best films: #18: THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989)
Chalk it up to my age or the penchants of my generation, but I do have great partiality for Disney’s second coming when it comes to choosing “bests.” And it’s only fitting that I recognize the one that restarted it all – The Little Mermaid. Boasting one of the best soundtracks in filmdom, thanks almost entirely to the voice talents of the now better known Jodi Benson (thanks Enchanted and Toy Story 2 & 3!) and the impeccable and incomparable Pat Carroll as Ursula. Easily stealing the spot as my all-time favorite Disney villain, Ursula is sassy and catty and has a lot of power at her fingertips. On top of that, she also boasts at least a top-five spot in my favorite Disney ditties, “Poor Unfortunate Souls.” Like it’s taking a page from “Bohemian Rhapsody” and a dash of the theatrics of Broadway, the song is simply put, epic. Now, granted the heroine certainly borders on the greedy and selfish side, you have to admit it’s at least a realistic portrayal of an adolescent with big dreams. All in all, with to-die-for music, stellar voice work (particularly from the gals), and an entirely new vision for the studio, The Little Mermaid is pure genius and a total treasure.