In dreams I live in tainted memories,
The snapshot perfectly illustrates the constraints of my memory,
I don’t think it’s possible to have a completely objective top ten list of Pixar films when they produce such quality films that surpass a lot of derivative live-action cinema that isn’t restricted to a PG rating. Sure their batting average has been hampered a bit by the recent wave of delayed sequel projects, none of which are outright duds, but none really good enough to feature on my list, but they still provide some of the most thoughtful and introspective films for people of any age. Trying to come up with a numeric ranking of the majority of my favourite childhood films has been hard, and there are some surprising omissions but here they are:
This year’s Oscars saw some of the world’s most popular films actually be nominated in the best picture whether they merited a nomination or not. It achieved an enormous amount of media coverage for doing so, but in the midst of some befuddling nominees and some arguments about Netflix, a lot of films fell under the radar and Can You Ever Forgive Me? seems to be the film that was overlooked the most. A powerful, yet understated character study masqueraded as a buddy comedy Can You Ever Forgive Me? is blessed with a razor-sharp script and a star delivering career-best work in Melissa McCarthy. It’s no wonder how it scored three Oscar nominations for Actress, Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay, but how was the film snubbed for best picture in nearly every awards ceremony, even though it’s so clearly adored by critics. It could be due to the film being viewed as more of a star vehicle for two talented actors, but then everyone seems in agreement that it boasts an impeccable screenplay that’s smart and slick, and creates two very three-dimensional characters in the process. It’s a wonderful film that’s subtly moving in its exploration of a frustrated lonely woman so disappointed with her life that she desperately tries to find a way out, not foreseeing the consequences of her risky actions.
Today’s television landscape is so vast and grand that widdling down hundreds of shows to produce six to eight nominees must be a pretty thankless task, and one that will surely not please everyone. Yet this year promised a lot of difference, with several pop culture phenomenons absent from this year’s race, a power move to avoid competition with the final season of Game of Thrones, with the reaction to that television event lacklustre at best. Still, the members of the television academy are creatures of habit and the same patterns have come about again, and SNL and Game of Thrones are dominating the field in favour of fresher talent. Many new shows and older underrepresented favourites have had their breakthrough, however as forty-three actors have yielded their first-ever nominations in a highly competitive field. I’m going to try to dissect the vibrant, albeit slightly repetitive, field of nominees with all the delights and disappointments in between.
I remember watching Toy Story 3 in the cinema when I was a child; and as the credits rolled, thinking that there really was no need to be concerned that another sequel was coming to two perfect films 11 years later, there wasn’t the afterthought I thought there was going to be. I told myself the same thing again before seeing Toy Story 4 because Pixar’s sequels and prequels always arrive late now; and even at their blandest (Monsters University), they never tarnish their pretty spectacular filmography, (although, I hope they leave Inside Out and WALL-E alone and that they stop making Cars films). However, Toy Story 3 gives us the most definitive and emotional conclusions to characters we love, and everything is wrapped up and as perfect as Pixar’s best storytelling can be. There was only one thing missing—Woody’s love interest Bo Peep. In the opening of Toy Story 3, it’s established that as Andy has grown up, many of his toys have been given away. Amongst the list of missing toys are RC, Etch-a-Sketch, Wheezy, and Bo. Now, many of the missing toys didn’t actually have speaking roles, so it doesn’t take anything away from the story to have them gone, but Bo and Woody’s story was teased and never told, and so felt like a missed opportunity. It made sense then for the marketing to centre on her return and the effect it has on Woody. Her characterisation in this film as a lost toy who has found her own path on her own without belonging to a child challenges much of the formula of the other three films, and it also makes for messier messages and subtext, but I’ll get to that later. The franchise is in completely new territory and it’s (mostly) all the better for it.