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When naming your favorite animated movies, chances are a Pixar movie holds at least one spot on the list. Since Toy Story‘s debut in 1995, the studio’s feature films have been nominated for 24 Academy Awards and have taken home 11. Their thirteenth feature film, Brave, hit theaters this last weekend. What better time to list out favorite Pixar moments?
This list was a tricky one. There’s nothing quite like a Pixar film, and each of them have dozens of memorable moments. Narrowing our list down to one moment from each film was quite a task. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!
5. The Incredibles Teaser Trailer
Even though the scene never made it into the movie, the teaser trailer for The Incredibles is easily one of the funniest things Pixar has ever done. It’s a simple enough scenario: Mr. Incredible is suiting up to go and fight crime. The only problem is he’s outgrown his belt. Comedic genius ensues.
4. “Married Life” – Up
What sets Pixar animation up from other studios is that their uncanny ability to elicit every moment from the audience. The opening to Up is a beautiful and intimate portrait of a romance that started in childhood and lasted a lifetime. With an incredibly believable story that sucks you in immediately, Up holds the record for being the only movie that makes me cry before it reaches the thirty minute mark.
3. Boo and Sulley Say Goodbye – Monsters, Inc.
Speaking of moments that make you cry, how’s this one for a tear-jerker? Boo and Sully dont’ get much time alone during their adventures in Monsters, Inc, but their relationship throughout the film is an adorable one to watch develop. After all the chaos they’ve been through together, Boo finally gets to show Sully all her toys and get tucked into bed. It’s a wonderful moment between the two.
2. Andy Plays With His Toys One Last Time – Toy Story 3
The perfect ending a timeless trilogy.
1. “It’s okay. Daddy’s here.” – Finding Nemo
My personal favorite Pixar movie, every scene in this movie could have easily vied for a spot on this list. But there’s a small moment that makes me cry like a baby every time I watch the movie. After his wife and his children were devoured by a barracuda, Marlin finds a lone clown fish egg. Picking it up in his fins, he speaks four simple words. “It’s okay. Daddy’s here.” Later in the movie when he finally reunites with his son, he holds him again, repeating the same four words as we have a brief flashback to the little egg in Marlin hands. It’s the perfect example of how Pixar movies, after making us laugh at things like speaking whale and crazy seagullls, can also make us cry.
5. “Not a Flying Toy” – Toy Story
Looking back at the Pixar films, I was kind of surprised at this one. When I watched Toy Story the first few times, I was more involved in the story of Woody and enamored with the concept of talking toys. On subsequent viewings, however, I keep coming back to this scene. It’s really emotional (it is Pixar, after all), and magnifies the Buzz Lightyear storyline even more.
4. “Define Dancing” – WALL-E
I wouldn’t be able to call myself a human being if I didn’t include this delightful moment between two robots dancing together among the stars. The music, visuals, and chemistry all blend together to make this memorable.
3. “No Capes!” – The Incredibles
Enough with the emotional scenes; there’s plenty more in the next two picks. This time I’m going with one of my favorite Pixar characters (voiced by director Brad Bird), Edna Mode. The Incredibles is Pixar’s take on super heroes, and Edna’s speech (i.e. rant) about capes is a loving jab at the genre, and great slapstick comedy.
2. “Ratatouille” – Ratatouille
There are many wonderful moments in Ratatouille, but the one that gets me every time is when the food critic Anton Ego eats the titular Ratatouille at the end of the film. His trip down memory lane is a touching, nostalgic moment that shows the power that the senses can have.
1. “Married Life” – Up
Up is one of the few movies that I enjoyed watching in 3D, and the only one that caused me to wipe off my 3D glasses 15 minutes into the film. It’s been overstated ad nauseum, but the opening montage from Up not only sets the rest of the film up beautifully, but could easily be viewed as a stand-alone short film. I’m continually blown away by Pixar’s use of story, visuals, and pathos, and this is one of their finest moments.
This movie is a guilty pleasure for me. You either like this movie or you don’t. If you’ve seen this movie and like it, then you know what I mean. The characters are surprisingly endearing, and the movie is so much fun to quote. Yes, the objectionable content is through the roof, but so are the laughs. The movie follows three seniors in their last days of high school as they strive to fit in and take one last stab at winning the girl of their dreams. The resulting escapades amount to the best Judd Apatow film to date. If you don’t like this kind of humor, stay as far away from this movie as possible.
Evan: Stay calm, okay? Let’s not lose our heads. It’s… it’s a fine ID; it’ll… it’s gonna work. It’s passable, okay? This isn’t terrible. I mean, it’s up to you, Fogell. This guy is either gonna think ‘Here’s another kid with a fake ID’ or ‘Here’s McLovin, a 25 year-old Hawaiian organ donor’. Okay? So what’s it gonna be?
Fogell: I am Mclovin!
4. Liar Liar
Jim Carrey is the master of modern physical comedy, and Liar Liar is the best example why. The movie essentially relies on one joke: when his son’s birthday wish comes true, a workaholic lawyer is unable to lie for 24 hours. Nevertheless, hilarity abounds from beginning to end, all thanks to the endless amount of energy Carrey brings to his role. Take, for example, the scene where Carrey tries to tell the prosecuting attorney his made up defense. Carrey’s facial contortions, muscular strains, and overwhelming frustration make us believe it is truly physically impossible for him to lie. The film was directed by Tom Shadyac, who also directed Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty. In this author’s humble opinion, this is Carrey at the top of his game.
Cop: You know why I pulled you over?
Fletcher: Depends on how long you were following me!
Cop: Why don’t we just take it from the top?
Fletcher: Here goes: I sped. I followed too closely. I ran a stop sign. I almost hit a Chevy. I sped some more. I failed to yield at a crosswalk. I changed lanes at the intersection. I changed lanes without signaling while running a red light and SPEEDING!
Cop: Is that all?
Fletcher: No… I have unpaid parking tickets.
3. In Bruges
When a hitman botches a job and kills an innocent bystanding child, he must flee with his partner in crime to Bruges, the well-preserved medieval city in all of Belgium. Comedy gold, right? In Bruges is a perfect example of a film that falls into more than one genre. It is a perfect of raw human emotion and side-splitting comedy. Colin Farrell gives his best performance as Ray, a man stricken with grief after murdering a child, but acts like a child himself. He’s in one of the most beautiful cities in all the world, but all he can do is pout and complain about being stuck in a boring city with his stoic friend Ken, played by the always-wonderful Brendan Gleeson. The movie also stars Ralph Fiennes as an eccentric mob boss. There isn’t a dull moment in the entire film, and I recommend it to any film lover.
Ray: A lot of midgets tend to kill themselves. A disproportionate amount, actually.
2. Bringing Up Baby
Comedic gold. Directed by Howard Hawks, this movie features Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn at their best. The movie follows the two as they struggle to take care of a leopard in Connecticut. Hilarity ensues.
David: The man who marries you is going to have a lifetime of misery!
1. The Big Lebowski
Only in a Coen Brothers comedy could a stoner, eccentric Vietnam war veteran, a group of nihilists, a feminist, and a billionaire with a trophy wife cross paths and give birth to one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. This movie, which features my personal favorite performance by Jeff Bridges, has so many great lines and is suprisingly multi-layered. It may take two or three viewings to get its humor, but that’s only because there’s no other movie like it. The Dude abides.
Dude: Let me explain something to you. I’m not Mr. Lebowski. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m The Dude. So that’s what you call me.
5. A Fish Called Wanda
With a few more viewings, I can see this moving up a slot or two in the coming years. It’s a hilarious crime comedy with A-game performances from Kline (who won an Oscar for his role), Cleese (who wrote the movie), Curtis, and Palin. A Fish Called Wanda is funny, smart, and has one of my favorite parallel montages put to film.
Ken: Otto t-t-tried to k-k-kiss me.
Wanda: I thought he might.
4. The Apartment
The Apartment is border-line comedy to be sure, but it deserves to be in the genre. Written and directed by Billy Wilder, The Apartment is proof that you don’t have to write comedies and dramas separate from each other. Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine play opposite each other perfectly, and Fred MacMurray again plays the ‘villain’ for Wilder.
Margie: ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all throughout he house, not a creature was stirring…nothing’…no action…dullsville!
3. Duck Soup
A comedy list of mine would be incomplete without the Marx Brothers. The machine gun zingers from Groucho, the unrelenting puns, and the slapstick duo of Harpo and Chico make this a must-see.
Rufus: I got a mind to join a lib and beat you over the head with it.
2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
There’s a goldmine of comedy across the pond, and a lot of it comes from the messed up minds of the Monty Python troupe. Holy Grail should have an award for memorable quotes by people who haven’t even seen the movie. It’s totally absurd, episodic, and joyfully scales the fourth wall. Llamas.
Sir Bedevere: What makes you think she’s a witch?
Peasant: Well, she turned me into a newt!
Sir Bedevere: A newt?
Peasant: … I got better.
1. Raising Arizona
This is a movie that I instantly fell in love with. The Coen Brothers know how to write an engaging, humorous story, and have a knack for surrounding themselves with just the right talent for their characters. This is my favorite performance by Nicholas Cage, who should return to more comedic roles in the future.
Evelle: These [balloons] blow up into funny shapes and all?
Grocer: Well no…unless round is funny.
This summer has to hold some sort of record for most comic book movies released during the summer. Thor, Priest, Captain America, Green Lantern, X-Men; First Class, Cowboys and Aliens … This summer is jam-packed with comic book action. With the release of Thor this past Friday, we thought we’d list our top comic book movies of all time.
5. SIN CITY
At the time of its release, Robert Rodriguez’s approach to making a comic book movie (filming it entirely in front of a green screen) was a novelty. Sure, Lucas had created some of his planets on green screen and what-not, but an entire movie? Those of you who have seen the movie know that it recreates the style of Frank Miller’s comic frame by frame. The style is enchanting, the cast is superb, and it’s different fare from your typical “good guy fights bad guy” comic book movie.
4. IRON MAN
With his performance as Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr. resurrected his career. Iron Man has great humor, exciting action sequences, and a bald Jeff Bridges, but makes this top five list because it values characterization over spectacle. Sadly, there was a shift in values in last year’s sequel, where pointless action sequences were given more time than focusing on Tony Stark’s character. Here’s hoping the third installment fixes that mistake.
3. X-MEN 2
Let’s face it. The only reason X-Men is so popular is because of Wolverine. By placing Wolverine center stage in ‘X2,” Bryan Singer couldn’t have done any better. Except if he had directed X-Men 3, of course.
2. SPIDER-MAN 2
Before The Dark Knight investigated the toll that being a superhero has on one’s own life, Spider-Man 2 showed us how hard it is to balance one’s own life and be a superhero at the same time. Doctor Otto Octavian is hands down the best Spider-Man villain, the film has awesome sequences, and the human drama that permeates this film make me return to this swingin’ good time again and again.
1. THE DARK KNIGHT
You knew this was gonna be number one. What can I say that everyone else hasn’t already said? Nolan flipped a freakin’ semitruck! One of the greatest performances of all time. An ending that still gives me chills. Hands down the greatest comic book movie of all time.
Superman: The Movie (Because even DC has the occasional awesome superhero)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Edgar Wright is going places)
The Watchmen (The opening credit sequence alone is enough to make this movie a classic)
MY CRITERIA: I have to have seen all movies listed. Only one film per franchise can be included. There must be honorable mentions (because I’m a cheat).
5. MYSTERY MEN
Mystery Men is a “there are two kinds of people in the world” kind of movie, and one of my favorite guilty pleasures. Geoffrey Rush is insane as the villainous Casanova Frankenstein, there are fun performances from Ben Stiller, William H. Macy, and yes, Paul Reubens. It’s instantly quotable (“Looks like tonight the lone wolf rides…alone”) and has great re-watchability. Grab a favorite beverage and enjoy this skewed, slapstick take on the superhero genre.
4. SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE
Superman: The Movie is right up there with apple pie. Christopher Reeve gives a fun dual-role performance as Clark Kent and his superhero alter-ego Superman, Gene Hackman steals the show as Lex Luthor, the special effects are awesome, and John William’s score is classic. Some parts don’t work as well for me, like the bumbling Ned Beatty (a tad overacted), and the Lois Lane voiceover. But Superman: The Movie remains a classic superhero film where the hero saves the day and has been a favorite of mine since first watching it many years ago.
Reservations about Spider-Man 3 aside, I really enjoyed Sam Raimi’s take on the Spider-Man tale. The stories complement each-other nicely, without relying too heavily on the previous films. The casting is great, especially J.K. Simmons’ as newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson, chomping through cigars and scenes with ease.
2. SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
When I first heard about this film (Michael Cera fights ex-boyfriends?) I wasn’t sure how it would play out, having never heard of the graphic novels. But the preview sold me, and off I went. Having now read the graphic novels, I can say that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is a loving adaptation of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s series (he also helped in the writing process for the movie, which is pretty cool). Scott Pilgrim also has a talented cast, employing the likes of Michael Cera and Kieran Culkin; they are great in their roles, bringing the right dose of emotion and apathy to their characters. Technically, the film is fantastic. The fluid editing (including a mini parody of the style) and special effects complement each other well, combining filmmaking and graphic novel styles; it’s this collaboration that results in the world of Scott Pilgrim that we see on screen.
1. THE DARK KNIGHT
Heath Ledger as Joker. Batman flipping a freaking semi. Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent. If anyone knows how to make a successful blockbuster, it’s Christopher Nolan. The talent, music, practical effects, and an impressive on-going story are pitch perfect, creating an epically gritty superhero series that will be hard to beat. I can’t wait to see how it all comes around with The Dark Knight Rises, the final act.
The Rocketeer (For being epically camp)
American Splendor (For being normal)
Hulk (…because I’m one of the few that love it)
Merry (Belated) Christmas, fellow movie lovers!
By now a lot of you have feasted on ham, turkey (or “The goose! The gooose!” as Tiny Tim would say), and swapped presents and stories with your family and loved ones. Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year. We at Cinexcellence love Christmas movies, and found it nearly IMPOSSIBLE to restrict our favorite Christmas movies to a mere five.
As you gather around the fireplace, read our lists and see if you and your family agree.
I’d like to preface this by saying that I purposefully left out White Christmas, Holiday Inn, Christmas Carol, etc, becauseI feel like they’d be on everybody’s list. The Christmas classics are certainly a favorite, but I thought I’d give a bit of a variety to my list.
5. Die Hard
What’s Christmas without a well-dressed Alan Rickman going against a barefoot Bruce Willis? Boring and bland, that’s what. The granddaddy of all action films, Die Hard just also happens to take place on Christmas Eve, with a healthy use of Christmas music and snow to create a holly jolly atmosphere. If the violence and profanity is a bit too much, check out John Hughes’ classic, Home Alone. It’s basically Die Hard for kids.
4. The Snowman
Animated Christmas shorts dominate our tvs during the holiday season. From Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer to Frosty the Snowman, to The Year without a Santa Claus to A Charlie Brown Christmas, there’s no escaping them. There’s one short, however, that stands above all the rest. The Snowman is a breathtaking, hand-drawn cartoon that epitomizes the magic of Christmas to a child. The story follows a boy whose snowman comes to life at night. They become best friends, so much so that the snowman takes the young boy to meet Santa. There isn’t any dialogue in the film, save for the opening narration. Relying on the combination of its visuals and music to tell the story, “The Snowman” is a magical journey not to be missed.
3. The Grinch
“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!”
From the director of Apollo 13, The DaVinci Code, and A Beautiful Mind comes How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Though it doesn’t really seem like something that Ron Howard would make, there wasn’t a better man for the job. Under Howard’s direction, Whoville comes to life in a way that has and never will be seen again. It’s almost as if Jim Carrey was born to play the Grinch. The film respects its source material while still bringing something new to the table. It’s a wonderful attack of the consumerism that dominates the Christmas season. It’s a wonderful, light-hearted reminder that Christmas isn’t about the gifts.
2. A Christmas Story
This is a film that I have appreciated more and more as I grow older. A Christmas Story presents a realistic Christmas, one where visiting Santa in the mall was a terrifying experience, almost a chore. It gives us a holiday season where the Christmas meal is ruined and is instead enjoyed in a Chinese diner. It is filled with humor, yes, but it is saturated with Christmas spirit. The best scene in the movie is where the family sits in front of their Christmas tree. It’s a short scene, but it gets the point across. Despite the obstacles that Christmas may throw our way, the spirit of Christmas conquers all and brings us together.
1. It’s a Wonderful Life
“Help me Clarence, please! Please! I wanna live again! I wanna live again! I wanna live again! Please, God. Let me live again.”
Cliché as it may be, Frank Capra’s classic will forever remain my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Like all great movies, it gets better with every viewing. Although a colorized version is made available, it is best viewed in its original black and white. The final minutes of the film, chronicling George Bailey’s redemption and newfound appreciation for life, is one of the most moving scenes ever committed to film. Reducing me to a teary-eyed babbling brook upon every viewing, It’s a Wonderful Life is a magnificent Christmas film that I will continue to enjoy for years to come.
“We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.”
It was a struggle picking the film for the coveted 5th spot on my list. Elf is certainly a film that has grown on me over the years. It’s strange, takes a while to get going, but has many endearing and hilarious moments. And Zooey Deschanel sings.
4. It’s a Wonderful Life
“Why don’t you kiss her instead of talking her to death?”
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this Christmas classic? I’ve watched this almost every year for as long as I can remember, and it still brings me back year after year.
3. White Christmas
“In some ways, you’re far superior to my cocker spaniel.”
Directed by my man Michael Curtiz, White Christmas is top-notch, from the banter between the characters (Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, especially) to the memorable song & dance sequences.
2. The Muppet Christmas Carol
“Light the lamp, not the rat, light the lamp, not the rat! Put me out, put me out, put me out!”
The Muppet Christmas Carol seems to get better each time I watch it. With a story that is told over and over again, it’s wonderful to see it injected with Muppet humor and, of course, Sir Michael Caine.
1. A Christmas Story
“Deck the harrs with boughs of horry, fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra.”
I grew up hearing from several people that A Christmas Story was a stupid movie, so I never watched until I was a teenager. Renting it from our local video store one day on a whim, I quickly realized that A Christmas Story is a national treasure. It’s a wonderful film that effortlessly transports you back to the 40’s America. The story feels real, the scenes are memorable, and you’re left with a warm fuzzy feeling.
So those are our lists. What are some of YOUR favorite Christmas movies? Please share them in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you.
2. Let the Right One In
4. Rosemary’s Baby
Guilty Pleasure: Army of Darkness
I think it takes time before a film can truly be called a classic. But what defines a classic? A film that stands the test of time and is still effective.
I enjoy Saw, Paranormal Activity, and even Drag Me to Hell, but am curious to see how they stand the test of time. That being said, I think its too early to tell if Let the Right One In is a classic. I won’t deny that it is a magnificently made film. I’m just wondering if it will stand the test of time.I think a good chunk of its popularity is that its also true to the classic vampire myths. I will always contend that Nosferatu is one of the best vampire movies ever made.
I have yet to see Rosemary’s Baby, but I’m certain that Polanski’s film has stood the test of time. It is obviously a heavy influence on the upcoming Black Swan.
I am going to be a minority when I say that Halloween has NOT stood the test of time. I have seen it twice, and it is just cheesy to me by this point. I do love the opening first person shot. The score is still as chilling today as it was back then. I can admire it as a well-crafted film, but I don’t count it among my favorites.
Psycho is on everybody’s list. It has to be. It’s the granddaddy of all horror films.
A thought to leave with: is Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie?
A good point about classics, Daniel, But I have come from the future, and Let the Right One In is indeed a classic. Also, we still don’t have jetpacks and re-hydrated food. :(
But seriously, it is true that it’s too soon to declare LtROi a ‘classic’ in a broad sense, but for me it already is.
And as far as Halloween is concerned, I think I should save my response for a proper blog post. But I will leave you with your own term: If Psycho is the granddaddy of all horror films, Halloween is…well, it’s the…favorite uncle of the last 30+ years of horror films.
1. The Exorcist
2. The Shining
Runner Up: Scream
Horror definitely isn’t my genre of choice. I’ve been dabbling in it for the last few years, and have a lot more to catch up on. All that to say, I’m embarrassed that I haven’t watched The Exorcist yet.
The Shining is a good choice; I watched it for the first time recently. In a few years, that would probably be on my list as well.
I’m surprised to see Signs on your list. It may be my favorite M. Night Shyamalan film (a constant debate in my mind), but I’ve always thought of it as a drama foremost, with the horror element used as a setting.
And come on, Psycho deserves a higher placement. Granted, the dialogue is weak at times and the ending tries to fill in too many gaps best left un-said, but it’s a masterpiece in maturing suspense and use of music.
I think once you watch The Exorcist, the majority of everything else will pale. THAT’S how much i love it.
Speaking of love, you have to remember that this is a personal ranking. If the list were, say, five greatest horror films of all time, i’m sure the list would be different.
That being said, Signs sill scares me. Even as a kid, it terrified me. I love the movie, despite its flaws. That’s also why Psycho isn’t so high; because it’s the ranking of my favorites.