Life was tough for this fella. © Don Hertzfeldt/Bitter Films.

Sometimes I miss the days when the internet was a bit more of a luxury. I don’t miss the fact that we couldn’t be on the phone and online at the same time. I don’t miss Netscape Navigator, or Trumpet Winsock. However, despite the greatness of torrenting, I do find myself missing KaZaA and Limewire and Sharebear and… well, the excitement that went along with those. Every new download felt like a treasure.

It once took me two days to download a cracked copy of GTA 2, and when that thing was ready, I thought my heart would burst from how excited I was to be playing it. I’d download all these random songs by bands I’d never heard of, just to see what was out there, as well as tons of videos, which always took forever, and were often disappointing, but sometimes, revelatory. Enter “Rejected”.

Life was tough for this fella. © Don Hertzfeldt/Bitter Films.

Life was tough for this fella. © Don Hertzfeldt/Bitter Films.

Surely, at the mere mention of Rejected, you know exactly what I’m talking about, but if you don’t, well, click this, and then come back here in 10 minutes.

I’m not sure who told me about Rejected at first, but I know it took me no time at all to decide that everyone in the world should see this marvel. I couldn’t get over the absurdity of it, these simple, strange, ephemeral characters, and the obvious effort that had been put into animating such an odd creation. Don Hertzfeldt was my new hero: I needed to see all of his previous work. I downloaded what I could, and watched it all repeatedly, for a while. But then, time passed, my interests shifted, and I was a teenager, so nothing held my interest for any given period of time. I didn’t forget about Don Hertzfeldt, but I definitely didn’t keep up with his career. He just became one of those dudes I used to be into.

Fast forward to 2014. Hertzfeldt creates the longest couch gag in Simpsons history, and it blows us all away. The man never stopped creating, and his style hasn’t changed, though his work has improved, quite a bit. Last week, sleepless, I found myself watching his full-length feature, “It’s such a beautiful day”, on Netflix, at 4 AM.

The film follows Bill, a simple man contemplating the entirety of his life. He’s undergoing treatment for an unnamed illness, and he examines the possibility of his own death, as well as the deaths of his relatives. He loses his mind, finds it again. He examines the mundane, the not-so-mundane. He dreams. And it’s all absolutely wonderful.

Pieced together from 3 previous short works featuring the same character, this film actually has a seamless, deranged flow to it, in true Hertzfeldt style. It’s chaotic, and alluring. It’s a remarkable piece of work.

Go watch it, or don’t. I’m not the boss of you. But if you don’t, picture this face staring at you in disappointment and anger, and try to sleep:

Me, at my sleeplessest.

Me, at my sleeplessest.

Checkmate, folks.

-Al

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