Saturday, October 11, 2003

Big, FiFi and I sat down to eat pizza and watch The Fox And The Hound. I haven't seen it since I was about five, but I can remember crying a lot whenever this movie or any song related to it would come on Disney specials.

And now, as I sit here, blubbering into my Papa John's pizza, Big stares at me with an expression of concern and bewilderment. This is a horrible, horribly traumatic movie, filled with sad songs and separation anxiety galore. I almost had to turn it off for fear that after the old lady makes the fox she's raised from a pup run away so that their trigger happy redneck neighbor won't shoot him would make me slit my wrists. Fine family fun my big fat arse.

But this got me thinking, and I'm convinced that there are three types of "family" films that we watched as children, which I believed contributed to our generation's heavy dependence on prescription drugs and therapy. One such genre is the "Prince" films that I've mentioned in a previous post.

The second catagory is known as the "Traumatic Loss of A Parental Figure/Humans Are Bloodthirsty Bastards" movies. These involve usually a cute fluffy baby animal watching/hearing it's mother being tragically gunned down, usually by a human hunter, or feature a antisocial animal hater bent on destroying a cute animal. Or if said parental figure crosses pathes with doom or death unrelated to the barrel of a shotgun The Fox and The Hound falls into this catagory. Also in this catagory are Bambi, Dumbo, 101 Dalmations, and Charlotte's Web.

The other catagory is known the "I Know He's Your Buddy, But Now You Have To Shoot Him, Son" movies. Many of these are live action movies such as Old Yeller, Sounder, and The Yearling. The plotline hardly ever waivers: farmy, corn-fed boy raises animal, animal saves boy's life about 90 minutes into the movie, animal contracts some terminal illness, boy's stern, stoic but loving in a Donner-Party-Era sort of way father commands boy to take said animal out back and kill it. Oh yeah, like THAT's not going to cause permanent damage to a child. No wonder those Donner Party people were so f*cked up. What is the final spike through the viewers heart involves slo-mo shots of the animal, back when it was healthy and happy, running through a meadow while sadly inspirational music, usually involving a harmonica, is played over the closing credits. A lot of these movies star Gregory Peck.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. There are a few films that do not fall into any of these groups, such as Aristocats, Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, The Rescuers, and any movie made after 1989. These are referred to as "The Healthy Classics" where there is just enough drama in order to keep it real, but for the most part is warm fuzzy fun, and no one dies except the villian. Needless to say, these are my favorites.

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