Everything I ever needed to know, I learned from Laurel & Hardy.


The following is my entry in the Things I Learned from the Movies Blogathon, being hosted Oct. 14-17, 2016 by Kristina and Ruth at, respectively, the blogs Speakeasy and Silver Screenings. Click on the above banner, and read a variety of life lessons learned by bloggers through their study of cinema!







Last year around this time, bloggers and cartoon buffs came out of the woodwork to express their appreciation of animated films that they have enjoyed. It was a very popular blogathon, and one of its entrants suggested that I revive it in the future. So, here it is, and here are the rules (same as for last year).


  1. Here’s your opportunity to sound off about one of your favorite animated films! Does a particular cartoon make you laugh, cry, think, or just plain fill you with joy? Post a blog entry about it here, and share your enthusiasm with the world!
  2. Notice that I said it can be one of your favorite cartoons. This is not a contest in which you have to summon up superior evidence that your cartoon of choice is the greatest one ever made. Just write about the reasons why you like it.
  3. The cartoon you choose can be of any length (short subject, feature film, television special) from movies or TV. It can be in “traditional” hand-drawn format or CGI. If you choose to write about a TV cartoon series, you can write about either the reasons why you like the entire TV series so much, or you can focus on a particular episode of the series. As long as you write an entertaining and reasoned blog in support of your choice, it will be accepted here. Also, duplicate entries are acceptable at this blogathon.
  4. Please leave me a message in the “Comments” section below that includes the name and URL of your blog, and the name of the cartoon you choose to write about.
  5. Below are banners to advertise the blogathon. Once you have completed Step # 4, please grab a banner, display it on your blog, and link it back to this blog.
  6. The blogathon will take place from Fri., Nov. 11, through Sun., Nov. 13, 2016. Once you have posted your blogathon entry on one of those dates, please post its URL in the “Comments” section so that I can link our blog back to it. There are no assigned dates, so post your entry at any time during the three days of the ‘thon (although as I always say, the sooner the better!).

Have fun with your blog entry, and clearly show us why you adore the cartoon of your choice! Here are the entries so far:

Movie Movie Blog Blog – Mickey’s Garden (1935) and A Single Life (2014)

Once Upon a Screen – Swooner Crooner (1944)

BNoirDetour – Key Lime Pie (2007)

Film Music Central – My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

In the Good Old Days of Classic Hollywood – Bambi (1942)

Reelweegiemidget Reviews – The Lego Movie (2014)

Cinema Shame – Perfect Blue (1997)

Caftan Woman – A Christmas Carol (Richard Williams, 1971)

Pop Culture Pundit – Frozen (2013)

Epileptic Moondancer – Akira (1988)

Wide Screen World – Hanna-Barbera’s World of Super Adventure (1980-84)

The Midnite Drive-In – Heavy Metal (1981)

Moon in Gemini – Waltz with Bashir (2008)










This blogathon is getting too silly for words…so it’s time to salute our remaining bloggers in


(Click on the appropriate day to read blogathon entries from Day 1 and Day 2. For today’s entries, click on the appropriate blogger’s name.)


lifesdailylessonsblog finds too many life lessons to count in Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.


Reelweegiemidget Reviews finds fun in Eric Idle’s supported, er, supporting role in National Lampoon’s European Vacation.


And last but not least, The James Bond Social Media Project takes a look at John Cleese as Bond’s sardonic gadget man “R” in The World Is Not Enough and Die Another Day.

And that’s the end! Thanks to our creative blog entrants for their fun contributions, and thanks for reading us for the past three days. Stay tuned later this evening for yet another blogathon announcement!




Unlike the Spanish Inquisition, everybody expects a blogathon recap — so let’s pounce right into


(Click here for Day 1’s entries if you missed them. To read Day 2’s entries, just click on the individual blog names highlighted below.)


Serendipitous Anachronisms starts things off with a bang (or at least the clacking of coconuts) with her critique of Monty Python and the Holy Grail.


Moon in Gemini reviews John Cleese and Michael Palin’s underrated A Fish Called Wanda follow-up, Fierce Creatures.


And finally, The Cinematic Frontier offers its thoughts on Terry Gilliam’s The Fisher King, starring Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges.

And we still have one day of not-so-silly blogging left to go. Keep us bookmarked for Day 3! Because after all, you’ve got a nice blog, and we’d hate to see anything happen to it…







THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925) -A movie about disfigured people who don’t know their place


Have you ever gone to see a movie that has been raved up for years and then doubted your better judgment when you weren’t crazy about the movie? That’s what happened to me when I viewed the much-revered silent film version of The Phantom of the Opera for the first time.

(Brief synopsis: Erik [Lon Chaney] has been hiding out in the bowels of the Paris Opera House for years because he is ashamed of his disfigured face. However, Erik has designs on an up-and-coming opera singer named Christine [Mary Philbin], and he will do anything to both further Christine’s opera career [rival singers be damned] and win Christine’s love despite his physical appearance.)

Fortunately, I have Fritzi, who runs the blogs Movies Silently, as my blogging “neighbor.” I quickly consulted her entry on Phantom (click here if you’d like to read it for yourself), and much to my relief, she pretty much agreed with me: The movie is good but not a masterpiece, Chaney does an amazing job with both his makeup and his acting, and Philbin is fluttery and just this side of over-the-top.

However, my major hangup with the movie is in one of its major plot points, which I would imagine is a carryover from the original novel. (MAJOR SPOILERS from this point on!)

The movie’s money shot is when Christine surreptitiously removes Erik’s mask (despite his previous command not to do so) and gets a full view of Erik’s face. This is the shot on which the rest of the movie hinges, and when the movie was first released, Chaney was careful not to take any publicity photos that would show him in full Phantom make-up so as to build the audience’s shock at the unveiling. Mission accomplished. It’s still a pretty powerful moment.



What really bothers me is that the moment is taken at face value. In other words, Christine uncovers Erik’s face, and this drama queen’s first reaction is basically, “Whew, he ugly! Gotta avoid him like the plague!”, as if she was a high-school cheerleader who just got asked to the prom by the class nerd.

Since I am of the era of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast — a movie wherein an initially monstrous figure is shown to be human like the rest of us — Christine’s attitude really puts me off. It’s later revealed that Erik, while a musical genius, is also an escaped prisoner from Devil’s Island. The movie showed Christine as having been fascinated by Erik at first. Wouldn’t it have been more interesting to have Christine smitten with this man and his offbeat behavior and looks, only to find out later how dangerous he is? Instead, the story takes the easy route and instantly equates physical ugliness with supreme villainy.

I suppose movie buffs will chastize me for applying contemporary sexual politics to a 1925 movie. But it makes me think that when modern-day moviegoers scoff at silent film in general, it might not be only the antiquated technology they’re pooh-poohing. Maybe it has something to do with the way those movies look down their noses at the more underprivileged among us.