Since my review of Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny will be arriving on Cinematical shortly, I decided to dedicate this edition of Eat My Shorts to Jack Black and Kyle Gass -- otherwise known as Tenacious D. I guess you can call it a tribute ... but more on that later. Most films are nothing without their music (score, soundtrack, whatever), and that goes triple for a flick like Pick of Destiny. Fans of The "D" will be happy to see the film overflowing with impromptu songs and jam sessions -- all of which are included on the pic's soundtrack, now available in stores and online.

But how important is music to a short film? Well the simple (and obvious) answer is that it's very important. Music sets the tone, exposes a mood and helps move the story along. Try this: Imagine some of your favorite films without music, and see if they still stand out. In my opinion, music is right up there with story, character and acting -- a crucial element in filmmaking. Then there are some flicks that are all about the music (Pick of Destiny, Rocky Horror Picture Show), some of which are adapted from actual musicals like Chicago, Grease and Rent. Others begin as films, at some point find their way to the stage and then arrive back in theaters -- The Producers and Hairspray are two of the more recent examples.

Today we'll be taking a look at a few short films I found online that use music (in different ways) to carry the story. As per usual, I'm always looking for content, so please feel free to send me all links, comments and suggestions to shorts AT cinematical DOT com. This shorts column will be picking up steam in the next few weeks, and I will definitely need your help ... for I am but one man. Let's go watch some shorts ...

One thing I did notice while searching for shorts with a musical theme is that there aren't many out there. Luckily, Atom Films has a section dedicated to musicals (short films, etc), but iFilm (and I know you iFilm folks read this column) does not have anything dedicated to musical-themed short films. So, as you can imagine, it was pretty hard to find quality shorts for this particular theme (with not many avenues to travel down), which means if you know of some wicked short film that revolves around music (and it's available online to watch for free), then please send it my way. (Oh, and iFilm -- get with the program!)

  • Stealth Lunch -- In this animated short directed by Layla Atkinson, a group of foxes hunt for a tasty lunch while utilizing some top notch high-tech equipment. Like with some of the more old school (Roadrunner comes to mind) cartoons, there's no dialogue here, only music. It's fun, it's cute and the animation is well done -- personally, I love the shapes and its overall smooth look. Short was also an official selection at the Aspen Film Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival and the Milwaukee Film Festival, among others.
  • Echo -- Ahh, and here's the obligatory experimental short film. Story centers around a radio transmission that was sent up to space in search of an alien civilization and the, um, record-spinning dancing aliens who pick up on the other end. The visuals here are outstanding, and the music will definitely cause some bobbing of the head. Director Steve Wood did a great job editing his images to go along with the music and the whole thing is simply a treat to watch.
  • Caught in the Beat -- This one is a bit odd, and I really didn't get the ending -- but for some reason, it made me laugh out loud. Go figure. Directed by Marek Okon, Caught in a Beat revolves around some dude who goes out for a stroll with his trusty CD walkman thingy (you kids at home might not know what they are, but before iPod that's what us old folks used to listen to our music on). However, some mysterious man is following him and our hero has no idea why. I believe the filmmaker was going for a sort of Matrix feel, though I personally would've liked to see him explore it a bit more.
  • Godzilla vs. Disco Lando -- Okay, I had to throw in one absurd short film for all you Star Wars fans, however some of you hardcore Jedis might not dig the overall homosexual theme running throughout. Basically, director Evan Mather took a bunch of action figures, threw some disco music in the background and unleashed Godzilla on Cloud City. It's pretty goofy stuff and the animation is impressive for someone who obviously put this together all alone. Things to watch out for: Yoda gets eaten by Godzilla and check out the muscles on that Lando doll. I don't remember him being that jacked in the film.
  • Tenacious D: Tribute -- As promised, I couldn't open up this column talking about Tenacious D, provide a pic from the movie of Dave Grohl on drums as the demon) and not give you a little taste of The "D." This is their music video for the song Tribute, the second single the group released off the Tenacious D album back in 2001. The song itself is a tribute to "the greatest and best song in the world" -- a tune they once played to outwit a demon. Of course, said song and said demon play a big role in the upcoming film. Check it out and enjoy.

Once again, please send all links, tips and suggestions regarding Eat My Shorts to shorts AT cinematical DOT com.

Cheers!