While I was in our living room, my wife put on the live-action movie Booksmart, directed by Olivia Wilde. It is a film about two high school seniors, Amy and Molly, on the night before graduation. They are straight-A good girls, and they desperately want to have a crazy night out before heading to their Ivy League colleges. It was entertaining enough to keep me watching. In the middle of the film, the two young women learn that they had been dosed with an entheogenic drug. This is what happens when the drugs take effect…
This was a sudden change of direction in the movie, and I love it when studios let directors go off this way. Why hadn’t I read anything about this elsewhere? This scene hasn’t gotten much attention in the animation community, and it deserves more. The stop motion animation was done at Shadowmachine, in Portland, Oregon. I found one good behind the scenes article on Vulture.
This is a great entry in the long history of drug trips in movies This scene, in fact, was inspired by the one in The Big Lebowski. Such work demands some kind of effects, and animation is quite well suited. In one of the most memorable episodes of The Simpsons, Homer went on a peyote trip. At the end of season 12 of Trailer Park Boys, all the main characters swallow drugs to hide them from the police and wind up turning into cartoons while in jail.
In this case, though, there is also a relevant cultural message. There have been innumerable commentaries written about the outrageous proportions of Barbie dolls, but this animation may be the last take we ever need. The two actresses are normal women, and their characters are ambitious feminists. This moment of experiencing sudden transformation into an extreme version of female beauty standards gives us a totally new perspective on the discussion. For more from the director on this, including details on the animation that was cut, here is a good article.