The Bootleg Files: The Crunch Bird

BOOTLEG FILES 758: “The Crunch Bird” (1971 Academy Award-winning animated short).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: It was part of a Goodtimes Home Video VHS release at one point.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It seems to have fallen through the proverbial cracks.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Only in an anthology of Oscar-winning shorts.

Here is a great question for Oscar trivia buffs: which Academy Award-winning production had the shortest running time? If you are reading this column, the answer is a bit obvious: it is “The Crunch Bird,” the 1971 winner of the Best Animated Short Subject Oscar, which only ran a mere two minutes.
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Tom and Jerry (2021)

Warner Animation props up the long rotted corpse of “Tom and Jerry” long enough to produce what I’m sure they hoped would be a blockbuster big screen adaptation. For a series that’s been languishing on video store shelves with cheaply made, watered down animated movies for years, it’s not a surprise that “Tom and Jerry” is about as bland as ever. It’s also not at all surprising that Tim Story is the man called on to deliver such an inoffensive, forgettable, mishmash of weird ideas and concepts.

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She’s the Man (2006)

Yet another take on “Twelfth Night” (in the current onslaught of Hollywood remaking every movie), it’s not a far off idea that “She’s the Man” sneakily tends to borrow so much more from the 1985 gender switching comedy “Just One of the Guys.” While you could easily make the argument that they’re adapted from the same material thus bound to be similar, it’s undeniable during the big “reveal” in the climax.

It’s something that the aforementioned eighties movie is known for.

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My Top Five “Tom and Jerry” Shorts Of All Time

I grew up watching Tom and Jerry and have remained a fan well in to my thirties, despite their troubled history. Despite the great Hanna Barbera MGM shorts that made me laugh, there’s also the god awful Chuck Jones’ shorts, the watered down remakes, and reboots, and of course the endless string of cheaply made straight to DVD animated sequels where the pair duke it out.

With the upcoming big budget movie hitting limited theaters and VOD this week, I thought I’d list my top five all time favorite Tom and Jerry shorts. While I’m skeptical that “Tom and Jerry” will be anything but mediocre, I still hold a place in my heart for the Tom Cat and Rascally Brown Mouse.

What are Some of Your Favorite “Tom and Jerry” shorts?

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Workhorse Queen (2020) [Slamdance Film Festival 2021]

It’s been a long, rough journey for drag queens to become accepted among modern society. After decades of being pushed in to the underground to celebrate their art form, now we’re at a rare moment in time where the drag profession is now being celebrated. After RuPaul’s efforts to inject the drag queen lifestyle in to the world with her hit series “Drag Race,” drag queens went from being pushed in to darkness, to now taking pictures with awe struck children, and hosting concerts with families and children.

And yet, after all of it, there’s still so much more to be done.

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Skin: A History of Nudity in the Movies (2020)

Danny Wolf’s newest documentary is notable mostly for being a movie that’s produced by Jim McBride. McBride is famous, of course, for being “Mr. Skin,” the founder of one of the biggest, and first, websites about nudity in film. Aptly titled “Skin,” the documentary about the history of nudity in Hollywood and filmmaking and how it shook the landscape of pop culture, wants to desperately be taken as a bold mix of educational and entertainment, but beyond fleeting insight and fascinating looks at pre-code film, it’s mostly just another nudie reel.

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