Irrational Hatred of My Irrational Hatred

Monsters University

Can you do it? Can you bear the following six words without storming off in anger or labeling me a heretic? Consider it a test of your fortitude. I’m talking about these six words: I can’t freaking stand Pixar movies.

When I tell people I can’t stand Pixar movies (or any computer-animated cartoon movies for that matter), they become so irrationally hostile that I wonder if Moses didn’t carry a third tablet down from Mount Sinai declaring Toy Story to be God’s own directorial debut. It’s as if I told them I dislike their children. Which would be true, by the way. I don’t like other people’s kids almost as much as I don’t like computer-animated films. Keep those little rug rats away from me.

Buzz Lightyear CryingWhy do people care so much about my feelings toward Pixar? The only comparable reaction I’ve encountered was back in my vegetarian days, when people would practically beg me to explain my reasoning for going meatless, only to become angrily defensive when they got their answer. The other day, I mentioned my Pixar hatred to a friend I know is incapable of rage. I asked her if my revelation made her angry, and she said, somberly, “No. It fills me with sadness.” She seemed depressed for the next 45 minutes.

Unlike other haters of things who behave in knee-jerk, reactionary fashion, I’ve tried to watch computer-animated films many times. I even sat all of the way through a few of them. It was torture, but I made it. I even liked the first half of Wall-E. Then, at the 40-minute mark, when they backpedaled on the apocalypse and revealed the humans to be alive after all, I realized it was impossible for a computer-animated movie not to be bullshit.

Here’s why I hate Pixar movies:

  • The physics of the Pixar universe is wrong. Characters bound and flop and smash their way through the story without harm and in defiance of gravity, so why worry about what will happen to them? They are indestructible. They also remind me of Jar Jar Binks, the most hated character in cinematic history. I’m getting sick just thinking about it.
  • They always always always have sentimental endings. Can’t one of them end with a pietà of Woody holding Buzz Lightyear’s dead body in his arms, crying and screaming “NO!” as the camera circles then cuts to black?
  • Animated humans always have door-knob noses and eyeballs that are flush with the rest of their faces. Teams of computer graphic artists spend thousands upon thousands of man hours painstakingly rendering every micro-detail of light, shadow, and texture. Why can’t any of them draw a fucking human face?
  • Talking animals. Aside from the odd parrot, animals don’t talk, and neither do toys. A tinny speaker and a cheap microchip that plays pre-recorded sentences is not the same thing as talking, Mitt Romney notwithstanding. I’m not just picking on Pixar here. Talking animals don’t belong in any form of popular entertainment. I read a book once, Animal Farm, that had talking animals. The guy totally ripped off real-life events. His characters acted like Karl Marx and Lenin and stuff. I was like, “Jesus Christ, Orwell, get an original idea.” What do you expect from a guy who steals Pixar techniques to con his readers?

I’m sorry if you through this was going to be a review of Monsters University. I wouldn’t go near that thing with a pair of Google Glasses on showing a different film. In fact, I went to the theater to watch This is the End yesterday and almost had a panic attack when I saw hundreds of children milling around. “These kids aren’t going to see an R-rated dick-joke comedy, are they?” I asked, until I remembered Pixar was out vacuuming up money again. Seth Rogen is as close to a saucer-eyed, knob-nosed human I am willing to get.

The other wide-release film I’m not reviewing is World War Z, because.

Really, after the Pixar rant, do I need to explain that I don’t like computer-animated zombies? Zombie films have always been visceral and in-your-face with graphic violence to play off our fears of death and aging. That gets lost in the sheen of CG crowd shots and mass destruction.

But it is a zombie-movie event, and, being the resident genre expert here at PFC, I would be remiss in not pointing out—once again—that Rolling Stone is the dumbest rag on the planet.

Peter TraversGood lord, every time they make a new list of top whatevers in music or movies, it’s like a silent scream for help. To coincide with the release of World War Z, they have posted a list of the top 10 zombie-movie scenes of all time. Written by Peter Travers no less!

So he starts with a clip from a video game, which, if I’ve been paying attention to pop culture since 1896, is not a movie. He has a scene from Return of the Living Dead, which IS one of the best Zombie films of all time, but he picks the wrong scene. You can’t talk best scene in RotLD without using the word “Braaaaiiinsss!” Then he mentions a bunch of recent, forgettable zombie flicks no one cares about, before getting to 28 Days Later, which is not a zombie movie.

Night of the Living Dead finally shows up, but again he picks the wrong scene. “They’re coming to get you, Barbara,” is a classic quote, but the sequence itself is poorly acted and staged in a way that looks back toward Boris Karloff, not ahead toward the graphic violence of modern horror. The best scene occurs when the little girl is resurrected as a zombie and graphically kills her mother with a trowel. It’s the gut-punch that lets the audience know zombie movies ain’t for kids anymore.

The most egregious omission is a scene that any true genre fan will call the most unforgettable moment in zombie movie history. I refer to the infamous “eyeball” sequence from 1980’s Zombie, in which… a never mind. Just look at the image:

Eyeball Scene from Zombie

Trust me, zombie-movie novices; this is the top scene on any authentic list of this nature. I doubt Travers is aware this film exists, despite its worldwide reputation as a classic of undead cinema. Rather, I suspect he never actually watched a zombie film prior to Shaun of the Dead, despite being the resident movie guy at RS. I mean, I’m kind of a music guy here, but don’t see me making a (short) list of the least boring Don Henley songs of all time do you?

In other words, write what you know.


Eric J Baker

Comments: 3

  • jkillough June 23, 201312:37 pm

    What shocked me the most was when I saw Peter Travers on a Daily Beast TV program with Ramin Setoodeh. It was like listening to two queens bitching in an upscale hustler bar on the upper east side in the 80s — I had no idea Travers was so flaming. But I never suspected Jann Wenner, either.
    I happen to enjoy Pixar a lot. Not liking their films is rather like not seeing the beauty in the Taj Mahal, but your list of reasons explains your point of view perfectly.

  • ericjbaker June 23, 20131:28 pm

    I am fully aware that I am the only person on Earth who does not like these films. Scientists have yet to discover the Pixar gene, but I’m the only one without it. It’s not based on anything cerebral. It’s more like if you tried to feed lettuce to a dog. the dog would sniff it and say, ‘Why are you sticking this odorless object in my face?”

  • jkillough June 24, 20131:14 am

    I saw WWZ tonight. Beautifully shot and edited. But so ho hum. And the discreet lack of gore and violence would have made you cringe.

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