Pixar – that strange little wonderland where the mundane transforms into the extraordinary. Magic can be found in closets, toy chests, and kitchens, as well as in outer space and the ocean. Pixar films are for everybody: the young and the young in heart. They pulsate with a dynamic energy. Imagination is not only encouraged, but required. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from each priceless Emeryville gem.
Toy Story: Your toys came to life and your kids’ toys come to life, and there is a hierarchy and leader in every child’s bedroom. Please treat toys well. All they want to do is love you and be played with. And if you trash them, they will get their revenge. So play nice.
A Bug’s Life: No matter how awkward and insecure you feel, there is someone else who relates. Being a leader is not so much about being confident as it is about feigning confidence. And when you feel like you’re stuck, it’s because you’re still a seed. One day, this rock (you) will be a tree. Also, ants are bad ass!
Toy Story 2: Being abandoned once doesn’t mean forever.
Monsters, Inc.: Laughter is stronger than fear. So laugh your fears away!
Finding Nemo: Are you a Marlin or a Dory? I’m Marlin. Anxious, irritable, crabby, downright scared of venturing out past my comfort zones. But what I’m not is a pessimist (usually). Marlin sees the glass as half empty. Dory and I don’t. But I’m trying to be more like Dory.
Dory: “He says, it’s time to let go!”
Marlin: “How do you know something bad isn’t going to happen?”
Dory: “I don’t!”
Uncertainty will always be part of life. Can’t let that stop you from letting go.
The Incredibles: “Girls, come on! Leave the saving of the world to the men? I don’t think so.” Mr. Incredible practically bungles everything on his own. Working as a team with Elastigirl restores balance. I can’t believe Brad Bird invented the superhero genre with this film, y’all. Speaking of Brad, his struggles in the animation industry did inform Bob Parr’s own struggle. What I’ve learned from firsthand experience is that not living up to your full potential, and being denied the opportunities to do so, is absolutely soul crushing. You can’t let it keep you down forever. Also:
Cars: Slowing down and enjoying the view is essential on any journey. Sometimes, the journey is the destination.
Ratatouille: “Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.”
“You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.”
Wall-E: Life, uh, finds a way. (I hope you read that in Ian Malcolm’s voice).
“I don’t want to survive; I want to live.”
Up: Living is the greatest adventure, even and especially when our plans don’t work out.
“I think it’s the boring stuff I remember the most.”
Toy Story 3: Even when you go away to college or go away into the Adult World, the spirit of childhood doesn’t ever disappear.
Cars 2: Be yourself and give others the freedom to do the same. And remember that E.V.I.L. acronym from Spongebob? Every villain is lemons? They were right.
Brave: Kids, listen to your parents. Parents, listen to your kids. And oh, that big, ferocious demon bear you just called terrifying? A misguided soul lives in that body. He’s just looking for redemption. This is a Mor’du defense blog.
Monsters University: The path to your dreams might not be the one you carved out for yourself and that’s O.K. (Oozma Kappa)! You might have to trade in your dreams for new ones and that’s O.K. too. Failure is merely a bump on the long road to success.
Inside Out: It’s ok, good, and absolutely necessary to be sad. Some of our happiest, gold bright memories are tinged with blue. We can’t hold onto that childhood joy forever, but Sadness can still give our lives meaning. Also, I’ve got a Headquarters that’s manned by emotions who all sound like Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, and Lewis Black! Disgust and I are most in sync, except I love broccoli and I love broccoli on pizza.
The Good Dinosaur: You’ve gotta get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side. And sometimes, you’ll still be scared.
“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t alive.”
Finding Dory: When it looks bleak and you’ve seemingly exhausted all your options, remember that there’s always another way. It’s those quirks and imperfections, and maybe a disability, that make you the bright, wonderful, unique person you are. You don’t have to be cured of anything to live your best life and be your best you.
To borrow from Anton Ego, I shall return to each new Pixar release, hungry for more!
Some of the images included here are from Disney Screencaps.