Shorts that don't suck, vol. 2

Ransom Riggs

Writing this days in advance, I can't be sure -- and will just have to assume -- that volume I of "shorts that don't suck" was an unprecedented victory for blog awesomeness, and deserves nothing less than a follow-up. Anyway, there are way too many cool shorts out there to just do one blog on them, and I can't cram more than three or four into one blog entry since they're all at least 3 or 4 minutes (and sometimes way more), and it's hard to sit through a bunch of shorts in a row. (That's the problem with short film festivals; it's not so much that shorts, y'know, suck, so much as it's tough to reset your brain every five minutes, twenty times in a row, to accept totally new stories and characters.) So here's volume two!

The Elephant's Egg
My friend Sam put at least a year's worth of blood, sweat and hours hunched over a computer to create one of the best shorts to come out of USC film school in recent years. It's an incredible journey that's a bit hard to describe -- think of it as Salvador Dali meets John Hughes. Or something!

The Big Empty
A quirky and beautiful short about a woman who discovers an Antarctic wasteland inside her. Heavy on the metaphor and bursting with famous faces (like Selma Blair, who stars), it's got a lot of laughs and a big heart. (This is part I. For part II, click here.)

Doll Face
Another animator from USC, Andy Huang's Doll Face took the internet by storm last year, garnering more than 1.5 million hits on YouTube -- pretty incredible for a pensive, strange art piece. But it's hypnotic and brilliant, and Andy describes it this way: "A machine with a doll face mimics images on television screen in search of a satisfactory visage. Doll Face presents a visual account of desires misplaced and identities fractured by our technological extension into the future." (Yep, Andy was an art major.)

A Great Big Robot from Outer Space Ate My Homework
I caught this at the Mill Valley Film Festival a few weeks ago, and thought it was just charming. Great 3D animation, cute idea, well done.