A Year in Shorts Day 164: "Closed Mondays"
Will Vinton may not be a household name, but hopefully regular readers of the blog will remember him; we talked about him just last week, after all. As I said then, Vinton was primarily known for his work in stop motion, whether in films or advertising. And in 1974, Vinton won an Oscar for that stop motion, with his short film Closed Mondays.
Perhaps unsurprisingly for a short from the 70s, Closed Mondays (which, it should be noted, was co-directed Bob Gardiner) is a pretty trippy film. It tells the story of a drunk guy who breaks into an art museum, in which all the pieces seem to come to life. It's sort of like Night at the Museum before Night at the Museum was cool. Overall the short isn't really a plot-driven one, mostly just serving as an excuse to tell silly jokes and show off the stop motion animation. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that of course! Some of the best animated shorts we've covered in our Year in Shorts were only concerned with the jokes, and you know I'm a sucker for stop motion. And even if Closed Mondays doesn't enter the upper echelon of the best Oscar-winning shorts, it's still a good time.
Admittedly, your mileage may vary on this one. Personally I find the jokes in this film more amusing than funny, and a couple of bits can get a little annoying. Still, there's nothing in here that's offensive or just aggressively unpleasant, and amusing jokes are still amusing after all. And I will admit that I don't particularly care for the film's style; it's undeniably impressive (as even the worst stop motion is), but there's just something about the aesthetic that I found visually unpleasant. It takes moments that could be absolutely stunning and makes them merely cool.
But honestly, that's a lot more than a lot of shorts can manage when you get right down to it. Closed Mondays might not do anything spectacularly, but it does everything pretty well. And sometimes that's enough for a good time, even if I don't think it's quite enough to merit an Oscar win.
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