A Definitive Ranking Of Pixar Films

A Definitive Ranking Of Pixar Films

Part 1

Pixar Ranking Part 1

Written By: AJ Lipsett

Since I’ve already ranked the features of Walt Disney Animation Studio, I figured I’d take a look at the films of one of their subsidiaries, Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar, as well as it’s films have changed the art of animation as we know it. So I think it’s worth reviewing all 18 of their films and ranking them to see which Computer Animated Flick reigns supreme. And with Coco, Pixar’s 19th feature just hitting theaters, I thought it was a perfect time to look back on the studio’s best (and worst) offerings.

18.) Cars 2 (2011)

Cars 2 is without a doubt Pixar’s crowing jewel of failure. Where do I even begin? I mean, a SPY movie? Did anyone see the first Cars and think, I wonder what they could do with a spy movie? Well, Cars 2 is as stupid and pointless and honestly confusing as you would expect. The animation is bright and colorful, much like the first, but the stupid characters and puzzling concept can’t be forgiven. Cars 2 is Pixar’s undisputed badge of dishonor.

17.) Finding Dory (2016)

This film baffles me because it is one of those films that has absolutely no reason to be. Well, actually one reason: money. But I honestly thought Pixar was better than that. Although Dory herself is a funny and well written character, what made her so great is how she worked off the cynical Marlin. And it didn’t help that we didn’t need to see an entire film dedicated to exploring Dory’s backstory. Anyway, Finding Dory is a decent adventure on its own but when compared to its predecessor, it drowns.

16.) Monster’s University (2013)

As if the idea of doing a family-friendly college film isn’t bad enough, making a family-friendly college film starring the characters from Monster’s Inc. makes a bad idea even worse. How good would a Monster’s Inc. sequel have been? It could have been a really bittersweet coming of age film about Boo growing up and maybe losing her belief in monsters, something just as emotional as Toy Story 3. But instead we get a prequel about monsters going to college, which NO ONE wanted to see. However, the ending as well as the message, about not following the beaten path, is really good and really unique. I appreciate it, but am disappointed that it’s embedded in such a pointless film.

15.) The Good Dinosaur (2015)

I’m just happy that this film isn’t a sequel. However, that doesn’t make The Good Dinosaur, well, good. The story, while original, and like I said, not a sequel, is underwhelming and bland, as are the characters. I can’t even remember any of their names to reference in this review. The animation is breathtaking, with the backgrounds really giving the film a grand scale. Although I respect that The Good Dinosaur is an original story and not a cash-grab sequel (cough cough Finding Dory) it’s still not one of Pixar’s best.

14.) Cars 3 (2017)

While definitely a better sequel than Cars 2, Cars 3 still doesn’t impress. There is more character development, particularly from Lightning McQueen, and there are some nice call backs to the original Cars, i.e. the late Paul Newman’s Doc Hudson. But these elements don’t make up for a story that’s been done a million times over. The fact that there was no desire for another Cars film after the disappointment of the second one makes Cars 3 a road not worth driving down.

13.) Brave (2012)

We were all kind of excited to see a Pixar film with a female protagonist, and while Merida, the heroine of Brave, is certainly unique, but in personality and character design, the film itself may have gotten us overhyped. Although the film boasts an interesting look at the often-forgotten mother-daughter relationship, the story often reverts back to Princess film clichés. For example, there’s the princess that doesn’t want to marry, she likes to disobey her parents, doesn’t want a royal life, you get the deal. I think if the story had matched the individual and authentic nature of the heroine, we would have had a much stronger film. But as is, Brave doesn’t live up to many of Pixar’s other features.

13. Coco (2017)

I don't want to say too much about Coco considering it just came out, so I'll try not to give anything away. But, honestly Coco isn't anything to write home about. The characters, as well as their motivations are pretty weak and the story is about as typical kid's adventure movie as you can get. The designs and particularly the backgrounds are beautifully crafted but that doesn't make Coco a film to go loco over.

12.) Cars (2006)

This Cars, the first one, is probably the best out of the three, but that’s not saying much, especially compared to Pixar’s other features. It’s a decent film though, and I can’t discredit that. It’s got some likeable characters, colorful animation, and pretty backgrounds as well as a heartwarming ending. But that doesn’t make Cars one of Pixar’s better offerings. It’s a decent one, better than its sequels, so that counts for something.

11.) A Bug’s Life (1998)

Getting out of Pixar’s more questionable offerings, we reach the classics. These are the Pixar films everyone knows, everyone’s seen, and for the most part, everyone appreciates. A Bug’s Life, though not a favorite among fans, still has much to enjoy. Mainly the circus bugs and Kevin Spacey’s perfectly menacing villain, Hopper. (Keep in mind I wrote this before the controversy). The animation is very colorful and engaging. The main characters are a little dull, but serve their purpose. But what makes the film entertaining is the circus bugs, Hopper and his gang, and the vibrant colors. Not bad for Pixar’s second feature.

Cover Image Credit: TPPercival-DevianArt

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A Letter To My Dancers

Everything your dance teacher wants you to know.

When anyone (especially a child) chooses to invest their time, talent, and passion into dancing, it's nothing to take lightly. These kids spend more time with me at the studio than they do at home with their parents. Before long, they're my "kids," too. When I only have an hour to lead a warm-up, teach choreography, and rehearse a number, there isn't much time to express the thoughts and feelings I'd necessarily like to. Being a dance teacher is the most spectacular and rewarding job - and I want my students to know that. Between the great rehearsals and the frustrating ones, the competitions and recitals, and the endless hours we spend together each week, there are just a few reminders I need to share with them.

Dear Dancers,

Please love yourself and love what you do with every ounce of your being. Do it with so much passion that your heart wants to burst. Dance is the most special thing; it's something we are privileged and lucky to have, so don't take it for granted.

Please believe in yourself. You are worthy. You are talented. You are strong and capable of everything you set your mind to. Strive to be the best version of yourself every day, not the reflection of the girl next to you. Dance like you. Move like you. Experiment and find what makes you, you. Be an individual. Trust me when I say I don't want 20 carbon-copied robots. I want you.

Trust that I have your best interest in mind. Sometimes my choices and decisions won't make sense, you might be confused, hurt or frustrated, but keep the faith that I'm on your side. I don't want to see you fail, and I'll do everything in my power to help you find the success you're looking for.

I want you to succeed, but for me to do that, you need to tell me what you need. Do you need the counts again? Do you need me to review the transition to floor one more time? If you understand, tell me. If you don't, tell me that, too. Be vocal, be present, be smart, and be prepared. Practice on the sides. Pay attention to the small details. Ask questions. Don't be late, and definitely don't forget your choreography. Take responsibility for your responsibilities and lead by example. Do you have any remote idea how many children look up to you? Who want to be just like you someday? Dance just like you? Kids watch, listen, and copy. Make sure the behaviors you're teaching them are behaviors you're proud of.

Make memories with your dance family while you still can. Cherish every 9 a.m. Saturday morning rehearsal, every competition you attend, every fundraising event, and every team sleepover. It'll be gone so fast. You're going to miss these days. Please, enjoy them.

Don't compare yourself to other dancers. You are you, and nobody can do "you" better than yourself. Don't wish away your abilities by secretly wishing you had Suzie's feet, Betsy's port de bras, or Charlie's center. The only thing you need to worry about is being a better version of yourself than you were the day before. You are your only competition, so don't be too hard on yourself. Be kind to your mind and body. You work day in and day out to perfect your craft and artistry. You work to mold and create yourself. You'll be rewarded with time if you keep fighting and don't give up. Usually when you want to throw in the towel, it's after you don't get the part you wanted or you don't make the team you hoped to. What you need to understand is the answer isn't "No," the answer is "Not yet." You know you're trying and working hard, and those efforts don't go unnoticed -- even if it seems they are.

Please, remember that it's not going to always be fair. You're going to be let down, and you're going to feel disappointed from time to time. You're not always going to win the trophy. You're not always going to get the featured solo part, and not everyone can be the front row and center dancer. This doesn't mean you're "bad" and this doesn't mean you're not "meant" to dance either.

Quite frankly, it's just how it works, you guys. It doesn't mean I don't like you, and it doesn't mean the dancer who does have the solo is my favorite. The dancer just might be more talented. Yeah, I said it. They might have better lines, straighter knees, or stronger stage presence, and that is entirely okay. You're going to run into this for the rest of your adult life. Someone is going to be smarter, more qualified, more desirable for a particular job or position. So instead of despising and resenting these dancers (and especially me), try to learn from them instead. You'll learn more from each other than you could imagine. But if you take away one thing from this, know that you are still worthy of my best training, my best analogies, my best choreography -- whether you are featured, in the third row, or even off-stage for the turn section.

As your teacher, it's my job to teach. Learning (and learning correctly) requires close attention to detail, incredible focus, and a plethora of corrections on my part. Yes, I will go out of my way to critique you, and I will continually tell you what needs fixing until it's fixed. I might have to tell you over and over and over again. And you know, I might even get frustrated with you once in awhile because of it, but here's what you need to understand: This doesn't make me mean or a bad teacher. This doesn't mean I hate you. What it does mean is that I see potential in you and I want to help. I just have to ask, do you see what I see in you? Do you see the talent and abilities I see?

Corrections are good. Success is an incredibly long and never ending process that takes time, but the corrections I give you are helping you get one step closer. So next time you catch yourself getting upset about receiving the same critique week after week or you want to complain about how mean I am, please remember that my intent is not malicious. I'm doing my job.

It's also my job to instill perseverance, dedication, discipline, trust, humility, confidence, creativity, bravery, and strong work ethic into you. I want to push your limits. Test you. Challenge you. I want to mold you into the person you want to be. Even though you probably don't even know who that person is, I do.

There are so many possibilities, opportunities, and challenges that are out there once you enter the world of adulthood. The dance world is so much bigger than your studio, competition routines, and conventions. At the end of the day, no one remembers or cares (especially your future employers) if you won a quadruple diamond platinum plus on your lyrical solo in 2016. They don't care about your first place overall at Showbiz. They don't care if you're Teen Miss Winner of the World. They don't care. What people do care about is your character, your heart, and how you made them feel.

Dancers, I will always support you. Whether you want to pursue a professional dance career in Los Angeles or New York City, in a company overseas, on your college dance team, I will support you. Whether you want to teach dance or choreograph locally in town, I will support you. Whether you don't want to dance at all and maybe be an engineer or a cosmetologist, I will support you. I will always fuel your dreams, goals, and desires, no matter where they'll take you.

I love you and I'm proud of you.


Your Dance Teacher

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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8 Old Katelyn Tarver Songs You Probably Haven't Heard

None of her new songs will ever go as hard as "Chasing Echoes" and that's a fact.


Years ago, I found (through iTunes recommendations) a pretty cool female artist. Later found out she was on "Big Time Rush", and then I found out she had some new songs out. I decided to give her new songs a listen, and they're good. However, I prefer some of her older stuff, which sadly isn't on Spotify. Fortunately, YouTube exists, and I'm here to share the best ones.

1. "Wonderful Crazy"

This is just a fun, upbeat song for when you're having a good day. Would recommend playing in your car with the windows rolled down.

2. "Rain"

I have a very specific memory of a time when this song blessed my life, but for all intents and purposes, it is a beautiful and happy song.

3. "I'll Make It Real"

This is a beautiful song with a wonderful message about staying true to yourself. I used to listen to it on the way to school every day my senior year of high school.

4. "Something In Me"

Featured in the greatest show of all time, "South of Nowhere" season 1 episode 6. A very relatable breakup mood.

5. "Love Alone"

This is definitely the second-hardest-hitting song she's ever released. The fact that this is not on Spotify or even iTunes anymore is just not fair.

6. "Favorite Girl"

This one's cute and upbeat, a definite crush mood. Not on the same level as "Love Alone", but it's still underrated.

7. "Closer to My Heart"

Another cute love song. I'll tie it with "Everything" for cutest love song on her first album. Highly recommend both.

8. "Chasing Echoes"

Facts are facts and the facts are that Katelyn Tarver's new stuff could never go as hard as "Chasing Echoes". I can't even begin to explain how deeply these lyrics cut through me when I was fifteen. Even now, this song can take me all the way back. She is robbing us by not making this available on streaming services (or even to purchase). Katelyn, bring this song back, I am begging you.

Anyway, I'm still enjoying the new stuff and am excited to see what's next.

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