This might be the one list I was most excited for. It’s the last one I came up with, too. I had all the others and then, I don’t know, about two weeks before I unveiled that I was gonna be doing all this, I thought, “Animated shorts would be a really terrific list to pull off.” Because, like songs, animated films are something that we all can consume pretty quickly and easily and have real opinions on. And each year, it’s one of my favorite categories to delve into when we get to awards season. And all too often do we forget about all the great ones we watch and never go back to them. When in reality, a perfectly crafted animated short of is one of the greatest viewing experiences you can ever have.
This was also a list I had to do the most homework for. Because aside from what gets shortlisted for awards, there are also dozens of other shorts that come out each year that most people don’t even know about. Occasionally they’ll be highlighted on a video site or get press, but most of the time they come and go without anyone knowing about them. So I really tried to dig and find stuff that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about in the hopes of making a list that was truly worth discussing. I almost wanted to be as inclusive as possible and go to 100, but in the end, I felt 50 was the way to go. Because I’m really happy with the 50 that I chose.
I’m gonna try to make this a point going forward, that I’m going to seek out more animated shorts on a yearly basis, and make them a part of my repertoire for watching and showing people things. Here’s what I’d suggest we all start doing — before you sit down for a movie night with friends or family or your children or whomever… just put on one animated short before your film. Like Disney and Pixar do. They give you a short film, and then the feature starts. I think it’s a great way of doing things and exposing yourself to great, compressed stories that you wouldn’t otherwise get to see.
So, in the spirit of that, here are my favorite animated short films from this past decade: (more…)
179. “Still Alive,” from Paul Williams: Still Alive
This was a trend in the middle of the decade — documentaries about songwriters who contributed a song to their soundtracks. This one in particular is a documentary about what happened to Paul Williams, who wrote dozens of famous film songs in the 70s, including the entire Bugsy Malone soundtrack and “The Rainbow Connection,” and even acted in stuff like Smokey and the Bandit. And then he just disappeared for like 25, 30 years. And the documentary is about what happened to him during all that time, and he contributes this song to it, which is kind of like the real life version of that Al Pacino song from Danny Collins we featured a ways back on the list. It’s nice.