RSS Feed

Category Archives: Paprika Wastes Time

In Which I Live-Blog The Secret of NIMH

Posted on

Because it’s not like I have eight million other things to do.

I loved this movie when I was a kid, but in retrospect, it’s kinda fucked up. Who decided that animal testing at the National Institute of Mental Health was an appropriate topic for a kid’s movie? And how many other people had to approve this idea before the film was released? Oh, animators. You crazy kids.

Anyway, in lieu of a serious post, I offer you:

The Secret of NIMH Completely Pointless Live-Blog.


The United Artists logo was so dramatic.

Ok, I’m just gonna say it: most of the time, the candles in animated films look absolutely obscene.

Mr. Ages lives in a rusty contraption and appears to be an insensitive dick.

I love the nonsensical costuming of animated animal characters. Sometimes they wear shirts, but no pants; pants, but no shirts; overalls, with no shirts; short dresses, which look like shirts; and Mrs Brisby wears a little red shawl, like a Beatrix Potter character. The clothing never seems to cover body parts that are sensitive to cold, and the animals aren’t concealing any accurately-rendered anatomical parts, so…what the hell?

I forgot how sparkly this movie is. I think that’s part of why I loved it. It just threw all the magic right in my eyes and was like, LOOK AT IT SEE HOW IT SPARKLES.

Oh God. Pneumonia. I had pneumonia as a kid, and when I was diagnosed (after fainting in the doctor’s office), all I could think about was this movie, and how Mr. Ages had said “it’s not uncommon, but you can die from it.”

Ah, the quintessential Absurd Bird character. The Rescuers movies had one too. It’s kind of perfect, though; gawky adolescents are bird-like. The way the awkward bird character clumsily flaps his wings reminds me of teenage boys with disproportionately long arms.

Absurd Bird expects to feel love “way down in [his] wishbone.” I’m just gonna leave that there.

Absurd Bird “hates to see a woman cry,” and deals with this uncomfortable feeling by boasting about his mad cat-escaping skillz, even though Mrs. Brisby just demonstrated that she’s actually the tougher one. PATRIARCHY.

Absurd Bird’s name is Jeremy. That’s lame. I’mma keep calling him Absurd Bird.

Oh lawsey. Absurd Bird is such a Nice Guy. But props to Mrs. Brisby for offering kind of a call-out.

What is that thing above the Brisbys’ home? A rusted pot? I hope the handle doubles as a sundial or something.

Every animated film I’ve ever seen has featured at least one poor character with patched clothes, but the patches are never in a logical place. The little girl mouse’s skirt has a patch on the left side of the skirt, a ways above the knee. Why on earth would this area get worn through? Does she spend her free time striking elaborate yoga poses in her dress?

Uh, hi there, Auntie Shrew. Holy gender stereotype. Are you ever revealed to be a complex individual?—I can’t remember.

Ah yes, make soup and float some herbs in it. That’ll cure Timmy’s pneumonia.

We know Mrs. Brisby is good because she’s sweet and domestic. Auntie Shrew, however, is to be pitied, because she’s a bossy bitch who no man could love. Also, Mrs. Brisby is a timid widdle mouse, and Auntie Shrew is…a shrew. Facepalm headdesk. C’mon guiz, you could at least be subtle.

My one experience with shrews was in fifth grade, when I had to dissect a piece of owl poop and re-assemble the bones to discover what the owl had eaten. I was the lucky winner of a shrew skeleton.

I think this movie and A Christmas Carol are to blame for my tendency to associate the name Timothy with sickness.

Ok, I know those gold lights are supposed to be fireflies, but it just looks like a laser pointer zipping around.

So the Brisbys live in a tree stump with a rusty pot positioned precariously over it? It’s probably a good thing they’re moving.

And there’s our first mention of NIMH. Lab rats, how do they work? We don’t find out, because Stereotype Husband is ignoring Stereotype Wife’s incessant chatter. Bitchez, they be chattin’.


Something about Mrs. Brisby reminds me of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, but I don’t know what it is.

Sooo…the Great Owl lies to Mrs. Brisby, telling her there’s nothing she can do except move her sick son to a safe place, until she tells him her name, and then he’s all, ooooh, I knew your husband. I’ll give you the good advice. Way to be a douche, Great Owl.

Great Owl: The rats be movin your house, yo. Mrs Brisby: I don’t understand, but I will do as you say. Me: What the FUCK? PATRIARCHY.

From a certain angle, the door to Nicodemus’ lair looks like an unrolled condom.

Where the hell are Mrs. Brisby’s children? They just sort of disappeared. Plot holes, guiz. Oh, plot holes.

And just like that, the kids are back.

Oh look, there’s Justin, the Heroic Leader of the Rats. I think he’s supposed to be cute, Mrs. Brisby. Go for it!

Finally! The anti-NIMH propaganda. You know, it’s not that I don’t care about the effects of animal testing, because I do, but I somehow doubt that a group of scientists is going to accidentally create an army of hyper-intelligent rats who just wake up on morning and start reading—and comprehending!— English. This does not seem like a strong possibility.

Wait. The super-intelligent mice got sucked into the ventilation system and died? First, that’s terrifying, and second…what? That’s their solution to the problem of “how we be splainin’ the absence of genius mice?”

Nicodemus gives a shiny (look, shiny!!) red pendant to Mrs. Brisby. The pendant’s inscription says, “You can unlock any door if you only have the key.” DEEP.

Ugh, Mrs. Brisby keeps doing that thing where she repeats one key word of whatever someone else says in a voice of complete awe. “The plan? What plan?” I bet if you offered her waffles she’d be like “Syrup? What syrup?”

Absurd Bird is transfixed by the red pendant, and keeps saying “a sparkly. You’re wearing a sparkly,” which pretty much sums up my eight-year-old self’s reaction to this whole movie.

See, Mrs. Brisby just took off her cape/shawl thing and is scampering around all naked-like. There is no logic to the clothes!

CRAZY HIJINKS. Will the rats/mice defeat Dragon the Cat?!

Ah, Jenner the Evil Rat of Evil tells everyone not to listen to Mrs. Brisby because “she’s hysterical.” PATRIARCHY.

Is it just me, or do a lot of animated battle scenes start at sunset and end at twilight?

I want a status update on Timmy. How’s he feeling? Is his fever down? When I had pneumonia, my fever went up to 105, and my lungs shriveled up like those black snake firecrackers and died.

OoooOOOOoooh. The sparkly is doing sparkly things. My inner child rejoices.

What is that thing that emerged from the pool of lava? It looks like a huge flaming brick, and that’s kinda lame.

According to Absurd Bird, “girls can’t resist a sparkly.” PATRIARCHY, and also, I can haz sparkly?

Absurd Bird and Lady Bird Friend hooked up fast. I’m a little jealous.

D’awww, everyone’s so happy.


I thought Mrs. Brisby and Justin the Heroic Leader of the Rats got together at the end. Guess not.