What are some animated feature films about regular people?
March 1, 2011 8:18 AM   Subscribe

Are there animated movies that you would describe as Slice Of Life?

It's sort of a 90s term that might be better defined by Diary Comic or Neo-realism, but anyway...My question is whether there are any animated feature films that are for adults and follow modern grown up characters living in the real world having real problems? Specifically along the lines of Ghost World, Blankets, Jimmy Corrigan, Adrian Tomine, Peter Bagge, Strangers in Paradise, etc? Foreign Films are welcome, though something like Persepolis isn't really what I'm thinking given that it's concerned more with huge historical events than everyday struggles.

Low budget or older films welcome. No TV or shorts please. And definitely no Science Fiction or Superhero stuff. Thanks in Advancement!
posted by Potomac Avenue to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
American Splendor has some animated bits, and is based on the comic books which feature a lot of slice-of-life events in Harvey Pekar's life.
posted by illenion at 8:23 AM on March 1, 2011

Only Yesterday is a Ghibli film that features a young women in a period of transition, visiting family friends in the countryside while she tries to reconcile her memories of the little girl she once was with the sobering realities of the adult she's become. It can be difficult to find, but it's an excellent film, and if you memail me I'd be happy to help you get your hands on a copy of it.

Animation Runner Kuromi, while a little silly, follows the fairly realistic story of animators trying to get a low-budget, high-stress production out the door.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:26 AM on March 1, 2011

Waking Life
posted by mkultra at 8:28 AM on March 1, 2011

Response by poster: Ah I forgot to mention that I am stylistically uninterested in Anime. It just isn't at all what I'm looking for visually. Sorry for not putting that in the initial question!

Waking Life is indeed totally awesome.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:29 AM on March 1, 2011

Response by poster: Also, that said, Only Yesterday looks really good and I'd love to take a look at it!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:31 AM on March 1, 2011

It's too bad you're not interested in Anime, since I think what you are looking for is far more common in that medium.

(If you're willing to *explore* some anime, I'd suggest 5 Centimeters Per Second wikipedia IMDB)
posted by lilnublet at 8:36 AM on March 1, 2011

I'm going to go ahead and suggest My Neighbors the Yamadas, because it's about as "slice of life" as it gets. Aesthetically speaking it's very different from the other Ghibli movies, less anime and more Sunday funnies.
posted by milk white peacock at 8:40 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

American Pop?
posted by jbickers at 8:47 AM on March 1, 2011

Persepolis, is really quite good.

Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then is also cool, but is more of a live experience/performance, and may not be what you mean by animated.
posted by edgeways at 8:57 AM on March 1, 2011

Max and Molly. I caught it quite by accident, and it is extremely touching and well made.
posted by Glinn at 9:04 AM on March 1, 2011

Oh jebus. Make that Mary and Max. Totally screwed up the name there.
posted by Glinn at 9:05 AM on March 1, 2011 [3 favorites]

And have you already seen Persepolis or are you just presuming it's not what you want based on a description? Because I would be more likely to categorize that as slice-of-life than I would Waking Life.
posted by RobotHero at 9:20 AM on March 1, 2011

The Illusionist.
posted by brujita at 9:30 AM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's not exactly modern, but Grave of the Fireflies is considered one of the best anti-war movies ever made.

Ignore the fact that it comes out of Japan: the animation isn't anything like your stereotypical anime.
posted by valkyryn at 9:34 AM on March 1, 2011

Yeah, looking outside of anime will be hard (Whisper of the Heart is another great slice-of-life Ghibli film, incidentally, and Kare Kano is a phenomenal series about the life of high school students in Japan). Waltz with Bashir isn't really about ordinary life as most Westerners would know it, but it is about the ordinary life of Israelis having to deal with the scars of war.
posted by Kattullus at 9:46 AM on March 1, 2011

Whisper of the Heart -- beautiful movie (by Studio Ghibli), coming of age story. Very sweet and romantic. Good depiction of family/school life. One of my favorites.
posted by I'm Brian and so's my wife! at 9:51 AM on March 1, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah, looking outside of anime will be hard

I agree! It's just I'm looking specifically for films from the tradition of Fantagraphics/Small Press Expo/American Elf/type of thing. Anime comes from Manga. But I'm wondering: has a filmmaking genre come from Western SOL comix? If not a whole genre, have their been forays? I agree Persepolis and the Illusionist are inroads into this territory, but one is historical and the other a fantasy.

I just remembered this Adam Sandler movie 8 Crazy Nights, which was actually more like what I'm thinking of, even if it wasn't super good at all.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:22 AM on March 1, 2011

Best answer: Still Life with Animated Dogs (27:00, Paul Fierlinger) was really incredible. Maybe My Dog Tulip, too (which I haven't seen).
posted by not_on_display at 10:35 AM on March 1, 2011

You may also want to filter through the Beltesassar Short Animation torrent series.
posted by not_on_display at 10:38 AM on March 1, 2011

Potomac Avenue: "I just remembered this Adam Sandler movie 8 Crazy Nights, which was actually more like what I'm thinking of, even if it wasn't super good at all."

In that vein- Bebe's Kids.
posted by mkultra at 10:54 AM on March 1, 2011

Best answer: I know you said no TV series, but Mission Hill was kind of influenced by Western small-press comics. There was also a pilot based on Evan Dorkin's Eltingville science-fiction club.

Sita Sings the Blues has parallel story-lines, one of which you might call slice-of-life. And the production is like that of small-press "comix" in that it was written, created, and produced all by one person.
posted by RobotHero at 10:55 AM on March 1, 2011

Bill Plympton's feature-length stuff may also fit the bill, though "slice-of-whose-life?" may be a good question. [wikipedia]
posted by not_on_display at 11:28 AM on March 1, 2011

Open your mind to some anime, there's some great stuff in this genre. Tokyo Godfathers, for instance.

You might need to look to television to get the particular flavor you're looking for. I'll second Mission Hill, throw in Bob and Margaret, and if you wanna dip into old Nicktoons, Doug and Hey Arnold!
posted by buriednexttoyou at 12:50 PM on March 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Some of the films of Ralph Bakshi probably fit your criteria.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:15 PM on March 1, 2011

While I enjoyed Gravity was Everywhere Back Then, I think it's most emphatically not "slice of life" in the sense the OP is describing. I'm having trouble thinking of anything that is, outside of the anime spectrum. The graphic novelists (is that a word?) he describes definitely do, but I'm not aware of any animated adaptations of their work. There is a Ghost World movie, but, not animated.
posted by Alterscape at 8:16 PM on March 1, 2011

It's a TV show, but I feel like Daria more or less fits the OP's description. Watching it again 10 years later brings all the angst and existential dread of suburban high school life rushing back to me.
Like others have said, the only examples I've been able to come up with are TV shows, live-action movies and foreign (mostly Japanese) titles.
One of my favorite slice-of-life style shows however is The Adventures of Pete and Pete. Another thought is Roseanne which, if I remember right, was controversial for being so true to life.
As for Japanese stuff I'm a fan of Sazae-san and Chibi Maruko-chan, both shows about working class families and school life. Neither is drawn in the stereotypical anime style, but I think English versions would be hard to find.
Sorry all mine are TV shows :/
posted by azuresunday at 6:21 AM on March 2, 2011

The Triplets of Belleville is a great animated feature. As is "The Book of Kells."

"A Town Called Panic" is another example, but it proved to be too frenetic and silly for me.

I would also submit that recent Pixar stuff like "Up" and "Wall-E", while being ostensibly "for kids", has a depth of message and artistry that speaks to adults who appreciate the medium.
posted by cross_impact at 8:46 AM on March 2, 2011

Apropos of this, Tribeca Cinemas here in NYC is hosting a series of free Korean anime movies. What Is Not Romance, which is showing on April 5th, looks particularly up this alley:

"A surprisingly moving animated film, WHAT IS NOT ROMANCE is all about a middle aged couple approaching their anniversary and it’s as tender, delicate and subtle as the best arthouse movie. Tensions are rising, dinner table conversation is nonexistent and all their romance seems dead. Leaping backwards in time it returns to the beginning of their marriage when they were head over heels in love with each other and traces it to the present when they barely talk and tries to see if there’s any way for a couple married for years to get back to the way things were."

posted by mkultra at 12:33 PM on March 8, 2011

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