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Bill Plympton's Dog Days: A Collection of Short Films 2004-2008 - animated DVD / arthouse and independent DVD review
BILL PLYMPTON'S DOG DAYS: A COLLECTION OF SHORT FILMS 2004-2008 Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 1/2 stars
Director: Bill Plympton Distributor: Microcinema
DVD release: 28 July 2009 Feature runtime: 130 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD, NTSC
DVD features: Aspect ratio 1.33:1, Dog Trilogy ("Guard Dog", "Guide Dog", "Hot Dog"), Rare/seldom seen films (including "The Fan And The Flower," "Shuteye Hotel," "Santa, The Fascist Years," and controversial experimental film "Spiral"), Kanye West music video 'Heard 'Em Say,' Weird Al Yankovic music video 'Don't Download This Song,' Pencil test, Animatics, Storyboards, "Idiots and Angels" trailer, Art or Something Like It (interview), Filmmaker commentary track

Bill Plympton's jiggly animation style is easily recognizable. It has been seen in his short films, commercials, music videos, and promos. You might remember his immortal 25 Ways to Quit Smoking, or the immortal Your Face.

Bill Plympton's Dog Days is a collection of more of his marvelous short films, featuring primarily his Dog series; Guard Dog, Guide Dog, and Hot Dog (the most recent, Horn Dog, is not included). The Dog Trilogy is excellent. The canine in question is a plucky, ham-shaped little fellow who hops along, all but ignoring his legs. He tries so hard and is so distraught when he fails to properly guard his owner, guide the blind, or put out fires. Plympton's style is perfect for this story. The dog's desperate noises are provided by people and actual dogs, but the style is all Plympton.

Accompanying the Dog trio are The Fan and the Flower, Shuteye Hotel, Santa: the Fascist Years, and Spiral. All are excellent examples of his talent, but the flagship cartoons of the disc provide the real meat here. Additional features include several music videos (Kanye West, Weird Al Yankovic, and Parson Brown), some commercials and promos, tidbits seen in movies, and an interview he did for "Art or Something Like It" that is just fabulous. In his interview, he tells the tale of his early failure to break into Disney animation, his subsequent success going the independent route, and his turning down Disney for a job to animate the genie in Aladdin.

For students or fans of animation, Dog Days is absolutely worth picking up. His drawing style is endearing, his animation style fantastic, and he offers commentary on all the main films. Before this, Bill has always been an enigmatic genius. Dog Days makes him seem actually accessible.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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