Pixar is much more than a simple animation studio. Since opening in 1986, Pixar has been paving the way of animated storytelling with tales of family, growing up, finding yourself, being happy and so much more. Typically, I am disappointed in my film classes because we rarely touch on animated films. I could talk about Pixar or Studio Ghibli all day. While live action films match the style of our every day life, there is something idealistic about cartoonized figures dancing across our screens. Before I get to sappy, I will snap to the important stuff: my definite ranking of all of the Pixar films thus far.
There is so much to be said about these films, but it can be summed up in I didn’t enjoy them. This was one of the few times that Pixar’s newest film didn’t resonate with both kids and adults. I remember when I was a kindergarten tutor, and I brought a coloring book for kids after they were done with testing. Because I love coloring (no judgment) and Pixar, it was a Pixar collection coloring book. As I colored my umpteenth Up page, all of my kindergarteners were fighting over the cars pages. Alas, I didn’t get it, but the repetitive mimicking of one character still haunts me at night.
11. Monsters University (2013)
If this would have been a sequel to Monsters, Inc. rather than a prequel, I believe this movie would have fared much better. It’s not that this movie is terrible, it just isn’t very rememberable and it definitely does not hold up to its predecessor. Overall, it was maybe fun to watch once, but you probably won’t buy it on dvd (or digital download, if you are one of those people).
10. The Incredibles (2004)
Bare with me now. I understand a lot of people love this movie, and for some it is their favorite Pixar film, but it is so overrated (for me). This goes back to 2004 when my dad and little sister went and saw the film, they loved it and kept talking about it. We had a family gathering a few weeks later and everyone had seen it and was talking about how great it was. FINALLY it had come out on dvd and I was so excited to watch, and as it when on I became bored and so disappointed. I am in love (some might say obsessed) with superheroes, so I was convinced this film was made for me. Instead it just made me so upset, I have tried watching it multiple times and I still can’t handle it to this day. (Forgive me).
9. Brave (2012)
I really, really wanted to love this film. 1) it was the first Pixar female protagonist, 2) she was a redhead (and us redheads have to represent), 3) it was set in Scotland (a place I long to go), 4) (and maybe most importantly, since I know this is the reason it beat Wreck-It Ralph for the Oscar) Brave is one of the most gorgeously animated films I have ever seen. Unfortunately it was just flat… Super flat.. Merida is super cool though, and I would rather just leave it at that.
8. Ratatouille (2007)
He was a rat, he was an inspiring chef and together they were a dream team. I don’t really have much to say about this film. It was cute, Patton Oswalt was a delight, and I enjoyed it more than the films I listed earlier. It doesn’t stand out to me as a strong heavyweight, but if it happens to pop up on television I will probably tune in (if nothing else is on and I am a little tired of binge watching).
7. A Bug’s Life (1998)
Most people don’t, but I adore this movie. Some people preferred Antz, but I praised Pixar’s sophomore film. I was obsessed with Heimlich, oh god, as I write this I realize this was the “Cars” of my generation. For all the people that love Cars, I understand now (but you totally didn’t deserve a sequel).
6. Finding Nemo (2003)
Although this film is rated relatively high (we are half way through the list, people), I wanted so much more from this film. I remember all the commercials and how the turtles were so awesome, and when I went to see the film (guess what?) the turtles were only in it for 10 minutes. I was probably the only child upset by that. I was so in love with Squirt, and he only spoke a few lines. I resented Nemo for awhile and was irritated with his smart-ass remarks, alas I appreciate him more now. The movie was about him (and not Squirt), so I am still not sure what I was expecting/why I was disappointed. Fin, Noggin’, Dude.
5. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
This is one of those childhood films that I fondly remember. My little sister was obsessed with this movie (because she was convinced she was Boo), and I watched it every time she put it on. It was the goto car ride movie. Even with all of the adorableness this film has, I think it is a gem because you fall in love with all of the characters. It was the first time I really understood the idea of family in film.
I don’t know how they did it, but Toy Story is one of the only series where each film is equally as good. I grew up with Andy and aged with him between toys and growing up and (soon enough) graduating high school. There is definitely a sentimental tear shed each time I run through this series because it is a coming of age story that happened simultaneously with my life. This film inspired many great things in my life, but probably the best thing it inspired was all of my toys having feelings (which of course means I could never get rid of them, even the scorpion beanie baby that terrified me).
3. Inside Out (2015)
Pixar sure knows how to make it. I cried for roughly 90% of the movie (60% if I’m not being dramatic). It definitely is a film that just clicks with you, when you are older. Most of the kids in the theatre did not pick up on the subtleties of the film, but all the parents surrounding me, who were crying along with me, totally did. Sometimes I don’t think we realize how important all of our emotions are, even the ones that makes us feel like not going outside today. Each foundation of who we are is built upon a mix of emotions, so maybe your happiest memory was one that sprang out of sadness. Before I get too sappy on you, I will leave you with a quote from Tuesdays with Morrie: “If you hold back on the emotions–if you don’t allow yourself to go all the way through them–you can never get to being detached, you’re too busy being afraid. You’re afraid of the pain, you’re afraid of the grief. You’re afraid of the vulnerability that loving entails. But by throwing yourself into these emotions, by allowing yourself to dive in, all the way, over your head even, you experience them fully and completely.”
2. WALL-E (2008)
Who knew a film that said so little, could make you feel so much. A part of me wants to leave it at that one sentence, but I know I should expand. Ah, who cares. If you haven’t seen this film, I am very disappointed. Go out to your local video store and rent it right this moment.
1. Up (2009)
We both knew it was coming to this, I sprinkled it in at the very beginning (the breadcrumbs are there). I will never get over this movie. I have rewatched it so many times and I still cry. The two times I have gotten the pleasure to experience Disney World, I try my best to find all the Up souvenirs that I can. This last time I got to become a Wilderness Explorer and I completed that activity guide like it was nobody’s business (I will leave a picture at the end). I simply love this movie: the love, the heartbreak, the moving on. I take it all. And just like my little sister felt closely connected to Boo, I like to play house with my husband similarly to Carl and Ellie. Altogether, it is the simple things that make my heart swell.