DID YOU READ

8 Talking Animal Movies That Are Definitely Not for Kids

Fritz the Cat

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By Sara Franks-Allen

In most cases, there’s nothing more appropriate for kids than an animated movie about talking animals. What could be safer when you need to keep the little ones occupied for a while so the adults can take a much deserved break? But not every film with puppy or bunny protagonists is really made with a younger audience in mind. Here are ten talking animal films that are really more for the adults in the room, ranging from family films with slightly more mature themes to the literally X-rated. (Warning: Some trailers are NSFW.)

8. Animal Farm (1954)

George Orwell’s 1945 allegorical novel is one of the granddaddies of talking animal stories for adults, so it makes sense that this animated adaptation is an early example of talking animal movies for grown ups. The C.I.A. actually funded the making of the film, hoping to win hearts and minds during the Cold War. Although Orwell’s bleak ending is changed to a more hopeful one showing the animals preparing for a second revolution against the tyrannical pigs, most of the movie remains faithful to the book’s farm that mirrors Russia from the 1917 revolution to Stalin’s reign. And Boxer still dies.


7. Fritz the Cat (1972)

The first animated feature ever to receive an “X” rating, Fritz the Cat is definitely not a movie for kids. The directionless Fritz seeks pleasure from drugs and sex while falling in with violent revolutionaries. Director Ralph Bakshi went on to create more animated films for mature audiences, including Wizards and Cool World. Though it clearly wasn’t for everyone and Fritz’s creator — legendary underground cartoonist R. Crumb — all but disowned it, Fritz found its audience as a midnight movie and made over $90 million worldwide.


6. Watership Down (1978)

Few films have suffered from the perception that animated movies about animals must be for children as much as this one. Untold numbers of parents have picked up what they believed to be a nice bunny movie for the kids, only to have the tots traumatized as they watch Fiver, Hazel, and Bigwig face life or death battles with humans, predators, and other rabbits. It’s a well crafted movie and faithful to the original book, but kids and particularly sensitive adults should sit this one out.


5. The Plague Dogs (1982)

If you stayed up nights crying over Watership Down, be glad that your parents never rented The Plague Dogs. Sharing both a director and an original book author with Watership Down, The Plague Dogs tells the story of two dogs who escape from an animal testing facility and search for a place where they can live out the rest of their days in peace. The published version of the book it’s based on has a happy ending for the dogs, but the film ends on an ambiguous note, more in line with the author’s original draft for the book.


4. Peace on Earth (1939)

At first blush, this 1939 MGM short might look like your standard cute animal Christmas cartoon. But the adorable animals’ town is built from discarded weapons and armor. The gut punch arrives when two little squirrel children ask their grandfather what “men” are and Gramps tells the story of how humanity destroyed itself in an endless series of wars. The animation style becomes startling realistic as the old squirrel relates the fate of the last two people on Earth, who perished while shooting at one another across the trenches. The idea that there will only be “peace on Earth” when humans aren’t around anymore is a pretty bold statement, especially right at the beginning of the second World War.

3. Pom Poko (1994)

The Japanese film Pom Poko (or Modern-Era Tanuki War Ponpoko) is best known as the movie where raccoons use their giant testicles to attack people. While that’s true (the characters are actually tanuki – a Japanese canine that resembles a raccoon), it’s not the whole story. Pom Poko is about the tanuki fighting to save their forest home from human development. Despite fantasy elements like the shapeshifting abilities of the tanuki, this isn’t a story with easy answers or a happy ending. It’s a hard yet hopeful look at what happens when traditional societies and modern progress clash.


2. Rock & Rule (1983)

Rock & Rule (also known as Ring of Power outside the U.S.) was the first feature film from Canadian animation studio Nelvana. The story draws heavily from Nelvana’s earlier TV special The Devil and Daniel Mouse. While the plot about a small town rock band trying to stop aging rock legend Mok Swagger from summoning a demon isn’t terribly adults only, the film includes scenes of drug use, some mild sexuality and profanity, and a rock heavy soundtrack (Iggy Pop, Cheap Trick) clearly designed to attract older teens. The film received almost no U.S. release thanks to a change in management at distributor MGM killing support for it. But it eventually gained a cult following thanks to late-night airings on various cable channels.


1. The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat 

The bizarre 1974 sequel to Fritz the Cat is like Cheech and Chong’s Nice Dreams if it starred a randy feline hanging out with Hitler. A depressed, now domesticated Fritz daydreams what his life could’ve been like in a series of vignettes involving everything from a dog version of Der Fuhrer to Fritz’s outer space adventures. Oh, and plenty of dated racial stereotypes and creepily amorous animals. Fun fact: Director Robert Taylor, who passed away in 2014, worked as an animator and storyboard artist on two decidedly more kid-friendly talking animal cartoons — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ducktales.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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