Cool Summer (2020)

It’s not often I get an independent animated film for the blog and that’s probably for a good reason. Animation is long, and demanding, even if it’s essentially cheaper as a filmmaking medium. “Cool Summer” has its heart in the right place, and also has a good idea in its corner, it just needs so much work to be done from top to bottom, and much of the pitfalls narratively and production wise keep it from being great.

In the tradition of the classic teen films, twelve year old friends Errol, Gerry, and Bryan are trying to enjoy their last summer before middle school. Their summer has been a total bust, as they haven’t met any girls, they haven’t had any experiences all teenagers have, either. They make a pact to change their circumstances, on the last day of summer vacation. As they begin experiencing new conquests, they befriend older man Tomas, a traveler who takes them on the ride of their lives. To make things harrowing, Tomas may or may not be a serial killer known as “The Ghost.”

The best thing I can say about “Cool Summer” is that it might be right up the alley of hardcore animation buffs and those that love to experiment. Jacobs who wrote, directed, animated, and edited the film himself has the best intentions, and often times the movie feels like very early Mike Judge. That said, the movie is in dire need of work as it’s immensely rough around the edges. Whether it’s the awful voice direction, the large gaps of silence between character dialogue, it needed some major tightening and injection of pacing for the sake of suspense,

Beyond that, the animation is stiff and the voice acting leaves so much to be desired. I was also puzzled by the scene transitions that involved grainy VHS quality scenes of random neighborhoods and streets. None of it ever made a ton of sense, and I was never sure what Jacobs was trying to pull off. In either case, “Cool Summer” at least tries, which is admirable in the end. I just don’t know if I’d consider it a good film when all was said and done.