Archive for August, 2023


Disney Girls

One thing that struck me in my recent viewing of Disney animated films was the role of female characters. Even though most of these movies are targeted toward a female audience and many of the main characters are female, there actually aren’t a lot of girls or women in these movies.

Most of the female roles come down to three categories, the heroine (or love interest, if the main character is male), the mother figure, and the villain. Very few of the female characters have female friends. For the heroines, the only women in their lives are either mother figures or villains. These movies don’t pass the Bechdel Test. This is a very low-bar test for female representation in movies that merely requires that there are two female characters who have names and who talk to each other about something other than a man.

For the fairy tale movies, some of this is baked into the stories, especially before they started going beyond the basics of the tales and fleshing them out with characters and details. The only female characters in Snow White are the evil queen and Snow White, and I guess there’s not a lot of room to add female characters unless some of the dwarfs are women. This one might even sort of pass the Bechdel Test, given that Snow White and the queen in disguise have a conversation about the apple, but the queen doesn’t get an onscreen name, so I’m giving it a fail.

In Cinderella, we have female villains and the mother figure of the fairy godmother. Cinderella sort of has conversations with her stepfamily, so I guess it passes the Bechdel Test, but it’s interesting that her animal friends who get names are all male. The female mice are more in the background and don’t interact directly with Cinderella. If they were going to make up characters to add to the story, it seems like it would have made more sense for her confidants to be female.

Sleeping Beauty still has the heroine/mother figures/villain triad, and about the only conversation Aurora/Briar Rose has with the fairies is about the prince, though this is one of the few of the fairy tale movies that is full of active female characters.

Jumping ahead to more modern Disney princesses, all of Ariel’s fishy friends are male, as are most of the enchanted objects Belle interacts with, with the exception of Mrs. Potts (mother figure) and the Wardrobe. But all their conversations are about the Beast. All of Rapunzel’s friends are male. We finally get an actual female friendship with Tiana and Charlotte in The Princess and the Frog, but Charlotte spends most of the movie offscreen, and most of the other characters are male. Frozen has dual female heroines, but the only other female character is a female-coded troll (the sequel does a bit better).

Maybe the secondary characters in the female-led movies are male to balance it out. Except the male-led movies are also male-dominated. The Lion King has the mother, who’s offscreen most of the movie, Nala, and a secondary villain. So, about the same number of women as the female-led movies, only less screen time. In Peter Pan, Wendy, her mother, and the mermaids are the only women who get any dialogue. Tinkerbell just chimes, while Tiger Lily never speaks. The mermaids only talk about Peter. We get two mother figures in The Jungle Book, the wolf at the beginning and the elephant. Then the girl shows up at the end and sings her song but otherwise doesn’t talk. At least Lady Cluck and Marian are friends in Robin Hood, though I think they mostly talk about Robin, and then there’s a female bunny child and a couple of mothers among the villagers. Cluck is a rare character who doesn’t fit the heroine/love interest, villain, or mother figure mold. In Aladdin, Jasmine is the only female character (unless there’s a cameo moment I forgot). We don’t even have a mother figure or female villain there.

I could go on because almost all of them are like this. But this isn’t unique to Disney. When I was helping with the church youth musicals, we ran up against this in trying to find a show. The audience for musical theater is predominantly female. Most of the people interested in participating in musical theater are female. And yet most of the roles in most shows are male. I suppose they don’t have a hard time casting male roles for pro productions in New York (though I’d bet they have a smaller pool to choose from than they do for female roles), but for amateur productions, especially those for teens, it’s nearly impossible to fill all the male roles while there are dozens of girls trying out for each female part. For our musicals, they ended up gender flipping every role that didn’t absolutely have to be male and bringing in adult men to fill some of the male roles, so that they only needed maybe three or four teen guys, and even then there might be two who were actual theater kids (often the ones from the performing arts high school in another city who couldn’t get lead roles in school productions and wanted to beef up their resumes) and a couple who could manage to walk on stage and say a line or two. Meanwhile, the chorus would be packed with girls who had voice and dance training (in these shows, everyone who tried out got some kind of role). The lead female actress would be Broadway-caliber. About the only “girly” show that actually has mostly female roles is the Broadway version of Cinderella.

Or look at the Star Wars saga (other than the TV series, which are a lot more balanced). Even when the main character is female, they keep the girl and two guys combination for the main trio. Rogue One had a female lead, but only two women with speaking parts.

I guess I can partially thank this tendency for my writing career because the fact that just about every work of popular culture when I was a kid, aside from Charlie’s Angels, had only one female character meant that I had to make up my own characters to play when we were playing whatever TV show or movie as we ran around the neighborhood. I had to make up another nurse or doctor when we played M*A*S*H, another Enterprise crew member when we played Star Trek, a female cop when we played CHiPS, a female X-wing pilot when we played Star Wars, etc., if I didn’t win the argument about who got to play the one female character in the show or movie.

By the way, the post title is a reference to a Beach Boys song later also recorded by the Captain & Tennille (which is how I know it), though I think it was more about the live-action movies Disney did in the 50s and their TV shows (like the Mickey Mouse Club) than about the animated princesses.


The Importance of Trees

I read in two different, entirely unrelated nonfiction books last week about the importance of exposure to nature, especially trees. One book was about inner chatter, that voice in your head that can be good (it’s how you learn and remember things and organize your thoughts) or that can drive you nuts when it goes into overdrive (welcome to my life). One good way to calm it down so you can focus on other things is to look at nature. The book discussed research on the topic. There was a study of people living in public housing. People were randomly assigned to apartments, so they made for a good study group, and they found that people who got apartments that overlooked some kind of green space had better outcomes than people whose apartments overlooked things like parking lots or courtyards without any kind of greenery. Then they conducted a study in which people were given some kind of task assignment, then sent out to take a walk on one of two specific routes. The people assigned to walk through a park did a better job on the task when they returned than the people assigned to walk on a city route without greenery.

It seems that the brain only has so much voluntary focus in it, and dealing with something like a city requires voluntary focus. But the brain doesn’t have to work to focus on nature. It’s naturally drawn to notice things like trees and plants, so when you’re in nature, you have more focus left over. There’s also an issue of awe. Nature has a way of putting life in perspective so that you feel less overwhelmed by your daily stresses.

Then there’s the calming effect. The other book I read got into the idea of forest bathing, of immersing yourself in the forest as a way of getting perspective. It lowers the blood pressure and has a spiritual benefit.

I suppose none of this is all that surprising. I’ve always had a thing for trees and green spaces, perhaps because I spent much of my childhood on the plains of west Texas and Oklahoma. I remember feeling like I’d exhaled when we visited relatives in northern Louisiana where they were surrounded by pine trees or when we went camping in the woods in east Texas. A childhood friend from Oklahoma visited our old neighborhood late last year and mentioned the grove of trees I loved, and I remembered that my favorite place to play was a small (very small) grove of trees. When we moved to Germany, where we lived on the edge of a great forest, it felt like coming home. Some of my fondest memories are of taking long walks in the woods on the public walking paths.

Unfortunately, I currently live back on the plains. The forests we have are small and scrubby. I can see trees from my office window, but they’re just crepe myrtles, which are essentially overgrown bushes. Right now, I can’t get out to what trees we do have because we have dangerous levels of heat. You don’t want to go walking outdoors. I can’t even see the trees nearby because I’m keeping my blinds closed in an attempt to keep my house somewhat cool.

But according to one of those books, looking at pictures or videos of nature has a similar effect on the brain. I’ve found a number of YouTube channels of people walking in the woods. They’re shot first-person style, so it gives you the feeling of walking in the woods, rather than of watching someone else walk (the good ones have some kind of stabilization, so the camera doesn’t shake with each step). I’ve found that watching a few minutes of a virtual walk in the woods before I start work in the morning helps with my focus. Then I found some of these videos shot in an area that’s serving as a model for the fictional location in a book I’m developing, so I’m killing two birds with one stone. I’m getting a dose of nature while immersing myself in the world of my book.

And then I got the really bright idea to set up my mini jogging trampoline (I don’t have a treadmill) in front of my TV and walk in place while watching the video of a walk through my book setting inspiration, so I’m really multitasking, getting exercise, research, and nature exposure. I’m finding that ideas pop into my head as I walk and watch the video.

The only problem is that I feel sad when I turn off the video and find myself back in my hot, dry, barren world. I’m less happy about being where I am after spending time in a place I like much better. When I got out of school, I had plans to move to a place that was green and full of trees and hills, but I got a job here and ended up staying. I’m not sure which is worse for my emotional well-being, no exposure to nature (and trees) or exposure that makes me sad about where I live. I’m actually looking into relocating because the cost of living here is skyrocketing to the point I can’t afford to buy any house in my area and I want to get out of my current house, and if I have to leave the area, I might as well go to a place that’s cooler and greener.


A Question of Destiny

I didn’t do any Disney movies last weekend because I got sidetracked and ended up creating a thematic double feature.

First, on Friday night I watched Megamind. I’d been thinking about this one after seeing a Cinema Therapy video on it. Cinema Therapy is a fun YouTube channel in which a filmmaker and his therapist friend discuss movies in terms of mental health and relationships. They may discuss a particular movie, using it to highlight a relationship or mental health issue. They may do a roundup or top ten list, ranking movies for things like depiction of healthy (or unhealthy) relationships. They do spotlights on heroes, showing the issues the heroes face and how the way they overcome them is what makes them heroes. And they look at villains and what kind of help they’d need to get over their problems. I recently watched the episode they did on Megamind, using it to illustrate the issue of the “nice guy” who’s only doing good things to get attention or praise and expects to be rewarded, as opposed to kindness, which is doing the right thing because it’s the right thing, without it being transactional. When I saw that the movie was on Prime, I decided to watch it. I thought I’d seen it on HBO back when it first came out, but I’m not sure. Maybe I saw clips.

The movie is sort of a spoof on the Superman story. A baby on another world gets put in a pod by his parents and sent away from a dying world. But there are actually two pods from two different planets. One is basically Superman, but the other is a blue-skinned creature with a giant brain. The Not!Superman pod lands with a wealthy family, and the other lands in a prison, where the prisoners adopt the child and bring him up. When he ends up in school with the other kid, he realizes he’ll never be able to compete at being good, so he decides to be a supervillain and the nemesis to MetroMan. They’re fairly evenly matched, so all of Megamind’s evil schemes always come close to succeeding before he’s foiled at the last second by MetroMan. But then one of his schemes actually works and he gets to take over the city. Now what? Maybe he needs to create a hero to be his new nemesis, since a villain is nothing without a hero to fight. But what if the new hero actually turns out to be bad? Can a villain become a hero?

I normally don’t have a lot of patience for the “poor, sad villain can’t help being evil and it’s all the hero’s fault for not being nice to him” story, but I actually buy this one because in some respects it’s true. Megamind doesn’t stand a chance, growing up in a prison and being raised by felons, and MetroMan is kind of a jerk and a bully. But ultimately, it also makes it clear that it was Megamind’s choices that made him a villain, and different choices can give him a different outcome. The story is ultimately about the idea that there is no destiny, that you choose who you want to be, and the choices you make reflect the kind of person you are. This becomes clear when the wrong guy ends up getting turned into the new superhero. He’s the guy who thinks he deserves the girl because he’s “nice” to her, but he’s only nice because he wants her, and he gets mad when she doesn’t respond to him the way he wants.

The movie is a lot of fun, has some great laugh-out-loud moments and an excellent cast (including Brad Pitt having fun mocking his own image as MetroMan — he really does seem to like those roles that allow him to mock himself) and is thought-provoking.

Then I noticed that The Iron Giant is also on Prime and is leaving at the end of the month, so I figured that would make a good Saturday movie to fit the theme, since that whole move is about the giant choosing what he wants to be. In the late 50s, during the Sputnik era, a strange thing crashes to earth. A young boy in rural Maine discovers a giant metal man and befriends him, hiding him from the authorities. But what is the iron giant, and is he a threat? Maybe he can decide for himself.

I remember watching this movie on HBO, and I remembered the major points, but not a lot of the details. It’s directed by Brad Bird, who went on to do The Incredibles for Pixar. I found myself wondering how this movie would have worked if it had been a Pixar film. It has that kind of heart. Most of the movie is more conventional hand-drawn, 2-D animation, with the robot being computer animated. I’m not super crazy about the hand-drawn animation. There’s a Saturday-morning cartoon feel to it, which may have been deliberate. It’s nowhere near as rich as the Disney animation, especially with the human characters. But would there have been the robot vs. human contrast if the whole thing had been done Pixar-style?

The movie is quite sweet and gets into that issue of deciding who you want to be and whether you’re a friend or an enemy depends not on what you are but on what you do. It gets a little heavy-handed at times and isn’t quite as amusing as Megamind, but it does bring a tear to my eye a few times.

And now I’m inspired to go out and create my own destiny!


Rescuers Down Under

My Disney movie last weekend was The Rescuers Down Under. I had never seen this one. It looks like it came out around the time I was starting my first job out of college, so I’d just moved, and I was dating someone, so any movies I went to around that time were more “date” kind of movies. I have to say that I wasn’t fond of this one. The flying sequences were lovely, but the story just didn’t work for me.

This may fall into the category of “overanalyzing an animated movie for kids,” but I had a hard time getting past the fact that they did that whole relay thing to signal from Australia to New York for them to send someone to rescue the kid, when all the mice along the way were a lot closer to go to the kid’s rescue, and then they had a local mouse/rat helping them once they got to Australia. It seems like an unnecessary delay to wait for someone to go from New York to Australia when there was a kid in need of help. It takes at least 24 hours to fly from the US to Australia by airplane, probably longer when part of the journey is via albatross. Surely there are adventurous creatures in Australia, in addition to the one who helped them. It struck me as rather American-centric, as though the rest of the world has to wait for the Americans to show up and take care of things for them (yes, Miss Bianca was Hungarian, but she was based in New York). I know they were trying to bring in the recurring characters, but maybe they could have been in Australia for another reason and joined the rescue effort. And then both the kid and the villain had American accents. In Australia. The kid was living in Australia and had a mother with an Australian accent, but sounded American (apparently, the actor was actually Norwegian?).

Then I thought the story was lacking the heart of the first one and had a mean streak to it. There was whatever torture the doctor was setting up for the albatross who threw his back out. That whole segment seemed unnecessary. Then there was the way the local rat kept “accidentally” letting Bernard get into danger, like he was trying to get rid of a rival, and Bianca was utterly oblivious or even accused Bernard of not being friendly. I hate that trope in romances, where the rival is clearly out to get the guy and the girl doesn’t seem to care what’s happening to her friend. Whether or not she’s interested in the rival, she should care that her friend is being put in danger.

And then there was the kid. It was nice that he had his own rescue aid thing going on, but he kept getting in trouble because he didn’t listen when someone was trying to warn him that he was walking into a trap. You’d think he’d have learned the first time not to talk over the person (mouse) trying to warn him and blunder on.

Spoilers for the ending here
Finally, it was left weirdly unresolved. Yes, they rescued the eagle and the kid and Bernard proposed to Bianca, but we didn’t get to see the eagle seeing her chicks and we didn’t find out whether they rescued all the other captive animals. I was surprised when the movie just sort of ended without wrapping up the loose ends. It would have been nice to see the other animals freed and the kid reunited with his mother and the eagle getting to see her chicks. At least in the first film, they had the TV news story to show us what happened with Penny. Here, they escaped, but we don’t know what happens to some of the characters. It felt like the movie just ran out of steam, or maybe ran out of budget and they just left off where they were.

It was all pretty dissatisfying. I think part of the problem was that this was made-for-video quality that got a big-screen release, possibly because they were playing with the computer animation technology. Also, they’d forgotten a lot of what makes the Disney films work. The primary audience may be kids, but they’re enjoyable for adults. I didn’t feel like this one had any of the adult appeal or hidden depth.

Incidentally, my mom found the “story and songs” record of the first movie in the collection of Disney records, which explains why I remembered bits of dialogue and the songs in spite of only having seen the movie once.

My Books

Almost release day!

One more day to the new book! The paperback has been submitted, and there’s a page for it on Amazon, but it’s still not showing as available. I hope it’ll be available on release day.

There’s a tiny bit of a sequel to Enchanted Ever After in this book, with one story that takes place after that book, though it’s from Katie’s Granny’s point of view, so Katie and Owen are secondary characters.

We also get a story with a teenage Owen. He’s a freshman in college, and he skipped a few grades in school, so he’s only about sixteen and hasn’t quite outgrown his nerdy stage.

I guess I was giving Katie a break in writing the new stories. She wasn’t having to narrate or do all the work, for a change. It was fun to write stories from other characters’ perspectives. I don’t think I’ll do the thing I’ve seen some other authors do and rewrite an entire book from the point of view of a different character, but I do enjoy mixing things up and writing in the voice of a different character every so often.

I’ve also written some essays on the history of the series and how the magic works. I polled readers on my Facebook page to see what questions they wanted answered (aside from what happens next), and then wrote essays to answer those questions.

I hope everyone enjoys this book!


Recent Reading: Heading to Roswell

My most recent read was a really fun book that combined a few of my favorite things. The Road to Roswell by Connie Willis is a science fiction road trip romantic comedy. Think ET meets It Happened One Night, with a touch of The X-Files. Though, given the title, she may be referencing the Hope/Crosby “Road” movies (but I’m not as familiar with those).

A woman visiting Roswell for her college roommate’s alien-themed wedding gets carjacked by an alien that looks like a sentient tumbleweed and ends up on a weird, random journey through the southwest, as the alien seems to be looking for something. Along the way, the alien grabs others who run across them, including a handsome hitchhiker, a conspiracy nut, a little old lady with a casino addiction and a retiree obsessed with old Western movies. They end up in the retiree’s RV as they figure out that the alien needs help and try to find a way to communicate so they can help.

I think Connie is one of the best at conveying what it’s like to be a reasonably level-headed person who’s surrounded by utter chaos and trying to make sense of it. Even though this story involves aliens, structurally it’s very much a classic screwball comedy. Much of the early part of the story involves the humans trying to figure things out and work together. As it goes along, it gets deeper into the science fiction aspects as they work on communication and then deal with the alien’s mission and the consequences of that mission. At heart, I think this is ultimately a book about kindness and empathy, about caring enough to be willing to look past the surface and understand what’s going on with someone.

Although it feels like a rom-com, the romantic element is very subtle and slow burn. It’s the kind of romance I like in a book, something that develops naturally along the way between people who are having to work together on something and who learn about each other as they go through a crisis together. For those who are worried, the heroine’s romance is not with the sentient tumbleweed alien. It involves one of the other abductees.

I think people who like my books might enjoy this for the wackiness, humor, heart, and dash of romance.



Last weekend’s Disney movie was The Rescuers. This one was a weird experience for me because it was both strange and familiar. I remember going to the theater to see it but didn’t remember anything about it, other than that it involved mice and that Eva Gabor and Bob Newhart were the voices, but then once I started watching, I would have these weird flashes of memory in which I not only knew what the next line would be, I knew exactly what it would sound like. I could sing along with the Rescue Aid Society theme song. I didn’t have this record, but it’s possible that my younger brother did. When I saw it, I was 8, almost 9, and I’d see Star Wars a couple of months later, so I was at a point when I was suddenly no longer interested in Disney movies. I became obsessed with Star Wars and left behind the Disney stuff for a while.

But if my little brother had the record for this, that might explain why some of the lines were so familiar but the story wasn’t that familiar. I might have overheard enough to recognize bits of the movie without knowing the story as a whole. With the earlier ones, I listened to them myself and acted them out. This might have been one I overheard through the wall, so I picked up on and memorized bits of dialogue without getting the context.

Anyway, it’s a rather cute movie, though maybe not as memorable as some of the classics. It’s not a musical, like the earlier films. The characters only sing that group anthem, which is sung as part of the story. The rest of the songs are just part of the soundtrack, playing in the background during scenes. But some of the artwork is lovely, there’s some imaginative use of objects to create the world of the mice, and the treatment of women is better than in a lot of these films. They actually acknowledge the sexism, as the male mice try to keep Miss Bianca from doing things, but she goes right ahead and proves to be more competent than the men. She doesn’t really have to be rescued. She does the rescuing. Since they’re helping a child, they use a similar trick to that the Aristocats used, with the leading lady avoiding having to be the damsel in distress because there’s a child (or kitten) involved. And here, even the child plays an active role in her rescue. She’s the one who gets out the distress call, and then she comes up with a lot of the plan for her escape. She’s even the one who drives the getaway vehicle.

The villains’ plot doesn’t make a lot of sense, so little wonder that I didn’t remember it (and was guessing at something a lot more elaborate than it turned out to be).

I’m still trying to figure out who, exactly, the protagonist is. It’s mostly told from Bernard’s perspective and he’s the one whose life is upended and who has a growth arc. His ordinary world is just being the janitor, then he gets the call to adventure when Miss Bianca drafts him to join her on the rescue mission, and he ends up becoming a real agent instead of just a janitor. But it’s Penny and Bianca who drive a lot of the action and who make the actual decisions. Bernard is mostly swept up in the wake of Bianca, who is a force of nature. But Bianca is mostly a catalyst. She doesn’t change, but she makes things happen.

I guess now I need to watch The Rescuers Down Under, which I never saw.

My Books

New Book!

That book of short fiction in the Enchanted, Inc. universe is now available for pre-order in e-book. There will be a paperback, but they don’t allow pre-orders on those, so that will be available just before release day (I’ll try to get it up so that it can be received around release day, but it’s hard to judge just how quickly they’ll be able to move).

Tales of Enchantment book cover, showing magical smoke and stars coming out of an open book.

There are three new stories in this book, and they’re all longer than short stories. Two are novelettes (longer than a short story, shorter than a novella, so more than 7,500 words). One of these is about Owen and Rod when they were in college. The other happens after Enchanted Ever After and involves Katie’s Granny dealing with a crisis before Katie’s hometown wedding reception. Then there’s a novella (more than 20,000 words) about Merlin’s return, about a year before Enchanted, Inc.

The book also includes the two previously published short stories.

I’ve also included several essays about where I got the ideas for various things in the series and my view of the magical system. All the stories have new author’s notes about the inspiration behind them and any other details about the creative process. I’ve tried to make this book a treat for the fans.

Pre-orders are now available at most of the major online retailers, and I’ve put the links on the book’s page on the website.

Since my birthday is Monday, buying the book would be a really nice gift to me.


Disney Silliness

I doubled up on the Disney last weekend, hitting movies that make me laugh. First, Robin Hood. I’ve read commentaries that refer to this as one of Disney’s weaker movies, but it’s still one of my favorites because it’s just so much fun. Yeah, there are some logical leaps and the music is so specific to the movie that there weren’t any breakout pop hits, but it’s highly entertaining, to the point that my face hurts at the end from smiling so much.

I actually saw this one at the theater in first run, so I experienced it first from the movie and then later got the record album, but since I grew up in the days before home video, I still mostly knew it from the album, and I have the sound from a lot of the scenes permanently etched on my brain. If you’re looking for some kind of coherent worldbuilding, you’re out of luck, since we have an Old West sheriff and his deputies in medieval England and we have a fox and a hen being best friends, but I find a lot of that to be part of the movie’s charm. Weirdly, I’m not sure this movie would have worked so well if it had been a more straightforward telling using human characters, like they did with the fairy tale movies.

It’s a somewhat different experience watching as an adult with some knowledge of history, since “good King Richard” wasn’t all that great and had little to do with England, and he was the reason they had to raise taxes to pay for his crusades and the ransom when he got himself taken prisoner. John taxed the nobles rather than the peasants (though the nobles probably did pass it on to the peasants). But the more you know about Eleanor of Aquitaine, the funnier the “Mommy!” bit is.

You know, so many of the Robin Hood films end with good King Richard showing up to get Prince John back in line. I want one that has Eleanor showing up and dragging him off by the ear. Historically, that’s somewhat more likely.

Brian Bedford as Robin Hood has to be the MVP of this movie, given that he plays essentially multiple roles. He’s Robin, but then he’s also Robin as the lady fortuneteller, Robin as the old beggar, Robin as the stork archer, and Robin imitating the deputy, and all of them are distinctly different voices with very different accents, but with just enough Robin in them to make it clear that it’s Robin in disguise (this was clear even on the record album). The deputy is particularly good because it’s a dead-on impression with only the slightest hint that they didn’t just fake it with the actor who played the deputy providing the voice of Robin-as-deputy.

There are a lot of jokes online about how girls of my generation got their definition of sexy from a cartoon fox. He is one sexy fox, but I think a lot of the appeal is in how expressive they manage to make his face. He’s mostly got that sly, cheeky look, but when he’s trapped in the burning castle, there’s a raw vulnerability on his face that makes him even more appealing. My DVD (I loaded up on the classics at the used bookstore when people unloaded their collections after Disney+ launched) includes an alternate ending in which Robin is wounded during his escape and is threatened by Prince John as Marian tends to him. That would have been a massive tonal shift, plus seeing the sexy hero that vulnerable might have been a total overload of “sexy fox.”

I was in need of a smile Saturday night, and I’d recently done a Norwegian unit on tools that included the sentences “Pull the lever!” and “Wrong lever!” so I ended up watching The Emperor’s New Groove for the third time in the past couple of years. (If you’ve seen the movie, you know why that made me think of the movie, and if you haven’t, it’s a running gag. And given the degree of nerdiness in the Duolingo Norwegian course, I’m certain it was meant as a reference.)

That movie is just so very satisfying. We have a good transformation arc, a good villain comeuppance, and the day is saved due to the innate goodness of a couple of people. The story is about a selfish young Incan emperor who gets turned into a llama by his evil advisor who’s trying to do away with him, and he finds himself dependent on the peasant whose home he planned to destroy in order to build a summer palace. It’s a delightful burst of pure silliness wound around a sweet heart, and it just makes me happy. I should probably find a DVD because I don’t want to risk it getting pulled from streaming. It’s become one of my go-to happy place movies.

Since I’m doing this for fun, I’ve decided not to worry about Dumbo, Bambi and Pinocchio. I don’t have any kind of assignment making me watch these, so if I don’t want to, I don’t have to. I’m thinking of trying The Rescuers next. I remember seeing it at the theater when it came out, but I was a little beyond the Disney record album stage then so I didn’t have anything to allow me to relive it away from the movie, and I don’t remember it at all. Also, I saw Star Wars not long after I saw it, so my interests shifted entirely away from that sort of thing. I never saw The Rescuers Down Under because it came out when I was an adult, and since I didn’t remember much about the first movie, I didn’t care all that much about the second. There are actually a lot of Disney movies from the 90s that I missed. I saw the major ones like The Lion King, Mulan, and Aladdin, but missed most of the others. I may focus now on the ones I don’t remember or haven’t seen.