Dalton Ross braves Disney On Ice’s ‘Princess Wishes’
My work has taken me to some pretty scary places before. I boxed a round against Oscar de la Hoya. I was force-fed moonshine by Kenny Chesney. I even spent a night on a deserted island, although I’m still not exactly sure why. But nothing could prepare me for the horror that was Disney On Ice’s Princess Wishes. For those of you unfamiliar with Princess Wishes, it is an Ice Capades type show featuring seven — count ’em, seven! — Disney princesses donning ice skates for no particular reason. There is Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel, Jasmine, Belle, even freakin’ Mulan! My soon-to-be 4-year-old daughter Violet is in a hardcore princess phase, so I figured I would swallow my pseudo-hipster pride and take her and the family to the show.
Anyone who read the column last April about our trip to Disneyworld knows that this was not my first encounter with the Mickey Mouse empire, but this particular outing posed a few unique problems. First of all, just try convincing a 6-year-old boy to attend a show featuring a posse of princesses figure skating. This actually wasn’t so difficult — I just bribed my son Dale with lots and lots of sweets. Then there was the whole matter of trying to raise my daughter to grow up being assertive and not have body image issues while she’s busy watching a lot of impossibly thin beauties sit back and let their men do the fighting for them. (I do have to hand it to that Mulan, though. She kicks her fair share of ass.)
Whatever. I was willing to put these issues aside for the evening — an evening that turned out to be pretty damn surreal. I started to catch a definite Village of the Damned vibe upon walking into the Continental Airlines Arena and seeing hundreds — nay, thousands! — of little girls all dressed up in various princess costumes (Violet being one of them). I couldn’t help thinking to myself, what if these girls mobilized? We’d all be done for! We feeble adults would be no match for this army of pint-sized princesses!
But even outnumbering the wannabe Cinderellas were the ridiculous number of crappy, overpriced concessions. Apparently, the price of any item is immediately quadrupled once an image of a Disney princess is emblazoned on it. (I’ll try to remember this and come up with some sort of mermaid-themed paint job when it’s time to sell my Ford Focus.) Luckily, I had anticipated this cash-gouging practice, and informed the kids in advance that we would most certainly not be purchasing any light up magic wands or plushy Dwarf dolls…unless they came with a free beer. The best escape from this madness proved to be the men’s bathroom. Let me tell you, not a lot of activity going on in the men’s bathroom at a Princess Wishes show. The place was completely empty — I was even half-expecting a ball of tumbleweed to roll through at some point — so I just chilled in there for a few minutes and went all zen-like.
Fearing abandonment by my loved ones, I finally returned and we pushed our way through the tiara-topped crowd to our seats, which I have to say, rocked — we were about seven rows up from the ice. If nothing else, I figured we’d get a good close up view of the Zamboni. But I will say this about Disney — they know how to put on a show. There were explosions, a huge fire-breathing dragon that sent the ice ablaze, and, of course, lots of romantic crap that had my son rolling his eyes in too-cool-for-school disbelief. That’s not to say that the Mulan and Jasmine bits were not slightly sketchy in that they featured blatantly white people with fake noses, wigs and pointy eyed makeup, but at least they didn’t bring out the cringeworthy Indians from Peter Pan. I also found the Snow White segment to be a bit on the randy side. Call me crazy, but all I know is that the Prince at one point said ‘forgive me for being so bold,’ and then he and Snow White skated off-stage together, only to come back five minutes later with Snow White making a questionable comment about him being ‘sooooo adventurous.’ What is this, Disney After Dark? Okay, maybe I’m reading a little too much into that.
Perhaps as some sort of nod to the non-princess lovers in the crowd, Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy also made appearances at the event. Goofy even put some young girls from the audience into a boat and started pushing them all around the rink. Remarkably, none of them broke out into a river of tears. Look, I’m an adult, but if some dude in a big rubber suit grabs me away from my family and starts spinning me around on ice, I’m gonna either break out into tears or break his arm. Maybe both.
Truth be told, we enjoyed ourselves — I even caught Dale getting into it a few times. But this whole princess thing still kinda weirds me out. It’s like some sort of bizarre cult — a cult whose members are all three feet high and dress in colorful frilly clothing. You know, sort of like Richard Simmons.
OBSESSION OF THE WEEK
I’ll keep this brief, because if you want to read my thoughts on Survivor, you can check out the weekly Survivor TV Watch, but suffice it to say the show has kicked it into high gear the past few episodes. Much talk was made at the start of the season about the racial twist, and the immediate ramifications of that proved interesting, but then the series settled into a boring six-week funk. However, ever since Candice and Jonathan ‘mutinied’ from one tribe to the other to try and reassemble Team Whitey, the show has been re-energized. All of a sudden, we have heroes, villains, underdogs, flip-flops — you name it. Amazing that out of nowhere, in the middle of it’s 13th season, this show could all of a sudden once again feel so fresh. Oh, and go Yul!
This week sees the release of the Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD, which features all of the Christopher Reeve films — yes, even The Quest for Peace! — as well as a special Richard Donner cut of Superman II. So what better time to examine The Top 5 Comic Book Superhero Movies! (Next week, we’ll tackle the five worst.)
1) Batman (1989)
Sure, Batman Begins is all that and a bag of chips, but this Tim Burton gem basically set the template for all future comic book movies to follow with its sleek design, dark and foreboding Gotham, and conflicted crimefighter. And Jack Nicholson is nothing short of genius — genuinely demented in both a scary and funny way, and that’s harder to pull off than it seems.
2) Superman II (1980)
I don’t care if the villains all look like Solid Gold dancers, they’re still badass! They can take on tanks, blow over city buses, and — should they choose — bust out a few disco moves while they’re at it. That’s just the way they roll in the Phantom Zone, people! Kneel before Zod! And kneel before this underappreciated sequel, while you’re at it.
3) Hellboy (2004)
You know something is right with the world when Ron Perlman is headlining a major studio picture. Love his anti-hero stance as the big red man with the big bad attitude.
4) Spider-Man 2 (2004)
You could pick the first or the second and not get much of an argument. Personally, I prefer Doc Ock to Green Goblin as a villain, so the sequel gets the nod in this case.
5) X-Men (2000)
Once again, this one or the sequel — take your pick. About as good as ensemble superhero movies are likely to get. Oh, and did I mention that Rebecca Romijn is basically naked the entire time?
Not unlike Bobby Ewing in the shower, it was only a dream — but a wonderful, glorious dream. I had merely been fantasizing about a new Network Quality Initiative that would bring back all of our favorite prematurely canceled TV shows, but it got many of you thinking about what shows you would like to see brought back. You also took sides on the Great EW Debate regarding Oldboy, with the results to follow…
Shows I would happily have brought back under the Quality Initiative: Cupid: Though that would mean yanking Jeremy Piven from the very good Entourage. Wiseguy: The only Mob show I was ever interested in. Frank’s Place: A truly amazing show (and being an African-American dramedy, we get that two-for-one improving ethnicity on white T.V. deal). The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.: The best cult show ever. Could we at least talk Bruce Campbell into doing a reunion movie? — Kathy Saideman
I’m with you, Kathy, especially on Wiseguy — which sparkled in its first two story arcs (Sonny Steelgrave and Mel Profitt) before fizzling out — and Brisco, which was simply too weird with its sci-fi/western mish-mash to succeed on network television. Thankfully, both shows are available on DVD, so quality lives — you just have to pay for it.
Everwood. I want Everwood back. 7th Heaven was over! They showed the SERIES finale. Just let it die, people. Everwood was such a joy to watch — great writing, great characters, great acting. One of those shows I felt good about watching. The ending, admittedly, was good. But I still want more! — Sarah Flemming
I would say nice things about Everwood, Sarah…but that’s what EW’s Henry Goldblatt and Jennifer Armstrong are here for. Maybe the three of you can start up your own campaign and mail little pieces of wood or something to the CW. (What? It’s better than Tabasco sauce!) I won’t stand in your way either, especially if it means getting One Tree Hill off the air.
I was with you in your quality television dream sequence until you bashed Man Versus Beast. Where else can you see a world-class sprinter accuse a zebra of having a false start? Plus, when Kobayashi competes against the Alaskan Brown Bear in the eating contest, there is a Japanese flag behind him and an American one behind the bear. Genius! — Rich Lichtenstein
You know what, Rich, it’s not my fault the zebra totally psyched out the world-class sprinter. If the guy had just kept his head in the race instead of on the wild animal, maybe he could have actually done something. And I don’t think I need to point out that said bear made the previously undefeated Kobayashi his personal beeyotch in that hot dog chow down. It’s all beast, baby!
CBS decided to pass on the Quality Initiative, instead asking other Viacom properties to shoulder the burden. MTV promptly canceled Laguna Beach and all its clones in favor of Clone High. VH1 immediately began production on a second season of Bands on the Run. Nickelodeon agreed to a Saturday block of The Adventures of Pete & Pete, with midnight showings of Danger Mouse. Comedy Central was expected to revive cult favorite MST3K but instead opted for Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. — Joslyn Hansen
Joslyn, thanks to you I have the sweet, sweet sounds of Flickerstick bouncing through my head. And the even sweeter images of Flickerstick members puking, passing out, cheating on their wives with other wives — you know, the good stuff. Bands on the Run remains one of my fave shows ever — which explains why it was canceled after only a season.
OMG! Mr. T’s Be Somebody…Or Be Somebody’s Fool! A timeless classic, and worth a whole column. Just a few of its hilarious highlights: Mr. T’s intro — ‘Do you know me. Of course you do. That’s ’cause I’m famous.’ The ‘table the label’ fashion show, with Mr. T commentary like, ‘With her ketchup sash and mustard socks she’s a real hot dog. The immortal song ‘Mother,’ with lines like, ”M’ is for the moan and the misable groan / Of the pain that she felt when I was born.’ And remember, you can see it again anytime. ‘Just push that rewind button.’ So good. — Bruce McClelland
I seriously do pity the poor fool that hasn’t had the pleasure of taking in this tremendous video. If there is any justice, it will someday be released on DVD…right after Bands on the Run.
I did not want to see Oldboy. In fact I fought it tooth (ow) and nail and was dreading the graphic violence. But WOW was I blown away! What a well-made, brilliantly acted film. And yes, the violence is reeeally gross at times, but I felt it was not gratuitous at all and in fact crucial to the plot. I tried to cover my eyes during certain parts (I could not believe the octopus scene was actually happening), but I ended up watching through my fingers because it was just so good. And of course, best twist ending EVER! You win that argument! — Suzanne
Apparently, I do, Suzanne. Voters rang in by a 4-1 ratio in favor of Oldboy, although pretty much everyone on both sides agrees to being grossed out by the devouring of a live octopus. As much as I adore the film, I also recognize how polarizing it can be, and loved hearing the thoughts of all you readers out there. And I’d love to hear more! Have some princess cheer you’d like to spread? Wanna discuss my scary man-crush on Yul? Think I blew it with my top comic-book superhero movie list? Send your questions, comments, and quibbles to firstname.lastname@example.org, or just fill out the handy-dandy form below. See ya next week!