Charming Cartoons – WIF Family Entertainment

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Charming Cartoons

Cartoons to Charm You

YouTube is stuffed with “edgy” cartoons where the joke is that a famous character from pop culture is profane, sexualized, or some other “twist”. That’s fine, but it’s also good to have something that’s a different flavor for variety. Something to act as a little bit of sugar over a break, or to show the kids before their attention can wander.

10. Once Upon a Starfish

For the reader who’s still a little hesitant to open up to embracing adorable cartoons, we’ll start with one that’s got a little bit of an edge to it. This 2015 cartoon from Red Kite Studios manages a balance of being extremely sweet and precious but not being cloying by having the adorable character obliviously cause harm while trying to do good. It’s a great formula.

The story is that a girl, just after her birthday, sees a shooting star that looks like it’s fallen into the ocean. She goes down to the coast and sees a starfishhas just washed up. She comes to the only logical conclusion: the starfish is a fallen star that she has to return to the sky. When throwing it into the air doesn’t work, she tries tying a bunch of helium balloons to it. Fortunately those burst while the starfish is still fairly low to the ground. Then the girl notices another starfish wash ashore and then return to the waters, and realizes the fish’s proper place is back in the sea. It’s such a nice story that it more than makes up for the unpolished texture work and the rather odd way the starfish looks.


9. Sapling

The graphics for this 2015 film by Kat Seale may look a little primitive to someone used to only seeing Pixar and Dreamworks films, but the character animation and heart in this video will never get dated. It’s especially impressive considering it was a student film for Bournemouth Arts University.

A young griffon in a world of miniscule flying islands is taking a bag of seeds to a particular patch of soil. The griffon spills the seeds and most of them fall into cracks between the bricks. One is still within reach, and the griffon plants that one in a pot in the middle of the island. It gets some water from a nearby fountain, but the bucket is not in good shape and leaks all the contents on the way over. When it tries again, this time it knows it has to rush, so it both ends up causing part of the fountain to collapse so that water starts leaking everywhere, and breaks the bucket before it can get a drop to the seed. Just as it’s about to lose heart, it notices that the water leaking from the fountain is draining into the cracks where most of the seeds fell and a beautiful grove of trees sprouts around the delighted griffon.


8. Hi Score

What Mary Elizabeth Whiting’s 2015 cartoon lacks in story logic and tension it more than makes up for in fun and energy. A girl is walking through the woods playing on her portable gaming device (it looks a lot like an old-fashioned gameboy) when she trips over a root and drops it. Somehow the gaming device touching a tree causes the tree to morph into something rendered more like an old-fashioned video game, and its now animated branches take the game away from her so that she has to go on a small adventure to retrieve it.

The camera angles and platforms are clearly meant to bring to mind a retro platformer game. When she reaches the end and has the option “Continue?” flashing on her video game screen, she looks past it to see how bright and fantastical the world beyond is. So she tosses the game over her shoulder and goes to seek an adventure beyond the small computer screen.


7. Of Mice and Moon

Some commenters found the voice acting in this film made for the Ringling College of Art and Design to be dodgy and unnecessary, but even with it David Brancato has created a wonderful animated video. A young mouse is drawing something when his father stops by and offers him a piece of cheese. The child says he wants cheese from the moon, showing that he was drawing him and his father riding in a rocket.

The father decides to indulge his son, and sets up an elaborate tableau (not easy considering he’s only a couple inches tall) involving building a toy rocket for them to ride in on a string pulley and putting a colander over a lightbulb to create a planetarium-style starfield. He and his son then land on a “moon” made of a wheel of cheese. A shot of the young mouse’s point of view of the cheese and stars is especially gorgeous.


6. Stellar Moves: The Story of Pluto

Millivette Gonzalez, Tabia Lees and Valerie Sattazahn’s cartoon has maybe the weirdest premise ever conceived for a short film that still manages to be very endearing. Basically it’s set in a universe where the solar bodies like Jupiter and Neptune are somehow pop entertainers with a TV show, and they have bodies like Mike Sully from Monsters Inc., but it’s played as if this were the most natural premise in the world. It helps that it’s gorgeous and fast-paced.

Pluto and his friend are watching a talent show hosted by the Sun, which has a contest coming up with the prize being membership in a boy band called the Planets. At his friend’s urging after he becomes jealous of the crush she has on pretty boy Earth, he practices a dance routine for the show. During the show, he impresses the judges and wins, but since it means he’ll have to abandon his friend (and it turns out Earth is kind of a jerk in real life) he decides to turn the job down.


5. Shark Tag

This toon from Moondog Studios is the shortest of all the films on this list. It also has the most manic energy of any of these which gives it an authentically childlike quality, for better or worse. A kid named Miles has a flying shark friend named Bob, and they’ve just been told it’s time to go to the seaquarium. Miles and Bob jump onto his bed and land in a fantasy ocean. They mess about with a variety of sea creatures such as a pair of crabs, an octopus, and a puffer fish that helps fire Miles out of a cannon.

Then we snap back to reality and see that in truth Miles brought his shark doll with him to the aquarium. We see him petting a real shark, and of course it’s completely disinterested in him as most animals would be. But the cartoon ends with a little wink from the Bob doll to remind us that there actually is magic in the world of this cartoon.


4. Adorable Couple

One of the most common complaints about Disney’s Mickey Mouse is that he became kind of boring. He’s so nice that these days he’s just bland, lacking either Donald Duck’s fury or Goofy’s boneheaded personality. This recent short cartoon addresses that by taking the character’s decency so far that it becomes ludicrous, and contrasts it with Donald’s grumpiness.

One day Mickey and Minnie are going about the town on a date, singing about how wonderful everything is, particularly their relationship. Then they see Donald and Daisy Duck sulking on a bench and literally singing “bicker bicker” at each other. Mickey and Minnie nose their way into the situation and basically try to force Donald and Daisy to cheer up. Inevitably all the attempts backfire because of course the Ducks don’t want to be forced into anything. So Mickey and Minnie decide to try to and meet them halfway by arguing in front of the Ducks and even that doesn’t work because the Mouses can’t pretend to be angry with each other very well. They come to an understanding when the two couples start arguing, and the Mouses finally seem to get that some people just enjoy being grumpy over always being overtly pleasant to each other.


3. Day of the Dead

This 2013 short film by a group of students called Whoo Kazoo brings to mind the Guillermo del Toro-produced cartoon Book of Life but it actually came out a year earlier. A little girl in Mexico is out mourning at the grave of her mother or another adult woman in her life. Then a magical blue flower instantly blooms. It takes her into a dark void except for a spotlight beam that she’s standing in.

Skeletons enter the beam too, but it turns out that one of them is the same person she was mourning. She takes the girl on a tour of the afterlife, revealing that it’s actually more like a big fiesta than anything you should pity someone for being sent to. The girl wakes up back in our world at the end, still with the blue flower and her spirits are greatly brightened by knowing that she has nothing to fear in the afterlife.


2.  On the Same Page

Although the opening shots of this 2015 Ringling College of Art & Design student film bring to mind the 2010 Disney short Paperman, it goes in a completely different direction. A nerdy male journalist type is working in the news section of a newspaper, which is portrayed as a city where different portions of a newspaper are different areas with corresponding attributes, such as the weather area having buildings that represent the weather forecast for different days of the week (it’s raining in the Monday building, bright and sunny in the Tuesday building, etc.).

A woman from the comic section tries to get his attention to cheer him up, and to see what she wants he opens his window and out blows his latest report, which is that there is no news to report. In the process of recovering it, he loosens up a bit, eventually realizing that his report is less important than appreciating the beauty of the newspaper world that he was too busy writing about to notice.


1. Lily and the Snowman

Hornet Films is a very small company to be producing human characters on roughly the same level as Pixar and Dreamworks, but that’s precisely what this New York City studio did for this two minute 2015 film. A girl builds a snowman that comes to life in the light from her house. Using its very flexible stick hands, it projects shadow puppets on a fence well enough to captivate the girl until morning. Then it starts to melt. But instead of just letting it melt, the resourceful girl hides it in a barely used garage freezer to revisit it every year.

Every year, that is, until the distractions that come with growing up put the snowman out of mind. Decades later, Lily is at work one night when the light of a projector shines through a snow globe, bringing back to mind her frozen friend when she sees a silhouette on the wall. She goes to her old home, sees that the snowman is still in the freezer, and then has another shadow puppet show, this time sharing it with her own daughter. Some might get a sour taste in their mouth to learn that the movie is actually an ad for the Cineplex theater chain, but the skill with which it’s pulled off will make that the furthest thing from your mind while you watch it.


Charming Cartoons

– WIF Family Entertainment

Looney Tunes

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Top 10 Greatest Musical Moments

From Cartoons


Cartoons are an under-appreciated art form that most dismiss as either childish or immature. To those people, you’re stone-cold wrong; take their musical numbers, for example. Many times, a silly cartoon will feature complex tunes, performed by a full orchestra, that would rival some of the best “legit” pieces of music out there.

Here are ten musical moments from cartoons so awesome, we could legally sell this article as audible chocolate.

10. Tom And Jerry: The Cat Concerto


Tom and Jerry are arguably the most famous cat and mouse team on the face of the planet, and their antics have been entertaining people for decades. The Cat Concerto features Tom (the cat, if you didn’t already know) playing the piano at a very formal recital. Jerry being a mouse, a creature that famously hates classical music, tries to ruin his fun. All of which is set to, and kept perfectly in time with, Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No.2. Playing that song on a piano already takes years of practice; now imagine the amount of time it took to animate a cartoon cat and mouse playing it, in the ’40′s!

The episode, while only 7 minutes long, showcases more musical talent and finger dexterity than every guitar hero video on YouTube combined. Not to mention it also won the duo their fourth Academy Award for Best Animated Short.

9. The Simpsons: Baby On Board


Throughout their several-decade run, The Simpsons have had a number of great musical moments. Arguably the most famous is Homer’s Barbershop Quartet, which is a thinly veiled parody of the Beatles career.

The episode featured a central song, “Baby on Board.” Although the song itself wasn’t considered to be one of the finest featured on The Simpsons, the episode as a whole got more positive reviews than a French brothel that takes coupons. And when you’ve got 500 episodes under your belt, that’s pretty darn good.

8. South Park: Chocolate Salty Balls


To an outsider, South Park is nothing more than crude jokes and even cruder animation. Which is kind of unfair, since the show is probably one of the best produced animations out there, with a turnaround quicker than virtually anything else on air. No really, Matt Stone and Trey Parker are reportedly able to churn out an episode in around 4 days, and their musical numbers are recorded in roughly the same way.

The crown jewel in the South Park musical catalog has to be “Chocolate Salty Balls” by Chef (Isaac Hayes,) if only because they released the song as a full-length single that tells you how to actually make them. So if you have an hour free, you should probably, you know, go make some salty chocolate balls. Grandma will love them.

7. Animaniacs: Yakko’s World


Music was one of the defining elements of Animaniacs, which was partly on the repeated insistence of director Steven Spielberg, who felt that music gave the show an edge. The end result was that each episode had music performed by a full 30-piece orchestra, because if you’re going to do something, do it right.

The show actually won an Emmy for its theme song, which was still nowhere near as good as “Yakko’s World,” which was unbelievably recorded in one take, in real time. Where’s Yakko’s award, America?

6. SpongeBob Squarepants: Goofy Goober Rock


Spongebob is an odd show; although the animation and content is clearly aimed at small children, it’s gained a significant following with older people, because, well, it’s all kinds of awesome.

The show’s music is also singled out several times in its frankly insultingly-long list of awards. But, of everything the show has ever done, nothing comes close to “Goofy Goober Rock,” which features a guitar solo so intense, and demanding on the fingers of the person playing it, women hearing it close their legs out of pure instinct.

5. Family Guy: I Need A Jew


You can insult a lot about Family Guy: its writing, its lazy jokes, or the fact that it takes cheap shots at people who don’t deserve it. But one thing you can’t insult is the shows musical numbers. Although the writers seem happy to make cheap jabs for laughs, the musical team work their damn asses off, with all the music you see on the show being created by a full orchestra. Seth MacFarlane himself is credited as being a musical genius, with a voice made of silken honey. It’s kind of a shame then, that he got his award for singing a song about Jews, in the voice of a retarded guy, instead of his natural singing voice.

4. Samurai Jack: Jack And The Rave


Samurai Jack is a show that follows the journey of a nameless samurai (Jack is a nickname.) The show received multiple awards for its simple, yet bold, outline-less art style.

Now, music played a large role in tension building and scene setting for  the show. But in no episode was music more focused upon than, Jack and the Rave. In it, the titular samurai tries to free a group of children from the evil clutches of a sinister DJ who plays evil rave music. The accompanying soundtrack is from the same series that did an almost completely silent black and white fight, between a samurai and a ninja. When you have a show that can contain those two things, you win at cartoons forever.

3. Metalocalypse: Dethklok’s Entire Catalog


This is a show that focuses on the adventures of the most metal (and entirely fictional) band in the world, Dethklok. Since the show’s inception, the band has released three full-length, critically acclaimed albums, and have gotten real world endorsements from actual companies. Most flesh-and-blood bands would kill for that chance, and a bunch of cartoon characters have pulled it off. What’s their excuse?

But here’s the thing; the music on the show isn’t just metal as Hell, it’s almost entirely technically accurate. Every note, every solo, and every drum beat is synced up perfectly because, why wouldn’t it be? Considering that every song contains at least one face-melting solo, that’s pretty damn impressive.

2. Scooby-Doo: The Theme Song


Scooby-Doo has been around for decades, and has made an impact on pop culture so big that the pup has his own gravitational pull. The show has been remade several times, though one thing has remained fairly constant: its theme song, which has been covered by more bands than the National Anthem. For some reason though, the show has yet to an award for its music, which is a damn shame, considering just how damn catchy that theme is. You’ll always be a winner to us, Scoob. Always.

1. Looney Tunes: What’s Opera Doc?


What’s Opera Doc is, quite simply, the finest piece of animation ever committed to film. That’s not mere hyperbole, for once; the short is consistently nominated as the greatest cartoon ever by industry experts, and it’s really not hard to see why.

Opera, although held in high regard by people who wear a tuxedo for breakfast and eat fancy mustard with their toast, is not a love shared by everyone. We don’t all enjoy watching overweight people sing for three hours, but everyone loves seeing a rabbit do it for six minutes. Everyone.

Looney Tunes