I think I just created my favorite background character!
There are times I think that Pixar’s marketing department makes a point of underplaying a lot of the films they are advertising as if to say yes this is a silly idea, sometimes to the point of misdirection. The Incredibles comes to mind where the early teasers seemed to sell it as a superhero parody rather than what was one of the best examples of the superhero genre on film ever.
This was my initial reaction when I first started seeing the teasers for Inside Out. It didn’t help that it that the premise of the film, the adventures of anthropomorphic personifications of the human psyche, while certainly not a bad idea didn’t seem particularly original either. I was a big fan of Fox’s Herman’s Head in college and Cranium Command was my favorite ride the one time I went to Epcot. On top of this there was Disney’s classic wartime short Reason and Emotion and there’s a Japanese comic that has just been made into a movie called Poison Berry in My Brain that I very much want to check out.. I was more than a little worried that this was more proof that this might be more proof that Pixar had been loosing it’s way since it had been purchased by Disney.
So When I finally got to around to seeing Inside out I was very pleasantly surprised just how good it was. As I said it involved the life of a young girl named Riley as seen through, Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadness. For most of her life she’s been happy led by her dominant emotion, Joy, but when her family moves to San Francisco she starts to lean to Sadness and from there depression.
What I found myself loving about this film is while what I just described would serve as the basis for some dull but inspiring afternoon drama, in the mind of Reilly all metaphors are literal with Joy and Sadness literally getting separated from the control tower where only a frantic Anger, Fear and Disgust are left in charge while Joy and Sadness are lost within Riley’s long term memory and subconscious trying desperately to get back and fix things… Meanwhile back in reality the result is a young girl on the verge of nervous breakdown.
This is sad on it’s own, but in the Pi that is our principle location it is epic. The metaphorical architecture of Reilly’s hope’s, dreams, sense of morality and greatest loves begin to literally collapse and slip into oblivion making the sense of urgency almost visceral.
There is so much I liked about this film as a lover of animation I loved it’s craft everything about it is beautiful. The script is so smart I know I have to go see this again just to catch all of the things in it that I know I missed simply because there was so much of it. The cast was great. This is the first Pixar film I would consider an ensemble piece with Amy Poehler, (Joy) Phyllis Smith (Sadness), Bill Hader (Fear), Lewis Black (Anger) and Mindy Kailing (Disgust) acting as a well-oiled machine. I would definitely watch the situation comedy starring them in a similar working environment.
I also liked the psychiatry of the film. I confess I haven’t kept up with much theory about the mechanics of personality since the 101 course I took in college but the complexities of the various emotions. The story makes it clear that the “bad” emotions are just important as the one “good” emotion Joy who ironically in making sure Reilly is always happy has actually stunted a lot of the Reilly’s development. At the same time Sadness who has been mostly repressed throughout Reilly’s child starts the plot as her influence begins to increase much to everybody’s surprise including her own. As the film moves to it’s climax it becomes clear that Sadness is a necessary ingredient of maturity as it includes not just pain but empathy.
I hope everybody has a pleasant Fourth of July… I for one plan to get some work done this mourning, catch a showing of something around twoish, do some people watching at the various celebrations drop my bike off at the house and the catch the fireworks at Gasworks.
Just to get us all into the mood of the season. A little scene from one of my favorite historical musicals 1776; Now while I’m a huge fan of this play and I think it’s a great introduction to everything that was going on in the Continental Congress to the point if I taught American History in junior high school I’d make my class watch it.
Having said that I’m not the biggest fan of the soundtrack… with about one or two exceptions most of them are kind of goofy with this one, “The Egg” being the goofiest of them all… but in a fun way.
I have to say with Wild Turkeys making such a huge comeback back east (I saw three during my trip to Maine) I just might start agreeing with Franklin.
Enjoy and have a great holiday.
Since the latest Marvel Cinematic universe film, Ant Man starring Paul Rudd is coming out in a couple of weeks I thought I’d make my selection as topical as possible and base it around all on Paul Rudd films to watch before seeing Ant Man
Now while Rudd’s career has been all over the place both of the films I chose were romantic comedies. The first has become a modern classic, at least in the high school comedy subgenre, Clueless.
I’m embarrassed to say that Clueless is one of those films I didn’t bother with when it was out in the theaters and then never got around to. A modern telling of the Jane Austen novel, Emma It tells the story of pampered princess Cher Horowitz played by Alicia Silverstone who takes a liking to doing good deeds for other people while being oblivious to how people value her.
Rudd plays Cher’s ex stepbrother, Josh, who starts out as a background nuisance throwing snarky commentary about Cher’s but gradually evolves into a confidant and love interest.
I can’t say I’m really a target audience for films like this but it was competently done and I certainly enjoyed it.
In my second film, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Rudd only plays the bit part of a burned out white surfer in Hawaii who seems to have adapted the surfer/stoner lifestyle after some sort of midlife crisis. Most of his “friends” consider him an annoying poser.
The rest of the story tells about a Hollywood composer played by Jason Segel who takes a Hawaiian vacation to forget about the breakup with his girlfriend, Sarah Marshell, only to find out she’s staying at the same hotel with her rock star boyfriend played by Russel Brand.
The rest of the story is funny and touching as he gradually recovers and learns to find more out of life.
I mostly enjoyed this film as an interesting romantic comedy with an excellent ensemble cast. I was especially impressed by Brand who played his character as a self absorbed jerk who despite all of these faults was still a genuinely nice guy.
Well I’m back from a lovely eight days of meditating in spruce forests and granite coastlines while spending some wonderful quality time with my folks. I had a great time.
The only regret I have is I came in planning to do a whole lot of projects like catch up on my reading and do a whole lot of watercolors instead, due to the abbreviated schedule I spent most of my time helping my mother with trail maintenance and didn’t even pick up a paint brush until the last day… Heck due to it being so early in the season I didn’t even get my obligatory lobster!
But any way… It was great all that green, the wildlife (I had an addition to my life list seeing four Glossy Ibises on my third day!) starry nights and the silence! Living in a fairly busy city it’s hard to start to describe real silence it’s almost like it’s a physical presence!
Anyway I’m sure I can go on, but the point is after being cramped in a metal tube for eight hours I’m home and back to work. Apologies for the two weeks of blog silence but man it was worth it!
It’s funny… By what I’ve come to expect from Miles this feels almost “tame”. Still is good to listen to though.