MY YEAR OF DICKS
(****)-VITO CARLI

"...I discovered more and liked it more each time I saw it."

It Grows on You Every Time You See It

(032423) My Year with Dicks is a hilarious and highly innovative mini film that was nominated (and lost) for Best Animated Short at the 2023 Academy Awards ceremony. Despite its rather vulgar title, the film deals with its subject sensitively and intelligently; it is a frank look at a serious subject of teen female sexuality. It is not the feminist version of Porky’s or Sauasagefest. It is much closer in spirit to the indie film A 24, Eighth Grade or the classic TV series, My So Called Life (which I recently saw again) because it is a highly personal film with rare moments of emotional honesty told from the perspective of a young female.

The film makes excellent use of rotoscoping, a technique in which live action frames are traced to create often realistic animation. Other notable films that use rotoscoping include American Pop, The Black Cauldron, Chico and Rita. Heavy Metal, Little Mermaid, Tron, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Waking Life, the great Max Fleischer Superman cartoons, and the Disney classic Fantasia (one of my favorite animated films ever). Even though the character always denies he is a raccoon, the character Rocket in Guardians of the Galaxy was created by rotoscoping over a real raccoon. The technique was also used to great effect in many alternative and indie rock videos such as the Offspring’s The Kids Aren't Alright, 21rst Century Breakdown by Green Day, and Fell in Love with a Girl by The White Stripes.

The movie’s genesis occurred in 1991 when the 15 year old Pamela Ribon decided to lose her virginity and chronicled her different misadventures with mostly unworthy males in her novel Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn’t Share in Public, which was adapted into the film. I will refrain from revealing whether she succeeds in her quest because it would spoil the film.

Ribon, who serves as the narrator for the film (vocalized by Brie Tilden) has had an interesting career in many different forms of post riot-grrl female centered indie media forms. She was a contributor to the website Hissy fit and the Television without Pity program as well as co-hosting the podcast, Listen to Sassy. She was also the screenplay writer for Oscar nominee, Ralph Breaks the Internet and Oscar winner, Moana. She and the director both are likely to have highly promising futures.

The novel and film are told from the point of view of a very awkward and self-conscious young girl who lives near Houston, and often has as many problems getting what she wants as the boys she is pursuing. The film is broken into five parts each dealing with one opportunity with a male jerk or dick hence the title (including a skateboarding wanna be vampire and an opportunistic straight edge kid) that goes wrong in a different way. Each segment was told in a totally different animation but effective style.

Much of the excellent eye-popping narration is done in rotoscoping based on live performances done by the director Sara Gunnarsdottir (the first female Icelandic director that was nominated for an Oscar.) who also made the great Diary of a Teenage Girl which blended live action and animation. There is a terrific section in the film about halfway through that is clearly in anime style. The segments explore or parody different genres such as supernatural romance, skateboard adventure, cringe comedy, horror and anime.

The film is currently featured on Hulu where it is free to subscribers and Vimeo where anyone can see it for free. This lively, invigorating 25 minute cartoon masterpiece has creativity to spare and is certainly worth seeking out. I have seen it several times and I discovered more and liked it more each time I saw it. Despite its brief length, I found it even more rewarding than the admittedly wonderful, Everything Everywhere All at Once and it compares well with other full length and short Oscar nominees.
 

Directed by:    Sara Gunnarsdottir
Written by:    Screenplay by Pamela Ribon. Based on her novel
 "Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn’t
 Share in Public"
Starring the Voices of:    Felix Kammerer, Albrecht Achuch, Daniel Bruh
Released:    03/01/23 (USA)
Length:    24 minutes
Rating:    Unrated but this is for adults
Available On:    At press time it was streaming on Hulu & Vimeo

For more writings by Vittorio Carli go to www.artinterviews.org and www.chicagopoetry.org. His latest book "Tape Worm Salad with Olive Oil for Extra Flavor" is also available.

MY YEAR OF DICKS © 2023 FX Productions
Review © 2023 Alternate Reality, Inc.

 

LAST TIME VITO REVIEWED:
Ant-Man and Wasp Quantumania

     

NEXT TIME VITO REVIEWS:
"Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season1"