Posts Tagged ‘Humorously Bad’

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Cartoon Hell #35 – “Private Eye Popeye”

January 25, 2010

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

Sounds like an affliction the elderly would get.

You can only make so many Popeye cartoons where he loses Olive Oyl to Bluto, then beats Bluto into a coma. Sometimes changing the setting isn’t enough. Eventually they had to give him actual occupations beyond being a sailor who did no actual sailing.

 Why, in the mid-fifties, with hard-boiled fiction and movies at a high rate of popularity, did they decide to dress up Popeye as Sherlock Holmes for his detective outing? Did they not think people would realize he was a detective if he simply wore a Sam Spade costume? It speaks to the general cluelessness of the Fleischers as a whole. 

I guess with a squint that prominent a magnifying glass might be useful.

Popeye receives a scream via phone, and traces the call by following the wire using a magnifying glass, because this cartoon is intent on using the laziest visual shorthand for everything. 

He follows telephone line to a fabulous home, one suspiciously similar to the nice home in every Fleischer cartoon, finding the door left ajar. He of course enters. At this point I’m completely unsold on the whole premise. Why is a man trained as a sailor doing any of this? An alternate theory comes to mind, if you’ll indulge me for a moment.

 Maybe Popeye is a infant with progeria acting out his fantasies? All this behavior would make perfect sense if done by a five year old. Of course a little kid would think detectives still dress like Sherlock Holmes. He’d also think a magnifying glass was the most important tool for a private investigator, and that the hat is a requirement. 

Sadly, this theory doesn’t change what Popeye actually is. Once he goes through the door, a crazed Olive Oyl opens fire with a Tommy Gun, creating a Popeye-shaped outline of bullets. This is one of those gags where I stop for a moment and ask, “Was this ever funny?” Maybe it’s like that chicken crossing the road gag, where it’s never evoked laughter, but always comes so easily that hacks can’t resist. 
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Cartoon Hell #29 – “Red Riding Hood”

December 28, 2009

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome. 

Generic? HECK NO!

Fairy tales were an amazing resource for slacker cartoonist who needed to fill a yearly quota of shorts. All you do is add a few jokes to the tired formula, slap on ironic commentary, and people will assume you’ve done a clever thing. For those who doubt the formula’s durability, note the numbers they’re using after Shrek films these days.

 Little Red Riding Hood is a story that hasn’t just been exhausted, they’ve strip-mined it, the earth salted so nothing good might ever grow again. I’ve lost count of how many shorts I’ve seen based on its premise. Hell, entire movies have been made lampooning it. I can’t possibly imagine what this short could do that I haven’t already seen.

 Except maybe plagiarize Mickey Mouse. The protagonist is a dead-ringer for a Disney production, but this came out in a less litigious age. Hearing shrill mouse-singing on a soundtrack that sounds like it survived a bombing gives this film a solid first impression. 

Who n' the Hell am I looking at here?!

A grandmother lies in a bed embroidered with the word “Grandma”. She’s sick, you can tell because she’s wailing, a doctor at her side. This film not only assumes you’ve never heard this story before, but that you can’t recognize basic concepts without labeling. 

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Cartoon Hell #27 – “Time for Love”

December 14, 2009

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

That time is now, baby.

“Time for Love” sounds like a forgotten B-side to a Barry White album. I was shocked to discover that this cartoon is in no way a slow jam. It’s not even particularly smooth.

The credits aren’t promising, featuring that odd, Dudley Do-Right throat warbling. Singing like a muppet with a nasal problem was all the rage back then.

Swans are pretty freaky.

We begin with two swans a-swimming (tis the season, damn it!) who show their love by choking each other with their necks. The camera swings over, and I realize I’m watching a film in glorious STEREOPTICAL THREE-DIMENSIONS! Fleischer had a wonky process he used for years where they’d design a real, three dimensional diorama as the background for their animation. It’s a neat idea, but I think any special effect fails if you find yourself distracted by it, wondering why it doesn’t look right.

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Cartoon Hell #24 – “Little Brown Jug”

April 24, 2009

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

The big brown jug killed many.

The big brown jug killed many.

My involuntary response to hearing the phrase, “Little Brown Jug,” is, “Heeheehee, hohoho.” It drives me bat-shit, but it’s the inescapable side effect of being raised around folk music. Since this is another “Sing Song” production I assume it will lull me into believing it’s an ordinary cartoon and end up with a bouncing ball hopping over lyrics. Sneaky devils.

The film starts off near an old saw mill where a procession of beavers bounce what appear to be red balls. I can’t stand to see beavers slacking off when there’s work to be done, it angries me up something fierce. When it’s revealed in a later shot that they’re collecting apples my anger lowers but my confusion increases. Why are beavers collecting fruit? And what does any of this have to do with jugs that are both brown and little?

Truly, unironically unsettling.

Truly, unironically unsettling.

When a small beaver can’t manage to slap an apple out of a tree, he decides to get devious about it and returns with a fan. The blast of air reveals the tree’s hideous, weathered Ent-Face, and he drops apples as he hugs himself for warmth. His craggy face is now burned into the back of my brain. It really was needlessly creepy.

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Cartoon Hell #22 – “Professor Yaya’s Memoirs”

April 13, 2009

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

No, it is not a sisterhood of any sort.

No, it is not a sisterhood of any sort.

That’s right, we’re moving on from obscure shit like Popeye and Betty Boop to the real stars of yesteryear. That’s right, the Hoffnung!

Yeah, I hadn’t heard of them previously either. The instrument wearing the hat who introduces the cartoon didn’t jog my memory. According to the title card they are, “Based on Books,” which is pretty awesome. I like books, heck I have a Goodreads account and I’m one of the five people that actually write reviews there. It’s literary grounding assures us of a superior viewing experience.

This sexy action-packed excitement can all be yours!

This sexy action-packed excitement can all be yours!

It begins the way all fast-paced cartoons should begin, with an old man napping peacefully. The action heats up when the old man receives a note. A simple card states, “Happy Birthday, The Family.” It’s good to establish the mafia connections up front.

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Cartoon Hell #12 – “Short’nin’ Bread”

January 23, 2009

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

Deeeeeeeelicious!

Deeeeeeeelicious!

Continuing the food theme, today’s film is “Short’nin’ [sic] Bread”, a case in point that if you’re using an apostrophe and it’s neither a possessive or a contraction, you’re probably being an asshole. For the sake of full disclosure before we even go into this, I must admit to being a Caucasian male raised by other caucasians. I also must admit to hating dialect writing in all forms. Whew, okay, I feel better now.

To prepare for the grueling task ahead, I did some research on what this mysterious short’nin’ [sic] bread consists of. It really changed my preconceptions about the classic song. I would have imagined short’nin’ [sic] bread would be a loaf of Crisco shortening baked golden brown, but no, the recipe is best summed up like so:

Flour + Brown Sugar + Butter + Heat = SHORT’NIN’ [sic] BREAD!!!!

I gather it’s essentially what you make when you lack the ingredients for food someone might actually want.

Hey, a jokey sign, like in a strip mall.

Hey, a jokey sign, like in a strip mall.

The exterior of Ye Bake Shoppe has the slogan, “MORE DOUGH FOR YOUR MONEY”, and I automatically know what slippery slope we’re headed down. This is going to be another cartoon about anthropomorphic food acting out stupid puns. I just did one of these, damn it.

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Cartoon Hell #8 – “Spinning Mice”

January 2, 2009

Cartoon Hell is TheKarpuk’s attempt to review every single installment in an awful $5 collection called “150 Classic Cartoons” purchased at his local Wal-Mart. Your prayers are welcome.

As Mice Are Known to Do

As Mice Are Known to Do

This week’s cartoon, “Spinning Mice”, is presented by Walter O. Gutlohn. The name Gutlohn is oddly upsetting, like an unusual disorder where the bowels get twisted up and herniated. I suspect we’ll see more of Mr. Gutlohn and the Gutlohn Consortium, as I have a sneaking suspicion he played a hand in the terrible cartoon “Along Came A Duck”, which I reviewed in a previous entry.

I imagine a nefarious individual like Gutlohn switched ownership and titles to dodge the law many times in order to make as many bad cartoons as possible. My first clue that the two cartoons are connected comes in the form of the live action segment featuring a kid who looks strangely familiar.

Strut You Creepy Weirdo, STRUT!

Strut You Creepy Weirdo, STRUT!

I’ll be damned if that isn’t the kid who yells at the frog at the beginning of “Along Came a Duck”, he even has the same inability to say anything that makes a damn bit of sense. The boy appears like a perverted specter of darkness through blood red curtains wielding a terrifying box of mystery and a lecherous grin no boy should have. The over-ripe technicolor effect lends everything an overly-bright, circus quality.

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