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Entries in The Little Mermaid (17)

Monday
Aug252014

Beauty Vs Beast: Double Oh Golden Boys

JA from MNPP here, using this week's round of our "Beauty vs Beast" series to commemorate the occasion of the 84th anniversary of the birth of that paragon of brute debonair charm, Sean Connery. Who even knew "brute" and "debonair" could be a simultaneous thing til he showed us? Rock 'em sock 'em and shake them martinis, it's a Bond off. I waffled between a couple of villains to face him off against - I do love Dr. No and his awesome plastic head bubble - but when it comes to a bigger-than-bad personality I think the odds are in Gold's favor.

 

I just flicked the laser's ON switch - you have one week to make your choice before your bits-and-pieces get all crispy-like, so maybe make it timely this week? I mean, I'm only thinking of your privates.

PREVIOUSLY We dove down under da sea to duke it out between Disney's ginger mermaid princess and the big bad brassy sea-hag whos after her pipes... well poor sweet Ariel kinda never stood a chance against so much divine deliciousness; Ursula swam off with a pirate booty's full two-thirds of the vote. Said Alan P:

"Ariel may be the leading lady we all love, but a diva is a diva, and a diva is forever!"

Tuesday
Aug192014

Beauty vs Beast: Fish Witch

JA from MNPP here with this week's mite-late edition of this week's "Beauty Vs Beast" - sorry for the unexpected day-long delay, what can we say, a sea-witch stole our voice from us. Coincidentally The Film Experience is celebrating the year 1989 in the lead up to this month's Supporting Actress Showdown and whaddya know 1989 was the year that another gorgeous princess, not myself, had the exact same thing happen to her! I handled it with a much finer degree of decorum, natch, but she got Prince Eric so she wins. (Mmmm Prince Eric.) Yes I speak of Disney's The Little Mermaid, which is bringing us this week's animated face-off.

 

Life's full of tough choices... innit??? I feel like this one could go either way really, so making you cases in the comments could prove important. Sway the little fishies this way or that, people.

PREVIOUSLY If you felt a little falling sensation - kinda simultaneously plummeting forward and back - as you picked between Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in last week's Vertigo round you ultimately made like Hitch and came out blonde - well blonde eventually (inevitably) anyway - in the end. Judy, poor poor Judy, won your sympathies along with 71% of the vote. Said Leslie19:

"Judy is the perfect Hitchcockian heroine: A blonde puzzle, with a past. A great wardrobe and the perfect palette for techicolor, in this case his use of green. Is there anything more to say?"

Tuesday
Aug192014

Tues Top Ten: Hottest Hotties of 1989

Here's abstew to continue our celebration of 1989 as the 'year of the month'. Happy 25th, 1989!

As we look back at 1989 in preparation for the Smackdown, it's important not to forget what the movies have always been about: really attractive people. The Me Decade of the 80's, perhaps the greatest/craziest time in regards to fashion and hairstyles, if they taught us anything at all, it isn't that less is more. Oh, no. More is MORE! More shoulder pads, more eye shadow, more crunchy perms with mall bangs. So let's celebrate the 80's excess with these cinematic hotties of 1989. 

Honorable Mention: Julia Roberts "Blush and Bashful Hottie", Daniel Day-Lewis "Method Actor Hottie", Meg Ryan "I'll Have What She's Having Hottie", Kenneth Branagh "New Shakespearian Hottie", Nicole Kidman "Just An Ozzie Girl On a Boat With Billy Zane Hottie"

10. Sean Connery

You Call This Archeology Hottie

Why Him: The once and eternally forever Bond star proved that even at the age of 59, he could still make the ladies swoon when he played Indiana Jones' father in the number one box office hit of 1989, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Romancing women half his age, and even managing to make a tweed travel suit and bow tie as sexy as one of Bond's tuxes, Connery like a fine aged wine, just got better with age.

Sexiest 1989 Moment: People magazine named the Scot The Sexiest Man Alive for its 1989 cover story. The headline hilariously reads, "Older, balder...and better! Here's one leading man who doesn't need to fake it." No word on exactly what other leading men were faking at the time. And apparently John Goodman was up for the title that year, so...yeah. People magazine - the nation's leading authority of unconventional sex appeal.

9. Rosie Perez
(and 8 more sexpots after the jump)

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug182014

Meet This Month's "Smackdown" Panelists

The Supporting Actress Smackdown of '89 arrives on Sunday August 31st, two weeks from now. We'll be celebrating 1989 here and there until then as "the year of the month". You need to get your votes in, too, (instructions at the end of the post). If you've wandered in from elsewhere and are like, "What's a Smackdown?," here's how it started and here's last month's entry on 1973 with its companion podcast. The year in question this time is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

no, these ladies are not the panelists

The Smackdown Panel for August

Without further ado let's meet the voices who will be watching and discussing the '89 hits Steel Magnolias and Parenthood. They'll also be sounding off on the Oscar-winning bio My Left Foot and the underseen actressy curio Enemies: A Love Story. Stay tuned.

new panelists

KEVIN B LEE
Kevin B. Lee is a filmmaker, film critic and producer of nearly 200 video essays exploring film and media. He is Founding Editor and Chief Video Essayist at Fandor Keyframe and founding partner of dGenerate Films (a distribution company for independent Chinese cinema). His video "Transformers: The Premake" was featured in over 20 news outlets including the New York Times, Slate and Entertainment Weekly. [Follow him on Twitter | IMDb]

What does 1989 mean to you?

1989 was such a fascinating year for summer movies: could one imagine the likes of "Do the Right Thing" and "Born on the Fourth of July" slated among the current stack of superhero blockbusters? So many other great movies worth mentioning... but what comes to mind first is "Dead Poets Society" and Robin Williams as the high school English teacher we all wish we had..

 

TASHA ROBINSON
Tasha Robinson is a Senior Editor at The Dissolve, Pitchfork Media’s playground for movie lovers. Her writing and interviews have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles TimesOrlando Weekly,Science Fiction Weekly, and at the NPR Books website, and she's been a recurring guest on Filmspotting, Slashfilm’s Filmcast, and The Sound Of Young America, now known as Bullseye. She is still trying to cope with Hayao Miyazaki’s kinda-for-real-th-s-time retirement. [Follow her on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?:

It was such a crossroads year. The Little Mermaid brought American animation back from the abyss, and the Disney Renaissance enabled the animation boom that followed. We’re still feeling the impact of the revelation that America could produce animation that was not just art, and not just fun for adults as well as bored kids, but insanely profitable in a way that made studios sit up, take notice, and get involved. And James Cameron’s The Abyss was similarly a turning point for CGI effects. That entirely digital not-a-Russian-water-tentacle was like a signpost pointing to how innovative and creative special effects could get, when anything filmmakers could possibly imagine could be rendered inside of a computer. All that, plus Steven Soderbergh’s debut, Spike Lee’s breakthrough, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, which gave us Keanu Reeves: Major Movie Star. 

 


TODD VANDERWEFF

Todd VanDerWerff is the Culture Editor for Vox.com, where he writes a lot about TV and movies. Before that, he was the TV Editor at The A.V. Club. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Grantland, Salon, Hitfix, and The House Next Door. [Follow him on Twitter]  

What does 1989 mean to you?

"Honey I Shrunk the Kids". Which isn't even accurate, because I didn't see it until it came out on video the next year. But I remember feverishly waiting all summer, checking the movie listings every week, to see when it would hit one of the two (two!) screens in the nearby "big city" of Mitchell, S.D. Then I would go to the pool, and my friends and I would imagine what the movie might be like, based entirely off of the vague recollections of another friend who had seen it on a trip to Sioux Falls. By the time Honey made it to Mitchell, it was almost time for school. "Batman" had held it off that long. So I didn't see it until the next year, when it finally hit video. I liked it, but of course I would like it. I was 9, and 9-year-olds don't yet know how to be disappointed. (It also received my father's highest praise: "Boy, I'll bet they had fun making this one!") But it might have been my first true movie obsession, and for that, I have to thank it for a lifelong love.

 

returning panelists


NICK DAVIS
Nick Davis tweets, blogs, and writes reviews and is a professor of film, literature, and gender studies at Northwestern University. His first book "The Desiring Image" was published last year. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?

I experienced 1989 as the Berlin Wall falling to the tunes of "Back to Life" and "Buffalo Stance," with Blush and Bashful spotlights strobing all around us.  My family moved to Germany a year later and I was disappointed to see the reunification going down somewhat differently. No one was dancing in a brown slip before a burning cross, which was how I then conceived of freedom in action.  For the first time, I saw four of five Best Picture nominees in theaters (Oliver Stone excepted) and I walked a mile each way to see "Steel Magnolias" three times in the cinema, which is what all the 12-year-old boys on the Marine Corps base were doing. Ken(ny) Plume and I got in trouble in English class the next winter for talking while Mr. Petrashune was trying to teach us. We were simply agreeing that "Driving Miss Daisy" obviously didn't deserve to win if the director wasn't even nominated.

 


TIM ROBEY
Tim Robey has been reviewing films for the Daily Telegraph since 2000, alongside a few interviews and other bits and bobs. His writing is mostly here. His recommendations series is here. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?

I'd love to pretend I was all across Hou Hsaio-hsiaen's "A City of Sadness" at age 11, but no. 1989 means scattered things to a bookish child swotting up for exams, not yet a movie buff, much more of a fantasy and computer game nerd. I remember three films at the cinema – "Batman," "Indiana Jones," "Back to the Future III," "Ghostbusters II," at a push. A cast and crew premiere for "License to Kill" (my dad was involved on the insurance side). Strange peer obsession with "Look Who's Talking". This was maybe a year before I was Oscar-aware, but it may mark the point where I started watching flicks on VHS I wasn't meant to see yet ("The Fly," "Aliens," "Robocop") and, via these illicit thrills, just beginning to get the bug.

 

And your host

NATHANIEL R
Nathaniel is the founder of The Film Experience, a reknowned Oscar pundit, and the web's actressexual ringleader. He fell in love with the movies for always at The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985) but mostly blames Oscar night (in general) and the 80s filmographies of Kathleen Turner and Michelle Pfeiffer. Though he holds a BFA in Illustration, he found his true calling when he started writing about the movies. He blames Boogie Nights for the career change. [Follow him on Twitter]

What does 1989 mean to you?

Three visual memories became so burned into my psyche it's like I'm still watching them on loop 25 years later: Pfeiffer slinking on a piano top, Madonna dancing in a field of burning crosses, and Ursula the seawitch's body language.  All other '89 film memories are relatively wispy intangibles by comparison but there's two I should share. This was the year I learned what 'business' was in acting, watching Andie MacDowell fiddle with a glass during conversation in "sex, lies and videotape" and the year I first tasted the lurid addictive thrill of being an 'Opinion Maker' dragging a guy's guy high school friend of mine to "Steel Magnolias" and feeling way too proud when I talked him into loving it. 

 

YOU'RE INVITED, TOO!
The readers are the final (collective) panelist. You have until Thursday August 28th to get your votes in on any of the performances you've seen grading them on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (perfect). We excerpt quotes from reader ballots and your votes count toward the outcome.  

1989 Supporting Actress Nominees
• Brenda Fricker My Left Foot [Netflix Instant | Amazon Instant | iTunes]
• Anjelica Huston & Lena Olin Enemies: A Love Story [Amazon | Netflix | iTunes]
• Julia Roberts Steel Magnolias [Netflix Instant | Amazon | iTunes]
• Dianne Wiest  Parenthood [Amazon Instant -whod've thought that the biggest hit among them would be the hardest to find now? It's not available through either Netflix or iTunes!]

 

Say "HELLO" to our panel in the comments and tell them what you think of when you think of "89". And like the film experience on Facebook and follow Nathaniel on Twitter while you're at it.

Tuesday
Mar182014

Sofia Coppola's "Little Mermaid" Can You Imagine It?

I'm going to have months of fun fantasizing about what this film will be like. According to Variety, Sofia Coppola is in talks to helm a new version of "The Little Mermaid", the flexible originally quite gloomy Hans Christian Anderson tale of a mermaid who gave up her life for the love of a human. The project, which once belonged to Joe Wright who is now working on a different sort of tale with fairies, called Pan (but we've discussed that enough recently), was aiming to mantain the original unhappy ending.

Though it's easy to giggle trying to juxtapose Sofia Coppola's high end lost rich girl aesthetic onto the familiar tale -- check out this tweet for a good LOL -- once you stop to consider even for a minute it's not that large a stretch.

Coppola does like to dramatize the hazy inchoate longings of fish out of water girls, whether that's Scarlett Johansson wandering lux hotels and karaoke bars in Tokyo or Marie Antoinette suddenly abandoned by her family for life in a new country as their queen. The other films don't readily connect as easily but since those are her two best and both are less directly tied to privileged Hollywood types, it might be a really great idea to shake up Coppola's increasingly Californian filmography.

What was your first reaction. And your second?

Tuesday
Oct292013

Our Coven: Ursula The Sea Witch

Team Experience is assembling our own coven of preferred witches for Halloween. Here's abstew with ... well, you know who

After nearly two decades of sub par animated films (I'm looking your way, The Black Caldron) that would've made Uncle Walt turn over in his cryogenic freezer, 1989's The Little Mermaid, the studio's first fairy tale in 30 years, finally brought back the art of animation and started the modern Disney renaissance. The film had everything going for it - sassy red-headed mermaid princess, Caribbean accented crab, show-stopping musical numbers, and, most importantly, a voluptuously wicked, tentacled diva villainess.

Early concept art shows that Ursula the Sea Witch's look went through many transformations before the final look of half octopus / half woman (and what a woman - Ursula is said to be modeled after the drag queen Divine). To voice the sea witch, the filmmakers offered the part to Bea Arthur who turned it down due to her work on The Golden Girls and Elaine Stritch had been cast but clashed with lyricist Howard Ashman. Actress Pat Carroll brought Ursula to life delivering some of the film's best lines ("You got it, sweetcakes. No more talking, singing, Zip!) There's always time for a one-liner while being evil. And don't underestimate the importance of body language!

Broom? No use for them under the sea. And probably best not to mention anything wooden as she meets her demise staked by the bow of a ship.

Favored Spell: Fortunately she knows a little magic - it's a talent that she always has possessed. Her spell of choice is taking voices (conveniently stowed in her shell necklace - fashion and function) and turning fishtails into legs in return. Although, if you can't pay the price, you just might find yourself a part of her little garden.


Familiars: Her babies, her poor little poopsies: a pair of scheming eels named Flotsam and Jetsam. They each share a glowing yellow eye that allows Ursula to see what they see.

Pointy Hat?: Her shock of white hair (styled with mousse - how 80's of her!) is pointy enough.

"Only Bad Witches Are Ugly": Considering her beauty regime (waterproof lipstick!) and the fact that she can change you into a weird plant with eyes, I wouldn't call her ugly to her face. At one point she does transform herself into a brunette version of Ariel with Joan Crawford eyebrows, so she's got options. Plus, anyone modeled after a drag queen is gonna look fabulous!

Meet the other members of our coven

 

Friday
Oct042013

I, Linkenstein

Big Screen
Artsbeat Alfonso Cuaron talks us through a dizzy-making scene in Gravity
Flick Filosopher "Hollywood, you are 300 movies away from making me want to marry you" The manic pixie dream guy bit is fab. It's so hard to imagine... which is the point. 
Guardian Olivier Hirschbiegel reacts to the terrible reviews to his Diana biopic 

David Poland 22 weeks to Oscar. He correctly sees that there are very few locks but bizarrely thinks Forrest Whitaker is a lock for Best Actor for The Butler
BuzzFeed live action footage (and actors) that helped created The Little Mermaid 
i09 thinks I, Frankenstein might be the most insane movie of 2014
Movie City News asks a great question about Amy Adams in American Hustle 

Small Screen
Salon interviews Adam Scott on his television breakthroughs and his new film A.C.O.D.
i09 Honestly I did not see this coming. Halle Berry, whose big screen career is still going well (consider how much her ermegency call center movie made), will headline the tv series Extant about an astronaut whose baby might be half alien

Look! A new Halloween opening for The Simpsons courtesy of Guillermo del Toro so naturally there's a fair amount of Pan's Labyrinth up in there. Lots of movie referencing but the funniest bit I think is that misanthrope naughtiness of the Alfred Hitchcock cameo via The Birds

Finally, can I just say "amen" to this Vulture piece requesting a moratorium on anti-heroes as the leads of television series?  I mean you're not going to top Don Draper, Tony Soprano, Walter White, Carrie Bradshaw (yeah, she was one. deal with it) and Nurse Jackie... so let it die a natural death now instead of death from ubiquity. Mark Harris has also wisely noticed that this trend has now poisoned the broadcast networks without the antidote of the artistry that made this type of protagonist so popular on cable television in the first place.