Best Animated Shorts
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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***Warning: Sweeping Generalization Ahead***

If there's one thing that Geeks love more than comic books, it's cartoons. But just as a short story is vastly different from a novel, so an animated short is different from a full length feature. I've tried to rack my memory to come up with what I've considered the highest quality animated short features available. Some of them make you laugh, some of them make you think, and the best do both.

Please add your own, but follow two guidelines:
1) The short shouldn't be longer than about ten minutes long.
2) The short should not be part of a larger work (otherwise someone will post all of Fantasia.)
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1. Board Game: Balance [Average Rating:5.05 Overall Rank:9703]
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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Balance

This cautionary tale/allegory is my favorite. It won an Oscar for Best Animated Short in 1989.


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2. Board Game: Mythology [Average Rating:6.45 Overall Rank:4651]
Bruce Baskir
United States
Missouri
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Sisyphus

An allegory from 1974.

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3. Board Game: History of the World [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:399]
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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Grasshoppers

Bruno Bozzetto is perhaps best known for his full length feature Allegro non troppo, an irreverent Italian version of Fantasia. The animation and music are first rate, and the Valse Triste sequence still brings tears to my eyes.

I was looking for a copy of a Bozzetto short called "Opera". I couldn't find it, but came across this gem instead.

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4. Board Game: Dancing Dragons [Average Rating:5.41 Overall Rank:9117]
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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Dancing

Another Bozzetto short, this one more up-beat.

 
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5. Board Game: War of the Ring (first edition) [Average Rating:7.85 Overall Rank:34]
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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What's Opera Doc?

No list of animated shorts would be complete without at least one Warner Brothers offering. In college, we had countless debates as to the best Bugs Bunny cartoon. Opinion was evenly split between "What's Opera Doc?" and "The Rabbit of Seville". I was partial to "What's Opera Doc?"

Chuck Jones described this cartoon as Wagner's Ring Cycle condensed into six minutes. He is not quite correct - the Opera geeks out there will recognize that the Pilgrim's March from Tannhauser has been inserted as well.

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6. Board Game: Shear Panic [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:1202]
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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Rabbit of Seville

Bugs Bunny's other great operatic offering.



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7. Board Game: Sitting Ducks Gallery [Average Rating:6.11 Overall Rank:2269]
Bruce Baskir
United States
Missouri
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Duck Amuck

Duck Amuck is not so much a cartoon, as a primer on how to make cartoons. Like Benjamin Britten's The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, in which the individual components of the orchestra are broken down and then built up again, Duck Amuck deconstructs the elements of animation by showing what happens when the individual parts go horribly wrong.


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8. Board Game: Monopoly: Betty Boop [Average Rating:4.10 Unranked]
Bruce Baskir
United States
Missouri
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Minnie the Moocher

On oldie but goodie. Horribly politically incorrect, and who cares?

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9. Board Game: Chess [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:329] [Average Rating:7.09 Unranked]
 
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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Geri's Game

Naturally, this list must include computer animation, and Pixar provides some of the best. Geri's Game won the Oscar in 1997.

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10. Board Game: Quietville [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:2233]
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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Ferdinand

Another Oscar winner, this time from 1938. The book by Munro Leaf was one of my favorite stories as a child, and is my daughter's favorite as well.

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11. Board Game: Go to the Head of the Class [Average Rating:4.50 Overall Rank:11050]
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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Conjunction Junction

Schoolhouse Rock! was an interesting phenomena of the early 1970's, when ABC, one of the commercial television stations, actually came up with educational programming that was as much fun to watch as Sesame Street. Conjunction Junction was one of my favorites.

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12. Board Game: Cathedral [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1105]
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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Cathedral

While researching this list, I stumbled across this surrealistic vignette.

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13. Board Game: Falling [Average Rating:5.50 Overall Rank:9581]
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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Fallen Art

My son showed me this short by the same animator as the previous entry. Very wicked.

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14. Board Game: Mysteries by Vincent: A Very Domestic Demise [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Bruce Baskir
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Missouri
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Vincent

An early Tim Burton animated short made funnier by the fact that it is narrated by Vincent Price.

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15. Board Game: Log Jam [Average Rating:3.50 Unranked]
Michael B
Canada
Ontario
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I'll start the list of great Canadian (National Film Board) animated shorts with 1979's Log Driver Waltz, which features lumberjacks that ride logs downriver. Set to the music of Anna and Kate McGarrigle.
 
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16. Board Game: Rocket Hockey [Average Rating:5.07 Unranked]
Michael B
Canada
Ontario
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Roch Carrier's story of The Sweater comes alive in this animated short (NFB, 10 minutes, 1980). This is the tale of a boy from Montreal who, of course, worships "Rocket" Richard, but must suffer the humiliation of wearing the Maple Leafs jersey his Mother buys him. Toronto sucks, you know.
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17. Board Game: Space Dogs [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
pronoblem baalberith
United States
Pleasantville
Massachusetts
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I am a big fan of this Cory McAbee animation. Each frame of the animation is a painting using house paint on paper.

 
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18. Board Game: Take a Wild Guess [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Michael B
Canada
Ontario
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To my complete shock, I see that this one was Canadian. I did not know that. Oh, here we go. It was made in the US. Um, 1969, 2 minutes, written and directed by Marv Newland, who went on to become a completely obscure Canadian film maker.

 
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19. Board Game: Graffiti [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:3937]
pronoblem baalberith
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Pleasantville
Massachusetts
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This one is pretty cool because it is drawn as it is erased in previous frames.

 
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20. Board Game: Alice in Wonderland [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
pronoblem baalberith
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Pleasantville
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...anything by Jan Svankmajer.

 
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21. Board Game: Modern Art [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:184]
On Monday mornings, I'm dedicated to the proposition that All Men are created jerks.
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Stratford
Connecticut
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The Critic - 1963

An Oscar-winning art film, marred by some unenlightened boor's commentary.

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22. Board Game: Bambi [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
On Monday mornings, I'm dedicated to the proposition that All Men are created jerks.
United States
Stratford
Connecticut
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How could we forget this classic?
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23. Board Game: Face Race [Average Rating:8.00 Unranked]
On Monday mornings, I'm dedicated to the proposition that All Men are created jerks.
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Your Face - Bill Plympton

can't find it on YouTube, but you can view it here:
http://www.videosift.com/video/Plympton-Your-Face

I love the twisted work Bill Plympton. "Your Face" was nominated for an Oscar and is one of my favorites.
 
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24. Board Game: The Lone Ranger & Tonto [Average Rating:4.00 Unranked]
Phil Shepherd
United States
Bristow
Virginia
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Thank You, Masked Man

Waaaay back in the middle ages early 1980s, cable was not available in my neighborhood. What they did have was a subscription service called SuperTV. With SuperTV you got a special, funky looking antenna, and a set top box. At 7PM, you could tune your TV to channel 3 and push the button on the set top box and watch movies, ala HBO.

Between movies they would show various short programs (animated or otherwise). This was my first exposure to the Lenny Bruce sketch "Thank You, Masked Man," which, in this instance, was animated.

Many of you have no doubt seen this before. For those who haven't, enjoy:

 
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25. Board Game: Snit's Revenge [Average Rating:6.21 Overall Rank:3373]
David Tracy
United States
San Francisco
CA
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Well, I had to add this.

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