As the year turns to April, many excellent new movie releases are available to stream on various platforms. However, finding the movie that best suits your needs on streaming services may be overwhelming. This article delved through the collection to compile a selection of ten of the best movies accessible for streaming in April, ranging from classics to recent releases.
“Her” is a sci-fi romantic thriller starred by Joaquin Phoenix, who plays Theodore Twombly, who falls for an artificial intelligence operating system, Samantha. Spike Jonze’s artistic tribute to the interlocking influences of love and technology, set in an unsettling future, is a comic and touching encounter whose clarity will linger with you even after the movie ends.
Apollo 10½: A Space Age Childhood
In the stunning rotoscope animation style of Richard Linklater, Apollo 10½ tells the history of the first lunar landing mission from two viewpoints: the astronaut and command center and a Texas kid following as it all unfolds on TV. The movie is based on Linklater’s personal experiences and acts as a soothing, often provocative glimpse of 1960s America.
This April, Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending film “Inception” returns to the screens. Leonardo DiCaprio helms the cast as a sad widower charged with penetrating a billionaire’s brain to commit a dream robbery. The movie’s intricate dream-diving concept makes watching extremely satisfying.
“Nightcrawler” is Dan Gilroy’s harrowing depiction of greed, morality, and ethics, starred by Jake Gyllenhaal, who plays Lou Bloom, a freelance video journalist. The robber-turned-journalist captures the attention of a local Los Angeles TV news outfit hungry for lurid content with his recordings of crime scenes.
Eyes Wide Shut
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman play husband and wife in a crisis in Stanley Kubrick’s erotic psychological drama. Cruise becomes fascinated with seeking his random sexual encounters outside of marriage after the wife confesses to having desires about a serviceman she met over a year ago. The movie is a beautiful blend of overwhelming stateliness and occasionally great intimacy.
“Compliance,” Craig Zobel’s spine-chilling thriller, explores issues concerning the atrocity of authority, the police mentality, women exploitation, and consent. The movie is centered on the true story of a man who pretended to be a policeman over the phone and persuaded restaurant management to conduct illegal treatments on an employee.
“Looper,” an action-thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays Joe, tells the story of a hitman working for a crime syndicate who time-travels back to execute his future self (Bruce Willis). The movie is an intriguing and profoundly captivating action drama with a core that matches the concepts that power it.
“Con Air” is an action-thriller that stars Nicolas Cage, who plays Cameron Poe, a recently paroled and former Army Ranger. Poe helps authorities reclaim a flight taken over by prisoners following a prison break onboard.
The Raid: Redemption
This action film significantly revolutionized the game and impacted many subsequent entries in the genre, notably the John Wick franchise. Iko Uwais plays a novice recruit of a special force charged with penetrating a high-rise building and bringing down a brutal drug kingpin. This movie is still one of the most exhilarating, imaginative, and brilliant action films in 2022 and is a must-see for this genre enthusiasts.
“Beetlejuice” is based on a couple, played by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis, that perish in a car crash and become ghosts locked within their home, where they are doomed to witness its selling and makeover by a sleazy city family. The movie offers a vibrant and creative take on the afterlife, with a darkly humorous twist on the living dead.
Pulp Fiction – “Misirlou” Changing to “Jungle Boogie”
While we don’t hear the full song, “Misirlou” by Dick Dale is the tune most associate with Pulp Fiction.
This may be because the song is the first thing we hear at the beginning of the film. It plays during the opening credits before being abruptly cut off by someone switching radio stations, only to stop on “Jungle Boogie” by Kool and the Gang.
Kill Bill Vol. 1 – O-Ren Ishii’s Entrance to the House Of Blue Leaves is Accompanied by “Battle Without Honor or Humanity”
“Battle Without Honor or Humanity” by Tomoyasu Hotei is no doubt the theme of the two-part saga, Kill Bill.
Even though many may think of the song’s commanding presence at the House of Blue Leaves even during The Bride’s epic sword duel with O-Ren Ishii, it actually appears sooner.
The extravagant melody plays in the background as the crime boss and Crazy 88 first enter the restaurant. The insertion at a relatively peaceful scene foreshadowed the bloodshed that was soon to come.
Jackie Brown – Jackie Brown Lip Syncing “Across 110th Street”
“Across 110th Street” has a strong presence as a theme.
It begins the film by playing over the opening credits of Jackie Brown. However, the truly defining moment of this movie’s theme comes at the end. After Jackie Brown survives the ‘repugnant shit’ she had to deal with, she’s sitting back behind the wheel of her car, lip syncing the lyrics to “Across 110th Street” by Bobby Womack.
Django Unchained – Django and Broomhilda Looking for “Freedom”
Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton’s “Freedom” is a song filled with heartbreaking lyrics and darker themes that was too perfectly suited for Django Unchained.
The film is a raw portrayal of pre-Civil War in the South before developing into a tale of revenge. Its most noteworthy moment of this is during a flashback Django has of his attempt at escape with his wife, Broomhilda, which is intertwined with scenes of her torture.
“Freedom” plays throughout, making an already dark moment truly haunting.
Reservoir Dogs – “Stuck in The Middle with You” Plays as Mr. Blonde Tortures Marvin
The level of Mr. Blonde’s evil character is shown throughout the film, but its limits aren’t made crystal clear until the infamous warehouse scene.
He takes the time to change stations on the radio until it lands on “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel, then proceeds to torture Marvin Nash by cutting off his ear. Before he can burn the man, however, Mr. Blond is shot by Mr. Orange with a round of bullets, the same moment the song abruptly cuts off.
A tune discussing the ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ theme matches Marvin’s predicament quite well.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – Sharon Tate’s Relationship with Music
Unlike other moments mentioned on this list, this one (or two) involves something much more lighthearted, and it’s all due to Sharon Tate.
Her connection with music is undoubtedly strong, and this is especially shown twice in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. This first scene showcases her letting loose and feeling the music as she dances to Paul Revere and the Raiders’ “Good Thing” on her record player.
The second scene shows Sharon in tranquil bliss as her Porsche radio plays Buffy St. Marie’s cover of “The Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood – “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” Plays while Cliff Takes Out the Manson Followers
Vanilla Fudge’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” gets extra attention because of its place during the reimagined night of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Stuntman Cliff Booth plays the song to enjoy his upcoming ‘journey’ when three members of the Manson Family barge into the Dalton household. Cliff, his dog, and Rick’s wife Francesca all jump on the intruders and make them regret ever stepping into the house.
Inglourious Bastards – Shosanna Getting Ready on the Premiere During David Bowie’s “Cat People”
David Bowie’s “Cat People” was the icing on the cake during the explosive ending scene of Inglourious Bastards.
It takes place at the premiere of a Nazi propaganda film held in La Gamaar Cinema, which is owned by Shosanna. She is unaware that her plans are to be sabotaged by Lt. Aldo Raine and the Basterds, who intend to show their own premiere for Third Reich on the same night.
“Cat People” plays over a montage of Shosanna as she gets ready for the event, which heightens the tension as the melody emphasizes both fury and elegance.
Pulp Fiction – Vincent And Mia Dancing To “You Never Can Tell”
Earlier, it was mentioned that “Misirlou” was the theme of Pulp Fiction, but Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” is perhaps the most defining moment in the film.
Vincent takes his boss’ wife, Mia, to the ‘50s-style diner Jack Rabbit Slim’s for fun. However, she eventually talks him into entering a dance contest. Their choreography to “You Never Can Tell” is spontaneous and amateur, but its charm gets them the grand prize.
Pulp Fiction – Mia Dancing to “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon”
Urge Overkill’s cover of “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” by Neil Diamond is perhaps one of the most iconic moments.
Why? Because the build-up starts long before the time the song plays. The high from being crowned with the winning dance and holding strong chemistry ultimately makes things awkward for Vincent and Mia. Where Vincent escapes to the bathroom to collect himself, Mia dances to “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” in the living room.
However, the song only adds to Vincent’s conflicted emotions, which prevents him from noticing Mia’s error in mistaking the heroin in his coat for cocaine, leading to an overdose.
Two film entertainment bigwigs, Amblin, led by Steven Spielberg, and Netflix, have signed a deal that will allow the former to produce and release multiple films for Netflix every year. This partnership reflects Netflix’s exponential rise in the film industry and its acceptance among renowned directors, such as Spielberg. It also shows a change in the industry; an age when home viewing gradually renders movie theaters obsolete.
In a press release posted on 21 June 2021, Spielberg’s global film and TV studio and Netflix expressed their enthusiasm and support for the partnership. Although the article didn’t reveal many details about the deal, it quoted the leaders of both parties.
“Steven is a leader and visionary with great creativity. His compelling stories and characters have inspired many people around the world, including myself. Netflix is happy to partner with Amblin, and we’re zealous to come together with their (Amblin’s) team. Our staff is thrilled and happy to be part of this memorable and historical chapter of Steven Spielberg’s cinematic experience,” commented Ted Sarandos, Netflix Co-CEO, and Executive Content Officer.
Spielberg, who was reportedly opposed to Netflix’s inclusion in the 2019’s Academy Awards, also had something positive to say about the partnership: “From the first moment Ted and I sat down to discuss this agreement, we knew that we had a great opportunity to tell our stories together in a different way. Netflix provides a new platform for our films. Combine that with the stories we continue to tell with our long-term friends at Universal and other companies, this partnership provides me with a fulfilling experience of working with Ted, Scott, and their team at Netflix.”
The deal represents a significant win for Netflix, which will get a consistent stream of Amblin features, although it doesn’t guarantee productions by Spielberg Pictures. At the same time, Amblin will carry on working on films with Universal, a move meant to preserve and protect the traditional theatrical experience. While Amblin has worked with Netflix to distribute its movies and shows on various streaming platforms, this agreement is the most significant they’ve signed thus far.
According to Scott Stuber, Netflix Chief of Global Films, “Amblin and Steven and great entertainment are one thing. You can’t separate them. Their enthusiasm and creativity enable to create films that entertain and challenge viewers. We can’t wait to start working with Steven, Jeff, and the entire Amblin fraternity on a new chapter of film production that will captivate audiences for generations to come.”
The partnership comes when Amblin has solidified its niche in the film and TV industry by releasing movies that have bagged coveted awards. For instance, the Green Book won the Best Oscar Picture, while 1917 took three Oscar awards, two Golden Globes and accrued over $385 million in the global box office. Nonetheless, Amblin and Netflix had previously partnered to create The Trail of the Chicago 7, nominated to the Academy Awards.
The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 might have suggested to Steven Spielberg that movie-streaming platforms are not going away soon. However, it is the future of the film industry and provides many business opportunities for Amblin. Today, the theatrical experience is a super spreader of COVID-19, and consumers are happy to watch movies at home and pay a “premier” for that. That said, Amblin’s deal with Netflix is perhaps the best move for the company.
Most people don’t find financial events very interesting. Unfortunately, when they do, that tends to be because something disastrous has happened. To name an example, consider the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, which is sometimes called the Great Recession.
For those who could use a refresher, the whole thing was kicked off by the subprime mortgage crisis. Essentially, what had happened was that people packaged subprime mortgages into supposedly safe securities. Theoretically, even if one of the subprime mortgages failed, the rest of the security would retain value. In practice, what winded up happening was the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble, which wiped out subprime mortgages in horrific numbers. The U.S. financial industry was hard-hit, with the result that the international financial industry was hard-hit as well. On the whole, the Great Recession wasn’t as catastrophic as the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, that can be credited to the much increased willingness of world governments to intervene, thus preventing the global financial system from just collapsing on itself.
What Are Five of the Best Movies to Watch about the Great Recession in 2021?
Here are five of the best movies to watch about the Great Recession in 2021:
Technically, Inside Job isn’t a traditional movie. Instead, it is a documentary movie, which should shape interested individuals’ expectations about what they will see. In total, Inside Job can be divided up into five segments, which would how the conditions for the crisis came to be, how the U.S. housing bubble came to be, what happened in the crisis itself, whether anyone was held accountable for the crisis, and what the post-crisis situation was like at the time that it came out.
For people looking for something more entertainment-focused, there is Larry Crowne, which is a romantic comedy about a man who is forced to make severe life changes because of the crisis. On the whole, it is much more light-hearted than any of the other names on this list, as shown by the fact that it comes complete with a happy ending. However, one can nonetheless make the argument that Larry Crowne gives a look at what happened to a lot of people on the metaphorical ground as a result of the crisis.
The Big Short
The Big Short is one of the names that will come up the most in this context. In part, this is because of its high-profile cast, which includes well-known names such as Christian Bale, Steve Carell, and Ryan Gosling. However, it should also be noted that it provides a decent explanation of everything that happened, thus providing interested individuals with a good look at what went down. As such, if people are seeking something more comprehensive that is still storyline-driven, The Big Short could be it.
Too Big to Fail
Too Big to Fail is one more movie that sought to explain what happened in the crisis while remaining non-fictional in nature. However, it manages to stand out in a couple of ways. One, it focused more on the role that U.S. governmental figures played in the crisis. Two, it also gave more attention to how key executives with key firms were involved in the crisis.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps is a follow-up to the famous Wall Street from the late 1980s. As such, it follows the fictional character Gordan Gekko, who has been released from prison after being convicted of insider trading as well as securities fraud. The story isn’t real. However, it is set in the crisis, meaning that it can be an indirect way for interested individuals to learn about the latter.
Clickbait has been a thing for quite a while. However, some forms of clickbait have turned out to be much nastier than others. For proof, look no further than the use of hate clicks, which convinces people to check out something by making them feel either outraged or something similar. It shows up in a wide range of places, with an excellent example being how it has had a corrosive effect on people writing about movies.
Why Do Hate Clicks Make It Hard to Write about Movies in a Positive Way?
Essentially, the issues comes down to a matter of numbers. Websites need revenue to survive, which in turn, means that websites need clicks. These two things aren’t one and the same. However, every single click represents the potential to make more revenue. As such, the people responsible for running websites have strong incentive to increase the number of people clicking on their links using the full range of options that are available to them.
Unfortunately, hate clicks are quite effective in this regard. Generally speaking, people have been bombarded by marketing their entire lives, meaning that they are quite good are just ignoring messages. Due to this, websites need to provide some kind of strong incentive to convince them to click in spite of that reluctance. For movie websites, evoking a powerful emotion is an easy way of doing so. It is possible for them to stir up a wide range of emotions. However, there can be no doubt about the fact that outrage is one of the most convenient choices.
After all, stirring up outrage is as simple as insulting something that the writer knows that the intended audience enjoyed, which can be done within the space of a single headline. Once outraged, people will click on the article, comment on the article, and speak out about the article on social media. Much of this conversation will be negative in nature, but that matters very little because that conversation will create more conversation, thus resulting in more clicks. On top of this, it should be mentioned that there are numerous preexisting conflicts crisscrossing the cultural landscape, meaning that there are a lot of people out there who are already primed to fight. If people responsible for running movie websites are inclined towards cynicism, well, suffice to say that it is very easy for them to make these preexisting conflicts to flare up by prodding sore points.
Is There a Way to Break Out of This Trap?
Of course, it is possible for movie websites to break out of this trap. After all, not everyone reads their articles because they want to feel outraged, meaning that there is plenty of room for those who want to seek something more positive than hate clicks. For that matter, it is important to remember that being positive isn’t the same as praising everything that the writer sees. It is very much possible for writers to criticize something without deliberately going out of their way to court antagonism.
The problem is that this kind of thing takes extra effort. Our rationality steps into the background when we are riled up, meaning that it is easy to get us to do things when we are angry. As such, it seems safe to say that the struggle between positivity and the pursuit of hate clicks among movie websites will continue for the foreseeable future.
‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ is a Disney animated film from 25 years ago. Disney’s “Hunchback of Notre Dame” has been rated PG-13 by the MPAA. Due to the number of the films, the studio may have pushed for the rating. The film deals with the desire and fire of Gypsies and the menace of genocide in the 1800s.
But the fact that the darkest animated film by Disney is said to earn a rating equal to “Cinderella” shows the subjectivity of the rating system – and how much the tastes of parents have changed over the years.
MURPHY IS WANTED to adapt the 1831 story of the pretty girl of Roma Esmeralda, a character that got the attention of Parisian men, like Quasimodo, describing him as a “horrible” and a “man’s demon.” However, he soon realized his folly. “I was thinking, ‘Oh, God, I do not want to write a song, dance, watered-down movie, which makes this amazing literary work a Disney film,'” he explained.
However, he credited the then-executives of the Walt Disney Company for taking a hands-off approach. Of course, the Hugo novel, which concludes with the deaths of numerous major characters, was deemed “too depressing” for a Disney film. As a result, Murphy was forced to be inventive.
He decided to center the story on the vibrant fantasy world Quasimodo created while imprisoned in his bell tower. A festival will take place. Gargoyles that communicate. A hero worthy of admiration.
Hugo’s archdeacon becomes an evil magistrate in the new film. Instead of being whipped in the pillory, Quasimodo is pelted with vegetables and humiliated. Disney did not want to take on the church, producer Trousdale said.
Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz and Stephen Trousdale and Wise wrote a new song for the Disney film “Frozen”. The song was inspired by a cassette tape that arrived at the Walt Disney Studios with a cassette of the original song. The entire cast took part in it.
Kirk Murphy’s new film, “Frenzy,” is about a priest’s love affair with a Roma woman. In the film, he agonizes over his lust and his religious faith and his hatred of the Roma. He says it was inspired by a cassette tape he made of actor Kirk Schneckartz singing.
According to Wise, the studio felt that anything above a G would jeopardize the film’s box office.A G-rated film “does not contain anything that would offend parents, in the theme, nudity, language, violence, sex, or other matters,” he says. In 1968, the rating system was introduced.
“Hunchback” producer: “We never thought we’d get away with the term ‘hellfire'”. The first cut of the song didn’t pass muster for a G, but it wasn’t the words “hell” or “damnation” that the board took issue with.
“Hunchback” director “There was definitely a huge effort to emphasize the lighthearted aspects” of the film. Hahn “I’m sure I wouldn’t do that today — I believe there’s a truth-in-advertising obligation.”
They make films about a wide range of topics, like the conquest of space, war, among many others. These movies aren’t always movies about making movies, but in some cases, they make movies that are. You can learn a lot about filmmaking just by watching behind-the-scenes movies, even if they’re not always completely realistic. The following is a list of films that are about making films.
The Player (1992) One of the best American satirists is Robert Altman, who knows how to work in that style. Tim Robbins stars as a film executive who murders a screenwriter, who happens to be his wife (portrayed by Cynthia Nixon). While you’re making a movie with the actual Julia Roberts and Bruce Willis, show business does not stop.
Barton Fink (1991) That’s correct. We also have another Coen Brothers film here. Due to the quality of the movies “Hail, Caesar!” and “Barton Fink,” we had few alternatives. With Barton Fink, it’s not so much about the movies as it is about their last efforts. The film’s title character is a brash New York playwright who is given the opportunity to write a Hollywood-based film. It happens frequently that writers get writer’s block when their scripts don’t come up to their expectations. John Goodman’s neighbor may be more than meets the eye.
Get Shorty (1995) Chill Palmer’s dream is to leave the criminal world and focus on filmmaking. Your screenplay may be promising, but you have a major debt to your boss, who has connections in the industry. Shorty is based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, meaning that there is drama and humor in addition to the violence in the film.
Sullivan’s Travels (1941) Preston Sturges decided comedies should be very powerful, and here’s how he put it: In self-parody, the story follows a director who decides to make a “serious” social drama called “Sullivan’s Travels.” Finally, he comes to realize that a comedy is just as serious as any other movie.
Bowfinger (1999) As a low-budget action filmmaker, you’re attempting to make a name for yourself in the industry. I’m flummoxed. Bobby Bowfinger is one of the members of the fake movie cast that Murphy plays in his movie. Finally, you cast the actor’s look-alike (Eddie Murphy) and finish filming. That is completely unrealistic, right? That is very unlikely. Still, it provides entertainment in the movie “Bowfinger”.
Ed Wood (1994) The combination of “Ed Wood” and “Dolemite is My Name” is quite apt, because both films were made by the same two individuals. However, “Ed Wood” was very successful, given that it was made in the mid-1970s. Martin Landau was nominated for his role as Bela Lugosi in Ed Wood, even though Bela Lugosi died during the filming of the movie.
Hitchcock (2012) It is widely accepted that Alfred Hitchcock is as eccentric as he is talented. People know Hitchcock regardless of what Frank Capra looked like. The story of the director-turned-filmmaker, Alfred Hitchcock, stars Anthony Hopkins in the lead role. During the making of the film, he and his wife, Alma, worked on “Psycho.”
Pain and Glory (2019) Your self-biopic necessitates legitimacy acquired through genuine accomplishments. To keep things simple, let’s say Pedro Almodovar created “Pain and Glory” first. The aging director films frequent collaborator Antonio Banderas in his last movie. Although you should avoid making a de facto biopic, you may pat yourself on the back if you intend to make a biopic de facto.
The worst thing about Cars 2, even worse than the fact that it is 106 minutes of Larry the Cable Guy doing his unfunny Larry the Cable Guy shtick against a backdrop of borderline offensive clichés and regional stereotypes, is that the animation is frequently dazzling. It’s flashy, colorful, full of intricate and eye-pleasing detail, and far, far lovelier than this terrible movie deserves.
The first Cars movie was a tired story about a cocky race car who needs to learn humility from a bunch of small-town yokels, but it still managed to deliver at least some charm and character variety. In contrast, Cars 2 puts all of its energy into a bafflingly insipid mistaken-identity spy plot, entirely centered on Larry the Cable Guy, a.k.a. Mater. It’s North by Northwestby Hee-Haw, and no matter how hard you wish for it, there is no reprieve; Larry the Cable Guy keeps being in the movie, and the movie keeps happening, and the movie is 106 minutes long.
Here is a list of other movies that are 106 minutes long: Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief,Gremlins,D2: The Mighty Ducks,Whiplash,Fright Night,Lars and the Real Girl,Something’s Gotta Give,The Lego Movie 2,Halloween (2018). None of them contain uncomfortably long bidet gags, or references to “pains in my undercarriage,” or a scene where Larry the Cable Guy’s talking tow truck character pees himself in public. This makes them all five-star movies by comparison; highly recommended. —Aja Romano
20. Cars 3 (2017)
For a movie that largely exists to allow Disney’s merchandising arm to create more toys, Cars 3is better than it has to be. Like the other Cars movies, its world-building feels especially half-assed (unless you assume it’s the post-apocalyptic tale of a world where sentient cars have killed all humans). But unlike the first two movies, it’s a surprisingly involved story about aging, the dismantling of white male privilege, and our coming artificial intelligence-dominated future.
Befitting its characters, Cars 3 feels more assembled than gracefully created, and its distinctly episodic nature holds it back. But it’s the rare movie whose protagonist learns that winning at all costs isn’t the only thing. Consider it the computer-animated version of a classic sports film like Bull Durham. —Emily VanDerWerff
19. The Good Dinosaur (2015)
Even now, four years after its release, The Good Dinosaur can make a claim to being the most beautiful Pixar movie. Its photorealistic backdrops provide a gorgeous canvas for a story of a talking dinosaur and a silent human child trying to make their way across the American West to the dinosaur’s home.
The problem stems from how obvious it is that the story is cobbled together from the elements of other, better stories. Pixar made its name by taking wild scenarios that could only happen in animation — toys wake up, bugs have a secret society, there are monsters in the closet, etc. — and grounding them in old-fashioned, classic Hollywood storytelling. But The Good Dinosaur (which went through a tumultuous production process) doesn’t have much to add to the old tropes it’s updating. —EV
18. Cars (2006)
My 2-year-old nephew’s favorite movie — before he saw Toy Story, that is — was Cars. But then he saw Toy Story and he stopped talking about Cars (to my brother’s chagrin, since my brother loves cars, and Cars). I have to side with my nephew on this one. Cars is an absolutely fine movie, and it has a sweet affection for small-town, forgotten life by way of Radiator Springs. But Cars fails to match the ambition of some of its Pixar cousins, instead coming across as relaxed to the point of low stakes. And once you’ve seen any one of the studio’s other films, your love for Cars will most likely become but a passing phase. —Alex Abad-Santos
17) Finding Dory (2016)
Over the years, Pixar — or more specifically director-screenwriter Andrew Stanton — has perfected the basic studio sequel formula of repeating the previous movie’s plot without making it feel like more of the same. Prime example: Finding Dory doesn’t have much to add to the original story of Finding Nemo, but it does have the great reveal that Dory really cantalk to whales! Yes, that’s a small way to move things forward, but a fun one nonetheless.
The themes at the heart of Finding Nemo are still present in this film; there’s still an emphasis on the importance of found family, the unique challenges and delights of navigating life with a neuroatypical brain, and the vast and stunning splendor of the ocean. But Finding Dory diminishes Nemo’s philosophy of perseverance and communal kindness a bit, drowned out by a plot whose daring rescues frequently verge into the extravagant and often undermine the urgency of Dory’s quest to find her parents. That said, it’s still a fun kids’ movie, it’s still Pixar, and wow, the ocean: pretty cool, huh? —AR
16. A Bug’s Life (1998)
A Bug’s Life is something of a sophomore slump for Pixar. The studio’s follow-up to Toy Storywas one of two animated movies about insects to hit theaters within months of each other, dampening some of the excitement around it. (The movie’s competitor, Dreamworks’ Antz,came out first.) That was a strange move on both studios’ parts: Ants and grasshoppers aren’t the most endearing or marketable main characters. But few (if any) of the characters from A Bug’s Life are likely to rank among Pixar fans’ favorites.
The film culls from an old Aesop fable, The Ant and the Grasshopper, to tell a story that feels much folkier than Pixar’s more modern fare: Flik is an inventor who wants to help save his home from invading grasshoppers in an effort to prove his worth to his suspicious neighbors. Instead of recruiting real fighters, he collects a traveling circus group of other bugs and tries to pass them off as the saviors his fellow ants are looking for … an amusing premise, but ultimately not one that really sticks.
There’s still some value in watching A Bug’s Life, if only just to see how much Pixar’s animation and storytelling have evolved in the years since. And the movie does have some unique touches, like an explicitly romantic ending and a villain, the terrifying Hopper, that straight-up dies. Otherwise, A Bug’s Life is but a quirky footnote in Pixar’s catalog. —Allegra Frank
15. Monsters University (2013)
One of Pixar’s lesser follow-ups is this college-set prequel, which fails to leave as much of an impression as the film it’s based on. Mike Wazowski and his future BFF James P. “Sulley” Sullivan are college freshmen who, as we know from Monsters, Inc., are about to become lifelong pals. The stakes are low as a result, and in the end, it’s not all that interesting or exciting to watch their friendship develop. The college setting doesn’t really expand on the world of Monsters Inc., and watching these characters flail as their younger selves hardly adds to a story already defined best by its humor.
To the movie’s credit, there is a nice theme of learning to make peace with yourself when you fall short of achieving your dreams. Mike wants to be an accomplished scarer of humans, just like Sulley is — and again, we already know that isn’t to be. But when he realizes it’s not quite in the cards for him, he chases another passion instead. It’s not necessarily the most uplifting message from Pixar, but it plays out nicely (and realistically) enough. —AF
14. Brave (2012)
It felt, and in a way still feels, like so much was riding on Brave: It was Pixar’s first female-driven film, the first film with a girl as the hero, the first film with a woman as director. But Brenda Chapman, presiding over a depressinglygender-imbalanced art production team, found herself abruptly replaced in the director’s chair, on the orders of a CEO who later resignedfrom Pixar following allegations of sexual misconduct and accusations of “open sexism” that referenced Chapman’s firing.
Did Brave manage, then, to live up to expectations despite that production hurdle? I vote yes: Brave, by Pixar standards of excellence, is a delight. You feel the lovingly detailed animation in every curl on Princess Merida’s head, in every stitch of each intricate wall tapestry. Its story, about a fiery Scottish lass whose desire to fight and hunt like her father inadvertently leads her mother to be cursed and transfigured into a bear, is as interesting as the studio’s best. Its stakes — the restoration of Merida’s family and, oh, just her lifelong happiness and ability to be treated with respect in a violently patriarchal society — are as high as ever.
The plot isn’t as tightly wound as those of other, more highly regarded Pixar films, but that’s just fine. Brave takes its time reinforcing its emotional connections, lingering on the bond between Merida and her mom, and building Merida into one of Pixar’s most fully realized characters. Brave did everything the boys’ movies did, and it did it backward, in high heels, while frequently fending off inappropriate workplace behavior. If you want a better movie, well, here’s what you can do. —AR
13. Monsters Inc. (2001)
Remember how Monsters Inc. lost the first-ever Oscar for Best Animated Feature to Shrek? Awards aren’t everything — not to mention they’re both political and subjective — but the loss still feels like a sore spot in Pixar’s history. Unlike the movie that took the crown that year,Monsters Inc. holds up as something like an even more intimate Toy Story. It’s in part a platonic love story between an odd couple of monsters, the one-eyed Mike Wazowski and furry blue Sulley. Throw in a human toddler nicknamed Boo, who ends up in the guys’ care after getting lost in the monster world, and things get a bit more special.
Boo, Mike, and Sulley’s makeshift family is where Monsters Inc. wrings out its most emotional moments, even if it may be easy to cynically consider her a human plot device meant to inspire coos from viewers and create drama between her two fumbling monster dads. But Monsters Inc. is charming, funny, and often moving nonetheless.
In contrast to the more meme-friendly Shrek,Monsters Inc. doesn’t have an extensive internet legacy. And maybe that has clouded somefolks’ memory of its quality — there’s nothing like Shrek’s “All Star” sequence. (A high-energy musical number from Billy Crystal’s Mike comes really close, though.) But there’s a reason Pixar revisited the film with a (much less engrossing) prequel: Mike and Sulley are as classic a pair of best friends as Buzz Lightyear and Woody. It just may be harder to remember it because there’s no goofy alt-rock song attached. —AF
12. Incredibles 2 (2018)
It took 14 years for director Brad Bird to return to the world of 2004’s The Incredibles (one of Pixar’s finest films), and in that time, the world had gone absolutely gaga for superheroes. So this sequel engages with questions of what we’re looking for from superhero storytelling and from our current superhero boom.
But it’s also interested in a whole host of other questions, like what it means to be exceptional and how to balance the needs of the self against the needs of the community. That it wraps all this up in a zippy plot filled with brilliant action sequences and is centered on Holly Hunter’s Helen Parr (a.k.a. Elastigirl) gives the movie plenty of visual and storytelling verve. It’s messier than the first film, and at times, it’s hard to parse exactly what its villain’s motivations are. But that pales in comparison to all the stuff that works, because it works so, so well. —EV
11. Toy Story 4 (2019)
If Toy Story 4 is the end of the 24-year-old Toy Story franchise, it will be a satisfying one. While its predecessors are more ensemble-focused, this movie is really about Woody, the pull-string cowboy, as he comes to terms with his own obsolescence. Bonnie, who inherits Woody at the end of Toy Story 3, doesn’t love him as much as his original owner, Andy — leaving Woody to look for meaning in a life that doesn’t match up with the way he’s always believed it was supposed to go. Woven into the plot are vulnerable moments about how we deal with love, our feelings, and relationships that fall off with age.
Toy Story 4’s message to viewers is that we don’t have to stop loving someone just because they’re not in our lives anymore. And even if those relationships end, it doesn’t make them any less special or powerful.While one could argue these themes were already explored in the second and third Toy Story movies, Toy Story 4 still stands out with its rich storytelling and focused story. —AAS
10. Inside Out (2015)
When it was released in 2015, on the heels of a rough patch for Pixar (from when 2011’s Cars 2became the only Pixar movie with a rotten score on Rotten Tomatoes to when The Good Dinosaur had to abandon a late 2014 release date due to production problems), Inside Out felt like the studio finally righting its way. Its depiction of the emotions guiding the inner life of a girl on the cusp of adolescence was clever and visually innovative, while its cast (including Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, and Bill Hader) was perfectly chosen.\
The movie’s superb storytelling introduces incredibly complex ideas — like the notion that two emotions can combine into some third emotion, more complicated than either of them alone — in ways that make instant sense to the audience without tons of exposition. And the message that sometimes feeling darker emotions like sadness and anger is necessary is a meaningful one. Inside Out has its problems (particularly its perhaps too simplistic view of the divide between men and women), but on the whole, it’s a sneakily devastating good time. —EV
9. Toy Story 3 (2010)
Toy Story 3 is a heartbreaker. It’s the perfect culmination of a story that, when it came out in 2010, had been 15 years in the making. Andy, the kid who owned the franchise’s familiar ensemble of toys, grew up and out of his once-beloved playthings. As viewers, maybe his choice to ditch his toys as he preps for college feels unfair, even cruel. We love Woody and Buzz, after all — doesn’t Andy remember that he once did, too?
Of course he does. But as he enters a new phase of life to be filled with new people, new memories, new loves, his toys must accommodate him. And they have to come to terms with their own growth too; as new residents of Sunnyside Daycare, they’re about to meet new kids and learn to love them, as scary as that can seem.
As a viewer around Andy’s age when Toy Story 3came out, I found the film beautiful, if very difficult to watch. Yes, it’s beautiful and emotional at any age (there’s a scene toward the end with an incinerator that should be used as a sociopathy test, because if you don’t cry, there’s an issue). But watching it as I sat on the cusp of college myself, I found it to be the most affecting, realistic portrait of the transition to adulthood I’d ever seen in animation. This was the dramatic, necessary conclusion that Pixar had been building toward since the first Toy Story. All apologies to Toy Story 4, but Toy Story 3 will always feel like the series’ true finale. —AF
8. Coco (2017)
Coco doesn’t get enough credit for being one of the most beautiful films of Pixar’s entire run — if not the past 25 years overall. That first glimpse of the soaring, stupendous, and sweetly spooky Land of the Dead is breathtaking. But a failure to fully recognize Coco’s beauty could be blamed on how wonderfully Coco tells a story about how crucial our families are to who we become.
Miguel, the movie’s plucky protagonist, travels to the underworld to find out about himself and his family’s history, but ends up finally understanding his grandmother and, for the first time, truly discovers who she is. Through the journey, he realizes that love is the only way for him, and for those who have died, to forever remain in the world of the living — at least in spirit. In Coco’s world, and in ours too, love, life, and survival are one and the same. —AAS
7. Toy Story 2 (1999)
Toy Story 2’s magic lies in its ability to add world-shattering wrinkles into the fabric of everything we thought we knew about Toy Story. In this installment, Woody’s going through an existential crisis, as he has to choose between leaving Andy to “live” (a loose interpretation of the word) in a Japanese museum forever or staying with Andy, despite Woody’s fears that Andy will outgrow him. The narrative twists and trapdoors in making Woody more cognizant of his own existence, and his wants and desires, are equal parts stress-inducing and thought-provoking for those of us who have grown attached to the pull-string cowboy. The creativity, adventure and emotional depth in Toy Story 2 make it, in the eyes of some viewers, the bestToy Story of all time. [Ed. note:Our collective ranking suggests otherwise, but it’s all subjective, right?] —AAS
6. Up (2009)
One of my favorite things about Up is the delighted conversation my friends had upon its release about Kevin the Bird. Granted, there are lots of reasons to love Up: It’s masterful at wrangling its openly bittersweet emotions, particularly showcased in Pixar’s best and most memorable opening montage. It’s dotted with faint touches of magical realism that befit its South American locale, and many of them are warmhearted surprises: Balloon-ship houses! Dogs that can tell you they love you! “Squirrel!”
But none of them top my excited group of friends explaining to me, a clueless white person, how funny it is that Russell, the eager boy scout who accompanies grieving widower Carl on his mission to the Venezuelan tepuis, names the exotic bird they find “Kevin.” Russell is a tiny Asian kid, they explained, and Asian guys named Kevin are a whole Thing. To me, Kevin was just a bird named Kevin; to them, it was an entire sly cultural in-joke.
Look, Up is only the second animated film ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, deservedly, and it’s my favorite Pixar film because of its warmth, its humor, and its painful truths about grieving and letting go. But it’s also full of small coded details like “Kevin,” and they remind me that it might be even more special for eager Asian kids like Russell than it is for me. I love Up all the more for that. —AR
5. Ratatouille (2007)
Ratatouille is best remembered for its triumphant finale, which serves as a thesis on the nature of criticism — one that almost feels like director Brad Bird is speaking to film critics directly through the intimidating food writer Anton Ego. But Bird isn’t thumbing his nose at critics or their work. Instead, his film’s message is that love for art of all forms is what inspires all critics, professional or otherwise; that’s what drives us, and that’s what we mustn’t forget.
What makes this remarkably strong takeaway so effective is that Ratatouille works as a great example of why film critics are so drawn to the medium. The movie is a work of art on its own — beautifully animated, with a well-constructed story. And its characters, from the dopey cook Linguini to “little chef” Remy the rat, each tell us something about art itself. Art is an opportunity to share our passion, and it can offer pleasure, no matter the bona fides of its origin.
This resonates even if you aren’t a critic by trade. In all art, we seek entertainment, or joy, or excitement. And Ratatouille offers all of that in spades.The movie benefits from the work of a Pixar crew performing at its height, even if its high-concept, slightly bizarre story — a rat that cooks? It’s weird! — could suggest at first that it may not sing for audiences quite as beautifully as some of Pixar’s other stories. Not the case: As Anton Ego says, “A great artist can come from anywhere.” Ratatouille is a great artist, and great art. —AF
4. Finding Nemo (2003)
Finding Nemo’s greatness can be measured in the sheer number of characters — minor and major — that you think about long after the movie’s over. There’s Nemo, Dory, and Marlin, the core trio, but there’s also Gil, Bruce, and even smaller characters like Peach, the Allison Janney-voiced starfish, and Pearl, the baby octopus who inked herself. Nemo succeeds in not only capturing the natural beauty and wonder of our real-life ocean but also telling a story about parenthood and friendship and, to our own deep sadness, the fragility of life in a way — and through diverse, myriad characters — that we don’t usually think about. —AAS
3. Toy Story (1995)
Rare is it that a film studio gets its first-ever feature just right. But Pixar came out of the gate as a unique breed: a studio that dared to release a full-length animated movie created entirely with computer-generated graphics. In 1995, that was unheard of; traditional animation was still dominant. Despite having little competition on that front, Pixar wowed audiences not just on the basis of Toy Story’s impressive novelty but also through the film’s sheer wit, storytelling, and maturity. Its introduction of Woody and Buzz Lightyear, opposites who very much repel each other until they naturally attract, contends with love, friendship, and the meaning of life in funny and thoughtful ways.
While Pixar’s work has become more technically advanced in the past two decades, I’m still so drawn to how the original Toy Story feels lived-in and expansive, like every nook and cranny of Andy’s room could be worth exploring. As a kid, I found that world to be, well, a world: somewhere I felt safe and comfortable and excited to see more of. That’s something I continue to look for in movies, particularly animated ones; while Pixar continues to craft living, breathing universes for its stories, Toy Story’s remains the one I feel as though I know best.
It helps that Toy Story is the longest-running franchise in Pixar’s oeuvre, just slightly edging out Cars. What makes Toy Story so essential where Cars feels exhausting, though, is the toys. Watching Buzz and Woody’s friendship grow is an emotional experience; the 90-minute journey they take to accepting one another remains powerful. Above all, their relationship is why the toys’ (and Pixar’s) inaugural outing remains as funny, dazzling, and satisfying today as it was in 1995. “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” indeed. —AF
2. The Incredibles (2004)
Brad Bird is the closest thing Pixar has to an auteur filmmaker, who makes movies with a strong, personal vision that keep returning to the same ideas over and over. And his first movie for Pixar, The Incredibles, showed off his talent for large-scale action sequences balanced against small-scale domestic comedy, in a tale of a family of superheroes living in a world that’s made superpowers illegal after some unfortunate incidents and massive amounts of property damage.
What’s great about Incredibles is how it balances the two sides of its personality, while also allowing for a surprisingly meaty dive into ideas about what it means to be “special” and making room for other people to have their own sense of specialness. The ideas in this film have gotten Bird accused of being a Randian objectivist, but what’s so smart about The Incredibles is how Bird never pins himself too thoroughly to any one point of view. This is a movie that can be read on many different levels, from a simple family comedy to an action movie imbued with philosophy to a genuine war of political principles that manages to pack in some great sight gags. —EV
1. Wall-E (2008)
All by itself, Wall-E’s sublime, dreamy opening sequence, in which a lonely android compacts trash on a desolate planet while enjoying the strains of Hello, Dolly!, would warrant its place at the top of our list. Like a little mermaid who’s been collecting human gadgets and gizmos for several hundred years, Wall-E has managed to retrieve something like a soul out of all that discarded refuse; like us, he’s entranced by musical theater, baffled by sporks, and full of love. This image of an adorable Curiosity-like rover keeping his spirit alive after centuries of solitude is simultaneously full of heartbreak and hope, and the film rides that delicate balance all the way through its wrenching highs and lows as Wall-E and his fellow android Eve fight to bring humanity home.
Pixar’s finest movie trusts frequently in its purely aesthetic storytelling, keeping viewers absorbed through long, dialogue-less scenes that marry stellar animation, intricate world-building, and superb sound engineering. Its perfectly humanistic androids have deeply human hearts, in contrast to actual humans, who’ve been navigating in space for so long that they’ve fallen into a lethargic simulacrum of real life. Writer Andrew Stanton has constructed one near-perfect story after another for Pixar over the years, but with Wall-E, he gets more private than ever, simply by presenting the dystopian future as a product of everyday environmental mismanagement, corporate greed, and out-of-control consumption and wastefulness, and letting the results largely speak for themselves.
Even as it dives into a conversation with Kubrick and Sagan, Atompunk and Heinlein, Wall-E never fully feels retro, because it never stops asking painfully contemporary questions. We need its dose of clear-eyed, restorative faith, perhaps even more now than we did a decade ago. —AR
Everyone has their own taste, but there are some movies that we can all hopefully agree are just bad. These are ones that have ridiculous plots, awful acting, and inept direction. If you’re someone who sees the glass as half-full, though, you should be able to admit that some good can be wrought from bad movies. Even if these movies were awful, their results weren’t so bad.
The downward trajectory of M. Night Shyamalan’s career was painful to watch. “After Earth” might not be the worst addition to his filmography, but the sci-fi film, starring Will and Jaden Smith, is still a colossal misfire that audiences stayed away from. Shyamalan wisely scaled things back significantly with his next film, the well-received “The Visit.” Then, “Split” shocked and delighted audiences. Going through rough patches is common for directors, but not all of them can get out of them.
The Emoji Movie
Remember when movies, particularly animated ones, were a way to escape your daily life and all the sights and sounds you’re exposed to ad nauseam? Well, “The Emoji Movie,” an 86-minute excuse to show kids how awesome various apps are, might be the nadir of cross-promotional cinema. Savaged by critics and gifted with multiple Razzies (including Worst Picture), “The Emoji Movie” could be the end of forced branding in children’s films.
No film in recent memory has been as synonymous with “so bad, it’s good” as Tommy Wiseau’s misguided melodrama, “The Room.” Ostensibly the story of a man dealing with his fiancée’s infidelity, “The Room” has earned its cult status through inexplicable scenes involving drug dealers and football, and for some of the most ridiculous dialogue you’ve ever heard. In doing everything wrong, “The Room” somehow ends up doing everything right.
Back in 2003, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez was arguably the most influential couple in Hollywood. Tabloids couldn’t get enough of them, but audiences clearly had their fill by the time “Gigli” rolled into theaters. A bomb for the ages, “Gigli” seems to have been the wake-up call Affleck needed to get his career back on track. He most notably found a second wind as a director, making multiple critically-acclaimed films, including Best Picture winner, “Argo.”
Batman & Robin
When “Batman Begins” came out in 2005, it wasn’t clear if it would be a blockbuster. How did it get to the point where the bankability of one of the most iconic superheroes of all-time was in doubt? We can thank “Batman & Robin” for sullying the brand almost irreparably. Joel Schumacher’s film was a campy nightmare and put a halt to any further Caped Crusader plans. The franchise was revived with Christopher Nolan’s inspired and grittier take on Batman, and the new Batman trilogy changed the way we view comic book movies forever.