Top Ten Animated Movies

Before beginning a list, I always have an idea of what a direction a list will go and I was hesitant to start this one because I thought the list would just be too full of PIxar movies and I already have a list of Top Ten Pixar Movies. I was wrong. I mean of course you’ll find some Pixar movies on this list, but I never quite understood how much some of these movies meant to me until I put them up against each other. Naturally, nostalgia plays a part in the creation of these lists, but even more so with this list. Hope you enjoy it. Let me know which of your favorites didn’t make the cut…

10. A Bug’s Life

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Before making this list, I never would’ve imagined making this list without A Bug’s Life. It saddens me that it had to be placed in the tenth slot, but the list couldn’t have been made any other way. In the world of Pixar, long before a fish searched for his son and a robot fell in love, there was a story of bugs standing up for what’s right against other bugs. I may have seen A Bug’s Life more than any other Pixar movie. It never gets old.

9. Treasure Planet

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I loved disney movies growing up from Mulan to Hercules and even more so, classics like Aladdin and Beauty and the Beast. Treasure Planet is actually one of the biggest box-office bombs, but I was in that theater when it came out and few animated movies have touched me the way Treasure Planet has. I wonder if it would’ve been as powerful to me had I known the story of Treasure Island prior to my first viewing.

8. Ponyo

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I have just begun my excursion in the gorgeous world of Studio Ghibli. Ponyo isn’t my favorite Studio Ghibli film, but it is the most visually beautiful. Hayao Miyazaki astounds with the worlds he creates and the stories he tells. I was in disbelief at just how magical of a movie I was watching while appreciating Ponyo, a simple story about the love between a boy and a fish.

7. Up

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Up is a Pixar movie that speaks for itself, I mean just watch the first fifteen minutes. Love is a theme that has and will always be delved into, but how often does the relationship at the heart of a story begin and end in the first sequence of a film? Not that Up’s unique structure is the reason it’s so great, watch the rest of the escapades of Carl Fredricksen and his new found friends, you’ll see.

6. Howl’s Moving Castle

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Not only is Howl’s Moving Castle one of the most unbelievably breathtaking animated movies, it’s one of the greatest fantasy films I’ve had the pleasure to be swept away by. Hayao Miyazaki is a revolutionary storyteller and you just never know what to expect with each passing frame of Howl’s Moving Castle. It’s one hell of a ride getting there, but it’s not until the end when it can be realized just how beautiful of a movie Howl’s Moving Castle is.

5. Toy Story Trilogy

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Pixar is responsible for some of the greatest and most well-known animated features ever. Arguably, their greatest feat were the Toy Story films. Toy Story was the first Pixar film and it’s hard not to be leveled by the characters and the creativity behind it all. The trilogy as a whole is another story with the fabulous sequel and the best film in the series, Toy Story 3. I’ve heard talk of another Toy Story and I couldn’t be more disappointed. The trilogy is perfect as it is.

4. The Lion King

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The Lion King is such a large part of my childhood and in fact the first movie I ever saw in theaters. I could completely understand anyone putting The Lion King at slot number 1, but this is where it had to fall for me. From beginning to end, The Lion King is dazzling every time. Watch the beginning, let Circle of Life flow through me, then when that title explodes on the screen you’ll be craving the majesty that is the rest of the movie.

3. WALL-E

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WALL-E tells the story of one lonely robot’s search for love. I said early that you could argue that the Toy Story trilogy is Pixar’s greatest feat, well you could argue anything. WALL-E is far and away my favorite PIxar film and one of the greatest animated features that will ever be made. Even though it’s a science-fiction film that takes place hundreds of years in the future, there’s still this palpable reality to the film, WALL-E is unbelievably human, its impossible not to fall for him. WALL-E is one of the greatest films about the power of undying love ever created.

2. The Iron Giant

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The Iron Giant is actually the movie that inspired the creation of this list. I had seen it a long time ago and it never really stuck with me, I didn’t remember it at all and seeing it again recently opened my eyes. For The Iron Giant is one of the more moving films ever made. Never have a seen such a glorious depiction of life and death in a children’s film. It’s inspiring, it’s funny, it’s beautifully crafted and it’s an understated masterpiece. I can’t wait to watch it a million more times. The story of young Hogarth and his Iron Giant is a film I can’t wait to watch with my own children one day.

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas

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There is no film that I have viewed more times than The Nightmare Before Christmas and I’ll keep going back to it because I love it to this day. It’s the first film I truly loved and I will continue to love to it. As a child I would dance around my house and sing Jack’s Lament and What’s This?, etc. I would watch the film daily. Film is a form of escape, and the world of The Nightmare Before Christmas is the world I wanted to escape to over and over again.

So, why? Well, maybe there was something appealing about ghosts and monsters under the bed, about a skeleton who could “take off his head” as the hero. There was something different to this world and these creatures, a twisted beauty to the idea that a werewolf or a skeleton could have his own character traits, could be sad, could feel, could love. To this day, it’s one of the most magical movies I’ll ever see. The Nightmare Before Christmas is the animated masterpiece.

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Top Ten Movies of 2010

Let me just start by saying that I really couldn’t ask for a better year in film. 2010 offered many beautiful works of art that I shall watch for years to come. That being said, it was all the more difficult to make this list based on that fact. It can always be pretty difficult making a top ten list because you always find yourself second guessing yourself and making my list of my favorite films from this year was a prime example of that occurring often. I finally was able to do it though and here it is:

10. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

In all good conscious I couldn’t make this list without putting Scott Pilgrim vs. The World on it. Of course this film isn’t a piece of cinematic artwork that can be considered a “masterpiece”. What it is though, is a blast. Its almost impossible not to just sit down with a couple of friends and have an awesome time watching this movie. Its absolutely hilarious with out the use of vulgarity and it never fails to entertain.

9. Shutter Island

I have a feeling that due to its release date, this film will be overlooked by the Academy, but that doesn’t change the fact that Shutter Island is a spectacular film. There’s not much else you can expect from Martin Scorsese, but this film truly blew me away. Quite honestly, this is one of the greatest depictions of mental instability ever put on screen. Shutter Island is a film that everyone seemed to forget about, but I was never able to.

8. The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech is such a fascinating feel-good film that never lets up and always keeps your full-fledged attention. In a film that could easily fallen flat and felt dry, you get fantastic performances in order to entertain from beginning to heart-wrenching end. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush make a perfect pair and you find that both are performing to the absolute best of their abilities. The King’s Speech is simply a film that will please. I promise.

7. Toy Story 3

The films of pixar have never let me down. I love every last one of them, but I wasn’t sure what I should expect from Toy Story 3. Though I did love Toy Story 2, I would have to say that it was my least favorite of the pixar films so I wasn’t as excited for Toy Story 3 as I was for their future tales of originality. Needless to say, Toy Story 3 blew me away. It is my favorite of the series and one of the few films in history to actually bring me to tears.

6. A Prophet

Technically this film came out last year and was a huge hit at Cannes, but it wasn’t available for popular viewing until this year so I put it into consideration for my list this year. A Prophet is nothing short of a gritty masterpiece and a crime tale that can be held to the caliber of any before it. A Prophet actually finds a way to be perfectly epic, while sticking to the realism and brutality of prison life. The tale of Malik’s rise in a crime-driven french prison is one I will watch and enjoy for many years to come.

5. Black Swan

Black Swan is so brilliantly unique in its substance that it’s almost impossible not to draw interest from it. Black Swan is so relentless in its execution that you truly never want to take your eyes off the screen. While the film pushes the envelope for all the right reasons it still manages to find a way to be breathtakingly beautiful. A film of this caliber is the only thing you could expect when you combine Darren Aronofsky and the brilliant prowess of Natalie Portman. Black Swan is a film that, based on its content, cannot go unnoticed.

4. True Grit

It’s always a breath of fresh air to see good western come out nowadays, but True Grit is more than good. True Grit is a masterpiece and one that I feel should and will breath life into a dying genre. True Grit is a light-hearted and real look into the west. It was a simple enough tale, but a tale that was told to perfection. To put it simply, True Grit is a prime example of every piece of the puzzle that is film, fitting together perfectly. That might be due in part to the fact that it was reinforced by brilliant performances and directed by the greatest minds working in the industry.

3. Inception

I could write a short novel on what makes Inception one of the greatest movies, just in general, but I’ll keep this a little shorter. Inception isn’t a story that would’ve been nearly as good in book form, its not a tale I could’ve retained from a picture or a song. Inception is a movie made specifically for its artistic medium and it is a true example that my favorite art form is not only alive, but always will be because truly amazing films are still being made today. Inception is a gift that I accept with open arms.

Inception is a reminder to the James Cameron’s of the world, and the 3D generation they’re helping to create, that great films are based on soul and passion. They’re not based on how much money you can spend to make your action sequences. They’re based on love for the art of telling a story through a camera. Inception is an example of what an amazing film is. What else could you possibly expect from Christopher Nolan?

2. The Social Network

I know the King’s Speech won the Oscar, but if any one film is remembered from 2010, it will be the always spectacular The Social Network. Like The Godfather, which tells a beautiful tale of family and power while masking its themes beneath a tale of gangsters, The Social Network tells a beautiful tale of friendship, corruption and betrayal, while masking its reverent ideals with plot about facebook. The Social Network is not a film about facebook, it’s a film about humans and their nature and it is absolutely breath-taking.

What makes The Social Network so much greater than so many films before it, and keep in mind I’m not implying just this year, is that there is so much you can get out of this masterfully told tale. You’ve got the obviously topical and fascinating plot, but beneath that you’ve got a relentless character study of the protagonist, Mark Zuckerberg and on top of that, thematically you get a timeless morality tale that has been told many times in the past and will be told many times in the future. It was never this fantastic though and I have my doubts that it ever will.

1. 127 Hours

A common expression when commenting on a film is that “it’s hard to put into words why I love this film so much” or something along those lines. I’m fairly certain I’ve used it myself at some point, but it has never been more true when I say it here. It is hard to put into words, exactly what makes 127 Hours one of the greatest films in history and that’s mostly based solely on the fact that 127 Hours isn’t a film you watch, but one you experience.

Like The Lord of the Rings, which takes you on an incredible journey with Sam, Frodo and all kinds of memorable characters, 127 Hours also takes you on a journey, but a very different kind. 127 Hours takes you on an emotional journey, arguably the greatest ever, with climber Aron Ralston. There are few films in history that touch on an emotional level to the caliber that 127 hours is able to because it honestly makes you feel every emotion you could think of at all the right times. With brilliant direction by Danny Boyle and the greatest performance of the year by James Franco you get  a truly phenomenal look into sheer pain, imminent death and an eventual feeling of pure solace.

127 Hours shows the power of truly flawless filmmaking and exactly what a movie can do to you. It’s a testament to human will and shows us that just because you’re breathing doesn’t mean that you’re living. It is able to establish perfectly, that life is fragile and precious, so live it up today because you never know what could happen tomorrow. 127 Hours is a true example of a masterpiece in every sense.

Toy Story 3 Review

I’ve said it before and I feel as though I must say it again: Pixar has never let me down and it this point, I feel as though it’s impossible that they ever will. Toy Story 3 was amazing and I’d like to say early on that is unquestionably the best of the three. I’m not ashamed to say it, but Toy Story 3 is one of the very few films I’ve seen that was actually able to bring me to tears by the end.

Like every single Pixar movie, Toy Story 3 was colorful and fun for the kids, but also rich in story, characters and morals for all other ages. Unless you don’t have a soul, it’s seriously impossible not to be touched by this film. Toy Story 3 is a film that has so much going for it, adventure, friendship, love, characters to care for, a compelling villain, relatable themes, even an escape scene for god’s sake.

Toy Story 3 is heart-warming cinema at its finest. I loved every moment of it. I can’t see how you couldn’t. These are characters we’ve all come to know and love with all our hearts and this is the last story we’ll ever get to see with them. And what a way to go out on. To put it simply, Toy Story 3 was a film to be remembered. It’s spectacular.

Grade: A

Top Ten Pixar Movies

Like I’ve said in the past and ‘m sure I’ll say in the future, Pixar has never once let me down and at this point after 10 masterpieces, I seriously would be highly surprised if they ever did. Yes this list wasn’t hard to narrow down which films would be on the list because there’s only 10 options, but to be honest, this was probably one of the hardest lists to make an order to because every single Pixar movie is so closely awesome. The only ones I say I don’t love are the tenth movie on this list and Cars 2. The ninth pick is very close to being as good as the 1st and that’s because Pixar just can do no wrong, but I think I’ve managed to order this list in a way that each film is just a bit better than the last. Ten films all rich with characters, color and morals. Each is a fantastic film, but which is the best of the bunch:

And P.S. when a new Pixar movie comes out each year, I’ll order the list to put it somewhere, that is unless it doesn’t deserve a spot.

10. Brave

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When it comes to Brave I expected one thing and I got another. I couldn’t wait to see Pixar’s version of a fantasy genre and what I received, packaged beautifully, was the story of a daughter and a mother. Merida is a fantastic Pixar character and don’t even get me started on her supremely animated hair. You can’t expect much else from Pixar than greatness and this spectacular story about love between a daughter and mother is great.

9. The Incredibles

Pixar’s action packed superhero flick is so entertaining and well made. Its one of their most elaborate to date and it was sad for me to have to put it this high on the list. Its certainly one of those movies you could just pick up any time, watch, and still enjoy time and time again. Pixar had already made plenty of masterpieces prior to The Incredibles and then they blew everyone away again with a story that wasn’t just heart-warming, it was cool.

8. Cars

Pixar’s longest feature yet is a spectacular movie that just barely missed the top five. The movie was full of such vibrant scenery and incredible characters. The movie is made so watchable by its energy and excitement. The message is also so simple and yet so heart felt in the end. Quite the memorable movie indeed.

7. Finding Nemo

Most will disagree with the place of this one and some might even call this their favorite, but I just don’t think it’s as good as the other films on this list to be honest. I for one think it is a fantastic movie, but it’s also the most overrated Pixar movie to date, because other Pixar movies, which are better, are overlooked more often. Finding Nemo tells the tale of one incredible journey of a father searching for his son.

6. Ratatouille

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Ratatouille was the first Pixar movie I was legitimately scared to see. I just didn’t think it looked that good. Where all past Pixar movies were about colorful characters such as Monsters, Toys, or Fishes, this one was about Rats. And you know what, it totally worked and from after watching Ratatouille I knew never to doubt Pixar again. Ratatouille is phenomenal from start to finish. PIxar makes you love it’s characters and Remy, the rat in love with the art of cooking, is awesome.

5. Monsters Inc.

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The highly memorable Monsters Inc. is a force to be reckoned with. It had such an intelligent premise, but not only that, it had the fantastic characters played by fantastic actors and throw in a cute little girl and what you get is simply a spectacle beyond belief. The world PIxar creates is a wondrous one. Monsters Inc. is an extraordinary and satisfying film that plays with our emotions through out. It’s hard not to love every minute.

4. A Bug’s Life

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A Bug’s Life is masterpiece. It’s also the most underrated Pixar movie out there. I could never get bored of this film. Not only does it have fantastic messages, characters, color, story, etc. It also offers the greatest villain in cartoon history. Hopper is brilliantly played by the two-time Oscar-winning actor, Kevin Spacey. It’s not just a great Pixar movie, it was is just a fantastic movie. Heroism is at the heart of this tale and it’s completely breathtaking.

3. Up

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Up is a remarkably enthralling movie, a true classic as only Pixar could make. The beginning of the movie is arguably Pixar’s greatest feat. In mere minutes we witness the lives and love of a man, Carl, and a woman, Ellie, as they meet at a very young age and fall for each other instantaneously. The story doesn’t focus on Carl and Ellie however and the sequence serves as more of a preface to the real story, and it’s one of the most memorable Pixar has ever told. It’s an eloquent and masterfully established statement about cherishing the adventure that is life.

2. Toy Story Trilogy

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The now-classic that started it all, Toy Story, is a truly flawless animated film. The Trilogy is something so much more and that’ why the entire toy story is what makes my second slot. From its memorable characters and scenes, to its innovation, honestly, where would the industry be without this movie. This film is what got animation back into action. The sequel was just another adventure with the characters we grew to love in the first, while Toy Story 3 is what really captivated me. If I had to choose my favorite of the Trilogy it would Toy Story 3 for it’s whimsical narrative, it’s broad undertones and it’s appreciation for the love we all share for the series and these little toys.

1. WALL-E

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WALL-E is the greatest films ever made by Pixar and it just may be the greatest animated movie ever made, I’d have to put a little more thought into it. It’s a film that really is flawless, it makes you feel every single emotion you’d want to feel watching a movie and most importantly, at exactly the right times. Within the first minutes you fall in love with WALL-E and even though he never says more then 4 words, you still know exactly how he’s feeling and that’s what makes this film so perfect. Pixar manages to create one of their most relatable and human characters ever and he’s a robot, a lonely one looking for love. WALL-E is an incredible film that can be experienced, felt and enjoyed by every living being with a heart. It tells a gorgeous and lush tale that is stuffed to the brim with deeper meaning and thoughtful morals, but at it’s heart it’s one of the greatest stories of love ever told.

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