Daily Archives: June 13, 2012

Most Patriotic Films #21 An American Tail

Papa Mousekewitz: In America, there are mouse holes in every wall.
Mama Mousekewitz: Who says?
Papa Mousekewitz: Everyone. In America, there are bread crumbs on every floor.
Mama Mousekewitz: You’re talking nonsense!
Papa Mousekewitz: In America, you can say anything you want, but most important – and this I know for a fact – in America, there are no cats.


…the point here is that while the myths about America are a bit overblown for immigrants coming here, there is a basis in truth for them.

I placed this at #21 because of what I remembered of the film.  I just watched it again for the first time in decades…in retrospect, it still belongs on this list…#21 may be a bit generous though.   I really had fonder memories of Fievel than was apparently warranted.  But too late to change it now, so on we go with the story of Russian Jewish mice coming to America.


Okay, so obviously I have some critiques, but I’ll deal with them later.


First why is this film patriotic?


Because it shows what America has been and that no other country can be what we are.  The nation of hope and dreams.  The nation of possibilities where, as the movie puts it, and I will spare you having to hear it, “there are no cats in America and the streets are filled with cheese.”  It shows that no matter how bad the corruption in our nation is (and the movie doesn’t shy away from showing that) it is no where as bad as the Cossacks, British in Ireland, or for that matter any other form of European corruption. It shows that despite all the poverty and exploitation immigrants faced in first coming to America, it is still a land of opportunity open to those who worked.  It shows that despite some possible initial misgivings, background and heritage were not as important and while people may have clustered into ethnic groups they would eventually get past that and form an entity called America.  And it points out quite clearly that people came to these shores for Freedom.


We all remember it and what makes it so fondly remembered.


Everything we should teach children, because it’s true, in a children’s film that we all remember fondly.


However, unlike some of its Disney counterparts which have clearly spoiled me there is little for adults to appreciate after years.  Most of the music makes “Small World” seem tolerable.  And again Disney has spoiled me with things like quality animation, character development and plot. Now they tried for something to appeal to adults…they had jokes about Tammany Hall…and I’m going to guess that most adults, even educated ones, wouldn’t immediately get this reference.


To be polite I’m going to cut short my critiques of this film (I’d probably have more nice things to say if I hadn’t watched the film last night, but oh well) because I still think it is an excellent patriotic film for children…even if it’s very lacking in staying power.

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