Tag Archives: Jeff Garlin

The Set of 400: #33 – My Favorite Lightning Umbrella

Today! Because rather than try to fix this problem, it’ll just be easier if everyone remains in space –

WALL·E (2008)

Directed by Andrew Stanton

Starring Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin (x2), Fred Willard (x2), John Ratzenberger (x8), Kathy Najimy (x3), Sigourney Weaver (x6), Donald Fullilove (x4), Laraine Newman (x3)

The glorious summer of 2008 returns with the greatest animated film of all time. That’s right, the top dog in the entire game. You might be sputtering and muttering about all the wonders of Dumbo right now, but stuff it! You might want to rage about how Spirited Away is criminally underseen and deserves more recognition, but save that snobby tripe for someone else! You might want to go on about how Inside Out is clearly Pixar’s masterpiece, and…you might have a point. It wasn’t eligible for this list. But as far as the vast history of animated cinema up to the end of 2013 is concerned, it’s WALL·E at the mountaintop.

Sure, it doesn’t hurt that it is my favorite animated film – #33 is as high as the genre managed – but this wasn’t one that needed to grow on me. I’ve been saying almost since the first time I saw it that WALL·E was the best I’d ever seen, and that hasn’t really changed since (again, except for maybe Inside Out, and maybe the Into the Spider-Verse movie). But anyone who tells you that the golden age of animation was the old world Disney classics (e.g. Bambi, Cinderella, Song of the South) or the ’90s revival (Aladdin, Lion King, er, Hercules) is too stuck in the past to argue with. The Pixar run from 2003 to 2010, which included Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL·E, Up, Ratatouille, and Toy Story 3 (and Cars) is the golden age of cartoon films.

But (just to emphasize) not because of Cars

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The Set of 400: #152 – My Favorite Vending Machine Card Game

Today! Because if you want to get out of here, get rid of that monkey!

Toy Story 3 (2010)

Directed by Lee Unkrich (x2)

Starring Tom Hanks (x4), Tim Allen (x3), Joan Cusack (x3), John Ratzenberger (x4), Wallace Shawn (x3), Ned Beatty (x4), Michael Keaton (x6), Estelle Harris (x2), Don Rickles (x2), Laurie Metcalf (x3), John Morris (x2), Jodi Benson (x2), Blake Clark, Timothy Dalton, Kristen Schaal, Jeff Garlin, Bonnie Hunt, Whoopi Goldberg (x5), R. Lee Ermey (x2), Richard Kind (x3)

One of the most disconcertingly emotional movies ever made, Toy Story 3 manages to be alternatingly hilarious and heart-breaking, and forces you examine issues of loss and abandonment in ways that aren’t typical in mainstream entertainment. Hell, I would say it’s not something even esoteric filmmaking would attempt to inflict on an audience too often. If it weren’t for Buzz’s Spanish mode and hard-bitten, crime noir-ish gags from the telephone, I would say this might be the most insidiously horrifying children’s film ever created.

Oh Jesus Christ, that porch

Seriously, how do you navigate little ones through this movie? Is it possible to just separate the nightmare of Lotso’s life from all the Woody and Buzz adventures? I get that the ending is geared toward making adults cry – none of that can be anything kids will really understand – but what about the psychologically torturous aspects of this story? I would only imagine there are a million unanswerable questions raised through the middle section of this movie, straight through to Lotso’s end – which is no walk in the park either. And maybe that’s truly the genius of this film, and this whole series. We can examine the people and things we’ve lost – the parts of our lives that were left behind somewhere, by choice or just forgotten – without it killing us. Toy Story 3 sure as hell tries to rip you apart along the way, but in the end it’s okay. Like our heroes, we made it. Even if we narrowly escaped the landfill incinerator in the process.

Oh my God, that incinerator

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