Sometimes ya gotta confront the demons of your childhood, especially when they were created by a bunch of overworked, underpaid animators in a California warehouse.
If you grew up with a TV, chances are you spent a lot of your childhood watching Disney movies.
Do you ever wonder where all those images and stories went? They must be lurking around in our brains somewhere, having embedded themselves into our psyches when we were at our most impressionable.
Because of this, watching something you last saw as a six year old can be distinctly surreal, especially when you realize just how strange, messed-up, and often, wildly psychedelic so much of the media you consumed as a youth was.
Disney Plus has entered the streaming game, and naturally, it's sure to rake in billions despite the glitches. For better or for worse, Disney was part of most of our childhoods. If you're looking to tap into some of those hidden reservoirs of childhood memories and nightmares, look no further than these 11 odd films. Many of them hold up, but others are full of cracks and flaws you may never have noticed.
This heartwarming story appeared to be about a cute little robot, but it actually was very clearly about the climate crisis. In 2019, when scientists predict untold suffering due to global warming and natural disasters are picking up in speed and ferocity, WALL-E's desolate vision of global apocalypse feels...too real. Also, since Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are considering space communities, the surreal spaceship habitat that houses all the remaining humans in WALL-E hits a bit too close to home.
This film was made in 1940, and if you view any of the clips, you'll notice that every frame seems to have been spawned from some sort of psychedelic experience. What was Fantasia? What is Fantasia? The truth is that no one really knows—Fantasia exists beyond human comprehension, in a sphere all its own—but the music is magnificent and the imagery is so surreal that you'll be amazed that you just accepted it as a kid.
3. Sleeping Beauty
This film was made in 1959, so it can be forgiven for its lack of feminist sensibility, but still… watching the prince plant a totally non-consensual kiss on a woman who is mostly only known as "Sleeping Beauty" is rather disorienting. If you're a woman who was raised on princess movies but are still wondering why you're having so much trouble getting over the impulse to be shy, submissive, and acquiescent, look no further. (The same goes for Snow White, who also goes to live in a house with seven strange men).
4. Robin Hood
Robin Hood was kind of a militant socialist. If you've been motivated by Bernie Sanders in recent years or have been organizing since you were a teen, watching this movie and seeing Robin Hood's dedication to redistributing the wealth can feel oddly resonant and inspiring.
5. Hannah Montana
This isn't a movie, but watching Miley Cyrus gallivant around in her blonde wig as the super innocent, ultra-perky Hannah Montana will inevitably be disorienting for the adult viewer. Cyrus has spoken openly about the struggles she went through while filming the show, saying that playing Hannah Montana made her "hate her body" and leveling other critiques at the franchise. Watching the show is eerie in that it'll remind you of the days of your innocent youth—before you ever saw Miley Cyrus naked (which simply became a rite of passage around 2012)—but maybe it'll also make you realize that you have a lot of internalized sexism.
HANNAH MONTANA: THE MOVIE, Miley Cyrus, 2009. Photo: Sam Emerson/ ©Walt Disney Co./courtesy Everett Entertainment Weekly
Is this movie a critique of animal abuse or an insane, racist acid trip, or a bit of both? The crows are racist (their leader is literally named Jim Crow), and there's a racist song, etcetera. In one scene, baby Dumbo gets drunk and hallucinates a parade of pink elephants. Scarring? Undeniably. Poor Dumbo. This movie is almost sadder to watch as an adult knowing just how sad Dumbo's plight actually is.
Dumbo's dream www.youtube.com
7. The Black Cauldron
This movie is not as well-known outside of Disney aficionados, as its release almost brought down the entire franchise. Made during Disney's "dark period" when the company was experimenting with horror and new technologies, this genuinely creepy movie is often called the "darkest Disney movie ever." I definitely remember watching this as a kid and being seriously terrified by the skeleton crew and onscreen suicides in this film. In that way, it makes sense that the film has amassed a cult following largely made up of the generation it scarred for life. Sometimes ya gotta confront the demons of your childhood, especially when they were created by a bunch of overworked, underpaid animators in a Glendale warehouse.
8. Alice in Wonderland
Like Fantasia, some of the imagery in this movie is undeniably eerie and almost too surreal. The fact that Alice winds up at a strange luncheon with a Mad Hatter where time doesn't exist? That she takes something that makes her grow small, then large? That she falls down a rabbit hole? What drugs were the people who made this movie on? Or perhaps the better question: What weren't they on? As a child watching this movie, I imagine that I developed some strange ideas about reality and rabbits that haunted me to adulthood. Also, the movie brings up complex questions about physics, math, philosophy and more—that's a lot for a children's fairytale.
9. Beauty and the Beast
This one has also been discussed ad nauseum, but Belle...lets a man imprison her and then falls in love with him. This is Stockholm Syndrome at its finest. She gets imprisoned and then marries the man who imprisons her. Sure, it's a tale as old as time, but I think that in the recent live-action remake, we all let our feelings about Emma Watson's vocals and the Beast's anthropomorphization overtake the simple strangeness of the tale.
Crosswalk the Musical: Beauty and the Beast www.youtube.com
Cars is full of adult humor, from the stoner hippie bus character Fillmore to the scene where Lightning McQueen's fans "flash" him. Actually, it's implied that the cars have sex, so that says more than enough. What universe is this?
11. Hunchback of Notre Dame
This movie is adorable and charming in a lot of ways, but it also has an undercurrent of disturbing sadism and sexual violence. Frollo harasses Esmeralda to no end, and she's almost executed at the end of the film. There's torture, death, abuse, hallucinations…
Then again, all that is part of what made Disney movies so enduring, right? Kids get exposed to a lot growing up, and if all Disney films were all squeaky-clean and innocent, that would defeat the purpose of stories, which are meant to relate to people and resonate across ages and demographics. That doesn't mean that it's not strange to look back on these films after a while, but what's funny is that a lot of these strange films were also some of Disney's greatest. If anything, the grains of reality that Disney built into their fanciful stories are what make these films that much more powerful and timeless.
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Meowth is best cat.
Going into Pokemon Sword and Shield, I was unimpressed with the new starter Pokemon.
Meh.The Pokemon Company
I normally gravitate towards fire-type starters, but Cinderace was a little too humanoid-rabbit-wearing-pants for my tastes. Inteleon was just "lol no." Rillaboom hit the closest to my usual favorite powerhouse aesthetic (think Charizard, Blaziken, and Incineroar), but something about him didn't quite feel right (or maybe I just don't connect with grass types?).
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No one makes a host uncomfortable quite like Aubrey Plaza.
Aubrey Plaza is an actress, comedian, and producer, and now, a late night phenomenon thanks to her odd anecdotes and supremely awkward reactions.
Promoting her new movie Child's Play, Aubrey Plaza is on the media circuit again, generously giving the people what they want. Plaza makes the most seasoned hosts fumble gloriously— you can't help but laugh. Her strange persona sparkles one-on-one and now, more than ever, she's simply the most fun.
Aubrey Plaza Meets Ellen
Aubrey Plaza Meets Ellen Show www.metatube.com
Aubrey Plaza had already been on various talk shows at this point in her career, but when she finally made it to daytime television, she became a memorable interviewee. A clip of the interview was difficult to find, possibly because The Ellen DeGeneres Show tried to scrub it from the internet. Throughout their five stupendous minutes together, Ellen had no idea how to handle Plaza's off-beat delivery and humor— for once, Ellen was thrown off and hilariously perplexed.
Aubrey Plaza: F#*% You Old People, I'm Going To Live Forever!
No one can banter with Aubrey Plaza like Conan O'Brien. She's often a highlight of his program, but out of all the videos, this one stands out. Here, Aubrey recounts her legendary speech after winning the Young Hollywood Award, where she told old people to go f#*% themselves and declared that she was going to live forever. Wonderfully, she goes on to explain that as a child, she wanted to be an old woman because she believed old people could get away with anything.
Aubrey Plaza Flashed The Dirty Grandpa Producers at Her Audition
For once, the headline of a late night clip isn't clickbait. Seth Meyers, with his boyish charm, giddily laughed while Plaza narrated the unforgettable moment. Although Plaza had been asked to audition for Zac Efron's love interest, she pushed to play the role of Robert De Nero's smokin' boo. This interview has it all: butts, producers, dirty pictures, and of course, Aubrey Plaza.
Aubrey Plaza's Audition For Catwoman
Just the other day, Plaza graced Stephen Colbert's show to promote Child's Play. Jump forward to the 6:50-minute mark to experience their hysterical bit. After Colbert asks her about wanting to audition for Catwoman, she slowly transforms into the role as Colbert brings out more cat-like accessories. The clip ends with Plaza on Colbert's desk, pawing at his face. The host couldn't help but smile as he tried to move to commercial break.
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Saving the best for last, Aubrey Plaza took bits to a whole other level on Late Night with Seth Meyers during the Parks and Recreation send-off— stealing the spotlight with another co-star. Please, just watch for yourself if you haven't seen the sensational clip already.
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