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A non-definitive ranking of Disney Pixar movies

If you're looking for a fluffy comfort movie to unwind with after a long day of school, we've got the *perfect* selection for you. Every Disney Pixar movie is the whole package with aesthetic animation, heartwarming messages and witty humor. These films age so well (Edna Mode is an icon now and will be forevermore—we don't make the rules; we just enforce them) and hit hard no matter how much time has passed since their premiere. Feel free to grab some popcorn and get comfy as we discuss our non-definitive ranking of the Disney Pixar movies (excluding the sequels).

16. Cars

Gen Zers mostly mention Cars to bash it or the context of memes, but if you give the movie a chance, you'll find a cute middle-of-nowhere town where everyone knows everyone, the absolutely endearing Mater, and a whole lotta heart. As enjoyable as it is to see messages promoting simplicity and selflessness, it's really hard to root for Lightning McQueen for most of the film, and tbh, Cars just doesn't have the same Pixar pizzazz that you'll find in their other movies.

15. The Good Dinosaur

The aesthetics and animation of The Good Dinosaur deserve their own article of praise. The movie's also got an adorable baby and such a compelling premise (what would happen if dinosaurs never went extinct?). Unfortunately, Pixar's done the unlikely-pairing-go-on-a-journey formula before, and this one can feel like a knock-off of Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and, well, most other Disney movies.

14. A Bug's Life

Before there was optimistic, inventive Tinker Bell, there was Flik, and (hot take, but) Princess Atta and Dot walked so Elsa and Anna could run. This might not be the first film that comes to mind when someone mentions Pixar, but if you aren't squeamish about flocks of animated bugs, we def recommend Pixar's most underrated film for its character growth, LOL-worthy jokes and relatable hero.

13. Onward

What if the world was filled with mythical creatures, and magic was once commonplace? Onward creatively answers these questions with a treasure hunt-like quest, a van named Guinevere with a pegasus paint job and the bickering-brother relationship between Tom Holland and Chris Pratt's animated counterparts. And the ending? We're not crying, you are.

12. Brave

It was about time that Pixar had a female protagonist. Before Brave, Pixar had touched on friends, fathers and sons, and whole family relationships. This princess tale is no damsel in distress story and focuses on the tough love between a mother and daughter, and we are here for it. 

11. Luca

Luca is the movie to watch if you're feeling nostalgic for exploring with friends and sticky ice cream hands during youthful summer vacations. Set in mid-twentieth century Italy, Luca's got shapeshifting, a pudgy cat, and a wonderful message about how self-acceptance. This charming film will make you gasp out loud in denial after a heartbreaking betrayal and shed a tear as everything gets made right.

10. Soul

Speaking of cats, this movie's got one involved in a goofy body-switching subplot. First things first, Soul's musical score is amazing, and watching skilled jazz musician Joe Gardner chase his dreams of becoming a performer is oh-so-inspiring. Second, WOW is its discussion of appreciating life deeply and profoundly beautiful. If Inside Out got you all in your feels, better have some tissues on hand as you watch Soul

9. Up

Yeah, um, is Russell anyone else's comfort character? Just us? You might be surprised to see Up so late at number 9 considering The First 10 Minutes of Up (if the emotionally-charged opening sequence is your villain origin story, we don't blame you). Yet no one ever really talks about the rest of the movie, which is super unfortunate because audiences get the pleasure of seeing a wild dog chase (literally), natural character development, and the iconic line "Kevin's a girl?"

8. Coco

The rainbow called, and it wants its colors back. Seriously, this movie's vibrant aesthetics may give it the title of the most beautiful Pixar movie next to The Good Dinosaur. In addition to its visuals, A+ bops, and an actually surprising plot twist, its focus on the importance family and celebration of Mexican culture make this flick worth every minute.

7. Ratatouille

Who else remembers the disappointment of realizing that pulling on your hair cannot, in fact, control your body like a puppet? Even so, that letdown's outweighed by the dazzling pans of Paris, mouthwatering shots of French cuisine, and a loveable unlikely hero. Ratatouille has the magic power of melting anyone's heart.

6. WALL-E

There's no dialogue in the first half-hour, and WALL-E already touches on human environmental impact, has an easy-to-follow plot, and introduces one of the sweetest love stories. Wall-E and Eve truly deserve a spot on the list of most beloved fictional couples, and this movie should be studied in grade school for how it handles consumerism, waste management, and reliance on technology. If you step away from this list to enjoy some fresh air outside, we totally won't mind.

5. Monsters, Inc.

Didn't think it was possible to get emotionally attached to a chaotic monster duo or a fictional toddler in pigtails, but here we are. Monsters, Inc def represents the best of Pixar's creativity with its believable monster universe, and we love how Sully and Boo's precious relationship shows that you can be friends with someone even if you've got massive differences.

4. The Incredibles

The Parr family is literally out there showing how dangerous it is to have superpowers, and we're here trying to decide which ability matches us the best—it's just too fun! The Parr family is far from perfect, but that's what makes this movie so moving. All five family members are fleshed out, and whether it's shy Violet or playful Dash, you can for sure connect with at least one of the Parrs. Also, choose your fighter: “We're dead. We survived, but we're dead,” "No capes," or "Honey, where's my super suit?" 

3. Inside Out

It's hard to find a movie that touches on mental health and emotions without glamorizing or belittling, but Inside Out does just that. The movie is incredibly inventive (Riley's actions are controlled at "Headquarters," an actual chugging "train of thought," you can't make this stuff up), and you can't help but give a mental round of applause when Sadness becomes the hero of the story. 

2. Finding Nemo

If you've ever dressed up as Darla for Halloween, you've got *taste*. From Dory attempting to speak whale to "I shall call him Squishy and he shall be mine," Finding Nemo has so many memorable moments that we still quote to this day. Life's gonna bring you down sometimes, but the film effectively encourages viewers to just keep swimming because life has so much more joy to offer.

1. Toy Story

What a cultural reset. Though Toy Story was Pixar's first film, it created a legendary blueprint for family-friendly animated movies to come with its simple yet original concept. Not only is the movie funny (we'll never get enough of Buzz's dramatic "This isn’t flying. This is falling, with style"), but it also captures the reluctant and excluded feeling of being second-best. Toy Story is the ultimate enemies-to-best friends story, and it will remind you of all the nostalgic memories from your childhood you thought you forgot (there's just a certain smell to arcade and pizza birthday parties). 

Want to see more of our rankings? Check out our non-definitive ranking of all the Barbie movies!

All GIFs via GIPHY
Slider image: @Pixar

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by Elizabeth Huang | 8/14/2021
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