This review was requested by patron Amelia Mellor. If you’d like me to review a movie, please consider supporting my Patreon.
Okay. Okay. I see. Alright.
Okay. Yup. Yup. Uh huh. Okay.
Sorry. My bad. I see I haven’t been clear enough on this topic. So let me be frank.
STOP ASKING ME TO REVIEW PIXAR MOVIES. STOP IT. JUST CUT THAT OUT.
You want to know what I think about Inside Out? It’s PERFECT, okay?! IT’S GODDAMN FICKETY FUCKETY FLAWLESS! IT’S A FRICKIN’ GOAT! IT’S THE BEST POSSIBLE VERSION OF ITSELF. THERE IS LITERALLY NOT ONE SINGLE THING I CAN THINK OF THAT WOULD IMPROVE IT.
So what (excuse me) but what the FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO SAY ABOUT IT? HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CRACK WISE? YOU’VE HANDED ME THE CEILING OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL AND SAID “HERE, MAKE WITH THE FUNNY”. I CAN’T MAKE WITH THE FUNNY BECAUSE IT’S ONE OF THE GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN THE HISTORY OF HUMANITY AND I HAVE A SOUL, YOU MOUTH BREATHING HEATHENS!
Ohhhhhhhh oy vey oyvey okay.
Inside Out. It’s the Pixar movie of Pixar movies. It makes other Pixar movies look like Dreamworks movies and Dreamworks movies look like pimply butts. It slays all that come before and after it. It’s so good, such a triumph of writing, design, animation and performance that honestly it’s a little intimidating and hard to love. It’s never going to be one of those movies that I just have on in the background because when I’m doing housework I usually prefer something that’s not going to break me emotionally like an egg.
I never used to cry at movies. Not really. I distinctly remember crying at the end of Michael Collins and that being a big, shocking thing. And that was a special case, because he’s like the George Washington of this thing and he was a real guy who really died (spoiler). But crying at movies just because they were sad? No. Not a thing.
That all changed with the arrival of somebody.
Becoming a dad did something to me, people. Messed with my brain chemistry like a mad scientist juggling beakers and cackling. Now, when I watch a movie I cry if someone stubs their toe (unless its Adam Sandler, because my empathy can only stretch so far).
Researching this movie I learned that writer Pete Docter based it on observing changes in his daughter’s emotions when she reached eleven. I mean, I learned it, but I already knew it. This movie is so perfectly observed that it could only be drawn from real life.
The movie opens with the birth of Riley, possibly one of the most perfectly rendered depictions of a newborn baby in animation that I have ever seen.
Riley experiences her first emotion, who appears in her head as Joy (Amy Poehler). She’s soon joined by Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger, (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kahling) and Fear (Bill Hader). These are five of the Universal Emotions that correspond to distinct facial expressions that are universal to all human beings. There’s also a sixth, Surprise, but Riley obviously doesn’t need to feel surprise as she’s part of the post-millenial generation and knows everything.
So Riley lives in Minnesota with her loving parents and is as happy a little girl as can be notwithstanding the fact that she lives in Minnesota.
Joy is the emotion in charge of Riley and strives to make as many of her memories happy as possible. Now, I’ve seen it written elsewhere that Joy is selfish and controlling because she doesn’t want any of the other emotions to be in control of Riley but that’s just not true. Joy makes it clear when she introduces each new emotion that she understands that they’re important and all have a role to play. Fear keeps Riley safe, Disgust keeps her from being poisoned and also helps her adhere to social norms and Anger doubles as Riley’s sense of fairness. The only one whose purpose Joy simply does not get is Sadness, who she tries to keep as far away from the control panel as possible while wondering what her purpose even is, kind of like how I feel about Adam Levine.
Okay I need to talk about the art design in this because holy shit the art design in this you guys. There is a ton of world-building that has to be done to establish what is honestly a pretty darn complex alternate world and so much of the heavy lifting is done by the art design. Everything from how the memories are colour-coded, to the shelf full of idea lightbulbs to the Willy Wonka-meets-Rube Goldberg mechanisms that power Riley’s mind, it’s all designed so beautifully and with such simplicity that you’re never in any doubt about how this place works.
Okay, Riley’s emotions are thrown into turmoil when her parents Jill (Diane Lane) and Bill (Kyle MacLachlan) sell their house and move out to San Francisco. Joy is kept very busy keeping the other emotions under control even though Anger, Fear, Sadness and Disgust are all perfectly valid responses to having to move to California.
Joy keeps their spirits up by imagining what their new house will look like, but when they arrive they’re disappointed to find that it’s a lot less “Gingerbread House” and a lot more “Crack Den.”
Riley is upset that her new home is a dingy millionaire hovel with no furnishings and a dead mouse in the corner…oh my God.
Making matters worse, the moving van with all their stuff has gotten lost and gone to Texas, which Riley’s mother can’t understand because why would anyone or thing go to Texas?
Alright, strap in. I’m just going to insult all fifty states by the time the reviews ends. Start counting.
At Riley’s first day of school her teacher calls on her to tell the class about Minnesota and she tells them that at least its better than that shithole North Dakota.
Alright, so in the movie’s world there are regular memories and “core” memories. The core memories are formed after seminal events in Riley’s life and power the “core islands”. These islands are core aspects of Riley’s personality and are really fun and beautiful islands, you could call them “Anti-Rhode Islands”. So far, all of Riley’s core memories have been happy, but when she starts telling her class about her life in Minnesota, Sadness accidentally (?) touches one of her memories, turning it from yellow to blue. This causes Riley to start crying in front of her class, which creates a new core memory. A blue one.
Unable to deal with the idea that Riley might now have a sad core memory and tries to dispose of the new core memory up the magical suction tube. Sadness tries to stop her and in a rather unfortunate bit of slapstick Sadness, Joy and ALL the core memories end up getting sucked up the tube, leaving Fear, Anger and Disgust alone in the control room.
Joy and Sadness find themselves in long term memory, a long, long way way from the control room, about as far as Arizona is from having a secure border. Sadness tells Joy that without her in the control room Riley will never be happy again so they set off for home.
Meanwhile, Riley’s having dinner at home with her parents and they ask her about her day in school. Riley, who’s now just a solid mass of negative emotion like Wyoming, lashes out at her parents. This leads into the scene that was used as the movie’s first trailer, where we also meet Mr and Mrs Andersen’s emotions who, adorably, have the same glasses and moustache as their…owners? Is that how this works? Anyway, it’s a great scene, with lots of great comedic beats like the fact that Riley’s Dad putting the foot down involves his emotions breaking out nuclear keys and that Riley’s mother keeps fantasising about a Brazilian helicopter pilot that she used to date. Watching this again, I noticed something that I hadn’t before; Riley’s “leader” emotion is Joy, but her mother and father are run by Sadness and Anger respectively which sounds pretty bleak. But the whole point of the movie is that there are no “bad” emotions and that all of the emotions have an important and positive role to play. Besides, Mom!Sadness isn’t particularly sad, and Dad!Anger is pretty chill all things considered. I like to think that Mom!Sadness is in charge because Sadness is the emotion of empathy, and Riley’s Mom is a very kind hearted person whose very attuned to the emotions of the people she loves. Likewise, Mr Andersen having Anger in charge doesn’t mean he’s a rage case. As Joy explains early, Anger cares deeply about things being “fair”, so it could just mean that Riley’s father has a very strong sense of justice.
Anyway, Mr Andersen…I cannot say that without hearing Hugo Weaving’s voice, you know that? Anyway, Mr Andersen, who has broken every computer law we have a name for, tells Riley he does not like this new attitude.
He sends Riley to her room and while the Dad emotions high five each other on achieving peace in our time, the Mom emotions roll their eyes and go back to pining for Senhor Helipcóptero, as it’s clear that Mrs Andersen settled for Mr Andersen like Hawaii settled for the United States.
Later, Bill visits Riley in her room to try to mend fences. He tries to make her laugh with monkey noises which causes Goofball Island to collapse into Riley’s memory dump, while Joy and Sadness happen to be on and they only narrowly avoid falling in and being forgotten forever. They have to go through longterm memory, a labyrinthine maze of half-remembered piano lessons and gum commercial jingles where they meet the mind workers, basically the brain’s janitorial staff. The mind workers are siphoning away useless information like old phone numbers and the fact that Delaware exists. They also meet Bing Bong, Riley’s now forgotten imaginary friend voiced by Dom DeLuise.
Okay, he’s actually voicedby Richard Kind but it’s kind of spooky how much he sounds like Dom Deluise. It’s very impressive, like how Georgia still manages to be the worst Georgia despite going up against the place that gave the world Stalin.
Bing Bong offers to help the two get back to headquarters by catching the Train of Thought from Imagination Land. But first, they have to go through Abstract Thought, which causes them to decontextualise into abstract forms.
Unfortunately, they miss the train and their chances of getting home are now as sketchy as Mississipi’s record on Civil Rights.
So Bing Bong offers to lead them through Imagination Land where the trees are French Fries, the houses are made of clouds and anything is possible, even a version of Connecticut where everyone isn’t so up their own asses that they have to roll around everywhere like donuts made of people. They also encounter a machine that makes imaginary boyfriends for Riley. So here’s something I find interesting. There’s been a lot of speculation in this movie’s fandom that Riley is trans or maybe gender-fluid owing to the fact that she has both male and female emotions, whereas all the other characters have emotions whose genders correspond to their own. But firstly, that’s not actually true. Riley’s Dad!Disgust is clearly female. So why does she have a moustache? Because all of Dad’s emotions having little moustaches is hilarious and you need to stop overthinking everything. Now, Pixar have pretty much confirmed that the gender of each emotion has no greater significance than “We thought Lewis Black was perfect for this part”. That said, there is some evidence that Riley is maybe still figuring out some stuff about her sexuality. Look at Joy’s reaction to seeing Riley’s imaginary boyfriend.
Of course, Joy also represents Riley’s childhood innocence so maybe this is just a more typical “boys are gross” sentiment. Unfortunately, the mind workers take Bing Bong’s rocket ship that’s powered by song (yeah it’s good for emissions but not great for driving through residential areas at night) and throw it in the memory dump because Riley’s forgotten about it and Bing Bong and life is a horrifically cruel cavalcade of bitter losses only thrown into sharp relief by moments of beautiful melancholy.
Bing Bong is absolutely distraught and Joy tries her best to cheer him up because she doesn’t understand that she can’t help in every situation because she has a massively overinflated sense of her own importance like Washington. I mean, really? You name your state after GEORGE FRICKIN’ WASHINGTON?
Instead, Sadness and Bing Bong commiserate in their shared misery and hopelessness like the Carolinas, North and South and actually makes him feel better. So this is the heart of Inside Out’s quietly revolutionary message; it’s okay to be sad. Heck, sometimes it’s necessary to feel sad. Joy can’t help Bing Bong because Bing Bong shouldn’t be happy. At least, not right now. He needs to grieve. And Sadness helps by just letting him be sad. Finally realising that Sadness actually has a role to play, Joy follows Bing Bong and Sadness to the next train station and they hitch a ride on the train of thought. It grinds to a halt as Riley falls asleep, but they’re able to wake her up by giving her a scary dream and her mind suddenly becomes daytime again like its summer in Alaska, the mutant freak state.
Meanwhile, Riley’s emotional state is going from bad to worse and Anger decides that what they need to do is get her back to Minnesota. Riley steals her mother’s credit card and buys a bus ticket back to Minnesota which causes her last core island, Family, to go crashing down which takes the Train of Thought down with it. Sadness manages to jump clear but Bing Bong and Joy fall and find themselves in the memory dump, a massive black pit filled with more forgotten dreams than Nevada.
Realising that he doesn’t have long until he’s forgotten, Bing Bong sacrifices himself to help Joy ride his rocket car to safety and then we watch him vanish because Pixar is messed up and they get off on this shit or something.
It’s…oof. It’s rough.
Riley gets on the bus and Anger, Fear and Disgust suddenly realise that what they’re doing is crazy and try to get her to stop but it’s too late. Riley is now fully depressed and cut off from her own emotions. With all the paths back to Headquarters now gone, Joy improvises by using the the boyfriend generator to create a massive totem of disposiblel boyfriends to vault herself and Sadness back to where they belong. They arrive in headquarters just in time and Riley realises that holy shit, she almost went to Minnesota of her own free will. And that’s what we call hitting rock bottom.
Oh jeez, I’m almost at the end of the review. Okay, deep breath:
The Wizard of Oz has talking Scarecrows, Witches and flying monkeys and the most unbelievable part of that movie is that Dorothy actually wants to get back to Kansas.
Arkansas is actually pronounced “Arkansaw” because why hide the fact that your entire state can’t read?
West Virginia. Of all the states you could be a pale imitation of, you went with Virginia? Really?
Vermont was actually an independent Republic before joining the United States. Their state animal is the quitter.
Careful with those angular borders, Utah, you might cut yourself.
Wanna to know why the state of Ohio is different? Because it’s “hi” in the middle, round on both ends, and fucking terrible.
Louisiana: French for “buyer’s remorse”.
Idaho. Rhymes with “I dunno”. As in “Why anyone would live here.”
Hey Illinois, lower case Ls and uppers case Is are visually indistinguishable. Your name looks like a frickin’ barcode, dumbass.
Indiana, change your name to “Native Americana” its 2018 you racist assholes.
Kentucky, you’re the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln and you never brag about that. I wonder why.
Hey Michigan, where would you be without Michael Moore putting the best possible gloss on everything?
Colorado, you sound like an exotic disease that afflicted Spanish sailors during the Age of Exploration.
Hey Pennsylvania, thanks for 2016 you buncha choke artists.
Tennessee, you’re the worst.
Nebraska, don’t tell Tennesee, but you’re actually the worst.
Oregon, between, you me and the four walls you’re really the worst.
Maine, Maryland, Massachsetts, Michaigan, Missouri and Montana I’d like you to meet my friends THE OTHER 25 LETTERS IN THE FRICKIN’ ALPHABET.
Oklahoma. As if. More like “Really not good enough-lahoma”.
Wisconsin, you were originally where God was planning on sending sinners but he thought that was too cruel and just created Hell.
Florida, Florida…um. Damn. No. I can’t think of anything bad to say about Florida.
Anyway Joy finally realises that she’s been acting terribly, like Alabama for its entire history and lets Sadness take the controls, Riley returns home and finally confesses to her parents that she’s miserable. And they give her a big hug and tell her that they miss home too but that everything will be okay. And this right here is one of the most amazing, beautiful little moments I have ever seen in any film. Riley holds her parents and gives a tiny gasp. It’s the sound you make when you are broken hearted and hurting but full of love and happy at the same time. I don’t know if there’s a word for it. But I know that feeling. And this movie just captures it perfectly.
And from this moment comes a new core memory, blue and yellow, happy and sad. And beautiful, inside and out.
What do I say?
It’s almost certainly the finest movie I’ve ever reviewed for this blog, and one of the towering achievements of the artform.
I stand before you a humbled rodent. The thing is peerless.
In the end, all I can say is this:
It’s perfect, alright?
No, really. It’s perfect.
Earlier drafts of the Inside Out had a character called Gloom who would have personified Riley’s growing depression but that idea was nixed and thank God for that. It’s both more effective and more true to life that Riley’s depression isn’t an emotion in itself but the absence of emotion. Plus, it would have meant that to help Riley Joy would have had to, y’know, kill Gloom. And he was just adorable.
Supporting Characters: 20/20
Just gonna keep beating that drum.
Ha! A flaw! It can be killed!
Not really. Michael Giacchino (who we really need to start thinking of as being in the same category as John Williams and Hans Zimmer in terms of all-time great movie composers) does an absolutely fantastic job with the movie’s score. But for me to give a perfect score it would have to be absolutely iconic and I don’t think this is a movie that’s famous for its music.
FINAL SCORE: 98%
NEXT UPDATE: 25 October 2018
NEXT TIME: Just in time for Halloween…what the fuck is this?
I am I the only one who did not cry? Seriously, anybody?
Thank the Black Mouse of Disney, I’m not the only one! (Still think it’s a great movie, though!)
Present! Not a tear from me. But that’s not saying much since I never cry at any movies.
Yeah, I really hated that they used Joy as the primary emotion. Happiness? Yes. I could see that. Contentment? Certainly, though it’s kinda hard to explain to kids. But Joy is a rare and precious emotion. I don’t care how idyllic a childhood is (mine doesn’t count. One of the high points was being evacuated from Saigon.), Joy is not the emotion you feel day to day.
Some of my problems with this movie may come from being a military brat. I’d made 21 moves by the time I was 21. The idea that moving was such an extreme experience argues to me that Riley’s parents didn’t do a good job of preparing her.
I mean, I feel like it’s important that Joy isn’t called Happiness because she’s not that. All the emotions want Riley to be happy and content, Their names just show the role they play in accomplishing that goal. Also, i’m kinda happy they didn’t go with something more severe. A lesser studio would probably have pushed for some external threat, but the villain of this movie just being basic change anxiety feels so much more relatable to me. Maybe it’s because, having OCD, accepting change was something it took me quite a bit of time to grapple with, but still.
Joy was clearly meant as a synonym for happiness in the context in which her character was used. That’s not an unfair use of the word.
I’m sorry the review was hard to get through, like the 80% of Western Australia that is desert.
But I’m glad you liked the movie.
I’ve read reviews that called it empty (like the Northern Territory), or bland and anodyne (like South Australia). Even if I thought those reviews were trashier than Queensland and more out of the loop than Tasmania, I did wonder if you’d love it like I do. It might actually be my second-favourite movie ever (Hot Fuzz stole the #1 spot).
One quote that has stuck with me about this film is a prediction that it will ‘change the way people think about the way people think’ – and it has, it really has. It’s used as a therapy tool with autistic children, and is described as a godsend for that. I’ve even used it as a CBT tool to help think my way out of some bad mental habits I learned growing up. It’s not possible, desirable or healthy to always be positive. It’s perfectly okay to look at New South Wales and see nothing of value, for instance.
So I’m as smug as Victoria that you gave it 98%. I’m not a movie crier, but i crie evrytim when I see this gem of a film. It went through development hell, but it pushed through and the world is better for it.
I forgot to make a joke about the Capital Territory. Fortunately Canberra’s a joke by itself.
Just out of interest: what do all you regular commenters think your ‘captain’ emotion would be? Mine are Joy and Fear fighting over the wheel.
Damn, you just burned Australia to the ground. See, I don’t anyone would admit to geing governed by Anger or Disgust but I’m probably a Joy/Sadness co-op.
It’s good bushfire management.
I think you can flip Disgust to be something like good taste or discernment, the way Anger can be justice – the kind of person who knows and takes notice of what others like and don’t like.
NGL I’m probably running on an Anger/Sadness co-consulate. I don’t think I’m a particularly belligerent person so much as, in a fight-or-flight situation, I tend towards fight more often than not.
I think my captain emotion is either Sadness, Fear, or some both working together.
Oh yeah, well, Ireland…doesn’t have any snakes. Because only cool countries get snakes. So there.
Great review, Mouse. Yeah, I feel basically the same way about this film as I feel about Mr. Rogers (Fred and Steve). Some things are too good for this sinful earth.
I mean, it’s not a case of it being completely without flaws (though there certainly aren’t any glaring ones), more that it’s so big-hearted and kind that being in any way nasty to it would be like kicking a puppy. Makes me want to be a better person.
Not like those jerks who live in Leinster, ZING!
Does more snakes equal more coolness?
Yeah, but more emus equals less, so its an even break.
Emus beat humans in an actual war.
No, just more apple thefts and phallic symbolism.
I wish he was joking.
Gah! We’ve been zinged!
Well, Mouse, we Hoosiers (that’s what Indiana natives call ourselves) are caught in a double bind. The term “Native American” is losing popularity compared to “First Nations” and our state is federally prohibited from being First at anything, excluding teen pregnancy.
Also, “Hoosiers”? You know who gives themselves silly nicknames, then insists everyone calls them that? Assholes, that’s who.
God, we’re awful!
Yeah, not much else to say about this movie, except that it’s a masterpiece. I don’t know if it’s my favorite Pixar movie (my nostalgia for Finding Nemo is a fore to be reckoned with), but it’s a strong contender.
And while we’re on the subject of Pixar, what do you think of The Incredibles 2? I haven’t, but I’ve been hearing slightly mixed thoughts about it; some people love it, others think it’s just an overhyped sequel.
Incredibles 2 is good, but not as good as the first one, and that comes down to one thing: the villain. It’s been mentioned here before that Pixar is fantastic at leads and side-characters, but their antagonists tend to be simply bullies, rather than full-fledged villains. Syndrome is one of the better Pixar villains. His counterpart in Incredibles 2 has an awesome supervillain identity, and sets up a truly threatening atmosphere, but unfortunately, their motivation doesn’t make much sense and their real identity is not that intimidating.
Personally, I think it would have been better if (possible spoilers)
the accidents and the Mind Slaver were staged by the two siblings to give justification to supers returning. That would have offered a nice moral dilemma to Helen, because on one hand she doesn’t want to endanger innocents and on the other she needs their economic support for her family and, deep inside, she also wants supers to return. That would make more sense in my opinion, and in fact it was my first guess when I watched the movie.
SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
That would have made a nice change from how it actually turned out (I mean, the second our villain came on screen it was like, ‘oh, there they are, this is the seemingly-most-benign-character-was-evil-all-along trope again’.)
I would have been happy with someone we had never heard of or seen before. After seeing the evil-all-along villain in so many Disney and Pixar films lately, I had my fingers crossed for someone new, maybe even someone who represented some other problem in comics or the superhero genre in general. For instance, Syndrome is like toxic fandom in many ways. What if Screenslaver had been the embodiment of cultural snobbery? You know – those people who are always saying stuff like, ‘Our childish obsession with the superhero will be the downfall of Western civilisation’ and ‘graphic “”novels””, as they are now heretically called, have no place in the secondary school curriculum’.
But I’d call it a 9/10 movie overall.
It’s got great gags, great action, continues the family theme well, and really shows how 14 years of advancement has improved computer animation.
The story and villain aren’t as good, but unlike the first one I think they went into this one with more sequels in mind, so they set up some characters and worldbuilding to expand on in the future. Sometimes you gotta tolerate an “Iron Man 2” to set up stuff for an “Avengers”, I guess.
Still worth seeing.
Oh, yeah – definitely worth a watch! I guess when I was describing why some people don’t like it, I gave an inaccurate impression of my own opinion. I was gasping and guffawing through the whole thing.
I’d agree with everything you said, and add: the new powers on show are particularly impressive, and there are quite a few scenes which are downright creepy. Pixar has also clearly taken criticisms of their 5:1 male:female character ratio to heart with their more recent films, and I’m really pleased to see them addressing it.
Haven’t seen it yet.
Hey gang, what are we watching? A movie that is simultaneously the worst AND best movie to watch with your family after you realise you have depression?
Ohhhh boy. Not even insulting every lousy state could stop me from getting misty eyed. I’ll have to insult somewhere truly terrible. Like Dublin. Which is terrible. Unlike Kilkenny. Which is only meh.
I may have started something here that I will end up regretting. Also, Kilkenny is a complete tip.
HOW DARE YOU you’re absolutely right of course BUT HOW FUCKING DARE
Oh boy am I happy I have good friends who didn’t mock me for crying in the theater in front of them (you’d think I’d have learned after this, but we were all right there for Coco and at least we all cried on that one).
As a Californian I am honored we were one of the first states to be insulted and as a Southern Californian you let those Northerners in San Francisco have it, with their delicious seafood and chocolate and fancy historical prison.
I think, damn, I think Fear is probably my “Captain” emotion. I should probably work on that.
The review was still fun to read, In that I got to relive how brilliant this movie is and I’m right there with you that’s is almost unapproachable and un-rewatchable in its perfection.
Hey, don’t feel bad about yourself! Like Mouse pointed out (and thank GOD someone said it, because it’s bang on the money) they all have different ultimate functions, like the mother’s empathy or the father’s sense of justice. Being oriented to consider risks, consequences and probability isn’t a bad thing at all.
I know we’re just strangers on the internet but thanks for that. I kinda needed that today.
Fear can also be concern for others.
Hey, I’m a Nor Cal guy and just because you’ve got even better weather than we do gives you no right to compliment out seafood, chocolate and fancy historical prison.
I shall compliment what I want good sir, and ask no leave of thee.
Nerve of some people
I was going to try to defend Minnesota, but eh. You’d have to live here to get it. 🤷
Thanks for the review! I don’t think I want to see the film, though. It sounds too…
Wait for it…
I’m not sorry. 😋
Nor should you be.
Wyoming is a solid mass of negative emotions, can confirm. (Except Star Valley, which is gorgeous)
Inside Out is a beautifully emotional movie and I am so impressed with how funny it can be while dealing with some very complex subject matter so maturely. It really is a microcosm of its own message, that things can be happy and sad at the same time
Next time… That looks like Chuck E. Cheese trapped in Minecraft land.
Now now, not EVERY Pixar movie is impossible to review. Brave and the Good Dinosaur exist, after all.
Also I’ve compared Wisconsin to hell in the past, so I appreciate that joke at its expense.
I will admit I have a soft spot for Brave. You don’t get a lot of movies focusing on mother/daughter relationships sadly. You can tell it had a hard production though, like the Good Dinosaur, which I always forget I watched.
My main problem with Brave is in Merida herself. She’s one of the most obnoxious protagonists I’ve ever seen in an animated movie.
Otherwise it’s a movie where barely anything happens before and after the mom turns into a bear.
Sparkle, Brave has good ideas but the execution is terrible and the message also feels off.
I find it a bit overrated? Like, there aren’t really major issues I have with the movie (are some minor ones but whatever) and I most definitely enjoyed it, but it was kind of just in one ear out the other fun for me. Not really something I particularly desire to see again but not something I’d be opposed to watching again either.
My first reaction was the same, but it eventually became a contender for my favourite Pixar movie. There is something about it which just grows on you.
How dare you make fun of California! Sure it’s crowded, everyone drives like a maniac, you have to sell your soul for a lease on an apartment, and there’s been an alarming uptick in white supremacists…and where was I going with this?
Taco Trucks! At least we have taco trucks!
Taco Trucks are a good thing?
Taco trucks are a 𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵 thing!
Ooooh. Taco trucks.
Actually, this is one of the few Pixar soundtracks I can remember with no trouble at all. And damn, I guess I will now have an ear worm for the rest of the day….
Mine is the soundtrack from Up. Dada-da-da… dada-da-da, dada-da-da, da-dun-da da-dun-da da da…
I think Ratatouille has Pixar ‘ s most memorable soundtrack.
Finding Nemo is the most memorable Pixar soundtrack for me, but that’s probably because I’ve seen it a million times, having grown up with it. (Speaking of which, what do you think about parts of that movie’s score being reused in Finding Dory?)
I am not particularly into Finding Nemo and have seen Finding Dory only once, but I have a vague memory that when I watched it I thought that they did a good job using the music from the first movie for well-placed call-backs. My main problem with Finding Dory was that it felt like a 45 minute story being stretched out to reach movie length.
Haven’t seen finding Dory but I generally like continuity between movie scores.
Finding Nemo has just one of my favorite scores ever. This track gives me chills every time I hear it
As a point of principle I prefer not to read reviews for films that one has yet to see (Spoilers!), so I’m afraid my only contribution to this review will have to be based on the introductory paragraph – Mouse, Dear Mouse, on my Honour as a stalwart son of Perfidious Albion I promise to never abuse my privilege of requesting a review by asking for anything but the most unashamed mediocrities! (-;
This is one of my favourite movies…not just Pixar movies, movies point blank. And I always cry at those two bits every time I see it.
Review was excellent, love the digs at the 50 states. What else do you do when you’re stuck with reviewing perfection?
I can’t speak for anyone but myself but I enjoy reading you gush about a great movie. Sometimes it’s nice to read someone be happy and appreciate something good instead of constant sarcasm and misery. (emphasis on the sometimes)
Okay, but… what about Brave? I mean, I like it just fine myself, but it seems like everyone else hates it as the lame duck of the Pixar family, once you get past the Cars movies, and damn that stupid Merida and her awful (shut up, it’s awesome) hair and all that. Do you think Brave also falls under the ‘impossible to review’ standard? Personally, I think it deserves a redeeming review from someone at some point, even if it’s still not Pixar’s best (that’s Wall-E, of course).
Also, I think you missed Puerto Rico, which is like the adopted brother/home slave that everyone refuses to accept as part of the family while they won’t let him go either and keep him chained in the basement when not doing menial labors for the others.
I’d say more than anything the lame duck of Pixar is Good Dinosaur, since at least people remember Brave exists.
This was my favorite Pixar movie until Coco came out. Now it’s probably 1.Coco, 2. Inside Out, 3. Up, 4. Either Ratatouille or Finding Nemo. But it always changes. Coco was amazing.
The only maybe “major” flaw I can think of is the designs of the female emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I love them, but it follows the pattern of non human female characters having to look more traditionally female and human like while the male characters can look more cartoony and non human. But that’s a common criticism for a lot of things sadly.
I know some people think Pixar’s gotten more hit and miss recently. Even though I consider some of their “lesser” projects still pretty good (for the most part). Their love of sequels is getting a little out of hand though, despite my love for a lot of them. Another Toy Story?
I really like this movie, but it’s not one of my favorites. It doesn’t have any major flaws (though I disagree with you Mouse, I think Joy is selfish because although she recognizes the importance of other emotions she still thinks she is THE most important emotion) yet it failed to connect with me on a deeper level like Finding Nemo or The Incredibles did. Perhaps it’s because the film seems to connect better with people going through emotional turmoil such as children entering puberty and the parents and friends of such people. I am… adult-ish, well beyond puberty at the very least, and my little brother hasn’t entered puberty yet so I couldn’t connect with the movie through him. Either way, it’s a great movie. It’s just that it doesn’t awake any deep emotions in me. Perhaps a rewatch is in order.
Anyway, great review. I tend to like flawed movies and flawed characters best because analyzing them is more interesting. But you managed to offer interesting viewpoints anyway, such as articulating the central message of the movie. The state gags are really good, especially the Mississippi and Alabama ones.
The jokes I mean. Sorry, English is not my first language.
No worries. I meant “what do you mean “gags”, I was totally serious?”
I mean I thought it was pretty obvious that Riley had emotions of different genders because Pixar didn’t want to market this thing with a fully female main cast. Even less surprising when it was revealed what sexist shit bags the upper management was/is.
I really loved the running gag of U.S. states. Some of the comments were spot on.
But as a resident of the District of Columbia, I must complain. Even in a place where you weren’t giving any respect, we don’t get no respect. No representation in congress is bad enough, but no representation in the Unshaved Mouse? That’s awful.
Oh very well. Washington DC: calling it a nest of vipers would be an insult to decent God fearing snakes.
I loved the jokes about the states, and i’m glad you left my home off the the hook of once (Personally, I think people are just angry we have the nicest beaches;) I kid , I kid. That said, i’d wish you had focused more on the review then on the jokes. You may not believe it, but I actually find your gushing engaging, especially when you get into the production details or the finer points that most viewers would miss. Your love for animation is papble, my fine furry flat friend.
For a moment there at the end I thought you were gonna forget us Alabamians in your state jokes but you got us good there! You also zinged my childhood home of California (SoCal though) real well, good job there.
I saw this movie three times in theaters. Opening night, again the next night, and then again a few weeks later with a friend who hadn’t seen it. Cried every time. Still cry every time I see it. You are so absolutely right about the little gasp Riley makes at the end, that’s what really triggers my tears every time. It’s a strong strong contender for my favorite Pixar film alongside Up, Finding Nemo, Incredibles, Coco, and the Toy Story trilogy. Just an utter masterpiece start to finish. Pete Docter is perhaps quietly the best director Pixar has, his three films are Monster’s Inc., Up, and Inside Out. I don’t know that any of Pixar’s other directors has quite that track record. Andrew Stanton has Finding Nemo and Wall-e, but he also has Finding Dory which is good but not amazing. Brad Bird has The Incredibles and Ratatouille but he similarly has Incredibles 2 which is good but not amazing. Lee Unkrich might measure up as his two films are Toy Story 3 and Coco, we’ll have to see what he can do next.
Loved the review and it’s definitely a masterpiece film! Especially loved your Hidden States game and glad Florida was left for the end and wasn’t found to have anything bad. Well, I guess we do have a home belonging to Donald Trump. Does that count?
Also loved the shade on West Virginia, lol!
I hope not, he has a place in Ireland too.
Did I do something to offend you again, Mouse? If so I’m really sorry! I’m only asking because you haven’t answered my most recent comments and it seems like you usually respond faster.
If you’re just waiting to answer for some other reason I don’t object to that, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t unknowingly say or imply something awful to you again like I knowingly did during WikiLeaks argument, which I’m also very sorry for.
Dude dude not at all. Sorry, whether I respond to comments usually depends on whether I’m in work or asleep. Sorry, what did you ask me?
Oh, okay good to know. It’s been awhile, but I think I left a comment on your “Inside Out” review asking about a few jokes I didn’t get and answering your “what is this” question about GHS. Also in some other comments further back I asked if I’d been a pest about reviewing “Gregory Horror Show” and saying I was sorry if I had been.
No rush on responding to those things, I just noticed that in the past you usually responded quicker so I thought you were ignoring me. I wanted to make sure I hadn’t made another offensive comment over another political disagreement and then forgotten about it.
Okay, I can’t see the comment on Inside Out so I think WordPress ate it. Gregory Horror was due to go up tomorrow but I’m way behind and it will probably be Halloween. Sorry. Don’t worry about, you’ve been waiting for ages.
That’s odd; I see the comment. It’s from October 14th and begins with “yay, sarcastic map of wartime Europe is back!” You don’t see a comment like that?
There is something bad to say about Florida, though: If not for its existence, the Miami Vice movie wouldn’t exist.
I admit, not the biggest fan of the film, but I do think it is very good. As for the insult to my state…..I am proud citizen of West Michigan. We do not talk about the eastern part. There is evil there, that does not sleep. It is a barren wasteland, riddled with fire, ash and dust. The very water you drink, is a poisonous sludge. Not with ten thousand Michael Moore’s could you gloss over that part of the state, it is folly.
Interesting. What do you make of the Upper Peninsula?
It is a cold and barren land. Filled with beauty, for those daring enough to traverse it.
Yay, sarcastic map of wartime Europe is back!
What do new babies smell like?
What do you mean about Mr. Anderson breaking computer laws?
“it’s clear that Mrs Andersen settled for Mr Andersen like Hawaii settled for the United States.”
Wait, so Mr. Anderson married Mrs. Anderson against her will? That’s dark.
Was that one sequence actually outsourced to Taiwan, or was it a joke? If it’s a joke I don’t really get it. I also don’t get the joke about Michigan and Michael Moore. Would you mind explaining those?
I got a good chuckle about the “anti-Rhode Islands” and “Pixar, We Will Break You” jokes, though!
Did you know Texas also used to be an independent country? It’s actually had six different national flags over the course of its history, the French, Spanish and Mexican ones since each of those claimed it as a colony at various times, its own national flag from when it was an independent country, and of course the Confederate and US flags. That’s why a theme park build there was called “Six Flags Over Texas” which led to the chain of theme parks called “Six Flags”.
Yay, Gregory Horror Show Review! I hope I wasn’t annoying when I asked you to review it for October a few reviews ago. If so, I apologize and promise not to bug you about the other thing I requested. To answer your question about what it is, it’s a computer animated anime shown from a first person perspective (it really is a show even though the way it’s presented might make you think it was a video game, though it later got an actual video game based on it).
Ah here it is. Okay
“What do new babies smell like?”
Oh man. True story. First time I smelled my daughter I couldn’t stop thinking about that smell and how I needed to smell it again. It’s nature’s very clever way of forming parental bonds. I can’t really describe it but it gives me the same feeling of freshly baked bread. A really homey, earthy smell.
“What do mean about …computer laws?”
That’s a reference to the Matrix. Neo’s real name is John Andersen.
Not against her will, but he might not have been her first choice. It happens.
No, but it looks like those cheap Pixar rip offs that get animated in Taiwan.
“Michigan and Michael Moore.”
Moore has made his fortune with documentaries about how awful life is in Michigan.
I did indeed know Texas was a nation for a hot minute.
Thanks. In case you couldn’t tell, my comment about the marriage being against Mrs. Anderson’s will was a joke. If I remember my American history correctly (and it’s been a while since I’ve studied this), the US government toppled the independent monarchy of Hawaii by force and then forced Hawaii to join the US.
By the way, I noticed you insulted Michigan twice and each of the other states once. Does that mean Michigan is your least favorite?
Did I? My bad.
Hang on, Mouse, I can salvage this. See, the state of Michigan is made of two peninsulas connected only by a single man-made bridge (long story, just google “Toledo War”). So you had to insult Michigan twice, once for each peninsula.
Of course. You passed the test
Well, it is made clear that Mrs Andersen was the one to dump the pilot.
So it was her choice to end the relationship even if she sometimes secretly regretted it later.
I know somebody who doesn’t like this movie: YouTube’s JelloApocalypse. (Also, some other guy whose review has been lost to time for me, shared on The Dissolve and for the life of my I can’t retrieve it. I only remember a vague idea that the reviewer felt the movie’s depictions of emotions were simplistic, and strangely had an odd issue with the concept that a newborn’s first emotion ever could be Joy. Go figure).
Interesting trivia about Gloom. I didn’t actually know that. I heard somewhere that, in earlier drafts, Schadenfreude was going to be the villain of the film, and another version it was Fear, not Sadness, who would accompany Joy on the main journey. I’m happy with what they ended up going with, but such a decision would create an interesting dynamic I’m curious about.
Well you didn’t fail finding a fault in the film, I really want now that Suprise was in the film. In a kind of a Dopey kind of silent comic character who is kind of chaotic and if not fourth wall breaking at least doing really unexpected things. The film kind of too perfect almost, so it feels distant or calculating. If there was some unexpected randomness it would have actually made it a greater film with giving the film a tad of life’s weirdness. And the emotion represented childhood craziness. But maybe I am overthinking this.
I don’t know whether to be happy or upset that you left Iowa for last. But I noticed you left out all the US territories. Is it cause they aren’t really American in the geographical sense, like Alaska, Hawaii or that island that caused the Pig War, whatever it was named?
Like the review, and love the Dogma reference.
What? You think I ever left?
What Dogma reference?
“Wisconsin, you were originally where God was planning on sending sinners but he thought that was too cruel and just created Hell.”
Kind of said verbatim by the late Alan Rickman’s character Metatron in Dogma about Winsconsin. It’s where Bartleby and Loki were sent after getting kicked out of Heaven.
No way! I just made that up.
Bethany: Were they sent to Hell?
Metatron: Worse. Wisconsin. For the entire span of human history.
From IMDb quotes
Having just seen this fine production on BBC 1, I wanted to agree that it was outstandingly good but did not QUITE reduce me to tears – one also wanted to nod respectfully toward your fearlessness & skilful vitriol in somehow managing to slander EVERY United State (you may want to limit yourself to Puerto Rico & Guam in future vacations to American territory though … or just give Canada & Mexico a try). (-;
By the way, I’m not certain which Emotion holds the wheel on my Mental Command Deck, but it DOES amuse me to imagine Disgust (of the “Shocking Bad Form” variety) as Master & Commander of the Good Ship ED!
Yeah, now I wonder what my main emotion is.
But I want to say Joy.