Category Archives: Movies

Disney Songs Poll Quiz!


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In the tradition pioneered by Lebeau himself, I’d like to provide a little extra reader participation for the Disney Songs Poll, which we just finished counting down yesterday. Today I’m hopping on a plane to California and presenting a short quiz on the songs and movies we’ve been covering over the last three weeks. Join me below the break and see how well you’ve retained it all!
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Disney Songs Poll Results! #1 – “When You Wish Upon a Star”


No ranking of Disney songs that places “When You Wish Upon a Star” in its top spot can be all bad. After all, this is the song that the Disney company has chosen over the years to feature as emblematic of its entire family-centered entertainment empire.
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Disney Songs Poll Results! #2 – “The Bare Necessities”


Yeah Man!! That’s probably the most joyful song in the entire Disney discography. It pairs a lively melody with a hopping rhythm and it actually has something to say about life. At least the way Baloo the bear sees it. The song was the only remaining composition by songwriter Terry Gilkyson after a falling out between original director Bill Peet and Walt Disney over the tone of the film led to Peet leaving the project and being replaced by Wolfgang Reitherman. Strangely enough, the argument had been over Peet’s insistence on retaining the darker tone of Rudyard Kipling’s original book, which makes the presence of “The Bare Necessities” in this early version a little surprising. Those old standbys, the Sherman brothers were brought in to pen the remainder of the songs to fit in with Walt’s more family-centered approach.
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Review: Inside Out


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I started to read some pretty strong hyperbole about Disney Pixar’s new animated feature Inside Out several months ago when the trailer first made its way around the internet. Phrases like “brand new” and “creative genius” were bandied about in a pretty cavalier manner. I had the great honor of being the wet blanket who responded to these social media posts by leaving a link to an episode of the short-lived ’90s sitcom “Herman’s Head.” Look it up if you think Inside Out is so revolutionary.

I found myself a little annoyed by some of the standard gender norm humor present in the trailer that also reminded me of some of the less inspired television comedies of the Clinton era. Men are always thinking about sports, are never listening, and probably don’t deserve their more emotionally involved wives. Har Har.

I should really learn to ignore Disney’s trailers, I guess, because even though my initial criticisms of the trailer are still valid, the context and overall entertainment value provided by the film as a whole overcome most of my complaints. Inside Out, despite some laziness in spots, turns out to be exactly the kind of laughs and tears family entertainment that most modern parents will welcome with open arms.
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Disney Songs Poll Results! #3 – “Let it Go”


Okay, so we knew this one was inevitable. What was not expected was the fight “I See the Light” gave this cultural phenomenon for this spot on our list. Until very late in voting, the love duet from Tangled had clung to a slim lead over Frozen‘s iconic anthem of empowerment. But a late surge meant the unexpected upset wouldn’t occur and nudged “Let it Go” into our top 3. Is it the sort of spot in peoples’ hearts we will see it maintain in future years? There’s no telling, but for now, Frozen mania puts the song in rarified company.
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Disney Songs Poll Results! #4 – “I See the Light”


What a beautiful sequence! The amazing environmental design of the film and charming characters pay off as a simple, but lovely melody gives us a romantic ballad that can easily sit alongside the greats in Disney’s discography. Once again, Disney had invited famed songwriter Alan Menken to create the music for their newest animated feature, this time with co-lyricist Glenn Slater. The pair had initially intended to produce the song in a more anthemic style, but later adjusted to a gentler approach that they hoped would echo some of their favorite pop music of the 1960s, like that of Joni Mitchell.
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Disney Songs Poll Results! #5 – “Be Our Guest”


We’ve hit the prestigious top 5 of our Disney Songs Poll as voted by you, our readers!

Songs as iconic as “Be Our Guest” from Disney’s 1991 smash Beauty and the Beast become a part of our brain’s pathways. We can’t imagine them being any different than they always have been. But, as I discussed in yesterday’s post, those things which seem permanent often come about through chance, happenstance, or compromise…and just about everything about “Be Our Guest” was supposed to be different.
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Disney Songs Poll Results! #6 – “Under the Sea”


It’s easy to look back at the Disney Renaissance which started with 1989’s The Little Mermaid as a fait accompli. We’ve been living with the likes of Ariel, Aladdin, Simba, and Belle for more than a quarter century by now. They’ve taken up residence not only in our Blu-ray players and iPods, but also in Disney’s theme parks. It is difficult to imagine a world without them.

But that’s exactly what we had.
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Disney Songs Poll Results! #7 – “Heigh-Ho”


I promise the voting actually placed the dwarfs at the #7 spot.

We’ve had some lively debate involved with the inclusion, exclusion, or position of some of the songs in our list. Of course there is a lot to consider when voting on this sort of topic. You may simply vote based on what you like the best, which is certainly valid, and that may include considerations such as the sophistication with which something is written, the perfection with which it is performed, the emotions it elicits, or any number of other elements. You may also incorporate a consideration of what is iconic, well-known, or historically significant. While there is charm and musical proficiency on display during Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs‘ song “Heigh-Ho,” I have to assume that its position is rightly held based primarily on its well-established place in pop culture. It is a very famous song, and if you simply sing its title a couple of times, most people, young or old, will be able to follow up with the next line. Although the sequence most familiar to fans (and the one I’ve posted above) shows the dwarfs leaving the mine and singing “it’s home from work we go,” popular memory of the lyrics has emphasized a different lyric that proclaims “it’s off to work we go.” In fact, that friend or family member who joins in singing will probably default to that version, anticipating a day of work rather than going home from work.
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Disney Songs Poll Results! #8 – “Part of Your World”


When I think of the Disney Renaissance which began with their return to the fairy tale musical form with 1989’s The Little Mermaid, this is the song which leaps to mind. If you take the time to watch the movie again it almost seems like the song transforms the company’s animation department mid-film, inspiring proceedings to a whole new level, with more lovingly rendered scenes and a whole different kind of expectations. Up to that point in The Little Mermaid, we are getting an entertaining, but mostly unremarkable tale about an irresponsible teenaged mermaid with a friend named “Flounder” who looks nothing like a flounder. Then, Ariel opens her mouth and her big eyes and sings her heart out and we are all suddenly completely on board.

But things almost didn’t turn out that way…
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Disney Songs Poll Results! #9 – “Once Upon a Dream”


This is one of those timeless melodies that can catch my ear amidst the chaos of a Disney theme park. I’ve taken note of it emitting from the Prince Charming Regal Carousel (as it is now called) just behind Cinderella’s castle, in parades, in resort lobbies, and on the bus to the park. What makes it so indelible? Well, perhaps because its DNA runs deeper than even the most famous of Disney’s other great songs. After all, it had already been famous in its fashion for more than a decade prior to Walt Disney’s birth.
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Disney Songs Poll Results! #10 – “Hellfire”


ummm…Wow. Almost 20 years later and “Hellfire” from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame is still stunning in a way Disney pretty much never is. Of course finding it so high on this list is pretty stunning in and of itself. Judge Frollo is one of the more sadistic and twisted villains in any Disney film, much less the animated ones. This got a “G” rating? The themes of forbidden lust, guilt, sexual possession, capital punishment, and damnation are indicative of the film’s greatest strengths and weaknesses, as Disney appears to be pulling against itself in opposite directions.
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