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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Pro Skater 2, Skate 3, these skating games defined a generation
There was a special thrill that came from watching a pixelated Steve-O ride a mechanical bull through the streets of Barcelona.
From Nigel Beaverhausen to Bigfoot and Shrek, Steve-O was only one of the many crude unlockable characters available in Tony Hawk's Underground 2. Nailing trick combos as ludicrous as "Yee Haw + Acid Drop + grind + bull air," Tony Hawk's Underground 2 was not a game for those who couldn't suspend their disbelief, but that was always the anthology's charm. Kids who followed the series from its birth in 1999 were drawn to the game for its abundance in stupidity; exploring Area 51 in Pro Skater 1 or watching Spider-Man shred across audacious ramps in Pro Skater 2. In Underground 2, we'd send our avatars to the brink of death for no reason other than that it was fun to hear their bones crack.
Skating video games have a special place in the heart of '90s babies, mostly because the last few years have spawned no skater games that truly exemplify the genre's excellence. Pro Skater 5 was one of the most disappointing releases of all time, and 2018's Skate Jam is merely a hollow phone game with awkward controls.
However, hope was recently restored, as EA finally announced Skate 4 back in June. But thanks to COVID, it will be a long time before the project sees the light of day. As skate-enthusiasts continue to wait ever so patiently for Skate 4, let's revisit some of the best skating games that defined countless childhoods.
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2
While Pro Skater 1 is a certified classic, the nuanced details its sequel added made it one of the greatest video games ever to exist. The graphics were lush for a Playstation game, each of the massive sandbox levels containing minute details like graffiti and hidden areas, and the newly-unveiled create-a-character and skate-park editor modes provided players with an overabundance of customizable features that would go on to define the rest of the series. Playing alongside your friends in your own curated skate park was fantastic, ripping across them in the hopes they'd topple over mid-trick.
The soundtrack, which included a fantastic roster of Rage Against the Machine, Anthrax, and Bad Religion, was pure adrenaline. As a majority of game developers turned their attention to the imminent PS2 release, Pro Skater 2 was one of the last great games to honor its predecessor.
Just to clarify, Skate 1 and 2 were fantastic games, the latter just featured a lot of unnecessary bloat, such as the impossible "S.K.A.T.E." mimicry challenges and crap A.I., that distracted from the project's highlights. But for EA's (seemingly) final installation in the series, Skate 3 ditched the excess in favor of what it was known for: fluid, realistic skating mechanics, slick visuals, endless tricks, and fantastic creation tools.
While the game was criticized by some for not bringing anything fresh and new to the table, Skate 3 remains one of the most well-balanced games in the series. It caters to both newcomers and devotees alike. Gone are the security guards who would frustratingly chase you away from government buildings in Skate 2; and instead, as a decorative "pro skater" at the beginning of the game, the world is your oyster. Everywhere is free to explore, which may hinder a certain feeling of progress, but Skate 3 makes up for it with its surprising variety of challenges, sexy visuals, and massive trick catalog–and let us not forget the "Hall of Meat."
Tony Hawk's Underground 2
One can barely call THU 2 a skating game. The single-player campaign opens with your curated avatar being kidnapped by two people in hockey masks. He is brought to a dark room alongside other pro skaters like Bob Burnquist and Eric Sparrow. Bam Margera and Tony Hawk are revealed to be the captors and explain their plan for a "sick-as-hell" around-the-world "World Destruction Tour."
The objective is simple: to travel around the world to pillage and destroy and become a sweet ripper in the process. It's absurd, and the game is often panned by skating buffs for its insanely unrealistic game mechanics.
But for those who don't take themselves too seriously, THU 2 was a rip-roaring good time. It had varietal game modes, copious character creation options, and watching your character snap their board in half after activating the post-trick-fail "freak out" function was a hoot. The game leaned fully into its ridiculousness, and the payoff was rich for those who needed the lighthearted escape.
Praised for being the most authentic skater game ever made, Session is an indie PC gem that shouldn't be played for those looking just to rip around. It follows a similar flick-stick mechanic to the Skate series but is much more difficult. It matches a foot to each stick so that to land a simple kickflip, you have to make sure both sticks do the right flicks.
It's a simple mechanical tweak that makes for a frustrating few hours of gameplay, but for those patient enough to learn a few tricks, the system can make even the simplest manual feel satisfying as hell. Speed, angle, stance, timing, and rotation need to be accounted for if you want to land some tricks, but for those willing to traverse Session's beautiful landscapes, the game is one of the most absorbing skate games in recent memory, and could potentially be as impactful to kids today as Skate was for us.
"Stranger Things" star Joe Keery sits down with Jean-Ralphio from "Parks and Rec" on the Late Late Show with James Corden to address a pressing fan theory.
Steve Harrington, the pretty-boy of Hawkins High on Netflix's hit series "Stranger Things", sports a classic Polo-preppy boy look. But he also shares a considerable physical resemblance to Parks and Rec's Jean Ralphio. Considering the show's timeline, which places Steve Harrington in the 80s in Indiana, and Jean Ralphio's location in Pawnee, Indiana just 30 years later, it's quite possible that Steve Harrington was, in fact, Jean Ralphio's father! Or so the fans have speculated.
The two stars, in character, sat down on the James Corden Late Show to address this important concern: