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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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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