All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…


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My Life in Animated Movies

Over the last several months I have been writing a sporadic series titled  ‘My Life in…‘ where I highlight the films/books/moments/music that have defined me through each year of my life. As it’s been a while since I wrote a fun post, here is ‘My Life in Animated Movies’.

For each year since I was born, until last year, I have chosen an animated movie that has resonated throughout my life. Not necessarily the best animated movie of the year, but the one that would feature in a DVD collection that speaks of who I am in my soul.

Animated Movies

1978       The Lord of the Rings    

This was my introduction into the world of Tolkien and, unlike the recent adaptation of ‘The Hobbit’, can be watched without the sudden need to fall asleep.

1979       The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

This was my introduction into the world of C.S.Lewis…although it’s not as good as the 2005 movie or the classic BBC serial.

1980       Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown (and Don’t Come Back!!)

Charles M. Schulz. ‘Nuff said.

1981       The Fox and the Hound               

This is the first animated film I can remember seeing at the cinema. My mother took my siblings and I to see this in Richmond (London) at a time when I was completely unaware of who Kurt Russell was.

1982       The Secret of NIMH       

Why are rodents so popular when it comes to animation? When the finished product is this good, who really cares?

1983       The Wind in the Willows            

This film used to freak me out. Seriously.

1984       Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind        

Hands up who can pronounce Nausicaä correctly? I saw this for the first time during a Studio Ghibli retrospective at the Cinema Nova in 2005, a magnificent feat of animated storytelling.

1985       The Black Cauldron        

Do you remember heading down to the newsagent as a child and spending your hard earned pocket money on pointless packets of stickers? Do you remember ripping open the packets hoping this time you’d find the one bloody sticker that was preventing you from completing the album, but you never did?

Disney’s The Black Cauldron was the only (the only) sticker album I ever completed and remains in all it’s disheveled, disintegrating glory in a box in my parent’s house as proof completing a Panini album was indeed possible.

1986       The Great Mouse Detective      

If this film hadn’t been made it’s entirely possible my life-long love affair with Sherlock Holmes would never have occurred, for this was my introduction into the world of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most beloved creation. (see, animated rodents :p)

1987       Footrot Flats: The Dog’s Tale     

John Clarke provides one of the voices; ‘nuff said!

1988       My Neighbour Totoro   
Runners up: Grave of the Fireflies, The Land Before Time

Simply the greatest animated movie of all time…ever…period! The only people who could possibly disagree with this accolade are those who have never seen it. Hopefully you’re not one of them.

1989       The Little Mermaid        

I used to have a crush on Ariel. Just saying.

1990       Duck Tales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp            

This film will forever remind me of my childhood. And dodgy NES games. And rediculously addictive theme songs.

1991       Beauty and the Beast    

Until I saw My Neighbour Totoro this was my favourite animated movie of all time. At one point I knew it word for word…not exactly something a childless man should be admitting to, which I guess is why I live a socially isolated life :p

1992       Aladdin               

A film I can no longer watch due to it being a trigger to the abusive relationship I was in.

1993       The Wrong Trousers      

Wallace and Gromit were never better than they were in this masterpiece!

1994       The Lion King    

As those who have read this blog know, I once served Jeremy Irons coffee. Squee!

1995       Toy Story            

The second best Toy Story movie, after its first sequel, of course..

1996       James and the Giant Peach        

Better than A Nightmare Before Christmas. Oooooo, controversy :p

1997       Princess Mononoke      

Often forgotten fact…Neil Gaiman worked on the script for the English language version.

1998       A Bug’s Life       

I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again; David Hyde Pierce is a genius.

1999       My Neighbours the Yamadas    

Perhaps Studio Ghibli should consider using the word Neighbour in all of their movie titles, for this lesser-known animated masterpiece is superior to some of their better known films.

2000       Titan A.E             

I watched this in Halifax with Rachel. She didn’t like it. Although she, like I, did enjoy the very-Whedon ‘Bob’ exchange.

2001       Monsters Inc   
Runners up: Waking Life, Shrek, Spirited Away

For years after watching this movie Louise (and anyone who I told/found out) teased me mercilessly over the fact I bawled my eyes out when they say goodbye to Boo; one of my favourite animated characters in the history of animated film!

2002       The Wild Thornberrys Movie   

This movie was on the television the day after I was assaulted in 2007. I watched it curled up in a ball and remember thinking ‘why couldn’t you be the Rugrats Movie’? (as I have always loved the Rugrats!)

2003       The Triplets of Belleville             

Magnificent. Beautiful. Inspirational.

2004       The Incredibles               

One of the all-time great CGI movies and easily one of Pixar’s finest.

2005       Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit          

I very nearly didn’t get to see this movie as I refused to switch my phone off for the preview screening I was attending. The phone had no camera facility and I needed to have it on for work (as I was on call). Fortunately, they relented as long as they witnessed me putting it on silent (something I always do when going to the cinema anyway!)

2006       Happy Feet

I watched this with my parents on Christmas Day 2006; my last ‘enjoyable’ Christmas. Given I was suffering from Glandular Fever at the time I fell asleep when Mumble arrived at the zoo so, to this day, have no idea how the film ended as I didn’t wake up until the credits had started rolling.

2007       Ratatouille        

This is a film I watched during an anxiety ridden flight from Melbourne to London in 2008. My least favourite Pixar film, most likely because of the bad memories it brings of this horrible flight! Also, more animated bloody rodents!

2008       Ponyo  

Another Studio Ghibli gem.

2009       Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs        

A film that never failed to make me smile…until three days ago, when even this was unable to break the insidious depressive episode I’ve found myself in.

2010       How to Train Your Dragon
Runner up: Tangled

My favourite CGI animated movie of all time. Simply stunning.

2011       Puss in Boots    

I’ve never really been a fan of the vastly overrated Shrek movies, but this spin-off was quite marvellous. The short that accompanies it on the DVD is also wonderful :)

2012       Brave   

Perhaps it’s the red-headed Scottish heroine. Perhaps because it reminds me of Miyazaki. Perhaps because it’s highly under-rated. Perhaps because I watched it on a good mood day. I don’t know. All I do know is that I loved this movie from beginning to end and it should have received far more acclaim than it did.

See also:

My Life in Movies
My Life in Books
My Life in Happy Memories
My Life in Music

and

Addy’s Top Twenty Animated Films of All Time


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Addy’s Best of 2012: Best Animated Movie

In addition to the Mental Health Month Challenge I have decided to undertake a more light-hearted challenge this month that I discovered on Heck Yeah Tumblr Challenges. Each day in December I will be issuing an award in celebration of everything 2012 and as I don’t watch any of the reality shows, realised I would need to come up with a couple of replacement categories, including today’s award…

Best Animated Movie of 2012

~ Brave ~

Brave

This movie, a runner-up in my most underrated of 2012 award, is a more than worthy contender for ‘movie of the year’, let alone ‘animated movie of the year’. Unfairly ignored on it’s original release, I’m hoping this Disney-Pixar gem will find the audience it deserves on DVD and Blu-Ray.

Not only is the animation exceptional (seriously, just look at Merida’s hair!) and the voice cast magnificent (including the superb Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson), the storyline was not the all out action-adventure I was expecting it to be. Instead it reminded me of the work of Miyazaki and his wistful, spirit filled fables starring strong female characters.

Perhaps this is one of the many reasons I loved Brave so much (the fact it’s based in Scotland should go without saying!)

Being a huge fan of strong female characters it was quite wonderful to finally see Pixar create one for the screen. Granted they did occasionally stray a little too close to Disney Princess territory, but Merida was a breath of fresh air from recent animated creations (and not just because I have a kinky obsession with her amazing red hair!)

This film certainly didn’t deserve the criticism it received upon it’s release and more than earns its place alongside Pixar’s more well known (and critically heralded) work.

~ Runners up for ‘Best Animated Movie of 2012’ award ~

 


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My top twenty animated films of all time!

This is the first entry in my Top Twenty Thursdays. Every week I (or you, should you wish to offer a suggestion) will nominate a category and present to you my definitive top twenty.

Some of my choices may be arguable, some spot on, others down right laughable, but they’re my choices. What are yours?

Today we have my top twenty animated films of all time; CGI, stop motion, cel…as long as it’s animated and feature-length, it’s allowed to be included.


The Top Twenty…

20. Basil the Great Mouse Detective; a wonderful take on the Sherlock Holmes legend, Disney style.
19. Bolt; a surprisingly brilliant movie, fantastic fun for the whole family.
18. When the Wind Blows; an animated film depicting a nuclear attack, a must see.
17. Monster House; an under-rated, darkly comic masterpiece – complete with an animated Maggie Gyllenhaal. Woo hoo!
16. Toy Story; a modern classic.
15. The Iron Giant; an often forgotten gem, based on the Ted Hughes poem.
14. Up; a beautiful, haunting and intelligent family friendly animation.
13. Paprika; an eye-opening, sophisticated, challenging, disturbing Japanese animation.
12. Pinocchio; a classic Disney film that should need no introduction.
11. Toy Story 2; in my mind, one of the few sequels that betters the original.

The Top Ten…

10. The Land Before Time

It may have spawned dozens of un-necessary sequels but the original The Land Before Time is one of the animated classics of my childhood. Since first watching it in a cinema in Aberdeen I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it since.

9. Monster’s Inc

I infamously (and somewhat embarrassingly) wept whilst watching this film with Louise. She never let me forget it – and I don’t want to – just thinking about that emotional farewell is setting the tears welling.

8. Sleeping Beauty

Just as I’ll always be a fan of the original fairytale. Just as I’ll always be a fan of Anne Rice’s adult interpretation. I will always be a fan of this stylised, beautiful Disney film.

7. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

A relatively recent film, I’ll grant you, but when a film possesses the originality, verve and energy that this does it’s a worthy addition. Until a few months ago I’d never seen it; I’ve now watched it dozens of times and never grown tired of it.

6. Grave of the Fireflies

If you thought When the Wind Blows was dark, wait until you see this remarkable offering from Studio Ghibli. The less you know before entering into it the better, but it’s based in Japan during WWII – and you’ll need lots of tissues.

5. Tangled

Perhaps it’s because the magnificent Zachary Levi provides one of the voices. Perhaps because, in comparison to other Disney Princesses, Rapunzel kicks serious ass! Whatever it is, I adored every second of Disney 50th animated feature. Especially the closing animated titles.

4. Whisper of the Heart

When people think of Studio Ghibli they think of Nausicaa, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and numerous other animated classics from this highly regarded studio. Alas, Whisper of the Heart is not one that comes to the minds of most, but it should be. Simple, engaging, touching and funny. I dare you not to sing along with country classic Country Road.

3. Beauty and the Beast

For over a decade this film rested at the top of my list but over the last several years has been notched down to third place. Regardless, it remains one of the most beautiful animated films of all time, easily deserving its Oscar nod for Best Picture. However, when I watch the film these days, I can’t help but look at it from a more adult perspective. And with Stockholm Syndrome coupled with the abusive behavior of the Beast, I find it unnerves me somewhat. What exactly are we teaching our children?

2. How To Train Your Dragon

The film that drop kicked Beauty and the Beast into second place! I cherished everything about this film; from the wonderful character design, to the inspired realisation of the dragons, to the stirring John Powell score, to the fantastic voice cast, to the ‘Spot David Tennant’ mini-game. If you haven’t seen it, go NOW! If you have seen it, watch it again. And then track down all the spin-off short films and prepare yourself for the Hammerhead Yak!

1. My Neighbour Totoro

Whilst sharing a tub of mint-choc-chip in a hotel room in Glasgow, Sammi and I were nattering away when she nonchalantly stated although she’d heard of it, she’d never seen this movie. On such stunning news, I found myself unable to prevent throwing a spoonful of ice-cream at her! How could anyone not have seen this film? In the few moments of silence that followed I thought I may have pissed her off, until a rather amusing ice-cream fight fed into a viewing of this masterpiece.

To put it bluntly, it is flawless.

To put it not so bluntly, it spanks the ass of all animated films and sends them to bed to think about what they’ve done wrong.