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Overall Rating
3.71

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look85.71%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 14.29%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 1 rating


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Hair High
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by Scott Weinberg

"Another weird & colorful example of Plympton doing what Plympton does best."
4 stars

Bill Plympton is a bizarre and supremely gifted animator, though he doesn't exactly produce animation geared for "mass consumption". His best known work probably remains a series of hilarious shorts in which two men repeatedly punch each other in the face. Those brief films played on 'Saturday Night Live' for a while, but if you dig Plympton's work, you're better off hanging out at the film festivals.

Creator of dozens of shorts and a handful of features (the most recent being Mutant Aliens), Bill Plympton has lived right on the fringes of the animation world. The guy seems content to earn enough to produce his next work as a generation of fest-frequenting movie freaks quietly appreciate his patented brand of ink & paint lunacy.

Anyone even remotely familiar with Bill Plympton's style knows that attempting a 'plot synopsis' is a nearly pointless act, but Hair High is the actually the artist's most cohesive 'story' to date...which means it's only about 35% weirder than any other sort of animation out there.

Sort of a goofy, gothic re-imagining of Grease (without the music) meets Carrie (with more zombies), Hair High is a spoof, a satire and a farce. It's a love story, it's a tragedy, it's horror, it's comedy and it's modern art of the silliest order. I suspect that one day art museums all over the place will be showcasing their 'Plympton' exhibits, but for now...get your butt out to a film festival and try to catch some of his work.

Or heck, just wait for the DVDs.

Ostenisbly, the movie's about the ultra-cool Cherri & Rod, two young lovers and the King & Queen of the high-school social set. Spud is a new nerd in town who accidentally runs afoul of Rod, and is therefore ordered to act as Cherri's slave. The high-maintenance drama queen slowly grows feelings for her sniveling manservant...and let's just say that things don't exactly end well. Much of it involves beatings and attempted murder.

One newfound asset in Plympton's arsenal is his eclectic cast of character actors. Folks like Dermot Mulroney, Sarah Silverman, Craig Bierko, David Carradine and Ed Begley Jr. deliver great work, contributions that elevate the film from 'enjoyable curiosity' to 'bona-fide movie'. There's no shortage of the filmmaker's familiar lunacy, but a capable voice cast goes a long way toward presenting an actual narrative amidst the animated insanity.

To call 'Hair High' Bill Plympton's finest feature would be sort of a backhanded compliment, as the guy's only done a handful. But taken as a continuation (not to mention a notable evolution) of his expansive body of inspired works, 'Hair High' represents a modern artist playing at the top of his game.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8953&reviewer=128
originally posted: 03/22/04 20:02:44
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Slamdance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Slamdance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Starz Denver Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival. For more in the 2005 Victoria Independent Film & Video Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/28/04 Hilarium Really wasn't that impressed. It's Plympton, so it's funny, but... 2 stars
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USA
  13-Apr-2007
  DVD: 30-Nov-2010

UK
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