Pixar’s Best Moments

I’m currently reading Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc., a nonfiction book on management and the founding of Pixar Animation Studios. I’m learning quite a bit about their history, and getting a behind the scenes look at each film. It’s a little like taking a walk down memory lane, with the person who built memory lane.

As someone who moved around a lot, I often found comfort in books and movies. Disney and Pixar aren’t just super successful film studios; they’re the gatekeepers to this wonderful, magical way to make any place feel like home. Since I’m feeling nostalgic about my favorite Pixar films, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite Pixar moments.

Toy Story
    I’ve always loved this one, because I spent my childhood truly believing my toys came alive when I left the room. How else would I keep losing and then finding them? When Toy Story was released, I had validation for my theories. Other people thought it happened, too! I wasn’t alone! Each time I re-watch this favorite, I notice something new. There are so many funny moments to choose from, but my current favorite funny line is Woody’s witty reply to Buzz on their first meeting, “The word I’m searching for I can’t use because there are preschool toys present.”

Monsters, Inc
   I can’t watch this without crying. The friendship, the little girl…It’s just too much. I love it. Spoiler alert! The end is my favorite moment, with Mike’s hands covered in splinters. Then we see Sully open the door, and we hear Boo’s voice, and his face…it just lights up. It’s the best. Cue tears. Tissue, anyone?

Again, with the tears. The first ten minutes of this film are beautiful, poignant, gripping, and sprinkled with funny moments. I just love the romantic story, the old fashioned news reels, and the geriatric humor. This is one of those films that just stays with you, forever. I still remember the night I first saw it. I was with my husband, and we walked out into the humid Florida night air afterwards, equally stunned by the amazing story we’d just watched unfold. Sporadically over the next few days, one of us would bring up another part that particularly touched us, or made us laugh. One of my goal’s in life is to make a mailbox Carl and Ellie style. The simplicity of their relationship is part of what is so great– they’re so different, yet they always work together. Whether it’s cleaning or just sitting side by side, reading and holding hands…it’s just beautiful. Their love felt so real, so tangible. We, as viewers, had to fall in love with their relationship so that later, when Carl personifies the house as Ellie, we don’t think he’s lost his marbles.

 When Pixar first announced they were doing a Princess movie, I was ecstatic and a little nervous. I know, silly me. Of course, everything Pixar does is amazing. I wasn’t disappointed by Merida. I love her spunk, and her courage. I think it’s so important to teach young girls that individualism is a gift, and that women can confidently do anything, even something perceived as masculine. Merida is an excellent archer, climbs the fire falls, and out-shoots everyone to win her own hand and change her country’s customs. She also has to work up the courage to admit when she’s wrong, another important lesson. The score is amazing, and my favorite part is the initial sequence when it’s her day to do with as she chooses. This is the first glimpse of her adventurous spirit, with the horseback riding and the archery and the climbing of the gorgeous fire falls.

Toy Story 2
  Any scene with Bullseye the horse ranks in my top scenes, but Jessie takes the cake with her song. When She Loved Me is exquisite, both the song and the storyline. The Jessie backstory sequence is heartbreaking, but it explains so much about her character. The plot twist–who turned the TV on and ruined Woody’s escape plan– was also a shocker the first time I saw it.

Toy Story 3
  I’ll admit, I’ve only watched this one twice. I love it, but I cry my dang eyes out every time. From the desperate plans in the beginning to the incinerator to Andy’s choice to Woody’s decision, I’m just a big ball of sad panda. It’s just too heart wrenching. I wanted Andy to save the toys for his kids, and us to see them get played with generation to generation. But that would mean years and years of loneliness in between… When there isn’t a happy ending to be had, at least you get a good one.

     When it comes to a favorite part, I’d have to say the interchanges between Ken and Barbie. It’s just too funny, and this crybaby needs the funny bits! Not to mention Spanish Buzz, who makes my sides hurt from laughter.

   WALL-E is the only film that’s ever made me sympathetic to the fate of a cockroach. I love not only how WALL-E saves Eve, but how she saves him back. Awe, robot love.

Finding Nemo
  Confession: the first time I saw this movie, I didn’t like it. Put down the torches and pitchforks! I was too crushed at Coral’s death to enjoy the rest of the film. It was like a punch to the gut. I loved their interactions, I adored her mommy worries, and when she sacrificed herself to try to save just one of her babies…oh, the feels. It wasn’t until a second viewing I truly appreciated the rest of the film. I still try to avoid watching the beginning it at all possible. I mean, I won’t fast forward, but I will conveniently need to use the restroom and not want it paused.

The sharks and Dory really make the film for me. I love watching all of the characters grow, as well. Pixar organically matures their characters, and it’s beautiful to watch.

   Rats. Ugh. Am I right? But much like WALL-E’s cockroach, I really came to care of the rats in this film. The moment when Remy sees the rat murder shop will never leave me, but I doubt I’ll remember it if I ever happen to see a non-animated rat. I would’t kill it (I wouldn’t get close enough!). But I would be terrified.

My favorite moment would have to be when Remy and Linguini are learning to work together, and when the rats get cleaned in the dishwasher in order to cook! Too funny.

   I’ve always remembered how detailed everything is in Cars. Even the bugs are VW Bugs! But my favorite scene is the nostalgic flashback to the glory days in Radiator Springs and the Wagon Wheel hotel. The whole drive, when Lightning McQueen and Sally are getting to know one another. It’s unexpected, a romance in a car story, but enjoyable.

The Incredibles
  There are so many great moments in this film. The opening is informative and hilarious, but with meaning. I’ve always loved the line. “You didn’t save my life; you ruined my death!” It’s a reminder that not everyone wants to be saved. But my favorite part is when Elastigirl and the kids are in the cave on Syndrome’s island, and she warns them that these bad guys won’t take pity on them because they’re children. What a wonderful way to say that yes, there is great evil in the world, and you just can’t give it the opportunity to let it hurt you. You have to choose the good side, and be prepared to fight for it.

That wraps it up. What are some of your favorite Pixar moments? Let me know in the comments!


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