My morning routine is a lot like my father’s was when I was a boy.
A shower, a cup of Folgers, and the paper spread out before me.
Of course, because I live in 2016, the coffee is Starbucks and the morning paper is actually Facebook, but the shower is still the same.
One thing that my father didn’t have to deal with back in the late 1970’s was an election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. He didn’t have to deal with friends who support one or other of the candidates (but really, just one) taking it upon themselves to unleash all sorts of October Surprise attempts on Facebook over and over and over again for weeks at a time.
This morning, I had enough.
What set me off was one of the most disgusting stories I’d seen linked about either of the candidates during this entire process, and it finally drove me over the edge.
The story had been linked onto Facebook by an old friend, and I sat there, typing and erasing and typing and erasing a heated response in which I said that it was my strongest wish that my friend would get arrested by the Internet Police and locked away in the darkest part of the darkest secret Internet Police prison. And that they would not be allowed out until the election madness had passed.
But then something happened that reminded me that i was supposed to be focusing on beauty this month.
While I was sitting there fuming, my coffee sitting beside me untouched, my three year old padded out to the living room from his bedroom in his footy pajamas, toused hair, and sleepy eyes, and he came and sat on my lap and gave me a big good morning hug.
So I shut down Facebook, and decided to share and enjoy some beauty with my wee tyke.
I turned on the television and played one of the most beautiful animated films – dare I say it – of all time:
The Song of the Sea.
And everything was better.
For the next ninety minutes or so, my little one and I were transported to a magical side of Ireland, where we watched a brother fight to save the sister that he’d started out resenting, and we learned how magic exists all around us, even as close as the rocks and the owls.
And so today, for my contribution of beauty, I give you the work of Tomm Moore (the “Miyazaki of the West” as my friend Amanda calls him) and his colleagues at Cartoon Saloon.
We’ll begin with the trailer for Song of the Sea.
Moore’s work has such unique and beautiful hand-drawn animation that makes you wonder how CGI ever became the dominant expression of animation. But perhaps one of the reasons why his films resonate so strongly with the audience is because they do fly in the face of convention, which says kids can’t handle movies unless they are loud, brash, full of pop-culture references, and end with the cast dancing to an upbeat pop song.
“We have a huge responsibility when we make movies aimed at kids to say something they need to know, instead of just distracting them with fart jokes and talking animals,” Moore said in an interview with CartoonBrew.com, and that integrity places his films heads and shoulders above most animated movies of our time.
And I don’t know about the rest of the world, but my three year old sat enraptured for the entire run time of the movie. And his dad alongside of him. So apparently his way of doing things works.
While Moore’s films do not have upbeat pop songs (which is part of the reason why I love them) and since the films are focused on Irish lore (which is another reason), the soundtrack (composed by Bruno Coulais) does so as well, and it compliments the animation and the storyline perfectly.
Take some time and listen to the soundtrack for the film. It’s just gorgeous.
And of course, if you are not up on the beautiful animated work of Tomm Moore and Cartoon Saloon, then you must check out his equally beautiful film, The Secret of the Kells, which has an equally beautiful soundtrack. This is the film that introduced most of us to their work.
And I think I speak for the rest of the movie loving world when I say that I hope Moore and company will continue making films for years to come.
Stay tuned for more examples of embracing beauty (just three days left!) and please share this post with your friends! Let’s help spread beauty all over the internet.
Also, if you have an example of beauty that you want to share, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to include it!