LIVE ACTION DISNEY MOVIES WATCHED SO FAR:
Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue, Westward Ho, The Wagons!, Johnny Tremain, The Shaggy Dog (1959), Ten Who Dared, Moon Pilot, Bon Voyage!, Son of Flubber, The Misadventures of Merlin Jones, The Monkey’s Uncle, Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N, Monkeys, Go Home!, Never a Dull Moment, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, The Boatniks, The Million Dollar Duck, The World’s Greatest Athlete, Superdad, Herbie Rides Again, The Shaggy D.A., Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, Unidentified Flying Oddball, Herbie Goes Bananas, Popeye, and The Devil and Max Devlin.
I’ve now watched 26 of the 52 worst live action Disney movies (as determined by IMDb ratings by decade) and have made it into the early 1980s. As of my last quarterly report, the ’60s were drawing to a close with a slew of zany films involving chimpanzees and technology. So what’s next for Mickey Mouse’s live action film devision? Well, things just got goofier for a little bit. Ducks laying golden eggs, kids with computer brains, voodoo-cursed track meets, meat torpedoes… nothing was off the table.
Behold: the wonderful world of Disney.
But then things took a turn for the repetitious: sequels, sequels, sequels! The Love Bug, The Shaggy Dog, and The Apple Dumpling Gang all got follow-ups of varying quality. Hell, I got three Herbie movies in a little over a month.
‘Cause if you slap some actors into a movie near that bug, it’s got to be good, right?
And then with the end of the Seventies, things are starting to get a little… dark? Nothing extreme, but the movies are no longer 100% squeaky clean and family friendly. A robot is reading porno mags, Popeye is cracking jokes about lubricant, Max Devlin is spending time in Hell. Part of this can be explained by the fact that Disney had not yet spun off Touchstone Pictures, so anything bordering on dark was still released under the Disney banner (or, in the case of Popeye, was handled by Paramount). And that’s where we’re at.
THE SIDE EFFECTS:
Since the films I have been watching have been so vastly different in their content and style, my weekly viewings have not been having a profound effect on my life. Really, the biggest impact I’ve noticed in the last three months has been that the opening theme song to The Boatniks, which is obscure enough that I can’t find a YouTube video of it, has repeatedly gotten stuck in my head. Basically, it’s just a light melody on an organ, followed by a very deep voice saying “Boatniks.” It’s dumb and kind of irritating, but it pops into my head any time I do or see anything boat-related. Like when having drinks on a restaurant patio, a big kayak suddenly appeared over the patio fence:
I also had a weird dream one night that consisted of nothing but the theme song from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt but with the phrase “females are strong as hell” being replaced by “Boatniks are strong as hell.” I have no idea what this means. I also had a dream that I was watching a movie in which Jim Carrey was fucking around with flubbergas (the strange chemical byproduct from Son of Flubber). Make of this what you will.
THE JOURNEY CONTINUES WITH: