'Adventures in Plymptoons!' salutes playful/indie Oregon animator
A movie review of "Adventures in Plymptoons!" — Alexia Anastasio's enjoyable documentary about Oregon's Oscar-nominated animator, Bill Plympton.
Special to The Seattle Times
'Adventures in Plymptoons!,' a documentary directed by Alexia Anastasio. 85 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains cartoon violence, profanity, nudity). Northwest Film Forum, through Thursday.
Bodies and faces appear to be made of Silly Putty. Decapitations, amputations and other mutilations are absurdly, ridiculously commonplace. Yet nothing lasts long enough to give offense.
Such a description could apply only to the cartoon universe of Bill Plympton, the Oregon animator whose mischievous shorts "Your Face"(1987) and "Guard Dog" (2004) earned Academy Award nominations for best animated short subject.
Plympton hasn't won an Oscar yet, but that hasn't stopped another filmmaker, Alexia Anastasio, from saluting him with "Adventures in Plymptoons!," an enjoyable feature-length documentary about his unique career.
Naturally this involves a lot of talking heads — some of them with tongues planted deeply in their cheeks. Terry Gilliam wants to know when he'll get paid for going over-the-top to laud Plympton. Ed Begley Jr. starts out praising him but suddenly becomes befuddled. Ralph Bakshi, Keith Carradine and porn star Ron Jeremy make their own curious contributions.
Plenty of clips from Plympton classics demonstrate why friends and fans have been rounded up to honor him. Home movies evoke happy memories of "mud parties" on the Clackamas River, and Plympton siblings and one ex-girlfriend talk about the childhood events that helped to shape his style.
Plympton himself discusses the artistic impact LSD had on his work in 1969, his awkwardly pacifist status in the National Guard, his reluctant rejection of a Disney contract, and his long-held position as "the poster boy for indie animation."
Anastasio plans to attend most screenings of "Adventures in Plymptoons!" at the Northwest Film Forum this weekend. Also on the program is a new Plympton-produced short, "Ingrid Pitt Beyond the Forest," based on an 8-year-old girl's subjective view of the Holocaust.
John Hartl: firstname.lastname@example.org