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The great cartoons. 
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Post The great cartoons.
I'm starting to get back into drawing, which has led me to revisit some old favorites and early influences. Since we tend to be a bunch that likes to yak about this stuff, I thought we might do an Official Really Good Cartoon Thread.

It's in the open forum, since great cartoons can happen in cinema, television, the web, etc. I'm also open to all genres and formats.

I'll start us off with a show that I've been rewatching: Ren & Stimpy.

Perhaps it's not the most story-driven show of its generation, but, for my money, it is the most adventurous and high-quality in terms of the artwork. The characters are highly expressive and have a sense of unity and weight about their bodies. They work wonderfully in the visual gags. It's also worth mentioning that the animators don't appear to be working from model sheets. You will rarely see them draw the characters the same way twice, yet the characters always somehow seem like themselves. It opens them up to a wide variety of facial expressions and body languages.

And the music is always terrific. They use a mixture of old-school production library music and classical/jazz works. I don't know who made the selections, but there are so many choice cuts. The Stalling-esque musical sensibility adds to the classic cartoon vibe.


Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:54 am
Post Re: The great cartoons.
From that era, I'd choose Rocko's Modern Life. Oh man, the innuendo, the surrealness. Love that show.

Does claymation count? And are we talking strictly television cartoons, or movies?

I know it's not a cartoon, per se, but The Nightmare Before Christmas is a masterpiece of animation. Since I'm on a Disney movie, I'll also say Fantasia.

But if we're talking strictly television, you have to mention Tom and Jerry. I don't mean the lame, new Tom and Jerry, where they talk. I mean the old school one, where you could mute it, put on some sweet tunes, and still be able to follow what's going on in the story.

More oldschool, I really love those creepy, classic Betty Boop cartoons where they would rotoscope Cab Calloway dancing. Here's a link to the best example of this.


Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:16 pm
Post Re: The great cartoons.
Ken wrote:
I'm starting to get back into drawing, which has led me to revisit some old favorites and early influences. Since we tend to be a bunch that likes to yak about this stuff, I thought we might do an Official Really Good Cartoon Thread.

It's in the open forum, since great cartoons can happen in cinema, television, the web, etc. I'm also open to all genres and formats.

I'll start us off with a show that I've been rewatching: Ren & Stimpy.

Perhaps it's not the most story-driven show of its generation, but, for my money, it is the most adventurous and high-quality in terms of the artwork. The characters are highly expressive and have a sense of unity and weight about their bodies. They work wonderfully in the visual gags. It's also worth mentioning that the animators don't appear to be working from model sheets. You will rarely see them draw the characters the same way twice, yet the characters always somehow seem like themselves. It opens them up to a wide variety of facial expressions and body languages.

And the music is always terrific. They use a mixture of old-school production library music and classical/jazz works. I don't know who made the selections, but there are so many choice cuts. The Stalling-esque musical sensibility adds to the classic cartoon vibe.

Classic Ren & Stimpy lines for me:

"I get it now. You're the lemon merchant, and I am the keeper of the cheese, and he knows it. That's why, he's going to KILL US! Don't worry, little missy, I'll save us!"

"Ok, break time's over. Come on, let's get GOING! We don't want to anger that big...dopey.......sarge.....AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH"


Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:25 pm
Post Re: The great cartoons.
On a related note: when you're talking about cartoons, you're not including foreign cartoons (eg: Japanese anime), are you?


Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:26 pm
Post Re: The great cartoons.
Of course. New cartoons, old cartoons, cartoons from anywhere, hand-drawn cartoons, stop-motion cartoons, CGI cartoons, whatever you want.


Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:33 pm
Post Re: The great cartoons.
Ken wrote:
Of course. New cartoons, old cartoons, cartoons from anywhere, hand-drawn cartoons, stop-motion cartoons, CGI cartoons, whatever you want.

Then in that case, I've got a list of cartoons that is mostly composed of Japanese entries:

Grave of the Fireflies: This is actually for me one of the great films of all time, never mind animated films. Watch it if you haven't already done so, but make sure to have the box of tissues handy.

Neon Genesis Evangelion: This is one of my favorite anime series of all time, even though the ending gets really fucked up.

Spawn (Todd MacFarlane): This was one of the first North American cartoons I watched that pushed the line in terms of adult content, which was great, since the source material demanded it.

Star Wars: Clone Wars (2003): If Lucas made his PT films more like this animated series, I guarantee that more people would have liked them, including me.

Cowboy Bebop: Spike Siegel is one of the most lovable rogues in all of fiction, and he drove this anime series along.


Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:49 pm
Post Re: The great cartoons.
Batman: The Animated Series (of the 90's) as well as Batman: Mask of the Phantasm are both essential pieces of The Dark Knight's lore and pretty darned good examples of animation that goes beyond being "just for the kids."

Of course, you can't really have a thread about cartoons without mentioning The Simpsons and South Park. Two shows that probably deserve threads (and probably do in the television section) of their own.

I know it's not really a cartoon, but I loved all of the animation in Pink Floyd's The Wall, the movie.

As for new cartoons, I recently saw an episode of the "Regular Show." It was the first Cartoon Network feature I had seen in a while (I was babysitting my cousins), and was impressed by how clever it actually was. I haven't been able to catch any more episodes, but based on that one episode I think I'd probably enjoy seeing more.

Also, I love Spongebob. It's fallen off of late, to be sure. But he's still one of the greats in my book.

As for anime, I always liked the trippy space scenery of 1986's The Transformers: the Movie. Plus, Orsen Welles contributes his voice in his last acting appearance (at least, I think it was his last)!


Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:55 pm
Post Re: The great cartoons.
I've always enjoyed the Steven Spielberg-produced cartoons of the 1990s. Animaniacs, Pinky & the Brain, Tiny Toons, Freakazoid. These are cartoons that I grew up watching, but revisiting them years later I was pleasantly surprised to find that they work just as well, if not more so, for adult audiences.

Especially Freakazoid. It had a zany, madcap tone to keep the kids involved, but it was also filled with some brilliantly surreal material and loads of hilarious non sequiturs. What other show would have Jack Valenti randomly pop up to explain the ratings system (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzbE0wpqeKc)? Or devote a significant amount of showtime to a one-time-only satire of Jonny Quest (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsBU024GEK8)?

Brilliant voice cast too, with regular guest appearances from David Warner, Ricardo Montalban, and Ed Asner. The show didn't last very long, but there was never really any dip in quality. Entire episodes are available to watch on Youtube.


Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:56 pm
Post Re: The great cartoons.
Blonde Almond wrote:
I've always enjoyed the Steven Spielberg-produced cartoons of the 1990s. Animaniacs, Pinky & the Brain, Tiny Toons, Freakazoid. These are cartoons that I grew up watching, but revisiting them years later I was pleasantly surprised to find that they work just as well, if not more so, for adult audiences.

Especially Freakazoid. It had a zany, madcap tone to keep the kids involved, but it was also filled with some brilliantly surreal material and loads of hilarious non sequiturs. What other show would have Jack Valenti randomly pop up to explain the ratings system (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzbE0wpqeKc)? Or devote a significant amount of showtime to a one-time-only satire of Jonny Quest (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsBU024GEK8)?

Brilliant voice cast too, with regular guest appearances from David Warner, Ricardo Montalban, and Ed Asner. The show didn't last very long, but there was never really any dip in quality. Entire episodes are available to watch on Youtube.



Duuuuude, How could I have forgotten Freakazoid? He's an unsung classic. I mean, Animaniacs and Pinky & the Brain are great too, but Freakazoid really has a lot going for it.


Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:12 pm
Post Re: The great cartoons.
I too love Batman Animated, though Batman Beyond is just if not more awesome. I'm also a big fan of Spongebob, Family Guy, Simpsons, American Dad, Cleveland Show, Static Shock, SWAT Kats and of course Transformers(Armada being my personal favorite)


Thu Mar 15, 2012 6:50 pm
Post Re: The great cartoons.
Some of my favorites in no particular order:

Adventure Time - Incredibly odd story lines and jokes that get me every time
Regular Show - See above...lol
Ren and Stimpy - Loved it when I was little, love it now since I get a lot more of the humor
Animaniacs - Great adult and kid humor, and some fantastic songs/music
The Tick - Doesn't hold up as well now but I LOVED this cartoon growing up
Spawn - Very well done "adult" cartoon
Batman(from the early 90's) - The stills that said the episode name alone are worth it(not sure what they are called)
Noir - Haven't seen it in a while, but I loved this anime series when I watched it in the early 2000's
Cowboy Bebop - Not much to say here...good stuff.
Spongebob - Kind of hit and miss, but the ones that are good are amazing


I'm sure there are a bunch more but that's the ones that popped into my head right away that aren't the common ones, like Simpsons, Futurama, Family Guy, American Dad...etc etc.

EDIT: Almost forgot Wallace and Gromit!


Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:20 pm
Post Re: The great cartoons.
Gimme the decades worth of Looney Toons anytime. And don't push your PC-edited crapola at me. I wanna see Elmer's shutgun go off, Speedy cutting his drunk friends off with "no mas tequila, no mas cervezas!", Sylvester downing a half a bottle of nerve pills when that kangaroo is coming at him and the coyota holding sticks of dynamite when they go off.

For a Web-based experience, I've always enjoyed the stuff from Homestar. Strong Bad is great in small doses.


Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:03 am
Gaffer
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Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2012 8:07 pm
Posts: 35
Post Re: The great cartoons.
http://www.angryalien.com/

'Great' is a stretch.

http://www.angryalien.com/0504/shiningbunnies.html

My internet expertise stops at about 2004 so these are still funny and fresh to me.


Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:39 am
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Post Re: The great cartoons.
johnny larue wrote:
Gimme the decades worth of Looney Toons anytime. And don't push your PC-edited crapola at me. I wanna see Elmer's shutgun go off, Speedy cutting his drunk friends off with "no mas tequila, no mas cervezas!", Sylvester downing a half a bottle of nerve pills when that kangaroo is coming at him and the coyota holding sticks of dynamite when they go off.

The best thing about classic Looney tunes is the expressiveness of the characters. I think it was Tex Avery who mandated that cartoons are not live action, because cartoons can do anything--including violations of the rules that typically govern live action. Cartoons can talk to us, they can make fun of themselves, and they can wander in and out of their own stories as they please. One might say that they're one of the most inventive forms of film criticism.


Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:41 am
Cinematographer

Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:19 pm
Posts: 599
Post Re: The great cartoons.
Never been much for cartoons outside of Looney Tunes and The Pink Pather. Everything else that I used to like as a kid hasn't looked so good when I've re-visited them as an adult. I have the six volume golden collection of Looney Tunes and absolutely love 50% of the content.

I do enjoy Spongebob with the kids.


Sat Mar 24, 2012 8:07 pm
Profile
Post Re: The great cartoons.
Well I am a huge fan of the (good) Walt Disney short cartoons. A few are only so-so. Some of these are brilliant such as "The Band Concert" (1935). Some are a little too "cute" or simply boring (Moving Day), and it shows that the innovative humor of the Warner Brothers Cartoons led to some great 40s Donald Duck short cartoons which combine wacky humor with stunning visuals and animation. With the exception of some "Silly Symphonies" cartoons, I must have seen almost all of them many times (and the list counts hundreds).

In terms of humor the Warner Bros. cartoons are simply awesome. Being a musician, of course one of my all-time favorites is: "Long-Haired Hare" (1948) where Bugs takes revenge on an Opera Singer in the Hollywood Bowl, posing for conductor Leopold Stokowski. Pure genius!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5E6CPiMC8n4 (hope this is thill there)

And of course all of the Road Runner cartoons. They remain as fresh and inspiring as ever.

I also love most of the Pixar Shorts. Again, being a musician, one of my very favorites is "One Man Band". Great comic timing and simply splendidly done. (unfortunately removed from YouTube).

My actual favorite Pixar short is "Knick Knack" (the original version with the non disneyfied big boobs). Wonderful Chuck Jones style gags with the charm of early, slightly crude CGI animation and a sound track by Bobby McFerrin:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8lBDbgq ... re=related (hope this is still there)


Sun Apr 01, 2012 2:09 pm
Post Re: The great cartoons.
In honor of the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Daffy Duck, here is the best Daffy Duck cartoon.


Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:46 am
Post Re: The great cartoons.
Ken wrote:
In honor of the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Daffy Duck, here is the best Daffy Duck cartoon.


Yup, Duck Amuck - definitely awesome!

Well how could I forget Vimeo? Here is Pixar's one man band.
http://vimeo.com/39629172

love the entire concept: two medieval one man bands, one with mainly brass and percussion instruments and one with mainly stringed instruments. The latter seems to be way more virtuoso and refined first, but the "brass percussion guy" counters with jazz and the battle begins. Filled brilliantly with cliches and references to the Animusic videos and definitely a Disney homage before the end titles (please watch until the end) - the funny, unexpected snapping of the string and its sound is clearly a nod to "Toot Whistle, Plunk and Boom" a great 1953 Disney short:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxaLI2gt ... re=related


Thu Apr 19, 2012 9:15 am
Post Re: The great cartoons.
Quote:
Batman: The Animated Series (of the 90's) as well as Batman: Mask of the Phantasm are both essential pieces of The Dark Knight's lore and pretty darned good examples of animation that goes beyond being "just for the kids."


1: Beauty and the Beast. The finest animated anything ever made.
2: Batman ( The animated series) first 1 - 2 seasons. This was a kids cartoon made by adults with adults in mind. Note: Eventually it losy it's edge when it changed it's style to reflect the similar superman and Justice League cartoons.
3: Justice League. Again a supposedly kids cartoon and this more based at adults
4: Animal farm. ( the george orwel based story.) I know that it very politically based but it is a beautifull peace of animation.


Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:38 am
Post Re: The great cartoons.
p604 wrote:
Beauty and the Beast. The finest animated anything ever made.


Hmmmm, yes it is very, very good (if they only would have replaced Celine Dion with Regina Belle - they did it for "Aladdin" - much better. Don't believe me? Listen to the Duet over the end titles: Celine Dion: yeah great vocal skills, but so emotionless - then comes in: Mr. Peabo Bryson: aaaah, now that's what I'm talking about!) BUT the best animated anything ever made: Nah. There is way too much out there to pinpoint that. As for Disney animated features: I'd rank Pinocchio very, very high as well - it was made 51 years earlier!!!

I guess the name Disney suffered a lot during the last 20+ years because they came out with so much commercial crap. After about two decades of mediocre output (after Walt himself died) they finally came back with "The Little Mermaid" just to go all "Mc Donald's" with all their business models. Oh well...
Forget that, Disney (the company) has an impressive top quality output on animated shorts and features from the late 1920s until the early 1950s and perhaps well into the 1960s. Don't let yourself fool by the sugar-sweet image and by the greedy corporate image as we speak - the "suits" have changed a lot.

Regarding wacky humor, brilliant innovative ideas and quality animation: I'd say nothing beats the classic Warner Brothers Cartoons. BUT they are technically not up to the Disney standard. Disney had much more elaborate backgrounds and in each and every animated fim there are long passages where they really used 24 different images each second (leading to smoother motion resolution). Warner Bros. cartoons almost always used each image twice (resulting in a 12 frames per second resolution) to reduce costs. I know that 100% bevause I'm an old guy who owned many a cartoon on Super 8mm, so you can examine everything frame by frame on a viewer, knowing that there was no electronic frame rate conversion somewhere in the process.

Anyway. Please don't underestimate Disney only because it's so uncool. It's like saying Charlie Watts was a better drummer than Phil Collins. Puh-lease!


Fri Apr 20, 2012 4:26 pm
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