Cans Without Labels
Cans Without Labels is a 2019 Kickstarter-funded 11-minute animated black comedy short film created by infamous Canadian animator John Kricfalusi that was in production for much of the 2010s. It features characters from his older work The God Damn George Liquor Program.
The short's constantly delayed production and Kricfalusi's failure to both meet his own deadline and repay all of the backers to his Kickstarter campaign used to fund it are generally discussed more than what little of the short itself was completed. The short's completion was finally announced in August 2017, but the finished short wasn't released until May of 2019, two years after it was scheduled to be completed, seven years after production started and eleven years after pre-production began.
At lunchtime, George Liquor (American) gives out several cans to his nephews Ernie and Slab, stating that once they open them up, they have to eat whatever is inside of them. However, once they find a disembodied human face inside one of the cans, Liquor orders them to eat the face while he goes to the bathroom or else he will whip them with his belt. From this point forward, the short focuses on Ernie and Slab's frantic attempts to get rid of the face behind their uncle's back.
Why It Sucks
- The main problem with this short is that the animation throughout the short is subpar and way over-the-top as things move way too fast (especially the camera), despite being in development hell during almost all of the 2010s. In addition, several glaring animation errors were left in.
- Besides that, the plot of the short itself is also very disturbing, nasty and mean-spirited due to the subject matter involving George Liquor ordering his nephews to eat the face or else he'll spank them with his belt, which is considered cannibalism and abuse.
- The short also has shoddy voice acting. It seems like the actors all used different microphones. It also sounds like John K. spliced takes of Michael Pataki's original George Liquor recordings, particularly when George rants about how African babies would "kill for a nice face". This can be explained by Michael Pataki’s death in 2010 (there are even theories that John K. filled in for lines that Pataki died before recording).
- The art style is also unnecessarily gross and overly-detailed. It tries too hard to be like a classic cartoon from the 1940s-'50s, but fails due to the colors being crude and the animation being over-the-top.
- In fact, one of the few backgrounds was actually plagiarized from former Ren & Stimpy artist Will Wray.
- The George Liquor title card is blatantly recycled from “Man’s Best Friend”, the banned George Liquor episode of The Ren and Stimpy Show. It gets blurrier as it zooms in, showing that the illustration was never edited for this new context.
- The titular cans in the short are animated in CGI, which is odd since John K. typically doesn't use nor like CGI (seasoned Toon Boom Harmony users know that the cans themselves are intended as reference models for the animators to trace over, which means that John K effectively asset-flipped generic assets).
- It even features John K.'s parody of Disney's Donald Duck character known as "Donald Bastard", that only existed due to his hatred of Disney just because they don’t have the same beliefs for animation as he does.
- The music constantly shifts every few seconds (the music in the short is merely APM production music from both SpongeBob SquarePants and The Ren and Stimpy Show) and the backgrounds also do the same.
- One scene is literally George Liquor taking a dump. There's another scene where you can see his bare butt. Yes, seriously.
- Another scene has Ernie and Slab ”touch tips”, a nod to a far more explicit scene from the infamous short What Pee Boners Are For. Due to Ernie and Slab being brothers, this is considered incest.
- In the opening credits, there is a credit that mentions that the short is "based on a true story", which is dubious.
- The camera moves so much that in the opening shot, George Liquor's mouth and nose noticeably shrink.
- Much like Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon", scenes drag on for way too long.
- On top of that, George Liquor was flanderized in this short from being likable who cares about his nephews to being very mean spirited and abusive to his nephews.
- Also, he turned off the comments so he could ignore criticism.
- Michael Pataki did a great job as George. Even though Pataki was dying of cancer, he still gave it his all in his final voice acting role.
- The awkward animation, voice acting, pacing, plot and dialogue can make for unintentional comedy.
- Ernie, Slab, and Cigarettes the Cat are the only likable characters in this short.
The reception for the short was mostly negative, criticizing the animation, plot, humor and voice acting by Ren and Stimpy fans. Due to these reasons, it is considered to be the final nail in the coffin for Kricfalusi's career as he was already blacklisted from every studio he ever worked for and, with his reputation ruined after his history of pedophilia was revealed, the failure of this short ensured that Kricfalusi has become a disgraced animator.
- The DVD for the short contains an animatic for a cancelled Ren and Stimpy short planned to release alongside The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (or The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run depending on the source) as an Easter egg. Watch it here.
- This short was dedicated to Mike, Mary Lou and Elizabeth Kricfalusi, alongside Michael Pataki, George Liquor's voice actor who passed away in 2010. Elizabeth's name was removed in the digital download version.
- During the Kickstarter campaign, Kricfalusi hinted that he'd make a follow-up short staring another character from The God Damn George Liquor Program, Jimmy's underage girlfriend Sody Pop, if this one was successful. To date, the Sody Pop short has not been made, most likely due to the short's failure.
- Before John Kricfalusi eventually uploaded the short himself on YouTube, he copyright-claimed anyone who uploaded the short.