Monday, April 27, 2020

Ranking Pixar Movies

So I decided to rank the Pixar movies because I've seen them all now, and why not? My sisters and I were talking about our favorites on Saturday, and it seemed like a good subject for a blog post. After all, I've done Disney rankings before. This list isn't hard and's so hard to rank them, and there are some, like A Bug's Life, that I haven't seen in FOREVER, so there's that. And there are honestly very few Pixar movies I would say I dislike. So without further ado, all the currently available Pixar movies ranked from least favorite to most favorite.

22. The Good Dinosaur

Honestly, I just watched this one so that I could say I've seen all the Pixar movies. My sister pointed out that it does have a good message about overcoming fear, but the problem is, nothing about it was very well done. I don't like the worldbuilding, and just about everything about it was mediocre at best, and I expect more from Pixar.

21. WALL-E

I know a lot of people really like this one, but I just can't get past the premise that humans completely trashed the earth and are now floating around fat and ultra-lazy in space while the robot cleans up the earth so it'll someday be habitable again. Yes, I believe that we have a God-given duty to be good stewards of the earth, as well as of everything else He gives us, but IMO, WALL-E takes the environmentalism too far. But the concept of robots falling in love is cute.

20. Cars 2

This one suffers from some of the same issues as Pirates 4: they took a popular secondary character and made him a protagonist, which pulled him out of the role where he actually shone. Sure, spy stuff is fun, and I'm a huge fan of Mater, but it just didn't work very well. 

19. Finding Dory

This one wasn't a bad movie and I did enjoy it, but I grew up on Finding Nemo, so it can't quite match the nostalgia. But it was nice to revisit old friends and see what's happened since the original, even if my sister does complain that tropical fish could not have survived that long where Dory's parents did, and a friend says that an octopus (or septopus) driving is just too far. P.S. Am I the only one who always shipped Marlin and Dory and is that weird?

18. Toy Story 3

I'm not as into the Toy Story movies as most people my generation, I guess because the first one came out before I was born, so until we picked up the VHS at a yard sale when I was thirteen, we didn't have a copy. And it wasn't one we watched at Grandma's like we did Nemo either. I love the concept of the movies, though, and I thought this one was interesting. Lotso kinda stresses me out a little, and I find the portrayal of daycare quite interesting. It's a decent installment in the series, even though it is super sad for Andy to say goodbye to his toys. Every time I watch a Toy Story movie, though, I feel sorry for my old toys sitting in my closet.

17. Toy Story 2

There are Star Wars references. Need I say more? I like the introduction of Jessie and the fact that Woody actually had a TV show, even if it wasn't a popular one. And "Buzz, I am your father." 😆 It's been years since I've seen this one, though, so that's about all I have to say about it.

16. Coco

"The parents weren't dead in Coco."
"Everyone was dead in Coco." —Frozen Sing-Along Celebration at Disney's Hollywood Studios

I was not expecting to like this movie. I thought it looked weird and skeletons aren't really my thing, but it turned out to be cute and heartwarming and a good story about family. It's really sad how things were misunderstood for generations, and, well, I can't get more specific without spoilers, but while it's not my favorite Pixar movie, obviously, I thought it was pretty good. 

15. Cars 3

This one returned more to what made the first movie great. Same sort of messages, and a good story about passing the torch to the next generation. It's interesting seeing Lightning McQueen becoming the mentor character, and the introduction of the virtual training makes for a fun, cute attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

14. Toy Story

Toy Story is a classic. It's the first Pixar movie, and it was groundbreaking in animation, even if the people are a bit freakish. Hey, they're not as freakish as the baby in Tin Toy. Without Toy Story, Pixar wouldn't be what it is, and we wouldn't have Toy Story Mania at Disney World! (Still one of my top favorite rides ever.) I'm not sure what to say about it...everyone knows Toy Story. "We toys see everything. So play nice."

13. Toy Story 4

Don't hate me that I actually like this best of the Toy Story movies. There's more adventure, the animation is better, and yes, it's super sad that they're not with Andy, but you know, Woody and Bo Peep have a mission now. Woody finally moves beyond the whole "I'm the favorite toy, I'm in charge" thing and is devoting his "life" to uniting toys with children. And he and Bo Peep are together. The ventriloquist dummies are super creepy, and there are some parts where I audibly reacted because Woody's voicebox! but anyway. I liked it.

12. A Bug's Life

It's been I don't even know how long since I've seen this, but I remember liking it quite a bit. Not so with It's Tough To Be a Bug at Disney's Animal Kingdom, though. Who thought it was a good idea to simulate bugs running along the bench underneath everybody??????? Seriously, so many screams at that part of the show. And I get up before that part even though they say to stay sitting because once was more than enough. The movie is good though, and I need to watch it again.

11. Cars

Lightning McQueen and Mater and Doc Hudson and Sally, and Route 66 😊 It reminds me of how my sisters and I used to play with our dad's old matchbox cars. Because we absolutely personified them. Only we didn't race them, they just got stuck in massive traffic jams. It's a fun, cute story, Lightning has much to learn about being considerate, and just Mater. "I'm happier than a tornady in a trailer park!"

10. Onward

Okay, so this one is kind of a tear jerker. Not that that isn't common in Pixar... The worldbuilding is fun for the most part, an interesting blend of classic fantasy elements with modern life. It's a sweet story about brothers, and it's pretty funny too. But that ending. You'll cry. Plus Tom Holland and Chris Pratt voicing elf brothers. How can that not be fun?

9. Incredibles 2

Enter the world's most relatable family. "Math is math. How could they change math?"

I just realized this is the only Pixar movie I've seen in theaters. Wow. How is that possible? Anyway, while it is maybe a little disappointing that they took down the underminers so quickly after we waited fourteen years to find out how that turned out, I like the story they did tell. Screenslaver and betrayal and evil schemes and just classic family dynamics. Yes, they do the Mr. Mom thing, but in the more classic way where Dad ends up being like "How does she do all this?" And yeah, Helen's good at being a superhero, but remember, she was a superhero before they got married, so it's just going back to the roots of who they were when she and Bob met. And they are a family of supers, after all. I feel like it's all the things that are great about the first movie. And it's not really made for the kids. It's for those of us who were kids when the first one came out.

8. Monsters University

I was kind of skeptical about this movie because I love the original so much, but I was quite pleasantly surprised. No, it doesn't top the original, but it's certainly a worthy prequel. (It does seem to contradict the line about fourth grade, but oh well. And the director says they joke that it's a monster expression, so that works.) It's a really good story. Mike's dream is to be a scarer and work at Monsters Inc., and we all know that he isn't a scarer but that he does work there. And then when Mike and Sulley get kicked out of Monsters U, it's kind of like, "well, now what? How do they get there now?" but that's something else I love about this movie. It shows that the popular, accepted path isn't always the only way. You can still work hard and achieve your dreams. And even if you don't exactly achieve your dreams—Mike will never be scary—what you can do is even more valuable and important. And that's why I love Monsters U.

7. Up

I do love this movie. The beginning is super sad and then ending is super stressful, but I feel like this movie is a special one anyway. I love the relationship that grows between Mr. Fredricksen and Russell, and I love Dug and "Kevin's a girl?" I just want to quote every Up line I can think of now, but I need to finish my list. It's sweet overall, though the end. I mean, Carl's been idolizing Muntz since he was a child and now he wants to kill him? So much stress. But it teaches us that our heroes are still just human. And I really do love this movie in spite of the ending. And the beginning. Plus it's fun how they revamped the bird show at Animal Kingdom to include Russell and Dug.

6. The Incredibles

My first super hero movie. 😊 I just love these characters and their family dynamic and just how real they are. I mean, yes, they have super powers and all, but they're so real otherwise. And I'm really struggling to know what to say about this because it is that special. Other than that I want to go watch it again. Or maybe have a Pixar marathon...except that we aren't done with Marvel yet. Anyway. I love The Incredibles. It's a great movie. "No capes!"

5. Brave

I did overwatch this a bit a few years ago when it was constantly on TV, but it's a good one. I love that it focuses on a mother/daughter relationship, and especially the way it plays out. Because Queen Elinor wants Merida to be someone she's not, and that's not okay, but Merida's attitude towards her mother isn't okay either. And when the spell doesn't turn out the way Merida expects, I really love that the cure isn't some actual magical thing, but that they need to mend their relationship. They both need to admit where they're wrong and mend their ways. Because parents aren't any more perfect than kids are, and both need to admit where they're wrong. After all, what better way to teach your kids to admit to their mistakes and repent than to model that behavior yourself? It is a little scary, though. I mean, her mom does turn into a bear.

4. Ratatouille

"Ratatouille sounds like 'rat' and 'patootie.' Rat patootie...which does not sound delicious."

My sister probably isn't happy that this isn't number one for me, but most of these movies are honestly really close to each other and difficult to rank. Very much grew up on this one. And I'm once more getting that urge to quote every line I can think of. Remy is a rat who loves to cook. And Linguini, he can't cook. But he does know how to appear human. I'm not exactly sure why I like this movie so much. I think a lot of it is nostalgia. It's funny too, and just great Pixar. "Anyone can cook!"

3. Finding Nemo

As a kid, my sisters and I would always watch this movie with our grandma. It was special. I love this movie so much. Though I hate the beginning. I've legit not come into the room until that part's over. Just...every bit of this movie. It's so nostalgic and special. I love how it's all about how when you disobey your parents, bad things happen, but no matter what, your parents love you and will always fight for you. Marlin's such a helicopter parent, and it backfires, but he loves Nemo so much and he'll cross the entire ocean, take on sharks, face jellyfish, even hop into a pelican's mouth to get to his son. Nemo quotes and references are a part of everyday vocabulary...I mean, I always want to start my book release posts with one particular quote. It's such a good movie. Also, never go to the dentist in Australia. "Root canal, and from the look of those x-rays, it's not going to be pretty."

2. Inside Out

When the trailers for Inside Out came out, I thought it looked odd. Then my sisters and I watched it when we showed it at the library and I cried and it immediately became one of my top favorite Pixar movies. I love it so much. Riley's having such a hard time adjusting to moving anyway, and then Joy goes and makes things worse...accidentally, of course, but still. It's a very high concept movie, and I love the way they portray the way the brain works. It's so creative, and actually makes a lot of sense (even though it obviously doesn't really work that way), and it's so moving. I laughed, I cried, it moved me, Bob. I loved getting to meet Joy at Disney World last trip. And I will never get over Bing Bong. 😢😢😢

1. Monsters Inc.

Okay, just gonna admit upfront that Randall kinda creeps me out. He's scary. But I love Mike and Sulley to pieces. And Boo, of course. My cousin looked just like Boo when she was little, but she's eleven now. It's again a very creative concept and I love it. I love everything about this movie...except maybe Randall. Yeah, there's Roz, but Roz is fun to make fun of. "We call it 'the face that launched a thousand lunches.'" Though that's from the Laugh Floor. Which we wouldn't have without this movie. It's got action and humor and danger and cuteness and I need to watch it again. I just love the moment where Sulley puts the last piece into Boo's door and he opens it and "Kitty!" Melts my heart. P.S. My sister saw a picture on Pinterest where someone made their kid's door look like the doors from Monsters Inc. and I SOOOO want to do that if I ever have kids.

So that's my not-exactly-definitive-because-Pixar-is-so-good Pixar ranking. What's your favorite Pixar movie?

Thursday, April 23, 2020

War Bound Review

So it took longer and a lot more mistakes to get my website migrated than I'd expected, but it's done now. Thank goodness! And it's kinda late in the week now, but I still have to tell you about War Bound, book 2 in the absolutely amazing Elven Alliance series by Tara Grayce. 

Marriage to an elf is complicated…especially bringing him home to meet the family.

Princess Elspeth of Escarland married the elf prince and achieved peace between the elves and her human people. But after a recent ambush by the trolls, it is clear the trolls are trying to start a war between the elves and humans once again. To keep their peoples at peace, Essie and Farrendel travel to meet Essie’s family and negotiate a stronger alliance.

Yet in Escarland, not everyone is happy with peace. Traitors lurk in both Escarland and Tarenhiel, and it will be up to Essie and Farrendel to flush them out. The consequences of failure might be more personal and deadly than they can imagine.


This series is just—I can't even believe how good it is. Each book I read in a single day, unable to put it down until I finished at, like, 2 in the morning. But oh, man, that cliffhanger! September and book 3 can't get here soon enough!

How do I review this without giving away major spoilers? Let's see, Essie and Farrendel go to Escarland to meet her family, and investigate the evidence they've found of traitorous activity.

I loved really meeting Essie's family. I love how her brothers are so protective of her, and wary of Farrendel, but once they get to know him, they treat him as part of the family. They're such a great family and I love them. Farrendel needs a family like Essie's so bad.

I loved learning more about the elves and more about Farrendel's backstory. I think the details of that would be spoilery, so I'll leave it at that.

I loved watching Essie and Farrendel's relationship grow and progress. It's just so sweet and beautiful, and they really care so much about each other.

I knew danger would be lurking. I knew things wouldn't be fluffy when I got to the climax. But man! It The danger really ramped up in this book, and things got—bad. And shocking reveals and poor, poor Farrendel.

That cliffhanger. I mean, I've dealt with cliffhangers. But wow, it needs to be September already. I have to know what happens! 

All in all, I liked this one even better than the first, I love Essie and Farrendel even more, and I can't wait for book 3! And if you haven't read Elven Alliance, I don't know what you're doing with your life.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Sometimes You Just Need To Laugh

With all that's going on in the world right now, I think we all need a good laugh. So here's some fun YouTube videos. Enjoy!