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Ice cream soup,

-Shady

Despicable Me (Universal)

1. It’s cute. It’s missing a lot of the adult undertones that other animated movies pepper throughout their films, but “Despicable Me” is still a genuinely adorable movie. Its most appreciative audience may skew a little young, but hey, we were all kids once, right? Everyone except Wilford Brimley, of course, who was born an 80-year-old man.

2. The film sports a bizarrely appropriate score (and original music) from Pharrell Williams. When it first kicked in I thought, “Uhhh… this is weird.” But as the movie continued the music’s fit became more obvious. I’m not going to be rushing out and buying the soundtrack, but it was a nice choice (and risk) that strayed from a standard animated score.

3. Steve Carell’s voice work of lead character Gru works. There are a few instances where it admittedly crosses over into the Mike Myers voice work realm (i.e. every voice sounds exactly the same), but overall his voice was a great match.

4. My biggest complaint: Gru’s nemesis Vector (as voiced by Jason Segel) is underused as a character. His scenes come across as more filler than fulfilling, and it would have been nice to see his character worked into the storyline a little bit better.

5. Kids are going to love this. Got a kid? Take ’em. They’ll love you. Don’t have a kid? Kidnap one and take ’em. Then return them to their parents so they can bug them to go see it again.

Expect a sequel,

-Shady

Pixar's "UP"

…and the first thought that came to mind after the lights came up was this: “I wish Pixar would stop making movies that make me cry.”

I mean, I’m a 32-year-old man! I have a shaved head (approximately 70% of which is by choice)! I have piercings! Tattoos! And yet there I sat, teary-eyed like a school boy with a skinned knee, all because of a cartoon about an old man and his floating house!

Man… you’re ruining my street cred, Pixar!

The screening was at El Capitan… wait a minute. Let me back up a second.

Last night, Kathy and I watched the series premiere of the new show “Glee.” I thought it was alright, but Kathy absolutely loved it. She especially loved the character of Sue, a hardass cheerleading coach as played by the always brilliant Jane Lynch.

For those of you who don’t know, Jane Lynch is a character actress who has been in “Best In Show,” “A Mighty Wind” and “Talladega Nights,” to name a few.

Here she is in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” with Steve Carell:

Jane Lynch in "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" with Steve Carell.

Anyway, on our way to the theater, Kathy was talking to our friend Lille about “Glee” and how much she loves Jane Lynch. Fast-forward ten minutes to us taking our seats in the balcony directly next to… Jane Lynch.

Once again, Los Angeles doesn’t fail at being both insanely bizarre and incredibly ironic.

But let’s get back on track here and talk about “Up.”

First, I should point out that I had fairly high, yet limited expectations for this movie. I had high expectations because in Pixar’s previous nine attempts I’ve only been disappointed once (“Cars”); I had limited expectations because it was the follow-up film to “Wall-E,” a movie I not only think is their best, but also my favorite movie of 2008.

So I walked into the theater both excited and realistic. I assumed we would be seeing a movie that was somewhere in the realm of pretty good, but far from the world of perfection.

I was wrong.

Pixar has somehow managed to take a story about an old man, a young boy, a talking dog and an exotic bird and turn it into a movie that has more heart than 99% of the live-action films being made today.

I found myself actually caring about this old fart! I cared about his past, his well-being… even his house! And he’s played by Ed Asner! What’s wrong with me?!?

But the truth is that there’s nothing wrong with me. The folks at Pixar have just become as masterful in their storytelling as they are in their animation. Because of this, we’re given movies that are as brilliant as they are beautiful.

I said this in the car on the way home, and the more I think about it the more I think it’s true: Pixar makes great movies because their audience isn’t necessarily a deciding factor. They make great movies for themselves; each film seems to be an extremely personal creation to everyone on the team. You can sense it.

That’s why their films aren’t littered with catchy radio-hit jingles, or princes and princesses waiting to fall in love after 90 minutes. They make movies they like to watch. And because of that, most of us like to watch them, too.

I’ve said this in the past about Pixar and I hope it never ceases to be true: What they produce not only impresses me, but it also makes me insanely jealous. It makes me think, “Why couldn’t I have thought of that?” or, “How can I create at least one thing this brilliant before I’m placed in a pine box?”

“Up” is proof of the fact that Pixar’s products consistently go well beyond the boundaries of good filmmaking and enter the realm of cinematic excellence.

I could bore you with story plots and sound design and character outlines, but none of that is as important as me saying this to you: Go see “Up” as soon as you possibly can. You won’t be disappointed.

And bring Kleenex.

Jane Lynch loved it, too,

-Shady

Old Poop!