Thursday, January 21, 2010
Posted by Brian Lynch at 7:28 PM
Monday, November 30, 2009
("Scrooge? You ever think about... You know... Stuff?")
Posted by Brian Lynch at 6:34 PM
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
THE MUPPET CHRISTMAS CAROL (1992)
(Good Movie Poster)
THE GOOD - The original puppets look good, the classic puppets look good, and what puppeteers as remain alive do a marvelous job. Also, they have Gonzo following everyone around, acting as a narrator, which is a good idea for two reasons. One, it gives them some funny visual bits in the draggy parts; and two, it gives them an easy excuse to use Dickens’ narration as he wrote it, instead of awkwardly working it into dialogue like so many other productions.
(Horrifying DVD Cover. I love how Michael Caine is just sort of hovering in the back.)
THE BAD - Jim Henson and Richard Hunt died before this movie went into production. You may think it unfair to put this in ‘The Bad’, since it’s not really the movie’s fault, but if you don’t like the way I run things, you can write your own blog. You could probably update more often, too, you lazy bastard. Anyway, I have to put the blame on these deaths for the fact that the movie never really comes together. They had Jerry Juhl writing, Paul Williams songwriting, Brian Henson directing… that should be Muppet gold. But instead, it’s more like a collection of concepts. It works, it doesn’t, it never really comes together as a whole work. Oh, and the “Streets of London” set is pretty tiny. They’re obviously stretching to make it look expansive at some points, when it’s obvious they’re just walking like 30 feet.
("Hey, Bean!" "Yeah?")
THE OTHERWISE WORTHY OF MENTION - Quite surprisingly, this is not a comedic parody of A Christmas Carol, or even a funny version of the story, like Mickey’s. This is a straight-up honest adaptation that happens to feature funny puppets in some supporting roles. And while I can’t fault them for… Oh, wait, yes I can. FAULT The Muppets take supporting roles in their own movie. FAULT There are long stretches where nothing funny or interesting happens on account of there’s no Muppets around. FAULT FAULT FAULT. Anyhow, it’s still a good movie, and a good version of the story, but apparently the original intent was to have Scooter, Piggy, and Gonzo be the ghosts, and it would be much more of a comedy. Wow, Muppets and jokes. We wouldn’t want that in our Muppet movie.
SCROOGE - Played by Michael Caine. I like Michael Caine. I like Michael Caine’s voice. I like it when he putts an upper-class edge on it, as here. It sort of makes you feel like Scrooge was a dirty London boy who made good. It sort of makes you wish the actors playing young Scrooge had got the memo. I mean, everyone knows what Michael Caine sounds like, you’d think they’d try it. (Oh, and I like when he does an American accent, because it’s HILARIOUS.) Anyway, Caine plays an effective, if low-key Scrooge. Whereas McDuck’s was sort of avuncularly evil, with a clear sense of humor, Caine’s comes off as a very bitter sort of mean, and his scraggly haircut and overbite make him the second ugliest Scrooge I’ve ever seen, after Alistair Sim. Frankly, I’m less than impressed.
("We left the key in one of these...")
MARLEY - Marleys, actually. If you need Muppets to play elderly men who delight in cruelty, you’re obviously going for Statler and Waldorf. And so Jacob Marley gets a brother, Robert. (Get it? GET IT?) They sing a good song, put in some of their trademark zingers. It’s a good time for all. The one thing that bugs me is that when they do the face in the door knocker bit, only Statler is there. You’d think they could have put Waldorf’s face on the doorknob or something. They float in the air, which kind of makes the chains seem like not such a big deal, but the chains multiply and lengthen during their extremely groovy song, and that’s such a neat touch I’ll let it slide. Also to note: Statler and Waldorf were originally played by Richard Hunt and Jim Henson. Now their characters are ghosts. SPOOOOOOOKY. Of course, Kermit and Beaker turned out fine, so they’re 50/50.
(KILL IT! KILL IT WITH FIRE!)
PAST - I’ve never seen The Dark Crystal. This is partly because the opportunity has never really presented itself*, and partly because the Gelflings really freak me out. And so does the Gelfy Ghost of Christmas Past. It just sort of floats around amorphously, twitching its horrid mouth and scaring the fuck out of me. It looks like a fetus.
*This is a lie. My girlfriend did suggest we watch it once, but I decided I’d rather see Labyrinth again. If I’m going to watch something Henson/Froudy, I’d rather it have David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, and David Bowie’s huge unit in it. And I’m not fixating on it, but seriously, that bulge deserves third billing. It practically had backstory and motivations. It probably has fan fiction about it. Probably? Who am I kidding? Hey, this footnote is longer than the main bit!
(You ever notice how no one ever bumps into them?)
PRESENT - Present is my favorite, and a huge part of that is that while still modeled after the Dickens description, he looks Muppety and is voiced by Jerry Nelson, one of the classic Muppeteers. He gets a musical montage. Christmas present is made for a musical montage. There are five musical adaptations I am aware of, and I’ll bet there’s a musical montage in the Present scene of at least four of them. Ignorance and Want (Who, by the way, are the second freakiest things Dickens ever wrote up, after Miss Havisham.) do not appear, which is too bad, since they could have been great in spooky Muppety form. Or they could have been Lew Zealand and the Swedish Chef, which would be even better.
("It only hurts when I do this.")
FUTURE - To everyone’s surprise, it’s a tall guy with a big black hooded robe. WOW. It’s a cool one, though. The robe looks more like a shroud, and his neck and arms are crazy long, and his legs are tiny. If he has legs. He sort of glides. Actually, he looks like a really skinny 14-foot-tall guy who’s had his legs amputated and now moves about by means of personal hovercraft, hiding his shame in a big cloak. And since they never say he’s not, I plan on assuming he is. It alleviates the bleakness of a ten-minute stretch of film without any jokes.
(Kermit is the most well-dressed Cratchit ever. I guess being naked since 1955 helped him save up.)
CRATCHIT - Continuing our tradition of the nice guy corporate icon playing Bob, here we have Kermit the Frog. He does well, but Cratchit relies too much on nice-guy Kermit. The reason I love Mr. The Frog is because of his short temper and razor wit. In the old Muppet Show episodes, he can be downright mean to Piggy, Fozzie, and Gonzo, not that they notice. By the time the movies started, he had calmed down a lot, but still cracked jokes at a rapid pace and could get all fired up when the need arose. Since about the third movie, and especially since Jim died, he’s been more and more mellow and more and more the straight man. And playing a role like Bob Cratchit makes him all meek and submissive. Kermit ain’t no wimp! Kermit’s the boss! Emily Cratchit is played by Miss Piggy, which fits because Dickens wrote Mrs. C. as kind of a crabby firecracker, and because she‘s the only major female Muppet, and as such, is required to be Kermit‘s love interest in every movie. They have four kids, of which the boys are frogs and the girls are pigs. That is not how biology works! I would have liked to have seen some baby figs, along the line of Kermit and Fozzie’s dad from the Great Muppet Caper. But then we wouldn’t have…
(When they say Tiny in this movie, they mean it.)
TINY TIM - Played by Kermit’s nephew, Robin. I’m actually not as bothered by Kermit having a nephew as I am with the Disney guys. I think it’s because Kermit is more like a real person. We know what his job is, for instance. He’s MC and stage manager of a variety show. What does Mickey do? Who the hell knows? So it’s easy to imagine Kermit has a brother or a sister. Anyway, Robin, like Kermit, loses his edge playing a Cratchit. He was always a cute little guy, but with a sort of resentment at being the cute little guy. As Tim Cratchit, he plays the cute card to the max, and does it well. Jerry Nelson’s cute little guy voice is marvelous, and his gimpy puppeteering is excellently pathetic. What pisses me off is that Scrooge steals his classic line. At the end, he says “God bless us,” and Scrooge says “Yes! God bless us, every one!” Fuck you, Scrooge. I thought you’d learned your lesson. You wanna go back in the ghost-hole? I WILL THROW YOU RIGHT IN!
(Hey, dig it, it's the Acoustic Mayhem.)
FEZZIWIG - That’s Fozziwig, because if you can make an easy joke like that, why not? Fozzie is a natural fit for Fezziwig, because his one scene consists of him throwing a party, and he gets the opportunity to tell some stupid jokes. Mrs. Fezziwig is portrayed as Fezzy’s mother in this, because they probably hadn’t used the Fozzie’s mom puppet in 15 years or so. Oh, who am I kidding, it’s just Fozzie with a wig. Fezziwig’s profession is given in this version as rubber chicken manufacturer, which is a great place to imagine Ebenezer Scrooge getting his start, and I’d like to see that in a more serious adaptation.
(What is that, a scarf, or a curtain?)
FRED - Rather disappointingly played by a human. I was rather hoping for Scooter or something. I mean, the guy does a good job, but what with the ghosts being custom jobs, we need all the real Muppets we can get. But I guess there’s no human/Muppet crossbreeding allowed. The kid’s decent enough, in a British David Cassidy sort of clean-cut way.
("We're collecting for the mute and the possibly blind...")
CHARITY CASE - Played by Bunsen and Beaker, because there’s two of them, so hey, why not? There’s actually a wonderful moment with them at the end. After Scrooge gives them his donation, Beaker takes off his scarf and gives it to Scrooge as a gesture of gratitude. The look on Caine’s face is wonderful. This is the first Christmas gift Scrooge has received in a very long time, and it came from the heart. I love it when the wacky comedy versions of a story can do something better than the legit versions. Of course, if they’re going to do something that well, there’s tradeoff, and it comes from Bunsen leaning on Scrooge’s desk with his hand on cheek and swirling his finger on his other hand around in a manner that can only be described as flirty. It’s creepy, and wrong, and it makes me picture Michael Caine having sex with a chartreuse volleyball. Actually, it doesn't, but now you're seeing it. Ha ha.
(I started typing the same hat joke as last time, then remembered I'd already used that, and you know, I now have nothing to say about her.)
BELLE - There’s a video online called “How a Muppet Christmas Carol is meant to be watched” or something to that effect. It plays the scene with young Scrooge and Belle right up to where she starts singing, and then fast forwards past the rest. And that’s about the size of it. She absolutely grinds the film to a halt. There’s no Muppets in her big scenes. There’s not even any Michael Caine. And her song sucks. Would have been much better if she was a Muppet. I don’t know who, though. Probably Janice. Or Camilla. Now that would be hilarious. For the record, I didn’t have to watch the song. It was cut out of the theatrical version for pacing reasons, and put back in the home video release because Paul Williams’ mom really liked it. Or something, I don’t know. But my DVD gives me the option of watching the theatrical cut in widescreen, or the VHS edit in fullscreen. Since I have some taste and class, I chose widescreen and was rewarded with not having to watch this shitty song.
(When I get my teacher certification, I'm totally wearing that hat everywhere.)
OTHERS - Bean Bunny plays the young lad who tells Scrooge what day it is. In a nice bit of consolidation, they combine the part with the young caroler Scrooge refuses to give a coin to, and add pathos by showing him shivering in an alley shortly thereafter. The sight of Bean Bunny homeless and freezing is very funny in a very guilty way. Sam the Eagle cameos as Scrooge’s old teacher, and manages to be a patriotic American in 1800-ish England. The background supplies some classic Muppets, the best of which is Bobby Benson and his Baby Band as carolers. The major addition, though is Gonzo as the Narrator. Officially, he’s identified as Charles Dickens, but there’s no real reason for that. He shows up in a lot of odd jobs depending on the scene, so he’s sort of like D*ck van D*ke in Mary Poppins, except with a better English accent. Which is to say, no attempt at an English accent. He’s paired with Rizzo for the first time ever, for no real reason. Rizzo was barely more than a glorified extra before this, and I think they just needed someone for Gonzo to talk to, and wanted to get Steve Whitmire another big part. But hey, it’s worked out.
(Hey, don't blame me. That's the first Google result for the song title.)
A CHRISTMAS CAROL - Continuing our theme of sexual innapropriacy, let’s take a look at “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”. This charming little ode to date rape is a duet sung by a male, trying to get a woman to stay in his sleazy bachelor pad, and said woman, frantically making excuses to leave. The male and female voices are identified in the original sheet music as “The Wolf” and “The Mouse”, which I guess would make sense if wolves ate mice. Or fucked them, I suppose. The lyrics are… well, here’s a sample…
I really can't stay - But baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - But baby it's cold outside
Okay, so far, not too creepy, but then…
My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
Oh, so she still lives with her parents. Nothing odd about that, but she also has a curfew… Well, that was probably more common in 1949, and there’s no reason to believe she’s 16.
I ought to say no, no, no, sir - Mind if I move closer?
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride?
AAAAHHHHH!!! Not cool, The Wolf! That might have worked in the back seat of your dad’s Austin 7 when you were in high school, but now… Well at least she’s only admitting this is maybe a bad idea, she’s not BLATANTLY saying no…
I simply must go - But baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no - But baby, it's cold outside
My sister will be suspicious - Gosh, your lips look delicious
My brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore
I’m becoming convinced at this point that the reason her whole family is there is because they’ve reported her missing and are waiting to hear from the police. And The Wolf’s lyrics are quickly becoming nonsensical.
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious
Hee hee. Old virgins are mean and gossipy! This song won an Oscar, by the way.
You've really been grand - I thrill when you touch my hand
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me?
Oh, yeah. It’s her fault. Everything this guy says is like an example from one of those pamphlets on keeping your virginity. Oh, and just when you think he can’t get anymore manipulative…
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
Of course, there is a reason she’s so susceptible to his greasy advances…
The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink? - No cabs to be had out there
Flunitrazepam. Maybe GHB.
And so, with Wolfie’s final line (“Get over it”) we end it. And in case you’re wondering if there’s any circumstance where I’ll like this song, there is. If an effeminate Scotsman sings it to an elderly alcoholic and they throw in little one liners and trade parts halfway through. And that’s why I treasure my recording by Alan Cumming and Liza Minelli.
COMING UP NEXT : We'll see George C. Scott hating Christmas, and liking yelling! Also, I understand he played Scrooge at one point.
Posted by Brian Lynch at 10:34 PM
Friday, December 12, 2008
MICKEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1983)
(Seriously, though, The Rescuers is pretty awesome.)
Ah, the first version of the classic story I ever saw. What better way to kick off the blog? With a version that's not talking funny animals, you say? Well, shut up.
(My favorite Scotsman who movied to America at the age of 13 and grew up to become a captain of industry. Although after him and Andrew Carnegie, I'm not sure where else to go.)
THE GOOD - The decision was wisely made to tell a straight-up adaptation of A Christmas Carol, changing the names of all the characters, keeping it in 1880s England, etc. So it was able to avoid being like one of those Christmas Carol episodes of “Family Ties”, or whatever. Also, it was a theatrical movie, originally the pre-show to a re-release of “The Rescuers”, so the animation is top-notch.
(You know, when you threaten the guy with hell, it makes his repentance seem less sincere.)
THE BAD - Jeepers, this thing is short. At 25 minutes or so, there’s basically no time for any of the ghosts to show him anything more than one or two little scenes. Kind of implies Scrooge didn’t need much in the way of convincing. He was probably all ready to change, but just couldn’t find the time.
(Hey, Cratchit, Charlie Brown called, he wants his tree back.)
THE OTHERWISE WORTHY OF MENTION - They re-released The Rescuers? Huh. No characters from The Rescuers appear, which is too bad, because most movies could do with a little more Eva Gabor. Also, not that it’s specific to this movie, and not that it’s something hacky stand-ups haven’t covered well, but why all the nephews? Donald is Scrooge’s nephew, Huey, Dewey, and Louie are Donald’s nephews, etcetera. The only one who has a natural child is freakin’ Goofy. And not even Disney knows where these kids come from. I have a copy of the McDuck family tree. Scrooge’s sister Hortense marries Quackmore Duck, they have two kids, Donald and Della. Della marries… and there’s just a blank circle, covered by a branch. Are Huey, Dewey, and Louie bastards or something? Because that’s what this thing seems to be implying. It would explain why their name is Duck. Then again, so is Daisy‘s, who we can assume to be no relation. And her three nieces are ALSO named Duck! And they’re confirmed to be her sister’s kids, not that anyone knows who her sister is. I swear to Gald, there’s some Blue Velvet-level secret-keeping going on in Duckburg.
(I would love to see Mickey get smacked with that thing, and if that makes me a bad person, so be it.)
SCROOGE - Played, naturally, by Scrooge McDuck, for the first time ever by Alan Young. Of course, since Scrooge was only ever in one cartoon prior to this, it’s not that impressive. Anyway, there’s not much effort needed in adapting him to suit this story. He’s always been a crabby old tightwad with a heart of gold, so all they had to do was hold off on the gold-heart stuff until the end. Watching this as a child, I was fascinated by Scrooge’s nightcap, and I frequently wear hats to bed to this very day.
(And now, my Hal Smith impression. Gawrsh! A-hyuk! Wah-hoo-hoo! Can I have my paycheck now?)
MARLEY - Every time there’s one of these use existing characters to adapt an old story movies, someone only gets a part due to a combination of there not really being a part that’s right for them and there being nobody in the set cast that can fill the part well, but they have to have a part because they‘re a major character. And so it is with poor Goofy. There’s nothing really Marley-like about him, but where else were they going to put him? So he shuffles around doing his little pratfalls and all that, and it’s just kind of blah. HIGH POINT: Scrooge compliments him for his former ruthlessness, and he looks proud for a minute before remembering he’s supposed to be sorry. LOW POINT. When he walks through a wall, only to trip on a cane. If he can go through a wall, why not a cane? And why would falling down the stairs bother him? Was it just an excuse to put in the “WAAAAAHHH-HOO-HOO-HOO!” sound effect? Of course it was.
(Things I would love to her Jiminy Cricket say: "I'ma cut you!")
PAST - Played by Jiminy Cricket. Not much to say here. The kindest and gentlest spirit is played by a friendly little cricket-dude. Pokes a little fun at Scrooge, but mostly just shows him the ol’ good times. One thing I did notice is that the part of the book where Scrooge gets angry at the spirit for dragging up painful memories and basically kills it was taken out. This is the second time Jiminy has escaped death by the grace of Disney. In the original book Pinocchio, the nameless cricket shows up in Gepetto’s house and tells Pinocchio to get a job, whereupon the puppet throws a hammer at his head and kills him. That book is pretty fucked-up.
(Sure, why not?)
PRESENT - The writers have made an odd choice here in casting the giant from Mickey and the Beanstalk in this role. He’s a fun character, sure, but his only appearance prior to this was as a villain in half of a 35-year-old anthology movie. He’s great in this, though, stomping around tearing the roofs off of houses to show Christmas joy. And I like the idea of a huge ghost that uses his physical prowess to manhandle Scrooge into seeing what he shows. Incidentally, in the original treatment, Present was played by Pinocchio’s Blue Fairy. (Past was Merlin, and future the old lady version of the queen from Snow White.) Makes sense, what with her being all about conscience and all. Of course, in the book, she tries to put Pinocchio into a coffin because he refuses to take some medicine, then later fakes her death and makes him think it was his fault. Fucked. Up.
(Oh my god! THAT'S how you spell Ebenezer?)
FUTURE - I like this one. Future is always so impassive, just pointing this way and that registering no reaction, rail-thin and faceless. This one is fat and obnoxious, and has scowly eyes peering out of his cowly hood. He blows cigar smoke in Scrooge’s face, and instead of solemnly hovering, stands around impatiently with his hands on his hips. When Scrooge asks whose grave he’s standing on, the ghost is positively delighted. “It’s yours, Ebenezer!” He laughs, throwing back his hood, “The richest man in the cemetery!” That’s pretty awesome. He is, of course, played by Pete, because Pete is the only notable bad guy in the entire Disney cast. His one line is voiced by Will Ryan, and it sounded really off to me, until I realized that I’ve only ever known Pete to be played by Jim Cummings, and his Pete voice is pretty much his generic tough guy voice. So it’s more likely he’s doing it wrong. By the way, what is Pete? A cat?
(Belinda! No grinding on the popcorn!)
CRATCHIT - Can we all agree that Mickey Mouse is annoying? That stupid little giggle he does, that voice, the near lack of a personality, the weak-willed good-guy attitude. Well, anyway, he’s playing Bob Cratchit, so all he has to do is snivel around the place getting shit on, which is about par for the course for Mickey. To be fair, he was kinda cool in some of his middle shorts, like the late 40s or so. But this is not them. In this, Mickey is full into generic, personality-free corporate mascot mode. And every time he does that stupid little giggle, he reminds me of Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates. This is the first time Mickey is played by Wayne Allwine. For those of you who are fans of Adorable Trivia, Allwine is arried to Russi Taylor, who plays Minnie Mouse. Awwwwww… (Not in this though. She would have, but Mrs C. doesn’t get any lines.)
(I can make it on my own!)
TINY TIM - Played by Morty Fieldmouse according to Wikipedia, though it could easily be Ferdie. The other one plays the other kid. They’re Mickey’s nephews in the regular continuity, because anything the Ducks can do awesome, the Mice can do half-assed. Still, the kid’s cute, and there’s something about the way he gimps down the stairs that just tugs at the heart. Frankly, Tim is always played as a freakin’ saint, and a cute baby mouse is just the icing on the cake. And while I think I may have mentioned I’m none to fond of Mickey, the sight of him tearfully laying a crutch down in front of a gravestone is pretty devastating, and the animators did a wonderful job on the moment immediately after, when he looks up and realizes he’ll never see his son again. Since this entry wasn’t that funny, I’d like to mention that in the book Pinocchio, Gepetto hates children, and the first thing Pinocchio does is bite him and steal his wig.
(I am a well-rounded character, dammit!)
FEZZIWIG - Blink and you miss him. The Fezz is played by Mr. Toad from The Wind in the Willows. He fiddles while Rome burns. I mean while his employees dance.
(Aww. He's still dressed like a sailor. Was he ever actually in the navy?)
FRED - You know, of all the corporate icon cartoon ducks with temper issues that play second banana to some manner of farm pest, Donald is my second favorite. It should be mentioned, though that while I like Daffy a bit more than Donald, I like Donald waaaaay more than I like Mickey. But then, I like Horace fucking Horsecollar more than I like Mickey. Donald is the obvious choice here, what with already being Scrooge’s nephew, but at first seems an odd choice for the holly-jolly Fred, given his famously short fuse. But he stays firmly on the up side of the mood swing here, and a happy Donald is one with relentless enthusiasm in the face of antipathy. A scene where he blows his top at Scrooge would be nice. Actually, that would be better in a straight-up adaptation. “Merry Christmas, Uncle!” “What is merry about it?” “Well, it’s such a joyous time!” “Humbug!” “Oh, fuck you, you dried up old sack of crap! Pardon me for hoping you could cheer up a little. Next year I‘ll listen to experience and not invite you to dinner. And when you die, I‘m stealing your hat.” But I digress, as usual. Donald is played for the last time by Clarence Nash, making him the only character voiced by his original actor. At 79 years old, he still sounds great, leading me to wonder if that was his actual voice and he was pushed into his career as the first professional voice actor by shame. Probably not.
(I say old chap! What do you mean you've never seen our movie?)
CHARITY CASE - The charity collectors are played by Mole and Rat from The Wind in the Willows. Factoring in that the future gravediggers are the Weasels, that movie is shockingly well-represented relative to it’s importance and quality. Scrooge has a finny bit at the beginning where he justifies not giving money to the poor because if the poor weren’t poor, these two would be out of a job. Later, he pays them in big gold coins he explicitly describes as “gold pieces“. 100 gold pieces? Where are we, Gondor? Or has Scrooge made his money from piracy? Or were the animators too lazy to look up Victorian British currency? If so, I don’t blame them. Before they decimalized, that shit was nuts.
(Those hats must have been so inconvenient in the wind.)
BELLE - Played by Daisy Duck. I’d make a joke about Scrooge makin’ time on his nephew’s girl, but looking at that family tree, nothing would surprise me. Standing under some mistletoe, she makes specific reference to her lips. That’s a little weird.
(Scrooge commences his plan to rid the world of the poor. Step 1: poisoning Bob. step 2: ??? step 3: PROFIT!)
OTHERS - A few characters from Robin Hood show up in the background here, including Skippy and his siblings and Lady Sassmouth. Wikipedia states : “The Robin Hood characters depicted in the special are possibly their descendants because the film Robin Hood takes place in 12th century England, and this special takes place in Victorian England.” It does not seem to bother Wikipedia that pretty much no other featured character was even born in 1845. Scrooge was born in 1867, according to Don Rosa, which I guess makes him closest. Of course, if we’re to assume Duck Tales to take place in the ‘80s, Rosa’s timeline doesn’t necessarily match up with animation. I mean, it can’t.
(I'd like to remind everyone that the man on the right started his career by playing the third lead with Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in Sophie's Choice. Here he is backup dancing for Calista Flockhart singing "Santa Baby".)
A CHRISTMAS CAROL - Does anyone actually enjoy listening to Santa Baby? A woman croons orgasmically about… whoa. My word processor just autocorrected that to “orgasmic ally”. That’s so cool. Anyway… about all the inanely expensive things she wants for Christmas. It’s a stunning blend of crass commercialism, inappropriate sexual entendre, and just plain ickiness. Originally performed by Eartha Kitt, too, so you can add her weird voice to the mix. Apparently she did a sequel, entitled “This Year’s Santa Baby”. The mind boggles. The song has also been recorded by such diverse artists as Evanescence, RuPaul, Macy Gray, Miss Piggy, and those bastions of wholesome holiday entertainment, The Pussycat Dolls. It was also apparently recorded by DJ Run, but the less I know about that, the better.
(Nice hair, but you're a Duck, not a flock of seagulls.)
COMING UP NEXT - Another one that uses classic characters to tell an old story, only in a sadder way on account of the creator and one of the stars being recently dead, and the fact that we can now point to it and say with relative authority that that’s where the downfall began. Also, Michael Caine is in it!
Posted by Brian Lynch at 1:04 AM