The RELEVANT Pixar Bracket: Opening Round
For the opening round, each debater had to defend their movie in 50 words or less, nary more than a Tweet. Jon Negroni, creator of the Pixar Theory, issued his verdicts in kind.
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[bsc_tab title=”Finding Nemo vs Coco”]
Finding Nemo VS. Coco
Jon Negroni vs. Chris Lopez
Negroni: Finding Nemo is the best Pixar movie at a few things and better than most at the rest. Its stunning animation, story and characters make it superbly well-rounded. It has no real weaknesses. Plus, it’s the funniest Pixar movie by a mile, yet has equal heart and purpose.
Lopez: Coco not only demonstrates how to create space for authentic diversity in mainstream animation, but also how we can learn from the particulars of the other’s culture. The significance of Coco‘s fiesta fun and familia drama will be remembered!
JUDGE JON: Chris cinches this one by invoking Coco’s importance outside the context of the film, plus he was specific and concise in his arguments!
[bsc_tab title=”Finding Dory vs Brave”]
Finding Dory VS. Brave
Tyler Daswick vs. Lesley Crews
Das: Differently-abled characters tend to be treated with a lot of simpering treacle at the movies, but from start to finish, Finding Dory shines a colorful, celebratory light on its protagonist. You love Dory so much after this, and it’s without condition. That’s really beautiful.
Crews: Brave values the theme of courage and bravery, allowing its female protagonist to be headstrong and choose her path despite age-old tradition, all without the help of any leading male figure. The Scottish background is a fun addition, too.
JUDGE JON: Both arguments emphasize important points (differently-abled characters and well-written female protagonists). Technically, Lesley’s argument helps Das because Dory is also a character who proceeds without the help of a leading male figure, but that said, I have to give it to Brave because Lesley included many different points while Das narrowed in on just one solid “you like the character” idea.
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Toy Story 3 VS. Ratatouille
Cooper Watt vs. Tyler Daswick
Watt: The greatest third film in any franchise, Toy Story 3 is made perfect by its complex villain and themes that resonate with both the new and original audience. Ratatouille is cute, but it cannot compare to the poignant punch of the toys learning to grow up just as we are.
Das: Ratatouille is like if you found a gourmet steak inside a McDonald’s bag: sophisticated on the inside, unpretentious on the outside and a complete surprise through and through. Quote me: It’s the best cooking movie ever made.
JUDGE JON: This is a tough match-up. Das earns a point for giving an extravagant description of Ratatouille’s greatness, but Cooper earns a point for taking down Ratatouille without being too hyperbolic. Ultimately, Cooper finds the edge because his last line, about the toys learning to accept growing up, is just too good to ignore. VERDICT: TOY STORY 3
[bsc_tab title=”Toy Story 2 vs WALL-E”]
Toy Story 2 VS. WALL-E
Lesley Crews vs. Abby Olcese
Olcese: WALL-E is a hands-down masterpiece, the most adult (and visually striking) film Pixar has ever produced. Since all Pixar’s movies are connected, I think we already know the ultimate fate of Woody and the gang: they’re a WALL-E compacted trash cube.
Crews: Better than its predecessor, Toy Story 2 does everything right. The sequel picks up right where the first left off, unpacking the same creativity from the original while bringing more vivacious tenacity. Woody’s journey tugs at your heartstrings while the introduction of new characters leaves you with something to hold onto.
JUDGE JON: Both make fantastic arguments. Abby earns a point for being concise, while Lesley loses a point for doing the opposite. Ultimately, I have to give it to Abby for some seriously creative trash-talking (in both meanings of the word).
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Monsters, Inc. VS. Monsters University
Cooper Watt vs. Tyler Daswick
Watt: I don’t feel a need to waste my good arguments with this matchup. If you are sitting at home and want to pop in a Monsters movie, do you want the one that brought wonderment and tears to your eyes as a kid, or the prequel you already forgot about?
Das: With all due respect to Boo, it felt great to leave the kid at home in Monsters U and party down with Mike and Sully. Sure, like any college experience, it had its rough patches, but…you know what just forget it. I had to Wikipedia the plot of Monsters U just to write this.
JUDGE JON: Let’s be honest. Cooper had a layup here, and he didn’t trip.
VERDICT: MONSTERS INC.
[bsc_tab title=”Toy Story vs A Bug’s Life”]
Toy Story VS. A Bug’s Life
Jaz Persing vs. Abby Olcese
Persing: Toy Story is gold, and Randy Newman and I aren’t about to let you fools forget it. It’s all kiddie-light “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” fun at first, but John Lasseter & Co. don’t shy away from our “I Will Go Sailing No More” Sid-like shadow sides. Disillusionment, fear of change, jealousy, almost-murder…come on. That Bug’s Life circus can’t even play.
Olcese: Toy Story’s a classic, but A Bug’s Life, Pixar’s second film, displays a lot of growth. It has a stronger story and more ambitious, detailed world building. Plus, this marks Andrew Stanton’s first feature directing gig. If you’re a Stanton fan (and you should be, he went on to do Finding Nemo and WALL-E), this is a landmark.
JUDGE JON: Abby had an uphill battle here, but she tossed out some solid, unexpected arguments. Jaz overcomes the surprise, however, with more detail from the actual movie and some creative trash talking.
VERDICT: TOY STORY
[bsc_tab title=”Inside Out vs Cars”]
Inside Out VS. Cars
Josh Pease vs. Molly Donovan
Donovan: If you’re telling me Cars didn’t have you bumping the Rascal Flatts version of “Life is a Highway” and dreaming of a cross-country road trip, you’re lying. Cars is a unique story with charming characters and a heartwarming message, compared to the depressing death of childhood thing going on with Inside Out.
Pease: “Life is a Highway” is a garbage song and Cars is a garbage movie. Inside Out, by comparison, is the second-most ambitious Pixar film (WALL-E wins), but my 3-year-old will still watch it in its entirety while I sit next to him sobbing. If you vote for Cars then you are Riley, sitting on a bus, dead inside.
JUDGE JON: YIKES. These arguments cancel each other out on the trash talking. Both have anecdotes, but Josh’s is stronger because it’s tied to family, not just an individual experience. Plus, Molly is talking more about a song in her movie than the movie itself, while Josh is connecting experiences concerning children and adults, a strong theme of Pixar.
VERDICT: INSIDE OUT
[bsc_tab title=”The Incredibles vs Up”]
The Incredibles VS. Up
Josh Pease vs. Chris Lopez
Lopez: There’s more pathos in Up‘s opening scene than in most live-action, feature-length dramas. Without shattering its wit and fun, Up consistently engages the bleaker aspects of human relationships. In classical genre terms, it’s Pixar’s best comedy to date.
Pease: Up is one all-time great, pure-magic Pixar sequence followed by a feature-length yawn. The Incredibles has a better visual style, better action sequences, better dialogue, a better villain, adult stakes, Frozone’s “Where is my super suit” scene, and Edna Freaking Mode. I win.
JUDGE JON: Josh throws down a strong slam against Up, but Chris gives a more passionate case for why Up is great while Josh seems to assume victory. Still, his confidence ain’t unfounded. Ultimately, Josh wins on the basis of having a brutal counterargument that undercuts Chris completely, plus a few more specific examples related to the movie.
VERDICT: THE INCREDIBLES