Category Archives: Animation Analysis

Cheap Trick

Whatever happened to all this season’s
Losers of the year
Every time I got to thinking
Where’d they disappear

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Bad Influences, Comix Classic & Current, Idiot's Delight, Movies You Missed, Nostalgic Obsessions, Saturday Movie Matinee, Thousand Listen Club, Unfairly Maligned, Worst Of All

Mad Doctors of the Late 20th Century

Mad medicine was everywhere in the 80s and 90s. There were toys and playsets endorsed by mad doctors, for use by kids. Every time you watched cartoons, you saw a skinny dude with crazy hair in a white lab coat, maniacally mixing chemicals and potions for some nefarious purpose. Under the influence of this, I created my own mad medicine man; Dr. Kill-Everybody.

Dr. K (no hair), with Fronkin Steen and Psuto Moto.

Either the trope became shopworn around 2001, or something happened that discouraged children from playing with chemicals. You don’t see mad doctors and scientists like you used to. Maybe this is a good thing; maybe the concept was subconsciously driving impressionable kids away from lucrative STEM-field careers. I don’t know.

What I do know is this. Mad doctors once flourished in our society, even though they were annoying, and generally sucked.

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Bad Influences, Comix Classic & Current, Faint Signals, Idiot's Delight, Nostalgic Obsessions, Robot Toy Fetish, Saturday Movie Matinee, Worst Of All

The Pink Panther Problem

In the 1970s, children’s television was heavily occupied by a presence that’s nearly forgotten today; an artifact from the opening credits of a slapstick detective franchise, called the Pink Panther.

Like Bugs Bunny, the Pink Panther was a former smoker. Many cartoon animals smoked in the 20th century.

If you were a kid in the 1980s, the sight of that character reminded you of a piece of Henry Mancini’s distinctive score. This is the Pink Panther Problem.

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Bad Influences, Faint Signals, Saturday Movie Matinee, Thousand Listen Club

The Shnoz of Charles de Gaulle

Ahh, the French!

adore them. Their art, their culture, their contributions to the enlightenment of our world. Hate me all you want, but I never felt prouder of Donald Trump than I did when he refused to shake Angela Merkel’s hand for a photo op. Trump didn’t want to get France’s blood all over his hand, and Merkel’s mitts are positively oozing with the spilt plasma of Europe.

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Eatable Things, Faint Signals, Thousand Listen Club, Unfairly Maligned

Gridbug Chasers

In the 1982 science-fiction fantasy TRON, there comes a moment inside the computer world where the protagonists are imperiled by “gridbugs”.

gridbug1

Clearly a threat.

The danger is underlined by dialogue spoken by Cindy Morgan, as the shapely input/output program Yori:

“This isn’t going to be easy. If those gridbugs get us, we’ve had it.”

The gridbugs in question get a ten-second interlude, complete with a unique and rather corny soundtrack cue, and then go on to never affect anything or even be mentioned in passing again. Continue reading

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Don't Know Don't Care, Faint Signals, Idiot's Delight, Movies You Missed, Nostalgic Obsessions, Robot Toy Fetish, Saturday Movie Matinee, Unfairly Maligned, Worst Of All

Career Immolation: A User’s Guide

They say there is no such thing as bad publicity. Of course there is, when the public asks;

“Whatever happened to that guy?”

And then the public remembers, “Oh yeah. That happened.”

(l-r:) Glenn Humplik and Tom Green, with one of Canada's accursed "milk bags". Hopefully I won't be legally pressured to remove this photo.

(l-r:) Glenn Humplik and Tom Green, with one of Canada’s accursed “milk bags”. Hopefully I won’t be legally pressured to remove this photo.

In the late 1990s, MTV gave Canadian public access personality Tom Green his own show. It was a raucous, prank-filled half-hour wherein Green literally abused and humiliated every single person he encountered, while affecting an oblivious, addled mien. It was for the most part very funny. Continue reading

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Bad Influences, Don't Know Don't Care, Faint Signals, Idiot's Delight, Late To The Party, Nostalgic Obsessions, Saturday Movie Matinee, Worst Of All

Animation Analysis: Heavy Metal

When analyzing or criticizing animated feature films, it’s important to keep three factors in mind:

  1. The talent
  2. The resources
  3. The date of production and release
Production designer: the late great Michael Gross, who gave you National Lampoon Comics and the Ghostbusters logo (for a movie Ivan Reitman directed that you might have heard of).

Production designer: the late great Michael Gross, who gave you National Lampoon Comics and the Ghostbusters logo (for a movie Ivan Reitman directed that you might have heard of).

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Faint Signals, Girls of BIUL, Movies You Missed, Nostalgic Obsessions, O'Shloktoberfest, Saturday Movie Matinee, Thousand Listen Club, Unfairly Maligned

The Worst Comic Strip Ever

Every cartoonist has a cabinet full of failures. It’s part of the job. A maxim I live by is one an old writing partner told me:

They can’t all be golden.

That says "Headcheese", in the "Cheese" font. I was being pedantic.

That says “Headcheese”, in the “Cheese” font. I was being pedantic, not meta.

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Bad Influences, Comix Classic & Current, Don't Know Don't Care, Faint Signals, Idiot's Delight, Magazine Rack, Worst Of All

The Extract Experiment

Videodrome, my local video store, often features used DVDs at clearance prices. There was a copy of Mike Judge’s Extract for $3. I’m a huge fan of Judge’s film and television, so I Netflixed Extract upon its release, and truthfully, I was underwhelmed. But a friend who also enthuses upon Mike Judge loved it, and $3 was just right to give it another chance.

What happens when a company has no idea how to market a film.

What happens when a company has no idea how to market a film.

“I didn’t really get this one,” the clerk said as he rang up my purchase, “and I love his other stuff.” I told him a theory I’d read that Office Space was for the workers, and Extract was for the bosses, reflecting Judge’s ascent in the studio system. I also noted that Idiocracy was an impossible act to follow, and that it wasn’t well-received upon its (delayed) debut. I figured if I remained ambivalent about Extract, I could gift it to my friend.

After watching Extract for the second time, I decided to keep it. Continue reading

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Faint Signals, Girls of BIUL, Movies You Missed, Saturday Movie Matinee, Unfairly Maligned

Helping Millennials Understand The Simpsons

The world is tough on young people, especially when there are forces trying to control them, often by coddling them. Every awkward feeling teenagers have is commoditized and acknowledged, no matter how insignificant. Their bad moods are notated with special emoticons. Their hormonal bullshit is all validated as worthy expression.

This gag's humor outlived the technology that inspired it.

This gag’s humor outlived the technology that inspired it.

Coincidentally, almost everything sucks.

I make an effort to be unprejudiced about millennials, I really do. I refuse to become the stereotype of the old man screaming at the kids to get off his proverbial lawn. But you have to understand the frustration. 20 years ago, I had to argue with people my age who claimed Quentin Tarantino was God. Now I’m dealing with the children of those people. Continue reading

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Filed under Animation Analysis, Bad Influences, Faint Signals, Idiot's Delight, Late To The Party, Nostalgic Obsessions, Unfairly Maligned