August 5th, 2013

Lio at the movies

I hear hippos are very, very big on Broadway

It has been an interesting week or so for obscure and misunderstood films. To help keep from falling completely apart in the wake of Everything What Has Been Going On, Sonya and I have turned as we often do to film for escapism. (Sonya received an especially nice care package from handful_ofdust chock-full of DVDs, even.) Currently we're playing that game where we share weird films the other hasn't seen before but ought to. Sonya's mother has even played along; she was amazed that I had come thirty-eight years in life without seeing John Astin in Evil Roy Slade, and once I saw it I was amazed too. I'd also never seen My Favorite Year for all I'd heard about it, and it was absolutely fantastic. Mark Linn-Baker got typecast as Cousin Larry way too soon. Finally, Sonya showed me Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which turns out to be a fantastic portrayal of seafaring life much like Captains Courageous, only with Napoleonic-era warships in the South Pacific rather than whaling ships on the Grand Banks. That right there is a completely misunderstood movie, released too soon after Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Audiences unfamiliar with the Master and Commander book series went in expecting Johnny Depp and Captain Barbossa, only to watch a cabin boy have his arm amputated twenty minutes in.

So I guess now it's my turn, and I was very happy to make this discovery: Someone has seen fit to screw copyright and put up the full cut of Cats Don't Dance on YouTube, and for that I thank them. Sonya had never seen it before and I had seen it only once many moons ago when I had HBO, so naturally we had to watch it tonight. It is a fantastic animated musical which had the misfortune of being finished at a time when its parent company, Turner Feature Animation, had just merged with Time-Warner and the resulting offspring didn't want to have anything to do with previously-developed projects. That's Hollywood. Warner Bros released the film in March of 1997 with virtually no marketing, it made back one-tenth of its budget in its domestic release, appeared on VHS five months later and disappeared even quicker; and the only time it's been released on DVD in widescreen was in 2008. For Germany. And Belgium. And Luxembourg.

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