When I go to the gym or go for a jog, I tend to listen to loud, angry music. Metallica, Motorhead, Nine Inch Nails. Songs that get my blood pumping, give me an extra charge. Last weekend, I saw Wall-E, the new Pixar movie. I've loved every Pixar film, and was excited for this new one despite knowing little about it. I saw it with my wife and my sister, and as my sister said before the film started she really didn't know much about it. The previews didn't say much. All we knew was that it was about a lonely little robot who has an adventure in space. But since it was Pixar, I didn't need to be convinced.
The morning after I saw "Wall-E," I went for a jog. Yet when I went through my iPod to my playlist, I realized I couldn't listen to any of the angry songs that typically played over my workouts. Not that day. All the anger and negative emotion was gone. Wall-E, this simple movie starring this simple little robot, was one of the most touching, emotional, and wondrous pieces of art I've ever experienced. I couldn't listen to angry music that day.
If you have not seen the movie, please do yourself a favor and skip all the Hollywood smash-n-bash films this holiday weekend and go see it. Actually, this summer has been pretty good for action. "Iron Man" was fantastic. "Hulk" was better than I expected. And "The Dark Knight" is being called the "Godfather Part 2" of comic book films. But "Wall-E" transcends film. I left the theater feeling overwhelmed. The lump that rose in my throat during the end scene has not left in nearly a week. I bought little posable action figures of Wall-E and his love and savior, Eve. I have not bought a toy in almost twenty years.
It is a film that manages to be topical without being preachy, smart without being snarky, funny without being crass, and beautiful despite depicting a world almost devoid of beauty. The love story at the center of "Wall-E" is as simple as they come, yet poetic and devastating and sublime. These two robots broke my heart more than any flesh and blood actors have maybe ever done. This is the kind of movie that makes you want to stop reading about snark and gossip and vitriol, stop spending hours on end staring at screens, because as stated in the song "Put on Your Sunday Clothes" (which plays over the opening credits), there's a whole world out there. It's far easier to destroy than to create. It's easier to tear down than to build up. But as this little robot shows us, the most important things in life are the simplest. And the most incredible things in life aren't things. And if this movie isn't at least nominated for "Best Picture," than the phrase "Best Picture" is completely irrelevant.
I'm not recommending this movie. That's something I do for films like "Iron Man." Those are words reserved for good entertainment. As far as I'm concerned, "Wall-E" is a painting, a song. Something that inspires you and stirs up emotions you might have forgotten. Andrew Stanton and the team at Pixar have created something beyond all of their past triumphs, and that's saying something. They've transcended the art of moviemaking, and have made a movie that's truly work of art.