It was a square room. I got there first, and I took the back left corner, quickly affixing my Trainspotting poster to the wall, next to the one from Swingers. Eventually, this room would be filled with Andy, Tom and Mike. These were my freshman year roommates. The year was 1997.
Andy and Tom were awesome, laid-back guys trying to get laid...back in that room. Mike, however, was thoroughly a douchebag, with the mind of a child and the eyes of snake. I've outright hated few people in my day, but ol' Mike was toxic. Probably two weeks into that year, I vowed never to speak to him again. And as far as I can recall...I didn't.
In fact, I really don't remember much about the guy, outside of the high-douche factor, naturally. But as I can vividly recall, there was one stupid thing that he loved to do. He'd put on this particular Disney movie, and proceed to recite the whole f--king thing, line by line, note for note. I might hang in for a couple minutes, out of morbid curiosity, but when the Mikey Sing-a-long really kicked into high gear, I told myself two things: 1) you've got to get the Hell out of there, and 2) you're never going to watch that f--king movie. Ever.
About that second one...
Almost twenty-five years late to the party, I finally sat down and watched the classic Disney film Aladdin. For the first time.
And while there was still some childish behavior in the room (to be fair, Violet is two), it was more adorable than deplorable. My daughter may not have been interested (for long), but my six-year-old son and I had a blast.
Even mentioning the plot may be entirely foolish, but for that other guy out there, here goes: Legend tells of some magical lamp that will bestow its owner with untold power. Unfortunately, the enchanted sand-tomb that holds the lamp can only be accessed by a diamond in the rough. Apparently that's slang for handsome street urchin. Enter Aladdin, who's equal parts good-looking and shady homeless guy.
Somehow, this dude gets hooked up with the super-hot Jasmine, a princess not so super-hot on the idea of her impending arranged marriage. If only she could escape the trappings of insane wealth , luxury and beauty, and just meet a guy that loves her for her. Oh, and if that guy could have a rad flying carpet - that'd be sweet, too.
Look, being that I have a pulse, not to mention a smidgen of cultural awareness, I could have probably swept the Aladdin section of the Kids Jeopardy board anyway, but now I'm totally risking it all if the Daily Double shows up. Seeing a film like this so long after its release is both satisfying and mystifying all at once. I really did enjoy it (minus that old-school let's sing a damn song every two minutes thing), and can now join that (fully imaginary) conversation with confidence. So, Aladdin, huh? *crickets*
On the other hand, there was a small part of me that thought...that's it? This is pretty much like every Disney movie ever made. Star-crossed lovers, annoying talking animals, creepy villains, epic ballads. To quote another beloved animated classic, What's the big f--king deal, bitch?
Oh, right. The Genie. He's awesome.
Speaking of hyperactive awesomeness, here are the Yays and Boos for Disney's Aladdin. Yes, we know it's supposed to be Halloween month, but after Mrs. Two Dollar Cinema demanded we watch this movie? Well, anything less would have been a bloodbath. Or at least an uncomfortable car ride. Which can be even scarier.
- A horse with two rear ends? BURN!
- There was a moment when my wife was trying to explain 'street rat' to my son (and my daughter interrupted with Monkey goes to sleep!) that was so perfectly ridiculous I had to laugh. Hon, let it go.
- So...Jasmine. Those pants are a little low-cut, no? I mean, one false move and we're all gonna see if the drapes match the flying carpet, you know?
- Foreshadowing: Aladdin totally steals some delicious melons. Pervy Disney animators, at it again.
- Abu's Princess impersonation is rock-solid.
- I don't know if I'm ahead of the curve, or miles behind it, but the best character in this entire film is actually the magic carpet, right? I mean, it's so badass!
- Speaking of, that lava escape was fantastic.
- As was Friend Like Me. Fine, A Whole New World gets to be played at 4th grade dances until the end of time, but I'll take Genie's spastic dance number over it any day (and was that the Mulan dragon-thingy?)
- Oh, and while we're discussing cameos, I damn near nerded all over myself with all the little guest appearances, (both awesome and lame) that we got here. Pinocchio? Awesome. Sebastian? Awesome. Arsenio Hall...well...obviously...AWESOME.
- Okay, that rolling tower move was hardcore. Both Matty and I were like No. Way. We probably should have gone full-nineties and high-fived (with a little Pauly Shore weasel finger waggle to cap it), but alas...we did not.
- And finally, there's simply something to be said for watching a Disney movie with your wife and kids on a chilly Sunday afternoon. Even if one of them wanders away, it's still nothing short of utterly perfect.
- Man, (immediately) opening songs really date things, you know?
- And that narrator guy? Uh...he's like the nicest fully-racist person ever.
- Slit a few throats! Thanks, Walt. Good times.
- I feel bad for the guy in charge of crossing stereotypes off the list. I mean, that dude was busy.
- Oh, you adorable homeless kids! Before you race off to the gutter, have some bread! *tousles hair*
- So, Raja only eats the asses out of pants, huh? Should I be alarmed by this? Or is this normal tiger behavior?
- Jafar is the king's trusted advisor? Are you f--king kidding me? This guy looks like a date rapist at rest. But when he's talking and/or moving? Good God. He's the worst.
- And doesn't anybody notice that he's using Serpentor's magic sceptor? At least he didn't throw it through the King's heart. Then I would have cried...again.
- Abu sounds like Donald Duck. Why is this allowed? Oh, and his jewel-snatchiness? Dick move, monkey. Dick move.
- As much as I liked Magic Carpet, my daughter did not. Scary! Scary, Daddy! To be fair, that's exactly what she says about me half the time, too. Especially in public. Warms my heart, her shrieking.
- The whole magic carpet ride through the atmosphere? Really romantic. But if I know anything about women...she's freezing her ass off. Are you cold? It's cold. Your hands are cold. Don't touch me.
- Aladdin, you lying sonuva bitch.
- Slave Jasmine. I'm Booing the fact that I never saw her at the Disney Parade. Zoinks!
- Disney is making a live-action version of this. No. I refuse.
- And finally, this is a movie we purchased on blu ray. I will bet all of you right now, despite enjoying it, we will never, ever watch this again. Honestly, if it were on Netflix? Might watch it in a month or two. But going upstairs, getting it, and putting it into the PS4 again? Not a chance.
Though it's hard to give the guy credit for anything, I kind of have to hand it to Mike. Had he not been such a prick, I would have never been able to have this moment with my own two kids. I really appreciated being able to see this for the first time with my two wee ones.
So...Yay, Mike, right? Mike who used to use a police scanner to listen to girls' wireless phone conversations (whilst eating popcorn, no less)? Mike who destroyed the speakers on my stereo listening to dance music? Mike, who honestly claimed to have never, ever rubbed his magic lamp?
Fine. He can have a Yay.
But he gets a shitload of Boos, too.