The Most Underrated Moments In Pixar History

Whenever there's a conversation about the work of Pixar, it tends to shift into emotional reactions their films produce. And when you've been having these conversations for as long as I have, you tend to notice that the same specific moments are always brought up. These would likely include the emotional rollercoaster that begins Up, the intense start to Finding Nemo, or the edge-of-your-seat climax of Toy Story 3. But with such a rich catalog of feature films (and shorts), there are many funny, lovely, and truly bizarre moments within the company's history that seem to never get the spotlight they deserve.

So with the release of Cars 3 this week, it seems only right that a new list of moments needed to be created. Some of these are funny and others might make you cry, but as with anything related to the house that made Buzz and Woody, there's a lot of mushy feelings involved. So sit back, grab onto your Luxo Jr. ball, and let's take a look into some of the more underrated Pixar moments.

Partly Cloudy – When The Stork Puts on the Football Uniform

All of Pixar's shorts have some sort of emotional tug. Usually, it revolves around a romance or family, but on a slightly more rare occasion, friendship is involved. That's where Partly Cloudy comes in. Telling the story of the clouds that make the babies for storks to deliver is a very cute concept, but sprinkling in the notion that there's a cloud in charge of making all the intense creatures of the world (alligators, sharks, etc.) is one heck of a humorous twist.

The main thrust of this short is the dynamic between the cloud and his stork partner, who, no matter what creature is handed to him, he'll deliver with a smile (and some bruises) on his face. After a few incidents, it seems that the stork might have had enough of his cloud friend and decides to give his services to another brighter cloud. It all seems doom and gloom for this duo, until the stork returns with a protective football uniform. This moment not only showcases how Pixar are masters at producing an emotional rollercoaster in just a few seconds, but how they make you instantly fall in love with their characters in just a simple image. Because don't we all want a friend that'd wear a football suit to make us feel okay with our quirks?

Toy Story – Buzz Sees His Own Commercial

Toy Story has quite a few masterpiece-level moments throughout its 81 minute runtime. From "the claw" to "there's a snake in my boot" to "infinity and beyond," there are lines that have simply entered the pop culture lexicon. Yet, there is one moment that I believe doesn't get talked about nearly enough and it involves Buzz coming across a commercial. For himself.

Up until this point, Mr. Lightyear is convinced that he isn't a toy and that he is, in fact, a real space ranger. So when a TV ad comes on the TV, proving that he is indeed a toy, Buzz changes from a headstrong stubborn character to one that questions his own existence. He even begins to lose it (during that great tea party scene) and only snaps back when he has a rocket tapped to his back.

It's the kind of the scene that makes you wonder about your own identity. This was Charlton Heston discovering the Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes, mixed with the twist in the Sixth Sense – a world-shattering revelation. For young me, seeing Buzz realize the truth was "clutch my pearls"- level savage.

Wall-E – Foreign Contaminants

When people talk about Wall-E, they either jump on the romance or the environmental message. But there's one unsung hero within this tale of Hello Dolly songs and robot love, and that's M-O. Yeah, he might not be as cute as the titular character or EVE, but there's something to adore about this character that is dedicated to his job, and refuses to back down from it.

Many moments in Wall-E prove how dialogue isn't really necessary for audiences to understand a character, and M-O's introduction is one of the best examples of that. Right from the get-go, we can tell that M-O is a dude on a mission, and won't let even his silly co-workers (or fellow robots) stand in his way. This little contraption seems very set on his task, but when he finally sees Wall-E and how incredibly contaminated he is, the reaction is priceless, and wonderfully sets up the hijinks (and frustrations) this character has to endure throughout the rest of the movie.

Monsters Inc. – "Oh So Help Me" Musical

Many Pixar fans will say that Mike's famous impromptu number "Put That Thing Back Where It Came From, Or So Help Me" is among the greatest (and most obvious) highlights in Monsters Inc. But I would argue that the blooper version is more hilarious and the musical birthed from it is even better. As someone who grew up with musicals at the forefront, so much of this entire gag brings on a flash flood of community theater memories. But if you were never exposed to your high school drama department or haven't gone to a Broadway show, just the notion of Mike actually starring in a production inspired by the events of the movie is still hilarious.

But the thing that really makes this entire joke work is Billy Crystal's vocal performance. When you get an actor that loves musical theater as much as him, lightning strikes, and magic sequences like this can happen. Sure, another talented individual would have done fine in the recording booth, but there's just something special when you have a person like Crystal bringing your character to life, and this scene (much like the rest of Monsters Inc.) is a testament to that idea.

Monsters University – Squishy's Mom During the "Initiation"

Monsters University is not the greatest of Pixar's films. It might have made an impression on the hardcore Monsters Inc. fans, but to much of the movie-going world, it feels like minor Pixar. Yet there is no denying that there are some excellent moments sprinkled throughout this prequel, and the one that sticks out the most takes place within the most basic of basements.

When Mike and Sully go in search of a fraternity to join, they get involved in many frat-related hijinks. Eventually, they land at the residence of the Oozma Kappa brotherhood...which is also the childhood home of Oozma member, Scott "Squishy" Squibbles. This one fact leads to many scenes of comedic brilliance, but the best comes from the introduction of Squishy's mom, Sheri. We've all experienced those moments in our youth where we want to look cool in front of our friends and somehow our parental figure ruins that with just a simple gesture. Here, Sheri turns on the light during Mike and Sully's initiation into the frat, and the laughs continue from there. It's an equally embarrassing and charming scene. We get how you're feeling, Squishy. We really do.

Brave – "Bear Fight"

Time for an unpopular opinion: I'm one of the few people that really likes Brave. Maybe it wasn't the juggernaut of a hit Pixar was hoping for, nor did it improve upon a story that Disney's Brother Bear did a decade earlier, but there are some bright spots that capture the charm and intriguing risk that is this film. That's why this particular moment needed to be on the list.

If you don't know the true plot of Brave by now, I won't fully spoil it here. But let's just say, someone our lead heroine loves gets turned into a bear. So when the evil Mor'du attacks Merida and her clan, seeing this important figure defend the princess is inspiring. This also is one of the few sequences that feel like the movie many viewers wanted Brave to be. Many had hoped that Pixar's first entry into the fantasy genre would come with a more mature and serious tone, but with the overdose of pop culture referencing witches and bathroom humor from Merida's little brothers, that dream didn't really come true. Fortunately, we have breathtaking moments like this fight sequence to stand as an example of what Pixar can maybe do in the future if they decide to have another go in the princess department.

Toy Story 2 – "Bonding with Dad"

Even as a kid, I had some reservations about Toy Story 2. A sequel to one of my favorite movies? How was it ever going to get better than the first one? Well, this movie surprised everyone. It gave us that heartbreaking flashback to Jessie's first owner, but it also delivered some of the funniest lines in the Toy Story franchise – and this moment is my favorite.

In the film, Buzz ends up traveling to the famous Al's Toy Barn, where he goes in search of Woody who was stolen by Al. Once inside, he encounters an entire section of Buzz Lightyear merchandise, taking the movie in a meta direction. Of course, various jokes arise from this, but the best comes near the end of the film. No, it isn't the Star Wars reference or the scene of confusion over which Buzz is the one from the first movie, but instead a simple gag about bonding with your dad. If you've seen this sequel (and of course you've seen it), you can guess which one. Tim Allen's delivery as both Buzz Lightyears is comedic perfection, especially his ending "Yipee!" (which totally trumps Anakin's from The Phantom Menace).

Inside Out – The Imaginary Boyfriend Generator Gives Joy a Hand

Inside Out has a lot going for it: it has the feely feels we require from Pixar, the incredible characters, and some of the funniest moments in the company's history. One of the best jokes revolves around a part of Riley (whose mind is the setting for the story) that focuses on her imagination. From the French Fry Forest to Cloud Town, the laugh-out-loud possibilities in Imagination Land are endless, but none of them top the important joke that is the Imaginary Boyfriend Generator.

Not only is this concept absolutely hilarious, it also sets up a great moment. Near the end of the film, the Imaginary Boyfriends from the generator help Joy reach Headquarters. In the process, the Imaginary Boyfriends fall into the pit of Riley's Memory Dump, alluding to them being eliminated from her imagination. Later, we see that Riley meets a more "realistic" boy at her hockey game, and the seeds of a possible friendship are planted. Whether intentional or not, this, along with the puberty button being added to the console and the short film sequel Riley's First Date, it sure feels like the destruction of those imaginary boyfriends had repercussions beyond getting Joy from one place to another.

Finding Dory – Gerald Gets On the Rock

Finding Dory is one of the few sequels that lives up to the quality of the original. Not only does Ellen DeGeneres give another delightful performance as the title character, but somehow director Andrew Stanton and crew found a way to create even more amazing supporting players within the Finding Nemo world, a tough act to follow when you already have Crush and company. But with new cast members such as Destiny, Hank, and Bailey, Pixar really outdid themselves in the character department. But there is one very specific individual who outshines them all...and his name is Gerald.

The best moment involving this sea lion revolves around his victory near the end of the film, when he manages to defy Fluke and Rubber's wishes and finally claim a spot on the rock. The Looney Tunes-style ending and music just add to the charm of seeing this character (who is definitely smarter than others believe him to be) win in the end. Much like the other individuals mentioned on this list, we've all been this guy – the dork with a bucket filled with pride, trying to get past gatekeepers. Regardless of whether you've ever felt like the misfit at the Aquarium or not, we all have a little Gerald in us, and we can all get on our own rocks someday.

The Incredibles – "I Never Look Back, Darling"

When people are looking for inspirational quotes from Pixar movies, they don't often look to The Incredibles. But when you have amazing side characters like Edna Mode (who needs to be the new host of E!'s Fashion Police, if you ask me) the quotable lines just keep on coming. Though there are quite a few selections to choose from, there's one that has always stuck with me.

The line occurs when Mr. Incredible enters into Edna's home with his old, and now torn, uniform. After she's examined it, thrown it to the side and exclaimed how it needs to be redesigned, Mr. Incredible asks the simple question of why? We know the Edna had been the original designer behind many famous superhero uniforms in the Incredibles universe, so why would she not care about her own work? Her answer is quite brilliant: "I never look back darling, it distracts from the now."

This line works on so many dimensions, both in fashion and life in general – it really does hang over your head through the rest of the film's running time. We've all had our pasts hold us back in some way and to keep moving forward, we all need to take a page from Edna's book and look toward to the future...and maybe get a new superhero suit we'll we're at it.

Up – Alpha's Voice Ain't Right

It is really, really hard to pick a moment from Up for this list, simply because so much of it has been repeatedly praised. There is one specific scene that, to this day, makes me smile when I think about it. Dug, the precious dog with the simple delivery, might be the star of Up to many people, but there are a select few (including this writer) that think that Alpha is the real character to treasure.

In this scene, Charles Muntz's group of loyal canines have gone off in search of a mysterious bird, who we know as Kevin. Upon sniffing the ground, some members of the pack realize that their leader's collar voice sounds...a bit off. And by that I mean, it sounds absolutely hilarious. The joke of having an intimidating figure have such a non-threatening voice is the kind of humor that never gets old.

Ratatouille – The Final Tasting

It may have won an Academy Award and the love of critics, but Ratatouille can't help but feel like one of Pixar's more underrated movies. Sure, telling the story of a rat with culinary skills might seem a bit silly, but this movie stands as one of Pixar's more mature and thoughtful projects. And though there are many heartwarming scenes with main characters Remy and Linguini, one particular visual from the film's conclusion sticks out the most in my mind. This scene left such an impression on me, that I reference it on an almost weekly basis.

In the clip, the food critic Anton Ego (played by the late, great Peter O'Toole) is handed a plate of the film's title dish, which leaves him and the other guests both surprised and a little confused. But once Ego takes a bite of Remy's entree, he becomes consumed with overwhelming emotion. He's transported to his childhood, which later influences his review of the new head chef of Gusteau's. Aside from the incredible animation and Brad Bird's direction, this scene works because of how relatable it is. We've all had that moment where we experience something that sends us on a trip of pure nostalgic bliss, and warms our hearts at even the coldest of times. It might be a bite of food, or the click of a YouTube link, but we've all been Ego at some point.