Like a true nerd, I spent my birthday at the movie theater, watching the animated short subject nominees for Best Animated Film Short Subject. Also, we totally played Lord of the Rings Monopoly and Klingon Monopoly at the same time.
INSTANT NERD CRED.
I ended up attending the 3:45 show with some of my nearest and dearest:
Kerstin, one of my best friends since middle school, a true fangirl
Andrew, one of my best friends for about six years now, a true intellectual
Lacey, my twin sister (therefore best friend since before birth), a perceptive woman who almost went to film school
Matt, her boyfriend
Together, we experienced…THE 2012 OSCAR NOMINEES (or are they 2011 I’m confused)
Only Kerstin and Andrew saw this the whole way through, because Lacey and Matt were running late, so I stayed in the lobby with Lacey’s ticket. I came in about halfway through the film. I saw that it had simple line animation with graytones, and appeared to be about a family reunion where the little boy was very bored, ran around playing his own games, involving a bear on the wall and the train and a coin, and then everyone went home. The animation didn’t impress me, although I did like the ending scene, when it was getting dark, so you saw the light of the headlights and the windows on the ground, and the cars pull onto the street to drive home.
Lacey, Matt, and I asked Kerstin and Andrew what it was about.
“It was called Sunday,” Andrew reported.
“It looked to be about a family reunion,” I ventured a guess.
“Yeah,” Kerstin said. “The family all got together.”
We really didn’t have a whole lot to say about it.
“What was the next story?” Lacey asked.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
“This one is going to win,” I said, even before the show actually began. “It has the best distribution. It’s going to win.”
“I have to agree with Kelsey,” Andrew said after the show was over. “I think the books one is going to win.”
“I liked it,” everyone reported. They commented on how smooth the animation was, especially compared to some of the others; it had a good story, and the colors were good too.
A Morning Stroll
Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
“Why was that one nominated?” I asked.
“It was based on a true story,” Andrew said.
“It was based on an article,” I said, “That as published in 1989.”
Apparently I was the only one who remembered that title card. We tried to figure out what the original article was about, given that the story showed us 1959, 2009, and 2059. Perhaps someone had written a small human piece on seeing a chicken treated like a pet?
I had hated the animation, and said so. At first I had found the 1959 animation charming in its simplicity. But the 2009 animation seemed like it was based in the 1990s, all neon colors and awkward proportions, kind of reminiscent of Logorama, actually, which came out in 2009, so I guess it makes sense.
In any case, we decided that while it was definitely different and that was good, the story seemed sparse, the animation didn’t fit with the rest of the nominees, and the 2059 was kind of gross (the entire audience had shouted in disgust at it).
Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby
“I liked this one,” Matt ventured, “It was my favorite, besides the book one. I liked the brush strokes.”
“I liked how they used the brush strokes to show movement,” I said.
“Which one was that?” Kerstin asked.
“It was the one about the English guy who moved to the Canadian wilderness and then committed suicide by wandering into the cold,” I said.
Lacey disagreed. “They didn’t say why he died. They just show how he died.”
“He left that letter saying how he was looking forward to seeing everyone,” Matt pointed out.
“And he had his suitcase,” Lacey pointed out.
“So he wandered out to go stargazing and then froze to death?”
“He wasn’t prepared for the cold,” Lacey said. “In fact, I think that was the point of the movie. He wasn’t prepared for anything. He never made anything of himself.”
“Was it based on a true story?” Matt asked. “I kind of wondered, with the photograph at the end.”
“I loved this one,” Kerstin said, “It was my favorite, that and the book one.”
“It was adorable,” Lacey said.
“It was very cute,” I said.
We had nothing else to say on the subject.
Honorable Mentions — they also showed some other notable animations of the year, we supposed to fill out the hour-and-a-half requirement.
Nullarbor– We weren’t quite sure what to make of it. It was entertaining, certainly, but at the end, who triumphed, the old man or the young man? Did anyone triumph?
Hybrid– Actually we didn’t have anything to say about this one either, except that it was “political”, but how was it political? Was it global warming? Was it oil? We mentioned these options, and then moved on to other topics, being more interested in raving about the Fantastic Flying Books instead.
Amazonia– The very last show. We almost didn’t mention it, but Andrew mentioned that he didn’t like the art — specifically, he didn’t like the faces. I pointed out that I didn’t really like the cutesy animals either, but they served well to contrast the absolutely horrible things that happen in the course of the short, and then, at the end, it turns out they were just performing a show? What was that all about? Andrew pointed out that it was probably about human perceptions about animals then. We think they’re cute and innocent and putting on a show, but their lives are on the line, after all.