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2 bakshi animated films

A long time ago back when I was attending Lyndon State College in Vermont before I transferred out and finished my degree at New England Tech, I was living in a dorm. Because college dorm life was somewhat boring, I bought a VCP, which is a VHS videocassette player, meaning a VCR with no recording ability. Bear in mind this was the early 1990s.

The way VHS tapes worked is that you can record SP (standard play, 2 hours), LP (long play, 4 hours) or EP (extended play, 6 hours).

(Side note: If you want to get six hours of video out of a DVD, don't bother. You'll have to compress it so much that the picture will be worse than VHS and would take longer to encode and burn compared to the real-time deck-to-deck method with VHS. Yes, really. If you want gobs and gobs of video on disc, get a console player than can read AVI files and then you can easily push 6+ hours of good quality video on a DVD as a data disc. One of these days I'm purposely going to purchase a DVD console player that can read AVI files just for that reason.)

Anyway, it was routine that pretty much everybody used EP so you could fit 3 to 4 movies on a single tape. The guy in the dorm room next to me had some tapes, one of which had what appeared to be cool movies on it. The third movie written on the label was Fritz The Cat. I had no idea what it was.

I watched it. Turned out it was an X-rated animated film - but not just any animation. Fritz The Cat in 1972 was in fact the first animated film in history ever to receive an X rating because there's sex, violence (with blood) and a ton of curse words.

Would you believe Fritz The Cat is the best-selling independent animated movie of all time? Yes, it is.

Is the movie any good? That's a really tough call. I personally like it because I think there are several good comedy scenes in it - good enough to make you laugh out loud. And the animation is cool in that late 60s/early 70s sort of way. However I'm pretty sure most people who would watch this flick would hate it.

Another movie I watched very recently was American Pop, released 1981. I'd never seen it before, and loved it mainly for the animation. The film uses a technique called rotoscoping. What happens is that live actors perform a scene that is shot on film, and then the animator draws over the live actors frame-by-frame to make the animation. Disney used this technique in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, so if you can imagine a film that looks like Snow White but is dirty and just outright nasty in some spots, American Pop is it.

There's no other way to say it - the animation in American Pop is INCREDIBLE. You will see mannerisms, little expressions and a whole host of other stuff that just show so much character. It makes me wish all animated films used rotoscoping.

Fritz The Cat was directed by Ralph Bakshi, and American Pop was directed and produced by the same man.

Both films are absolutely not your standard fare when it comes to movies. Each is very gritty in nature, and that counts for look and story; you simply don't see flicks like this made anymore.

I'd only recommend the above two films to those who want something really different. If you're into the standard schlock that counts for major motion pictures today, you'll hate these films. But if you're sick of the plastic and want something a lot more raw, you'll definitely get that with Fritz The Cat and American Pop.

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