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May 27, 2009

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Jason M.

It's a no win situation, Owain.

Max

@vadim: Probably. I'm just extremely surprised that Rex Reed's able to use Facebook, not to mention that his coffin can support internet connection.

Owain Wilson

I go and see Pixar films at the cinema but I do not particularly enjoy them, and I say as much on this board because it offers a different point of view to the other users who like them very much.

Nothing to get upset over, is it?

This Ctrl-Alt fella seems to think I pace around my house muttering about Pixar's good reviews. I'm not that interested in them, really.

jbryant

The visual dazzlements of Ratatouille make up for any middle act problems (at least I GUESS that's why I didn't notice them). Pixar is sort of a collective auteur, right? We don't generally bitch at individual filmmakers who work and re-work their pet themes, do we? Well, depends on the themes I guess. Okay, it's late and I'm answering my own questions. Time for bed.

Dan

@Owain

While you're entitled to your opinion, and see your point to some degree...at the same time, I confess I'm completely baffled as to why that's a dealbreaker for you, since there just aren't that many plots on the macro level we're working with here. We're on "Boy meets girl, boy loses girl" and "A bunch of guys team up to defend some helpless people" turf here, and I honestly think that's just not fair to any movie, even a lousy one.

Out of curiosity, what do you think of their shorts?

Owain Wilson

@Dan

Believe me, it's not like I made a decision to dislike Pixar's movies because the stories are similar. I just always end up disappointed in them and it's usually for that reason.

I actually really enjoyed the first Toy Story and thought Monsters Inc. was cracking entertainment. I even find myself rather looking forward to whatever new one is coming up because they always look terrific. The Wall-E trailers were amazing, but watching the movie on opening day I thought it just ground to a halt when he left Earth, turning into one very long, very repetitive, and very boring chase scene.

It's like Pixar are the world's biggest rock band with an eagerly awaited new album out every year or so. The songs are new, but really they sound the same as all the old ones. You either like the band and therefore the songs, or you don't. With Pixar, on the whole, I don't.

As for the shorts, I've seen them once each and can't really remember them to be honest, but I think I enjoyed most of them - particularly the one with the magician.

partisan

And in the latest news, John Podhoretz thinks Pixar is increasingly overrated: http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/578yzghu.asp

YND

Okay... saw the film today and loved it as I've loved all Pixar's films (with the exception of BUG'S LIFE and CARS, both of which I still quite like). But once I got done processing my adoration, here's what really hit me: setting aside the (admittedly arguable) quality of Pixar's output... is there another big budget "creative" entity operating in Hollywood that so evinces a sense of integrity and near-disregard for the bottom-line?

I've been doing the spec-scripts-and-development-meetings circuit out here for 5 years now and it's damned soul-killing to realize how few people/companies have any interest in producing good films. It's simply not a priority. Films aren't films, they're ATMs. When I started out, I thought I was being realistic in expecting something like a 75/25 split between those who make movies exclusively for profit and those who, to some extent, make films because they believe in the possibilities of the medium. I was wrong. It's closer to 95/5. On a good day. Give a production company the choice between making THERE WILL BE BLOOD (domestic gross: $40M) and WHITE CHICKS (domestic gross: $70M)... nearly all of them will beg for a Wayans brother. Replace THERE WILL BE BLOOD with ZODIAC (domestic gross: $33M) and you can omit the "nearly". And yet, time and again, Pixar makes films that they truly love and believe in, despite the fact that they'd be guaranteed to make more money with safer projects. A "kids movie" about a rat who wants to be a gourmet chef? In France? One with a dialogue-free first act about a robot and a cockroach in a postapocalyptic landscape? One that posits a dour, elderly man as its main character? None of these ideas would get through the door at any other studio in town as either animated or live-action projects that depend largely on a young audience for ticket sales. But Pixar bets on them every time and trusts that audiences will seek out a good film whether or not it fits into safe, well-established parameters.

As much as I'm looking forward to TOY STORY 3 next summer, I was a little disappointed to see it announced as their next venture simply because I've grown to love following them in new directions every year. I'll still be out for it on opening day and I have no reason to doubt that the film will be up to their high standards, but I'm more excited to see what original, challenging, risky projects they have in store further down the line.

Glenn Kenny

@Partisan: That J-Pod review is a doozy. Don't you love when conservative commentators go on about how oppressed they are? "A cultural orthodoxy has been imposed upon us." Oh no! Who's doing the imposing? I'll bet it's those FUCKING ALL-POWERFUL MSM LIBERALS. In which case, who's "us?" I suppose John Podhoretz and William Kristol and some of their friends. I don't know if J-Pod noticed it, but as it happens, no less a fucking all-powerful MSM liberal than Manohla Dargis found some fault with "Up." So much for that schlemiel philosophy of his.

Anyhow, I thought maybe J-Pod was gonna go the full White with his Pixar dis, but then he goes and cites Spielberg as another example of his dreaded "Object of Cultural Piety" syndrome. Better watch out, John—as Armond himself says, you don't know who you're dealing with.

bbrown

"I'm almost reminded—and this is gonna sound weird, but bear with me—of a certain period in the career of the reliably dyspeptic post-punk band The Fall, whose run of albums from the early '80s to 1990 was so staggering that by, say, 1985's This Nation's Saving Grace, one ceased to be quite so staggered. "Ho-hum, another great Fall album," one would say."

It doesn't sound weird. In fact, I may have heard it before http://somecamerunning.typepad.com/some_came_running/2008/05/cannes-competit.html

:)

Ryan Kelly

God bless Dargis for speaking her mind on the picture. It shows you can be critical without being nasty or even totally negative of a 'children's movie'. Of course, the comments on her review are reading "Up with the movie, down with Dargis!" and things like that, because God forbid a major newspaper critic thought of it as anything less than total perfection (might lower the tomatometer score, and we can't have that, as we most have uniformity of opinion in this modern age). I give her credit for being critical of the film in the same newspaper that ran an 'article' on the film recently that was just a bloated advertisement masquerading as a news-story. Which is just shameful, IMO.

Jeremy

This movie was terrible. I took 4 kids (2 boys 3yrs old and two girls 6&7) we all hated it and it was a waste of $75. Don't waste your time and go rent something enjoyable.

Glenn Kenny

And we have a thread-killer!!!

Comments such as the above leave one with a certain ambivalence. Sure, they indicate the blog gets more visits, but also that the visits are from individuals who really don't have much of an idea of what the blog is about. 'Tis a puzzlement, as Rodgers and Hammerstein said via Yul Brynner.

Dan

@Owain

Fair enough. Just trying to get into your head a bit, as it were. :-)

The short you're thinking of is "Presto", by the way. Probably the most Looney-Tunesque of their shorts. :-)

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