Watching Aladdin with a Fresh Set of Eyes

IMG_6059We all have movies we know by heart, that we’ve seen so many times they become akin to comfort food. Perhaps you pop in the DVD when you don’t know what else to watch, or when you’re doing something else and want it to play in the background. When you’ve watched something enough, the experience of watching turns into one of remembering, tuning out the present and filling the time with your memories of the very thing you could be experiencing. Aladdin was one of those films for me which I’d watched so many times I no longer needed a TV; I could just close my eyes and replay it perfectly in my head. (I distinctly remember watching the VHS three times in a row once when I was home sick from school many years ago.) But I recently got the chance to see it on the big screen for the first time in 23 years and it felt like I was seeing it with a fresh set of eyes. Time and experience can change our perspective or deepen our understanding of a film, but we so rarely take the opportunity to come at things from a new angle and recapture the sense of magic that has been softened by familiarity.

As a way to mark the upcoming Blu-ray release of Aladdin, Disney’s D23 fan club allowed people to vote on which cities would get to host a one-time screening, and luckily for me Phoenix was selected (along with Seattle and Sacremento). Continue reading

My Top 10 (and Bottom 3) at the Movies in 2014

2014 has come and gone, and while there were some definite highlights to the year of movies, overall I’d say it was a bit disappointing compared to years past.  There were some movies that I really loved, but I wasn’t nearly as enthusiastic in 2014 as I usually am for the world of cinema.  However, things are looking up for 2015, with a lot to be excited about, plus there are still a few movies I need to catch up on from 2014 that I either missed or haven’t gotten around to (Big Eyes, Selma, The Imitation Game, etc.).  But now that 2015 is underway it’s time to take a look back at the highs and lows of 2014 at the movies.  Instead of a traditional top 10 list of movies, I like to list out my favorite cinema-related things from the year.  Some of them are movies, but others might be scenes, characters, moments, or even just announcements.  So without further ado, here are my top 10 and bottom 3 of 2014 at the movies.

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In Memoriam: Robin Williams

I don’t even know how to begin to talk about Robin Williams. It seems ridiculous to try to remind people of his many standout roles and performances, because he was so iconic that any reminder is unnecessary. I could easily just post a list of his film, TV and stand-up works and everyone would instantly share my feelings by simply reading the list and having a thousand images and moments flash through their heads. I could highlight his unique talents at comedy and improvisation, in which he was in a class all by himself, or pull out examples of his dramatic roles throughout the years in order to needlessly prove that he was a real actor. I could point to his generous charity work, whether with the USO or St. Jude’s, or I could use the tragic circumstances of his passing to help bring awareness to depression and suicide. Yet instead I find myself flooded with moments, each tied to the most vivid of memories.

I remember Genie, because everyone remembers Genie. Continue reading

Quote of the Day

Happy Feet

Mumble: I’ll just appeal to his better nature.

Nestor: How you gonna do that?

Raul: Cruel and unusual punishment?

Lombardo: Unimaginable torture?

Ramon: Imaginable torture?

Rinaldo: Your singing?