Fleischer and Iwerks and Jones, Oh My!: February ’14 in Film

How are we already two months into 2014?! On top of that, it’s officially confirmed that I’ll be graduating from college in May. Time is flying by way too fast – but luckily, I have lots of films to console me during this tragic progression into adulthood.

And what better way to repress the annoying pangs of growing up than by watching endless amounts of cartoons every week! Well truthfully, it’s due to my History of Animation class, which begins from the earliest origins of American cartoons and moves forward. I watched a bit of these in the final week of January (the first week of the course), but this month more than half of my viewings consist of animated shorts. Therefore, not only did I watch a bit more than last month (2.8 per day on average), but my goal of 1,000 viewings by the end of the year seems a bit more plausible. A lot of these cartoons were watched previously by me – either as a child or as an older person – so looking at them within the context of this class is refreshing and enlightening.

Besides these short cartoons, I also watched some more documentaries, some foreign arthouse flicks, a few flicks I’ve been holding off for years, a couple obscure gems, and my very first 2014 release (which was… AWESOME). I also started and finished Cowboy Bebop, which can now probably be in the books for one of my all-time favorite TV series, animated or otherwise. But let’s move on.

Here’s an overview of what I watched, organized by decade:

1890s – 0
1900s – 0
1910s – 1
1920s – 7
1930s – 22
1940s – 7
1950s – 4
1960s – 4
1970s – 4
1980s – 5
1990s – 6
2000s – 10
2010s – 12

The relative spike in 1930s films has to do with the aforementioned focus on classic animation.

Animation recommendations:
I’m a really huge animation geek, but even still there are short animated films and animators that I’ve yet to really “discover”. For instance, while I’ve known of Flip the Frog for years, I somehow never really got around to any Flip shorts. Nonetheless, after The Office Boy, I think I’ll certainly be digging up more of his stuff. He’s quite a fun character, and why he remains one of the lesser stars of animation (behind Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse) is just dumbfounding to me. I’d also recommend just about anything and everything from Fleischer animation of the 30s (even though Popeye cartoons are generally pretty boring). A couple of my absolute favorites is the surreal and wacky Bimbo’s Initiation and the equally as absurd Ko-Ko’s Earth Control. Although I didn’t watch it this week, I’d also recommend the Betty Boop cartoon Snow White, which has an incredible cameo by Cab Calloway. Finally… well, y’all should probably go ahead and watch everything from Chuck Jones because wow was he incredible. But if you somehow have never seen them, you should watch Rabbit Seasoning, Duck Amuckand What’s Opera, Doc? which are all HUGE leaps forward for animation.

So now, here’s the full list of what I watched in February (asterisks indicate rewatches):

  1. Passing Strange (Lee, 2009)
  2. I’m Here (Jonze, 2010)*
  3. The Great Mouse Detective (Michener et al., 1986)
  4. Tabloid (Morris, 2010)
  5. Stingray Sam (McAbee, 2009)
  6. Driving Miss Daisy (Beresford, 1989)
  7. Catwoman (Pitof, 2004)
  8. Comin’ Thro’ the Rye (Fleischer & Fleischer, 1926)
  9. Winsor McCay, the Famous Cartoonist of the N.Y. Herald and His Moving Comics (McCay, 1911)
  10. Ko-Ko the Kop (Fleischer & Fleischer, 1927)
  11. Ko-Ko’s Earth Control (Fleischer, 1928)*
  12. Bimbo’s Initiation (Fleischer, 1931)*
  13. Minnie the Moocher (Fleischer, 1932)*
  14. Chess-Nuts (Fleischer, 1932)
  15. The Candid Candidate (Fleischer, 1937)
  16. Let’s Sing With Popeye (Fleischer, 1934)
  17. Goonland (Fleischer, 1938)
  18. Somewhere in Dreamland (Fleischer, 1936)
  19. Jungle Drums (Gordon, 1943)
  20. Made in U.S.A. (Godard, 1966)
  21. The Girl Can’t Help It (Tashlin, 1956)
  22. Super 8 (Abrams, 2011)
  23. The LEGO Movie (Lord & Miller, 2014)
  24. He Who Gets Slapped (Sjöström, 1924)
  25. The Turin Horse (Tarr, 2011)
  26. Brincando El Charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican (Negrón-Muntaner, 1994)
  27. Runaway Bride (Marshall, 1999)
  28. Quiz Show (Redford, 1994)
  29. Catch-22 (Nichols, 1970)
  30. Gloria Victoria (Ushev, 2013)
  31. Room on the Broom (Lang, 2012)
  32. Newman Laugh-O-Grams (Disney, 1921)
  33. Steamboat Willie (Iwerks, 1928)*
  34. Mickey’s Gala Premiere (Gillett, 1933)
  35. The Band Concert (Jackson, 1935)*
  36. Lonesome Ghosts (Gillett, 1937)
  37. Thru the Mirror (Hand, 1936)
  38. The Skeleton Dance (Disney, 1929)*
  39. Three Little Pigs (Gillett, 1933)*
  40. The Old Mill (Jackson, 1937)*
  41. Saturday Night Fever (Badham, 1977)
  42. Peggy Sue Got Married (Coppola, 1986)
  43. Marnie (Hitchcock, 1964)
  44. The Station Agent (McCarthy, 2003)
  45. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (Gilliam, 1988)
  46. Eastern Promises (Cronenberg, 2007)
  47. Men in Black (Sonnenfeld, 1997)
  48. Targets (Bogdanovich, 1968)
  49. An Officer and a Gentleman (Hackford, 1982)
  50. The Office Boy (Iwerks, 1932)
  51. Merry Mannequins (Iwerks, 1937)
  52. One More Time (Harman & Ising, 1931)
  53. Peace on Earth (Harman et al., 1939)*
  54. The Milky Way (Ising, 1940)
  55. Body Beautiful (Quinn, 1990)
  56. Dreams and Desires: Family Ties (Quinn, 2006)
  57. Jacob’s Ladder (Lyne, 1990)
  58. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (Hosoda, 2006)
  59. The Lost Weekend (Wilder, 1945)
  60. The Sword in the Stone (Reitherman, 1963)
  61. Day of Wrath (Dreyer, 1943)
  62. Robin Hood (Reitherman, 1973)
  63. A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman (Jones et al., 2012)
  64. How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman (Santos, 1971)
  65. Bus 174 (Padilha, 2002)
  66. Smile, Darn Ya, Smile! (Ising, 1931)
  67. The Case of the Stuttering Pig (Tashlin, 1937)
  68. Porky Pig’s Feat (Tashlin, 1943)*
  69. Porky in Wackyland (Freleng & Clampett, 1938)*
  70. The Daffy Doc (Clampett, 1938)
  71. Porky’s Hare Hunt (Hardaway, 1938)
  72. Elmer’s Candid Camera (Jones, 1940)
  73. A Wild Hare (Avery, 1940)*
  74. Rabbit Seasoning (Jones, 1952)*
  75. Duck Amuck (Jones, 1953)*
  76. What’s Opera, Doc? (Jones, 1957)*
  77. Roof Sex (PES, 2002)
  78. Western Spaghetti (PES, 2008)*
  79. A Morning Stroll (Orchard, 2011)
  80. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (Joyce & Oldenburg, 2011)*

New-to-me: 62
Rewatch: 18

Total watched in 2014: 157
Total new-to-me in 2014: 138

My least favorite film I watched in February:

Catwoman.

Dear lord. Was this even a movie? This probably wasn’t even a real movie. I think I dreamt it. As somehow who finds even the worst films at least a little rewarding, I can’t even remember a certain moment watching this film where I thought “y’know, this isn’t that bad”. No, this really IS that bad. The creators of this film lack any and every notion of the word “subtlety”. The story is completely and utterly aimless, pointless, and boring. There are some films that offers tremendous amounts of merit, some not so much, some not at all. This is a film that I think sucked some of the life out of me. I think I’ve made my point pretty clear – this is a bad movie. (add your own John Cleese voice).

My favorite film I watched in February:

The Lost Weekend.

This film ranks among Days of Wine and Roses and Leaving Las Vegas as one of the roughest, realest, rawest films about alcoholism out there. Ray Milland really gave it his all at depicting such a lost soul on screen so realistically and tragically. I’ve said before that I feel really ashamed calling myself a Billy Wilder fangirl without even having seen this film – and that sentiment still stands. It’s definitely up there with The Apartment and Sunset Blvd. as one of his better films, with an Oscar for Best Picture to match. I say it’s completely, fully well-deserved.

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2 Responses to Fleischer and Iwerks and Jones, Oh My!: February ’14 in Film

  1. Bubbawheat says:

    I watched I’m Here because I couldn’t get around to watching Her and it was a really surprising little short from him. I loved a lot of his music videos but hadn’t seen too many of his short films or even his feature films other than Being John Malkovich. And Catwoman is really awful on so many levels. Wow, just wow.

    • Lyzette says:

      Watching Her and rewatching I’m Here helped me realize that Jonze has built up quite a distinct aesthetic for himself, along with his reputation as an auteur these from these past few years. It makes me really excited to see what else he’s got up his sleeve.

      and yes, Catwoman is so unbelievably piss-poor, jesus christ.

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