Adventures in Plymptoons!
When it comes to independent animators, Bill Plympton is the undisputed king. His illustrations have been featured in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Penthouse, and National Lampoon. Since 1981, when his political cartoon Plymptoons was syndicated nationally, he has become a major force and inspiration in the animation world. His work is recognized instantly: he's the guy behind the animated morphing heads, which became famous on MTV, as well as the opening credit sequence for The Simpsons. Moving into motion pictures, Plympton earned two Academy Award® nominations, has directed and animated over sixty animation shorts, live action features, music videos, commercials and documentaries including: One of Those Days, How To Kiss, 25 Ways to Quit Smoking, Plymptoons, The Tune, and Mutant Aliens. He s the only artist who has animated six feature length films ...all by himself. Adventures in Plymptoons! goes deep inside the method and madness of America s most independent animator, creatively incubated in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. Interviews with many of Plympton s collaborators, such as Tom Kenny (voice of SpongeBob SquarePants), David Silverman (Director The Simpsons Movie ), Terry Gilliam (Writer, Monty Python and the Holy Grail ), Martha Plimpton ( The Good Wife ), Matthew Modine ( Full Metal Jacket ), Ed Begley, Jr., Peter Jason, Moby and Weird Al Yankovic, offer candid and comic insights into the irreverent man who has become an international success by not selling out.
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The film covers Plympton's life, career, techniques, mistakes, and battles to get his films made and seen with grace and style. Moments of laugh-out-loud humor mix with a warm emotional look at Plympton's irreverent personality and always edgy films,
If you love animation, especially INDIE animation, and/or films about filmmaking in general, you'll definitely want this movie in your DVD collection.
The female director plays along with Plympton's sexy moments in his films, getting a bit edgy herself, delightfully so. At about 90 minutes, the film is just the right length for its content, and covers its ground just as well as the recent autobiographic book on Plympton does, which is also a good read. The film has you rooting for Plympton to make it big (really big, bigger than he is now), and I gladly join this crowd.
I'm not gonna spill any beans and spoil any plot points here by going into details about the film. Suffice to say that I'd be totally surprised if anyone doesn't like this nifty movie once they see it.
You can't go wrong buying it, knowing that you're supporting not one but two very worthy filmmakers who have freed themselves from the Hollywood-creative-stranglehold machine and done it their way.
I can't recommend this film enough to everyone, unless I come to you door, kidnap you, and force you to buy it, but I don't have time for that, and I don't know where you live anyway, and I can't afford the bus fare, so I'll just urge you to buy it as soon as you can.
You won't be disappointed !
(Yes I live in Portland, Oregon, home of all things artistically alternative and INDIE.)
The documentary 'Adventures in Plymptoons!' gives us the opportunity to find out more about his life and work, filling one's hunger for this real master. Alexia Anastasio, the director, conducts us in a movie that every independent animation lover should watch at lest once, and not only because all data and artist's curious facts. The movie itself is full of jokes that reminds the audience about Plympton's singular style of directing. The interviews both inform and amuse ranging from fans, colleagues and film critics. Excerpts from many of the director's movies are there to be appreciated. And Plympton himself is just as eccentric as admirable.
For sure, an inspiring documentary to every person linked to animation worldwide. A film not to be missed, that proves itself as inspiring as any of the director's animations.
Director Anastasio takes a jokey tone, as if trying to find the documentary equivalent of Plympton's unique, absurdist style. Right up top, Terry Gilliam pronounces very seriously he's only doing an interview about Plympton to get paid, and Ed Begley Jr. deadpans that he thought he was there to do an interview about Bill Clinton, not Bill Plympton, and gets up to leave. That sort of sets the tone as the film becomes various short, often funny pieces about Plympton's history, philosophy, art and humor.
We only see short bits and pieces of Plympton's work, which can be frustrating, and might make the uninitiated wonder what the fuss is about. To me, Plympton's cartoons are often about nothing as much as the build. The slow repeating of variations on a joke until the very repetition is part of what make it so funny. That's hard to capture in an 85 minute documentary.
Plympton himself comes off as an extremely likable, eccentric character, who seems to have inspired a lot of friendship and good-humored admiration from the many worked with him or befriended him. And there a lot of fun moments here, along with some interesting stories about his life and work. I just wish it felt a little bit less like a celebrity tribute show/comedy roast, and more an exploration of an artist's work.