Favourite Film of 2015: Inside Out

We had the pleasure of bringing some children to see PIXAR’s new film: Inside Out and their excitement and enthusiasm was infectious. But I didn’t need it as I had my own. I’ve considered Pixar the best film makers and story tellers on the planet for some time and I agree with Mark Kermode (for once) that the Toy Story Trilogy is the most perfect ever made. And it was such a farewell to a beautiful set of characters and a great story. It’s emotional impact is very well described here – it’s serious art. I’m also nervous about Toy Story 4, as is KermodeBut I trust John Lassiter – as it says in the Abba song: I do I do I do I do I do.

Speaking of PIXAR: if anyone can beat the emotional punch of Up’s early montage of Carl and Ellie’s married life – that such a story can be so told in four minutes and twenty one seconds…; or the lonely poetic beauty and cinematic reverence of the ‘home’ scene from WALL–E (up there with Chaplin and Keaton and the Cinema Paradiso kiss montage and the paean to cinema in the Quiet Man kiss/Save the Frogs scene in Spielberg’s great ET); or the hilarity when Buzz gets a Spanish reboot and dances a flamenco with Jessie – I’d be glad to hear from them. Suggestions on the back of a new €20 note, post-haste.

AND, by the way, WALL-E opens just like Star Wars: The Force Awakens with scenes of two lonely but heroic scavangers (himself and Rey) surviving by picking up the pieces (ha ha) after the ruins of past folly. Who’d a thunk it?

We noticed our row of seats was rocking when we watched that dance scene from Toy Story 3 in 2010 in the cinema. We looked to our left and there was a large middle aged man bucking back and forward in hysterics. How could you not? I thought the seat would break or he’d have a banger. What a way to go out.

Anyway I don’t think Inside Out is quite up there with Up, or the Toy Story Trilogy or even WALL-E, but it was a beautiful and complex story, well told (for the most part), clever, and comic in the modern tradition: an Odyssey á la James Joyce: an affirmation of the spirit and hopefulness possible in the human condition, a reflection on the current cult of the need to be happy, and a very moving, sad and very funny film and I’m so glad that Pixar is among us. Here’s Bing Bong’s act of ultimate heroism, I dare you not to cry. I had an imaginary friend too when I was a child. And I’m glad for the cinematic creation that is Joy. I hope we’ll meet again.

Honourable mention for Star Wars: The Force Awakens which provided me with the most amazing experience of being in a room filled with such love and reverence that I could touch it, and that spontaneous groan of nostalgic love when The Millennium Falcon first appears will stay with me. It also made me feel like I was sixteen again, no mean feat and it’s a reverential and affecting reboot of the original trilogy. And (spoiler alert): it turns out that I have walked in the footsteps of Luke Skywalker on a small Island off the coast of Kerry. Who knew?

Another aside: this year we went to Lake Como, to the Villa del Balbianello which was the setting for scenes in Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones. It was the Lake Retreat where Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker hid while Obi-Wan Kenobi searched for those who tried to assassinate Amidala and where the secret marriage of Skywalker and Amidala took place. Of course it was CGI’d to death like a lot of those three films. But it is a stunning place.

Shout outs to Brooklyn (an Irish film?) for Saoirse Ronan’s performance and The Martian for Matt Damon’s heroics. And to Sicario for its soundtrack and menace – more later. And to Terence Malik for Knight of Cups because it’s Terence Malik and he gave Martin Sheen his start. I can’t imagine a world without Martin Sheen.

It’s been a bad Cinematic year for me attendance-wise. I will do better in 2016, I promise myself. I didn’t see Carol, Straight Outta Compton, Dope, 45 Years, Mistress America, Joy or The Lobster etc.. Or ANY non-English language film. BOLD Tadhg, BOLD.

My bad. So sue me.


Novelist, short story writer, essayist, sports writer. Crime novel: Whatever it Takes due out 31 July 2020. The First Sunday in September, debut novel, published in 2018. Mercier Press, Stinging Fly, Irish Examiner, Irish Times, The42.ie, Holly Bough, Honest Ulsterman, Quarryman, Silver Apples.

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