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Jul
7th
2015

Monday Musings: Pixar's Inside Out · 2:44am Jul 7th, 2015

I just saw Pixar's Inside Out.  I think it's a fantastic movie.  It has 98% approval from critics on rotten tomatoes.

Some of you will not like this movie. I totally get it. It hasn't got anybody as endearing or at least interesting as Buzz Lightyear or Wall-E. There's a point in the movie where the main characters are horrified at becoming two-dimensional, which was merely ironic rather than alarming, since they were all precisely one-dimensional by design. The movie's concept made that inescapable. Pixar did the best they could with that concept. And it was worth it for me, because the concept is great.

I'm excited about this movie because it's smart, and by "smart" I mean smart by Hollywood standards. Its theme isn't just a trite message like "destroying the environment and getting really fat is bad" (Wall-E) or "friendship is magic friends are good" (Toy Story). Sometimes I rant about how nobody writes good literature anymore--the commercial writers write entertainment without depth, and the "literature" writers write subtle character studies that are boring. Inside Out is both entertaining and, at least for kids, thought-provoking.

It had an unpromising opening, with a close-up of a baby girl.  I'm a tough audience for movies that rely on the cuteness of babies.  Fortunately the girl inside her was cuter--at least, one of them was.  The movie is about the homunculi who live in our brains and make our decisions for us.

So it opens with weirdness and wonders, and an introduction of a strange cast, then quickly establishes the initial conflict: The girl whose head we're (literally) in has to move, from Minnesota (why be more specific than that?  it's Minnesota) to San Francisco.  Several scenes show why she's unhappy in her new home, and then we get to the second conflict, which is that the little people mess up somehow, and her emotions start shutting down as she goes thru a crisis.  I wish that the second conflict mapped onto a cause in the girl's life or choices, but you can't have everything.

Popular scriptwriting advice today, which is probably based on something Syd Field wrote, is that each script has to have 3 plot points, at exactly one-fourth, one-half, and three-fourths of the way thru the movie.  Some script readers expect to see these points on pages 25, 50, and 75 of a 100-page script, which is stupid, but that's what I hear they teach now.

I think the people who claim this and watch a movie stopwatch in hand (this is a good idea if you want to write) tend to grab whatever big event happened closest to their desired marks and call them the plot points.  I think this movie had 4 or 5 main plot points, not 3; the first 2 happened pretty quickly; and the "realization" point (where the main character realizes what the story is actually about) didn't happen until somewhere shortly before the final plot point, IIRC.

Early on I started feeling sorry for Sadness, and wondering what they were going to do with this character.  They went pretty much where I thought they should with that, which of course means they did exactly the right thing.  :eeyup:

It was a lot of goofy yet not meaningless fun, and a couple of moments so poignant it’s hard to believe they’re in an American movie.  The scene where Joy is lost in darkness, surrounded by once-treasured childhood memories silently replaying themselves as they fade and then crumble into dust, is something I’d have expected from Miyazaki. (Unfortunately, there are no pictures on the Internet of this scene, because people are stupid.)  The one soon after that--you’ll know it when you see it--was a brave one for Pixar, though washed out by insufficient character development.  It’s short of Old Yeller territory, but still something most people won’t want their 4-year-olds to see.

This, though, everyone should see.

The film’s message is pretty daring more daring than average for a kid’s movie.  I think the best recommendation for the film is the number of hateful 1-star reviews on IMDB.com from parents angry that their children were exposed to ideas:

This movie intends to chip away at the innocence of little girls, forcing them to mentally confront things which they should not be thinking about...   I expected to see more negative symbolism and/or propaganda, and there's a hint of feminist propaganda, but mostly it just is what it is, a movie designed to MIND-RAPE your children! This movie was made by the same "liberal" types that want to teach Kindergarteners about anal sex in public schools...

PLEASE! Don't expose your children to this! PS - My children were not exposed to this filth because I have taken the precaution of pre-screening everything my children view…

Is it a kids’ movie, though?  Nine and up, sure.  Some of the jokes are only for adults.  Younger kids might not understand what’s going on, and might find some parts pretty upsetting.

It's funny, though probably not as funny as Toy Story.  Its one great failing is that it has no memorable characters.  But it has a fast pace, and some big ideas and metaphors.  Toy Story gave kids a lot of funny lines and a toy merchandise bonanza.  Inside Out gives them a different way of thinking about people and about their emotions.

Report Bad Horse · 690 views · #Pixar #review #Inside Out
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Comments ( 33 )

I think it is fully and truly a kids' movie. If ever I have children, this is gonna be one of the first movies they watch (alongside Toy Story 1 and 2), because I think now, especially in an age when mental illness like depression is becoming more openly talked about, we need to teach the lesson that everyone feels sad, and it's normal.

Its one great failing is that it has no memorable characters.

Eh, I dunno, I got a kick out of Joy. Really, it depends on your mileage for Amy Poehler, who is essentially playing her usual archetype that everyone loves (in that sense, she is the female Chris Pratt).

(why be more specific than that? it's Minnesota)

Because there's a big difference between living in the big city (the Twin Cities), living in the cornfields of Iowa/Nebraska/etc. (Rochester, but all of Southeast MN, really), and living in Canada (everything north of St. Cloud)... and those are just the places I've lived, personally.

Haven't seen Inside Out yet, and the ads have all looked pretty awful to me, but everything I've heard about it has been good. I'll be interested to check it out, once it leaves theaters.

3213841

Because there's a big difference between living in the big city (the Twin Cities), living in the cornfields of Iowa/Nebraska/etc. (Rochester, but all of Southeast MN, really), and living in Canada (everything north of St. Cloud)... and those are just the places I've lived, personally.

What I meant was:

[sarcasm](why be more specific than that? it's Minnesota)[/sarcasm]

Bad Horse recommendation? Well then, off I go!

Oh right, at work. :twilightoops:

3213883

Sorry, it's always hard to tell your [sarcasm][/sarcasm] from your [evil][/evil]. Here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, we don't have much experience with your worldly brand of fancy speakin'; we're all busy being passive-aggressive Minnesota Nice!

I can't wait to see the Pixar return to form.

Some script readers expect to see these points on pages 25, 50, and 75 of a 100-word script, which is stupid

You're damn right that's stupid. What the hell kind of terrible, wasteful typography are they using that you get even 25 pages out of 100 words, let alone 75‽

This movie intends to chip away at the innocence of little girls, forcing them to mentally confront things which they should not be thinking about... I expected to see more negative symbolism and/or propaganda, and there's a hint of feminist propaganda, but mostly it just is what it is, a movie designed to MIND-RAPE your children! This movie was made by the same "liberal" types that want to teach Kindergarteners about anal sex in public schools...

:applejackunsure:
What in the hell?

The film’s message is pretty daring for a kid’s movie.

What exactly was the message? "Life is complicated and it's okay to feel sad about things"?

By the way, I watched Inside Out tonight and thought it was fantastic.

I saw it this weekend and enjoyed it very much. I was actually amused that they represented the brain as completely controlled by emotions with no executive function at all... but that probably makes for a less complex dynamic and faster story.

I think the two best jokes of the film came right at the end: The big red button and the cat brain.

3213999 I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about. :derpytongue2:

3214044 Yeah, pretty much. Hey, I said daring for a kid's movie.

Okay, some kids' movies tackle tougher themes. The Fox and the Hound, say.

3213904
You know, I never really thought about it that way before, but your Minnesota Nice goes a long way toward explaining your RCL story selection. :ajsmug:

(You're welcome to analyze mine in return, but I'll warn you, it'll be no fun because the fruit is so low-hanging. I was born, and still live, in California.)

3213999
I understand that it's customary when pitching a Michael Bay movie to scale the font size proportional to that scene's explosions.

Amazing movie.

Did you read this article on it?

Pixar is determined to make me break out crying in a theatre. It came *darned* close with Up, the only movie I've ever paid to go see in the theatre *twice* ever in my life. (World's cheapest human) First time was with a friend and their kid, and I'm sitting there with my bottom lip locked into place watching that darned little bit about love and aging together, just determined not to say anything because I knew I'd break out right there. Second time, I took my wife. She wasn't as impressed.

I didn't buy the DVD. I'm waiting for my heart to harden a little more.

Sometimes I rant about how nobody writes good literature anymore--the commercial writers write entertainment without depth, and the "literature" writers write subtle character studies that are boring.

I don't know, I think a lot of this is nostalgia goggles, this has been pretty much always true of the majority of stuff produced, its just that the majority of the old trash gets forgotten over time while the new trash hasn't had time to fade.

As far as recent animated releases go, I thought the Lego Movie had surprising depth, too, though perhaps not to the same degree. It was funnier though.

3214034
Some people are so frothing at the mouth crazy that it literally scares me. They sound like parodies of their own positions.

Comment posted by Friday deleted Jul 7th, 2015

Christ, if I had a penny for every time I heard this thing compared to Miyazaki, I'd probably have sixteen or so cents.

How can this be interesting to you lot? It doesn't sound nearly as enrapturing as everyone is putting it. In fact, it sounds downright tedious. I have no particular desire to watch a bunch of intentionally one-dimensional manifestations of a child's psyche make cartoon faces at each other for an hour and a half. Now, admittedly, the nutcases boldly declaring this film's resemblance to posterior-oriented sex ed pique my curiosity, but...

I mean, why? What's the point of this story? What did you feel like when you left it? How is it not an utter waste of an hour and a half?

I think the people who claim this and watch a movie stopwatch in hand...

Eh, you got me. I love searching for the plot points, but I usually try to make things fit a 4-part model. I haven't seen this movie yet. I'll give it a watch -- with stopwatch in hand -- and see what I can find.

Hap

3214051 They were going to have a "Logic" character, but then Leonard Nimoy died. :fluttercry:

3214329

Sometimes I rant about how nobody writes good literature anymore--the commercial writers write entertainment without depth, and the "literature" writers write subtle character studies that are boring.

I don't know, I think a lot of this is nostalgia goggles, this has been pretty much always true of the majority of stuff produced, its just that the majority of the old trash gets forgotten over time while the new trash hasn't had time to fade.

The majority of stuff has always not been the best stuff. But this is different. Literature used to aspire to be exciting and entertaining. The Iliad, Don Quixote, Hamlet, Huckleberry Finn--those are all entertaining stories that have some very deep thoughts in them.

I can only think of one respected literary writer of the past 100 years who was that entertaining: Joseph Heller. And that's only because he wrote dark, ironic humor, which is still allowed. Maybe Kurt Vonnegut, but only because he somehow escaped being called a genre writer. The rules do not allow serious literature to be exciting anymore, unless, like Heller or Vonnegut, you find a loophole.

3214051 My brain has no executive function. :derpytongue2: I love the cat joke. Every cat person must see it.

3214044 More specifically, that sadness has a purpose.

3214845
Given the examples you listed were all from different centuries, but you can name two from this one, that's not exactly disproving the idea that such were always rare.

I suppose it depends on your idea of what 'great literature' is, as well.

3214562 :pinkiegasp: That would have been hilarious!

3216589 There are about 500,000 books published in English every year now. There were 90 books of fiction, plays, poetry, essays, and music published in English in 1600. Six of them were by Shakespeare.

3214531 I just spent a few hundred words saying why I liked it. If that didn't explain it, I probably can't explain it. I can tell you I was laughing when I left the theater, if that helps.

3223839
That's a fair enough summation, and actually makes it worth consideration for me. I can appreciate verbosity, but I've been getting really sick of it in regards to this movie.

Now, if you want actual answers to those questions, I'll provide them, but I suspect you were just being sarcastic. Hard to tell in an environment like the comments section of Bad Horse's blog. No offense, Horsie.

3224059
Honestly, I got the impression that I was supposed to like it because you liked it. Now I respect you as a writer, because you're damn fine compared to most of the people on here, but I resent the insinuation that I should listen to such things simply because my betters tell me to. Maybe that's what you were going for, though it probably wasn't, but either way it's not conducive to making me take it at face value.

3217523
So is your argument that there's less good stuff or more bad stuff? Those are separate.
Also, interesting that you list Shakespeare, who wrote scripts for theatre, not novels, but can't think of any movies you consider 'literature' despite the fact stage-productions bear more in common with them than with books.

3214531

I have no particular desire to watch a bunch of intentionally one-dimensional manifestations of a child's psyche make cartoon faces at each other for an hour and a half.

Please don't be bitter Mr. Spielberg. I'm sure Dreamworks will have its day.

3277638
Well, we both know it won't be any time soon.

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