Saturday, May 3, 2008


Have you ever stopped and wondered about not only your favorite movies, but your favorite cartoons?

I was recollecting on something that Shawn Dickinson said in one of the commentaries we did together, and he mentioned the particular cartoon series (it was either Popeye or Bugs Bunny, I can't remember) being so fun to watch partly due to its constant portrayal of the suffering that the characters went through.

We humans go through pain and suffering daily! And with tons of different kinds of angst, it's automatically a form of therapy for ourselves to take a break and watch the characters on stage or screen get the shaft for a little while.

With that in mind, I think that audiences can identify with characters going through the same real human feelings that they do. Claude Cat and paranoia/hypochondria. Daffy trying to escape from fear.
Sylvester going mad from trying to deny his own obsession (eating Tweety).

Jealousy/hatred of others

Here, the Aristo-Cat is dealing with some people's greatest fear- being alone!


Of course the Disney cartoons kept pretty far away from crazy stuff like emotional torment, but a lot of the Donald Duck cartoons are exceptions! Here he is on his deathbed in "Donald's Off Day".

Anyway, compare these to cartoons where everything is constantly alright and never in any real danger, and maybe you have films and shows that don't quite catch on as much.

What about cartoons where there is nothing human whatsoever?

Are cartoons not enough for you? Here are a select few of many TERRIFIC live action movies that revolve around manly, human suffering! See to it that they make YOUR favorite film list!

Detective Story

A Clockwork Orange

8 1/2

The Conversation


Dog Day Afternoon

The Deer Hunter

M (starring Peter Lorre)

Lots by Woody Allen, Wes Anderson and Hitchcock

and especially films directed by Ingmar Bergman: Persona, Wild Strawberries, or Cries and Whispers (one of the ULTIMATE movies about human pain!)


Shawn said...

Wow! Well said! And so true!

Audiences connect with characters they can relate to (or fear), and everyone can relate to suffering or emotional trauma in one form or another. They're drawn into it. Peter Lorre's part in "M" is completely gripping... Humans are bitter, jealous, angry, frightened, insecure, freaky creatures, and in some sick way, that's what makes the cartoons (and movies) we relate to so much fun to watch! It's those dark emotions that make life so colorful and interesting. They're what makes life worth caricaturing, and making fun of how emotional we are. I know for a fact that I can relate to Daffy Duck or Ren much more than I could ever relate to Doug. Not to mention how much more fun those traumatic emotions are to DRAW. That shot of Clyde the Cat at the top of this post is such an amazing drawing! There's so much life, so many emotions in that one drawing, and I can feel them all!

Great post, buddy!

Nico said...

Yeah! The scene at the beginning of "Tortoise Wins by a Hare" where Bugs is pacing and ranting is one of my favorites. Bugs has a right to be angry at Cecil the toitle for winning the big race, especially when NATURE ITSELF says that Bugs is the faster animal! In our real lives we've ALL had that somebody who leaves us so jealous, mainly because they have something that we are far more deserving of having.

If anyone reading hasn't watched "Amadeus", SEE IT. It's the exact same story; about Mozart's rival who drives himself insane with his own obsession about not being able to be the better composer.

Weirdo said...

Excellent post. By the way, I love "M". I think it's one of Peter Lorre's best performances.

Booo Tooons Ltd. said...

I don't see 'Night of The Hunter' on that list. What gives?


BTW, I had a debate that I won yesterday that might interest you, Nico. The argument was that Bob Clampett didn't understand Bugs Bunny's character and motivations as well as Chuck Jones.

I used "Tortoise Wins By a Hare" vs. "Rabbit Rampage" as an example of two cartoons by each director where, instead of winning, Bugs is the loser.

I said that Jones doesn't understand Bugs if he loses, which is why that cartoon was lousy, but Clampett had such a grip on the character that he understood him in ANY environment, winner or loser.

And after a heated debate like that, it's clear who the real loser is. Yep. Me.

Great post!

- trevor.

Nico said...

I didn't think "Night of the Hunter" was exactly about human suffering, but more about criminal insanity and the fight for survival (the kids). That's my reaction, anyway.

Booo Tooons Ltd. said...

I suppose you're right. Humans didn't suffer so much as die instantly in a horrible death.

But what a movie!

- trevor.