Suffice to say that I haven’t been this entertained by a Batman animated movie since “Gotham by Gaslight.” Chris Palmer’s animated production of the 13-issue limited comic series by writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale has been a masterful, absolutely mesmerizing amalgam of a murder mystery, mob thriller, relationship drama, and action thriller pairing Batman and his unlikely partner Catwoman against increasingly impossible odds.
I know, I know, you are a Bugs Bunny fanatic but you just cannot bring yourself to spend money at a theater or on a streaming service to watch “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” Trust me, I’ve been there – I only wound up watching the original “Space Jam” on a rainy afternoon in an Atlanta hotel room when I was absent of ideas on how to kill a few hours between a business meeting and a dinner with a friend. (Message to self: bring a book or write a book instead of spending money on bad movies.)
It’s kind of ironic that the villain of the sequel to 1996’s “Space Jam” is named Al G. Rhythm, the physical manifestation of an algorithm who decides the fate of not just star Lebron James but of the Looney Tunes. “A New Legacy” (Or “Space Jam 2”) feels like it was directed not by a person, but a committee of people that followed algorithms about what was appealing to modern audiences, and what was “hip.” The film doubles as a two hour EPK for the HBO Max Streaming Service. “A New Legacy” premieres on the aforementioned streaming service (and theaters), so Warner takes full advantage of exploiting every single (repeat: every single) IP that they have at their disposal.
BOOTLEG FILES 773: “Springtime for Clobber” (1957 animated short by the notorious Gene Deitch).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: It fell deep into the proverbial cracks.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: None, thank goodness.
Most film buffs may recall animator Gene Deitch as the inheritor of the Popeye and Tom and Jerry cartoon franchises – as well as being the man responsible for the worst additions to those respective, long-running series. He also created the egregious 1966 animated feature “Alice of Wonderland in Paris,” which I included in my book “The Greatest Bad Movies of All Time.”
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never actually read Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s “The Long Halloween” before, so I was very interested in seeing what the movie would bring fans. Even as a non-Batman fan, “The Long Halloween” is probably one of the best animated Batman movies I’ve seen in a long time. While most of the previous Batman animated movies have zeroed in on non stop action and little story, “The Long Halloween” is very much about Batman being a detective.
After Viacom acquired Paws Inc. Jim Davis’ orange feline icon has been getting his due on DVD thanks to PBS of all places. For the last few years, PBS has taken it upon themselves to give Garfield fans the treatment of the character that they’ve been asking for, for a long time. The long hard to find releases of the original series are now readily available in crisp transfers. Thankfully, the series is about as good as ever. Even without the nostalgia goggles, “Garfield and Friends” is hilarious and Garfield at his best.
I’ve been a huge fan of Tex Avery since I was a small child. I spent most of my childhood cutting my teeth on animation from masters like Bob McKimson, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, and the Fleischer Brothers, and Avery always had his own unusual style. For years he worked at Warner producing the Looney Tunes shorts, and produced some of his best work at MGM Studios. Avery’s work is bizarre, innovative, and so absolutely funny that they still manage to produce laughter just as much as the classic Looney Tunes.
This year, Warner released two whole (long overdue) volumes of uncut, unedited Tex Avery shorts on Blu-Ray for animation fans and collectors alike. In celebration of that release, I thought I’d list five of my all time favorite Tex Avery shorts, most of which were produced with MGM Studios.
Are there any shorts from Tex Avery that you love that I didn’t list? Let us know in the comments!
BOOTLEG FILES 765: “Tin Pan Alley Cats” (1943 Warner Bros. animated short).
LAST SEEN: On DailyMotion.com.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Withheld from release due to politically incorrect humor.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Not likely.
In today’s woke environment, the possibility of giving a second chance to the long-banned racially insensitive Warner Bros. cartoons collectively known as the “Censored Eleven” is nil. At least one of these cartoons, the 1943 “Tin Pan Alley Cats,” is certainly deserving to be kept out of circulation – but not so much for its broadly demeaning caricatures as for the laziness and sloppiness that went into its creation.