I would like to share a moment of raw honesty with you, if I may. There is nothing in this world – and I do mean nothing, more beautiful than an animated Disney movie. I don’t care how picture postcard perfect those mountains that you saw out west this summer are, how angelic you believe your children look when they’re sleeping, or what you think of National Geographic’s prize winning photographs. They simply don’t stack up to an animated Disney movie. Those babies will make you laugh, they will make you cry, they will make you think, they will get your children to sit down, shut up, and be quiet for ninety minutes, and they often feature talking, dancing, singing, ready for the comedy club circuit worthy animals. How can you top that? You can’t, so don’t even try.
Many screenwriters and directors do, but they all fail. However, here’s the thing: I can’t say any of this out loud. I can’t put it in print either, or stage a performance art show to express how I feel because I make my living as a movie critic and if there’s one thing I’ve learned during my time as one it’s this: no one will take you seriously if you argue that the greatest actor of all time was the original voice of Mickey Mouse.
People expect their movie critics to be artsy fartsy snobs. They expect us to go on and on about how the deepest part of the Grand Canyon can’t compare to the depth of a Gus Van Sant film, about the earth shattering profoundness of Charlie Kaufman, and about the way a Wes Anderson film makes Shakespeare look like a Second City castoff. Then there’s Woody Allen. I could live twelve lives and still never figure out the point to most of his films.
Do you want to know another secret? My fellow film critics feel the same way. I’ve seen their faces as they’ve exited a theatre after watching the latest headscratcher. They don’t understand those films any more than I do, but we all know we can’t say that because what if we’re wrong? What if we’re just too stupid to understand what the film symbolizes? Or too set in our ways to welcome a new take on film making? Or so gauche as to actually appreciate a Seth Rogen film? No one wants to be responsible for Seth Rogen one day winning an Oscar, which is sad because Seth Rogen is actually pretty funny.
You didn’t just hear me say that, though. You’ll never see me give one of his films more than a two-star rating either, even though I think some of them warrant a five. What I will do is rave about the latest Jack Nicholson vehicle despite the fact he’s given the same bloody performance in every film he’s ever made.
Just the same, I’d like to see him voice a character in a Disney movie. A female character with a proper New Zealand accent so no one would know it was him or make the mistake of thinking his character was Australian. Now that’s how you stretch yourself as an actor.
Anyway, my editor expects my take on the latest Baz Luhrmann yawnfest by tomorrow morning. Sorry, I mean, tour de force. Oh well, at least my job comes with free popcorn.