It’s time for another list, you guys! It’s been too long since the last one. What, has it been years? Decades?
(I exaggerate. In case you’re interested, here is my last top ten post.)
I’ve never thought of myself as too old for a kids movie, but I have to admit, my taste in kids movies has gotten pretty refined. Burp and fart jokes just won’t cut it anymore. I want character development and nuanced humor.
Pixar has consistently delivered that to us as the years have gone by (give or take a few exceptions), so I thought I would honor their years of excellence by giving them their very own list on this Below Average Blog.
(Now that I type that, it feels like I’m punishing Pixar more than I’m rewarding them.)
Let’s do this.
10. Toy Story 2
People don’t give Toy Story 2 enough credit as a sequel. Given how poorly sequels to popular movies can turn out, I think Toy Story 2 did a superb job of following Toy Story. It deepened our understanding of Woody’s character (and made him into a non-jerk) while also introducing us to new toys to fall in love with. (Though I still can’t understand why Bullseye can’t talk like the rest of them.) Jessie’s backstory was heartbreaking for me as a kid. I think I vowed never to abandon a toy under a bed ever again. (I have my shoes there now.) Plus, that airport chase was an amazingly huge set-piece for a movie about toys.
Ratatouille is like the middle child of Pixar movies. (No offense to middle children.) It’s easily overlooked and forgotten when you’re trying to recall the names of all the Pixar movies that have ever been. It’s like one of those forgettable Presidents. But it’s always been the most homey of the Pixar movies to me. Where other Pixar movies are these eclectic and fascinating beverages, Ratatouille is hot chocolate. It’s my favorite movie to put on during a rainy day when I’m all by myself. It always makes me hungry though.
8. Finding Nemo
Even as a small child sitting in a theater, I knew that Finding Nemo was gorgeous. I’m not one to linger over and praise the visuals of a movie, but dang, Finding Nemo was stunning. The amount of detail that must have gone into crafting the ocean world staggers me. The story was super heart-warming too. It’s a classic adventure with emotions thrown in. Finding Nemo gave us some of the most memorable characters as well, and what I find funny is that Nemo, the fish whose name is in the title, is overshadowed by Bruce, Crush, Dory, Peach, Bubbles, and all those other sea critters we met along the way.
7. Toy Story
What, you didn’t think that I would forget the OG Pixar movie, did you? Of course I’m including Toy Story on this list. It’s the one that started it all. Even excluding the fact that it was the first in a long line of great movies as a factor, Toy Story made it onto this list because of how imaginative it was. A movie about toys that are alive and have their own society was my cup of tea as a kid. It was thoughtful and hilarious. My dad did get a bit squeamish showing this movie to me. He didn’t like the fact that I was being shown a child sadist in the form of Sid for the first time. Well, dad, I had to find out that psychopaths existed at some point.
6. The Incredibles
If I ever did a list on the best super hero movies, The Incredibles would be on there too. Hell, I think they do a better job of showing a super family dynamic than any other super hero film involving a family does. (*Cough cough* Fantastic Four *cough cough*) They made it fun and they hit all the right notes without getting bogged down in an origin story. The Incredibles focused on that family dynamic and definitely gave the best demonstrations of elastic and speed abilities that I have ever seen on a screen.
5. Monsters Inc.
If I thought that Toy Story was imaginative, I had no idea what I was talking about until I saw Monsters Inc. A movie about the monsters in your closet? A society that gets powered by screams? It’s just too good. When I was younger, I only really knew that I liked the movie, but now that I’m older, I can appreciate the creativity that went into making the world of Monsters Inc. Plus, the humor was just delightful for both adults and kids.
I have never cried so quickly while watching a movie. How many minutes passed, 10 or 15, before that movie just ripped your heart into tiny pieces and sprinkled lemon juice on it? No one I know is immune to Up’s opening introduction of Carl and Ellie. And then that one moment where Carl looks at that scrapbook and finds out that Ellie believed that he was her adventure this whole time anddammitI’malreadycryingwhywhydoyoudothistome?! The music for Up was fantastic, too, and helped hit all the right emotional notes. Not that the movie needed anymore help hitting those emotional notes.
3. Inside Out
I have to admit that this movie is definitely higher than it should be on an unbiased list, but the reason it has such a high ranking on mine is because of timing. Before Inside Out, Pixar had released Cars 2, Brave, and Monsters University, none of which touch even the bottom of this list. I want to call this period of time Pixar’s Slump. So when I went to go see Inside Out in theaters, I walked out with tears not just because the movie was emotionally satisfying (in more ways than one), but also because I was so happy that Pixar’s Slump was over.
2. Toy Story 3
Oof, it was very hard choosing between my #2 and #1 spots on this list, but I ended up putting Toy Story 3 as #2 because it kind of had an unfair advantage over my #1 since it was the culmination of two other movies. Still, Toy Story 3 hit me right in the feels. I had to see my favorite toys reach a new stage in their life when their owner, Andy, goes to college, and it just hurt too much (in a good way). That one moment at the end when Andy plays with them all for one last time had me crying harder than Sadness from Inside Out. It was the perfect ending to the movies, and I’m low-key bummed they decided to make a fourth. I’m going to reserve my judgment until I see it, but I think that Toy Story 3’s ending is going to be hard to beat.
I love WALL-E. Despite having little to no dialogue at the beginning, you learned about the kind of robot WALL-E was and you learned to empathize with him. I have this theory that there are two kinds of people in the world: WALL-Es and EVEs. People who have been WALL-E find it easier to empathize with him and therefore enjoy the movie more. People who have only ever been EVEs get fed up with the movie. This is not an absolute rule; there are exceptions. Still, I adore WALL-E because I’ve been WALL-E. Mayhaps not so desperate, but I’ve been the person who pines and who thinks that the person she likes will never like her. Now, I can’t hear the word “objective” without wanting to hold someone’s hand.
So what’s your favorite Pixar movie? (Please god, I hope it is A Bug’s Life.) Feel free to let me know in the comments!