Movie Magazine

Headbanger Movie Review

By Mad Professor Mike

Oliver & Company

USA - 1988

Hello, America!! This is Mad Prof. Mike with the Headbanger Movie Review!! Before Disney re-invented itself with THE LITTLE MERMAID; before the noisome hell spawn of Yuppie larva scampering down the street wearing hundreds of dollars worth of tie-in paraphernalia became a common sight; before Unca Walt's frozen head was kept in fresh coolant by way of video tape sales reaching in the millions, before Michael Sieg-hEisner (say it out loud) became one of the most powerful men in *history*, the Disney studios made a few good movies laced with a really dark 1980's edge.

I'm referring to those forgotten Disney flicks--THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE, THE BLACK CAULDRON, and OLIVER & COMPANY...which is now finding its way into theaters again. OLIVER & COMPANY is a damn good flick in that it is genuinely frightening. The lines between good and evil are blurry, and the main Disney villain here isn't a villain simply because he's *not cute*, but because he's much *more evil* than anybody else in the movie. The villain, by the way, is not a wicked witch, but a loan shark... who carries a gun. Who wants to murder (literally!) our protagonists. The loan shark's voice is done with gravely malignancy by Robert Loggia, so you can guess that this is Disney verite, De Niro Disney, Martin Scorsese Disney. Mickey doing Travis Bickle, "Huh-huh-huh! Hi Kids! Are you talking to *me*?"

The plot is loosely based on _Oliver Twist_, and features, no fooling, a harrowing car case that quotes THE FRENCH CONNECTION in which people actually DIE.

Despite the 1980's edge of OLIVER & COMPANY, which addresses homelessness, by the way, and the aftershocks of the Reagan revolution, there's still a cheesy happy ending. But I can forgive that.

On our Headbanger scale of 1-4, William Friedkin's, errr... I mean, *WALT DISNEY's* OLIVER & COMPANY gets three headbangs over all, with four awarded for its spikey meanness. With the Headbanger Movie Review, I'm Mad Prof. Mike for Movie Magazine.

© 1996 - Michael Marano - Air Date: 3/27/96

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