I was playing pub trivia earlier this week with some friends, and one of the rounds was “Disney by Decade”. I knew this was coming because the ultra-shitty hostess was playing “A Whole New World” and “Part of Your World” and probably some other songs with “World” in them (perhaps “Two Worlds” was played, but Phil Collins gets a pass from me because it’s better than listening to 3 hours of Lilith Fair music, as is tradition in the hostess’ usual playlist).
Anyway, we aced the round (Can you name 3 out of the 5 animated films Disney released in the 1980s? How about the 2 animated films from the 1970s where a lion is depicted as royalty? I can’t remember the other questions because, you know, it’s a bar), simply because the girls on our team know their shit (my contributions rely solely on sports, music, and maybe books; in other words, I would get my ass kicked on Jeopardy! in every direction imaginable).
Speaking of which, fuck this guy:
If you don’t recognize him, take a listen to this smarmy asshole. Hunting for the Daily Doubles is brilliant, but only wagering just enough to advance to the next day is a bitch move (in my opinion, you play to win the game).
On that note, onto the fun stuff:
1. “Why Should I Worry?” (Oliver & Company)
This Billy Joel track oozes cool and arguably served as a harbinger of flash mobs and lipdubs, but seems to go unnoticed in the Disney filmography.
2. “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” (Mulan)
This song is ideal for overzealous managerial types who try to wield more power than they actually possess as well as the delusional CrossFit junkie who thinks he can command an army (and everyone else in between). I envision this person doing some parkour on a play structure and scanning his domain as the sun sets behind him in a blaze of orange and red, thereby appearing majestic as fuck to said army (who are, instead, confused and startled children and their astonished parents, who are busy calling 911 to report a pedophile). I also think Donny Osmond was a brilliant choice to sing this, although I can’t imagine why Michael Bolton or William Shatner would turn this gig down.
Speaking of Mulan, the character art in this movie is hilariously one-sided. Look at this guy:
Shan Yu is probably typecast worse than Michael Cera. His ideal dream role is probably Kurt Hummel in Glee and he’ll never get it because, even when he smiles, he looks evil.
Poor, delusional Shan Yu — the unofficial mascot of singing CrossFitters everywhere.
Oh, and there’s also this cover — if you love excessive overdubs and hilarious posturing (to the point where you’re not sure if it’s a serious venture or not) as much as I do, this is worth the 3 minutes of your time:
3. “The Siamese Cat Song” (Lady & the Tramp)
Disney-endorsed xenophobia, everybody!
Perhaps this is why I hate Arthur Chu so much.
4. “Something There” (Beauty & the Beast)
This song actually isn’t too shabby (although the line about shuddering at his paw makes me chuckle every time), but what really brings my enjoyment level down is the unnecessary outro/refrain after the duet by all the supplemental characters (the whole “There may be something there that wasn’t there before” bit). It’s clear that Chip wants to know what that “something” is, while Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, and Lumiere keep winking at each other with knowing looks plastered all over their faces as they pussyfoot around Chip’s curiosity. I want a random character (maybe a cookie jar) to PG-13 this movie up and just say, “IT’S HOT BEAST-IN-BELLE ACTION.”
In a deleted scene, as Belle is getting gored by the Beast, the cookie jar can then go on to say, “This song can now be titled, ‘I Know There’s Something There That Wasn’t There Before (It’s a Boner)’.”
5. “I 2 I” (A Goofy Movie)
This song is stupidly catchy. The fact that Powerline is a perfect hybrid of Montell Jordan, Michael Jackson, and Patrick Ewing circa 1989 is amazing to me (although the song is performed by Tevin Campbell, who is probably a good candidate for a VH1 Where Are They Now? B-roll documentary), but I’m also pleased to see how far we’ve come from truncating our song titles and eating canned cheese.
6. “Oo De Lally” (Robin Hood)
If this isn’t the best Disney movie pre-1999, it’s certainly in the Top 5. “Oo De Lally” exemplifies what makes this such an incredible movie: it’s a simple song, quite a bit of fun, and tells a pretty decent story.
The best part about this song is that it sounds beautiful in pretty much any language. I recommend the Arabic, Hebrew, and Hungarian versions. The German one sounds awesome if you think Till Lindemann is singing, but I also thoroughly appreciate how much it’s slowed down in order to fit in all the necessary syllables.
My last note about this movie is that everyone I’ve ever spoken to about this movie was, at some point during their childhood, sexually attracted to either Robin Hood or Maid Marian (or the animators were still really turned on by “Foxy Lady” in 1967; the film came out in 1973. I rest my flimsy case!).
And if the attraction still exists for some, then they’re probably Furries.