#3 – WALL-E

Tagline: After 700 years of doing what he was built for – he’ll discover what he’s meant for.
Directed by: Andrew Stanton
Written by: Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Pete Docter
Music by: Thomas Newman, Peter Gabriel
Starring: Ben Burtt, Elissa Knight, Jeff Garlin, Fred Willard, John Ratzenburger, Kathy Najimy, Sigourney Weaver, and awesomely enough – MacInTalk (a Mac program – voice simulator)
Release date: June 27, 2008
Rated: G
Synopsis: A robot named WALL-E has spent the last several hundred years cleaning up garbage on a completely polluted Earth. When another, lovely, robot named Eve shows up, WALL-E falls for her hard and decides to abandon his job and follow her as she takes back a sign of life to the last remnant of humans – living out in space.
Why this made my top ten:
It’s almost a guarantee if it’s a Pixar movie to be among some of my favorite films of all time. This company makes magic better than a certain other multi-billion dollar company (who recently bought Pixar). They have the capability to think up a story that is in no way predictable or trite, make it fun and appealing to any age group, and on top of that use CGI to create beautiful worlds which seem entirely possible. And they make money doing it.

This film is no different from any other Pixar offering. WALL-E is a story that balances the romantic comedy with the action. At first, it seems absurd to be watching two robots fall in love, but it takes only a few minutes to begin seeing them as human – especially when you realize just how disgusting the actual humans in the movie are.

Pixar also plays with adding live action to this animated film. Many of the videos the characters watch are actual live-action, beginning with segments from the classic musical “Hello Dolly.” The music is great, the animation is great, and the story is wonderful. There is, of course, that subtle poke at an environmental lesson to be learned, but the film does it so gently that you don’t really mind.

Favorite scenes: The scene with the rocket landing and WALL-E chasing the red dot – reminds me of a cat and a laser pointer, plus most any scene with MO.

#3 – Speed Racer

Tagline: Go!
Directed by: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Written by: Andy Wachowski, Larry Wachowski
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Christina Ricci, John Goodman, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox, Paulie Litt, Rain, and Roger Allam

Music by: Michael Giacchino
Rated: PG
Release date: May 9, 2008
Synopsis: The Wachowski brothers are unleashed upon this popular Japanese anime series, in which a young man named Speed Racer (and his family) battles the evil racing corporations while driving really fast.

Linear storytelling, color, and even the laws of physics are all abused fantastically.

Why this movie made my top ten: Dear goodness, this movie rocks so much. I’ve now seen it four times, and have fallen in love with it each and every time. The only – and I mean *only* – reason it’s not #1 is because it really needs about 20 minutes trimmed from it. It’s breathtakingly beautiful, incredibly exciting, and extremely funny. Also – it features a realistic and loving family, one that cares for each other and supports each other.

It’s the family that elevates this film from “fun” to “fantastic” – just watch during the final lap of the grand prix. It takes every single emotional beat from the prior two hours, and blends it seamlessly into the finale – it’s a phenomenal effect, and absolutely floors me each time I see it.

And yes, every moment of this film is incredible to behold – the Wachowski’s unleashed the full force of their imagination on this film, and we’re the ones who reap the benefit. Colors blend, physics bend, and joy and happiness permeate every single frame. The cast is all on board, each one turning in a picture perfect performance. (Special shoutout to Christina Ricci, who absolutely *owns* the role of Trixie.) Only the most hardened of cynics could hate this film. (And we all know that cynicism is for losers.)

Buy it, watch it, love it – this film deserves it.

Favorite scene: I’ve already mentioned the final race, so I’ll go with my second favorite scene – the opening 20 minutes. Absolutely incredible storytelling, and really groundbreaking editing techniques.