – Lion

Best Original Screenplay

Captain Fantastic

Graduation

The Salesman

Sausage Party

Zootopia

Best Adapted Screenplay

Arrival

Doctor Strange

Fences

A Monster Calls

My Life as a Zucchini

Best Animated Film Moana My Life as a Zucchini Sausage Party Sing Zootopia 2016Best Animated Film

Moana

My Life as a Zucchini

Sausage Party

Sing

Zootopia

2nd Simbasible AwardsBest Foreign Film

Graduation

The Mermaid

My Life as a Zucchini

The Salesman

Tanna

2nd Simbasible AwardsBest Documentary Film

Cameraperson

The Eagle Huntress

Life, Animated

2nd Simbasible AwardsBest Short Film

Blind Vaysha

Pearl

Piper

2nd Simbasible AwardsBest Score

Arrival

La La Land

Moana

Swiss Army Man

Tanna

2nd Simbasible AwardsBest Song

Another Day of Sun – La La Land

Can’t Stop the Feeling! – Trolls

How Far I’ll Go – Moana

Someone in the Crowd – La La Land

We Know the Way – Moana

2nd Simbasible AwardsBest Cinematography

The Eagle Huntress

Lion

Rogue One

2nd Simbasible AwardsBest Costume Design

Fantastic Beasts

Jackie

The Witch

2nd Simbasible Awards

Best Editing

Arrival

Hacksaw Ridge

Lion

A Monster Calls

My Life as a Zucchini

2nd Simbasible Awards

Best Visual Effects

Arrival

Doctor Strange

Fantastic Beasts

The Jungle Book

Rogue One

2nd Simbasible Awards

Best Character Development

Captain Fantastic

Doctor Strange

Fantastic Beasts

Fences

My Life as a Zucchini

2nd Simbasible Awards

Best Character

The Ancient One – Doctor Strange

Ben Cash – Captain Fantastic

Conor – A Monster Calls

Jacob – Fantastic Beasts

Nadine Franklin – The Edge of Seventeen

2nd Simbasible AwardsBest Scene

Adoption Conversation – Lion

Farewell End Scene – Fantastic Beasts

Imaginary End Scene – La La Land

Reunion Scene – Lion

Reunion Scene – Moonlight

Rose’s Heartbreaking Speech – Fences

2nd Simbasible Awards

Best Dialogue

Arrival

Captain Fantastic

Fences

Lion

A Monster Calls

2nd Simbasible Awards

Most Emotional Film

Captain Fantastic

Fences

Life, Animated

Lion

A Monster Calls

Share

Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

This year had some pretty good and highly memorable posters that wonderfully promote the movie and work well as wallpapers. I am going to count my personal top ten posters and I only considered the movies that I have seen.

10. Moonlight

This is the kind of poster that describes the movie really well and is highly memorable. Moonlight is a coming-of-age tale of a young gay black man and in the poster you see three faces from his childhood, adolescence and adulthood. All three parts of the movie are well incorporated into a highly recognizable poster.

 Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

9. La La Land

As one of the most memorable films of the year, La La Land also had a very memorable poster which is from one of its most memorable sequences. I love the color and both the dance movements of the protagonists and that lamp post are highly recognizable.

Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

8. Swiss Army Man

I did not love this movie as it was too odd for me. However, its poster is very good. It does what every poster should do – intrigue you that you want to see the movie instantly. Its pleasing greenish color, that small island and the two men on it instantly beg many questions about it.

Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

7. Kubo and the Two Strings

This Laika animated film disappointed me quite a bit and again the poster sold it really well. The parting of the sea is cool, the darker colors are intriguing and both the moon and the pose from the protagonist are very memorable.

Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

6. The Witch

The Witch is a famous horror film from 2016 that I found disappointing. But the poster contains that goat which is easily the best and creepiest part from the whole movie. I loved that goat and I love it here as well plus those title letters are intriguing and different.

Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

5. Your Name

The pattern is the same with this number five choice – a disappointing movie, but with a very cool poster. It instantly hooks you in and intrigues you with its very colorful look and a very interesting premise which is shown here in its two halves: one in the country and another in the city.

Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

4. Hunt for the Wildepeople

A pretty good and adventurous flick from New Zealand got a fun poster too. The boy, the old man and the boar are so interestingly positioned and you immediately get a very different, unique and very much New Zealand vibe from the whole thing.

Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

3. Green Room

I absolutely hated this movie and it’s my pick for the worst film of 2016. However, this is the list of best posters and I could just not deny the power of Green Room‘s poster. It is very intriguing, it uses its titular color so well and both the pose and sparse space are highly memorable.

Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

2. The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book of course features excellent special effects and thus the poster is great as well. I like this one the most as it features a meticulous attention to detail. The wolves, Mowgli with fire, the ruins – everything is interesting and so well done visually both here and in the film itself.

Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

1. Hacksaw Ridge

And my favorite poster has to be the one for Hacksaw Ridge. It is nowhere near as strong as the last year’s ‘The Hateful Eight’, but it is still the most memorable poster from the entire year which it why it takes this first spot. I particularly like its imagery. And the fact that it was painted in that old-fashioned, classic Hollywood manner I just love.

Top Ten Film Posters of 2016

Honorable Mentions:

The Secret Life of Pets – The movie would have been better as a short but this poster wonderfully reminds you of its funniest part when the dog is waiting for his owner to arrive home.

10 Cloverfield Lane – An instantly recognizable poster for such a good movie, it finds a very good use of its title which is so well incorporated into the overall imagery.

Moana – The parting of the sea, the characters and its lush colors are all very memorable in this bright, fun poster for a very good Disney flick.

Fantastic Beasts – I love this film and this poster made me so excited for it as it features the new team in a good manner. Their poses and the buildings around them are both memorable.

Share

Worst Films of 2016

Worst Films of 2016

………………………………..

 Five Worst Films of 2016

2016 was a very good year featuring a lot of amazing films. But this list highlights some of the worst that has come during this year. And even though only a couple of these movies were quite bad, most were very weak and definitely deserving a spot on this list. I am going to list five movies with three honorable mentions and I have to say that I do not watch bad/critically trashed movies so this list is basically synonymous with the most overrated films list.

5. Sully

Such an overrated movie, Tom Hanks and Clint Eastwood just could not save it. Sully is such a clichéd movie that would have been fine for a short film treatment, but as a feature, it was incredibly dull, bloated and it just did not work. Everything here was predictable and pointless and it is basically a TV movie.

Image result for sully

4. Elle

Elle is such a mediocre and infuriating French film because it actually started off rather strongly, but ended horribly. It basically promotes rape and that I just do not support. It could have been a good thriller, but the second half is so terrible, implausible and just plain irritating in the behavior of its protagonist that it frustrated me immensely.

Image result for elle film

3. The Nice Guys

As the most overrated film on this list, The Nice Guys was pretty unwatchable and painful as this dated and overly nostalgic 70s influenced buddy cop movie. The performances from Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe are admittedly very good along with their chemistry, but the plot is quite bad, the action is overwhelming and the film was very annoying and boring to watch.

Image result for the nice guys

2. Toni Erdmann

I am so glad that this crap did not win the Oscar for best foreign film as it truly is a disaster. It is another case on this list where the core of it is actually really good, but the execution is the worst possible with such terrible humor and awful sexual situations that honestly made me uncomfortable. I guess the movie is funny to some, but to me it is painfully unfunny and incredibly annoying.

Image result for toni erdmann

1. Green Room

Yes, 2016 was a solid year for horror films, but neither of its horror features impressed me as much. But this is the only bad one that I watched and it had to take my number one spot as even the plot and concept are mediocre. There is nothing to be had here whatsoever apart from overwhelming and gory action and ridiculous scenarios. This is the kind of movie that gives horror films a bad name and it is in my opinion the worst that 2016 has to offer.

Image result for green room

Honorable Mentions:

Queen of Katwe – A very unsuccessful Disney movie that isn’t bad, but it is so typical in its plot and overly sentimental that it isn’t worth anyone’s time.

I, Daniel Blake – Another immensely overrated film on this list, this British drama is overly social and it lacks in terms of emotion and characterization. It is never as powerful as needed.

Hail, Caesar! – This is another proof that Coen brothers are just not for me. This movie has great visuals, but it is so painfully unfunny and way too condescending toward classic films.

Share

Top Ten Films of 2016

Top Ten Films of 2016

Top Ten Films of 2016

2016 was such an improvement over last year which was quite bad. This year had a lot of great movies. Yes, only one film got the perfect five-star rating from me, but around fifteen got 4.5 and that’s certainly commendable. This time around animation wasn’t the greatest, but there are a couple of great foreign dramas on my list along with a couple of blockbusters so it is a pretty diverse list. So here are my top ten films of 2016 along with five honorable mentions.

10. Silence

Of all the movies on this list this one is certainly the longest and dullest owing to its slow pace. But even though it should have been shorter, this film is still very successful and a shameful Oscar snub in my opinion. It is one of the most sophisticated and honest portrayals of Christianity that I have ever seen. Andrew Garfield is amazing in the lead role, Scorsese’s direction is excellent and the dialogue is both thought-provoking and fascinating. So Silence gets this last spot and every true cinephile should definitely check it out.

9. Fences

This year three Best Picture nominees got on my list which is certainly an improvement. The first one is Fences, a fine drama that seems that it came out in the fifties and that naturally I ate up. It is probably the finest acted film of the year as both Viola Davis and Denzel Washington delivered in spades. But it is above all such a realistic and human drama that features such a variety of memorable and well developed characters along with a stellar script and dialogue. A very successful play adaptation for sure.

Fences Movie Review

8. Fantastic Beasts

As huge fan of HP as I am, I just could not give Fantastic Beasts a higher rating than this as it was a stellar, competitive year. But the eighth place is still very good and very much deserved as this prequel worked like a charm. I watched it twice by now and I liked it even more upon second viewing. It is a great start of a new franchise. It gives us a familiar, yet very different world than before which is why it succeeds as a pretty original prequel. But it is above all such a wonderful, charming film filled with a plethora of likable characters. It’s unfortunate that not a lot of people realize how great it is.

7. Doctor Strange

In such an unpredictable, crazy turn of events, a Marvel movie ends up higher than a Harry Potter movie on my list. But that is how great Doctor Strange is. It is actually one of the most fascinating and imaginative, not to mention original, blockbusters in quite some time and again filled with unforgettable characters. The humor is phenomenal and some lines are very funny. But it is such an entertaining and ultimately successful superhero flick that features such a beautiful mythology and incredible world building that I was mesmerized by it. It is my favorite superhero film ever and the best blockbuster in a year full of very good popcorn flicks.

6. A Monster Calls

A Monster Calls is probably the darkest and most depressing film on this list, but there is no denying its raw emotional power and powerful psychological drama. Lewis MacDougall gave one of the best child performances here and his character is fully fleshed out and immensely complex. This is certainly a drama but it is also a fantasy film and that mix was so well pulled together thanks to a clever and very original script along with interesting visuals in those fantasy scenes. This movie can destroy you emotionally as that’s how gripping, tragic and ultimately sophisticated its drama is.

5. Captain Fantastic

As the best indie film of 2016, Captain Fantastic is one hell of a movie that I watched twice and loved both times. Viggo Mortensen gave one of the year’s best performances in giving us this truly fascinating character. I have always been fascinated with this subject matter and this movie makes full use of it. There are so many conversations here that are very thought-provoking and riveting. The movie is so smart, emotional and especially relatable to me personally which is why it takes this fifth spot easily.

4. The Salesman

Asghar Farhadi is quickly shaping up as one of the finest directors working today and with The Salesman he gives us another extremely powerful and brilliant picture. The performances are great across the board, but the film is great as it manages to utilize its admittedly very specific and crazy situation in the best way possible by giving us a perfectly paced and structured movie. The third act is where it shines most through a series of uncomfortable and painful scenarios that raise many moral questions in the process. It is very difficult to watch, but ultimately immensely rewarding.

3. Arrival

Arrival is what truly great hard science fiction is all about. It is such a realistic and scientifically quite accurate glimpse at what a real alien encounter would look like and its use of linguistics is profound and fascinating. This movie was tailor suited for me and of course I loved every second of it. But where it excelled is in its editing which is so deft and accomplished and twist ending which was crazy and unpredictable, yet perfectly believable nonetheless. Science fiction is finally getting the treatment and recognition it deserves and Arrival and its accolades are a testament to that.

2. Graduation

This is another truly amazing foreign film on this list, this time coming from Romania and the mind of wildly ambitious and creative Christian Mungiu. The problems of this country are similar to the problems of my own country and that’s why it was so relatable to me personally. Some conversations here were so powerful and relatable that I was amazed at how grounded in reality and honest this film is. Very smart and thematically rich, Graduation is the second best film of 2016 without any doubt.

1. Lion

Yes, Lion is the very best that 2016 has to offer and I know that I am in vast minority here, but to me this film is simply brilliant. The performances from Nicole Kidman, Priyanka Bose, Sunny Pawar and Dev Patel are all excellent, but their real life characters are so likable and powerful. The film deals with adoption in an honest, complex manner by showcasing both the cons and prons of it. I loved its first half which was a painful, yet important look at the lives of Indian abandoned and orphaned kids, but the second half was even better as it featured a lot of thought-provoking and interesting discussions. But it is above all such an emotional, heartbreaking drama and one of the rare movies that made me cry. That’s how powerful and human it is. It’s a true underrated gem and, in a very strong year, my champion.

Honorable Mentions:

Life, Animated – This beautiful and fascinating look at autism and the power of Disney movies missed the top ten by a slight, but it still remains a truly great, heartwarming documentary.

My Life as a Zucchini – In a weak year for animation, this Swiss charmer is the best along with the film down below. A truly wonderful, yet sophisticated take on this sad subject.

Sausage Party – Raunchy and brutal, yet very funny and also extremely smart, Sausage Party is one fine R-rated animated comedy that deserved much more accolades than it got.

La La Land – Yes, it has its problems and it is far from the greatest film of the year, but La La Land is still visually pleasing, very romantic and featuring a jaw-dropping, original finale.

The Edge of Seventeen – The protagonist of this strong teen flick is very similar to me so naturally I loved it. But Hailee Steinfeld is also superb and its ending is wonderfully subtle.

Share

Top Five Female Performances of 2016

Top Five Female Performances of 2016

Top Five Female Performances of 2016

The actresses also had a pretty strong year in 2016 and although there weren’t as many truly fantastic performances as the men had, those that were great were something special. It is also interesting that there are two supporting performances in my top five overall. So here are five best female performances and three honorable mentions.

5. Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Michelle Williams only appeared in two or so scenes in the movie and only one scene is truly notable. But her work during that extended sequence is something extraordinary and he sold that scene and it was so hugely emotional that it is the highlight of the entire film. This is a type of role that demanded a lot of acting and thankfully she delivered in spades.

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

4. Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen

I am so glad that Hailee Steinfeld is back with The Edge of Seventeen. She is very likable and pretty, but so talented too and I expect more great things from her in the future. Nadine is such a relatable character to me personally and I really emphasized with her so it was great that Hailee acted her so well and she sold all of her scenes with ease. Such a great teen movie and such an underrated performance right here.

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

3. Natalie PortmanJackie

Of all the nominees in the Best Actress category, Natalie Portman was the best. She truly acted the hell out of Jackie. The movie itself isn’t the greatest, but she was just magnificent not only in her mannerisms, but also in her subtle, emotional work that she put into this very demanding role. I didn’t expect her to be so great here.

Jackie Movie Review

2. Nicole Kidman – Lion

Kidman should have won an Oscar for this movie as she truly gave an outstanding performance. I just adore and respect a lot her character who is a real life figure and Nicole Kidman brought a lot to make her seem real and believable not only in appearance, but also in acting. That one scene where she explains why she chose to adopt was such a powerhouse tour de force for her.

1. Viola DavisFences

Viola Davis stole this movie from Denzel himself and it is easy to see why. Her character is quite realistic and very likable. She has always been a phenomenal actress, but this just might be her best work yet. Of course her quarreling scene with Denzel is the highlight but the entire ending also showcased her at the height of her powers. She killed it here and I am so glad that she finally won her much deserved Academy Award, even if she ended up quite obviously in the wrong category.

Honorable Mentions:

Sally Field – Hello, My Name Is Doris – I am sad that she missed the fifth spot here as she was spectacular in this unflattering and admittedly silly role in such a fine indie flick.

Amy Adams – Arrival – Arrival is an outstanding science fiction film and  Amy Adams is the best actor here as this very admirable and strong female protagonist.

Priyanka BoseLion – She only had a handful of scenes, but she was powerful in each one of them in such a tragic role.

Share

Top Five Male Performances of 2016

Top Five Male Performances of 2016

 Top Five Male Performances of 2016

2016 was a particularly strong year for actors and making this list was certainly not easy and I had to sacrifice a couple of really good performances in the process. All of these actors delivered very strong performances and they significantly helped their movies out. So here are five best male performances of 2016 in my opinion along with three honorable mentions.

5. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Casey Affleck did win his Oscar for this role and although I do not agree with that decision at all, I do agree that he gave a very strong performance in a movie that relied heavily on him. The highlight was his scene with Michelle Williams of course as there both of them shined. So even though I myself do not agree, I have nothing against the Academy’s decision this time around.

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

4. Lewis MacDougall – A Monster Calls

I don’t know where is Hollywood suddenly finding all these talented child actors, but it’s certainly great. I loved A Monster Calls and Lewis MacDougall’s work went ridiculously underappreciated. His role was immensely difficult and he still managed to deliver. Whether crying or getting angry, he excelled in each and every scene in this great character-driven film.

A Monster Calls

3. Denzel Washington – Fences

Viola Davis is admittedly better in Fences, but Denzel himself was also very good. His role isn’t as difficult, but he managed to bring this very unappealing character to life beautifully through such a strong, subtle work. I am glad that Affleck won in the end, but Denzel’s performance was in my opinion much stronger.

Fences Movie Review

2. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

Captain Fantastic is a marvelous film and Viggo Mortensen is the heart and soul of it. He brought to life such a complex and flawed individual so well that he surprised me as I did not see it coming at all. He is great in the whole movie, but in the third act are his best and most moving moments.

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

1. Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge and Silence

What a year Andrew Garfield had in 2016! Although I chose his role in Hacksaw Ridge, there is no denying that he really delivered in Silence as well. I knew he was capable and talented even before this year and I am glad that Hollywood is starting to realize that as well and that he is getting these great roles. It is a shame that he wasn’t a strong contender during the awards season, but in my opinion both of his performances and especially the one in Hacksaw Ridge are absolutely amazing; they both required an immense amount of acting and that is why he had to take my number one spot.

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

 

Honorable Mentions:

John Goodman – 10 Cloverfield Lane – His work here went underappreciated, but this gem of a movie benefited strongly from his very creepy presence. Such a great, menacing villain.

Dev Patel – LionLion is a tremendously well acted movie and even though I personally dislike Dev Patel usually, here I couldn’t deny his very strong, admirable work in such a moving role.

Sunny Pawar – Lion – Another strong child performance, Sunny Pawar excelled during the first half of this movie and he is not only immensely cute, but very talented as well.

Share