Pixar has been a touchstone for our family literally for decades. I took my oldest and his friends to see the original Toy Story back in 1995, and also brought my daughter, who was almost three and had never been out to a theater. I figured that if she got scared or bored, I’d take her out in the lobby; not a big deal if I missed part of a kids’ cartoon. Actually, she was enthralled, and so was I. Not so much by the animation, but the acting and the dialog and the story. And the heart. I don’t know what alchemy made me care so much about the friendship between two animated toys, but I did.

For years Pixar could do no wrong in our eyes: Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles. A slight dip with Cars, but then they recovered and got even better: Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, and Toy Story 3. It was a run like nothing I recall except the early films of Woody Allen. And then they hit the wall: uninspired sequels, marginal ideas, films adults could barely sit through. Inside Out was the only thing you could call a classic Pixar film this entire decade. So when my kids and I went to see Coco last weekend, I had no high expectations.

In many ways Coco is a departure for Pixar. It’s set in Mexico during Día de Muertos: an unfamiliar theme in an unfamiliar setting, and a perfect opportunity for the specter of cultural insensitivity or appropriation. To address that, the writers researched the subject thoroughly (traveling to Mexico several times), and Pixar put together an all-Latino cast. It opened in Mexico first and became the most successful movie of all time there. So, from all indications they got things right.

And the film is wonderful. Again, not so much the animation (though that’s first-rate), but the acting, and the dialog, and the story. And the heart. I actually got teary-eyed at the ending. I thought I’d hidden that, but my son asked me, and I had to admit it. And then it turned out he’d asked because he’d teared up too. I don’t know what magic made us care so much about …

No, that would be telling. Anyway, best Pixar film in years. Go see it.

So, what have you been watching?

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Mike has been a software engineer far longer than he would like to admit. He has strong opinions on baseball, software, science fiction, comedy, contract bridge, and European history, any of which he's willing to share with almost no prompting whatsoever. ...more →

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4 thoughts on “Sunday!

  1. I’ve been revisiting Woody Allen at the end of this year. Whatever It Takes, The Purple Rose of Cairo, Broadway Danny Rose, and Alice are what I’ve seen, and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.

    The older ones have all held up quite well, and it’s kind of fun to think about where I was in my life when I first viewed them.

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  2. My wife saw Pitch Perfect 3 a few nights ago, said it was as enjoyable as 1 & 2.

    Last night, my wife was putting Bug to bed, and they like to watch one of those dance competition shows (So You Think You Can Dance?). I suddenly heard Bug crying, and hard, and went to his room to find out what was wrong. Bug tells me that his favorite dancer only placed 4th in the finale and he was very upset about this and sad for the dancer.

    Glad to see his sense of empathy is developing. And his appreciation for the arts.

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  3. I’ve been binging Dark Matter like whoa – finished all the rewatching and nearly done with Season 2. Sad that there’s ony 1 more season after that.

    Next up for me is probably season 7 of Game of Thrones, though I expect to squeeze Beatriz at Dinner in there first (Connie Britton and Selma Hayek? It’s like they made it JUST FOR ME).

    Today, though, I shall be watching ALL of the Indiana Jones movies, for the annual New Year’s Eve Marathon at Dman & C’s house. And they’re starting things a bit early so C & I can also take in our 2 episodes of The Librarians, like we do every Sunday.

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