Keeping It Short: Four Short Films You Should Watch Right Now
It’s impossible to resist the power of a good movie. From the emotional depths you can explore watching dramas like 12 Years a Slave and Citizen Kane, to the stomach-aching laughs you can experience watching comedies like The Muppets and The Big Lebowski – there is no limit to the power of the cinema. However, movies don’t have to be two-hour long ordeals to impact us. There are countless short films, ranging from five minutes long to 35 minutes, that can resonate as powerfully, if not more so, than many feature films. In “Keeping It Short,” we’ll look at some of these amazing short films every week.
“Truth in Advertising”
There are few comedic short films that have stood the test of time quite like 2001’s “Truth in Advertising.” The short film, which features Colin Mochrie of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” fame, explores the world of advertising through giving audiences a view into the psyches of advertising executives, directors, and writers – who all happen to be assholes. With lines like “I’d give you a handjob in a stationary closet if it meant a good review” and “…creatively speaking, he is the cheapest,” this short produces some amazing humor and insight, while simultaneously affirming the world’s belief that people in advertising are shitty human beings.
“The Blue Umbrella”
Pixar animation is a cuteness factory. Ever since its debut in 1992 with the smash hit Toy Story, Pixar Animation has put its creative minds to use in creating some of the most pleasant, charming, and heartwarming films out there: Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Up – and the list goes on. However, their mastery of uplifting storytelling isn’t just limited to feature films, and “The Blue Umbrella” exemplifies Pixar’s ability to warm audiences’ hearts even in the shortest amount of time.
Over the course of a little more than five minutes, the amount of time it would take to listen to Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle” one and a half times, Pixar takes the audience on an emotional journey with a blue umbrella simply looking to find its true love (though we do never find out what the umbrella will do with its big fat butt – so point Derulo, I guess). Using only song, sound effects, and breathtaking animation, “The Blue Umbrella” draws upon some of the most human emotions (hope, the pain of loss, love, etc.) using its adorably inhuman protagonist.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to take an entire night to sit down and watch all of Pixar’s short films, and feel all of the feelings. However, if you don’t have the time or emotional fortitude to do that, “The Blue Umbrella” is a great place to start.
“Eagles Are Turning People into Horses: The Movie”
Hands down, this is the best film you will ever see about eagles turning people into horses – possibly even the best film you’ll ever see about any animal turning people into another animal. Written, directed, and starred in by Nick Kocher and Brian McElhaney (the pair call themselves BriTANicK), the film features an absolutely ridiculous plot underscored by an equally over-the-top and amazing performance by Kocher in the film’s lead role. With amazing humor, absurd action sequences, and – yes – eagles turning people into horses, this short film is one of the most enjoyable things on the Internet right now.
The best thing about short films is their potential to explore the absurd. Without the financial constraints of a feature film or the need to be “audience-accessible” the way a major motion picture might need to be, short films have the potential to explore all ideas, serious and mundane, in truly strange and engaging ways. Enter Todd Strauss-Schulson’s “All’s Fair.”
In regard to subject matter, the film is fairly standard – it’s a film about break-ups. However, it is the way Strauss-Schulson’s explores break-ups which is truly novel: with a prostitute. Through observing the protagonist’s struggles with his for-hire girlfriend, we get to see, and endure, the pain of dealing with post-break up separation. It’s painful – but it comes with a touch of humor and an excellent conclusion that makes the difficult first ten minutes all the more satisfying. The film also comes with some great visual effects and hyper-aggressive editing, which moves what would otherwise be a slow, painful story into a fast-paced tale of coming to terms with loss.
“All’s Fair” takes a subject all too familiar to many people, and turns it into something original, innovative, and thought-provoking – and for that it’s definitely worth a watch.