Given 47 minutes to compose the perfect TUNE or lose his job, a redheaded songwriter journeys to a hellish cartoon cosmos for inspiration and advice from a New Age guru. Appealing to MTV-deadbeats, “Far Side” comic lovers, and those who use hallucinatory drugs, this `toon will repulse anyone with a non-destructive outlook on life. THE TUNE opens with Del, a young man who ventures to a place called “Flooby Nooby,” simply by using his imagination. There, he is mentored by a guru who calls himself God and mixes Scripture with neo-humanism. When Del leaves to visit the nightmarish Lovesick Hotel, he watches people swallow pills that stretch their bodies like rubber bands. The effects are bizarre and grotesque, making us wonder if animator Bill Plympton uses drugs, and why he thinks we will appreciate such hallucinations.
Artistically, THE TUNE is to be commended for its handmade animation on a shoestring budget. Regrettably, amateurism surfaces with characters that resemble cardboard cutouts, and musical numbers are as much fun as a child blowing a noisemaker in your ear. Add to this overwhelming sadism and a drug-induced perspective, for a score that is better left unsung.
(VVV, S, N, O, A/D, Ab) Sadistic humor (man ties another man's ears into a knot and catapults a large rock into his face so the man is decapitated, bizarre objects (dynamite, rats, etc.) stuffed into people's mouths, beachcombers transform into dismembered monsters, man's heart whacked out with hammer, suicide, man electrocuted when radio falls into bathtub, man cooked alive by witch doctor, etc.); sexual innuendo; nude female; subtle nominalism (magical thinking used to increase size of dog & man's thoughts altering reality); appearance of grim reaper; celebration of hallucinatory experiences & drug use; and, scripture mixed with humanism & guru calls himself "God."