The Animation Pimp: Beauty and the Stink

The Animation Pimp dishes up a rather cynical, vulgar and surprisingly hostile list of his favorite and not so favorite animated feature films.

Image by Andreas Hykade

Fella in North Carolina recently asked me to name my favorite animation feature. I had no answer. I went to the toilet and thought about it. Three days later I emerged. Off the top of my head. I'd like to apologize in advance for the surprisingly hostile and vulgar tone of this piece, but I just can't, sorry.

Beauty

The Iron Giant, (1999), Dir: Brad Bird

Thanks to Warner Bros. complete neglect of this film, the giant Artest Messa World Peace robot went virtually unnoticed in cinemas. It’s a shame cause it’s pretty good. Story features fantastic 1950s inspired designs, no crap songs, in fact, no songs at all, and, surprisingly, a bit of a critique of the U.S. government and military. Sadly it does have that ex-Friends stench trench and Harry Sinatra Jr.

Up, (2009), Dir: Pete Docter

An old man hanging out with a boy scout and balloons - and it's called Up!? Umm… yeah… NAMBLA boners everywhere. Wait? No, it ain’t like that. Instead, we get a fucking masterpiece about friendship, mortality, living your life before ya snuff it, and bad dogs. Real bad dogs. Hate them dogs.

Bambi, (1942), Dir: David Hand

Bambi’s mom gets murdered. Cool. Seriously, they get it right (rare in animation) by at least showing us that violence does have consequences. Peoples don't have chunks of buildings fall on them, get up and brush themselves off like most crap flicks would have you believe. Don’t believe me? Try it. Please. Also makes it pretty clear – in case you/me forgot – that we’re all gonna get smoked in the end. Accept it.

Yellow Submarine, (1968), Dir: George Dunning

The Beatles travel to Pepperland in their yellow submarine to save the people from the dastardly Blue Meanies. What makes this film so important in the history of animation is Heinz Edelman’s wildly imaginative psychedelic (a.k.a. stoner) design, which released animation from the shivering shackles of Disney and brought it crashing into the world of pop art. That said… meh…the wrong Beatles died.

Fritz the Cat, (1972) Dir: Ralph Bakshi

If Yellow Submarine unlocked the door of the kids rooms of animation features, Fritz the Cat busted them down. Based on comics by Robert Crumb (he was a big fan of the film. Ha. No. Loved it. Craved it. Jerked to it… with his brother), the X-rated film follows the life of Fritz, a college student cat, as he experiences sex, drugs, race riots in late sixties America. The first animation feature to attempt to tackle serious and relevant social themes. It’ll also make ya hard, well if you’re into cats… in THAT way. If you are, umm.. well… okay, I won’t judge. I like some pussies myself.

Akira, (1989) Dir: Katsuhiro Otomo

Introduced Japanese anime to American audiences. Maybe. A gang of teens living in post-apocalyptic Neo-Toyko try to save one of their members after he becomes a telekinetic psychopath. Like Bakshi's work, Akira addresses themes of social unrest, youth culture, and the prevailing fear of nuclear power and technology, but in a slicker way.

Waking Life (2001) Dir: Richard Linklater/Bob Sabiston

A young adult drifts through a dream-like existence encountering many characters who discuss philosophy. Sabiston’s unique digital rotoscope technique enhances Linklater's school of philosophical/existential themes, giving the film a disturbing state of instability, as though one is caught between life and death. Purists don’t like this Bobby's rotoscopy stuff. Purists like The Fleischer’s. They rotoscoped too, assholes.

Grave of the Fireflies, (1988), Dir: Isao Takahata

Saw it once. Loved it. Never want to see it again. Absolutely testy twisted film about two Japanese children forced to fend for themselves during World War II.  Children are not the future. Let’s just leave it at that.

Spirited Away, (2001), Dir: Hayao Miyazaki

A whiny young girl sees her parents turn into pigs. To save them, she must enter a bizarre world filled with an assortment of good and bad characters. What’s remarkable about the film is not only grumpy old man Miyazaki’s rich imagination that fuses fairy tales, myth and ancient history, but his refusal (not in real life, though. No realistic him) to divide the world into simplistic notions of good and bad.

Mind Game, (2005) Dir: Masaaki Yuasa

A young man (Nishi) runs into his ex-girlfriend and they go to her family’s restaurant. While they talk, gangsters bust into the place and kill Nishi. From here on, the story goes nutty. Nishi goes to heaven, argues with God, escapes back to earth and gets swallowed by a whale (like Big Nose). Life as surreal, violent, absurd, smutty and wonderful. Just breathe it in, kids, breathe it in.

Raining Cats and Frogs, (2003), Dir: Jacques-Remy Girerd

Nice one here. Really. A family’s peaceful life is disrupted by a huge flood that threatens to destroy the planet. As the family rushes to save themselves and the animals, they learn that if the world is to survive, the animals and humans must learn to live together. A mesmerizing family film that is beautifully animated with striking character designs, likable characters and songs that aren’t annoying.

Two Drink Minimums

Okay… remember Toy Story 3? No? Umm… the one about talking toys. Okay…well, near the end of the film, the toy gang is heading towards a fiery death pit. They all hold hands, prepared to face fate together. There is absolute TERROR in their eyes. This is IT. Naturally… they’re saved…  Shame cause if it ended there, this would have been an existential masterpiece on par with The Seventh Seal. No, better than The Seventh Seal. Max Von Sydow is an amateur compared to cowboy Woody.

Wall-E

Nice Buster Keaton start then I stopped caring when fatties appeared. Hippies will love it.

Persepolis

Persians are cool. Not Marla though. She’s smell like stale banana gum and pork.

Beavis and Butthead Do America

Do. Heh.

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut

Cole Porter wishes he wrote Uncle Fucker. Well, he would if he wasn't worm shit. Well, did ya evah!

Stink, Stank, Stunk

A Goofy Movie, (1995), Dir: Kevin Lima

Remember when The Simpsons had that episode where the producers of Itchy and Scratchy added the dog named Poochie to make the show more hip to younger viewers? Well, Goofy has a son named Max.

Anastasia, (1997), Dir: Don Bluth and Gary Goldman

Set in the days of the last Tsar (Nicholas II) of Russia, an orphan named Anya, hoping to find out her true identity. Littered with bad songs and historical inaccuracies, it’s probably best that the real Anastasia didn’t survive her family’s slaying. I bet the whole family would choose execution over watching this.

A Shark Tale, (2004), Dir: Bibo Bergeron, Vicky Jenson, Rob Letterman

This tepid Finding Nemo inspiredcoughripoff follows a big city fish who is mistaken for a shark killer, gets in trouble with the mob and meets his runaway son. Like Sharks, it’s probably best that you avoid this embarrassment of fishes.

The Trumpet of the Swan, (2001) Dir: Richard Rich & Terry L. Noss.

A mute Swan learns to read and write, and finds success with a trumpet. Akin to that time when your cousin's teeth repeatedly scraped your dick during oral.

A Man Called Flintstone, (1966) Dir: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

Long before their offspring The Simpsons made the jump to features, The Flintstones made a rather bungled attempt in this parody of spy films. Can’t really remember what happens because I was sleeping after about 10 minutes.

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron, 666ad, Dir: Who cares

Some nifty background design is destroyed by awful writing and a lame plot about horses. Sure, to their credit the producers don’t make the horse speak (reminds me of the opening of the Star Wars Xmas special? Remember? Yeah… when the first 10-15 minutes was all in Wookie talk with no subtitles! That takes balls. So avant-garde it makes Godard look like Ed Wood with a dress), but everything else about this jingoistic ‘just like us’ syndrome reeks of horse shit.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action, (2003), Dir: Joe Dante/Eric Goldberg

Just when you thought Warner Bros. had hit rock bottom with Space Jam, they released this live action/animation piece of dung. It’s bad enough that these once respectable characters are being forced through this muck, but what’s Steve Banjo boy Martin’s excuse (Martin later topped himself by committing the ultimate sacrilege of thinking he’s funnier than Peter “Nutjob” Sellers.) Hopefully in hell, Martin is forced to watch his performance again and again and again and… while being reamed by out of tune banjos.

The Polar Express, (2004), Dir: Robert Zemeckis

This film scares me and reveals everything wrong with Tom Hanks, most computer and motion capture animation. It’s in the eyes. There’s something dead in the eyes, like zombies walking among us. But, hey, if you’re looking to creep your kids out or punish them then I highly recommend it.

Rock A Doodle, (1992), Dir: Don Bluth

I can’t really find the words to describe the pain so let me just give you the synopsis: an Elvis-like rooster moves to the city and becomes a star. Without the rooster, the farm falls under the control of an evil owl. A little boy, transformed into a cat, leads the farm animals to the city to bring the rooster back. Then he dies whilst taking a dump.

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