House Logo
Explore categories +

Who Framed Roger Rabbit (#110 of 4)

Summer of ‘88: Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Comments Comments (...)

Summer of ‘88: <em>Who Framed Roger Rabbit</em>
Summer of ‘88: <em>Who Framed Roger Rabbit</em>

Is there some sort of a deep political hypothesis nibbling on a carrot and overseeing the action in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I mean, the film’s plot concerns a nefarious developer, Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd), who wants to dismantle Los Angeles’s electrified streetcar system and replace it with a freeway-centric suburban wasteland, and in so doing appropriate and pave over a charismatic minority neighborhood, Toontown. And could it be that the kind of meta-cinematic crossovers—from Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny going skydiving together to Donald and Daffy Duck on dueling pianos—that make this movie so entertaining and weird and such a product of the 1980s are also a utopian-type metaphor for the overcoming of the hostilities and rivalries and the competitiveness of the free market? Or am I going too far with this?

This much, at least, we know: Who Framed Roger Rabbit belongs to that category of slick and ironic and star-studded Hollywood film that takes as its subject Hollywood and moviemaking and life in Los Angeles, like A Star Is Born or Sunset Boulevard or Singin’ in the Rain, like Barton Fink or Boogie Nights or The Player. Which is to say, it’s self-conscious by default, and is always reminding you either blatantly or slightly less blatantly of other movies or shows or cartoons that you’ve seen. And yet, for me at least, the film manages to be its own thing, to be more than just a noirish, postmodern Super Friends/Justice League for anthropomorphic animal cartoon characters.

Sinful Cinema Super Mario Bros.

Comments Comments (...)

Sinful Cinema: Super Mario Bros.
Sinful Cinema: Super Mario Bros.

Let’s get one thing straight: You can say whatever you want about Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel’s Super Mario Bros. (1993), but you need to remember that it wasn’t cheap—in fact, a more brazenly commercial product of this size and sweep may never have crawled out of studio hell in the 1990s. Furthermore, the conditions that leavened it—a hotshot husband-and-wife directing team propelled into the eye of a sprawling, committee-bred, synergetic summer-blockbuster hurricane, well after shooting began—would probably never be repeated again. The result is a queasy jumble of genre tropes (re-appropriated to hit kids’ sweet spots), and remarkable modernist visual gags, packed with political subtext, yet tossed off like so many cheap pizza napkins.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions Sound Mixing

Comments Comments (...)

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Sound Mixing

It’s at this point we had to ask ourselves, “Is Argo really going to end up a two-Oscar Best Picture winner?” Because while it seems almost certain to buck all sorts of precedent and take Best Picture, which of its six other nominations will be there to back it up? Honestly, the way things have been developing among the guild awards, the only nod that seems entirely out of reach is Alan Arkin’s bid for supporting actor. We’ll cover Best Editing in the next few days, but the movie still seems more of a spoiler than a frontrunner for original score and adapted screenplay*. In theory, that leaves Argo’s two sound bids to prevent the movie from achieving a dubious feat not achieved since Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth. Some of us are going to hedge on our Oscar-pool ballots and give Argo one or both of them, but unless the topsy-turviness of the race infects every category, both it and Lincoln seem to lack the “bigness” this category seems to require.

DOC NYC 2012: Persistence of Vision, David Bromberg: Unsung Treasure, & Plimpton!

Comments Comments (...)

DOC NYC 2012: <em>Persistence of Vision</em>, <em>David Bromberg: Unsung Treasure</em>, & <em>Plimpton!</em>
DOC NYC 2012: <em>Persistence of Vision</em>, <em>David Bromberg: Unsung Treasure</em>, & <em>Plimpton!</em>

Kevin Schreck’s documentary Persistence of Vision recounts the tragic story of The Thief and the Cobbler, a feature-length cartoon on which British animator Richard Williams (of Who Framed Roger Rabbit fame) toiled for over 20 years with the help of several gurus in the field and a largely self-funded staff. The highly ambitious project was planned not only as Williams’s crowning achievement, but also as an instructive departure from the mid-century animation dichotomy of “either” Disney hyperrealism “or” modestly budgeted modernist experimentation. The film would have boasted intricate, moving backgrounds (those completed have a nearly Book of Kells-grade meticulousness and luminosity), funny strip-stylized character kinesthetics, and a silent era-like tendency to promote plot with dramatically accented visuals.