PES (Adam Pesapane) has been creating what he calls “twisted” films for about a decade now and they are all a delight. My girlfriend exposed me to his antics after stumbling upon the newest, Fresh Guacamole, earlier this year on Reddit. It’s a brilliant bit of stop motion animation that may not be his best—I reserve that status for The Deep—or his first idiosyncratic culinary escapade—Western Spaghetti is most definitely a thematic and aesthetic precursor—but definitely worthy of collecting a well-deserved Oscar nomination.
An amalgam of live action hands and surfaces with clay-formed objects and a random assortment of other play things, what on the surface shows the process any waiter at a Mexican restaurant will go through to prepare your favorite avocado appetizer becomes so much more. Those green vegetables are shaped like grenades with a pool ball as a pit. The onion is a dirty baseball peeled to reveal a more sterling white core able to be diced into actual dice. And with a pin cushioned tomato and Trivial Pursuit divided golf ball lime to round out the ingredients, PES’s mortar and pestle surely get their workout.
Is it more than a series of ingenious visual homonyms? Perhaps not, but don’t let this fact diminish its visceral impact. I dare you not to crack at least one grin during its paltry two-minute runtime, whether you enjoy seeing your guacamole made or not. People love these sorts of tongue-in-cheek exercises in fun juxtapositions performing common actions with out-of-place items. Add the impossibly smooth fluidity of motion as real hands morph these clay objects and you’ll be forgiven for your slacked-jawed, dumbfounded stare while watching.
Kudos to the Academy for refusing to disregard the film’s artistry solely on the fact it was rewarded with a viral explosion. Fresh Guacamole is a quality short with a meticulous construction of off-the-wall ideas that found its audience on the internet for one reason: it’s really, really good.