Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation 2000

Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation 2000

2000, NR, 70 min. Directed by Julie Taymor. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Colm Feore, James Frain, Laura Fraser, Harry J. Lennix.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Jan. 28, 2000

Going on 10 years and still as vile as ever, Spike & Mike's annual fest o' skank actually manages to top itself for this, the millennial edition, racheting up the goo quotient and adding the woefully underused sobriquet “meat curtains” to the global lexicon. What would we do without these two (one, actually) paragons of puerility? Probably spend a lot less time in our local indie theatres catcalling the animated adventures of characters such as the resoundingly woeful No Neck Joe, a self-explanatory lump of pink goo forever resigned to a life without hickies. Yes, things could be worse, but Spike & Mike's festival has, over the years, become something of a cause célèbre amongst the sex-and-violence set, racking up some impressive numbers for what is essentially a whistlestop, college-town grue tour, and securing a warm wet spot in the hearts and ids of youthful miscreants everywhere. That noted, the 2000 edition actually outdoes its past couple of predecessors, and while it lacks any obvious mainstream launches (à la the Beavis and Butt-head “Frog Baseball” short or South Park's “Spirit of Christmas” reel, both of which launched their respective creators' careers), it more than makes up for mainstream popularity in the ceaseless tide of distressing weirdness up on screen. Nobody can make you laugh and gag at the same time as well as these two, a tack more recently undertaken by the Farrelly Brothers and their ilk. Clearly, Spike & Mike are having some sort of cultural impact, though whether that's for the best is open to interpretation. Apart from No Neck Joe (during which the audience is encouraged to shout along -- Spike & Mike are nothing if not interactive), highlights from this year's fest include Ryan Montrucchio's Grimm's Humpty Dumpty, an East Los Angelean reworking of the classic children's rhyme that's part Colors and part, well, part egg whites. Imagine Dr. Dre meets Mr. Rogers, and you're halfway there. Also notable is Don Hertzfeldt's Billy's Balloon, which pits cute and crude stick-figure kids against squiggly little balloons to demonstrate some sort of Darwinian theory perhaps best left unstudied. It's a winning short not only for its almost gleefully vaudevillian sense of comic timing, but also because it's one of the few shorts here that shies away from the pure gross-out, something Spike & Mike have never been able to resist. Breehn John Burns and Jason Johnson turn in another in what appears to be a continuing series with Beyond Grampa II, utilizing the elderly and their occasionally off-putting personal habits in ways only a true fan of the sick and twisted could appreciate. Most memorable of all, though, is a wonderfully warped CGI piece called Bowling for Souls from the Canadian Super Genius Animations. Part Big Daddy Roth fantasy, part Satan's Cheerleaders, it's compellingly animated, scored, and edited into a sort of hellish pièce de résistance; why Spike and Mike placed it in the first half of their program instead of saving it for the kicker is anyone's guess, but it succeeds brilliantly nonetheless. It should go without saying that none of these animations is suitable for kids (and very few of them for anyone else, really), but if you're a fan of genuinely noxious cartoons, you could do a lot worse than this year's smorgasbord of dreck.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Julie Taymor Films
Across the Universe
Julie Taymor takes the timelessness of the Beatles' music and yanks it earthward into a minefield of literalism.

Marjorie Baumgarten, Sept. 28, 2007

Frida Kahlo, the Mexican surrealist, feminist icon, bon vivant, and revolutionary populist, lived a life that has been begging for a film version since her ...

Marc Savlov, Nov. 8, 2002

More by Marc Savlov
Green Ghost and the Masters of the Stone
Texas-made luchadores-meets-wire fu playful adventure

April 29, 2022

Technology and a lack of laughs get in the way of this rom-com

April 22, 2022


Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation 2000, Julie Taymor, Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Colm Feore, James Frain, Laura Fraser, Harry J. Lennix

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle