Welcome to this week’s edition of the Seattle Cinema Survey, home to where critics, writers and allegedly frozen heads are asked film related questions by yours truly.
This week, with The Queen of Katwe getting excellent reviews, some of the best for a non-animated Disney product in years, I asked this crew; What’s your favorite live-action Disney picture?
I’m personally going with the glee given life that is 1964’s Mary Poppins, a favorite in childhood and adulthood. Full of feminism, fantastic songs, and a properly legendary performance by Julie Andrews, this adaptation of the P.L. Travers series of books is one of cinema’s sweetest confections. It’s a family film that entertains all audiences without resorting to gags for the adults only, pop culture references or characters coming to unearned breakthroughs on being good to one another. It’s a kind, warm piece of love that is practically perfect in every way.
Erik Samdahl of Film Jabber @Filmjabber
I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, so the vast majority of live-action Disney films I watched were from those years. There are a lot of solid films to choose from–including Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Rocketeer, The Mighty Ducks and even Angels in the Outfield—but I’m going to have to go with the Disney-produced musical Newsies. I don’t know why, but I remember just loving this movie as a kid, with the poor bastards (led by Christian Bale) revolting against their rich employer.
Brent McKnight of Cinema Blend/The Last Thing I See @BrentMMcKnight
Disney’s made so many fantastic live-action movies that it’s hard to choose a favorite (and mine’s definitely a favorite, I won’t argue it’s the best by any stretch of the imagination). The Rocketeer still kicks all of the ass, 20000 Leagues Under the Sea is one of the great cinematic adventures of all time, and Never Cry Wolf was a weirdly huge part of my childhood. Then there are classics like Mary Poppins, and I’m not even going to mention Old Yeller (sniff), but the more I think about it, the more my entry has to be The Black Hole.
Though it’s gathered a modest cult following, Gary Nelson’s 1979 sci-fi opus, then one of the most expensive pictures ever made, has a reputation as a flop and a failure. And sure, it’s way silly, wasn’t a hit, and doesn’t hold up like some of its genre compatriots, but I can still watch this damn near any time. Its influence was so great on me personally that the first time I watched Psycho when I was a kid, my reaction when I saw Anthony Perkins was, “Hey, it’s the guy from The Black Hole.”
Brian Taibl of Brian the Movie Guy @MovieGuyBrian
Mary Poppins (1964), hands down. Nominated for 13 Academy Awards and winner of five (including Julie Andrews’ legendary performance), it’s rightfully considered a classic by all who have and have not given it a go.
In deftly, effectively and masterfully employing humor, drama, music, animation, special effects and an overall urgent sense of wonderment, Mary Poppins is transcendent in its ability to entertain.
It’s irresistible. It’s charming. It’s accessibly energetic. It’s a toe-tapping, gleefully unrestrained and immensely inventive romp that challenges you to experience many of your human emotions in one fell sitting…and if it doesn’t succeed (?!), you need to go sit and watch it again (which you should be doing anyway).
Mary Poppins is indeed supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!