Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

rogerrabbitBy: Oberst Von Berauscht & Bill Leon (A Toast) –

-Oberst: Private Detective Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) hates cartoons. Unfortunately, he happens to live in Hollywood, where you can’t drop a 16-ton weight without comically crushing one of them.

-Bill L: Valiant is your typical grizzled 40s private detective with a brooding and tragic back story. In this case, his brother and former partner was murdered by a toon. Valiant and Valiant took on Toon cases exclusively and the loss of his brother would prove to be so great a burden on Eddie that he avoids Toons whenever possible.

-Oberst: In need of money, Valiant decides to take a case involving celebrity Toon Roger Rabbit.  He is hired to investigate Roger’s wife Jessica, and determine if she’s been unfaithful.

-Bill L: Turns out she’s been playing patty cake with Marvin Acme; head of the ACME corporation.

Yes, that Patty-Cake
Yes, THAT Patty-Cake…

Upon viewing the photographic evidence, a distraught Roger busts through a window and bolts into the night. The next morning, Marvin Acme is found dead in his factory and Roger is the main suspect.

-Oberst: Eddie gets more than he bargained for when Roger comes to him for help.  Roger, a chaotic Toon famous for his slapstick antics is not only wanted by the cops, but also by Judge Doom, who has made it his mission in life to punish Toons gone bad.

He buys his clothing from Evil Quakers...
He buys his clothing from Evil Quakers…

A Toast

-Bill L: How do you sell a 1940s period piece with integrated animated characters and a plot revolving around murder? To someone like me; that pitch alone is good enough. I get the feeling Disney took more convincing.

-Oberst: According to the oh so dependable folks at wikipedia; Disney bought the rights to this movie in 1981, which went through a slew of hands finally ending on the desk of Robert Zemeckis.

-Bill L: Post-production on this film lasted over a year and all the animation was done traditionally under the direction of master animator Richard Williams.

-Oberst: The movie was a technical marvel, earning Academy Awards for visual effects, sound editing, film editing, and a special achievement Oscar for Richard William’s animation direction.

-Bill L: Aside from The Wizard of Oz, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? was the first film I ever saw. It blew me away then, and it blows me away now. The combination of seamlessly integrated cartoon characters and Bob Hoskins’ masterful acting is sublime. The script is smartly structured and well-paced with some great humor and surprisingly dark turns. I cannot think of a single element in this film that doesn’t deserve praise.

-Oberst: A large amount of credit to the film’s success is due to Bob Hoskins, whose performance as Eddie Valiant perfectly captures that of a hard-boiled detective.  Eddie is an angry alcoholic and no longer finds humor in life.  Ironically it is this very same demeanor which has him playing the unwilling straight-man in the long-running vaudevillian comedy that has become his life.

-Bill L: Another credit to give for live-action acting is Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom. His performance throughout is damn intimidating and the reveal at the end was a personal childhood scare. The way he speaks, the fact that his cape will be blowing in doors with no wind and the way the light reflects on those glasses add up to one of the best movie villains of all time.

He dissolves Toons in acid… ACID

-Oberst: I have to credit the numerous studios (Disney, Warner Brothers etc.) in their collaborative spirit for this film, which allowed the filmmakers to use characters from multiple areas of animation, fleshing out the world of Toon Town in a beautiful way.  Even though many of the appearances from the likes of Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck amount to cameos, they are spread out quite evenly and don’t feel like mere fan service.


-Oberst: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? is a stunning film.  While many films before it blended live action an animation, never before (or since) has hand-drawn animation been paired off with live action footage on such a grand scale.  The way human characters interact with cartoons seems so real that even modern films using high-tech digital imagery have seldom equaled it.

-Bill L: Animation and live action has never been integrated this seamlessly.  When I think of a perfect film, I think of Roger fucking Rabbit!


Drinking Game

Take a Drink: each time you recognize a cartoon character

Take a Drink: every time someone says “Acme” or “Toon Town”

Take a Drink: whenever someone mentions The Dip

Drink a Shot: when Eddie drinks

About Bill Leon

Writer/Podcast at Movieboozer

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