A Year in Shorts Day 19: "A Herb Albert & the Tijuana Brass Band Double Feature"
An important thing to remember when looking at film history is that there’s a distinct difference between “important” and “good.” Just because a film is groundbreaking or revolutionary doesn’t always mean it works as a film. A lot of the time it does, and that’s great! But sometimes… well, sometimes it’s A Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass Band Double Feature.
Directed by Oscar-winning animation team John and Faith Hubley and released in 1966, A Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass Band Double Feature (try saying THAT five times fast) is considered one of the earliest examples of the music video. In fact, it's actually two music videos in one, showing cartoons set to "Spanish Flea" and "Tijuana Taxi".
The 1960s were certainly a mixed bag for the Oscar-nominated animated shorts; some shorts, like The Dot and the Line or The Critic, were exciting and experimental, pushing the medium in bold new directions. Others, like High Note or Aquamania, were more in line with the classic shorts from the Golden Age of animation, but still entertaining and worth watching. And still there were others like The Drag or My Financial Career, which saw Canadian animators developing their own unique style.
But some, frankly put, were just plain mediocre, and I'm afraid that's where today's short lands. It's not a horrible short by any means, but it's not a good one either. The animation is fairly cheap-looking and at times ugly, although I suppose that's a stylistic choice. None of the gags are particularly funny, but they're not horribly offensive. And the music is kind of catchy, but nothing great, and the whole thing wears out its welcome after six minutes.
Still, there are worse shorts out there, and I can definitely see why some people might enjoy this one. The Academy sure did, giving the Hubleys their third Oscar for it. But, to be frank, I'm just not the audience for this type of thing.
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