Sleepy Hollow (1999)

Sleepy Hollow (1999) movie poster

director Tim Burton
viewed: 09/11/2015

Back in 1999, I still had high hopes for director Tim Burton.  His awesome art designs hadn’t yet become redundant and he had made a number of really interesting films.  So Burton taking on the Gothic horror film in the style of a classic Hammer horror film, that seemed cool.  And Johnny Depp hadn’t yet become the megastar that he would a couple years later.  And Christina Ricci, I liked (and still like) Christina Ricci.

But this might be the turning point for Burton.  More concretely, it would be in his follow-up to this, 2001’s Planet of the Apes, but I think that this was the first of his films that I actively didn’t like.

Watching it again years later, and now, with my 11 year old daughter, I think I appreciated it a bit more.  It still lacks something really compelling, but Depp keeps it interesting, and some of the things that nagged at me (the sweetly enchanted visions of good witches in flashbacks) nag perhaps a little less pervasively.  It is far more a Tim Burton flick than any true Hammer throwback.

Clara enjoyed it pretty well.  Though as a horror film, it’s also not scary.

Big Eyes (2014)

Big Eyes (2014) movie poster

director Tim Burton
viewed: 06/20/2015

Tim Burton’s Big Eyes is a biographical film about Walter and Margaret Keane, the husband-wife phenomenon behind a series of popular painted images of waif-like children with enormous eyes.  It’s a pretty conventional biopic for Burton, whose films have ranged from gothic to cartoony to fantasy and animation and even once before, his best film, another biographical film, Ed Wood (1994).  But it also is in a separate segment of Burton’s wheelhouse, set in the period of his childhood, the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, centered around the popular American kitsch of the time.

Big Eyes stars Amy Adams and Christoph Walsh as the husband a wife, a true story of classic 20th century patriarchal chauvinism and a life of quiet desperation for the repressed talents of Margaret Keane.  As the story tells, Walter Keane’s genius was in self-promotion and marketing, turning the art of the couple into an empire of popular decorations, hated by the art establishment but adored by the general public, and translating into fame and fortune for the Keanes.

Only the lie behind it all was that Walter was a promoter, not the artist.  Margaret was the sole creator of the images, loved or hated.  And as the film retells, it took a court case in Hawaii in which the Keanes had to sit and create a picture to prove authorship.

It’s an affable film.  Adams is always good in that popular Academy Award style of performance.  Burton lets the story lead the way and so the film works well, and like most of Burton’s films, it looks great too.

It was interesting to see the way they used contemporary settings in San Francisco, altered digitally to bear the look of 50 years ago.  Maybe more so for a local, but still, something I found interesting.

I watched the movie with Felix, who didn’t know a lot about it prior.  I had to stop it briefly to try to explain the reasons that the art establishment, as personified by Terence Stamp as the New York Times’ John Canaday, looked down their noses at the commercial kitsch, defining a stance between the higher arts and the lower arts.  It’s a little difficult for me in that I like art from both sides of that track and actually like to not distinguish the differences personally.

Batman Returns (1992)

Batman Returns (1992) movie poster

director Tim Burton
viewed: 12/03/2014

Batman indeed returned in 1992, back in the hands of director Tim Burton and in the flesh of Michael Keaton.  Batman (1989) had been a phenomenon, a phenomenon from  whose influence American filmmaking may never shrug off.  It was the first modern superhero movie, and though others since have shifted its direct influence, it is still the site of which the torrent was originally unleashed.  And Batman Returns, by nature of being the first sequel of the original, has symbolic influence as well.

Batman had only one villain, Jack Nicholson’s The Joker, and though other key characters like Harvey Dent were introduced, it was a case of one hero/one villain.  Batman Returns offered both Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) and The Penguin (Danny DeVito) but also less directly Max Shreck (Christopher Walken).  It’s the issue with which all superhero sequels hence have had to contend: upping the ante on the villains probably at the behest of the merchandising rather than actual need.

But Tim Burton did what was unusual at the time.  He made the sequel almost better than the original.  I say almost because for years I felt that it was actually better.  I liked it better.  But now, I’m not as sure.  I think it’s more aesthetically complete, the designs are nicer, the villains Catwoman and Penguin are interestingly designed and realized, but in many ways it lacks the full perverse humor of the first film and while maybe more aesthetically pleasing, isn’t actually really a better movie.

It’s an interesting question to raise for a Burton film.  He’s often known for lush and vibrant visual design but otherwise rather incomplete movie-making.

It was more than six months ago we watched Batman, but a new condition has arisen: opening streaming avenues for movies has suddenly changed our movie-watching landscape and here, BatmanBatman Returns, and even Batman Forever (1995) are suddenly available on Netflix for the clicking.  With the new television program Gotham teasing on the tube, Felix’s interest in Batman in general has risen.

Batman Returns was not the commercial success of its predecessor, though success it was.  The results wound up with Burton leaving the series as director and Keaton leaving as actor.  Actually, only some of the more general background characters carry on through into the two Joel Schumacher films.

I would go on but I think I’ve hit the nail on the head for this movie for me.  I really do think it’s a more beautifully-rendered Batman movie.  Gotham is more massive and fascist in its design, but the Christmastime setting and muted blues and blacks and whites creates a palette more pleasing to the eye, though it does follow in the footsteps of its predecessor aesthetically.  This whole design aesthetic would reign supreme through the genre for ages to come.  The clowns and the penguins, the cartoonish elements Burton places on the scenes like oversized brightly-wrapped Xmas presents are just all very, very slick and cool art.

But the movie itself lacks in the comedy that actually made Batman pretty good.  Pfeiffer, DeVito, and Walken all add to the pleasures…and it’s still pleasurable.  I mean, I still liked it.  But I don’t know if it’s better or not than Batman.

Felix liked it and is keen to see Batman & Robin (1997), apparently having inherited some component of my appreciation for the bad and ugly in cinema to set off the good.

Batman (1989)

Batman (1989) movie poster

director Tim Burton
viewed: 03/15/2014

It had been a long time since I had seen Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman starring Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, and Kim Bassinger.  It was the touchstone of the modern superhero movie, reinventing the characters and ultimately the genre, setting forth a style that would be adopted and readopted until it was finally eclipsed.  It is still pretty safe to say that this is the movie that started a pop cultural shift that has almost utterly subsumed the summer movie period 25 years in its aftermath.

25 years.  It’s true.  I still remember standing in line for Batman the day it opened in June 1989.  I was quite a Tim Burton fan at that point and this seemed to promise something new and interesting.  And in a fair amount of ways, it succeeded.  I was also a Batman the TV show fan from childhood and was thrilled to get to see those old programs again.  I wasn’t a Batman comic book fan, per se, but I had read The Killing Joke and The Dark Knight Returns, two books that suggested the darker sensibilities that would come.

It’s funny now, with Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy, Burton’s Batman seems lighter by contrast.  The big difference is that Burton and company had more of a sense of humor throughout, and interestingly, also had a little more of a nod to the Adam West camp television show from the 1960’s.  By Nolan’s time, no iota of that remains.  Of course, that has a lot more to do with what director Joel Schumacher did with this series of Batman movies than what Burton did.

The kids and I have wound up watching quite a few Tim Burton movies: Beetlejuice (1988), Ed Wood (1994), Mars Attacks! (1996) and more, most of which they’ve enjoyed.  We’ve also watched a few of the superhero movies of the present, like Iron Man 3 (2013), The Avengers (2012), X-Men: First Class (2011), and others.  The superhero movie is more than alive and well.  It’s probably never been better from a shareholder perspective.

But we never watched a few things, like Nolan’s Batman movies or Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films.  These came too early for the kids ages.  And I’m a little conflicted about how interesting I think they are to share with them.  That said, I thought that it is interesting to see some of the superhero movies that they’ve missed, for context, or in some cases because they warrant it enough.

Case in point: Burton’s Batman.

Interestingly, Clara was bored by it, but Felix liked it and was interested to see Burton’s Batman Returns (1992), which I sort of thought we might see initially.  Now, I’m not as sure.  It’s still a possibility.  (We still haven’t gone back for the Star Wars episodes I-III.)

This 1989 Batman was quite the thing in its day.  And I would suggest that it mostly holds up today.  Keaton was always an unlikely Batman, but he proved himself quite compelling in his two goes of it.  And Nicholson might not be the most ideal Joker, but he’s probably the best thing in the movie.  He gets all the best lines and is the darkest, funniest thing throughout.  And the set and costume designs, these came to utterly define the new dark superhero movie, these weird mash-ups of Art Deco, Gothic, what have you, ridiculously over the top, rather insanely unrealistic but quite marvelous as well.

Some of the effects are better than others.  This was 1989 and everything hadn’t gone digital yet.  The digital effects of armoring the Batmobile look kind of cheap.  The leaping/soaring Batman is kind of slow and obviously wired on a track.  And really, as great as Keaton is, this was back at a time when everyone on TV and movies didn’t spend their lives at the gym and never took off their shirt to reveal a sculpted torso.  In Keaton’s case, there is little question that it’s the suit that has six-pack abs.

The film is actually quite funny.  And not all of this is purely in Nicholson’s camp, though as I mentioned, he gets all the best lines and gags.  There is the humor about the television news people when it turns out that make-up and hair products may be poisoned, so they appear looking ruffled and spotty.  The Joker makes any number of not just visual gags but physical, cartoonish ones.  The humor and style are a significant difference between today’s superhero movies, which are nowhere as outwardly humorous.

In the 25 years since its release, there have been other significant turning points in the genre.  The first X-Men movie X-Men (2000), Raimi’s Spider-Man series (pure digital action), Nolan’s Batman films (probably the “artistic” high mark of the genre), and most recently Joss Whedon’s Avengers movie (really, Marvel’s multi-film build up of the Avengers franchise is something more massive than any one film).  Game changers come along every so often and it’s not even such an obvious pivot that moves things forward in a different direction.

But Tim Burton’s Batman did have that massive effect, reinventing a genre that was barely a genre but which would come to massively take over Hollywood pop culture in time.  The film itself is good, not really great (I always thought I preferred the sequel, not sure anymore).  I state my opinion of it just to help separate what I think of the film from what I’m tyring to say about the impact that it had at the time and cumulatively.

The present day situation has a lot more to do with the state of Hollywood, the way films are marketed, special effects technology, and box office receipts.  Hollywood’s always been more about what have you done for me lately than really showing a track going back a quarter of a century.  And it’s probably a bit reductive to give Batman (1989) too much credit.  The action-movie, the “summer blockbuster”, the “popcorn films” reaped input from many other genres and successful films.  But this film was the turning point for superhero movies.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Edward Scissorhands (1990) movie poster

director Tim Burton
viewed: 11/08/2013

It’s kind of funny but I think I hit the nail rather squarely on the head in my last writing about Edward Scissorhands.  The only thing I would add really on this viewing, which was with the kids, is that it’s a bit more disappointing on further review.  The kids weren’t terribly excited about it either.

Striving for movie magic, the ice-sculpting scene is highly contrived and non-magical.  And thus, the ending, playing up this snow in Suburbia eternal fairy tale also is flat.

The biggest problems are that the social critique is both so harsh and so shallow that it doesn’t really impact one the way that it’s intended.  As cartoonish as the suburbanites are in their pastel painted homes, cars, and clothes, their fascination with the strange and unusual that quickly turns to disdain and hatred is all as hollow as it is trite.

Diane Wiest and Alan Arkin add some bland humanity and charm, but I see the film as almost as misguided as the idea of putting a blond wig on Winona Ryder.

It would have been interesting to have toned the story a la the television show Freaks and Geeks, with more retro sentimentality than modern fairy tale.  Oh well.

Ed Wood (1994)

Ed Wood (1994) movie poster

director Tim Burton

viewed: 11/01/2013

After watching the legendary Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) with the kids the weekend before, it seemed an apt way to delve into the backstory of Edward Wood, Jr. by visiting .Tim Burton’s affectionate biopic of the man. I’ve long cited Ed Wood as Burton’s best film.  I’ve thought so since 1994 when I first saw it (the only time I had seen it).  And I think I still stand by that statement.

It’s anomalous in Burton’s oeuvre for although it’s a comedy, it’s the most realistic, least fantastic of all of his films.  No magic, no monsters, but also quite a significant emotional center that while extremely positive and upbeat seems more honest than any of his other films.  It’s a paean, a non-critical one largely, to film-making, old Hollywood, the creative drive and cinematic artistry.  Couched in goofy good humor about a cross-dressing oddball and his extended, inclusive world of misfit friends and partners, I really think it’s the most emotionally true film in Burton’s career.

And it’s also very good.  Johnny Depp is charming and lovable as the ever-positive hack artist Wood.  The heart of the film is the relationship between Ed Wood, Jr. and Bela Lugosi, who was played by an Oscar-winning Martin Landau.  His portrayal of the aging, drug-addicted movie star is a fine one.  But it’s the relationship that Wood shares with Lugosi that gives the film its heart.  It’s about friendship, but more so it’s about acceptance of the social outsider: the drug addict, the cross-dresser, the transsexual, the oddballs, the passionate hack artists.

Burton kept the film inherently positive, picking to portray the lives of these people in a sweetened light because there was a lot of darkness in the reality of their lives.  It’s part of the reassessment of Wood, saving him from history’s derisive trash heap of laughing stocks in the world of bad cinema.

And of course it’s ironic that your best film is about the worst film-maker of all time, isn’t it?

The kids enjoyed the film.  Really appreciating the scenes of the making of Plan 9 from Outer Space, getting how someone (even if not historically accurate) managed to make such a bad film while having the best of intentions.

Two odd upshots of watching Ed Wood.  One is that the kids didn’t really know who Johnny Depp was.  I guess we’d never watched a film in which he appeared in the flesh (they didn’t recall having watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)).  Though we’ve watched a number of other Tim Burton films, we hadn’t watched any of the several films that Depp and Burton did together.  So next week, we’re planning on watching Edward Scissorhands (1990).

The other odd upshot was explaining the difference between transsexuals and transvestites.  One of those conversations every parent should have with their children.

Frankenweenie (2012)

Frankenweenie (2012) movie poster

director Tim Burton
viewed: 11/03/2012 at AMC Metreon 16, SF, CA

Frankenweenie (2012) is Tim Burton’s black-and-white stop-motion animation re-make of his own live-action short film, Frankenweenie (1984).  It’s the first animated feature that Burton has directed since Corpse Bride (2005).

This Frankenweenie takes place in a town of New Holland, a quintessential Tim Burton world, a suburbia right out of Edward Scissorshands (1990) (albeit in black-and-white), a version of a 1950’s Southern California as Anytown, USA.  But this town is populated with oddballs galore, kids all odder and creepier than our hero, Victor Frankenstein, a boy excited by science who resurrects his pet pooch when it gets hit by a car.

The characters are classic Burton, with their wide eyes, ghostly pallor, skinny legs and arch quirkiness.   I’ve liked Burton’s aesthetics since I first knew who he was after seeing Beetlejuice (1988).  I remember seeing his illustration designs for that film and thinking how cool it all was.

But in 2012, Burton has become less and less interesting and the world only more and more proliferated with quirky Goth cartoon imagery.  Frankenweenie opened a week after ParaNorman (2012) from Laika Studios in Portland, OR.  They were also the creative team behind Henry Selick’s wonderful Coraline (2009).  The world of ParaNorman, also obsessed with zombies, B-movie horror, and oddball protagonists isn’t all that different in many ways to the stop-motion character designs of Burton’s.  And while neither film was great, ParaNorman is superior to Frankenweenie.

It’s caused me much pause to think what motivates Burton these days.  His original ideas have been few and far between and his re-boot philosophy of moviemaking has come to not just reanimate any number of “classic” film, television, or other concepts, but now to even cannibalize his own original creation.

None of that would matter if the films were good.  Frankenweenie is cute, certainly has some lovely animation, designs, some funny moments.  But it’s also just oddly a bit more inanimate and uninspired.  And Felix and Clara felt similarly, preferring ParaNorman and Wreck-It Ralph (2012) of our more recent outings to the cinema.

Mars Attacks!

Mars Attacks! (1996) movie poster

(1996) director Tim Burton

viewed: 08/27/2011

When Tim Burton released Mars Attacks! back in 1996, he still showed a great deal of promise as one of the most interesting directors in mainstream Hollywood.  Coming off his second Batman film, Batman Returns (1995), still visually inventive, his previous film had been Ed Wood (1994), arguably his best work.

And when I saw it in the theaters during its initial run, I considered myself a Tim Burton fan. And I liked it at the time.  It wasn’t brilliant.  It wasn’t classic.  It had some great gags, some great art design, lots of celebrity cameos, a ton of retro ironic humor/homage, but at best, it was good.  Not great.  It seemed to feed upon some of his prior films, notably Beetlejuice (1988), re-purposing not only characters and gags, but many actors as well.

Looking back now, it seems that his slide into perpetually derivative content blossomed after this film.  While he’d “re-booted” Batman and adapted an obscure collection of bubblegum cards into an alien invasion film, he would go on to re-invent Washington Irving (Sleepy Hollow (1999)), unsuccessfully re-boot a retro-1970’s franchise (Planet of the Apes (2001), redo Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), and adapt stage-musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).  His affinity for re-inventing pre-existing narratives, characters, and franchises is only second to his affinity for using Johnny Depp.

But while I’ve soured on Tim Burton, I still see most of his films.  And when the kids and I ended up watching Beetlejuice, I started considering his other films that they might enjoy.  We saw Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985), which they liked, though not as well.  I thought since it reminded me in several ways of Beetlejuice, Mars Attacks! might be fun.

It was.

It’s a confection of humor, but it has some pretty awesome gags.  The Martians, who speak in voices that sound like “Aack Aack, Ack Ack Ack Aaack!”, then chasing humans down with ray guns using a translator to say “Stop! We come in peace!  We are your friends!”, having such contempt for human life that they kill indiscriminately and sew heads onto dogs and a dog’s head onto a human body.

Really, it’s a lampoon take on H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds.  With a tip of the homage/ironic hat to the George Pal-produced version of that film from 1952 as well as Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956) and much more.  I’ve read that originally Burton wanted to use stop-motion animation for the aliens as a further acknowledgement of Ray Harryhausen, whose flying saucers from the 1956 film are specifically recognized.  Budget drove them to computer animation, and it’s still a great style.

The aliens, with their green skin, bulbously brained crania, bulging eyes, and skull-like jaws, are a perfect cartoon of old-fashioned extra-terrestrial life.  They are both comic and creepy.

The finale, in which the aliens are defeated by the yodeling voice of Slim Whitman (instead of common microorganisms as in The War of the Worlds), is some great sublime joke, as sublime as the simplistic solution that Wells had dreamed up, but sort of a classic end-gag.  With the parallel music of Tom Jones’ “It’s Not Unusual”,  to which the planet is rescued and the forest animals all convene, it’s really has some funny stuff in it, limited as it is.

The film actually depicts perhaps Burton’s most fervent misanthropy of any of his films.  Champion of the outsider, the dopey doughnut shop employee (Lukas Haas), the dark solitude of the president’s daughter (Natalie Portman), or occasional others, the film is gleeful in its punishment of the greedy, rich, selfish, self-absorbed, and “small-minded”.  Really of all of his films, this one might be the most far-reaching in its critique of the elements of culture and society that perturb Burton, rather than his consistent appreciation of the people who are cool but out of step with the rest of the world.

The kids quite enjoyed it.  Clara actually wanted to watch it again, liked it enough to watch it again.  It opened for me a further interest in the “alien invasion” film, something percolating within me for a short while of late.  It also made me think that I would like the kids to see some of the films that inspired or influenced this parody/satire/salute.

Burton is an enigma of sorts, but more than anything a bit of a disappointment.   Not long after Mars Attacks! I had written him off of ever making a truly great film.  Still, his work can be fun, is often beautifully designed, occasionally can be quite funny and piquant.  But more often than not, not as good as it could/should be.

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985) movie poster

(1985) director Tim Burton
viewed: 04/29/11

I had watched Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) with Felix some years ago.  On re-examination, it was five years ago, which would have made him four or five and my daughter about two, so it’s little wonder they don’t recall it.  But after watching Tim Burton’s 1988 film Beetlejuice, the idea came to me that Pee-wee’s Big Adventure might be worth another go.  And as circumstances had it, we had a couple other friends in tow for it as well.

For me, my reactions to the film were remarkably similar to what they were five years ago.  I still think parts of it are quite funny, a couple of gags funnier still than others, though it’s a fairly thin film.  The movie does play extensively with genre, being a road movie of sorts and winding up on the movie lot, bursting through a variety of films in production, and playfully tweaking the whole notion of film-making in the Drive-In movie exhibition of the “Hollywood” version of Pee-Wee’s story.

What was most funny about watching it with these four kids, ages 7, 8, 9, and 10 was how weirded-out they were by Pee-Wee’s persona.  Clara summed up that he is “a grown-up who acts like a baby”, referring to his cadre of toys and his penchant for play.  We’ve watched any number of old films together: Buster Keaton, Ray Harryhausen, Godzilla movies, and so on.  Victoria noted that this was an old film (Fair enough.  It is 26 years old), but it wasn’t as old as some.  They had very perplexed and concerned looks on their faces through much of the film and there weren’t nearly as many laughs out of them as I’d anticipated.

I do think that Felix and Clara liked it a bit more than their friends.  Felix liked the part where Pee-Wee rides his bike into the Godzilla movie being filmed and the long chase scene drops Godzilla with Santa Claus, among the cops and chaos that pays homage to the slap-stick comedy genre.

I still say that the dance scene is the best.

Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice (1988) movie poster

(1988) director Tim Burton
viewed: 02/18/11

Going back to the late 1980’s, Beetlejuice was a favorite film of mine.  It turned me on to both Tim Burton and Winona Ryder.  I watched it numerous times back then, reveling in the lively comedy, cool designs, and the lovely pale-skinned, dark-eyed teen beauty.  Its mixture of black comedy and strange fantasy was revelatory and I really enjoyed Burton’s designs and cartoons from which the characters, the dead ones, evolved.

In my varying range of films to watch with the kids, I was looking for a change-up, and like a flash, it struck me that this film might be quite good for them.  And besides, it had been years since I had last seen it.

Coming on the heels of Burton’s first feature film, Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985), Beetlejuice was an original story concept, with some very inventive characters (Beetlejuice, Michael Keaton, the liveliest of all), it showed a kind of promise that belied the direction of Burton’s career.

The characters are terrific, deftly sketched, quite often pitch perfect, beyond Keaton and Ryder, Jeffrey Jones and Catherine O’Hara are hysterical as Lydia’s (Ryder) parents, the nebbish and high-strung dad and the delusional, shallow step-mother and great.  O’Hara may never have been better.  Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin are very charming as the small-town couple whose happy home is invaded by the tactless, tasteless Deetzes.  And Glenn Shadix as Otho, Silvia Sidney as their caseworker Juno, and Dick Cavett and Robert Goulet as pompous New York snobs, the whole group is pretty terrific.  It was one of Ryder’s most effective roles; she was in her element as a teenager.

The story of how Baldwin and Davis wind up dead, returned as ghosts to their small town home, which is invaded by the Deetzes and their dealings with the afterlife is all strange, tweaky funny stuff.   Apparently, the film started as something much darker and creepier, but it plays well as a family-friendly romp.  When Baldwin and Davis discover the “bio-exorcist” Beetlejuice, the most crass, offensive, madcap “ghost with the most”, all heck breaks loose.

This time around, I found much of the dialog to be surprisingly snappy, sharp and very funny, tuning in to the characters and performances with far more panache that Burton is known for usually.  The kids really enjoyed it.  Clara said she wanted to watch it again, right after it was over.

Burton has been an interesting yet frustrating director for me, perhaps because of his early promise and his failure to grow and blossom.  He’s still a big name in Hollywood, bigger perhaps than he would have imagined back in 1988.  But really, outside of Ed Wood (1994), Beetlejuice may be his best film.  That said, the kids have virtually no memory of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and when considering re-queueing it, thoughts of Mars Attacks! (1996) or either of his Batman films has suddenly seemed like another trope that the kids might enjoy.

Keaton’s performance is so manic, so bizarre and hilarious, I find myself still humming his Beetlejuice jingle:

“I’ll eat anything you want me to eat,
I’ll swaller anything you want me to swaller,
Give me a call,
I’ll chew on a dog!”

Pretty damn good.