For adults, a lot of mainstream animation is like a shot of whiskey — do it too many times, and you’re going to throw up. But kids love cartoons, so here’s a nice change of pace from their steady diet of Disney classics you’ve seen a gazillion times: The Vimeo channel for CalArt’s animation students, which features 112 cartoon shorts from the past year, running the gamut from beautiful and evocative to goofy and hilarious.
Here are 8 highlights that you can fire up on a tablet, Apple TV or Chromecast and finally see something new for a change. Meanwhile, your kids get mad preschool cred by telling their friends that they’ve gotten super into watching independent student films.
The Situation Is ThisThe most conventionally screwball of the bunch, this tale of 2 bumbling secret agents equally skewers action movie cliches and know-it-all grownups.
An Object at RestThis rock just wants to take a nap, but winds up inadvertently telling a wordless story about the circular nature of life and the epic scope of the natural world — not bad for a rock.
Space CrittersA lizard, a squirrel, a snake, and a rabbit are being experimented on in a space station manned by a sadistic astronaut, until the lizard seizes an opportunity to free his comrades. Full disclosure: the rabbit’s dead, but just tell your kid that it’s sleeping.
A Dog’s WorldWhat, at first glimpse, appears to be an animated commercial for the American Kennel Club turns into a heart-warming story about inclusiveness, all in less than 80 seconds.
Gnome Man’s LandA hilarious homage to The Simpson‘s Happy Little Elves that proves you don’t need a beard to be awesome (but it helps).
Pet PeeveA little boy flushes his beloved goldfish and goes on a search for the perfect pet, with disastrous results. Then, his parents save the day (duh) in the most obvious way possible.
The Ballad of Possum’s BroomA foot-stomping country ballad that’s sort of like a low-fi update to the Berenstain Bears, except it’s about a possum.
After DarkA visually striking meditation on the life of a city after the sun goes down. Your kids won’t have a clue what the big deal is, but you will.