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Animation Night - The Sqeakuel

Happy Friday!

This week I was hit by a sudden and major storm of depression. Although depression is no break from the norm, something about this week was different. I arose yesterday (Thursday), after watching the entirety of "Ocean's 11", in an attempt to meander outside and raise my spirits. After dragging myself halfway to the front door, I suddenly plopped on my hardwood floor and laid there for about an hour and a half watching the sun go down. Eventually, I managed to stand up, but noticing that it was now dark outside I grew more somber. Deciding to face my sadness rather than just be numb I went outside anyway, and laid in a fetal position on a hammock in the silence of night. That is, South Jersey silence, which is filled with the shooting blades of helicopters, the high pitched screaming of low airplanes, and the constant nearing tornado that is the train station in my backyard.

Why, To watch it melt?

I tell you this to give you a glimpse into my dopamine deprived week. As I'm sure is the case with you, most of my 168 hours were spent anxiously watching a strange bicolored map. I say most because on Wednesday I managed to make this.

So... yay?

Earlier in the week I contemplated if there were even a place for movie night this week. Then Wednesday it occurred to me that, although the election was not solely to blame for my mood, it was certainly a contributing factor. If my state of mind was shared amongst my closest friends and supporters then I held some obligation to at least attempt to cheer us up. Not to mention the entirety of October was filled with horror movies, which in retrospect is kind of repulsive to those of us that don't like it. We had to ease ourselves back into entertainment somehow. But how?

Once again, you all get to watch me squirm while I attempt to breakdown animation (a topic I know virtually nothing about). Our last animation night was on week 9, during which we watched a movie called "I lost my Body". We all universally hated it, with the possible exception of my friend who studied animation and now claims to have liked it.

(Sure buddy)

There was a huge call for Pixar movies this week in Wall-e, Up, and Coco. I don't have a problem with American animation, after all, we grew up with it. The real issue was allowing several movies with similar thematic beats, emotional resonance, and animation style to over crowd the ballot. A newcomer recommended "Coco" to us and, as is tradition, we decided to make it this weeks Pixar choice. The film is an exploration and celebration of the Mexican holiday known as Dia de los Muertos which occurs every year on November 1st and 2nd. That was unplanned.

When October ends so your inner skeleton leaves

Don't worry, I double checked, and "Mohana" isn't a Pixar film. Disney now has their own 3d animation department creating films like "Zootopia" and "Frozen". Inspired by Polynesian Culture this musical features *checks notes* a singing rock. Damn that sounds cool. I wonder how it floats.


When "Our Friend Martin" was recommended to me I originally thought it was a joke. Has anyone heard of this movie? It's a direct to video film that features two friends who go back in time and meet MLK. Our recommender recalls seeing this in school when he was a child. When the teachers rolled out the TV on a cart, you knew you were in for some dope s*it. This would have been a welcomed addition to my curriculum in elementary or middle school. Yet, for some reason they elected to show us "Kangaroo Jack" seven thousand times instead. I wonder why we learned so little about black history in school. Hmmm.

"Should we tell him about the FBI surveillance and his eventual assassination?"

I'm not an anime guy or "weeboo" for the.. weeboo's, but there's no denying that some really inspired and uplifting animation comes out of Japan. 3 of our 7 films hail from there. Every tale is magical and unique and I really admire that (even from the films I don't like). Remember that animation friend that I mentioned earlier? He seems to think that "Summer Wars" will be the most liked option by our group. Kid's fighting back against artificial intelligence? What's not to like?

Are those... bunny ears? Oh Christ. Just keep an open mind, Drew

Mary and the Witches Flower was on our last animation list, and it's the only one that made a come back. Sure, you can say its because I feel bad that this particular person's movies never win, but that's beside the point. If you like "Spirited Away", which had worldwide appeal and critical acclaim, then you'll probably like this. As a kid, if you didn't secretly want to find a magical flower and become a witch for a night, than you had an awful childhood.

"Mister... Mister Longbottom!"

I'm doubtful Castle in the Sky will win which is kind of a shame. The animation style seems timeless. After watching the trailer I am amazed that this film came out in 1986 (well the narrator was a dead give away, but still). The gimmick and setting of this coming of age story is a medieval fantasy.

Last but certainly not least we have "The Breadwinner" an animated feature produced by Angelina Jolie. The film, which was nominated for best animated feature at the 90th academy awards, is my personal addition to the list. I like to add lesser known films that I haven't seen. The message is solid, a scathing rebuke of the sexist ideology in religious fundamentalists. The film offers a glimpse into the world of people suppressed by the Taliban.

Plus it features this unique glimpse into my life during this pandemic

Today, things are looking marginally better and I'm glad I managed to write this! As it stands I have about an hour and a half of daylight left, so, I'm gonna go try to bike or something. If I can't, I promise not to go too hard on myself. Regardless, it brings me fleeting joy knowing I have animation, and you all to fall back on later tonight. See you there.




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