Rian Johnson’s Forgotten Comedy Shorts

The absurd little gems that led to ‘Knives Out’ and ‘Glass Onion’
Rian Johnson’s Forgotten Comedy Shorts

If you like murder-themed movies set in tropical locations that are full of unpredictable plot twists, chances are that this weekend youll be streaming Rian Johnsons undisputed masterpiece: Yes, were talking about Ninja Ko, Origami Master, the short film he made as a high school student in 1990. Those who doubt the fact that a high school student directed this short are kindly invited to skip directly to the end and listen to the unexplained fart sound.

In the short, Ninja Ko demonstrates why hes Origami Master and not Origami Underling by folding pieces of paper into stuff like weapons, food and a functioning car (which Johnson was just barely old enough to drive when he made this ). Its a shame that Johnson abandoned a character with so much dramatic potential after only one film, instead moving on to more traditional premises like a murderer being haunted by a bouncing golf ball that follows him around like Droopy Dog.

Thats the idea for the appropriately titled Evil Demon Golf Ball From Hell!!!, a student short Johnson made in 1996 while attending the University of Southern Californias School of Cinematic Arts. As of 2018, the short was still being used to teach USC students how to tell a compelling story with no money, and Johnson liked it enough to include it as an Easter egg in the Looper Blu-ray. Hopefully, it also got him a good grade in his Introduction to Golf-Themed Horror Filmmaking class. 

If youre thinking that has to be Johnsons weirdest premise yet, then youve somehow never heard of Ben Boyer and the Phenomenology of Automobile Marketing. This 2001 short is about a man going for a late-night poop and hearing a somewhat German-accented voice coming from a ventilation duct that enlightens him on the dark medieval symbolism hiding within car company logos. You will never look at car emblems or night s**ts the same way again after this.

We then come to Johnsons last short before his first feature-length film, 2002The Psychology of Dream Analysis. This one is about a woman who finds out that shes been getting some random guys dreams her whole life, so she sets out to meet the guy to start dreaming about herself. Its 15 times shorter than Inception and 30 times more insane.

Nobody who saw this in 2002 thought for a second that this guy would end up directing a Star Wars movie. The making some nerds unreasonably angry part isnthat surprising, though.

Follow Maxwell Yezpitelok's heroic effort to read and comment on every '90s Superman comic at Superman86to99.tumblr.com. 

Thumbnail: Netflix 


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