Directed by: Kimo Eastwood & Ron Cicero Cinematography: Kimo Eastwood
Editor: Ron Cicero, Kimo Eastwood, Sean Jarrett, Kevin Klquber & Christina Burchard
Appearances by: John Kricfalusi, Jack Black, Billy West, Billy Gibbons, Jim Ballantine, David Silverman, Robyn Byrd, Bobby Lee, Ed Ball, Bob Camp
A documentary that explores the rise and fall of The Ren & Stimpy Show (1991) and its controversial creator, John Kricfalusi.
This film is a discovery. As going into it didn’t really know all the behind the scenes drama until mroe recently and shined a light on what really happened between Nickelodeon and REN & STIMPY show. A show I remember watching early in my teens and loving it for being Different and twisted.
Then when I found out it was created by the man behind THE NEW ADVENTURES OF MIGHTY MOUSE. An equally inappropriate animated show but not as bad. Though for a Saturday morning cartoon on a major network it was shocking. It was canceled quickly after an episode seems to imply that a character snorted cocaine.
There is good and bad in all of us, sometimes it tips to one side more than the other. This is A rise and fall story that seems to happen so fast after the initial success that the monster of ego grows so fast you can barely notice. Once you do It’s too late might be indebted and then all the other horrors of their personality come out.
This is a tale of a self destructive artist in the middle. Where for the viewer it seems to be another childhood nostalgic love tainted by controversy over who is behind it and his personal problems and bad behavior.
Though as the cartoon of REN & STIMPY was a little off and kind of naughty especially for the audience it was aimed at. We might think it was rebellious and getting away with stuff that we didn’t understand but knew was wrong or too grown up for us to understand. We look at it as something fans took to heart and a kind of avant garde and there is no denying the talent behind it, but again it becomes a tale of trying to separate the art from the artist though knowing that art couldn’t have been created by anyone else. Even though after time other stepped into help create it and keep that spirit alive.
The artist behind it all doesn’t offer as many excuses as he does in the article that comes to light later and highlighted in the film. That includes interviews from those who know him and even his victims.
His behavior that is tied into his art seems to do be part of his personality or a disorder that allowed because of a narcissistic personality and plenty of enablers that came along with his success. Even as it hints that he had a rough upbringing that has shaped him and his personality.
Happy this documentary talks about the accusations that go along with his other problems. As an audience should rather find out and know this rather then keep praising blindly. Where eventually you can’t separate your fandom. As you have been indoctrinated and It’s too late as you until then you have been loyal, nostalgic and too content to part with it and separate yourself. Where you try to rationalize and separate the art from the artist. Something similar for some with directors like Roman Polanski or Woody Allen.
Wish the documentary has gone into his tiger projects but would have gone against the nature of the subject this documentary raises and given him too much screen time making the film all about him and his portfolio and not the actual project that has given him the biggest platform.
The film tries to show the other artists, talents and executives on production teams creativity. As well as what they brought in on the show. Sure he was the creator and head artist/writer but they gave the show and characters soul, depth and humanity. As well as them all admitting he drove them to work harder and be better to make the best show they could.
We hear from his collaborators and other artists who were either fans, victims or witnesses and suspected things that might have happened or noticed inappropriate behavior or nature but were too scared to say anything. As they were all rebellious and misfit outsider going against true norm of the system. Only they didn’t go as far as him.
So in the end the documentary shows both sides to him. The successful side that gained him fans, attention as well as notoriety. As well as the infamous dastardly bastard side where he used his success and fame to bully and fuel his Inappropriate fetishes with young women. Allowing him to be a sexual predator. We also get to see which side won out.This Documentary will rock your world if you like me weren’t exactly in the know about all the behind the scenes drama and revelations over the years.