Short Animated Film: Yard Work Is Hard Work
Life, love and adjustable rate mortgages are the central concerns in Jodie Mack‘s toe-tappingly wonderful cut-out animation musical short film Yard Work Is Hard Work. A newlywed couple settle in for a happy suburban existence, but soon learn that raking the lawn and keeping up with finances can be severe impediments to domestic bliss.
It’s difficult to know what to admire more here: The super catchy tunes or the painstakingly animated thousands of cut-out magazine pictures. Even though the main characters have no names, nor do they have consistent looks — a trademark of collage filmmaking — but Mack gets us very involved in their lives with a great emotional story told exclusively through song lyrics.
Produced in 2008, the film is still — kind of sadly given our country’s still dismal economic climate — highly relevant as its central couple embark on their future together to satisfy their emotional needs, which don’t exactly jive with their practical reality. Eventually, though, they begin to learn that co-existing with their environment takes more awareness and foresight than they originally believed.
While there are sociological and economic lessons laying within Yard Work Is Hard Work, Mack’s song lyrics really zero in on her characters’ emotional reactions to their situation so that their life’s journey together hit on both timeless and very modern themes.
This film also won an Honorable Mention at the 2009 Milwaukee Underground Film Festival.