Ranking the Pixar Greats

So somebody apparently made a list of best Pixar movies (well, he cheated, and did it by “the feels”, which is stupid). I love that type of stuff, and I love Pixar, so I’m making one. But with the disclaimer that I’m seeing “Inside Out” tomorrow.

Here are the Tier 1 movies. These are the masterpieces. This tier is really, really large, and makes up the majority of Pixar’s stuff. Basically, while I have my opinions, you can make the case for any movie in Tier 1 being put in any spot and I would find it hard to argue:

1) “The Incredibles” – Save one, and only one, jarringly out of place poop joke, this movie is perfect.

2) Hmmm…it immediately gets hard. Ranking the “Toy Story” movies is always difficult, but I’ll have to go with the original “Toy Story”. The plot itself is very underrated; the scene where Buzz attempts to fly and fails is gut-wrenching.

3) “Wall-E” – The first twenty minutes is outstanding. The rest is smart and fun, and the ending is cheesy but, yeah, moving. I loved it.

4) “Ratatouille” – This is Pixar’s forgotten masterpiece, and for some reason people seem to forget it’s another Brad Bird movie. But the soundtrack is absolutely gorgeous, and it has a fantastic screenplay. It’s marred only by a subpar love interest, but the flaw is minor.

5) “Toy Story 2” – To show you just how close these movies are in quality, I almost put it in “Toy Story”‘s spot three spots above this one.

6) “Up” – I feel guilty putting “Up” this low on the list. The first ten minutes are frankly some of the best in the history of cinema, period. During the main body of the movie it gets a little too childish with the dogs in biplanes, but there are some absolutely, gloriously pitch-perfect character moments. “It’s just a house” is a beautiful stinger line.

7) “Toy Story 3” – Things get REALLY dark near the end (I’m not sure how comfortable I’d be showing eight year olds  the “toys fall slowly into the pit of Hell” scene – that shit is freaking terrifying), but you can’t deny that it’s beautifully done, with the perfect bittersweet ending.

…And now Tier 2. Tier 2 movies are merely “Great”, and not “Near perfect”.

8) “Finding Nemo” – People will balk at me calling this a tier 2 movie, I know. Great as it was, I always felt it was more of a straight up adventure story, and a little bit weaker on character than the Tier 1 movies. Fantastic animation, though.

9) “Monsters, Inc.” – I loved this movie, but it’s probably more of a children’s movie than any of the others on this list. Wildly creative, though. Absolutely robbed of the Oscar. “Shrek” was fun, but…really?

10) “A Bug’s Life” – People seem to forget Pixar made this one. I’m not really sure why. It’s a perfectly fine movie, good characters, a solid plot, and generally a lot of fun. It’s just not on the level of the greats. Maybe a tic below “Monsters, Inc.”?

…And Tier 3. These are the newer Pixars, with the exception of “Inside Out”. These movies range from “Okay” to “Seriously?”:

11) “Brave” – This was dull, man. This was really, really dull. Beautifully animated, though.

12) “Cars” – It was…okay? I guess? Watchable? Decent? Nothing special.

13) “Monsters University” – I’ve seen none of this, so this is pure “I’ve heard from other people who saw it”. It almost made it above “Cars”. Decent, I guess? Nothing very memorable.

14) “Cars 2” – I keep telling myself this didn’t happen. Then I walk into the DVD section of Wal-Mart, and the nightmare becomes real again. Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?

…And tomorrow, “Inside Out” will find its way onto the list. Hopefully in tier 1 and not tier 3.

…I’m off to  be attacked by angry “Up” fans. And angrier “Finding Nemo” fans.

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7 Responses to Ranking the Pixar Greats

  1. Jakeithus says:

    Just saw Inside Out last night. To me it certainly belongs in Teir One, so hopefully you’re not disappointed. Talking with my wife and brother and sister in law, we figured it was the least children, children’s movie Pixar has made, as my sister in law couldn’t see herself showing it to her kindergarten class.

    I thought it was a really cool concept with lots of room to flesh out further stories and ideas. Overall, not much to complain about your list, Up and Finding Nemo are predictably the ones I disagree with the most, although I probably need to watch the Incredibles again, since my initial remembrance isn’t as positive as yours.

    • Don’t look too hard at “Up”. Like I said, if a movie is in tier 1 you can make the case for it being in pretty much any spot on the list and it would be difficult to argue. “Up” is a classic, and I know many consider it Pixar’s best.

      “Finding Nemo”…I don’t know. Maybe because it seemed the least creative to me?

      As for “The Incredibles”, watch it again, and remember that it is probably the most conservative movie made in the last twenty years, the only possible exception (that I can think of, anyway) being “Interstellar”. And it has a better screenplay than “Interstellar”.

  2. ccmnxc says:

    I would tend to rank Cars in tier two, but aside from that I have no major quips.

    • Really? “Cars” just left me cold. Perhaps because I was so used to Pixar’s consistent brilliance, I was really underwhelmed by “Cars”, which was the beginning of their mini-slide.

  3. GRA says:

    I don’t disagree much with this list, only that I’d put Finding Nemo in tier 1. I do share similar thoughts on Ratatouille in that I wish it would be appreciated more.

    Are you familiar with Studio Ghibli? I think I will be ranking their movies, the ones I’ve seen, sometime this year.

    • I don’t disagree much with this list, only that I’d put Finding Nemo in tier 1.

      Most people would. “Finding Nemo” is excellent. I just don’t think it can rightly be put on the level of the Pixar masterpieces. To be a masterpiece, I think you need to be REALLY special. “Near perfect” is the description I give here.

      …But to be fair I know several people who say “Finding Nemo” is their FAVORITE Pixar movie, so hey.

      Actually, I may write up a post now about exactly what I mean when I call something a masterpiece. That Pixar has THIS MANY is a run of excellence that is quite possibly unprecedented in movie history; even Disney didn’t start this strong.

      As for Studio Ghibli, I’ve heard a lot about them, but haven’t seen any of their stuff. I never liked watching anything translated.

      • Randy P. says:

        You could always watch the dubs by Disney. They’re pretty good. Ghibli is one of the best for a reason.

        Personally, I like Porco Rosso the best.

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