This week, the oddest DVD to appear on release lists is:
“Adventures in Plymptoons!”
Comfortably ensconced in his hipster hometown of Portland, Ore., the enigmatic Bill Plympton has carved out an idiosyncratic and wide-ranging career as America’s foremost independent animator. “Adventures in Plymptoons!”(due out on DVD Tuesday) colorfully charts the amazing array of Plympton’s work, ranging from political cartoons to cartoon shorts to feature-length animated films and more.
Directed by documentarian Alexia Anastasio, the film neatly profiles an artist whose work encompasses many landmarks of popular culture (the famous morphing heads on MTV; the opening credit sequence of “The Simpsons,” etc.). Plympton has animated more than 60 shorts, music videos and commercials, as well as six full-length features. He’s earned two Academy Award nominations for his shorts (1987’s “Your Face” and 2004’s “Guard Dog”).
Anastasio’s movie looks at Plympton’s peculiar style and work ethic and goes behind the scenes for insights into his irreverent personality through interviews with collaborators, including voice actor Tom Kenny (“SpongeBob SquarePants”), director David Silverman (“The Simpsons Movie”), writer-director Terry Gilliam (“Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” musicians Moby and Weird Al Yankovic and actors Matthew Modine, Ed Begley, Jr. and Martha Plimpton.
Plympton’s influence got a major jolt in 1981, when his political cartoons went into national syndication. Since then his artwork has appeared in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Penthouse and National Lampoon.
“Adventures in Plymptoons!” not rated and runs 85 minutes. It’s being released by Cinema Libre Studio.
- Dennis King