Since 1995, Pixar has pretty much been in charge of all of our childhoods. For nearly 25 years, the animation studio has been there to make us laugh, cry and feel emotions for everything from toys to bugs to, well, emotions themselves. With 19 films under its belt -- and more on the way in the form of The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 -- Pixar has become extremely good at producing some of the all-time greatest animated movies and shorts.
With the rise of Dreamworks, Blue Sky and Disney Animation, it’s hard to imagine a time before digital animated feature films, but Pixar’s Toy Story was a trailblazer in more ways than one. Aside from being the first movie to fully embrace computer-generated animation, the movie was notable for ensuring that the humor was geared towards not just children but fans of all ages. It was far from the first film to achieve this, but that keen eye towards appealing to all age groups is something that has driven Pixar to the top, making it the biggest and best animation studio in the world. All of the movies and characters have become ingrained in our culture by now, so with that in mind, here are 20 hilarious Pixar memes!
20 THE WALKING BUG
Now that we think about it, there are some striking similarities between Negan from The Walking Dead and Hopper from A Bug’s Life. Both are evil bullies with delusions of grandeur, lording their power and influence over those weaker than himself. Sure, one of them is a creepy, twisted insect, but the other is an evil talking grasshopper, so they’re surprisingly alike.
In fact, let’s play a game called “Negan or Hopper,” in which we throw you a quote and you tell us who said it. “You are mindless, soil-shoving losers, put on this Earth to serve us!” Could be either, right? That’s Hopper. “I'll get more grasshoppers and be back next season, but you won't.” That one was actually Negan! Not really, that was Hopper too, but trust us, despite this bad example, these two characters are basically the same guy.
19 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Netflix has become as much of a staple of our everyday lives at this point as television itself. The streaming service has become so good at predicting what we’ll want to watch, recommending great show after great show and checking to make sure we’re still there that it’s practically a friend and mentor, guiding us through excellent content.
Unfortunately, the algorithms behind the scenes don’t always get it right, and if this meme is real, sometimes Netflix gets it horrifically, catastrophically wrong. Aside from both mentioning insects in their titles, there aren’t many films that are so completely opposite to the all-ages family fun of a Pixar movie like A Bug’s Life than the grotesque body-shock horror that is 2009’s The Human Centipede. There’s almost no chance of Netflix making an error this huge, but we can only imagine the trauma endured if the autoplay feature was switched on.
18 BALL OF FUN
Sometimes, Tumblr gets it very right. We live in a world now where almost every frame of every movie is subjected to screenshots, gifs and fan commentary. Sometimes, it’s a forum for nothing more than fan love or critical hate, but occasionally real moments of comedy shine through the crowd.
Monsters Inc. is already one of the funniest Pixar films, thanks in part to the excellent comedic timing of Billy Crystal as the green one-eyed monster Mike Wazowski. While scaring is not exactly his strong point, stand-up comedy definitely is, and in this scene his initial joke flies right under the radar and over the head of this child, who clearly doesn’t appreciate true humor when it’s staring him in the face. It forces Mike to fall back on slapstick comedy to get the desired effect, but for the audience we were already laughing.
17 BALD FISH
Just how Pixar manages to make everything from fish to insects to cars elicit a genuine emotional reaction from us is a mystery, but perhaps it’s because of the amount of work put in by script writers, producers and, crucially, animators to ensure that the maximum amount of relatable human emotion is squeezed out of every character.
This scene, from 2016’s Finding Dory, is a perfect example. It’s such a subtle effect to have it appear as though Dory’s father has a receding hairline even though he’s, you know, a fish -- but it works. It makes it clear right off the bat that this is a father-figure and not only recognizable by the kids in the audience, but relatable to the parents sitting right next to them.
Truer words have never been spoken. We should note here that being a better Fantastic Four movie than the official ones we’ve been given over the years isn’t exactly a high bar, but even so, The Incredibles is the best we’ve ever got. Not only is it one of the best Superhero movies ever made, but arguably the best Pixar movie in the studios’ catalog.
Managing to incorporate humor, action and real family drama is no mean feat, but Pixar pulls it off time and again, not least of which for this 2004 adventure movie about a family of super-powered heroes in hiding. The pitch-perfect homage of classic comic book tropes and traditions has seen the movie embraced by one of the hardest to please fanbases in geekdom, which is probably why the long-awaited sequel is on its way this year.
15 OLD BEFORE HIS TIME
If you boil Pixar movies down to their elevator pitches, you have to imagine that 2007’s Ratatouille would be one of the hardest to sell. The idea of a wild rat in the kitchen of a posh restaurant is most people’s idea of a horror story, not an all-ages animated comedy, but somehow Pixar managed to pull it off.
Following Remy the ambitious rat as he achieves his dream of becoming a skilled chef through the manipulation of inept chef Alfredo Linguini, it’s a surprisingly emotional film. It even manages to make you feel for a rat as he gets involved in making some of the best food in Paris, making us all realize that if we can fall in love with a food-loving rat, Pixar could make us fall in love with anything.
14 OFFICE GAMES
Watching Andy grow up through the Toy Story trilogy was the most bittersweet moment in the entire franchise, and was the major plot point for the second and third movies. In Toy Story 2, it was Andy’s diminished time spent with his toys that led Woody into the hands of an unscrupulous collector. In Toy Story 3, Andy reached college age, which led to the toys being donated to a local kindergarten.
The life of toys as their owners slowly outgrow them is told in a completely heartbreaking way, making us all re-examine just how we treated our own toys when we were younger, and even though Toy Story 4 is on the way, the focus will be moving away from Andy now that he has grown up and left the toys in the care of young Bonnie.
Even if you only know Rick Astley from the infamous Rickroll meme (that we’ve all been a victim of by now), it will only take a second to understand what is going on here. The ‘80s British pop star underwent something of a career renaissance when people started Rickrolling each other around 2007, even joining in on the prank himself a few times, most notably at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in 2008 where he performed his hit first released over two decades earlier.
Up’s overwhelmingly emotional first 20 minutes or so stand out in most people’s minds when they think of the 2009 feature, but the rest of the movie -- following cantankerous senior Carl, whose house travels the world with the aid of thousands of balloons -- is a heartwarming tale filled with action, adventure and talking dogs.
The only thing worse than finding the final few pages ripped out of an amazing book you’ve been reading is if that ending is intact but dreadful. How disappointing when the very thing the entire book has been building towards ends up being a let down. This problem happens more often than most of us like to admit, and is only compounded when a book is the final part of a series, failing not just this book but all who came before it.
What’s more common is when a TV series has a disappointing ending. We can all name a handful of shows which have suffered from poor final episodes, with some being so bad that they’ve soured fans off the entire show. How I Met Your Mother, Dexter and The Sopranos have all been accused of having terrible endings, making fans feel like hundreds of hours had been wasted.
The curse of putting your heart into the hands of a movie is that it has the ability to break it into a thousand pieces, leaving it shattered on the floor. In the case of Up, Pixar manages to destroy your emotions in a little over 15 minutes. If you can make it through those early moments of the movie without crying, then you may in fact be a heartless monster.
We’re kidding, but there’s perhaps nothing more powerful in all of Pixar’s movies (perhaps all animated movies) than watching Carl and Ellie fall in love, spend their lives together and then -- we can’t even bring ourselves to say it. When it comes to emotional punches to the heart, Up sits alongside the incinerator scene in Toy Story 3 and the fate of Fry’s Dog in Futurama as cartoons that easily make us cry every time.
10 RODENT REACTIONS
Pixar has made us fall in love with bugs, fish, cars, monsters and rats over the years, and while seeing their colorful adventures on the big screen warms our hearts, if we saw some of these things in real life, there’s no denying that we’d have a very different reaction.
How would you feel if you woke up in the middle of the night to a big blue monster creeping through your closet door? Or if toys started to come to life in your bedroom? What if you found out that the chef at your favorite restaurant was actually a rat that lived in the sewers until just a few days ago? It wouldn’t be the whimsical adventure depicted in Ratatouille, instead it’d be a one-star Yelp review and a visit from the health inspector.
What starts out as a funny Carly Rae Jepsen meme becomes something else altogether when you realize that this is a pretty efficient way to summarize the plot of Finding Nemo (and Finding Dory now that we think of it). Throw in the fact that there’s a missing fish and you’ve got a good description of what happens.
Now it’s not exactly Dory’s number, but P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney is as close to her details as you can get, seeing as she guards that information with her life, and one of the quirks of her character is that she can never remember meeting Marlon or what Nemo’s actual name is, but that address is burned onto her brain. That, of course, is lucky for Nemo, as he would never have been found without her help.
Perhaps the greatest strength of The Incredibles was its ability to make super-powered people in extraordinary circumstances feel so grounded and realistic. It was not only a big part of the humor from any given scene -- Frozone unable to find his super-suit being a highlight -- but also a driving factor of the plot.
The Parr family, like all superheroes in the world, had retreated into hiding, so a big part of their lives had become the mundane activities that we all have to do, like go to work, go to school, and do household chores. It’s what makes the film so relatable, and makes it easy for us to connect with the characters. After all, who wouldn’t want to brush off the shackles of everyday life and become a superhero saving the world?
7 SEAL OF APPROVAL
We’ve all been there. Retail is one of the more difficult jobs that most of us have to go through at some point in our lives, and the main reason for that is the customers. Why do people have to be so rude? It’s extremely difficult to keep a cool, calm demeanor when you’ve got someone shouting at you for just doing your job, so maybe a face like this seal is something we all pull in those moments.
That business about the customer always being right though? We all know that’s not true, don’t we? It’s one thing to be faced with disrespectful customers angry at you for literally no reason, but for someone to then tell you that they’re right? Maybe that’s why we need the escapism of Pixar movies at the end of a long, hard day of work!
Ah, one of the big philosophical debates of our time: if one eye blinks, is it a wink? Well, yeah, of course, that feels obvious? Maybe it’s meant to be more of a metaphorical thing, or maybe we should just think about that tree falling in the woods problem instead.
When it comes to big, green, one-eyed monsters, Mike Wazowski is... pretty much the only one we can think of, but despite that he’s still our favorite. While the debate about whether he winks or blinks never quite comes up in Monsters Inc, we do get to see him putting in his one, humongous contact lens, which begs the real questions: how much do those things cost, and does he have glasses (or would it be a monocle?) for when he takes his lens out at the end of the day?
5 JUST A PHASE
We already got the rebellious young phase of Nemo’s life in the first movie, as Finding Nemo revolves around his decision to ignore his father’s strict instructions, and swim out to touch “the butt.” After that crazy adventure, it’s understandable if his rebel days are behind him, but we all know that’s not how it works at that age. That's why it feels like a missed opportunity not to see him go all dark and emo for the sequel.
Thinking about it, that would probably have ruined Finding Dory, the 2016 follow-up to the hugely successful 2003 original. It must have been hard to create a sequel with as much heart and humor as Finding Nemo, but Pixar found a way, with pitch perfect comedy and a fun-filled adventure about Dory going back to her roots.
Ah Wall-E, what a great movie. If you’ve not seen the 2008 Pixar feature, it follows the Little Robot Who Could as he undertakes the gargantuan task of cleaning up a post-apocalyptic earth after the humans have all been forced to evacuate. Despite the surprisingly dark premise -- and the fact that there isn’t any actual dialogue for practically the first half of the movie -- Wall-E is wonderfully done, and manages to capture beauty in the wasteland.
As sci-fi movies go, it’s also one with important lessons about our own present day society. No, it’s not about how Minecraft will outlast the apocalypse, but rather how humanity is damaging the environment with consumerism. Plus you’ll be completely surprised at how Pixar can make you fall in love with a tiny, dirty robot who inadvertently saves the world.
3 THAT DID NOT HELP
In this meme, Mike Wazowski is all of us. When all you want to do is help out a friend or loved one, or even a stranger on the street with help or advice and it completely blows up in your face. Well at least you tried, right? You had good intentions, and that’s the main thing. Except we all know where the road paved with good intentions leads.
It sort of sums up the actions of Mike and Sully in Monsters Inc., too. Accidentally stumbling across a human child, the monstrous duo must do what they can to get little Boo home without ruining their careers, reputations and the lives of everyone around them. Of course, they fail spectacularly, but what they do end up doing is foiling a plot by the twisted Randall to kidnap children and forcefully extract their energy-filled screams.
It’s somewhat ironic that an animated fish with no memory ended up giving us all an address that we’ll never forget. Due to the fact that Dory repeats the address dozens of times throughout Finding Nemo, the pivotal address that helps Marlon find his son is seared onto the brains of adults and kids the world over.
It’s no surprise that this address doesn’t actually exist. Many people have tried to find the dental practice located on Wallaby Way, but to no avail. It’s sort of like an urban legend that drives people to Australia to find out if it’s there, and at this point Disney could rename a road Wallaby Way and put a Finding Nemo gift shop at number 42 right there in Sydney and make a fortune.
1 DESIGNATED DINO
One of Pixar’s newest films, The Good Dinosaur is a heart-warming tale of a Dino and a human becoming friends in a world in which dinosaurs never went extinct. Despite it being the lowest-grossing Pixar film in its catalog, The Good Dinosaur received a series of awards for Best Animated Feature among other things.
When you’re given the unenviable job of being designated sober friend, you get a chance to see your drinking buddies in a completely different light. Suddenly you start thinking back to all those nights when you were joining them on their drunken journey and wondering to yourself: “was I this much of a mess?” There are some things that you’re not meant to know, and seeing a reflection of your drunk self with sober eyes is one of them.