16. Toy Story 2
The first of Pixar’s attempts at a sequel, Toy Story 2 did not disappoint. Not only did we get to hang out with the gang all over again, we added some new characters we equally felt for. This was the first time in the series we saw the toys dealing with their kids outgrowing them (by the way, I feel like there’s some merit to the internet theory that Jessie really belonged to Andy’s mom). Buzz really grows into his own, too. Still, it’s Woody’s show. Despite a chance to be a part of a collector’s set, it’s still priority number one to be back in Andy’s room.
I remember seeing a Tonight Show interview with Chris Pratt talking about the story of Onward and he got a little choked up. After watching it I can see why.
At its core, Onward is a story about role-models/father-figures wrapped neatly in an adventure with two brothers trying to talk to their deceased father one more time. Chris Pratt and Tom Holland are naturally fitting as siblings. The movie’s end hits a bittersweet note where I’m sitting there counting my blessings. All in all, a solid Pixar outing.
14. Toy Story
Toy Story is legendary. It started the whole Pixar shebang. If this one didn’t make it, it would’ve took longer for computer animated movies to warrant Hollywood budgets.
I’ve must’ve watched Toy Story over 2 dozen times. Not much to be said – a simple story about sentient toys. Tom Hanks is a national treasure. Tim Allen is great, too. Toy Story gets O.G. status, and that’s why it’s this up this high on the list.
13. Cars 3
I’m going to admit – I was skeptical of Cars 3. I really did not give it a chance when it was released into theaters, but I finally gave it a chance when I got onto Disney+.
Cars 3 really outdoes the Cars franchise with a touching, relatable story: Growing old gracefully. In sports, Father Time is undefeated. And in Cars 3, you know Lightning McQueen’s time is done. His reluctance to accept it is something a lot of people can relate to. And (spoiler alert) by the movie’s end he learns to accept his new role in his world.
It surprised me that this outing was good. If they wanted to keep building off this world of talking cars, let’s hope they continue to build off what they established in Cars 3.
12. Finding Dory
It’s no Finding Nemo, but damn is this movie beautiful and charming. I was a little weary of Finding Dory – I thought making Ellen’s Dory the focus of the story might get annoying with her issue with short-term memory but there are enough side characters to not make her schtick wear completely out.
This is one of those movies I pretty much smile the whole way through. Instant feel-good.
11. Toy Story 4
Existential crisis. That’s what Woody faces in this Toy Story entry. I thought Toy Story 3 wonderfully closed the series out, but Toy Story 4 puts the final note onto Woody’s song.
We’ve spent four movies over the span of 20 years with Woody and the gang so seeing (SPOILER ALERT) Woody split from the group to pursue his own path is a bit emotional but it’s a natural conclusion to his journey after serving his purpose from being Andy’s favorite toy, to a member of Molly’s toys. We also got a scene-stealing Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom and if you need me to explain to you why this is awesome I feel sorry for you.