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Wow, there's just no pleasing some people. - The online computery journal thingy of a turtle

Jan. 7th, 2010

12:00 am - Wow, there's just no pleasing some people.

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I just found the most hilariously horrible review of "The Princess and the Frog", titled "Disney's Lump of Coal". The reviewer, Anthea Butler, seems to have gone in expecting to hate it, and not bothered looking for anything good in it.



"I’m going to go all out and say that the entire movie is a wholesale desecration of New Orleans, Creole culture, Cajun Culture, religion, zydeco music, the Evangeline story, and Louis Armstrong (I’ll get to that in a minute.) Rolled up, Disney hates the South, period."

Ah. This is obviously some strange usage of the word "hate" that I hadn't previously been aware of. As I recall, it was mainly John Lasseter's idea to set the movie in, and pay tribute to, Jazz-age New Orleans, to the point that he took a bunch of animators and writers there on a research tour. Yeah, that's such a big screw-you to the Crescent City, isn't it. Ms. Butler seems to hate the movie for not being an 8-hour documentary about New Orleans. St. Louis Cathedral appears near the end of the movie, and she complains that it's not identified by name. I'm not sure where you could shoehorn an explicit reference to the name of the building in without disrupting the story. It's a story about these two characters who meet and eventually fall in love. New Orleans and the bayou are background settings. Trust me, Ms. Butler, there's nothing wrong with that.


"The surprises come when staples of New Orleans life are used in ways that are either ridiculous or just plain wrong. Let’s start with the people. Why does the first black Disney princess have to be the hardest working woman around?"

Hugga-bubba-WHAT? The first black Disney princess is a strong, independent woman... and Ms. Butler has a PROBLEM with this? Given that she invokes The Song of the South at the end of the paragraph, she seems to be equally offended by both political incorrectness and political correctness. I have the feeling that nothing would please this woman.


"Louis is a trumpet-playing alligator who just wants to be human. Really, Disney, Louis? Really? Surely you could have given him another name besides the name of the famous New Orleans trumpet player Louis Armstrong."

"The worst is, the legendary Evangeline is reduced from a beautiful poem by Longfellow, (which may have antecedents in a historical love story) to a star that Ray thinks is an alluring but standoffish firefly, far out of his reach but not his love."

They're called homages, Ms. Butler. Really, there's nothing wrong with them. Maybe if Louis sucked at playing the trumpet, or if Evangeline were the name of some jerkoff or stupid character, it might be considered insulting...


"And those beignets that Tiana makes so that Charlotte can look like she’s a wonderful cook? They would have been stale."

First of all, Charlotte was not trying to pass anything off as her own cooking; she hired Tiana as a caterer. And yeah, I suppose the beignets would have been stale if they'd been prepared in advance... as opposed to what actually happened onscreen: Tiana brought cooking gear to the party and was busily making beignets on-site. I'm not sure how you could miss seeing the big pot of frying oil, or the long tongs Tiana was using, onscreen, to get the beignets out of the oil. This kind of sloppiness, in addition to throwing all the points made in the rest of the critical review into doubt, is also hilarious.


"Oh, and Disney, no funerals on Ash Wednesday unless you get a dispensation. So that funeral for the firefly Ray... liturgically incorrect."

First of all, who says Ray was Christian? Don't forget that the entire funeral procession was made up of animals (even Tiana and Naveen, who were still frogs at the time).
Second, um... I did some internet research, and I can't seem to find anything about funerals not being allowed on Ash Wednesday. In fact, a few sources seem to suggest it's permitted.

So... wow. It's kind of sad to think that this woman is a published author.

Comments:

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From:penh
Date:January 7th, 2010 06:10 am (UTC)
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I'm pretty sure having a funeral for a firely isn't exactly liturgically correct either. And how did she miss the #1 most glaring flaw in the whole movie? Frogs don't talk! It ruined the whole movie for me, and I haven't even seen it!
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:January 7th, 2010 06:14 am (UTC)
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Sure they do! But usually they don't have anything to say.
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From:nefaria
Date:January 7th, 2010 02:19 pm (UTC)
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Ewww, she announced early in the review that she was about to "deconstruct" the film. Deconstruction is the ultimate insult to art, breaking everything down into small pieces and branding each piece a cliche.
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From:wbwolf
Date:January 7th, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC)
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Deconstruction of art can be useful if done right, so to look at how it's put together or criticize specific elements (positively or negatively). But, as you note, if done by a hack, it just comes off being pretentious.
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From:nefaria
Date:January 8th, 2010 03:49 am (UTC)
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Eh, I was actually referring to deconstructionism, which is sort of an analytical philosophy which I dislike very much. The fundamental hypothesis is "there's nothing new under the sun so don't even try, just retell Little Red Riding Hood in a different way instead of trying to be creative because you'll fail". I can easily tell the difference between art that tries to be creative and fails and art which doesn't try, and I much prefer the former.

Edited at 2010-01-08 03:51 am (UTC)
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From:q_pheevr
Date:January 7th, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)
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I'm tempted to say something snarky here about someone who proclaims "Yes, I am a stickler" and, in the same article, writes "the hardest working woman around" when she presumably means "the hardest-working woman around."

But I won't.

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From:kinkyturtle
Date:January 7th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
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Thank you, I didn't even think of that! :}
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From:wolflahti
Date:January 7th, 2010 07:43 pm (UTC)
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The reviewer comes off frothing at the mouth and then gives examples for his state of mind that seem pretty darned tame to me. Disney had the effrontery to name a crocodile Louis! The horror!!!
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From:kinkyturtle
Date:January 7th, 2010 07:51 pm (UTC)
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It's especially ridiculous in the case of Evangeline, considering that both the Longfellow poem and Ray's relationship to the star are tied together by a common theme of "love out of reach". I mean, naming the star Evangeline is *appropriate*!
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