robin williams

The Top 10 Animated Films Ever Made

When you start naming “Top 10” anythings, you’re bound to ruffle some feathers. Which I think is cool. I love this kind of conversation, so feel free to leave comments. Believe me, it was hard for me to not just list every Pixar film that’s come down the line because those guys can do no wrong (except Cars…I’m just not redneck enough to get into a movie about Nascar).

And this is probably one of the only “Top Animated Films” lists that won’t include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Bambi. I’m sorry. Just because something is old, or “the first”, it doesn’t make it good. Or interesting. In my less-than-humble opinion, Snow White is one of the most overrated, boring films to come down the pike. But Ed, you might say, It was a technological breakthrough in animation. It was the first of its kind. Yea, well, just because something is different doesn’t mean its good. Just ask Paris Hilton’s parents.

So here we go. The best in animation, according to me….

10. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas
 There is a moment in this film that always blows me away. Jack Skellington has gone off to become the new and improved Santa Claus and his #1 fan Sally is home lamenting because she knows something’s not right. While Sally is singing her ballad she steps through a gate and swings her head to the side. That moment right there is so smooth…so perfect…it’s almost hard for me not to believe it’s not a person in a big Sally costume. And there’s also the Oogie Boogie song.

9. Flushed Away
 I’ll admit it. I haven’t liked anything else this guy has done. And yes, that includes the Wallace and Gromit series. So my expectations for this were pretty low. Not only did this movie blow me out of the water, it also made Kate Winslet more attractive. The fun action peppered with jabs at America (and the UK) cracked me up. This movie probably would have ranked higher on my list if the characters didn’t look so much like those Wallace and Gromit idiots.

8. The Prince of Egypt
 Like The Nightmare Before Christmas, there’s one scene in this film that sticks in my head, but with a much larger emotional attachment. It comes at the climax of the film when Moses parts the Red Sea. That whole scene…the animation as the water rushes into the sky, the swelling music…and then the eerie silence…it gives me chills just writing about it and gets my heart beating like Ed Grimley in the presence of Pat Sajak.

7. The Emperor’s New Groove
 How is this cartoon not more popular than it is? Hey, I’m not the biggest David Spade fan either, but when he’s on, he’s on. And in this film, he’s on. Emporer’s plays like a Disney film done by the kids of the filmmakers: sick and tired of the schmaltz and cheese, they’re gonna show us that cartoons can be sarcastic, too. A cartoon that knows it’s a cartoon and says What the heck. Let’s just have fun with this one.

6. The Simpsons Movie
 Admit it. You were just as shocked into hysterical laughter as I was to see Bart’s junk.

5. Shrek
 I can still remember thinking to myself Cartoons aren’t supposed to be this irreverently funny while I was in the theater holding my side trying to stop laughing so I could hear the next joke. Like The Emporer’s New Groove, Shrek takes the world of children’s stories and pokes it in the eye as it dumps ice cubes down its shirt.

4. The Incredibles
 Are you kidding me? Superheroes more believable than their Marvel or DC cousins, an amazingly animated landscape, harrowing action (it’s hard to beat that jungle chase scene), all delicately painted around a couple struggling to keep their marriage together…wow. Well done, Pixar.

3. Aladdin
 Just the fact that the animators were able to keep up with Robin Williams’ mile-a-minute freestyle is a feat in itself. Disney loves putting our heroes in a spot where you think There’s no way they can get out of this. But when I watched this, I remember saying OK really, there’s no way he’s getting out of this one. One of these good guys is gonna die.

2. Finding Nemo
 Man, when things come together at Pixar, they really come together, don’t they? Everything from the casting down to the most intricate detail in a random air bubble was spot on. This is one of the few films you could pop into your player, press pause at any spot and the image frozen on your screen will be the very essence of art. You’d just look at it and say Wow. That’s beautiful. And hey, any film that is clever enough to incorporate the old Monty Python “Bruce” sketch gets extra credit.

1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
 Only Steven Spielberg would be able to get Warner Brothers and Disney to shake hands and agree to let their greatest cartoon characters appear side by side in the name of good moviemaking. Considering this was done before the computer animation technology we have today, it’s amazing how they got this film to work.
Yes, those are actual guns and beer bottles floating around in the air, not CG recreations, and the way they orchestrated the chaos in the Ink & Paint Club is beyond me. Roger Rabbit is a movie that loves movies and is a love letter to an era that may be gone but won’t soon be forgotten.

Yay for cartoons.

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Foiled Again!!!

I’m really getting a kick out of all of the extra work I did while in Chicago and New York City…and the fact that there’s no proof of it.

The Break-Up: Two days in Chicago and my awesome roller blading scene was deleted. It was even deleted from the DVD’s deleted scenes!! But like I’ve said before, I got to roller blade behind Jennifer Aniston, so there are no regrets.

Devil You Know: My role as the snooty matire’d who gives Lena Olin an angry look will very likely always remain a hidden treasure as it never went to theaters and I never heard anything about it since.

Without a Trace: I got to play an FBI employee fleeing from a building and after close examination of the episode, I was nowhere to be found.

And now another one to add to the list. I did work for a new FOX TV show called The Wedding Album about a wedding planner and his zany adventures. I believe I would have gotten some good “hey there he is” screen time but it seems FOX has gone with a different TV show about wedding planners, The Wedding Bells. Awesome.

There’s only one left…a movie with Robin Williams called August Rush. I haven’t seen any previews for it or heard any buzz yet, so I’ll keep you posted. It’s currently scheduled to come out in August. On the same weekend as the Bourne Identity sequel. So…good luck.

Who knows. If this doesn’t work, I may have to jump back in and try it again. Don’t think I won’t, doggonit.

*UPDATE
Ok, I found this website on August Rush. Apparently some guy who does special effects worked on the movie and he has a couple of clips on his website of the film and how he made it look like there were actually a lot more of us in Central Park than there was in reality. He has four scenes in his clip; I am somewhere in each of the first three, but it’s impossible to find me. Hopefully when the final product comes out I will be ready for my close-up.

To watch the scenes click here. Once you’re there, click on REEL in the top right-hand corner and then choose August Rush. If nothing else, it’s kinda cool to see the before and after of the effects.

August (Not In A) Rush

Almost a year ago I did some extra work on August Rush, a film starring Jonathan Rhys Myers, Keri Russell, Robin Williams, Freddie Highmore, and Terrance Howard. I spent four freeeeeeeeezing nights in Central Park from 11pm to 6am and the scenes they shot with us were some of the last scenes they were shooting.

I just checked the Internet Movie Database to see when in the world this film is coming out, as I haven’t seen any trailers or anything for it. They don’t have any trailers listed, no picture or image for the film, and the release date they have only says “February 2007.”

What a bunch of liars.

I also looked up the only other project I worked on while in New York that still hasn’t come out, a film entitled Devil You Know starring Lena Olin. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the release date was “2006” and it only played in New York City. No box office stats or anything. It is my suspicion this little gem was probably a direct-to-video deal gone awry, but I haven’t been able to find anything else on it at IMDb.com or Amazon.com.

Let’s go, film people. You’ve had a year. Ed’s tired of waiting.

2006 – YEAR IN REVIEW

It’s that time again to bore my friends and loved ones with a capsulated look at 2006. Enjoy. I’ll wake you when it’s over.

2006 – YEAR IN REVIEW
A Timeline by Ed Placencia

JANUARY
As the year began I was living in New York City. I was a regular performer at the National Comedy Theatre (which I will heretofore refer to as NCT) and the ink on my divorce papers still hadn’t dried. My first year as The Single Guy. Let’s do this.
January 1 I ring in the new year by performing at a special New Year’s show at the NCT. We had a blast and it was a great time.
January 12 My digital camera breaks. No one has seen a picture of me since.
January 31 At the NCT banquet in a weird moment of ironic foreshadowing I was awarded “Most likely to be available for 208 shows/year.”

FEBRUARY
February 19 A reporter from The Daily News does a story on the National Comedy Theatre. A lot of pictures are taken and the cast is saddened when the article comes out and they use a picture with none of us in it.
February 28 In a stunt of unparalleled proportions, JT and I went to pick up some used carpet to put in the green room of the NCT. Because we don’t have a vehicle, we carry this huge roll of carpeting. From the corner of 3rd & 11th to the theater at 36th & 9th we maneuvered through the busy streets of Manhattan and didn’t bump into anything. And we only stopped to rest once. How manly are we?

MARCH
March 8 My good friends John and Lisa come up to visit from Pennsylvania. We checked out a Mountain Dew snowboarding ramp in the middle of Times Square and interview a ukulele expert at a music store for Lisa’s radio show, The Kids Cookie Break. So, it was a usual day for me.

APRIL
April 2 Worked on the set of a new FOX show, The Wedding Album. It was slated to come out this year, but haven’t heard anything on it since.
April 10-13 For four days straight I work from 6:30pm to 5am as an extra on the set of August Rush, starring Robin Williams, Keri Russell, and Jonathan Rhys Myers. We spent four nights in the middle of Central Park pretending it wasn’t freezing cold as we watched a performance by a symphony. Right now it is slated to release in February 2007. If it’s anything like my last work as an extra, be sure to have your freeze frame remotes ready so you can see me.
April 22 My sister Jaime comes up for a visit and we see and do everything in Manhattan in a span of 7 hours. We are, in a word, amazing. And tired.
April 27 Fellow NCT comedian Virginia and I witness someone trying to base jump off of the Empire State Building. A crowd gathers. The jumper is arrested. Everyone seems slightly depressed they didn’t get to see someone splat.
April 30 Worked on the set of Without A Trace playing an FBI employee. The episode airs the following month and I was nowhere to be seen. So far, no proof of the fact I’ve ever done any extra work exists.

MAY
May 4 Realizing a lifelong dream, I get to attend a taping of The Late Show with David Letterman. Even though the guests are Rosie Perez and Danika Patrick I still manage to somehow enjoy the experience.
May 13 My final show at the NCT for 2006. I have 81 performances with them under my belt, and all of them were a blast. The rest of the gang is still there putting on great shows so if you’re in Manhattan, be sure to stop by and see a show.
May 14 Left NYC for Pennsylvania, where I will hang out for a week before my departure for Indiana. My buddy Ethan volunteers to drive me to PA and while there I stay with him and his wife Aubrey, and also with Jon & Lisa. I get a chance to connect with all of my dear friends from the radio station I worked at in Lancaster, WJTL. Good people. Good, good people.
May 21 Dad arrives in Pennsylvania with his truck and we load up the small amount of junk I have and head for Indiana.

JUNE
June 2 Almost a year after doing extra work on The Break-Up with Vince Vaughn and Jennifer Aniston, it is released in theaters. None of my scenes make the final cut. I am not disappointed as there’s always the DVD deleted scenes. And I got to roller blade behind Jennifer Aniston for half a day. And the check cleared.
June 4 Fifteen years after its first conception, my brother Ray and I begin production on the long-awaited sequel to Terocus. We film four episodes and post them all on YouTube. The internet community is collectively confused.

JULY
July 15 I film an entry for a contest NBC is having to make a promo for the TV show The Office with Ray, Piper, Dad, and cousin Rich. Even though we don’t win, we have fun filming it and putting it on YouTube to further confuse the internet people.
July 16 The Placencia family reunion. Or, The Largest Gathering Of Minorities In Indiana Since The Last Placencia Family Reunion.

AUGUST
August 3 I am legally a Hoosier again when I get my driver’s license. After finally making it through the DMV line, a week later my money clip is stolen and I have to go through all of it again.

SEPTEMBER
September 30 The county fair comes to town and all of Indiana’s finest are in attendance. Mullets and poofy hairsprayed bangs abound. I get together with my friend Amy to hang out at the local coffee shop as they walk by and poke fun. Without recognizing him, I inadvertently end up making fun of my uncle.

OCTOBER
October 14 I killed a bird with a ladder.
October 17 The Break-Up is released on DVD. Although the packaging boasts “17 extra minutes!” I still have not made the film. Nor did I make the deleted scenes. Even my deleted scenes were deleted. But still, at least I got to roller blade behind Jennifer Aniston for half a day.

NOVEMBER
November 1 Awarded “Boxer of the Month” for the month of October at the Dekalb County Boxing Club. I celebrate by not going down for the rest of the month.
November 9 Itching to get back into comedy, I perform stand-up in front of a crowd of about 350 people at Snickerz in Ft Wayne and it goes well and the crowd goes wild.

DECEMBER
I’m working with Dad and still doing production for WJTL. I’ve been writing a lot of short stories recently and I’ll be back at Snickerz doing stand-up on December 21.It’s been a fun fun year and am eager to see what 2007 has in store.

To keep updated on what I’m doing, I keep a pretty consistent blog online. It’s the easiest way to see what I’m up to and going through. You can also visit that link to get all of the details on the highlights I mentioned above.

Goals for 2007:
*Return to NYC to perform again at NCT.
*Visit London.
*Kiss a girl.

It’s my prediction that the first two goals will be the easiest to accomplish.

Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from you to find out how you’re doing.

Keep in touch!

Ed

Return of the Vampire

I think maybe I’ve seen the sun a total of 5 or 6 hours this week. I’ve been living the night life (complete with glo-sticks) and partying all week long. Either that, or I’ve been standing around the last couple of nights on a movie set waiting for the cameras to roll.

Just finished a 4-day shoot on the movie August Rush. The shoots were all overnight shoots, meaning I had to be there each night at 6:30PM and we got done each day around 6 or 7am. I would get home, watch TV for an hour or so, go to bed, get up at 4, and repeat the process.

I was told by my agent that Robin Williams would be there and good times would be had by all. I forgot that agents are LIARS. Not only was Robin Williams not there but I also wasted 75 dollars on my Mork costume.

In attendance was Jonathan Rhys-British guy (from Match Point), Keri Russell (from Felicity who, in person, looks like a clenched fist) and Freddie SomethingOrOther, the kid from Finding Neverland and the Tim Burton version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

We spent all four nights in Central Park shooting a scene as audience members at a NY Philharmonic performance. And I must admit, I was really impressed with the kid. He had to play like he was conducting the orchestra and in between shots he was the most professional, well-behaved robot of a kid you could ever imagine. My parents could only dream that I would have been that well-mannered when nothing was going on and we had to wait around for the crew to set themselves.

The highlight of the shoot was befriending a girl named Joan. We had a good time making sarcastic comments and remarks about everyone else in attendance who drove us nuts (or just looked funny).

During the shoot I was also able to read Dennis Miller’s The Rant Zone. If you’re a fan of Dennis Miller and his sense of humor, then you’ll really enjoy it. If you’re not a fan, then…well…you’re dumb.*

All in all, a good week. But man, if my sleep schedule was screwed up before….

*This book review brought to you by Ed as his 12-year-old self.

The Wedding Album

My first time on a film shoot in a while and it was nice to be back in the saddle again. Today I was on Wall Street shooting some scenes for a new television pilot (I believe for FOX) entitled The Wedding Album. If I am correct, its a romantic comedy about the ongoing adventures in love of a wedding planner.

We shot in a huge building (used to be a bank, I don’t know what they use it for now) that was all set up and decorated for a wedding party. Call time this morning was 7am. YIKES.

I got up extra early to ensure I would find my way there. They gave us the address to check in at but didn’t tell us that the actual address was a block and a half away on a different street. Good thing I left early.

The last few times Ive been on a shoot Ive played attendees of high-class occasions so I had to wear a suit and tie. It was nice today to be playing an electrician so I could wear the same crappy jeans and T-shirt Id wear on any other day.

It was an interesting psychological study to see people dressed in cool hip clothing playing floral designers gathering together in one clique and looking down on the people dressed as caterers or servers. The guy who was chosen to be the head Floral Attendant, with his gaudily bleached hair and Im-Jonathan-from-Bravos Blow Out attitude, believed he had been cast as the King of the World (or, more appropriately for him, the Queen) and began to prance about the set ordering people around. I enjoyed watching people roll their eyes at him and defying his power.

The first half of the morning was a little boring, as I didn’t do anything. Usually I dont mind doing nothing as its a movie set and nothing is usually what happens, but they had us waiting on set away from the holding area, which means away from my Soduko puzzle book Id brought along.

We broke for lunch and imagine my horror when they announced they werent providing lunch for us. That was a first. And, of course, the reason for my horror was I was carrying zero money. So during the lunch hour I did Soduko puzzles and secretly wondered why the lady in charge of the extras was in such a bad mood.

After lunch they put me in the background of a scene featuring a rigged table that crashed to the floor (with wedding cake on top of it). I don’t care if I am ruining the storyline or giving something away by revealing the cake doesn’t make it to the end of the show. Maybe next time they’ll think twice about not getting me a sandwich for lunch.

After that, they grabbed me out of the bunch to carry some flowers in a scene. According to the onlookers I got some good screen time in that scene so that was nice. After that they had me in a scene working on a speaker and in another scene working on a table.

All in all it was a good day. I was a little grumpy for a bit because I was hungry but I still enjoyed myself. I was on the set until 8:30PM and I didn’t mind a bit. A lot of people were ready and eager to leave, but since we get paid overtime I didnt see what the big rush was.

Needless to say I came home exhausted. I have a 3-day shoot coming up next week for the new Robin Williams movie, August Rush. I don’t know if hell be in any of the scenes were shooting but they are overnight shoots and take place in Central Park. I wonder if anyone will be there to walk me home.