The Story of the Little Company that Could

From Upcoming Pixar

Now, after Super Size Me, I realized I should probably steer clear of food movies for the duration of this illness, whatever it is (My first migraine or a really weird sinus infection…the jury is still out on that), so I looked through my instant watch list after I was becoming bored out of my mind from just lying around and found I still had The Pixar Story in queue. Nothing can make you happier than a bunch of people who clearly love what they do producing some of your favorite movies – you even hate that you have to stop watching to run yourself to the emergency room because your body is rejecting pain medication that is supposed to help you.

However, after you’ve gotten that taken care of and are at least back to where you were before the experiment with Vicodin, you come back and settle down and watch John Lasseter’s contagious enthusiasm fill your screen and you’re bummed you gave up on that dream to become an animator on that dark day in 4th grade when you realized you had no drawing ability whatsoever. Because, basically, The Pixar Story is the story of this one little computer animation company that could. That wasn’t willing to say something couldn’t be done and that was willing to sacrifice everything for a good story. It is a movie of triumphs, of these rebel computer scientists and artists proving to the world that 3D animation could be done and done well. It is clearly a movie of a company that knew they shouldn’t have succeeded so quickly once they got their name out there but they did so they ran with it and just kept beating the odds. Completely re-working Toy Story 2 over a weekend when they realized the story just wasn’t working. Making up the rules as they went when it came to new techniques needed for Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. If nothing else, The Pixar Story is a testament that if you pay attention to the story and the craftsmanship of the film, the bottom line takes care of itself. A lesson animation studios are still learning years after Pixar has proved it time and again.

The films wraps after the success of The Incredibles so there are no mentions of the Pixar successes since such as Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up and Toy Story 3, perhaps the best of the Toy Story trilogy. I wonder also how it would handle Cars 2, arguably the weakest film to ever be released by the whiz kids up in Emeryville. A film that is still heads above the competition but does put a little worrying fission through Pixar devotees. Until one watches the trailer for Brave and you realize every studio gets its one off. Even when that one off is still wildly successful, fun, engaging and leaves you wanting more.


Not a movie to watch while ill…or if you like McDonald’s French Fries

Sigh, I am sick of being sick with some mysterious illness. My new plan is to ignore my headache and carry on as if it doesn’t exist. I’ll either succeed in ignoring it into nonexistence or ticking it off enough that it sticks around for my sister’s visit. I always pick the most inopportune times to be sick. I mean, this couldn’t happen during a month when I have nothing going on? I have reams of those around, time to kill but no, I get sick as I have someone actually coming to see me! Whatever body, you’re not getting out of the planned outdoor movie, trail ride or outdoor musical complete with pitchfork fondue before hand.

From The Political Film Blog

That said, when one is suffering from nausea brought on by medicine that you have no business taking, Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me is not the movie to watch when you can’t seem to fall asleep. But, it was going to go off Netflix Instant soon and I didn’t think it could be that bad so I watched. And progressively got more green as the movie continued. Honestly, it’s really two scenes that seem a bit much. When you eat a super sized Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal in less than 30 minutes, you can imagine what your body does with that much processed sugar and fried foods. It doesn’t take a genius. And then also, the scene where they show a gastric bypass surgery in all its wonderful glory. No thanks.

That said, this movie was quite eye opening. Granted, I try to keep my McDonald’s intake down (but I do love their fries) so I might get it once a month? Even that is probably more than I get on average. I always get a medium (who would need more?) and I figure that isn’t sending me to an early grave. Spurlock goes all out – seems to often get the largest size he can and the amount of soda the man consumes is alarming in itself. Soda is one thing I noticed I drank too much of in college so I took that out of my diet early. Now it’s more of a treat I buy on special occasions or get when I eat out if iced tea isn’t a valid option. Overall, it’s disturbing to watch a healthy, normal male live on McDonald’s for a month and basically destroy the health he’s acquired over the first 30ish years of his life. Because he does manage to destroy it. Notes given after the movie say it takes his vegan girlfriend 8 weeks to get his blood work back to normal and it takes him months to return to his normal weight. Months when it only took him a single month to put on 25 pounds.

Now, this is an extreme experiment and like I said, Spurlock does seem to make matters worse on himself by his menu choices but that’s sort of the point so I let that slide. I found the reason he came up with the idea fascinating as well. Two teenage girls were suing McDonald’s for their obesity and subsequent health problems. Now, I guess I see this as sad. McDonald’s is a part of the American problem; I’ll be the first to admit it. But is anyone forcing you to eat there? Spurlock does a good job of presenting both sides of the argument and looking at the American food lifestyle in general and how those two young girls could perhaps come to see McDonald’s as the source of their problems (I have to wonder though what their parents were doing when all this was occurring though).

So, interesting film, really, and it made sure I won’t be subsisting on McDonald’s anytime soon though I’m still baffled as to who would want to do that. However, not a documentary to watch while you’re feeling ill. Or on a full stomach. Or if you plan on eating at any time during or after the film. Give yourself some recovery time because he eats a lot of Mickey D’s in front of you and I think some of the processed sugar leeches out into the audience.



I have a life-long fascination with the ocean. I honestly can’t tell you why. I didn’t grow up near one, and have never spent much time near one either. I can remember the handful of times when I’ve stood on the Atlantic’s shores. And I think that the trip-that-shall-not-be-named brought me to the Pacific’s shores for the first and last time when I was eighteen months old. Marine ecosystems though continue to enthrall me. Its animals even more so. I can watch sea otters by the hour at zoos, marvel at the colors of tropical fish and literally remain spellbound in the grace of dolphins when I get a chance to see them at an aquarium.

The library’s summer reading and film challenge has started for this year and I am sadly lagging in getting a move on my list. So tonight I sat down to watch Disneynature’s Oceans for the science category. Disneynature films usually come to Netflix streaming just in time for its latest release and Oceans was no different, streaming a little before African Cats came into theaters. I am usually a year behind, living in a place that doesn’t get Disneynature films into the local theaters. I have to say I liked Oceans even better than its first outing, Earth. Oceans had less peril to it and more of the story of why we need the oceans and its creatures. Plus, the ocean just has fun creatures to watch: dolphins, sea otters, leopard seals, humpback whales and really awesome fish I didn’t even know existed like the Stone Fish or the sheep-domed something or other that is one of the oldest species alive on Earth today. So cool!

I had to laugh at one point though as I tried not to cry over an activity that made me cry over 20 years ago when I first saw it. They showed, what I am coming to think must be an obligatory sequence in ocean-based documentaries, orcas feasting on baby sea lions on the South African coast. People, I want it on the record that I DID NOT cry. I feel I am making progress. It is one thing to understand the whole Circle of Life thing, quite another to watch it.  I do have to give props to the orcas, their way of hunting is pretty awesome to see.

The one thing that I always have after watching a good nature documentary though is guilt. Disneynature takes it pretty light on the whole humans affecting the planet aspect of things (though it is definitely touched on more in Oceans than it was in Earth), and still I have guilt that I am a human and have at some point in my life polluted the ocean. It is, sadly, inevitable that I have done so in some way, shape or form. I like to think I am aware, more so than a lot of people, that how I live even miles away from the oceans effects them in some way. I blame my first research report back in 8th grade for that (my topic was “Why ocean pollution should be addressed on a national and international level” – I was such a nerd…still am….). While we have put so much effort into exploring the skies and stars above us, I feel that the oceans often get the short end of the stick which is just wrong when you think about it. Our continued survival as a species depends on the oceans. One thinks we would have a greater respect for it instead of seeing it as a convenient dumping ground for our trash or as an obstacle in our path of retrieving the almighty Oil. I know I will be seeing the Atlantic in September from the deck of a cruise ship (that hopefully is as Green as can be) and I will be sure to show it a bit more respect than last time we met.