Lost in the Movies (formerly The Dancing Image): This is Your Brain on Cartoons

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This is Your Brain on Cartoons

We used to watch this religiously in elementary school: at least once a year from about kindergarten to third grade. Oddly enough, none of my friends recognizes it. Was it a local phenomenon? As for the plot, a high school student is getting high and stealing from his kid sister's piggy bank, so a variety of cartoon characters, including Garfield, Tigger, Bugs Bunny, Muppet Babies, and the Smurfs, decide to scare him straight.

This is certainly one of the trippier anti-drug films - the weed that the teenage protagonist smokes must be laced with acid. For some reason, the film posits the Ninja Turtles as narcs rather than stoners, which is a bit hard to believe (maybe they turned stoolie so the cops would turn a blind eye to the mutants' own dealing?). Not all the cartoon characters are virtuous - a vaporous and malevolent dopester is voiced by George C. Scott of all people, and oddly enough (in the wake of the Reagan era) the ghoul has a decidedly slick Gordon Gekko vibe. All in all, the video is more enticing than intimidating - it remains so unclear what drugs actually do, and yet they seem so adventurous, that one can imagine Winnie the Pooh and Alf inadvertently turning a generation of kids onto marijuana (naturally one of Alvin's chipmunk brothers recognizes the smell instantly).

The first third of the video is embedded below, with the rest available on You Tube. If you'd just like to sample it, go here. But be warned, it can lead to harder stuff...

(If you want to see the pre-film cameo by a very special guest, here you are.)




This post was originally published on The Sun's Not Yellow.

2 comments:

Andreas said...

I'm browsing your blog; I love it so far. I too saw Cartoon All Stars to the Rescue as a young child and had my mind similarly scarred. It's just incredible that they got all these characters together, and the trippy, unconvincing ends they used them toward. Glad to see someone else remembers.

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks for dropping by, Andreas; glad you're enjoying the blog.

Soon after posting this, I did find out that a number of my friends recognized the movie - so I wasn't just hallucinating. It seems to be quite effective when one is a kid and all these cartoon characters are the epitome of cool; but later when it really matters, words of wisdom from Garfield and Alvin & the Chipmunks no longer seem so pressing.

Still a fascinating artifact, though.