Disney Movies: Experts at Scarring Children for Life

Someone asked me if I was excited about the new Dumbo movie.  I had to restrain myself from responding with one or more of the following:

“I would rather replace every strip of bacon I eat with a similarly sized strip of duct tape that was used to pick hairs up from a crime scene that occurred on a bus station bathroom floor.”

“I would rather be locked in a room with Adam Levine (who I prefer to refer to as “Gonorrhea Jesse Pinkman”) and forced to listen to him wax philosophical about his ab routine for three days straight.”

“I would rather go back in time and replace every Love Boat cast member with a Kardashian/Jenner.  Kylie is the new Gopher!”

But, oh no!  You can’t be honest in those situations!  People get all, “Geez!  Sorry I asked!”

You know, people claim to want honesty above all else, but I can tell you from experience, the last thing most people want from you is honesty.  What people really want is for you to agree with them.

And you know what I don’t agree with?

Subjecting myself to Dumbo for a second time in my life.

Yeah, I saw it when I was five years old, and that was frankly more than enough to emotionally scar me for life.  The only way you could make me watch the re-make is if you were to put me in a straitjacket and hold my eyes open a la A Clockwork Orange.  Even then, I would just try to use The Force to choke myself unconscious.

Don’t act like I’m the only adult who still tries to use The Force.  I attempt it at least a few times a week when presented with “unpleasant situations” in public.  It hasn’t worked yet, but I swear last week a guy in front of me in the Walgreens line started to loosen his top collar button to get some air when he asked for a raincheck on a sale item during rush hour.  Had he turned around at that moment, he would have seen me doing this:

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He continued breathing air despite my righteous efforts of justice, happy as a raincheck-clam to torture all of the people he was holding up in line.  I could deal with it if it were some poor little old lady in a muu-muu and knee-highs, but this guy walked outside in his fancy golf outfit and suede driving moccasins and climbed into his S-Class Mercedes, raincheck in-hand for two canisters of almonds.

I pictured him sitting at a table later that night at Long John Silver’s, complaining that the seafood “just simply wasn’t up to snuff”.  THEN GO TO A REAL SEAFOOD RESTAURANT, JOHN “BUDDY” REGINALD RUTHERFORD-WINCHESTER III.  You clearly have the money and are just playing mind games with the rest of us!  You can pay full price for almonds, you rich prick!

In case you’re wondering, The Force also doesn’t work on making the tires of an S-Class Mercedes explode and rain down from the sky in hot tar ashes onto the tops of someone’s suede driving moccasins.  I place equal blame for that one on: (a) my rejection letter from Jedi school, and (b) quality German engineering.

Back to the Dumbo thing.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then first of all, sorry, and second, you know I was an anxious worry-wort of a child.  A nervous wreck.  A real Sensitive Sally.  I didn’t really require supplemental things to worry about.

So imagine my surprise, sitting in front of a television screen, kindergarten-dangly-legs-happy to see “the cute elephant movie”, when Dumbo appears on the screen, gets mercilessly tormented by all the other circus animals, his mother defends him, and then she gets taken away from him and locked up in a cage, leaving Dumbo to fend for himself in a harsh, cruel world.

Hey you know what I shouldn’t have had to worry about when I was a kid?  My mother being taken away from me and locked up, leaving me alone to traverse a cruel world.  I don’t care if it works out in the end – little kids shouldn’t have to worry about those things.  Yes, sometimes it happens, mothers get locked up, kids get taken away, but worrying about it in advance will do absolutely nothing beneficial for you as a kid.

Same with Bambi.  Kids shouldn’t have to worry about their mothers getting shot by hunters.  How about we just let them cross that bridge when it happens and address it at that time, because odds are pretty damn good that it’s not going to happen in the first place?  In the meantime you’re just terrifying children for no good reason.

If you want to teach kids about things like life and death, forego the Disney films and get them a hamster, and then never, ever, ever, ever, ever let them actually hold the hamster, because having to watch a child hold a hamster is the most nerve-wracking thing I’ve ever experienced.

You know what?  No hamsters.  Get them a fish with a locking lid on the tank, put barbed wire around the outside of the tank, and keep the tank in a locked room that the kid can never get into.

Children around small pets is just too much for me.  I can’t take it.

“Look how cute Bryson/Greyson/Flotsam is holding the baby chick!”

GET THAT CHICK AWAY FROM THAT KID RIGHT THIS SECOND. I KNOW HE’S SQUEEZING IT.

So, no.  I’m not seeing the new Dumbo movie.

The Lord of The Dirty, Dirty Keychain

Once upon a time in 1988, there was a keychain.  A dirty, dirty keychain.

A keychain so dirty, so coveted by all of the middle schoolers in town, had this story taken place in Hobbitville or Dorkville or wherever those Lord of The Rings movies happened, any one of those damp, sexless nerds in cloaks would have tossed that ring off a cliff to get their hands on it.

That’s not fair.  Maybe they’re not all damp, sexless nerds.  I think maybe the Elves weren’t damp, sexless nerds, but I can never remember because I fell asleep during all three of those movies.  In the theater.

Know why?  Because those movies, like most movies these days, are:

  1.  TOO.
  2.  LONG.
  3. ALL MOVIES SHOULD BE 90 MINUTES.
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Photo of Golum or Yoda or something.

Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure the Elves were hot in that classy, useless way, like Gwyneth Paltrow, where they look beautiful in long, silk gowns but you have a really hard time imagining them humping.

Don’t send me weird emails about this.

Which brings me back to the keychain, or as I shall hereafter refer to it:

The Keychain.

I first heard about The Keychain from my friend Jenny, who’d taken a babysitting job for the then-current holder of The Keychain, Marlene.  Marlene was a divorced single mom to a well-behaved child named Justine.  Jenny loved babysitting for Justine because she was a cool kid and Marlene paid well.

Jenny was babysitting Justine one afternoon when she had to search through a kitchen drawer for some Scotch tape.  In the back of the drawer, under a few layers of miscellaneous stuff, resided The Keychain.

As the story goes, Jenny pulled it out of the drawer and said, “What the hell?” as she inspected it.

The Keychain was made of a bronze-colored metal, and featured two cartoonish people – a man and a woman – in profile.  The woman had huge boobs, and the man was standing across from her with his pants down and his…you know…ding-dong…sticking straight out.

Justine rolled up and said, “Oh, you found Mommy’s keychain.  We’re not supposed to play with that.”

She took it from Jenny and said, “Hang on.  I can show you how to make it move, but then we have to put it away.”

There was a mechanism in The Keychain where if you pulled on a lever at the bottom of it, the man’s hips moved forward and his…ding-dong…appeared to go into the woman’s…hoo-hah.

The Keychain was no ordinary keychain.  The Keychain was the dirtiest keychain in the world, or as I shall now hereafter refer to it:

The Humping Keychain.

Jenny was stunned. She had never seen anything so magnificent.

Obviously, Jenny had to have it, but despite the fact that she was a filthy-mouthed little thief (which is why we got along so well), she knew better than to take The Humping Keychain that day.  Justine had just seen her with it, so she would’ve been able to testify in a Court of Dirty Keychain Law that Jenny was the last person seen holding it.

Jenny told me about The Humping Keychain in vivid detail.  “You won’t believe it,” she said.  “It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.”

I knew Jenny’s filth standards were high, so I took her at her word.  After all, she was the one who discovered a cornucopia of “marital aids” at our acquaintance Tricia’s house, hidden away in Tricia’s parents’ nightstand, and chased Tricia around the house with something that looked like a red zucchini (barehanded!) yelling, “Dude! Your mom’s teeth marks are on this!”

We were not invited back.

The next time Marlene called Jenny to ask her to babysit, she asked if she could bring me along.

We hit the kitchen as soon as we arrived.  Jenny pulled The Humping Keychain out of the drawer and it was everything she’d described and more.  The cartoon sex people even had these goofy expressions on their faces and the man’s eyes were all bugged out of his head, something Jenny had, surprisingly, neglected to mention.

The Humping Keychain wasn’t just sex.  It was sex and comedy.  The total package.  As far my dirtbag middle school comedy tastes were concerned, Andrew Dice Clay might as well have been standing right there in the kitchen.

We put it back in the drawer when we heard Justine coming out from her room.  That kid wouldn’t leave us alone for a single second for the rest of the evening.  That may have been the night I officially decided that I never wanted to have kids.

Jenny wasn’t available the next time Marlene needed a babysitter for Justine, so she directed her to me – and this was going to be an offsite, awesome babysitting job.  Marlene worked at a beach club a couple towns over, and since her boss wouldn’t be around that day, she was taking Justine to work with her.  She just needed someone to watch her in case something came up.  I was going to get paid to hang out at a beach club all day!  It was like one of the lesser orphans in “Annie” getting a spa day.  I was going to steal SO much food.

Marlene asked if she could come pick me up at my house, and then I remembered:

The Humping Keychain.

As much as a day at the beach club sounded like the best thing ever, it did lack a certain sex/comedy element that only The Humping Keychain could provide.

I told Marlene I would just walk over to her house instead of her picking me up, since it was only two blocks away from my house, and we could go from there.

Naturally, I stole The Humping Keychain within five minutes of my arrival at Marlene’s.

Also, naturally, someone must have hipped Marlene to the fact that I had stolen it, because even though we had a great time that day at the beach club, I was never called to babysit for Justine again.  That kid must have put two and two together, realized I was the last one in the house, and then went turncoat on me and told her mother.

Don’t care.  Worth it!  I was now in possession of The Humping Keychain.

But stealing is wrong!

Is it, when you really think about the circumstances?  If anything, I was saving poor, impressionable Justine from having to live in a house where something as disgusting (hilarious) and pornographic (double hilarious) as The Humping Keychain was just left in a drawer for anybody to find.  I stole The Humping Keychain because I was concerned about the welfare of that child!  How dare you question my morals as a thief?!

I later traded The Humping Keychain to another sixth grader after an excruciatingly complex and protracted negotiation.  I had recently watched both “Working Girl” and “Baby Boom”, and I fancied myself a tiger lady businesswoman.

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“Nobody appreciates your sense of humor, you know. As a matter of fact, everyone’s just about to puke from you. If you’ve got a hard-on for trash, don’t take care of it around us.” – Steff McKee, “Pretty in Pink”

The Bad Corey

I used to have a special gift for finding the biggest project in the room.  The insufferable, destructive ass hat.  The one that was equal parts narcissist, emotional trainwreck, unemployable, and leather pants.

Any time a guy would walk into a party backwards, still peeing on the front porch, zip up and drop a cigarette from his mouth onto the carpet, and grind it out with the heel of his boot while yelling, “It’s not my fault you were dumb enough to put white carpet in here!” my ass hat spidey-sense would go off and the little hairs on the back of my neck would stand at attention.

Then some random girl would walk up to him, throw her drink in his face for some unrelated reason and storm out the door, and I would think, “Well, this is obviously the guy for me.”

Had I known back then that I could cut out the middle-man known as “Misplaced Hope”, I would have just walked straight up to any of these types of guys and said, “So where do I fill out an application to worship you, pay all your bills, have you steal money from me and then cheat on me with one or more of my friends?  I am accustomed to disappointment from every man I’ve ever known and, on a subconscious level that I won’t uncover for many years, your brand is as comfortable and familiar to me as a mother’s perfume is to her child.  Maybe I can fix the past by fixing YOU!”

Like so many girls who sprang forth into adolescence headfirst down a hole of despair and emotional depravity, it all started with The Bad Corey.

This may come as a big surprise to you (except not at all because hello), but in the late 80s I was all the way into The Coreys.

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That would be Corey Haim and Corey Feldman, in case you’re not familiar, and if you’re not familiar, I don’t even know where to start with you.  Maybe somebody is offering Remedial Corey classes at your local night school.  I highly suggest you bone up on this information, because it will be on the test.

Calculators are only permitted for the “Box Office” portion of The Coreys Test, where you will have to figure out how much money the “Meatballs” movie franchise lost when they cast Corey Feldman in “Meatballs 4″, a classic sequel to a sequel to a sequel, as the “hottest water-skiing instructor in town.”

I don’t know how that conversation went around the producers’ table, but I assume it started and ended with, “Let’s do this thing!  Oh god kill me now please please kill me what has my life become.” <sound of Drano being chugged>

It’s not one of the better Corey movies.  All Corey movies are graded on a curve, by the way.  It’s not fair to grade them against “other movies”, or what some people refer to as “good movies”.  It’s only fair to grade Corey movies against other Corey movies.

Were you your best Corey in this film today?

Could you have Corey-ed it up some more?

What did I learn about Corey in this movie that I didn’t already know?

I tell you what, though, and I seriously, seriously am not even remotely kidding here.  Corey Feldman should have won the goddamned Oscar for his performance as “Teddy”, the abused kid with the burned-off ear in “Stand By Me”.

When he calmly informs the junk man, who’s insulting his father for being crazy, “My father stormed the beach at Normandy,” before eventually exploding into threats and tears as the boys drag him away from the junkyard, it GUTS me.  Give it a re-watch and see if you can make it through the emotional complexity of that really terribly abused kid actually defending his abusive father without wanting to just die inside.

Yes, of course I read his autobiography, “Corey-ography”, so knowing how badly Corey Feldman was abused in real life as a kid, that scene makes me want to curl into a ball on his behalf.  That may have just been a scene in a movie, but that abused kid in that scene was very, very real.  That’s a hell of a big ask for a kid on a movie set, and I can only imagine how tapping into whatever he had to tap into to pull off that scene must have torn him to shreds.  He was just a kid, for god’s sake.  That would have hurled most adults into a 72-hour hold.

Hey dramatic departure!  Let’s lighten it up a bit, huh?

You didn’t really have a choice in the matter when it came to loving Coreys in the 80s – they were everywhere.  You would never ask a twelve year old girl if she was into The Coreys.  You just asked her which one.

Now, you would think with all my gushing over Corey Feldman in “Stand By Me”, that would mean that my Corey of choice was Corey Feldman, but you’d be wrong.  Despite being the long-haired Corey, the bad attitude Corey, and the damaged Corey, there was someone far, far, far more damaged.

Someone who seemed to be a shiny, jangly, pretty boy, who later turned out to be a bottomless pit of screaming, soul-ripping darkness.

Corey Haim, for his pretty boy face and the adorable smile that made America fall in love with him in movies like “Lucas” and “The Lost Boys”, would surprisingly end up becoming The Bad Corey.

I always liked cute Corey, sweet Corey, Corey who just wanted to take Heather Graham out on a nice date in “License to Drive”.  I liked him just fine.  But the moment The Bad Corey publicly emerged?  Goodbye to Sandra Dee.

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Tell me about it, stud.

I remember the moment it went from a “like” of Corey Haim to a “love”.  It was in the old movie theater down the street from my house, watching “Dream a Little Dream”, and my formerly sweet-faced, blonde highlighted Corey Haim, the one with the cute smile where his lip kinda curled up at the corner like Elvis (and don’t even get me started on Elvis), the Corey with the clean jeans and high-tops, appeared onscreen before me, looking like this:

sdjf

Smoking cigarettes?  Check.  Hair dyed an unnatural color?  Check.  Ludicrous clothing and accesssories?  Check.  Foul-mouthed?  Oh god.  Check.  The pasty, lifeless complexion of a person who is clearly on drugs?  (angel harp music) Check.

My Corey?

My Corey had blossomed into The Bad Corey.

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I got chiiiiiiiiiiiills, they’re multiplyin’. And I’m loooooooooooosing control-olll.  ‘Cause the power, you’re supplyin’, it’s electri-OH MY GOD LET ME SAVE YOU FROM YOURSELF.

What was that?  LET ME SAVE YOU FROM YOURSELF?

You know that’s the one, right?  That line?  That’s the one that leads so many women down that road.  “Fixing the broken guy” road.  “Giving him a reason to live” road.  “Being the one who makes him see that the love and devotion of a woman will make him stop destroying himself” road.

The alternate name for this road is, “You will spend a lot of time and money in therapy after this guy has ruined your life.  You cannot fix a broken past by breaking your future.”

I don’t know if I can adequately express to you just how much I do not recommend this road, especially when “Nice Guy Who Doesn’t Snort Prescription Diet Pills Because His Coke Dealer is in Lock-Up” roads are also nearby, and won’t cause the kind of wear-and-tear on you that will leave you stranded on the side of life’s highway with an empty wallet and a vaguely itchy crotch.

I’m not going to tell you these roads are always easy to find, sometimes you just have to get lucky, but as my therapist told me in not so many words many years ago, they’re much easier to find if you stop driving your car in circles around Sodom and Gomorrah with a bullhorn out the window shouting, “Free girlfriend, money, psychiatrist, and laundry service here!  Standards nonexistent!”

And I won’t even charge you a co-pay for that bit of counseling, sister.