Podzilla 1985

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Good Old Days....

I recently got around to watching "Oz the Great and Powerful". I enjoyed it, but it really just made we want to watch "The Wizard of Oz" again. I loved that movie as a kid and could probably still quote along with it. It's just one of those movies that stuck with me as I grew up.
It got me thinking about what films I watched over and over again, and yet I could still go back to them now and love them just as much if not more. So I present to you ten films that can sum up my childhood.

Since it started this whole thing I'll begin with "The Wizard of Oz". I always wanted to fast forward to when Dorothy got to Oz, get past all that black and white mess and give me some color. For the longest time her stay in munchkin land was my favorite part of the movie. I wanted Glinda's dress so badly back then, in all it's fluffy pink sparkliness.

What's really held up over time for me though is the music. I might not be able to quote this movie but I sure as hell can sing most of the soundtrack, if not all of it. I'm a sucker for a good musical and this is a prime example of one.

So many people were scared of the flying monkeys in this movie, I don't remember being scared, though my mom says I was. I do remember being freaked out by the Winki Guards though. It wasn't until "Round House", a long forgotten Snick show, did a parody of them chanting "Oreo. Yoda." that I got past it. Now I just snicker cause that's all I hear.

Moving on, I had a VHS tape that I watched almost religiously through the late 80's and early 90's. I watched this thing so much, that going back to it now, it won't even run in color the whole time. It warps in and out of black and white. This tape had copies of a few movies on it.

First up is Disney's "Sleeping Beauty." This is easily still my favorite Disney animated film. Yes the princess is a bit lacking in personality, but Philip was the first Disney prince to actually have one. I love his interaction with his steed, Sampson. It's probably safe to say Philip was my first animated crush, if not my first crush in general.

This movie also serves as home to my favorite Disney villain, Maleficent. The mistress of all evil is very true to her name and yet so classy most of the time. One of my favorite parts is where she realizes her minions have been looking for a baby for sixteen years and she's forced to rely on her pet raven to find the girl.

Not to be forgotten, are the three good fairies. These three little ladies really help move the story along and are just really loveable. I love the banter between Flora and Merry-weather, especially over the color of Aurora's dress. I favor the blue myself. While Fauna's ditziness just makes me smile.

Fauna: "Add salt, one tsp...... tsp?"
Merriwather: "One tea spoon."
Fauna: *Giggles* "Oh of course!"

Once again the music of this movie fills my heart, I will forever love 'the sleeping beauty waltz' by Tchaiovsky, though you may know it's elements better as "Once Upon a Dream".  I'll randomly find myself humming this song still from time to time. It just puts me in a good mood.

Next up on my favorite VHS was "Marry Poppins." I honestly think I appreciate this film more now than when I was a kid. Back then I really only looked forward to the animated part when they jumped into the sidewalk drawing. I loved those penguins and wanted to find a carousel with horses painted up like the ones in the movie.

Now my favorite scene would have to be on the roof tops with the chimney sweeps. Those dancers are awesome.... random trivia some of them also danced in "Enchanted" later down the line. The scene with the old men and ladies in the park.... yep that's them.

I'm sure by now you're seeing a trend, this girl likes musicals a lot. Yes a lot. I do have a hard time picking a favorite song from this one though. "Jolly Holiday" was always a favorite growing up, but over time "Feed the Birds" has really grown on me. Darn those Sherman brothers and making such catchy little songs!

The last of my triple threat VHS was "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Yes the Gene Wilder version. I loved this movie. I still love this movie. I kinda want to watch it right now. When I was in college I remember it being on TV around Christmas and my mom was in the living room watching it. I was in my bed room with the door open quoting what was going to be said before they said it. She got so mad at me that she changed the channel, much to my dismay.

Now I'm a Tim Burton fan, but his take on this story can't beat out the original in my opinion. I will take the 1971 version of this tale any day. I love the characters, I love the music and love the dark humor I never got until high school. This is just a great movie that every time will leave me a good mood.

"Moving on! Hurry, hurry! We have so much time and so little to see..."

Being a girl of the 80's it's only natural that I loved Rainbow Brite. I had almost all of the dolls, a few read along books on tape, and adored the cartoon. "Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealers" was one of those long coveted movies for me a kid. I don't remember where I had seen it first, but I knew I loved it. Like so many early childhood memories it got muddled together, but brought back to the surface in an unlikely place.

In the Early 90's my younger brother got really sick and was admitted the the Children's hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. While he was recovering my mother stayed with him and I would travel down to see them with my dad every few days. On one trip my parents let me pick out a video tape to rent and watch in my brother's room. I remember nearly spazzing out when I spotted the hard to find Rainbow Brite movie. This one movie helped the ten year old me ignore the fact that I didn't like hospitals for an hour or so while I basked in the adventures of my favorite hero at the time.

Looking back I was mostly amused by the villain, a stuck up greedy princess who had a giant emerald for a pet. A bit eccentric much? This story had all the usual characters but packed more action than the original cartoon, making it stand out. After my little rental adventure it faded back into unattainableness. I knew it was out there but not how to get it. A few years later, a failed attempt at taping it off the Disney channel, forced me to learn how to program the VCR. I was so pissed that I missed my chance at having it because of a family reunion. Yes I knew where my priorities where even as a kid. I wouldn't lay my hands on a copy of this movie until my senior year of high school, thanks to Amazon.com. Since then thanks to 80's nostalgia and dvd's Rainbow has become much easier to get a hold of, so I can still enjoy her now any time I want.

 Continuing with the overly fluffy do good cartoons of the 80's brings me to "The Care Bear Movie II". Sure I liked the first movie but two will always be my favorite. Between baby Care Bears and Care Bear Cousins, an awesome villain and songs that I will still sing-a-long to this is one I will never grow tired of.  This story gives an alternate take on the origins of the Care Bear family, which I honestly kinda like better than the first movie's explanation.

Dark Heart is just awesome villain. A darkness that consumes all kindness and love and can take on any form it wishes. You have to admit that's kinda cool.  Plus in the end, despite having gotten his way by capturing all of the Care Bears, even he learns to care and turns it all around. Though I will admit I was disturbed to find Dark Heart porn while searching for images to use on this.... I'm not surprised, I just wasn't really expecting it. Though with everything else out there I should have guessed as much, at least it was well drawn and not with any of the furies.

 This is also the movie that made me love Swift Heart Rabbit. I wanted a plushie of him for so long, but all I had was Good Luck Bear and Brave Heart Lion. It took me a while but i finally tracked one down in college along with Bright Heart Raccoon and Cozy Heart Penguin. The Care Bears are cheesy, I'll admit it but some times you just need a little love. Plus Brave Heart Lion has gotten me through a number of tough time throughout my life. You can make fun of them all you want but i will always have a soft spot in my heart for these guardians of caring. It's a shame we can't all follow their examples some times. I know I've stopped caring about a lot of things and in the long run it's sad. I might a more regular dose of these colorful fur balls.

"The Land Before Time" was a huge hit, if you can't tell by the fact that they are still making sequels to it. I think they're up to twenty by now....
The original though will always be the best. Even though I never got to see it in theaters, I chose to see "Oliver and Company" instead, I still fell in love with it once I watched my grandma's VHS copy she bought for us kids.

Charming characters, a great emotional story and what kid can resist dinosaurs. I love every character in this movie. Sure Sera get's annoying but that's kind of the point. I was thrilled when I got a plush Little Foot for my birthday he's seen better days but I've still got him. Ducky, however, has to be my favorite. I love her and she has the best quotes.
"It is ok Peetree many things do not fly. Rocks. Sticks, Trees. Spike."

This movie still tugs at my heart. The song that plays during the ending credits, "Hold on Together" sung by Donna Summers, still can make me cry. It's so pretty.

"All Dogs Go to Heaven" is another long time favorite. Even though I have a copy on dvd now, I still added it to my Netflix list for convenient watching. As much as I love the story, I will admit once again it's the music that I remember the most. Back in the day I put my tape recorder up to the tv and made my own copy of the soundtrack to play my new portable walkman grandma got me for Christmas. I thought I was so cool.

Though this one is charming to keep kid's attention there's also a lot of adult humor, that I never picked up on until high school. As a kid you see Charlie proving his way back into Heaven, but as a adult you see his gambling addiction and how it effects everyone around him. Lying, cheating, abuse, murder, dirty deals and general trickery that so many fall victim to. This movie is depressing, there's no getting around it, but it's so good. You're hero is unlikely and yet he over comes his short comings and does the right thing by sacrificing himself for the good of others.

 "Labyrinth" was filmed when I was little, but I wasn't introduced to it until I was in middle school. My best friend was always going on about it, so one night when I slept over we watched it. I understood right away why she was so obsessed. It was amazing. Visually it was whimsical and beautiful in a crumbling ruins kind of way. I was also a Jim Henson fan so it only added to the wonder for me.

As a kid it would have probbaly creeped me out, but as a young teen it just caught my attention more. It was darker but not quite the scare me horror movie style. The music just added to the experience. I was aware of who David Bowie was, but had never really listened to his stuff. Finding the soundtrack at the time was next to impossible, so once again this film got the "recorded off the TV" treatment. a few years later my friend and I would have a total fan girl moment when by chance, on a school trip to the Rock N' Roll hall of fame we found the sound track on cd. Needless to say we both snatched up copies and listened to them on our diskman players on the three hour bus ride home. I still love the sound track and listen to it regularly.

I love all of the puppetry in this movie too. If it was made today you know it would all be CG and wouldn't hold the same charm. The cave of hands still amazes me. So many faces made entirely of hands covered in grey paint and laytex. I still find something new in the back grounds every time I watch this one. It is one of my to go films when I need a little creative inspiration.

Finally I want to end with another lost treasure. When I started high school I discovered anime. Little did I know that I had actually been watching Japanese animation my entire life. Once day a very anime like movie started playing and I could have sworn that I'd seen it before. I was anticipating what was going to happen and correct every time. Why did I know this movie? I couldn't remember. My mom then walked into the room and informed me that I use to rent the same move from our local video rental store all the time when we still lived in town.

"The Last Unicorn" was once again brought to light for me. Animation from Japan, paid for my Rankin Bass (the creators of all of my favorite Christmas specials), music by America and a voice cast including Angela Lansbury, Christopher Lee, Jeff Bridges, Alan Arkin and Mia Farrows. I had watched the movie countless times as a kid just because of the unicorn. As a teen I knew the actors who voiced the characters and had a new interest in animation in general. It let me appreciate the film on a new level and fall in love with it all over again.

Once I was in college I even managed to track down a copy of the original novel that the film was based on. There's so much in the book that never made it into the movie, but that doesn't make me love it any less. Like many fans I was extremely excited to learn about a live action remake, that would include original cast members. Christopher Lee was a strong voice behind the project, excited to play King Hagard once again. Sadly due to creative differences the film has yet to see production. It became a waiting game for the license to run out on the last contract, but even with it expired nothing new has been stated. It's most likely another lost project, but I keep hopeful with each news letter I get.

There you have a few films that will always hold a special place in my heart. There are many more out there, but I will leave it at these for now.
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