1. Toy Story 3 -- Nearly made me cry twice, sitting in the theater with my 3-year-old son, to whom it almost did the same. Lotso, that cruel bastard of a teddy bear, is just that cruel. The movie takes some characters we'd began to take advantage and yanks them out of their comfort zone into a story that questions the meaning and purpose of life, religion and family, touching the void with a fiery-tipped sword.
2. Finding Nemo -- Until last year, this was the vintage Pixar film, allowing the studio's talent to flex its creative muscles to the fullest extent. A great film by any definition, which philosophizes without smacking you over the head with its messages, the movie's beauty matches its brains.
3. Up -- The first 15 to 20 minutes of this movie, which describes how the main character evolved from a spirited young lad to a beaten-down old grump, make up some of the finest wordless storytelling I've ever experienced. Eventually the film stops reaching for the stars and settles into routine to wrap up the story, but the first act leaves you with enough of a high to float on through.
4. Monsters, Inc. -- The world it creates is vibrant and fascinating, and John Goodman and Billy Crystal deliver some of their finest work, in tandem with a lightning-paced script. Thoroughly enjoyable with just the right bittersweet touch at the end.
5. Toy Story -- Takes a brilliant concept and runs with it. While the animation is no longer mind-blowing, the story holds up, and the voice casting is perfect. Somehow, for once, Tim Allen is not annoying.
6. Toy Story 2 -- Also great, but doesn't step out of its comfort zone like 3. A fun movie that you can watch endlessly -- there aren't too many out there like that.
7. The Incredibles -- Rivals Wall-E and Ratatouille as the most overrated Pixar flick. I liked the Saturday morning cartoon vibe, but don't understand the over-the-moon love for what everyone would see as a run-of-the-mill action flick if it had been made by DreamWorks.
8. A Bug's Life -- Pixar was just starting out and didn't know what it was doing. This is the movie equivalent of a first kiss as a teenager. Exciting, but looking back at it, could have been a lot better.
9. Wall-E -- Pixar as shameless Oscar bait, abandoning efforts to entertain in the wake of attempting to be important and thought-provoking. Also, Wall-E is a total creeper and robo-necrophiliac whom the gorgeous Eva never should have given the time of day.
10. Ratatouille -- If you're going to be stuffy, pretentious and dull, just go all-in.. The part where the rat pulls the hair of the kid cook, turning him into a marionette, is something straight out of Tom and Jerry, the epitome of numskull idiocy. You can't have it both ways.
11. Cars -- I originally despised this, but then I had a kid and when he was 1 and 2 he liked it a lot and watched it 15 times a day and made me buy all the toys and bedsheets for him, which made me halfway respect it. Then he turned 3, hated it just like I do so that softness toward the movie went away.
12. Cars 2 -- An irredeemable mess and a blight upon humanity.
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