5. The Incredibles

Hollywood is saturated with stories about superheroes, but this movie still stands as one of the best Pixar movies and one of the best superhero movies ever. So many superhero movies work to make characters with super-healing factor or telekinesis relatable and human, but The Incredibles is one of the few that succeeds. Be honest: which sequel would you rather see more? Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or The Incredibles 2?  That's what I thought.

 

4. Up

If you didn't cry in the first ten minutes of Up, you don't qualify as a human being or even as an organ donor since you've got a non-operational heart.

The message of most Pixar movies is "You can do anything you set your mind to. Fly. Fall in love with another robot. Become sentient. Literally anything." Encouraging kids to achieve great things is cool and all, but Pixar needed a movie with a more down-to-earth message: the most significant journeys are emotional, not geographical.  And yes, I realize the irony in saying Up had a down-to-earth message when it was about a man using balloons to rocket off the earth.

 

3. Finding Nemo

Sure, Finding Nemo didn't wring all the liquid from your tear ducts until you begged for mercy, BUT do you remember how sincerely funny Finding Nemo was? How old were you in 2003? Definitely young and not-jaded enough to laugh your butt off at Crush and Squirt and the Boston lobsters. I bet every time you see a seagull now, you think, "Mine!" But every time you eat a gourmet French meal, you definitely don't think, "A rat cooked this."

 

2. Inside Out

Inside Out was a near-perfect execution of Pixar's shtick: exploring the imaginative and the familiar. Inside Riley's head was a bright and creative world. Outside of Riley's head was the simple story of how difficult change can be on a kid.

Inside Out was so good you didn't realize it was edutainment (shudder). It made you feel warm and fuzzy, and it showed you why you felt warm and fuzzy. It made you cry, and it explained why it was good for you to cry.

I have only ONE concern about the movie: In Riley's dream, when she starts losing her teeth, why do they rain down from above the camera? Doesn't that imply her mouth is situated above her eyes? That would be seriously nightmarish.

 

1. Toy Story 3

The Toy Story series had already secured a special place in our hearts. But the latest installment did something most franchises - hell, most TV series - can't pull off. It grew up with its audience.

When I saw Toy Story 3, I was going off to my sophomore year in college. I was prepared for a movie that brought me back to the first two films, brought me back to Andy's toy-filled bedroom, brought me back to that place of childhood innocence. I got something completely different. The story followed Andy heading off to college. I watched characters I knew and loved struggle with the exact situation I was in.

Even if you weren't Andy's age when you watched Toy Story 3, you still recognized the series had aged with you. The villain, Lotso, was darker and more complex. The climax in the incinerator was scarier. The ending was more bittersweet. Toy Story 3 was like you; it grew up but without losing its appreciation for fun, reminding you why you return to see Pixar movies year after year.