Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

More than any American animation studio that exists, one gets the feeling that Pixar Animation Studios would love it very much for us to compare all of their movies to the work of Japan’s Studio Ghibli, and especially that studio’s co-founder and most prolific director, Miyazaki Hayao. So first things first: congratulations to Luca, the […]

2020 has been a complete disaster for movies, on top of all the other things it has been a disaster for, but it managed to scrounge up a miracle in its last days: Pixar Animation Studios is alive and well. It was far too easy to wonder if the studio, a full decade after its […]

Onward is the 22nd animated feature made by Pixar Animation Studios, and thus we arrive at a numerically exciting point. For 2010’s Toy Story 3, the last movie in that company’s virtually uninterrupted early string of medium-defining computer animated films, was their 11th feature, which means they have now been a company that makes generally […]

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. […]