2:53 p.m. June 30, 2013

A scribble

Eileen,

Great piece on Pixar, which is definitely in a slump. Cars 2 was a cash grab and Brave was the answer to the "why no girlie heroes, fellas?" Unfortunately, the answer wasn't clever, but it was heavy on the deus ex machina magic spell and a bear suit.

I beg to differ on one point, about Monsters Inc. (a film I like much more than you):

You write, "They’re all as cute as cuddly stuffed animals, which makes sense, because the company’s got the merchandizing to think of, so the monsters all get sold as stuffed animals or some kind of toy anyway, like everything Pixar makes. Sully, the lead monster, is a tall furry bearlike creature, aquamarine with pink spots, and his sidekick Mike looks like a one-eyed green six-ball that’s a fugitive from a game of pool, with dangly arms and legs."

Having rewatched it again this week as prep work for taking our daughter to her first ever multiplex, it's important to note that Sully isn't scary except when performing his job as a "scarer." He's a sweet kindhearted man, James Gandolfini in aqua and purple fur. (Godspeed, Tone.) However, there is a key plot point in which Sully goes into full scarer mode (as a Shining example of how it's done right) and frightens the hell out of the little girl, Boo. And my daughter. The story only works if Sully's monstrosity comes as a surprise to Boo and the audience.

Side notes: --Mike Wazowsky is technically Sully's assistant, the door-fetcher and not a scarer. He's cuddly 'cuz he can be.

--I would argue that the Steve Buscemi shapeshifting lizard thing is at least generally creepy, and the James Coburn multiple crab legs and shitloads of eyeballs will haunt your dreams. (Mine anyway, always had a fear of a body filled with eyeballs.)

The rest of you can handle Russia, oligrachs, the Koch Brothers, libtards, and War. I'm all over the furry animated creatures.

Back channel chatter

  1. Goes without saying though, that the Pixar villains are nowhere near as horrifying as the ones from ole' Walt's bag of terror. The witch in Snow White for starters. Grim stuff, but yet nowhere near as bad as Grimm stuff.

  2. Thanks, and you're definitely more of an expert on the furry animated creatures. Which is probably a good thing for your daughter!

    Thing is, I was raised in a more Addams Family kinda way, and very inclined to prize the a) villains and monsters, and b) mordant laughs. It definitely makes for uncomfortable living in America, but too late to do anything about it now...

  3. It's interesting, perhaps, Eileen, that you should write about this while The Perfect American is playing in London. (Reviews have not been kind.)

  4. This can only be settled with muskets at dawn.

  5. Muskets feels like it'd be giving the advantage to the Addams Family afficionado :)

  6. What sucks is that Pixar has gleefully used mordant humor before to great effect. The neighbor kid's mutant toy creations were straight out of Gorey's book. Creepy as fuck. And the first 30 minutes of Wall-E, while maybe not mordant, is dystopian. And the cover-your-eyes fire scene in Toy Story 3...

    I think Monsters is aimed at a but younger audience, but no reason Pixar can't stay true to its roots. They print money whatever they make, so might as well keep 'em weird and eerie.