Monday, July 21, 2014

Chuck Jones exhibit at MOMI

As most of you know, I'm a product of being raised on Disney and Warner Bros. cartoons. For me, the Warner Bros. shorts were my touchstone for humor - my holy trinity consists of Tex Avery, Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones.

Tex and Bob had the biggest influence, because of their wild, anarchic humor and exaggeration - whereas Chuck tended to be more sentimental and relied too much on cuteness.  Yet, he made a handful of shorts that were masterpieces - his Road Runner cartoons are some of my favorites.  "One Froggy Evening" is a classic, and "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" is perfect.

I'm talking about Chuck because there's a wonderful exhibition and film program at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, NY.  The other night I went to the gala opening, there was lots of great animation talent there, the wine was flowing and then we all gathered around for one of the most boring presentations imaginable.  All these politicians and bureaucrats got up and bored us to death with their self-serving speeches.  If I'd known it was going to be a political conference, I would have stayed at home.

They ended the presentation with a rare, but bland, Chuck Jones infomercial about public health.  I'm sure they could have come up with something more entertaining.  The only saving grace for the evening was the awesome exhibition of early artwork, drawings, model sheets, sketches, and of course clips from his films.

The other question I'm left with is - will the public think that Chuck Jones invented the phrase "What's Up, Doc?", because the title of the exhibition is "What's Up, Doc: The Animation Art of Chuck Jones".  I hope not, because that phrase come from a Tex Avery Bugs Bunny short.

If you get a chance to see this wonderful event, do it!  It's a great look at one of the true geniuses of the Golden Age of Animation.  I give it an "A".

--Bill Plympton

Monday, July 14, 2014

San Diego Comic-Con 2014

Hey, comic and animation fans -

Great news, I'm going back to the San Diego Comic-Con, and I've got all sorts of great activities set up.  It all goes down July 23-27 (Wednesday's the Preview night, then Thurs-Sunday are full days).  For more information, please visit

Number 1, I'll have my usual booth, #1537, but what's really wonderful about this year is that we've named the whole row "Animation Alley", because we've created a little neighborhood there.  In other words, if you have any love of animation, you MUST check out Animation Alley!

We've got Animation Magazine, ASIFA-Hollywood, Ken Mora and Jim Lujan at the BellaFe Films table, and of course, the great Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Animation booth - and I must say that this corner of the convention center gets crazier and crazier every year.  We have beauty contests, push-up contests, ball fights and general mayhem.

                             Here's where you can find Animation Alley - just look for row 1500
                                (this photo taken last year from the mezzanine on the west side)

Number 2, I'll host my Bill Plympton panel on Thursday, July 24, noon to 1 pm in Room 23ABC.  This is where I'll screen some new clips from "CHEATIN'" (it just won the Prix du Jury at the prestigious Annecy Animation Festival), plus a brand-new clip from "REVENGEANCE", my new co-production with the great Jim Lujan.  Plus we'll be making a major announcement about "CHEATIN'" being released in theaters, so you won't want to miss it!  And if that's not enough, I'll have a sneak peek of my brand new short film, "Footprints"!

Number 3, I'll be showing my animated short "Drunker Than a Skunk" as part of the Comic-Con Independent Film Festival on Friday, July 25 at 11:35 am in Hall 2 at the Marriott Marquis and Marina, which is 1 building north of the main convention center.  It's a hilarious story about a small cowboy town that torments the local drunk, and it's all animated in ballpoint pen drawings.

So please come to my Comic-Con panel and get a free sketch - or stop by the booth any time and say "Hello".  This year we're going to be offering a ton of original animation drawings at cut-rate prices, because I'm trying to make some space in my studio. 

See you at the Con!

--Bill Plympton

(and my thanks to Jim Lujan for the great flyer!)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Iron Sky

As most of you know, my blog is primarily concerned with animation and all of its aspects.  However, once in a while I comment on live-action films, and this is one of those times.  However, the film I'm writing about tonight does have a ton of digital animation (CGI). 

I don't remember how I first heard about this movie, but it somehow turned up in my Netflix mailer - I've been involved in mkaing a parody film about Hitler, so maybe that's why I ordered it.

In any case, it's a very bizarre live-action film about the Nazis, who, after their defeat in 1945, escape to the far side of the moon to regroup and plan a new attack on the Earth for world domination. 

Directed by Timo Vuorensola of Finland, the story takes place in 2018, just as the Nazis are finally ready to invade the Earth, and Sarah Palin is in the White House, surrounded by stuffed bears and moose.

The film has everything - great story, humor, terrific special effects, satire and Nazis!  What more could anyone want?

In the special features, the director and producers talked about their crowd-funding.  I don't know what the budget for this film was, but it looked like it was $50 million or more. 

I never saw it advertised during its release (Perhaps I was out of town...) but I believe they're depending on the digital release to make back their money.  So, I encourage you to check out this film.  It's very different and imaginative.  I give it an "A".

--Bill Plympton