The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Project)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
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swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#576 Post by swo17 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:52 pm

movielocke wrote:Clockwork Cleaners
How to Ski
The Donald cartoon that will be on the list is the one in which he bakes a plane.
For the sake of those seeking these out, I believe you're referring to Clock Cleaners, The Art of Skiing, and The Plastics Inventor, respectively.

Also, if only for the sake of the final list being more conformist, I strongly suggest you vote for Black Ice. :wink:

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Gregory
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:07 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#577 Post by Gregory » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:37 pm

matrixschmatrix wrote:The Man Who Planted Trees is so gorgeous and wonderful that I'm literally ashamed of myself for not having watched it sooner, and for real anyone who has a list that they haven't submitted yet- watch it. It's a half hour long and on youtube and gives me a feeling that I rarely remember getting outside of The Passion of Joan of Arc or The Flowers of Saint Francis, just pure admiration and hope for humanity cracking through a normally impenetrable wall of dull cynicism. It's got the power of a myth, but the specificity of a story that is literal and believable, and it's the kind of thing that makes one stop wanting to make excuses for not doing anything to make the world a better place- not because it shames you, but because it makes you feel that there is hope in patience and decency and love and trees.
The Man Who Planted Trees really is that great. A great adaptation, I mean. Most of what makes the film so special, for me, was already there in the Giono book, and Back's film brings it to life so impressively. With different criteria, I'd rate his previous film Crac! at least as highly (not sure how I'll end up ranking them). It shows Back is able to tell a wonderful original story that's as much personal and emotional as it's about the culture and history of a place. He wrote it (with initial help from his 10-year-old daughter!) and storyboarded the story as only an animator could. Many of the (near-)wordless festival-type animated shorts have limited themselves to very simple and minimal characters, movements, and stories, Crac! communicates has so much in it. It's teeming with life and activity, communicating so much through just through form and movement. It's fascinating the way Back shows an entire way of life wiped out, and something that should have been an heirloom being discarded, and yet the whole thing is made so joyful.

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movielocke
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#578 Post by movielocke » Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:59 pm

swo17 wrote:
movielocke wrote:Clockwork Cleaners
How to Ski
The Donald cartoon that will be on the list is the one in which he bakes a plane.
For the sake of those seeking these out, I believe you're referring to Clock Cleaners, The Art of Skiing, and The Plastics Inventor, respectively.

Also, if only for the sake of the final list being more conformist, I strongly suggest you vote for Black Ice. :wink:

Thanks for the correction.

The Plastics Inventor, I watched that film probably 200 times as a kid, and it made me say at the age of five that when I grew up, I wanted to be an inventor. I drew a crayon diagram of one of the things I wanted to invent, it was a combination radio, television, cassette player, and VCR that could fold up like a transformer very small--pocket sized--so that you could watch tv and movies in the car or anywhere you liked. Unfortunately for me, it seems like Steve Jobs watched the cartoon first. ;)

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swo17
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#579 Post by swo17 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:04 pm

Gregory wrote:I feel bad for excluding Stan on this, but I need more than optical zooms to think of something as animated.
My consideration of some of Brakhage's films as animation has nothing to do with optical zooms, but with their being painted or otherwise constructed frame by frame. (Note that Wikipedia classifies him as an animator in this sense.) It's the technique used that makes them animation to me, even if the end result is not necessarily an illusion of continuous motion. Note that this is not just an excuse I'm using to sneak in borderline films that I love. If I were doing that, I would have certainly made room for Pawłowski's Kineformy and Waskowski's Somnambulists, but the Polish definition of "not strictly using animation techniques, but having a painterly quality" doesn't cut it for me.

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zedz
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:24 pm

Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#580 Post by zedz » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:05 pm

It's just occurred to me that there hasn't been much comment on Borowczyk so far, and he's one of the monumental animation influences, inspiring great swathes of Eastern European animation from the sixties onwards. He was a huge inspiration for Svankmajer and the Quays. Renaissance will be riding high on my list.

Also watched recently:
- the NFB Schwizgebel disc, which is a must-have. Lots of great work, including one film that will make my list (the other Schwizgebel I'll be voting for is Jeu, which isn't included). La course a l'abime is also fantastic, but will miss out by a whisker.
- the NFB Caroline Leaf disc. Exquisite animation. I'm particularly enchanted by her early sand-on-light-box works, which are astonishingly executed. Her terrific collaboration with Veronika Soul, Interview, might make my list: a brilliant piece of jazzy free-association that displays a breathtaking range and mastery of technique.
- The Complete Goofy. Well, this was a complete chore. In terms of technique, Elvis has long left the Disney building by the time these roll around, and in terms of content, they're drabber than drab: absolutely boilerplate suburban stereotypes with absolutely boilerplate subversions of same, situations coded as 'funny' (e.g. hubby isn't actually any good at home handyman stuff) that have no shred of original comic life. They're even lamer than Pete Smith Specialties, if you can imagine such a thing.

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knives
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#581 Post by knives » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:09 pm

I only had room for Game of Angels for my Borowczyk, though that's more for my only having seen a handful than anything else. Also have to agree on the Goofys which I started rewatching a month ago and didn't go past the first disc.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#582 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:10 pm

The Goofy-as-suburban-dad ones are pretty dreadful, though I think I liked them better than you, but they're not more than a third of the package- the various how-to spoofs were often pretty good, I thought, though still a bit too staid for my tastes.

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zedz
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#583 Post by zedz » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:14 pm

I found the How-Tos as rote as the Dad ones, though, as you say, not quite so godawful. I can hardly remember anything else by now, because those two modes completely dominate the later part of the set.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#584 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:17 pm

There is a dire feeling of squareness when Disney tries to be funny, sometimes. Even in the ones I quite like- Donald in Mathmagic Land, say- it's occasionally hard not to feel as though one is enjoying the comedy of, like, a decent episode of the Sonny and Cher show.

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knives
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#585 Post by knives » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:22 pm

Well, Disney has never been a source of great writing. All of your talent on that front were with Fleischer and later Termite Terrace. The talent has always been in the art and movement, though even that I find hit or miss. You get something like a Ward Kimball short and the story is just entertaining enough to sustain itself, but the animation is col with a jazzy sense of geometry if not spontaneity.

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Gregory
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#586 Post by Gregory » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:38 pm

My view is that those Disney shorts were meant primarily to be entertaining and represent tasteful, High Quality Art, and to a lesser extent to be funny. They're far more sweet and cute than really funny. When I was four or five, I watched a few of them dozens of times each—Goofy and WIlbur, Mickey's Trailer, and Bubble Bee (a Pluto cartoon)—but even at that age I didn't really find them funny, just entertaining and appealing. I liked the way things moved, I thought the trailer was really cool, etc. I later learned that they weren't funny because the artists who were making them were catering to Walt's extremely middlebrow tastes and were too afraid to try anything different or unexpected, anything with even a trace of satire, irreverence, subtext, or inventiveness beyond the basic form (which was outstanding but not put to the best use).
Last edited by Gregory on Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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swo17
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#587 Post by swo17 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:40 pm

zedz wrote:Renaissance will be riding high on my list.
Is this only available on the French DVD for La Bête?

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Gregory
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#588 Post by Gregory » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:49 pm

knives wrote:Well, Disney has never been a source of great writing. All of your talent on that front were with Fleischer and later Termite Terrace. The talent has always been in the art and movement, though even that I find hit or miss. You get something like a Ward Kimball short and the story is just entertaining enough to sustain itself, but the animation is col with a jazzy sense of geometry if not spontaneity.
He's a great example of what I observe above about the regime under Walt. Kimball was an extremely sophisticated, intelligent, original artist whose work would have knocked the world's socks off with its personal distinctiveness if he'd had more creative freedom, but, understandably, he really fitted himself into the mold at Disney and just earned a living. He had his own ideas but they were his ideas of what Walt would like and find funny. I'm sure he sincerely liked a lot of the work he contributed to, but it was pretty strictly circumscribed.
Last edited by Gregory on Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Steven H
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#589 Post by Steven H » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:51 pm

zedz wrote:- the NFB Caroline Leaf disc. Exquisite animation. I'm particularly enchanted by her early sand-on-light-box works, which are astonishingly executed. Her terrific collaboration with Veronika Soul, Interview, might make my list: a brilliant piece of jazzy free-association that displays a breathtaking range and mastery of technique.
Leaf's Two Sisters featured fairly highly on my list. I like a lot of Leaf's work, but that one really left a mark on me and what I expect of the some animation at a raw emotional level.

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knives
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#590 Post by knives » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:56 pm

Gregory wrote:
knives wrote:Well, Disney has never been a source of great writing. All of your talent on that front were with Fleischer and later Termite Terrace. The talent has always been in the art and movement, though even that I find hit or miss. You get something like a Ward Kimball short and the story is just entertaining enough to sustain itself, but the animation is col with a jazzy sense of geometry if not spontaneity.
He's a great example of what I observe above about the regime under Walt. Kimball was an extremely sophisticated, intelligent, original artist whose work would have knocked the world's socks off with its personal distinctiveness if he'd had more creative freedom, but, understandably, he really fitted himself into the mold at Disney and just earned a living. He had his own ideas but they were his ideas of what Walt would like and find funny. I'm sure he sincerely liked a lot of the work he contributed to, but it was pretty strictly circumscribed.
That's certainly fair and I do feel if he ran away like Hubley did he'd be a bigger legend, but even with what we have it is an impressive career.

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YnEoS
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#591 Post by YnEoS » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:05 pm

I wasn't gonna submit a list, cause I didn't find any time to participate and there are several huge blind spots in my knowledge of animation. But I could very easily do a top 50 if there's worry that there won't be enough lists for a top 100. Although it will be heavily skewed towards stop-motion.

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swo17
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#592 Post by swo17 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:07 pm

There are always blind spots. If you don't feel you're stretching to come up with 50 great films, I'd say submit away.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#593 Post by matrixschmatrix » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:04 pm

Yeah, go for it, nobody's ever going to watch even a reasonable percentage of any of these fields. It'd be boring if you could, really.

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knives
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#594 Post by knives » Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:18 pm

Yeah, looking over our next list for example it is almost anxiety inducing how much I haven't seen (and how bad some of the most popular titles look),but at the same time if I had to submit a list today I feel confident I could come up with something good. Also you ever differing to stop-motion is a clear sign you have some level of good knowledge.

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movielocke
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#595 Post by movielocke » Wed Jul 03, 2013 1:55 am

zedz wrote:I found the How-Tos as rote as the Dad ones, though, as you say, not quite so godawful. I can hardly remember anything else by now, because those two modes completely dominate the later part of the set.
It's funny, I get the same impression, not quite godawful, from most of the abstract animation I've seen. some of it is interesting from a technical standpoint, but most of it, I can hardly remember anything about it, other than that it was "art" (with extra quotation marks). On the other hand, I can remember dozens of distinct short films from most of the major animated western characters, that's probably because they have story and character which is much more memorable than films deliberately eschewing things I find memorable.

One of the things about the Goofy cartoons that I do find culturally interesting is the persistence of the stereotype of the incompetent but well-meaning suburban male--and how Goofy completely sets the parameters of that iconography. Whenever they're not warring about mythical wars on christmas I sometimes hear rightwingers complain about the war on men, and how they are oh-so-offended that white male suburban husbands are constantly portrayed in the media (sitcoms and commercials, primarily) as completely incompetent morons. It's funny to me that the things Goofy portrayed (and which would have been funny to audiences back then), still ring a painfully familiar bell to audiences today when they see those tropes enacted over and again in modern media. And I'm also fascinated by the insistence that this is some kind of new phenomena, when one only has to look at Goofy or Bewitched to see that this has been with American culture for six decades now, yes even in the sacred and divine pinnacle of Christian purity, the fifties, even during that halcyon era men were being undermined--sigh--it's tragic really.

It's also interesting that for Disney, the heroes were the bumbling but well meaning oaf or the everyday guy, and for Warner or Lantz or others the hero was often the trickster, the Loki model, Bugs Bunny or Woody Woodpecker or Daffy. Mickey and Goofy represent the sort of characters that Bugs or Woody completely dominate and demolish. While Donald, on the other hand, is the closest thing Disney has to a trickster character, and in the reverse of the other cartoon studios, the trickster comes out on the bottom for Disney.

personally, while I love the Rube Goldberg aspects of the insane tricks the Looney Tunes play, I prefer the moral worldview of the Disney cartoons, because the meanest guy always wins the Looney Tunes film, and smarts always seem to accompany a penchant for meanness in those films--the meaner you are, the smarter you are (but it's okay if you're the 'good guy' and still a complete jerk, because you're good, you're the winner in a classic Just World Fallacy justification of some really vicious actions). While on the other hand, characters in the Disney universe, can be either smart or stupid, and still win (or lose, as it may turn out), but a lack of meanness seems to always be crucial for Disney in determining who will win out in the end. Mickey shows you why he's good, he would save an enemy from drowning; whereas Bugs will save an enemy from drowning, make sure they're okay, and then kick them back in the water. That's not to say that Disney isn't often problematic in his representations, he certainly is, and often, it's just in bingeing on so many Looney Tunes followed up by the traditional Disney slams here I decided to highlight some of the justice problems that come up in the Looney Tunes (at times it feels like I'm watching a professional wrestling match, with a heel versus a face).

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YnEoS
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#596 Post by YnEoS » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:24 am

Alright, I think I'll start working on a list. Coming up with a solid top 50 is no problem, there's just a lot of 2D animation, particularly western cartoons, that I haven't explored yet. Tonight I'll go through this thread and try to watch any and all shorts on youtube that people seem excited about. So if you have a favorite 2 dimensional short film that you think needs an extra vote, and there's currently no youtube link in this thread, post it and I'll do my best to get through them all.

I'll also probably post a bunch of last minute recommendations of my own with viewing links once I re-acquaint myself with everything that's been discussed so far.

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movielocke
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#597 Post by movielocke » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:39 am

Reading back my post from late last night, I wasn't trying to shit on abstract animation, I was just drawing a comparison to what I find unmemorable in bulk compared to the Disney-ness that others find unmemorable in bulk. I hope it didn't sound too trollish.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#598 Post by matrixschmatrix » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:48 am

I'm not far off from your view there, I suppose- there's abstract stuff that catches me, like Fischinger, but a lot of it leaves me cold. I actually had an intense bout of anxiety while watching Begone, Dull Care last night, so it's scientifically proven not to work for me.

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swo17
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#599 Post by swo17 » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:59 am

matrixschmatrix wrote:I actually had an intense bout of anxiety while watching Begone, Dull Care last night
That feeling is called joy.

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matrixschmatrix
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Re: The Animation List Discussion & Suggestions (Genre Proje

#600 Post by matrixschmatrix » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:07 pm

I am sorry, I do not understand these... 'emotions', I believe you hoo mans call them...

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