Get twisted with Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation

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spike and mikes festival of animation long beachBefore there was an Oscar for “Best Animated Film”, before there were hundred million dollar grosses for animated movies, before there were icons like Beavis and Butt-Head, Homer and Bart, or Shrek and Donkey, before all that… practically before there was life on the planet, there was Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation.

For 25 years they have been the leading presenters of cutting-edge animation and cartoons, from quirky hand drawn gems to elaborate computer generated productions. Spike and Mike’s is the longest running festival of its kind, and has played a major role in helping the animation medium become one of today’s most popular facets of mass entertainment.

The features range from the simple pencil drawings of Chiens & Chats to the incredibly slick looking Jack & Jill. The content this time around is actually a little tamer than in years past, but On-Rop, in which an animated porn movie is watched and explained in reverse, is an exception to that rule.

Longtime watchers of Spike and Mike will enjoy the inclusion of past favorites, including the brilliant, Oscar-nominated Rejected by Don Hertzfeldt and a couple of No Neck Joe shorts produced by Dallas’ DNA Studios.

Some of the more high-profile selections for Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation include:

Save Virgil: Adam Carolla voices Virgil, the cartoon offspring of a biker and porn star Ginger Lynn in this half animated, half live-action feature. Mr. Carolla’s sarcastic delivery perfectly captures Virgil’s frustration over his life as the only cartoon boy in an all-human world, and his rapping with Young MC and battle during a cameo from one of pop culture’s favorite whipping boys keep things quirky.

Happy Tree Friends: The cuddly forest animals who always find their way into increasingly bloodier accidents are back in two shorts: Eyes Cold Lemonade and Ski Ya, Wouldn’t Want to Be Ya. Lemonade is the better of the two, though neither is quite as gruesome as past episodes. Still, cuter creatures have never found themselves in more unfortunate situations.

Roybertitos: Fans of Dr. Tran will rejoice that the 5-year-old who is mistaken for a secret agent is back. This time he’s trying to figure out how he ended up in a commercial for a fast food Mexican restaurant. Director Breehn Burns’ absurd humor returns in all its glory. It’s the last film of the show, and it’s definitely worth sticking around for.

Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation at the Art Theatre ends on Thursday. Show times are at 9 p.m. tonight and tomorrow.

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