Yeah! Oscars! Woo!
Okay, most people know I don’t care about awards shows. My enthusiasm is all a sham to fit in. I usually don’t agree with the Best Picture and many other categories. I guess I don’t think like the academy, so I disagree on a lot of their choices. After all, snubs a plenty, am I right?
Half of the time it is just a lot of pretentious stuff going on too. But this year, this year is different. Have I ever seen an Oscar short before? Who is to say! Maybe accidentally? Maybe before a Pixar movie before it won? But I really don’t know. But I am exited to see them all this year for the first time ever, and see if this is a category I ever have to pay attention to in the future.
Live Action Shorts
South Africa. 18 minutes.
Well shit, this short is acted entirely by Somalian refugees, and takes place in Somalia. Wasn’t filmed there of course, because that country is a wreck. In this story, Asad is a boy who is too small to be a pirate and hijack other boats. He wants to of course, that is all that is happening. There is an old man who wants him to be a fisherman instead, but he can’t catch fish worth shit. Most of his friends go on a hijacking mission, leaving him alone to fend off some rival villagers who have more guns than him, while also looking for anyway to feed his family.
Well shit…again. Basically, this short is a giant “Holy fuck, Somalia is bad right now!” That is the message and thats all. Not saying there should be any more of a message, but it is relatively simple. I think this one ends at an odd time after a strange punchline. Ending it on a light note is an interesting tactic, but for me personally, I feel like this short film is too short. Finish the dang story, assholes!
“Don’t worry Asad. Just activate your fish shield!”
2 out of 4.
Afghanistan. 28 minutes.
Oh snap, my alarms are going off. The pretentious alert! It is literally on fire! Ahhh! Watch out! I mean, just knowing where this film comes from should be enough of an alarm. The main characters in this film are two boys – one a street urchin, the other the only child to a blacksmith. They are friends, despite the blacksmith disapproving of the bastard child. Fucking beggars, man. They have one dream in common! They want to grow up to be Buzkashi champions.
What is that? Technically, it could be a made up sport. I frankly don’t even want to look it up. But basically it is a giant circle jerk of people on horses, trying to be the team/player who successfully takes a goat carcass around a pole and across a line first. Yep. This is the longest short too, but they do a good job of not making the sport look interesting. But yeah, they want to be champions! Except one is poor, and the other is pretty weak (despite having a pretty much guaranteed future as a blacksmith). Kids right?
Yeah, then an event happens. Hope is lost. Dreams are crushed…kind of. And I am bored.
Cheer up asshole. You could be in Somalia right now instead.
1 out of 4.
USA. 19 Minutes.
Hey hey hey. An American Short. That means no subtitles! That will be one bonus point to you (not really unfair, since you don’t know the point scale in my head).
Richie isn’t having a good life. That is why it opens with him in a bathtub, wrists cut and bleeding out. Very messy. But when his sister calls him, he reluctantly answers, only to hear her bitching and moaning about needing someone to watch her daughter for awhile, even though she really doesn’t want it to be him. I wonder why she doesn’t trust him? After all, he seems like a stand up guy so far. He agrees, and has a night of watching a quizzical girl who never really knew her uncle. Oh the shenanigans!
Finally, something a bit more interesting. It is strange to imagine something less than 20 minutes having suspense in it, but Curfew pulls it off nicely. Why is the mom freaking out all the time? What did Richie do in the past that upset the family so much? Is this mini adventure enough to turn anyone’s life around? I had questions, and you know what, it actually answers them too. A complete story, in a tiny package. Excellent, and somewhat funny.
“Hey what’d you do to your wrists?” “Eat your fries, bitch.”
3 out of 4.
Death Of A Shadow
Belgium. 20 minutes.
Hey, even Sci-Fi can make an appearance in this category, nice. In this…world, we see a young man with a strange camera. He watches a mugging take place, but can only see the shadows of the individuals. Once a guy gets killed, he takes his picture an moves on. Oh shit, he hung up the photo of the gallary, just of the shadow itself. Well, that explains the title. He has to take pictures of 10,000 shadows before he is set free, right after death. Preferably interesting deaths. What determines where, when and who? A machine! He can even pick their death too, how sweet. Only 2 from 10k before he hits freedom, what a good time to start finding himself in love with another woman he has seen on missions. Surely that won’t affect his job performance.
I know you are thinking you know the ending already, but you may be wrong. Death Of A Shadow is set up beautifully, everything from the set, to the cinematography, to the details on the screen. You can tell a lot of work went into this picture despite its time frame. I think it was a beautiful story, and can’t even think of any good jokes.
Although maybe it was inspired by an R.L. Stine book?
4 out of 4.
Canada. 22 minutes.
Hey, a Canadian movie. That means I can understand this one too!…Fuck, its from Montreal. Ugh, okay.
Henry is an older gentleman, prepping for a big musical concert with the love of his life, his wife. They are both musicians, and met during World War II, him with a piano, her with a violin. Love at first sight, they got married and lived a long and wonderful life together, even having a daughter of their own who also became interested in music! Life sure is swell for old Henry.
Or is it? Why is he suddenly being held against his will, and constantly put to sleep when he asks simple questions about wanting to get back home to his family, about the upcoming concert? Has he been kidnapped? ARE THEY TERRORISTS?
A little part of me is probably yelling out “No! This is a type of short you hoped to not have to see! Old people with old problems!” Well, Old people are people too it turns out, and Henry was extremely sad. Again, it is not hard to figure out what is going on early into this short, and even if you see it coming, it will be hard not to feel extremely sad. Heck, probably one of the shortest times it took me to almost cry to something. A really great short and the film I think will take the category.
Don’t you dare look at me with that tone of voice, Henry.
4 out of 4.
Yeah, animated shorts! I expect big things from these, as the only ones I have ever really seen before all came before Pixar movies. But here is something they all have in common. They are all dialogue-less. Each one. Why? I don’t know. I complained out loud, someone said “But they are shorts!” Who gives a fuck. Short just means a shorter story, it doesn’t mean avoid dialogue. Come on guys, lets not be snooty here.
Adam and Dog
I know what you are thinking, and yes it is true. Adam refers to the Bible Adam, and dog refers to a dog. The genesis story is boring now, apples and snakes and nakedness. But what about the point of view of a dog? Dog is just running around this vast forest and landscape, discovering new animals and wanting to play, but they won’t play back. Not until he finds man. A very naked man, who throws a stick and, by golly, dog goes and fetches it. He wants to play always! But eventually man finds a naked woman, and kind of doesn’t care about dog anymore. Poor dog, I will play with you.
The animation style I really enjoyed here, feeling minimalistic in my eyes, but yet still with enough detail to really draw you into the world. I am also finding it really hard to talk about a 7 minute film. Fuck it, just watch it Here.
No, dog, not that. Get the stick made of wood.
3 out of 4.
What in the fuck is this? 2 minutes? Rounded up? The fuck?
This is literally just a stop motion comercial or something, about a guy making guacamole. When he cuts up an item, different objects pop out, and that is it. Seriously. Here is a similar film the guy did called Western Spaghetti, because I couldn’t find this version online.
I mean, what the hell else is there to say? Sure its nifty and all, but I think it could just stay on youtube.
It could be an anti war and gaming metaphor, or it could just be drugs.
1 out of 4.
Head Over Heels
No dialogue three is up, and it presents to us a strange world/house. An older couple live in this house, and it is floating through the sky. The woman, however, lives on the ceiling and the man right side up on the floor. Very odd situation, but clearly another giant metaphor. Their marriage is in shambles, and they cannot see eye to eye anymore. Even when the man thinks back to the old times and tries to rekindle their relationship, he only makes it worse and their house goes crashing to the ground. Now he is on the ceiling and she is on the floor, but even more exciting is she now has land to walk on outside of the house. But if he tries to leave, he will just float up out of the house and presumably die!
Fuck. Hopefully his wife doesn’t leave him on his own, all upside down lost and confused. I had a video link to show you for this one as well, but youtube is a fierce and fickle mistress, and already took it down. But trust me when I say this stop motion film is entirely cute and fucking fantastic. I went into this thinking that a different short would be my go to bet, but really I don’t know if it will be this short or the last one. I love the story, and thinks it packs quite a punch.
Much like he will punch her in the face once she gets close enough. Just kidding. Maybe.
4 out of 4.
Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
You may remember this film from the beginning of Ice Age: Continental Drift. No? Oh, that’s because no one watched that movie. Either way, this was definitely a thing, and involves Maggie having a short day in day care. Just watch it Here. Takes a little bit of time.
Although an interesting tale of her bleak and desolate four minutes in a daycare setting, I can’t help but just ask…why? Why do we need this? This could have worked easily as its own subplot of an episode. Can any animated TV Series start making tiny episodes and qualify for this category? Heck, at 21 minutes, why can’t an actual cartoon show qualify? This is just part of the same larger Simpsons canon, so I don’t see it deserving of an animated short award. But to be fair, it was probably better than Ice Age 4.
Who doesn’t love pi?
2 out of 4.
Last one! Paperman premiered at the beginning of Wreck-It Ralph, also nominated for an award of course. Again, just fucking watch it. Only 7 minutes in length, on Hulu even, Here.
There is something different about the animation style here. It isn’t a 3D CGI fest, but clearly an updated version of your standard 2d film. Set in black and white, it is a small an magical tale about a couple of lovebirds and paper. Heck, it has everything. Hope, triumph, love, anguish, and the impossible. All in 7 minutes. This was my favorite to win the award, and fuck it, I still think it takes the cake. It is too cute not to, and although Head Over Heels is more personal, I just can’t stop smiling when I see this short.
I just hope neither of them bust out a pair of scissors.
4 out of 4.
I think Henry will win the Best Live Action Short, and Paperman will win Best Animated Short. But I also suggest checking out Head Over Heels, Death Of A Shadow, Curfew, and Adam and Dog. About an hour and a half of your life.
Well look at that, about the length of a movie.