Episode 95: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

It was raining hard in the City by the Bay, as I stared at the words “Max, Mike; Movies” scrawled in peeling paint on the office door. My partner, as usual, was passed out on the ratty old couch after one too many Strawberry Quiks. Then suddenly the door swung open and he shuffled in.  A rabbit. Never trust a rabbit; I could tell right away that this one was going to be trouble. I was right . . .

Welcome back to the final episode of our series “Drawn Apart”, where down-and-out human characters directly interact with no-good animated palookas. This week we’re tackling the movie that gave us the idea for the entire series: Roger Zemeckis’ “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” the movie best known for using an actual question mark in the title (it’s true; most movies don’t do that. It’s considered bad luck). Or did they? Ok, maybe they didn’t. Why are you hounding me about this?! Oh yeah, and using cutting-edge (for 1988) tech to put humans and cartoons into the same movie. Oh, and for being probably the last movie you’ll ever see where Disney and Warner Brothers cartoon characters share the screen . . . at least until Disney assimilates Warner Brothers into their Mouse Collective. Sure, this flick was remarkable when it came out, but how does it hold up over thirty years later? Wish upon a star, tune up your Acme Spy Listening Device ™ and find out!

Episode 94: The Smurfs (2011)

Howdy, folks! Welcome to another smurfin’ good episode of “Drawn Apart,” where we focus on movies that smurf together live action and smurfimated characters.  This week’s smurftastic entry, as you may have gathered from my immensely subtle clue-dropping, is 2011’s 3D animated smurf of a movie “The Smurfs,” which sees the near-legendary Belgian characters, stars of books, toys, tv shows, and probably personal hygiene products, dropped into live-action New York.  Pursued by the evil wizard Gargamel (who has got to have the worst success rate of any villain since Wile E. Coyote), they smurf their way through all sorts of smurfjinks and more product smurfment than you can shake a smurf at.  So adjust your lumpy white hat, try not to think about the socio-sexual ramifications of a society with one hundred males and one female, pull up a smurf and give a smurf to our thoughts! And if you don’t, well you can go smurf your smurf on a big smurfin’ smurf of smurf! Smurfsmurfsmurfsmurfsmurfsmurfsmurf ohgodIcan’tstop smurfsmurfsmurfsmurfsmurfsmurf . . .

Episode 93: Osmosis Jones (2001)

Here we are again with another cinematic arrow in that quiver we’re calling “Drawn Apart,” where live-action and animated characters come together . . . and only one leaves alive! Ok, um, not so much.  This week we’re checking out “Osmosis Jones,” the movie that asks the question: who’s the leucocyte cop who’s a cell-dividing machine to all the chicks? Osmosis! Damn right.  They say this guy Osmosis is one bad mother . . . . ok, I’ll shut my mouth.  This one is . . . different; for the most part the animated and live-action characters don’t interact, because the animated characters represent the internal biological workings of a live-action human type being.  Yes, we’ve got sentient cells, sentient cold medication capsules and a rather disturbing sentient virus (which is a little too on-the-nose these days, for my taste) voiced by Laurence Fishburne.  From the delicate and tasteful sensibilities of the Farrelly Brothers, the ones who brought us “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary,” we’ve got a heck of a voice cast for the animated characters and one heck of a Bill Murray for the live action characters.  Oh, and some others.  Does the Farrelly sense of humor translate well to the animated world? Is this wild and wacky or gross and wacky . . . or just gross? Focus your apparently sentient auditory nerve systems and find out!

Episode 92: The Mask (1994)

Welcome back for still more of “Drawn Apart, where we examine movies that attempt to address whether humans and animated characters can live together in peace and harmony, or at least make decent movies together.  Before we begin, we’d like to thank for not smmmmmmokin’!
*crickets*
Yes, I know, I’m deeply ashamed.  As you may gather, this week we’re focusing our Vulcan squinties on the 1994 Jim Carrey vehicle “The Mask,” a movie adapted from the graphic novel of the same name.  Sort of.  While technically there aren’t any discreetly animated characters in this movie, no fewer than  three characters turn into a kind of living cartoon during the story.  And let’s face it, Jim Carrey is the closest thing we’re going to get to an actual human/cartoon hybrid (at least with today’s puny science.  Just wait and see.  They called me mad at the Academy, you know. Maaaaaad! We’ll see who’s mad now! Ahahahahaha . . . dammit, where are my pills . . . ).  So pull up a Tex Avery wolf and join us for the p-a-r-t-why? Because we gotta!

Episode 91: SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water (2015)

Here we are again for yet another entry in the saga that is “Drawn Apart,” the fancy and academic study of movies that have both live-action and animated characters sharing the screen and interacting with one another.  Should be getting that grant from Wottsamatta U any day now.  This week we tackle that deepest and most profound question: who, in matter of fact, does live in a pineapple under the sea? Who indeed, my friends, who indeed . . .
Yes, we’re focusing our unfocussed brains on that 20 year phenomenon of animation, following a sentient sponge who lives in the aforementioned citrus fruit with many wacky friends, going on many a whacky adventure together.  This little fellow teaches us that we can all be a bit more yellow, absorbent and porous.  And yes, this is technically the second example of the SpongeBob oeuvre but we were informed that this one has more live-action/animation interaction than the first movie.  Were we right? Did it matter? Why does a sponge need to wear pants? Give a listen and maybe, just maybe, you might learn a thing or two (spoiler: you won’t).

Episode 90: The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000)

Back for more, huh? Well, strap in for another episode of “Drawn Apart,” the series that dares to address the controversial issue of live-action and animated characters living and working together. Yes, I said it! We’re asking if Mixed Movies can work, and this week’s example of the question if the cinematic version of the classic Jay Ward cartoon “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle.” Laurel and Hardy. Martin and Lewis. Tracy and Hepburn. Moose and Squirrel.  Sometimes an on-screen couple comes along that changes the game.  But how would Bullwinkle J. Moose and Rocket J. Squirrel deal with life in the Land of Three Dimensions? This movie attempts to answer this question.  Along with our titular stars, this flick boasts the presence of Rene Russo, Jason Alexander, and  . . . Robert Deniro? Wait, I must have read that wrong . . . no . . . no I didn’t. Robert Deniro is in the Rocky and Bullwinkle movie.  Because sure, why not? Wait, he was one of the producers, too? Wow. Well, I guess the progression makes sense: “Taxi Driver,” “Godfather II,” “Raging Bull,” “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” Hey, those last two both have the word “bull” in them! Sort of! Well, listen in and find out if this makes a lick o’ sense, and how many of those licks it takes to get to the chewy center of this movie. Watch us pull a rabbit out of a hat! Again!

Episode 89: Space Jam (1996)

Howdy howdy, folks; glad you could join us for another episode of “Drawn Apart,” where we spew forth on movies that combine animation and live action, woven together into the seamless fabric that is movie magic. Bugs Bunny.  Daffy Duck.  Wile E. Coyote.  If you’re like me, when you hear those names the first thing you think of is: basketball.
No, huh? Yeah, me neither, but someone did! Or rather someone looked at the early 90’s sneaker commercials with Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny together and said “You know, I must make it my mission in life to bring this to the big screen!” Yes, this is a thing that happened.  So, what do you get when you take classic Warner Brothers animated characters and mash them together with Michael Jordan, Bill Murray, and a collection of famous (in the 90’s) basketball stars? Oh, wait, and there’s aliens.  And Wayne Night as a bumbling assistant.  And a female version of Bugs Bunny named Lola, but she wears clothes, and her character is basically . . . um . . .  uhhh . . . what was the question again? Oh yes, you get all this jammed into one cinematic space, hence the title: “Space Jam.” Yes, I’m certain that’s what the title refers to.  So how do real-world sports stars and legendary cartoon characters work together? Do they, in fact, work together? Tune in and see! Sufferin’ Succotash!

Episode 88: Cool World (1992)

So our last series has come to an end. What to do now . . . what to do . . . what’s that, Mike? Start a new series? Y’know . . . it’s crazy but it. Just. Might. Work.

So yes, here’s the start of a brand new series: “Drawn Apart,” a collection of movies that blend live-action with animation as part of the central plot. Not just movies that have brief animated sequences in them, like Gene Kelly dancing with the animated mouse Jerry, or even “Phantom Tollbooth”, but rather movies that have both “real” actors and animated characters together for the majority of the movie.  Yes, yes, like “Roger Rabbit.” We’ll get to that one, but we’re starting out with the final film made by legendary (for better or worse) animator, Ralph Bakshi: 1992’s “Cool World.” This flick was built up as a sort of “Roger Rabbit For Adults” and tries to answer the question “what happens if a human and a cartoon . . . um . . . y’know . . . wink wink nudge nudge say n’more? With some wild animation and a cast that includes Gabriel Byrne, Kim Bassinger, and some kid named Brad Pratt? No, wait, it’s Brad Pitt. Pretty sure that’s right.  We’ll be talking about the movie as a whole, as well as how well it blends animation and live-action. So, Noids and Doodles alike, let’s dive right in and hope no one drops an anvil on us!

Episode 87: Forbidden Planet (1956)

Welcome to our late-night double-feature picture show! We’ve got androids fighting Brad and Janet, as well as Anne Francis stars in “Forbidden Planet”! It’s exactly like that, except it’s not a double-feature, and we have no Brad, no Janet, and no androids (yes, there’s a robot but a robot is not the same as an android, as Data tells us). In this, our final entry in the series “When We Wuz Kids,” Mike has chosen one of his favorite childhood (and adulthood) cinematic memories: 1956’s “Forbidden Planet,” starring (besides Ms. Francis), Walter Pidgeon, Leslie Nielsen (his first movie) and the legendary Eaaaarrrrl Holimannnn (best known for “Police Woman” and not much else).  This movie is alleged to be a science-fiction interpretation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.  In fact, the filmmakers were so into that idea that they list ol’ Bill as a co-writer.  Shakespeare. As a CO-writer. Yeah, we’ll get to that.  But we also have amazing sets, animation by a Disney animator, and the first appearance of Robby the Robot (who was supposed to have been a TOTAL DIVA on set. Very hard to work with. Even today, Twiki and the Daleks won’t speak to him. No one really knows why; we’re waiting for Twiki’s tell-all autobiography).  So strap on your simple blaster, down a shot of rocket fuel bourbon and monitor this episode!

Episode 86: The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)

Hello again to our listeners, both young and young at heart! Things in the real world are a tad . . . dramatic these days, so who among us isn’t fantasizing about hopping into a toy car, driving through a simulated highway fee collection station and traveling through a land of obvious puns, all animated by Chuck Jones?  . . . No one? Just me? Well, fine. I don’t care.  You’re all a bunch of dopey-heads. Because this week in our “When We Wuz Kids,” we’re taking a look back at an animated and (a little) live action adaptation of the beloved children’s book “The Phantom Tollbooth, written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Pfeiffer (although you wouldn’t know that last bit if you watch this movie).  This is also one of the VERY few non-Bugs Bunny pieces directed by legendary animator Chuck Jones.  And it stars Butch Patrick! Man, how did they ever get Butch Patrick for this? Can you believe it? Butch Patrick!! Ok, for those (all) of you scratching your chins (stop that! No face-touching!) and wondering where you’ve heard that name, he was Eddie Munster on “The Munsters” and, perhaps more infamously, the main character in the Sid and Marty Kroft drug-trip of a Saturday morning show “Liddsville,” a show about sentient hats.  No, that’s not a typo.  Anyway, we’ve also got some voice acting royalty in this one: Mel Blanc! Daws Butler! June Foray! Hans Conreid! So, should you check out this movie or just read the book? Give a listen and find out for yourself! Insert linguistic or numerical pun here!