IndieDVD // 1991 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Eric Profancik (Retired) // October 23rd, 2002
"I was becoming heavily influenced by hallucinogens."
-- Bill Plympton
Oh, him? He's harmless, part of the free speech movement at Berkeley in the '60s. I think he did a little too much LDS. -- Captain Kirk, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
There were many times in my life when I wondered if all the hype about drugs was true, none more so than when I recently watched Grass for this site. In that movie, they presented a rather reasonable and cogent argument for the legalization of marijuana. I've never taken any illegal narcotics in my life and have always sided with the authorities in this matter, but I was somewhat swayed by Ron Mann and Woody Harrelson's arguments in that little film. Then I watched Plymptoons and everything reverted back to square one. I can now clearly see the terrible dangers of drugs and what they can do to you over an extended period of time. This is your brain. This is your brain on drugs. There isn't any doubt in my mind that, while talented, Bill Plympton has to have taken a lot of LSD during his time, for I can't find any other explanation for how he came up with half of what I watched tonight. In cartoon after cartoon, I felt like I was stoned and dreaming these surreal images: faces exploding, contorting, morphing, joining, squishing, moving, detaching, and reforming. It was an acid trip like no other. Who needs to spend thousands of dollars and risk jail time when Plympton so eloquently realizes his drug induced fantasies for us?
This disc contains an absolute plethora of information about Bill Plympton and some of his selected "classic" works. According to the disc, "Chances are, you've seen Bill Plympton's animation everywhere." I would disagree since I've been sober all of my 32 years on this fragile rock called Earth, and can't recall tripping across anything he's done (including the MTV spots). However, I have to admit that he must have a cult following to explain the apparent need for this disc (and another one with his entire collected works on it). Flat out, I just don't understand a single thing I watched tonight. It was just too far out and weird to make any sense. Wait; let me qualify that slight exaggeration: 95 percent of what I watched, I either disliked or was bored with. While there was about five percent of material that did intrigue me, it wasn't worth the pain of sifting through everything else to get to it. Actually, let me try that again: "understand" was not the right word to use in the first place. While I did not understand a good deal of what I saw, I just didn't like it. His messages are crystal clear in some cases and thoroughly obscured in others. Plymptoons are simply not my cup of herbal tea.
Even though I don't get it, many people obviously do, as several of the cartoons presented on this disc have won some prestigious award and even one, "Your Face," was nominated for an Oscar. It took me a long time to make it through all of the cartoons on this disc, and even though I spread it out over time, it really was still a painful event. There was nothing for me to relate to or appreciate in what he did/does. Bill is lucky that I'm not a Judge outside of this domain, for he wouldn't have won any awards with me on the panel.
As I said, there is a wealth of information on this disc about Bill and his Plymptoons, and I have no qualms in thoroughly recommending this DVD to someone who already appreciates his work, for, if you're a fan, you'll love the bounty of goodies on this disc. You can start off with a special introduction (7 3/4 minutes) led by Troma President Lloyd Kaufman as he interviews Plympton. It's quite poorly done with a shaky camera and muffled sound, but it's an interesting wake-me-up for the upcoming feature. Actually, there is no feature on the disc. The roughly 60-minute movie is really a compilation of twenty Plymptoons that date from 1968 to 1991. They run anywhere from 15 seconds to nearly eight minutes, and are presented in an absolutely horrific full frame presentation. Nearly all of the cartoons are hideously dirty, marred, scratched, or maimed in some terrible fashion. The sound is a pathetic 2.0 Dolby Digital that varies from feature to feature but never rises above mediocrity at best. Once you get past the "feature," you can go to the special bonus section where you'll find:
* Pick-a-Toon: A menu that allows you to jump to any of the twenty cartoons.
Also know as a scene selection option on other DVDs.
* Cartoon specific commentary by Bill Plympton: I think fans of his work will really enjoy what Bill has to say about his works. If nothing else, it at least explained what the devil "The Turn On" was all about.
* Rarities: Two obscure movies (one actually a silent movie) by Bill and two interviews with Bill. This is the randiest section of the disc as it features a naked woman, S&M pleasures, and a strong dash of naughty language.
* Watch Bill Draw: Self-explanatory, I hope.
* Slideshow: A veritable cornucopia of Bill cartoons and pics.
* And some trailers for IndieDVD and Troma.
I do not understand what Plympton is doing or why his stuff has a following, but that is not necessarily something for me to know. Fans of Bill and his work, just ignore me and buy the disc; you'll love it. Those ignorant of Plymptoons, unless you're looking for a drug-free hallucinogenic experience, keep your distance.
Review content copyright © 2002 Eric Profancik; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 1991
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Special Introduction with Bill Plympton and Lloyd Kaufman
* Commentary with Bill Plympton
* Watch Bill Draw
* IndieDVD Trailer
* Troma Trailer
* Bill Plympton On-line!