It's been 30 years since Craig Decker teamed with Mike Gribble to start showing people cartoons. You probably know them better as Spike—Decker's nickname—and Mike, and their various touring shows, the Festival of Animation and the grownups only Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation. Gribble died in 1994, but Decker's kept his buddy's name as part of the animation exploration, including the new Spike & Mike's Festival of Animation 30th Anniversary collection, which opens Saturday, Feb. 9, and runs through Saturday, March 30, at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's La Jolla location (700 Prospect St.). This is the family-friendly edition, so don't expect it to be sick or twisted.
"We all know the technological advances that have occurred in the medium," Decker tells CityBeat via email. "Sometimes the storytelling or character design is lost because of the focus on technological advances or using the most up-to-date software. Shows like this are absolute stunning examples of how amazing this medium can be."
Spike & Mike debuted the work of some notable artists, including Mike Judge, Tim Burton and John Lasseter. Gaining entrance into a Spike & Mike festival, though, is a challenge. Decker, who can be prone to hyperbole, says that in order to fit the bill, a movie must "have humor and charm and be wonderfully dynamic. And then have more humor! Which is what makes this the best collection that could possibly be put together in the world. Period."
There are certainly some good ones, including an old favorite, 1969's Bambi vs. Godzilla. Other high-profile shorts include Oscar winner Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase, Nick Park's Creature Comforts (also an Oscar winner), the gorgeous German film Loom and the ever-popular The Big Snit. Some high-profile animators will make appearances during the run, including David Silverman—who's helmed several episodes of The Simpsons, as well as The Simpsons movie and The Longest Daycare, which is currently up for the Best Short Animated Film Oscar—and Rich Moore, who directed Wreck-It Ralph, currently contending for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. It's kind of a parade of animated riches. Get details at spikeandmike.com.
For Decker, though, there's one thing that would make the celebration better: "I wish Mike was here to see it."
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Identity Thief: Jason Bateman hits the road to find out who stole his identity. Not a spoiler: It's Melissa McCarthy.
San Diego Jewish Film Festival: Still going strong in its 23rd year and now spread out across the county. Find the list of films, showtimes, locations and ticket info at sdjff.org. It runs from Thursday, Feb. 7, through Sunday, Feb. 17.
Side Effects: This thriller is rumored to be Steven Soderbergh's final theatrical release. If so, he's going out on top with this one, about a woman (Rooney Mara) whose shrink (Jude Law) prescribes her anti-depressants that end up plunging both of them down a rabbit hole.
Special 26: Bollywood heist movie based on a real robbery that went down in Mumbai in 1987.
Top Gun 3D: The fighter-jet stuff is just fine. It's that Tom Cruise singing "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" bit that gets creepy in 3D.
One Time Only
Bull Durham: Kevin Costner's romantic baseball comedy is a minor-league miracle. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life: Life, as we know it, would never be the same after the final Python movie. Screens at around 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park.
Groundhog Day: Bill Murray's obnoxious weatherman has to live the same day over and over again. Ironically, it just gets better with age. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
Get to Work: Documentary about the local organization Second Chance, which provides unemployment assistance and job training. Screens at noon on Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Chicago: The Best Picture winner for 2002 is pretty sharp, but the wave of movie musicals we expected in its wake never really arrived. Screens at noon and 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
The Collector: This film, which uses puppets and tabletop theater to tell its story of a debt collector who goes through a Grinch-like conversion, was put together by the Animal Cracker Conspiracy, which will be on hand after the film for a Q&A. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at The Loft at UCSD.
Mr. Skeffington: Bette Davis accepts a sham wedding proposal in order to save her brother from an embezzlement charge. Screens at 2:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at the Central Library, Downtown.
A Clockwork Orange: Kubrick's dystopian nightmare is still seriously creepy. Not for the kids. Screens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Faces in the Mirror: Boyd Tinsley, violinist for the Dave Matthews Band, directed this movie about a young musician who returns home to bury his father. He'll be on hand for the screening and will perform and answer questions afterward. Starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Roman Holiday: It's one of the most romantic movies of all time, and it earned Audrey Hepburn her Oscar. Screens at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9 and Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Reading Cinemas Gaslamp.
Ruby Sparks: The first film since Little Miss Sunshine from co-directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris stars Paul Dano as a writer whose latest creation, a gorgeous, quirky girl named Ruby, comes to life. Screens at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at the Central Library, Downtown.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman teamed with director Michel Gondry for this bizarre allegory of a breakup, which stars Jim Carrey as a guy desperately trying to get over Kate Winslet. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at Full Moon Drive-In in Pacific Beach.
Casablanca: Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she had to walk into his. The rest of us are glad she did. Screens at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, at ArcLight Cinemas in La Jolla.
Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West: The title kind of says it all, right? Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at the Central Library,
Downtown. Breakfast at Tiffany's: In Truman Capote's short novel, the narrator was gay. In Blake Edwards' movie, he's hetero George Peppard, who somehow ends up with the lovely Holly Golightly. Screens at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 11, at Reading Cinemas Town Square in Clairemont.
West Side Story: When you're a jet, you're a jet all the way, from your first cigarette to your last dying day. Screens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at ArcLight La Jolla.
Die Hard Marathon: All five films. Yes, that's right, five, because it culminates at 10 p.m. with the new one, A Good Day to Die Hard. Starts at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 13, at AMC Mission Valley and ArcLight La Jolla.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Quite possibly the most quoted movie of all time, by geeks. It's only a flesh wound, after all. Screens at around 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park.
Say Anything: What guy hasn't wanted to be Lloyd Dobler, holding up the boombox playing Peter Gabriel? And what girl hasn't wanted her man to be Lloyd Dobler, holding up the boombox playing Peter Gabriel? It's screening twice on Wednesday, Feb. 13: You can catch it at 7:30 p.m. at ArcLight La Jolla or 8 p.m. at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma.
A New Juarez: Documentarian Charlie Minn's latest film about the cartel wars in Mexico explores the recent changes in the border town often considered the murder capitol of the world.
Bullet to the Head: Sly Stallone is a hit man who teams up with a cop to find the guy who killed their partners—and shoot a bunch of guys along the way. It's Walter Hill's first film in a decade.
Oscar Nominated Short Films: All 10 Oscar-nominated short and live-action films play the Ken Cinema, and there are some real winners in this batch.
Sisterakas: Filipino comedy about a guy who hires his half-sister on the Internet to be a personal assistant, with the intention of making her life hell.
Stand Up Guys: Al Pacino gets out of the joint after almost 20 years and immediately hooks up with his old associates, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin.
Warm Bodies: In a world populated by both zombies and humans, one member of the walking dead (Nicholas Hoult) starts to have feelings for a real girl (Teresa Palmer).
Quartet: It's surprising that it took Dustin Hoffman this long to direct a movie. Quartet, about what happens when a faded opera singer (Maggie Smith) is forced to move into a home for retired musicians, including the rest of the quartet she left behind, is slight, but enjoyable.
56 Up: Every seven years since 1964, filmmakers have captured the lives of a group of British children who were just 7 when the process started. Director Michael Apted has spent a lot of time with these people, and it shows.
Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters: Sure. Why not?
Movie 43: Three teenagers kick around the Internet, looking at nasty short films, which allows all kinds of big stars, like Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet and Emma Stone, to appear without making a huge commitment.
Parker: After his crew double-crosses him, Jason Statham teams up with Jennifer Lopez to get his revenge.
West of Memphis: Amy Berg's new documentary about the West Memphis Three looks at the entire journey of the men who were railroaded on murder charges as teens and spent almost 20 years in jail. It also casts a light on a new suspect—and not the person you might expect. Ends Feb. 7 at Hillcrest Cinemas.
Race 2: This Bollywood action sequel finds the hero heading to Turkey to track down the bad guys who killed his girlfriend.
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Wait, what? Didn't this micro-budget movie come out last summer before being nominated for a slew of Oscars last week? Yeah, that's why it's back in theaters, Sherlock.
Broken City: Ex-cop Mark Wahlberg finds himself immersed in scandal when he starts trailing Catherine Zeta-Jones, wife of New York Mayor Russell Crowe.
Cosmic Collisions: So, that asteroid that might smash into Earth in 20 years is much bigger than previously thought? Awesome. This new IMAX movie at the Reuben H. Fleet looks at what happens when things bash into each other in outer space. On the bright side, if we go the way of the dinosaurs, at least future species will have a new source of fossil fuels.
The Last Stand: What do governors do after they're termed out? Star in ultraviolent movies, of course! The Governator plays Ray Owens, an inexperienced border-town sheriff who's the only thing standing between a drug lord and his destination in Mexico.
Mama: Fresh from Zero Dark Thirty, Jessica Chastain has to take care of her young nieces, who survived in the woods for five years. Also, there are ghosts or something.
Amour: Michael Haneke's Palm d'Or-winning drama, about an elderly couple facing declining health, is as terrifying as his movies about sadism, home invasions and fanaticism.
A Haunted House: Comedy-horror! Horror-comedy! Marlon Wayans (who co-wrote the script) and Essence Atkins move into a new house, where Atkins is quickly possessed by demon spawn. Hilarity ensues.
Gangster Squad: Hey, girl, Ryan Gosling is a spiffy L.A. cop shooting up mobster types like Sean Penn's Mickey Cohen in the new movie from Zombieland director Ruben Fleischer.
The Impossible: Biopic about a family, led by Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, caught up in the 2004 tsunami in Thailand.
Zero Dark Thirty: Kathryn Bigelow's movie, about the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden, is a masterwork of filmmaking, and the fact that it's inspiring debate about torture should be more tangential than anything else.
Django Unchained: Tarantino takes on yet another genre—the western—and blows it up and makes it fun again. Jamie Foxx is Django, a slave freed by German bounty hunter Christoph Waltz, off to rescue wife Kerry Washington from plantation owner Leonardo DiCaprio.
Les Miserables: Fans of the legendary musical will get their fix from this big-screen adaptation by King's Speech director Tom Hooper, who relies heavily on close-ups and, sadly, Russell Crowe, who isn't a trained singer. Anne Hathaway, on the other hand, dreams a nice dream as Fantine.
Parental Guidance: Billy Crystal and Bette Midler agree to look after their grandchildren. Hilarity for a certain demographic ensues.
Jack Reacher: Tom Cruise takes on the title role in a movie based on the best-selling series of books, obviously looking for another Mission: Impossible sort of franchise.
This is 40: Judd Apatow returns to Knocked Up territory, though this sort-of sequel focuses on Pete (Paul Rudd) and Debbie (Leslie Mann), who were supporting players in the earlier film.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Peter Jackson returns to Middle-earth in the first of three films based on the book that came before Lord of the Rings.
Life of Pi: Ang Lee's adaptation of the Booker Prize-winning novel about a boy, a tiger and a lifeboat is this year's movie that you simply must see on a big screen and in 3-D. Really.
Silver Linings Playbook: Bradley Cooper plays Pat, a bipolar guy from Philly who's just out of the mental hospital, having lost his job, his home and his wife. He moves in with his parents (Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro) in hopes of regaining his marriage, but things are thrown askew by Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who has problems of her own.
Lincoln: It might as well have been called The 13th Amendment. Despite another spellbinding performance from Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln's biopic is really about getting legislation through Congress.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2: The long national nightmare is over.
Tales of the Maya Skies: This IMAX movie explores the rich history of the Mayan people, just in time for the end of the world. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Wreck-It Ralph: The latest animated film from Disney stars John C. Reilly as Ralph, the bad guy in an old-school video game who desperately wants to be liked.
Argo: Ben Affleck directs and stars in this take on the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, and believe it or not, it's gonna be a Best Picture contender.
Flight of the Butterflies: It turns out Monarch butterflies are much like SDSU students—every year, thousands of them head to Mexico. This IMAX film captures their beautiful trip. The butterflies, that is.
Flying Monsters 3D: No, it's not a crappy studio blockbuster—this one is all about dinosaurs and was written and directed by Richard Attenborough, using Avatar-like technology, and plays the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
To the Arctic 3-D: Cute-animal-movie alert No. 2. Meryl Streep narrates this new IMAX movie about a mama polar bear and her two cubs.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.