Pixar, as a trustworthy brand, isn’t quite what it used to be mostly because the animation powerhouse’s early years set the bar so high that anything less than a masterpiece from them registers as a disappointment. So, they’ve fallen from historic to merely dependable. For shame.

2017 offered examples of both halves of the company’s identity. Cars 3 is the adequate, toy-selling machine Pixar increasingly leans toward, Coco the work of art that just so happens to double as highly merchandisable product. The future promises more sequels than original properties like Coco, which doesn’t have to be bad. The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 might turn out to be amazing. However, with Coco still in theaters let’s stop to take stock and appreciate the 19 films Pixar has given us to this point.

I’ve ranked my favorites below, and there are truly very few on this list I don’t like. In fact, I absolutely love and adore at least half of them. Don’t make me choose between them. Please. Who would make me do such a thing? Oh, yeah. I voluntarily did this.

Madness. Absolute madness.

Anyway, here’s the list:

What about you? What does your list look like?

 

Source: My Letterboxd Page

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

3 Comments

  1. Pixar is a little bit like Marvel in that it is kind of difficult to rank their output. But I guess I can scrunch together at least a top 10.

    But let’s take some movies out of the equation first: I never watched any of the Car sequels, refuse to watch Monsters University (I really hate it when a prequel ignores what was established in the original movie in its very premise), hadn’t have the opportunity to see Coco yet, and didn’t really get around to see either the Good Dinosaur or Finding Dory. I’ll also take out the Toy story trilogy. I just never connected with those movies the way everyone else apparently did. I mean, the first one is cute, but the animation while impressive looks kind of terrible, and the story itself is nothing to write home about. The second movie is actually my favourite of the franchise, but it is stuffed with distracting side-plots. The third one isn’t quite as bad in this regard, but there are still a lot of scenes in it which just seemed to be there to fill time. But what really bothers me about it is the way they portray Ken. I just can’t get behind a movie which messages to children that a male who doesn’t act manly enough should be treated with disgust.

    1. The Incredibles
    I just love the family dynamic in this one. It is the perfect balance of action, humour and drama paired with some important messages and keen observations. Plus, NO CAPES!!!!

    2. Inside Out
    Honestly, I think my sister infected me with her love for this movie. She adores Sadness. But I also appreciate in the creativity which went in creating the world in Riley’s head. This is one of those rare movies for which I have no idea how you could improve it. It is just perfect.

    3. Monsters Inc
    Incidentally the first Pixar movie I ever saw, so I guess it will always be special. But it is also one of the few movies which managed to surprise me with a perfectly executed twist. And that is always a big plus in my book.

    4. Ratatouille
    I hate rats. I don’t want them near me or my food. And yet I love this movie. I am even ready to forgive the really goofy idea with the hair working like some sort of marionette strings. I think it is partly because the deep appreciation it shows for cooking (I myself are a barely decent cook, but I really enjoy a well-made meal), partly because I really appreciate the movie for its ending. That the critic is loosing his reputation but happier because he has finally discovered something he truly enjoys was such an unexpected direction to take.

    5. Up
    The best montage in animation history. Honestly, if the whole movie were as good as its first five minutes, it would be a movie with no contender. As it is, I still like the second half, but it feels like tasting a 4 star main course after a 5 star starter. It’s good, but it is kind of a let-down. Still, I enjoy the relationship between the old man and the little boy. And honest, how often do animated movies even address the notion of divorce or neglectful parents?

    6. Finding Nemo
    It is a good movie, but I think I would like it more if everyone else would like it a little bit less. Yeah, I know, this doesn’t make much sense. Put if you are told again and again that THIS is the Pixar movie you should adore even though you yourself connect way more with other Pixar movies, well, you kind of start to resent a movie, even though you know you shouldn’t.

    7. Cars
    Yes, I know, most people would call me crazy for this. But I actually like Cars. I like all the details they put into the background (honestly, you can watch the movie multiple times and still discover some joke or reference you missed before) and above all I like the core of the story. Which is not really about Lightning McQueen, it is about Route 66 and how progress in the world also leads to something else dying, sometimes for the worse. I guess it is easier to connect with this if you are living in a city which struggles structural change.

    8. Wall-E

    An outstanding featurette trapped in a kind of terrible movie. I just feel that this one would be better without humans.

    9. Brave
    I really, really don’t like Merida as a character. There is still good in the movie, but one should be able to root for the protagonist, and I just can’t root for someone who thinks that poisoning someone else is the right response to any problem and then goes and pesters his mother who is in agony as a result of it. I just can’t.

    10.A bugs life
    Forgettable, which might be the worst thing a movie can be.

    Reply

    1. I admit my elevated Toy Story rankings are partially due to “the first” of it all, in that those are the first Pixar movies for me and they’ve forever held a special place in my heart as a result. The third one, though, is a better ending than it is a complete movie. The Ken jokes do fall into lazy stereotype, which Pixar does from time to time, thinking back to Inside Out’s brief trips into the head of Riley’s mom and dad (a scene I never had as much problem with as others, but I see the argument against it).

      You are right to skip Cars 2 and Monsters University, and if you haven’t gotten around to Good Dinosaur by now it’s probably never going to become a priority viewing option since it is ultimately so very average. Cars 3 is better than you’d expect, but it’s still not up to Pixar par.

      The Incredibles I need to rewatch. I haven’t seen it since it first came out.

      Inside Out things than could be improved….well, I already said I don’t actually have a problem with that one scene which came under criticism two years ago. So, yeah, perfect movie. Can’t think of anything to change.

      Monsters Inc. – I like it, but it hasn’t really stuck with me. I’m not sure why.

      Ratatouille – You said it better than I did. “That the critic is loosing his reputation but happier because he has finally discovered something he truly enjoys was such an unexpected direction to take.” Agreed.

      Finding Nemo – “It is a good movie, but I think I would like it more if everyone else would like it a little bit less. Yeah, I know, this doesn’t make much sense. Put if you are told again and again that THIS is the Pixar movie you should adore even though you yourself connect way more with other Pixar movies, well, you kind of start to resent a movie, even though you know you shouldn’t.” I felt exactly the same way for the longest time. In fact, I remember arguing I liked Finding Dory better than Nemo when it came out last year. However, re-watching Nemo recently with niece and nephew kind of freed me from all of that, allowed me a glimpse at it through fresh eyes, and the renewed ability to appreciate just how good the film actually is.

      Cars – I don’t really dislike Cars. In fact, of the Pixar movies the only two I actively dislike are Cars 2 and Monsters University. However, I’ve just never really been able to connect with Cars, certainly not in the way you described.

      Up – I think you nailed why exactly the film still works even after its amazing opening gives way to zany hijinks – it’s because the relationship between the old man and little kid is so compelling.

      Wall-E – And for me the brilliance of the first half is enough to make up for the rest, which I’m already kind of okay with anyway. But I get it. A lot of people feel the same as you do on this one.

      Brave – “I just can’t root for someone who thinks that poisoning someone else is the right response to any problem and then goes and pesters his mother who is in agony as a result of it” – Yeah…….that plot has some, let’s call them, “issues.”

      A Bug’s Life – “Forgettable” Perfectly put. I’ve never gone back to re-watch it. I imagine the animation doesn’t hold up anymore.

      Reply

      1. Yeah, the one thing which is really good in Toy Story 3 is the moment when they nearly die. What comes after is a little bit too drawn out for my taste, though. Toy Story 2 is my favourite, but that is mostly because I really, really liked Jessy’s story. Honestly, this is kind of a thing with all Toy Story movies, they aren’t really that good overall, but they all have one scene or moment which just sticks with you.

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