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Opinion Pieces

Cartoon Pish to Disney Collector: A Dad’s Journey

Anyone who has known me over the years will know that I once dismissed the animated genre as “Cartoon Pish”, while I had seen the Toy Story films and enjoyed them, I had no interest in spending my time watching films that were, in my misguided opinion, for children.

I am now 3 years into fatherhood and to say that my opinion has changed, well that would be an understatement.

So, how did I get from a dismissive idiot who uttered “Cartoon Pish” at the mere notion of an animated feature to the guy who insists that any Disney film that is bought for his daughter, must be on Blu Ray AND be numbered?……… Well, if you will indulge me, I will tell you ūüôā

In the beginning, I was no different to any child, I love Disney films, in fact, my very first trip to the cinema was when my dad took me to see Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937) at the now defunct Odeon Cinema in Hamilton in 1983.

I will admit, the magic was undeniable and there is no doubt in my mind this was one of the main reasons why I love film so much.  As a child, I loved Disney, with The Sword in The Stone (1963), The Jungle Book (1967) and Robin Hood (1973) being my favourites growing up.

As I grew up, I became less bothered about animation and with a few exceptions Aladdin (1992) and Toy Story (1995), I moved on to, in again, my misguided opinion “proper” film makers.

I became obsessed with Quentin Tarantino, Tim Burton, The Coen Brothers, Martin Scorsese and Steven Speilberg.  I pretty much ignored everything, with the exception of Toy Story 2 (1999) and The Incredibles (2004) for the better part of 20 years.

I recall one period in 2006, while I was on a seemingly endless secondment in Milton Keynes, finding myself with nothing better to do I went to the cinema where I was working at the time, with the only things I hadn’t seen were Cars and Over The Hedge. ¬†Lets just say, that experience taught me that I really wasn’t missing much!

During my period of animated apathy, several franchise juggernauts came along Shrek, Madagascar, Ice Age, Despicable Me…. all of which, to me, were nothing more that a colourful waste of time, with Hollywood voice talent thrown in. ¬†I just wasn’t interested.

I would make people aware of my indifference, to which many would reply with “But Dave, the Pixar stuff is amazing!!” ¬†“Up is one of the best films ever, it will have you in tears in the first 20 minutes” ¬†It was during these conversations that I coined the phrase “Cartoon Pish”, that I would use frequently to dismiss any adult who elicited such an emotional response to what was essentially, someones drawings come to life……

Then, in 2011, I found out I was going to be a father.  A little girl, no less.  The realisation was upon me, that not only were there cartoons, but there were Disney Princesses in my future.

While my wife had a handful, I had no animated features, no kids films at all in my collection, we went about getting some films in for my daughters arrival. ¬†I started with what I knew, The Toy Story Trilogy on Blu Ray, the Shrek films…..thenI was out of my depth!

Then, one night, my wife sat me down and forced me to watch Madagascar (2005).  It was funny, it was fun, it was colourful, it was, well, brilliant.  Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) was purchased the very next day.

I began to wonder….just what have I been missing! ¬†Well, if you will further indulge me, here are some of the films that have helped turn me completely around on the subject:


1. Up (Disney/Pixar, 2009)

This, probably more than any other, was the film that precipitated the use of the phrase “cartoon pish” ¬†Everyone kept going on and on about just how good it was. ¬†A good friend and colleague by the name of Murray Lambert, even went to the lengths of calling it a masterpiece.

Well, he wasn’t wrong. ¬†It is close to being the perfect film as you can get. ¬†It is beautifully written, and yes, I did shed a tear in the first 20 minutes.

Unforgettable characters, a cracking adventure story and most crucial, the central relationship between the cantacerous Carl Frederickson and Russell the boyscout. ¬†The second after the credits rolled on New Years’s Day 2013, I had ordered the film in Blu Ray, ¬†It is as good as everyone says, it is a masterpiece. ¬†It is now in my Top 10 films of all time.


2. Madagascar (Dreamworks, 2005)

I love this franchise, and while Escape 2 Africa is my favourite, this is in here because as previously mentioned, this is the film I credit with opening my eyes to the wonders of animation.

The tale of 4 pampered Zoo animals who find themselves back in the wild, this is littered laughs and brilliant characters, none more so that David Schwimmer’s neurotic giraffe Melman.


3. Monster’s Inc (Disney/Pixar, 2001)

I am kicking myself that I went 13 years without having watched this film.  As I have previously written on here, I am huge fan of the buddy movie and this is a wonderful take on it.  James P Sullivan and Mike Wazowski, an unforgettable team.

Kara went through a wonderful phase where this was all she wanted to watch.  It was a great week.  The film is 14 years old and it still looks amazing.


4. Frozen (Disney, 2013)

This is probably the first film that my wee girl properly loved.  She, like millions of children around the world made this film into a phenomenon.

While it is fun, lots of fun actually, I still prefer Tangled (Disney, 2010).  Kara (or Elsa as she sometimes insists on being addressed), will always love this film and seeing it through her eyes was indeed a special experience.



5.  Mr Peabody and Sherman (20th Cent. Fox, 2014)

I put this in as this was the first time I have dragged my daughter to a film. ¬†A film about a talking dog Mr Peabody, voiced by the wonderful Ty Burrell who adopts a human child and embark on a time travelling adventure. ¬†It’s daft, it’s funny and even has a subtle(ish) masterbation joke in there….

Ever since seeing a trailer during the Dr Who 50th Anniversary episode, I knew I was into this and wasn’t disappointed. ¬†Kara, wasn’t too bothered, but hey, makes up for sitting through all those Barbie films.

Disney Princesses: A gift and a curse!

Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Anna, Elsa and beyond!

I have seen all of these on multiple occasions, and yes, I enjoy some (Tangled, Beauty and the Beast) more than others (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty).

It is a gift as it remains an absolute joy to watch my daughter gaze in wonder at the screen and then pretend herself to be that princess.  I did the same, only instead of Aurora or Snow White, I was Han Solo or Indiana Jones.

It is a curse, as I am going to be shelling out for every thing any retailer can stick a picture of a princess on for the next 5-10 years ūüôā

In conclusion

I am now an avid collector of the Disney Classics.  I want them all on Blu Ray, I want them all numbered, mostly to pass on to my daughter, but a little bit for me too.

Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t all perfect. ¬†For every Frozen or Monster’s Inc you get a Cars or Over The Hedge, but overall, this is wonderful part of the film industry. ¬†A part that I had denied myself for so long.

I am thankful for so much when it comes to my wee girl, but an unexpected perk, was being able to rediscover the magic of Disney and beyond……

About Snooty Usher Dave

Favourite Film : Ghostbusters (1984) Worst Film: Left Behind (2014) Guilty Pleasure: Pitch Perfect (2012) 40 year old family man from Hamilton, Scotland. I have settled in Gateshead with my wife and 2 beautiful daughters. Worked as a Cinema Manager (or glorified usher) for 14 years, now I run a chicken shop. Love Sport especially Football and Tennis. Love comic books, especially DC and particularly Superman. I own 58 Nicolas Cage films.



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