With a shamed little sigh, I confess that I’m thinking about buying the 20th anniversary edition of Oliver and Company. As the commercial for the re-release flashed across my TV screen this past week, a wave of guilt washed over me as I thought about adding Disney’s 27th full-length animated feature to my DVD library. When it comes to choosing which Disney films to purchase, things are usually pretty black and white with me; the rules are clear and simple and I seldom waver over which selections to label a “classic” and are worthy to join my collection. While some might call my standards harsh and judgmental, a few key indicators have come in handy as I’ve built my collection:
– Straight to DVD? Not Okay With Me: If it doesn’t play on the big screen, it probably won’t be playing on my small screen. Jafar is not allowed to return, Pocahontas won’t go to the New World and Cinderella’s dreams will not be coming true.
– It Might Get 86’Ed If It Was Made in the 80’s: Anyone else remember “Totally Minnie” besides me? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fYm_ceB-BY) While it wasn’t a feature length film, if the Black Cauldron and the Great Mouse Detective didn’t give you reason enough to question Disney in the 80’s, Totally Minnie will.
– Questionable Casting Choices = Question Purchasing: Roseanne Barr in Home on the Range. Rosie O’Donnell in Tarzan. Joaquin Phoenix in Brother Bear. Yikes. Enough said.
While the cons are overwhelmingly apparent – after all, Oliver and Company falls into two of these three categories (made in the 80’s and stars Joey Lawrence) – I’m still questionably drawn to it. Maybe it’s because the first time I went to the movie theatre sans-parent. I still remember my mom dropping off my freckle faced partner in crime, Kelly Lockhart, and myself for an afternoon showing at the local Cineplex; that matinee was our first step on the road to adulthood and Oliver was just the cat to lead the way. Maybe it’s the catchy, bebopulation musicality of Billy Joel. Maybe its just nostalgia. Whatever the reason, odds are Oliver and Company will soon hold a place in my collection of Disney Classics. Why should I worry, why should I care? Sometimes the magic of Disney can’t be explained, but just enjoyed.