Thursday, March 24, 2005

striking out at the bowling alley

i was way out of practice when bowling yesterday. my first game i bowled a 67. sometimes i could knock down 8 or 9 pins, but then i'd get 2-3 gutterballs in a row. and i would keep getting gutterballs on the first throw in a frame, and then get a bunch of pins when trying to pick up the "spare". i was 2/3 of the way into my second game before i got the hang of sending the ball down the middle of the lane and actually knocking pins down. finally, in my third game i was on a roll (or maybe i need a certain amount of alcohol in me to bowl well), managed to pick up a few spares, and even got a couple strikes. so i got 135 on my third game, literally double the score of my first game.

the academy awards shorts were pretty good, though some were more interesting than others. in a couple of them, not much seemed to happen at all (such as in birthday boy, a 3d-animated short about a little korean boy who puts a bolt on some train tracks so that the passing train will flatten & magnetize the bolt... then proceeds to wander around and play with his toys for another 5 minutes. the animation was lovely, but it came off more like an animation exercise than any sort of actual story). then others were really far out, like ryan:

Ryan, directed by Chris Landreth, is based on the life of Canadian animator Ryan Larkin. Thirty years ago, at the National Film Board of Canada, Ryan produced some of the most influential animated films of his time. Today, Ryan lives on welfare and panhandles for spare change in downtown Montreal. How could such an artistic genius follow this path?

In Ryan we hear the voice of Ryan Larkin and people who have known him, but these voices speak through strange, twisted, broken and disembodied 3D generated characters... people whose appearances are bizarre, humorous or disturbing. Although incredibly realistic and detailed, Ryan was created and animated without the use of live action footage, rotoscoping or motion capture...but instead from an original, personal, hand animated three-dimensional world which Chris calls 'psychological realism'.

that "psychological realism" is wild: heads and bodies are deformed, warping and collapsing as their moods shift. it's surprisingly surreal and yet very linear at the same time.

and perhaps most oddly of all, two of the shorts involved parents who go out to a bar and leave their kids waiting in the parking lot... when i was watching the first one (two cars, one night) i was thinking "what kind of parent leaves their kids in the car while they go get drunk?" then later, wasp came on and the parental behavior there is much worse... is this some kind of weird coincidence, or do a lot of parents behave that way?

overall i would definitely recommend seeing this if it comes to your town. i'm glad i went.

now we just have to wait until the animation show comes to town next month... that will be awesome. and while i'm thinking of it, i really need to pick up the dvd from last year's animation show as well... i totally loved those don hertzfeldt cartoons.

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