Ruminations Episode I: The Best and Worst of Disney

Welcome to the debut episode of “Ruminations,” a podcast on movies, politics, and religion, discussed over a glass–or three–of some type of adult beverage. In this inaugural episode, co-hosts Chris and Steve (previously known on this site as Flipp) discuss the 57 animated films produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. This conversation has been 5 years in the making, as it was the summer of 2014 when Chris and Steve began a chronological journey through Disney’s official filmography, starting with 1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This endeavor finally came to its conclusion last fall (December 2018, to be exact) with the release of Disney’s most recent movie, Ralph Breaks the Internet.

For ease of discussion, each co-host compiled an individual ranking from best to worst; a combined average was then taken to create a single master list. The master list’s Bottom 10 and Top 10 will be highlighted specifically in this episode. For the complete rankings, additional notes, and movie clips, check out the show notes below. For now, please listen and enjoy!

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The Disney Challenge: Part I

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” from 1940’s Fantasia

In June, two friends and I embarked on a journey full of magic and wonder, talking animals and wooden boys, evil queens, bullying elephants, creepy, conniving cats, and two Monstro-us whales.

We had undertaken the lengthy, but rewarding, task of watching all 53 Walt Disney Animated Classics released between 1937 and 2013 in chronological order.

Over the last month and a half, we have watched the first 16 films.

Originally, I was planning on blogging about each film individually, but since this site did not exist during the viewing of these 16 films, I will instead focus on what my friends (hereafter referred to as C and F) and I have dubbed each specific “Era of Disney.” The first 11 films can be split into two full (and quite distinct) eras, and the last 5 comprise a substantial portion of the third.

The first Era we have titled “Disney in Antiquity” or the “Classical Era” (and even jokingly referred to it as Disney’s “Torah” or “Pentateuch”), which is comprised of the five films produced before World War II:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Pinocchio (1940)

Fantasia (1940)

Dumbo (1941)

Bambi (1942)

The second Era we scathingly called “Disney’s Dark Ages” and consists of the six so-called “package” films (if one can even call them “films,” but I digress…) produced during Disney’s financially- and creatively-hindered World War II years:

Saludos Amigos (1942)

The Three Caballeros (1944)

Make Mine Music (1946)

Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

Melody Time (1948)

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

And, last but not least, the final 5 are part of what we have deemed the “Golden Age of Disney,” the Disney movies from the 1950s and 1960s:

Cinderella (1950)

Alice in Wonderland (1951)

Peter Pan (1953)

Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

I will go into much more detail in three separate posts that convey the thoughts, emotions, and other tidbits I felt and experienced while watching these 16 movies, some for the first time in over a decade, and others for the very first time. I then hope to follow up these posts with individual reviews/recaps of the other 37 films in the Disney Animated Classic lexicon.

Enjoy! And bear with me please. This is my first-ever blog. I look forward to writing much, much more in the coming weeks!

– Flipp