Episode 146 - Mrs. Doubtfire

In this week's episode, the gang gets ready to break up some nostalgia with the insanely terrifying, family in peril thriller, Mrs. Doubtfire! Why does this movie need to tack on the anti-smoking message? How does Robin Williams not see that divorce a mile away? And why does he make Harvey Fierstein design all those other disguises if he knows he's going as Mrs. Doubtfire? Plus: We open Alcatraz back up for one very special execution.

Mrs. Doubtfire stars Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, and Robert Prosky; directed by Chris Columbus.

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Rob Hawkins said...

Holy shit, I almost blacked out from laughing at the line about the ant farm!

Steveriffic said...

Thanks for tackling this one (even though it means my viewer request was rejected, GOD DAMN YOUUUU!!!)

I saw this in theatres at age 13 with a group of friends and I viscerally, teeth-gnashingly loathed it, but took flak from my stupid friends who all loved it. Time has vindicated me. But they were 14(?). What ever made adults think this was good?

Christopher Sobieniak said...

The animated bit at the start of the film has an interesting story to it if you happen to check out the extras on the DVD for the movie. Originally director Chris Columbus had an idea he wanted to have a cartoon start off the screening separately from the film itself, such as what use to be common in theaters before the 1960's when a cartoon short would be ran along with trailers, newsreels and what-not. He employed the talents of Chuck Jones to create these sequence starring a parrot name Pudgy and a cat name Grunge (if you needed to know what their names were). The reason for why the show appears the way it is, it's simply because we had Chuck Jones to thank for having worked on that very thing half a century earlier.

Here's how the short was going to appear in an early version using different backgrounds. The sequence was re-filmed later with different backgrounds painted in a less-abstract way and some thought it didn't match what Jones had in mind.

Somewhere along the way, either studio interference or whatever else happened, the decision to drop the short was made and as a consolation, Chris had what he could show of it included as the opening of the film itself and tied it to the main character's role of having to go in and out of jobs the way it was shown with him detesting the use of smoking in the cartoon and quitting the production right then and there. He does try to explain in an audio commentary why he decided to do it this way with Robin dubbing his lines in realtime the way it was displayed here. He had hoped the audiences might assume he was dubbing a foreign-made cartoon as would be the practice in dubbing those works made outside their native languages (anime is a good example of this), though I suppose in regularly dubbing there would be many takes done of each line they would have to play back over and over though they would have the actors looking at the screen while dubbing their character's lines.

Christopher Sobieniak said...

Robin's later job at the TV station as a sort of shipping clerk didn't seem out of place to me since there was a time when TV stations use to handle film prints of movies, TV shows and such that would be brought in and out of the building many times before the advent of videotape mastering and satellite technology. I suppose the movie played it kinda anachronistically for an era when all that wasn't necessary (at least show him shipping D2 video masters perhaps), but it was still very common up to the mid 1980's.

The kind of show Robin eventually lands with the station kinda seems like a cross between Mister Rogers and Captain Kangaroo the way I viewed it on the big screen 21 years ago. This movie itself never really creep me out and I suppose I was suckered into the moving, touching moments such as the guy desperately wanting to see his kids despite being a screw-up with his ex-wife.

Joel Elscott said...

Ha! I got a wee little case of the chits after listening to this. Nice work guys!

Lady Dulayne said...

Listened to this in the car driving home, ws dying laughing. You make some good points.

The scene that bothered me most on this movie is when they all go to the pool. THe oldest daughter is wearing a sweater and another blouse underneath. To the pool! The mom is also wearing some nice blouse. Again to a pool? Did they not expect to go to a pool that day. Odd!

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intsoccersuperstar said...

Sally Field has some damn nice teeth in that poster.