Ranking the Pixar Shorts

Because organizing things is my jam! Stay tuned for “Ranking the Pixar Movies.”


This will just be a list of the shorts that were in front of a Pixar movie, or included on the DVD. And “Small Fry” “George and A.J.,” and “Party Central,” because, they deserve it. Oh, and excluding the Cars Toons, since that will also be a different post. Here we go:

30. Red’s Dream. Not that I don’t love it, because I do, but I just love it the least. It’s darker than any other Pixar project, which I don’t object to, because darkness is awesome, but it just made it weird. As if it wasn’t weird enough all ready. I know Pixar was in its early stages then, so this short was more of a trial than an actual storytelling opportunity, but they did better with their previous ones.

29. Presto. I’m not a huge fan of slapstick humor, and because this short had no dialogue, that’s all it was. Of course the animation was beautiful, and there was a brief glimpse of the luxo ball coming out of Presto’s sleeve, which made the easter egg hunter in me really happy. But otherwise it was too much like a Looney Toons short to be particularly enjoyable. Again, I love this short, I really do! But some of them have to go at the bottom, and so I have to get my critic on.

28. The Legend of Mor’du. The whole point of this short was clearly to explain a fuzzy plot point from Brave: how and why Mor’du became what he was. But I thought it was told in…not a very interesting way. Besides, it was kind of unbelievable that the witch would just shove this story on a random stranger who was only there for a drink of water. That made it funny, but if the witch is just willing to hand out that information when it wasn’t asked for, why didn’t she tell it to Merida?

27. Partly Cloudy. I cannot tell a lie: the reason this beautiful, clever short is so low on this list is because its really painful to watch. Seriously, the animation is so well done that when Gus the cloud pulls the porcupine needles out of Peck the stork’s head, I get shivers all over me. Yikes, yikes, yikes. And added to the goat butting and the electric eel and the crocodile biting…I’m sorry Partly Cloudy, you deserve better, but your slapstick went a little overboard.

26. BURN-E. More slapstick. Well, kinda. Burn-e never actually gets hurt, it’s just that a series of unfortunate events happen to him that prevent him from completing his mission. And for a robot who’s whole purpose is to complete what is asked of him, that has to be really frustrating. And it is, and we see it. Okay, so I’m realizing now there’s nothing I really object to about this short besides the fact that its just not very interesting. I’d rather watch this than Mor’du, though.

25. The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. I put this as far away from the end as I could, because it’s not fair to judge it harshly when it was Pixar’s first real short. And I thought it was really good for a first attempt. The only reason it’s not higher is because I would rather watch every short I haven’t named yet rather than this 2-minute experiment.

24. Luxo, Jr. I also wanted to put this far away from the end, because, ITS THE LUXO LAMP JUMPING ON THE BALL!! I was SO excited the first time I saw this short, which wasn’t until after I had seen every Pixar movie out at the time. I guess this was about five years ago? But if it didn’t have the significance of being the logo of Pixar, being in front of everything created by them, and being somewhere in most movies, I wouldn’t enjoy it very much. So, it’s a lamp jumping on a ball. Big whoop.

23. Day and Night. I thought this one was really cool and clever actually, but really, REALLY confusing. What on earth are those two…shapes…supposed to be? Don’t tell me; I know they are supposed to be day and night. But why have they never met each other before? Las Vegas is in full swing, so this short is set in somewhat modern times. And why did that radio tower inspire them so much? And if they just turn into each other at the end of the day–or night–anyway, why were they so intrigued by the perks of the other? Maybe I just need to watch it again, but I thought it was more ambiguous than it needed to be.

22. Tin Toy. Unlike everyone else on the planet, I didn’t have a problem with that baby’s ugliness. I wanted it to be my baby. I’m so very proud of this short, because it introduced the idea of toys coming to life, which led to the production of…wait for it…Toy Story! But it’s not higher up on my list because it just wasn’t interesting enough. I was always fascinated by the shininess of Tin Toy, though.

21. Sanjay’s Super Team. Just…woah. I don’t support liberalism, but I do support expressing views that don’t worry about offending anyone. And I’m still trying to decide if this short offends me or not. So…okay…it’s Buddhism mixed with superheroes? As in…religion mixed with worldliness? I’m not a Buddhist, but I think if that were my religion I’d be a little uncomfortable with that. But again, points for them not worrying about who they might be excluding. And visually it was really cool to watch. REALLY cool.



20. Lava. So, I loved the whole “I lava you” pun way more than I should have. And the animation was incredible. But something in me is really against that kind of Hawaiian music. And while I bought the robot romance, the toy romance, the car romance, and even the umbrella romance, volcanoes falling in love was too far-fetched for me.

19. One Man Band. Points for violins. Otherwise it was just kind of meh. I can’t even think of anything else to say about it except, the girl’s name is Tippy! How cute is that?

18. For the Birds. Again, one of their first ones, so I’m trying not to be too hard on it. But at this point they were really getting comfortable with how animation worked, and how they could tell a story with it. And they did a pretty good job. I thought it was cute, and every time I see its cameo in Cars and Inside Out, I get very excited.

17. Small Fry. I love Toy Story. A lot. It makes even the cheap toys lovable. But in this one the cheap toys were those things that come with a kid’s meal. And those just cannot be lovable! But I did love how zombiefied the fast food worker was. Oh, and how when little Buzz came in with a far-fetched story that he’d just been shrunk, Woody was experienced enough to say, “Okay, where’s the real Buzz?”

16. Riley’s First Date? This one made me laugh, in places. But it wasn’t about the date so much as Jordan bonding with Mr. Anderson. And I loved that bonding; I loved the clearly accurate portrayal of a teenage boy’s head, but I think we all were just expecting the magic of Inside Out, and it was kind of a letdown.  Riley had about two lines, and if all the emotions had one, it was only one. Too bad.

15. Partysaurus Rex. Again, love Toy Story, but Rex always got on my nerves just a wee bit. So making a short centered around him was, in my opinion, not a great idea. And those bath toys too, so obnoxious, and oblivious. This short to me seemed kind of thrown together at the last minute. But there is one redeeming factor about this short which helped it reach the halfway point. “What up fishes?” cracks me up in ways I can’t even explain!

14. Boundin’. This song will get stuck in my head forever. And it’s fine and all, but I don’t particularly want it stuck in my head forever. I appreciate the easter eggs of Stanley from Cars, and the dentist’s hand from Finding Nemo, though. And there’s an “I brake for jackalopes” bumper sticker in Cars. Where can I get one of those??

13. Mater and the Ghostlight. Cars wasn’t my favorite Pixar movie (though Cars 2 was for a while!), but I still liked this short. I’m not entirely sure why, except that it greatly amused me. “The only thing to be afraid of out here is your imagination.” “Yup, that, and of course, the Screaming Banshee. Well, good night!” Aw, I love Doc Hudson. Why did Paul Newman have to die before the sequel?

12. Your Friend the Rat. This was more of an infoshort, and lucky for them they taught us in a fun way, or else this would be much closer to the bottom. But no, classic Pixar, they came up with very clever and funny ways to educate us. Seriously, why aren’t they in charge of the education system? (Yes, I hear it now.) I appreciated seeing Wall-e in the song at the end, too! And the fine print after that which cut the rats off, and is really humorous if you listen to what it’s saying, was a nice touch.

11. Jack-Jack Attack. That baby is ADORABLE. I mean think about it, if I thought that hideous Tin Toy baby was cute, how much more would I think this honestly cute one is? I also liked seeing more of his powers, since we got so little of that in The Incredibles. And I love telling people how to spell Kari. “It’s like Carrie only with a K instead of a C and an ‘ah’ instead of an ‘eh’ and only one R and an I instead of an IE.” Yeah, that was from memory, people! The only reason it isn’t making my top 10 (and I do mean the only reason) is because I can’t handle the very last bit. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, go watch it, because I’m not going to tell you. It’s literally the last thing you see before credits. I can handle Frodo’s finger being bitten off, but I can’t…handle…this.

blue umbrella

And now here are my top 10 Pixar shorts! Who knew? I didn’t, until this post.

10. Knick Knack. The story was a little weak, but the animation and “music” was so brilliant for being older than me that it’s way up closer to the top of this list. Although it reminds me of really old VeggieTales. I wish this music would get stuck in my head forever, but I always forget it, so I have to watch it again. Which is fine, because I never get tired of it! The fact that all that music is done by people and not instruments make it even cooler. And the snowglobe has an emergency exit! So funny!

9. Geri’s Game. Why are old men (usually) so cute?? My best friend couldn’t watch this when she was little because Geri faking a heart attack scared her, but because I didn’t see it until, well, six years ago, I never experienced that trauma. I can’t get over how hilarious this short is! The guy faked a heart attack, and he wasn’t buying it. Then he flipped the chess board around so he had the winning side, and he was baffled by how he was suddenly losing! The animation wasn’t spectacular in this, but the story…!!!

8. Lifted. So here is a slapstick short I enjoyed! Reasons for that are a combination of the utter panic of Stu the alien as he looked at all those identical switches, the thought of aliens also having driving tests that are stressful to pass, and the fact that that farmer never woke up. You know, until his alarm went off. I don’t call this slapstick, I call it…a series of unfortunate events. That are really hilarious to witness. If the Wilhelm scream is any indication though, that farmer died, and he really shouldn’t have.

7. Party Central. I loved Monsters University so much, and I was so happy to see them back for this. Unlike Riley’s First Date, this one lived up to the movie, I thought. Although I hear the movie didn’t do stupendously. But it did in my book! As did this short. (The only annoying thing is, it’s not on any DVD. Guess I have to wait for Pixar Shorts Volume 3.) “A door station! Where did you get a door station?!” So true. And they have the funniest code names! Art’s is Fuzzy Rainbow!

6. La Luna. This one is SO pretty, and really…soothing almost. And I love how clever it is, with the shape of the moon depending on where the stars are placed. Pixar is a WIZARD at using little to no dialogue, as is shown in more than half of their shorts (including this one), a lot of Wall-e, and the beginning of Up. Points too for Bambino, the boy, being really cute, and showing maturity without losing his childlike sense of wonder.

5. George and A.J. I’m laughing just at the thought of this one. I’m not sure why it came into existence actually, because it wasn’t shown in front of anything, nor was it included on any DVDs until Pixar Shorts Volume 2. And it’s a cartoon, and the voices are all different. But how hysterical it is to see how traumatized these two nurses become at the crazy antics of old people desperate to get away from the babying of retirement homes! That sentence is without a doubt one of the strangest I’ve written. And it’s connected to Up, and I like the shorts that are connected to the movies.

4. Mike’s New Car. Oh, Monsters Inc. Probably the first Pixar movie I ever saw, and I’ve never stopped loving it. I think the reason I loved Monsters University when not everyone else did was because I can’t stop smiling when Mike and Sulley are onscreen. AAH they’re just so FUNNY! And that’s really all I can say for this short. It’s hilarious. Go watch it. Enough said. Oh, and Sulley’s “hmm, that’s weird. The air bag didn’t go off.” Really Sulley, that’s what’s weird to you about this car?

3. The Blue Umbrella. This song gets stuck in my head forever, and I enjoy it! It’s really amazing. It’s a bit much asking an audience to buy a love story between umbrellas, but I bought it! I also loved the creative faces that were shown in everyday objects. And its also really, really pretty. Here’s another powerful love story told through no words at all! I legitimately can’t find anything wrong with this short.

2. Dug’s Special Mission. I can’t even. Dug was just a genius idea. He may be funnier in this than in the movie. Well, he is to me. And not only because of the slapstickiness going on around him, but because of the calm way he states what is happening to him. And then the reverse looking at the rocks, which he does even though he’s sad. “That looks like a turtle. That looks like a man. It IS a man!” And then of course they include one of the funniest parts in Up: “Speak!” “Hi there.”

And number one…

1. Hawaiian Vacation. Yeah, I kind of always knew it would be this one. I’ve been making up this list as I go along, and through process of elimination, here we are. Did I mention I love Toy Story? Because I love Toy Story. I love the Ken and Barbie story. I love Bonnie, and I love the way Buzz mispronounces things. I loved the way the toys made an impromptu Hawaii, and how Ken used a toy camera to take pictures. And I loved how the happy couple fell off the deck into the snow, and everyone just kind of stood there, until Hamm volunteered to get the shovel. And that, consequently is the plot for this short. You guys did know this was spoiler territory, right?

What is your favorite Pixar short?  If you haven’t seen them all, then see them all. Most can be found on Pixar Short Films Collection 1 and Pixar Short Films Collection 2.











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