Rejected (2000)
Rejected (2000)

Genre: Short and Comedy Running Time: 9 min.

Release Date: July 25th, 2000 MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Director: Don Hertzfeldt Actors: Don Hertzfeldt, Robert May, Jennifer Nyholm




nimator Don Hertzfeldt does quite a lot with very little. This collection of unrelated pseudo-commercials, stated to have been rejected by the Family Learning Channel in the spring of 1999 after being commissioned for promotional segments, boasts some of the most wild, chaotic concepts imaginable. From a banana-person to a flying pig-squid to bursting eyeballs to a baby falling down a flight of stairs to dancing popcorn, these shorts are hilarious and violent in just the right proportions. The fictitious Johnson & Mills company also has some mini-commercials that turn downright repulsive … hysterically.

With its quivering animated stick figures, comical outbursts, and hopelessly bizarre concepts, this short film suggests an unstable mind and its utter collapse, taken out on an eclectic mix of cartoon entities. Brilliantly, it is terribly simple yet highly creative, going so far as to blend the media with stop-motion-type animation and classical music as the world of the advertisements collapses. It’s demented and not for everyone, but it’s nevertheless entertaining, original, and unforgettable. “My spoon is too big!” (7/10)

Hertzfeldt’s other short works, under the umbrella of “Bitter Films,” include his following piece “The Meaning of Life” (2005), covering evolution and the rat race of humanity and otherworldly aliens, taking some notes from “2001: A Space Odyssey” (4/10); as well as his earlier shorts “Billy’s Balloon” (1998), like “The Red Balloon” gone wrong or “The Birds” but with balloons, as a plaything ruthlessly attacks its owner (5/10); “Lily and Jim” (1997), chronicling an outrageously uncomfortable, disastrous blind date between two exceptionally awkward souls – perhaps the director’s funniest work due to its universality (9/10); “Genre” (1996), a stop-motion experiment with real artist’s hands interacting with a cartoon rabbit, which peels itself off the page to wreak havoc or to demonstrate various film genres (6/10); and his first short “Ah, L’Amour” (1995), which suggests that flirting is difficult, unless one has plenty of money (5/10).

– Mike Massie

  • 7/10