The Trouble With Doctor Dolittle

DoLittle

Dolittle is Robert Downey Jr.’s first movie to be released after his triumphant turn as Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame.  (C’mon, Academy.  Don’t let me down.  Nominate him!)  Unfortunately, the trailer looks less than stellar.  In fact, Hollywood doesn’t have the best record when it comes to adaptations of Hugh Lofting’s children’s book character who talks to animals.  So let’s take a deeper look at the trouble with Doctor Dolittle.

Doctor Dolittle (1967)

Rex Harrison starred in this musical movie adaptation.  The production suffered numerous setbacks and difficulties especially because of the large numbers of animals required for the film.  The movie went over budget.  It received mixed to negative reviews.  It bombed at the box office.  Yet due to intense lobbying by the studio, the movie received a Best Picture nomination.  One it does not deserve.  While I’ve never seen the movie, the general consensus from those who have is that it’s a long slog at two and a half hours.  It certainly doesn’t belong in a class with Best Picture winner In the Heat of the Night and fellow nominees Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

Dr. Dolittle (1998)

Eddie Murphy starred as Dolittle in this genuinely funny adaptation.  Along with The Nutty Professor and Mulan, this movie is part of his amazing ’90s comeback.  Critics gave the movie mixed reviews but it was a box office success.  Featuring celebrity voices such as Norm McDonald, Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock, Jenna Elfman, and Gilbert Gottfried as the animals, the movie was a fun summer romp.

Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)

This one’s un-bear-able.

Eddie Murphy returned for this less funny, less entertaining sequel.  Dolittle tries to help a bear (voiced by Steve Zahn) mate.  Again, the movie received mixed reviews but was a box office hit.

Dolittle Sequels

Kyla Pratt, who plays Murphy’s daughter in the first two films, took over the lead role in three direct-to-video sequels.  I honestly didn’t know they made any more after Dr. Dolittle 3.  With titles like Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief and Million Dollar Mutts, you can probably guess at the quality and target audience of these movies.

Dolittle (2020)

There have been many rumors of a troubled production with the latest adaptation.  Reportedly, tensions became strained between director Stephen Gaghan and Robert Downey Jr. to the point that Downey would only respond to him with monkey noises.  According to a now deleted Reddit post by someone claiming to have worked on the set, the filmmakers began filming scenes before they had planned where the animals would be standing.  According to this same source, Gaghan also wanted to fire the pre-visual animation department and just sort of wing it on the day of shooting.   None of this bodes well for the new film.  Hollywood loves breathing new life into old properties but maybe it’s time to finally close the book on Doctor Dolittle.

From Eddie Murphy to Robert Downey Jr., don’t miss your favorite star’s best movie moments!

Movie review : Zookeeper

Golden Man’s Movie Review – Jojo Rabbit

2019 Peeple’s Poll Movies – Year in Review

 

Best Non-Christmas Christmas Movies

Gremlins is a genuine Christmas movie.
Never let your Mogwai wear a Christmas hat. No good can come of this.

What is a non-Christmas Christmas movie, you ask? I’m happy to explain. It’s a story that takes place over the holiday season, but isn’t a Christmas film. The plot isn’t about Santa, reindeer, snowmen, elves, Scroogey Grinches, or magical stockings. Christmas might help the plot along, but these movies stake their tent in the camp of another genre. Savvy? We begin.

Note: most of these movies are DECADES old. So there might be a few spoilers. We’re going to assume you’ve seen most of these. Consider this a Christmas warning, just in case.

Die Hard:

This  is the main one, the real biggie of non-Christmas Christmas films. Ask around about people’s favorite Christmas movies and someone will happily shout DIE HARD!

I’m one of those people. This is  in the best feel-good holiday tradition that just happens to have a high body count. Bruce Willis was on top of his game, as the only man to stop the Grinch — I mean Gruber — from stealing Christmas. It’s such a successful outing that even Die Hard 2 is set over Christmas (this time it’s “Die Hard in an airport”).

Here are two good scenes in the holiday spirit:

Remember kids, it’s not Christmas until Hans Gruber falls off the Nakatomi building.

Lethal Weapon:

This movie is just as great as Die Hard, and just as Christmasy. It slips into the number two spot only because Die Hard is a bit more iconic. Bruce Willis is more fun than Mel Gibson, and Alan Rickman (RIP) can do anything. ANYTHING. He’s Snape, ya’ll. Okay, now I’m sad.

Lethal Weapon is the start of a run of  Shane Black films that take place over the Christmas holiday season. It’s not a coincidence.[/pullquote] He’s even quoted on it, saying, “Christmas represents a little stutter in the march of days, a hush in which we have a chance to assess and retrospect our lives. I tend to think also that it just informs as a backdrop.”

Here’s the heartwarming holiday end scene:

Iron Man 3:

I have trouble remembering which plot is which between Iron Man 2 and 3. The second is the one with Mickey Rourke and the magical whips and the fake Mandarin. The third…um: it has a little boy he befriends (way before he mentors Peter Parker. Sniff), and the many, many Iron Man Mark suits flying around a high-rise construction zone. (I should turn in my geek card, or at least see this again.) Also Tony Stark suffers from PTSD. How much more Christmasy can this be?

I’m going to let this video tell us why Iron Man 3 is a Christmas movie:

Oh, and it’s a Shane Black film.

The Long Kiss Goodnight:

The actual plot: a woman who has rebuilt her life after getting amnesia begins to recover her memories, when trouble from her past finds her again. It takes place over Christmas. There’s a Christmas party, Christmas parade, etc. And yes, this too is a Shane Black film.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang:

Oh, hello there Shane Black. Nice of you to drop in again. Obsessed much? 🙂

Read why Kiss, Kiss is a Christmas Movie.

Gremlins:

Man, is this ever a strange film. I don’t even know how to describe it, except to firmly and authoritatively tell you to NOT feed  your Mogwai after midnight, and never give him water. This movie also taught me what happens when you put an animal in the microwave. It’s set in someone’s nice suburban home, decked out for the holidays. This is kind of a feel-good, feel-weird film.

These Gremlins know how to party on Christmas Eve:

Trading Places:

I just saw this. Like, last night. I can’t believe I missed it the first time — it’s corny but excellent, and I laughed a whole lot. I mean, really? The plot of rich people betting on who’s a criminal and who’s a business man?You have to sit back and let the laughs roll in. And speaking of which, this all happens over a few weeks over the Christmas season. The biggest laughs come from Dan Aykroyd, posing as the filthiest, creepiest Santa imaginable, stealing food at a Christmas gala. He hides a whole salmon under his dingy gray beard. It doesn’t get better than this.

I love this whole segment:

Mean Girls:

This one requires a bit of fudging, since it takes place over the course of a whole school year. But the Christmas segment is fun and memorable: the Plastics don sexy Santa dresses and sing Jingle Bell Rock. It’s so fetch. You know, I’m going to just give you a link so you can watch it:

There you have it. I know there’s a lot more, like Edward Scissorhands and possibly Batman Returns. Let me know your favorite and what I missed in the comments below. Do you think these qualify as Christmas movies?

I’ll be cuddling onto the couch watching Die Hard and Lethal Weapon for my Christmas Eve double feature. It’s all about tradition. 😉

Want to know the favorite Christmas Movies of the members of the RunPee Family? Read about it here, and Happy Holidays from ours to yours. <3

A Merry Movie Christmas – The RunPee Family’s Favorite Holiday Films

The Weirdest Moments in Classic Christmas Specials

The Deadpool Before Christmas