Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Toy Story 4 isn’t bad. This is, already, a huge achievement, for there was every reason in the world for it to be bad: Pixar Animation Studios has a fairly unimpressive track record with sequels and is nowhere near the regular level of absolute brilliance they were when the last film in this series, Toy […]

There’s an elegant symmetry at play here. One could argue, I’d say with very little effort, that no superhero movie released since The Incredibles debuted in November 2004, has improved upon it.* And now, finally, something has, and it’s Incredibles 2, a very long-delayed follow-up that’s also one of the most wholly satisfying sequels in… […]

Exhibit No. whatever in the continued softening of Pixar Animation Studios: Coco, the company’s 19th feature film in 22 years, and a film that would be the pride and joy of literally any other American animation studio. And yet even after so many years of such unexceptionally fine output, I keep wanting them to still […]

Cars 3 could be a hell of a lot worse. We know that. We already had Cars 2. To avoid the fate of joining that film at the bottom pit of Pixar hell, the filmmakers made the very reasonable distinction of simply going back over the plot of the first Cars, a movie that was […]

Finding Dory is definitely the best sequel made by Pixar Animation Studios without the word “toy” in the title. This is a relief, but not all that much of an achievement: Cars 2 is a visually ravishing trash fire, while Monsters University is an easy-going, wildly lazy hang-out movie that only turns on its brain […]

Here’s my pitch: Pixar Animation Studios needs to make more films with birds. Because here we are, with the company’s newest short film Piper, which is exquisite: the studio has not released such a beguiling, immediately engaging little miniature in the sixteen years since For the Birds (which remains my favorite Pixar short – not […]

Categories: animation, pixar, warm fuzzies

The Good Dinosaur is, in the first place, a kids’ film. That’s meant to be a categorical judgment, though there’ve been more than a few people out there making it as a value judgment. And that’s fair – it’s been a rocky few years for Pixar Animation Studios, with their first outright bad film, Cars […]

A Bug’s Life is the most readily-overlooked of Pixar films, and I’d be lying if I pretended that I couldn’t figure out why. After a decade and a half of riches, the 1998 film (the studio’s second feature) can’t help but seem unduly modest in every aspect of its writing. The story is perfectly ordinary […]

The first thing to point out, because it’s really amazing the more you think about it, it’s a miracle that Pixar Animation Studios’ 15th feature, Inside Out, functions at all. It’s a feature-length metaphor, in which everything we’re watching as the story isn’t “actually” be happening, possibly not even within the world of the film. […]

Monsters University is both cute and charming, and I at least found it to be not in the least ways unenjoyable while I was watching it. This is, apparently, where we are now, with Pixar Animation Studios. And note that I’m of the mind that Brave is a pretty solid movie that got a completely […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: Pixar Animation Studios’ love affair with franchising continues with their first-ever prequel, Monsters University. In keeping with my quest […]

We have arrived at a weird place in this voyage through Disney’s animated sequels: a film that isn’t a sequel, the original project that it’s not a sequel to wasn’t made by Walt Disney Feature animation, and the non-Disney non-sequel was not, itself, made entirely or even primarily by one of Disney’s own animation studios, […]