The Princess and the Frog on DVD

The Princess and the Frog

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New on DVD (and Blu-Ray) is Disney’s The Princess and the Frog, which I briefly recommended when it was released in theaters. There are some things about this hand-painted feature film, which depicts an interracial romance, that I find troubling, such as the aimless prince, the fact that the only biracial character is evil, and a minimization of the heroine’s capitalist mentality. But there is much to enjoy about this animated musical fantasy adventure about Tiana, a black girl in New Orleans, who sets a goal of owning her own business, saves her money, works hard, focuses on her aims, and falls in love along the way.

The movie is delightful and the DVD, recently reviewed and available, is worth owning for repeat viewings. I could watch and listen to Mama Odie (Jenifer Lewis) “dig a little deeper” over and over and the best song, “Almost There”, which is too short, is a wonderful tribute to the virtue of productiveness. The DVD’s extras are satisfactory, with a music video by a young male vocalist named NeYo that tells a story in a forgettable tune, games, and other bonus bits. Lacking a narrative feature, the DVD provides what it calls deleted scenes, which are hand drawings pieced together and they don’t add much to the whole story. It’s a shame that co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid) decided against sharing a peek at what they talk about in the film’s audio commentary; a cut scene in which the trumpet-playing alligator, Louis, is pursued by an amorous lady on the steamboat. The commentary, loaded with too many scores to settle, is nevertheless the finest feature on the disc, with interesting information about this enjoyable movie, which is based on The Frog Prince fairy tale by the brothers Grimm.

Apparently, southpaw actress/singer Anika Noni Rose, who voices Tiana, insisted that the character be depicted as left-handed. I also learned that my favorite part of the movie, the “Almost There” number with Tiana singing about opening her restaurant, with minimally styled scenes of dancing waiters in black, white, orange and gold, was created based on drawings by renowned Harlem artist Aaron Douglas. The Princess and the Frog is too timid in expressing its theme of a morally ambitious girl for true Disney greatness, but it’s one of last year’s best movies and a little treasure for home entertainment.

Screen Shot: ‘The Runaways’

The RunawaysThe Runaways feels like an experiment. This dark, graphic account of two San Fernando Valley girls in 1975 who join an all-female punk rock band, based on a book by one of the band members, opens with blood dripping and closes on a curiously upbeat note while winking with Joan Jett’s hit cover tune of “Crimson and Clover”. What happens in between, in a generic tale of sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll, is neither original nor interesting. The five-girl band is urged by a maniacal recording industry type to “be like men” which suits most of the lost girls, who are all but abandoned by their parents, and what might have been a biting take on punk subculture is reduced to a punk version of the mediocre Dreamgirls. Kristen Stewart (Zathura) shines as lesbian rocker Joan Jett, in a sincere performance, while Dakota Fanning (Hounddog) as the blonde lead singer takes up screen time in a flat characterization that never takes root. The film is hazy in spots, reflecting the 1970s, the music is raw and crude, and the main characters are children neglected by lousy parents (look for Tatum O’Neal in a cameo). Left to fend for themselves, the girls play out the decade’s chaos and confusion. They manage to survive, but The Runaways, overloaded with Dakota Fanning and focused on style more than substance, doesn’t show us why.

Leonard Peikoff: Health Care is Not a Right

I attended a town hall meeting on December 11, 1993, which had an enormous impact on my life and career. The meeting was sponsored by a grass roots organization, founded by three doctors, which steadfastly opposed then-President Clinton’s proposed socialized medicine. There were several speakers. The best was Leonard Peikoff. This is his speech, “Health Care is Not a Right,” which every American should read and distribute as widely as possible.

Walgreens Anticipates ObamaCare

Health care businesses are already responding to the Obama administration’s ominous plan for government control of health insurance and medicine. Drugstore company Walgreens announced that its pharmacies in the state of Washington will refuse to accept new customers using the government’s state and federally funded Medicaid program. Last year, Walgreens nearly dumped new Medicaid recipients in Delaware. Walgreens withdrawal underscores that the poor and the weakest in society are the first to suffer under government control of the economy.

The drugstore chain’s Washington decision relates to ObamaCare, which would expand Medicaid by at least 15 million people, posing a problem for Walgreens in Washington, where Medicaid drug reimbursement forces drugstores to sell drugs at a loss. In a statement, Walgreens refers to the state’s “continued reduction in reimbursement.” Businesses in Washington are not alone; CNN reports that Georgia companies that cooperate with Medicaid are going out of business. In fact, Medscape reports that, nationwide, doctors are bailing on Medicaid just as the recessed economy is making more Americans dependent on the government program. ObamaCare, if passed by Congress, will increase the burden on businesses and Walgreens knows it. Effective in mid-April, new Medicaid recipients will be rejected at Walgreens (two other pharmacy chains have already stopped) in Washington.

The backlash to ObamaCare has begun.

Last summer, I compared the arguments about health care reform to the battle over slavery. By fall, I observed that “President Obama will do anything to force this morally bankrupt idea into law.” In November, I urged every American to “speak out immediately, repeatedly, and often, and seek to stop this monstrous legislation. If it passes, it will become necessary to coordinate intellectual, economic, and political counterstrikes, such as organized boycotts (of any business or group that supports it), strikes, legal challenges, efforts to repeal, state-by-state opt-out legislation, marches, protests, and other measures, including a demand that any local, state, or federal political candidate take an oath to work to repeal the law as the highest priority. Silence implies consent and now is the time to speak up.”

Four months later, with the federal executive and legislative branches ignoring the nation’s founding principle, individual rights, and threatening the entire country with a fascist medical system, a Constitutional crisis, and events which could lead to outright revolt and secession by individual states of the union, it is not too late to speak up.

On the Brink of Socialized Medicine

As Barack Obama and his thoroughly corrupt Congressional comrades conspire to pass an historic bill to enact socialized medicine, despite the risk of total economic catastrophe given the nation’s precarious financial condition, FoxNews reports that the President’s latest sob story, an emotionally-driven appeal about a woman in Ohio, is a fraud.

The Leukemia patient, who chose to drop her health insurance after premiums were raised, is apparently eligible for existing government programs. Read about it here. The story reminds me of Winifred Skinner, an old woman in Iowa who was the impetus for then presidential candidates Bush and Gore to propose the largest expansion of socialized medicine for seniors (Medicare) since the program was enacted in 1965 (later, Bush shoved Medicare drug subsidies down our throats by one vote). Click here to read an article I wrote about Skinner and the push to expand Medicare, which was fully supported by conservatives. The fact is that medicine is becoming increasingly costly, as the President argues. As many have pointed out, the cause of the higher costs is government intervention. What we need is more capitalism, not more government control, in medicine and insurance. According to this Democratic Congressional leader, what we’re going to get is a government takeover of both health insurance and medicine (some forecast a vote for Saturday, March 20).