Things I Think Too Much About: Goofy

April 29, 2009
Look at that son of a bitch... smiling like an idiot.

Look at that son of a bitch... smiling like an idiot.

Ah, Goofy. Arguably one of the funniest characters from Disney’s golden era of animation, Goofy is also one of its most confusing characters. I know some of you reading this think you already know what I’m going to talk about — and, yes, it will be covered — but there is a lot more to this confounded creature than a debate on his genus and species.

A scene in the movie Stand By Me brings up the question of “What is Goofy?” The immediate answer is that he’s a dog, but explain Pluto then. Pluto is obviously a dog, and is even Mickey Mouse’s pet. Not only that, but Pluto has a tail like a dog, unlike Goofy. Then again, Goofy could have docked his tail… so that he could wear pants or something. (Would his docked tail be viewed in a similar manner as male circumcision, with people on both sides arguing on issues about aesthetics and hygiene? The mind boggles.) Goofy has a long muzzle and floppy ears and — coloring, lack of tail and bipedal walking not withstanding — has a lot of similar features to Pluto. After all is said and done, the answer must be that they’re both dogs; probably different breeds, but still dogs.

So now one must ask what kind of twisted God allows one dog to be a sentient, English-speaking, car-driving being while another is saddled to the role of pet to an anthropomorphic mouse? Someone explain how that shit works.

DOES NOT COMPUTE.

DOES NOT COMPUTE.

“But, Boone,” you’re saying, “it’s only a cartoon. It doesn’t matter that–”

Quiet, you! I’m just getting started!

What’s the deal with Goofy’s name? Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Chip, Dale, and even one-shot characters like Clarabelle and Horace, all have proper given names. If you count their animal-based surnames, they even have full names.

As for Goofy,… that’s it. Goofy. His name’s a goddamn adjective (which my name is not because it has an “e” at the end — big difference). Even if you consider Goofy’s name a nickname, that’s simply dodging the real question: what’s his real name?

His parents might as well have named him Asshole or Dipshit.

His parents might as well have named him Asshole or Dipshit.

In the “instructional” cartoons from the 50s like Motor Mania and Tomorrow We Diet!, he goes by the name George. I don’t buy that that’s his real name. In these cartoons, he portrayed a relatable “Everyman” dealing with life’s troubles. The cartoons showed Goofy’s character in a more reserved tone and the jokes didn’t come from pratfalls and outright baffoonery. I think they called him George more for the sake of getting the story across then anything.

If you consider the Goofy cartoons from the 50s and his 1990s television show canon, then his son’s full name is Max Goof, implying that Goofy’s surname is Goof. So that means his full name is… Goofy Goof.
I’m sorry, but I refuse to believe that. That is the dumbest fucking name in the history of anything ever. Goofy Goof? That’s stupid even by cartoon standards.

But wait, I just glazed over something important: his son. Goofy has a biological offspring, unlike the other characters in the Disney universe (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck are uncles). This begs the question, “Who would have sex with Goofy?

Red-head or brunette, there's no two ways about it -- he's an abomination.

Red-head or brunette, there's no two ways about it -- he's an abomination.

In the 50s, Max’s mother was heard off screen and we never saw her face. In Goof Troop and A Goofy Movie, it’s outright explained that Goofy’s wife/Max’s mother passed away. Basically, whether you want to face it or not, Goofy was married and he procreated, which is just one rung lower on the Disturbing Ladder than the thought of Jessica and Roger Rabbit together. (Again, the mind boggles.)

How Goofy has retained custody of the child without the state’s intervention is beyond me. If Disney ever wanted to do an animated remake of I Am Sam, they already have the characters in place.

Goofy, you son of a bitch, why must you exist? You hurt my brain. I need to lie down.

Advertisements

Now that’s what I call muzak!

April 23, 2009

Songsmith is a new Microsoft program that allows the musically deficient to make shitty music — just like the professionals! Basically, you record yourself singing, the program reads your vocal track, checks for changes in pitch and rhythm and then places the recording on top of crappy instrumentals to make it sound like you’re being backed by a real, live computer. Er, I mean, band. Yes… band.

To be honest, it’s a lot more sophisticated than I am giving it credit for. Even though it sounds washed out and completely synthetic, the accompaniment at least changes with the vocals correctly and sounds (kind of) like it belongs. However, you have to take the backing music that it gives you, regardless of what you were going for and wanted.

So now us plebs without talent can sound like we’re in a band… but what about those who are already part of a band? What sort of accompaniment would Songsmith give an already popular song by an established musician? Well, kiddos, it appears the good denizens of the internet are providing the answer to that question, as people are uploading Songsmith-ified music videos onto YouTube.

Let’s have a listen to what pop music sounds like in Hell, shall we?

It appears that, in an alternate universe, The Go-Go’s are a popular calypso band. They certainly do have the beat, don’t they?

Apparently, Billy Idol is the voice of a generation… that enjoys bluegrass.

Motörhead’s tearful country-western ballad “Ace of Spades” swept the Grammys on Bizzaro Earth.

And now, I present the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time….

When you hear the name “Ozzy Osbourne,” do you immediately think of “polka?” You will now.

And because I have to follow the crowd, here’s the Songsmith version of “Never Gonna Give You Up” by the incomparable Rick Astley. Please enjoy this even crappier rendition of one of the crappiest songs ever.


Dragonball: Evolution Review

April 10, 2009
"Hmm. It says, 'Ask again later.'"

"Hmm. It says, 'Ask again later.'"

Before I even walked into the theater, I knew Dragonball: Evolution had three strikes against it: It was a live-action film based on a cartoon, it was an American film that debuted in foreign markets, and it wasn’t screened for critics. All signs pointed to “train wreck”, but walking out of it, I’d actually hesitate to call it a bad film. Granted, it wasn’t good, but I’ve definitely seen worse films in my life. Hell, I’ve seen worse films just in this year alone.

Goku (Justin Chatwin) is a friendless, awkward teenager in high school who gets picked on by meat-headed bullies. Outside of school, he trains in martial arts and lives with his grandfather, Gohan (Randall Duk Kim), in a house in the middle of… let’s just say nowhere. On his eighteenth birthday, Goku is given a glowing ball called a “dragonball” (“Hey! Like in the title of the movie!”) which, when combined with the other 6 titular orbs allows the possessor to grant one “perfect wish.”
The Big Bad of the film is Piccolo (James Marsters), a green-skinned, pointy-eared alien who tried to take over the world centuries ago, but was thwarted by ancient mystics who cast a spell and sent him into purgatory. On the eve of a solar eclipse, Piccolo escapes from his magical imprisonment (How? Good question — the film never says) and seeks the balls (tee-hee) for himself in a bid for world domination. Now it’s a race against time as Goku looks for the balls (tee-hee) with the help of poorly-acted characters, like Bulma (Emmy Rossum) and Yamcha (Joon Park).

Given how insane and far reaching the original cartoon/manga of Dragonball was, it’s amazing the filmmakers could make a semi-cohesive, hour-and-a-half long film out of its source material. It helped that bizarre characters like Oolong, the shape-shifting anthropomorphic pig and Puar, the flying talking cat, weren’t in the film. (Those are actual characters from the animated show. Seriously.)
To make sure new inductees to the Dragonball universe wouldn’t feel alienated, the filmmakers kept Evolution grounded by placing it in a reality not too far removed from our own. Sure, there’s technology used in the movie that’s light years beyond what we have now, physics-defying action scenes and magic spells being cast (into the darkness), but at least everyone wears normal street clothes, Goku doesn’t have a tail and there are no talking animals. Unfortunately, by trying to make the film more “real”, a backlash from the film’s intended fanbase has brewed. (For reference, check out the negative comments on the film’s IMDb page. They’re hilarious.)

Some people out there can probably appreciate the fact that this film follows Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces to a T (Hi, Page!), chronicling Goku’s journey from high schooler to world saver. Sad thing is that it’s been done better in better films. Dragonball: Evolution suffers from “been there, done that” syndrome and is too competently made to warrant full-on Mystery Science Theater 3000 type jeers. If I were a child — say, 8 to 12 — I’d think Dragonball: Evolution could be one of the best movies ever, as it’s entertaining and exciting enough for kids to enjoy. However, people already well-versed in films would/should know better.

In the end, it’s a kids film; it’s refreshingly itself and without pretense. As one of my friends would say, “It is what it is.” If anything, I would say the film’s biggest crime is how mediocre it is — not good enough to recommend and not crappy enough to make fun of.

Well… at least Ernie Hudson is still getting work.
5 out of 10


Forgotten Film Review: The Loved One

April 7, 2009
"I wish my brother George was here."

"I wish my brother George was here."

Sir John Gielgud, Jonathan Winters, Tab Hunter, Rod Steiger, Milton Berle, Roddy McDowall and Liberace. Would you believe that there was a movie made in the mid-’60s that had all of these people in its cast? Well there was, and it’s called The Loved One.

Due to winning a contest with an airline, recent college graduate Dennis Barlow (Robert Morse) travels from his home in England to Los Angeles to visit his uncle Sir Francis Hinsley (Gielgud), a Hollywood acting coach who teaches British mannerisms to movie stars. Before Barlow can get acclimated to his new surroundings, his uncle passes away and he gets saddled with the duty of arranging the funeral. Without family, friends, guidance, a job or even a way home, Barlow finds himself surrounded by all of the oddballs at the Whispering Gardens cemetery and ends up with a job at a mortuary for the deceased pets of the Hollywood elite.
(In a retrospective featurette for The Loved One, one of the film’s producers described it as like The Graduate, but at a cemetery… which sounds pretty accurate.)

The Loved One was considered highly controversial when it was first released in 1965 (the studio execs in charge of the picture famously walked out of the movie when it was first screened to them), and amazingly, it still has some edge even today. The film is satirical of religion, Hollywood and the funeral industry, and a lot of the humor is so dark, it’s pitch black. Then again, maybe I’m the only one who sees humor in watching a mortician’s nonchalant (mis)treatment of already-dead animals, recklessly throwing them into an industrial freezer with an echoing THUD.

Without a doubt, the main draw of this movie is Rod Steiger’s character, Mr. Joyboy, head mortician of Whispering Gardens. Personal friends of Rod Steiger have said that Mr. Joyboy was one of his favorite roles that he ever played in his career, and it shows. Steiger rocks a blond perm, black-rimmed glasses and a nervously fussy mince in his walk to bring to life a character who single-handedly steals the show. Joyboy is the perfect character to demonstrate the rule that it isn’t what you say that’s funny, but how you say it. Not only that, but Steiger has given Joyboy many layers in his characterization, and as they peel away, he’s revealed to be one of the most fascinatingly dark and disturbing (yet strangely likable) characters in the film. Which reminds me….

Mrs. Joyboy, Mr. Joyboy’s mother, is without a doubt one of the most hilariously disgusting and repulsive characters I have ever seen in a film, and that includes Austin Powers’ Fat Bastard.

Despite the film having a lot of clever jokes, humor that’s right up my alley and a cast that begs the question, “How in the hell…?”, it’s hard to recommend The Loved One. The first third of the film is painfully slow with barely any hints at humor or setups of what’s to come. The final third goes off the rails completely; losing focus of the story and characters and having a climax that seems unfulfilling and kind of out of left field. However, the middle third is pretty inspired, so… it’s a toss up, really.

The Loved One has developed a small cult following, and given its hilarious anti-establishment attitude, crazy characters, non-sequitors and dark humor, it’s not hard to see why. But like a lot of other cult films, it has trouble with pacing and plotting, and it leaves you with a feeling of, “What the hell did I just watch?”

I’d give this film a rating like my past reviews,
but it seems kind of moot — it’s too weird to judge.
? out of 10