Top Ten: Underrated Disney Movies

All right, this is, as is most “top ten anything”lists, completely subjective. When I say “underrated”, I’m not speaking about the respective movies box office earnings, or Rotten Tomato score. This is purely based on how I feel the movies are available to us, the audience, by way of products in the stores and representation in the parks. I’m rating them by how much I enjoy the movie, how unique they are, AND by how confused I am that these movies have been lost in a “Frozen” sea of silly snowmen. All love to the Ice Queen aside, I strongly believe that these movies had some – if not all – of the same fabulous elements that could have perpetuated them into celebrity status. Tell me what you think!

Top Ten: Underrated Disney Movies

#10. Enchanted

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Animation into reality. Magical worlds crashing into our own. The duality that the premise this film is based on is enough to reel me in!  But add awesome songs, choreography, and cameos to the mix, and you’ve got yourself the fabulous movie, Enchanted!

Princess Giselle (Amy Adams) is a woman filled with songs, love, and all that cotton-candy stuff. Robert Phillip (Patrick Dempsey) is a pessimistic, structured, cold divorce attorney who is raising his daughter on his own, hoping that she will lead a life of logic and power. He learns that life without the freedom to love out-loud and be goofy is dull and… well, boring.

The all-star cast also includes Susan Sarandon and the Queen Narissa, James Marsden as Prince Edward, and Idina Menzel (yes, Elsa) as Nancy. Not to mention the cameo’s of past Disney princesses! This movie pokes fun at the stereotypical princess-in-distress movies in a new, creative way. If you enjoy a good love movie with a solid plot and lots of laughs, this is perfect!

 

 

#9. Home on the Range

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All right, let’s get real. This list is not going to contain a bunch of Princess movies, and here’s why. While princess movies are amazing (more will come up), if you focus on stories with heart, which is really what gets me, and forms my ratings, then you can’t stick to one “type”. You have to explore!

And while western-style movies are near, if not at, the bottom of my list of ones to rush and check out, Home on the Range pulled me in. It was so comforting, so homey, it’s hard to describe. Something about the Patch of Heaven, the serenity of nature, and the gumption these animals showed in honor to their owner that truly valued and respected them, got to me.

Roseanne voices Maggie, a smart-mouthed prized cow that stirs her new home up in a frenzy. She’s a big personality, in memory of her TV-debut character, perhaps? Anyways, the relationships and mission of these animals feels very heartfelt, and it’s difficult not to sympathize with their plight. This movie did poorly, but I really think it deserves a second-look.

#8. Wreck-It Ralph

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Now this one really gets me! I was looking for a Vanellope SOMETHING, because she’s so adorable, and I can’t find anything! How about a Sugar Rush-themed baking set? Or a vintage-style Wreck-It Ralph handheld game?

In this day and age of videos games and electronics, I thought that this movie and its colorful characters would have been represented all over Disney World. But they’re not, unfortunately, and now they have landed on my list. This movie was great!

Super, super creative with the arcade games as different “worlds”, along with the funny references and comical voice actors, (hello – John C. Riley, Sarah Silverman, and Jane Lynch all have leading roles!!!) this movie was a wonderful surprise. I hadn’t heard of it, or seen it marketed at all, but one day my sister and I came across it and were intrigued. We literally could not stop saying “I love this” throughout the film. It’s amazing! Check it out, pleeeassse, and demand some Wreck-It Ralph merch along with me!

 

#7. Bolt

boltBooooolt! Have you ever even heard of it? Because I hadn’t. Not until years later when I was briefly discussing my sweet hamster, MacGyver, to an acquaintance. He blurted out to me, “Have you seen Bolt?!” I shook my head, what was he talking about? “Aw, you gotta see it. The hamster in the movie is freaking hilarious!”

He actually had a copy of the movie, and so, much at the disappointment of my travel companion, we spent the evening watching the movie. I fell in love! This is another movie about animals making their way, a sort of Homeward-Bound-esque film about the love of a dog for its human.

The premise is super original, and the story is incredibly smart and inventive. Bolt is a really-cool-dog who believes he has super powers. Mittens is your typical cat, indifferent and sort of cold. Matching the two up more then bends the cats-vs-dog ancient battle. John Travolta lends his voice to Bolt, while Miley Cyrus voices Penny, Bolt’s human whom he is so dedicated too. The movie has a great message as well. Penny starred on a famous TV-show, and could have any thing she wanted. But with Bolt gone, we learn that the only real important thing in life isn’t a “thing” at all. Animal-lovers will especially relate to the special relationships in this movie.

#6. Brother Bear

brother bearI’m getting too excited about this one! Fans of The Lion King would appreciate this movie. It’s a beautiful story, all about growth, learning from your mistakes, and taking responsibility for your actions. It also focuses on being open-minded and not making snap judgments about any one. I know. It’s deep.

But on a more materialistic, level, I have ask: Where are the adorable, plushy stuffed Koda’s? The silly meet-and-greet with the best Canadian moose-brothers, Rutt and Tuke?

The thing about this movie is that it forces us to ask ourselves if we are being honest with who we are. There’s also beautiful landscape shots, great music by Phil Collins, and one absolutely revitalizing, heart pounding, tears-in-your-eyes number that will make you feel “transformed” if you let it.

This musical piece alone is enough to make me scratch my head and wonder why Brother Bear was so underrated. Out of context, the song might not be as powerful, just go watch it already and tell me what you think!

#5. The Princess and the Frog

tianaOkay, okay. As you may or may not know, this Diva is constantly holding a candle for her – dare I say it – favorite Disney Princess of all time. Yes, Tiana is #1 in my book. Why, you ask? Well, thank you for asking, allow me to expand on my opinion. Tiana is completely different.

This women is focused, critically focused, on becoming her own boss and running a successful restaurant. She sees a bright future for herself, brought to her by herself, and because of this, she is an independent person trying to be the best that she can be. Now, does that not sound like the perfect role model? Coupled with Tiana throughout her… interesting adventure… is her polar opposite; Prince Naveen. This prince is awful!

He can’t do a thing for himself, and has a much more spoiled perception on how the world works than any Prince in any Disney movie, which makes him hilarious. Tiana doesn’t wait for him to help her – which is a good thing! If she did, I don’t think she’d every make it out of the swamp.

Anyways, this girl rocks, the music is so fun, and the New Orleans theme offers the perfect amount of magical and spooky. Why Princess Tiana dolls and cartoon-shorts are not popping up all over the place, really gets me. This movie has every element needed to be great, so what happened?! Check it out if you haven’t already, and prepare to announce your loyalty to Tiana as well!

#4. Tangled

tangledTwo princesses in a row? Yup. But this one comes up for different reasons. Tangled is a beautiful film based off of an old-fairy tale, Rapunzel. I believe it really kicked-off this movement of giving the male character a more prominent role in the Disney Princess films, and very successfully. Even though TPATF came out a year earlier, this film focused on marketing the male – Flynn Rider – by featuring only him in the trailers.

You had no idea what Rapunzel would look or act like. But how pleasantly surprised I was to watch a bare-foot, clumsy, wide-eyed girl as she tried to navigate her way through a brand new world. It’s a wonderful allegory that spoke volumes to me and other young girls/women, who were going through or had survived that confusing time of life when every thing felt new and strange and exciting all at once. Rapunzel is a curious, brave, and modest princess. The story is thrilling to watch, the songs and animation stunning, and the characters all so perfectly complement one another.

The comparisons of this movie to it’s younger “cousin”, Frozen, tend to drive me out of my mind. They are different movies with a different message. But I am equally perplexed by the underwhelming acceptance Tangled received, not only in comparison to Frozen but to many other movies. This one seemed to just skim the surface, and it’s a real bummer.

#3. Tarzan

tarzanAh. Ah! Aaaah! Eh hem. My wild-man call is a bit rusty. Um, hello? People. Why have we forgotten about this absolutely fantastic movie. You know, the one with the Phil Collins songs, heart racing adventure, tug-of-war between animal and man?

This movie, based off of the book, was truly not one of my favorites when I first saw it. But that’s because I was only focusing on Princess movies. When I watched again – ugh! The emotions! This movie really pulls on your heart strings. Tarzan’s relationship with his mother is enough to make you teary-eyed.

But the struggle he goes through, and the decision he finally makes, is somehow viciously relatable to what it’s like to grow up. To be curious about what’s out there. What’s different. And also, how it feels to not fit in, or be accepted, by those who you would expect to have unconditional love from. The movie has its silly moments, but truthfully it’s more of an empowering movie than I ever expected!

 

#2. Hercules

herculesYou just remembered that you love the movie, didn’t you? You are now humming “A Star is Born” while you read this, aren’t you? OF COURSE YOU ARE!!!

That’s because Hercules is an amazing movie. Fun, silly, sweet, epic, just great great great! Why has he been left in the vault, swiped off the face of all Disney everything? What happened? Did the Muses not amuse? Did the Fates not mystify? Did Phil, in his teary-eyed weakness while he stared at his own constellation, not stir up some foreign feeling of happiness+sadness that you had never experienced before, until this movie?

This movie has it all, and then some! So why can’t I have a meet-and-greet with Meg? Or breakfast with Pegasus? I don’t need to tell you about the movie, because I know you’ve seen it. Multiple times! So let’s demand the attention that a god like Hercules deserves! Rant over.

 

 

#1. The Emperor’s New Groove

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Mm. Mm hm. Mm hm hm hm… now this little nugget, little diamond-in-the-rough, yes, this one, I’m not sure if you have seen it or not. This movie is hands-down my go to movie when I need to laugh. And I mean LAUGH so loud it hurts. What makes this movie so funny, so wonderful that I rated it #1 status? It’s the characters. The dialogue between them is so masterfully written yet so brillantly improvised, that the dynamics between the characters are unique only to this film.

The humor is surprisingly smart and quick-witted, thanks to the smart-talking David Spade who voices Emperor Kuzco. The sweet family-man Pacha evolves slightly enough to take on the new pain-in-his-side that was thrust upon him. But the best, the absolute BEST thing to come from this movie has got to be, hands down… Kronk. Kronk is such a unique character. Hilarious, painfully naive, endearing in his own, misguided way, he truly is one of the best-written characters I have ever seen in any animated film.

I’m flabbergasted that we haven’t dedicated an area to Kronk himself. This movie would be entertaining for kids, but I really think it was more enjoyable as I got older. I love seeing these characters react in such a realistic way to certain situations. This is a hidden gem, the movie that I recommend the most to people who are looking for something different and funny. I urge you to check this movie out. You will be singing my praises once you see it, I promise!

 

So, what did you think? Do you agree, or disagree, with my choices? Let me know! I’d love to hear what you all think! 🙂

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Top Ten: Inspiring Life Quotes

Disney movies are truly magical. The storytelling is brilliant, the animators are always pushing the limits, and some of the most memorable songs some from these films. They also provide us with some wise words of wisdom. In this Top Ten, I had the daunting task of assigning a rank to only ten inspiring life quotes. Disney movies have an amazing amount of quotable phrases, which include good advice and life lessons. So, here’s what I was able to whittle it down too!

#10. “The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up.” – Timothy Mouse, from Dumbo

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Finding strength in your struggles makes the experience so much more rewarding. Using the adversity to your advantage is what makes you strong. Way to go, Timothy! He gave Dumbo the inspiration to soar, and inadvertently provided us with a golden nugget of inspiration.

#9. “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” Alice, from Alice in Wonderland

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I love this quote. We do grow little by little every day, as long as we are open to learning. We should always be growing, because that is part of life!

#8. “Put you faith in what you most believe in.” from Tarzan

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This is straight to the point. I think it’s very important to stand for something, and to believe in something. If we don’t, then what do we have to inspire us to do and be better?

#7. “There is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin, from Winnie The Pooh

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As far as life quotes go, this one is pretty powerful. You have to have faith in yourself, and believe in yourself, before any one else will. Be your number one fan!

#6. “Our fate lives within us. We only have to be brave enough to see it.” Merida, from Brave

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It’s easy to be a critic to someone else’s life. It’s more difficult to evaluate yourself, because usually this brings forward things that you need to change. And that takes bravery. But once you take a good hard look at all of your flaws AND strengths, you’ll discover more about yourself. That is your reward.

#5. “Sometimes the right path isn’t the easiest one.” Grandmother Willow, from Pocahontas

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Short, sweet, and very true. I don’t want to glide through life without taking any risks. Getting to the victory means cutting your own path. It’s scary, but so worthwhile.

#4. “You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.” Gusteau, from Ratatouille

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So, if you haven’t watched Ratatouille yet – what are you waiting for? Gems like these quotes are threaded throughout this amazing film. How deep is this quote? And it’s spoken by a figment of a rat’s imagination! Regardless of the source, it is truly profound. We are our only limit, and sometimes we have to get out of our own way. But never let anyone else put limitations on you.

#3. “Life is not a spectator sport. If watching is all you’re gonna do, then you’re gonna watch your life go by without you.” Laverne, fromThe Hunchback of Notre Dame

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This line can be missed because it is said by a lesser character, but it sure gives you a kick in the pants! Laverne got Quasimodo out of his comfort zone, and we need to listen to that. Get out of your own way and put yourself out there if you really want to experience life!

#2. “When life gets you down, do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming!” Dory, from Finding Nemo

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Another piece of gold from an unlikely source, this time a little fish with no memory. Dory sums up the best attitude to have while on our own adventure. Just. Keep. Swimming. ❤

#1. “Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.”Pooh Bear, from Winnie the Pooh

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This silly old bear really gets it. Can life be explained any more plainly? Why mince words when the lesson is so simple. I often find myself trying to figure out this world, how to “win” at it, and it isn’t being fair to myself. This isn’t a win or lose situation. Experiencing the world, and living our life the best we can, is what this whole thing is about.

So, what Disney quotes inspire you? Let me know what you think! 

 

 

Top 10: Sing-Along Songs!

My foot’s already tapping as I glance over my Top 10 list of best Sing-Along Songs in a Disney movie. The competition was tight, tears were shed, and tough choices had to be made. One movie, in particular, made it on the list – twice! A Disney Diva Top 10 first! But you’ll understand when you see it. Forgive me if I am bias. 🙂

#10 “Topsy Turvy” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

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Come one, come all! Any song that begins with a crowd of cheerful voices is sure to get my attention. With the confetti, bright colors, and wordy lyrics, this song is snappy and tons of fun to sing along to. The animation is goofy and “Ev’ryone is acting crazy“! I especially love the breakdown near the end of the song as they go to crown Quasimodo as the King of Fools. If this song doesn’t get your head nodding, you need to turn it up!

 

#9 “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious ” from Mary Poppins

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It may be hard to spell, but it isn’t hard to say. Actually, it’s the perfect thing to say when you have nothing to say. This classic song is recognized by young and old, and was probably one of the first songs I ever learned to sing along to!

 

#8 “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book

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“Well I’m the King of the swingers, oh, the Jungle V.I.P!” Come on! Try singing that line and not finding it unbelievably difficult to finish the rest. This is one song that gets stuck in my head all the time. I love the snappy feel of it, and the best part is, even if you don’t know the words, you can always join in the sing-along as the background chorus! Just follow the singer, you know. Monkey see, monkey do!

 

#7 “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” from The Lion King

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Oh, the choreography that went along with this song in my house! One sang Simba’s part, one did Zazu’s (I believe it was me), and never before had I felt so connected with a movie. I am a Diva, you know, waiting until the day I become Queen. Simba’s my soul character! :p

 

#6 “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” from Mulan

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Part singing. Part dancing. Part karate. Hello! This song has everything. Mulan is one of those movies that I have literally memorized nearly 100% of the dialogue, and while she might not get represented as much as some others, we need to always remember one important thing: Mulan is badass. That’s a fact.

 

#5 “Zero to Hero” from Hercules

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Being a former Backstreet Boy fangirl, I unfortunately relate to this sea of screaming, babbling girls, and believe that if I had been around in  Ancient Greece, you would see my face in this crowd! There are many awesome and fun songs in Hercules, which uniquely incorporated a gospel-inspired singing narrative group, the “Muses”. They deliver some of the most exciting and upbeat songs in any Disney movie, but this is my favorite!

 

#4 “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid

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I believe I am half-mermaid, and entirely agree with a good group of these lyrics. “The human world, it’s a mess.” Yup! “Up on the shore, they work all day!” Uh-huh. “What do they got, a lot of sand?” Not even… I’m miles away from the ocean.  I think part of the reason that I love this song is because when I was a kid, I would imagine that maybe I could live ‘under the sea’, and that inspired my to start writing fictional stories to get into that fantasy land. Anyways, I’m getting off track. The reason it’s so good is obvious; the upbeat music, the catchy tune and wonderful feeling of comradery. It’s such a great song because it gets you singing, dancing, and laughing!

 

#3   “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King

hakuna matata

Yes, The Lion King made it twice! But how could it not. This movie has some of the best sing-along, ballads, choir songs, of all time. It’s wonderful and I’m probably going to watch it tonight. Hakuna Matata has a great message. It is also one of the more creatively successful ways Disney advanced its timeline to age Simba. I think this song is brilliant!

 

#2 “Be Our Guest” from Beauty and the Beast

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This movie was made for Broadway, but it had the advantage of animation. Combine the two and you have an immediate breakthrough! The choreographed dinnerware, the beautiful leveling of scenes, and the awesome culinary references make this one of the most fun songs to not only sing-along to, but belt out! I especially enjoy playing this song while I’m cooking. I get energized and wear an instant-smile whenever I hear this song. Plus you get to test out your French accent. It’s so wordy and creative, that once you learn all the words, singing along to it becomes pure bliss!

 

#1 A Friend Like Me from Aladdin

YES! YES! YES! This is the ultimate in sing-along songs! Why? Because the Genie is amazing, unassuming, and tons of fun! I know people were probably expecting “Let it Go” fro Frozen, but the way I see it is this: A fun sing-along song is one that I can actually sing! “Let it Go” is brilliant, but it isn’t fun, it’s actually rather melancholy. Anyways, back to my First Place Winner. Wanna tap your feet, snap your fingers, jump around and laugh – then sing-along to this! You can practice your funny character voices thanks to this happy tune. It has every single necessary component to making a great sing-along song, from the happy lyrics, animated imagery, and a dash of goofiness. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

 

Top 10 Enemies – to – Friends!

#10 Remy and Linguini from Ratatouille

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Everyone knows that rats and kitchens do not mix. So for a young kid just starting out on his own, discovering a rat on his first day at his new job, who is also messing with his soup, did not create the warmest of greetings between Linguini and Remy. Ordered to remove the rat from the kitchen and “take care of it”, Linguini struggles with making his natural enemy suffer. Remy is just as suspicious of the young want-to-be chef, and runs away the moment he is free, regardless of his promise to help Linguini out. Their relationship started off rocky and with very little trust, (Linguini actually thinks that Remy steals from his after his first night in the apartment) but they quickly realize that they both have strengths and weaknesses, and when they team up, they become unstoppable! Remy and Linguini form a special co-dependent bond with one another, and through this unlikely friendship, they both discover who they really are. The son of the great Gusteau, and a chef!

#9 Mulan and Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po from Mulan

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You have to hand it to the brave Mulan. She charged into camp disguised as a man, hoping to restore honor to her family. She just forgot one thing: Men and Women are totally different! While her disguise looked great and her courage was there, she was clueless when it came to acting like a guy. Her “helper”, Mushu, didn’t do much to aid in her attempts to make new friends. After Mulan swings a strange physical act on Yao, per Mushu’s advice, a fight begins. At the end of it all, the entire camp is a mess and Mulan is blamed for the extra work. Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po are thick as thieves, so Mulan becomes their natural enemy. They enjoy watching her fail at her exercises and tease her relentlessly. Then suddenly, something changes. The three men get to see Mulan’s bravery and gain respect for her. They are shocked but not angry when they learn she is a woman. And when everything comes to a head, Mulan’s three original enemies stand by her without question. They help protect her in every way they can, and ultimately become the most loyal of friends. I mean come on, they dress in drag for goodness sake! Only a true best friend would do that.

#8 Maggie and Mrs. Calloway from Home on the Range

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Strict and stern “matriarch” Mrs. Calloway is not at all impressed with the fancy new bovine that has landed on her “Patch of Heaven” farm. Maggie is a show off, she’s loud, and worse, she’s admired by every one else on the farm. Mrs. Calloway has one focus, and that is to help her owner, Pearl, in running the farm. Mrs. Calloway is a hard-worker, and demands order. Maggie is free-spirited and daring. They are complete opposites! But what brings them together is their love of the farm. They set out to do whatever they can to save their beloved home, and on the way they learn to respect one another. It’s a rough road for them, but once they win back the farm and everything is safe, they learn to appreciate each other. Mrs. Calloway can’t bear to have Maggie leave the farm, and because of this, Maggie stays. She’s found her home!

 #7 Flynn Rider and Maximus from Rapunzel

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Can a horse really pass judgment so strongly? He can if the horse is Maximus! This horse-soldier doesn’t speak a word, but you can tell that he is a black-and-white, there’s a right way and wrong way, sort of guy. Uh, horse. While Flynn Rider, AKA Eugene Fitzherbert, sees the world as one big adventure, and the only way to get what you want is to take it. The chase is on once Maximus discovers that Rider has the royal crown in his greedy little hands. Thankfully, Maximus is given a 24-hour hold order by Rapunzel to leave Rider alone until after her birthday. Of course he obeys, and while he spends the day with his enemy, he starts to see that Rider is not the biggest threat out there. Going completely against his nature, Maximus calls in the help of well-known thugs to break Rider out of jail, and rescues his new friend. They share a tender moment together, albeit the timing of Rider’s confession of appreciation is horrible, but in that moment the two become very good friends. I’m sure that makes Rapunzel very happy!

#6 Kuzco and Pacha from The Emperor’s New Groove

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Hm… where to start? Kuzco is a spoiled brat that doesn’t give a second thought to how his actions might affect others. Pacha is a sweet family man that quietly moves through life. When Kuzco declares that he will be destroying Pacha’s beloved home to build a water park – for himself – Pacha is upset but due to his personality, he does not make a fuss. Kuzco’s tantrums get on the nerves of many others, including Yzma, who ends up turning Kuzco into a llama. Distraught, confused, and without a friend in the world, Kuzco finds himself at the mercy of Pacha, and learns how to be a better person, and a good friend. Pacha honorably volunteers to bring Kuzco home. He never asks for anything of Kuzco. By leading by example, Pacha unknowingly affects Kuzco who observes a selfless man in action. Kuzco and Pacha eventually become so close, that Kuzco is almost family! He definitely needed to grow up, and thankfully his buddy was there to show him the way.

#5 Wreck-it Ralph and Vanellope from Wreck-it Ralph

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He needs a medal so he can join the party. She needs gold to compete in the race. Both are outcasts and very misunderstood. But while they are alike in that aspect, Ralph and Vanellope are at war with each other from the very beginning. She steals his coveted medal, so Ralph is forced to hang around with her until after the race. Ralph thinks Vanellope is annoying, but once he sees her getting picked on by the others, he realizes that they are both outsiders and sympathizes with her. Suddenly, the two become best friends and find themselves on their own adventure. The sweetest part of the movie is at the end when Ralph admits to always sneaking a peek at Vanellope’s video game while he is carried off the apartment building. He sees she is happy, and that makes him happy. All together now… aaaaaawww!

#4 Bolt and Mittens from Bolt

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They’re fighting like cats and dogs! Literally! Bolt’s grasp on reality is nonexistent, while Mittens has a more jaded perspective on how the world works. Because of this, the two are able to manipulate each other to get what they want. Bolt has been raised to believe that all cats are spies for the evil Dr. Calico, and takes Mittens prisoner as he treks across the country back to his beloved human, Penny. Mittens believes that Bolt is crazy, but she’s a street-wise alley cat who knows that cute dogs win human affection better than cats (I don’t know if that’s really true but just go with it). She uses Bolt to enjoy the best feasts in her life, while Bolt continues his mission. Bolt is disgusted by cats, but the longer he is away from home, the more he gains an understanding of how the world really works. As he is going through this evolution, Bolt comes to care for Mittens, and his act of kindness in breaking her out of the shelter contradicts with how Mittens views the world. She is speechless when he comes back for her. This moment changes things for the two of them, and soon they become wonderful, happy, lifelong friends… and roommates!

#3 Kenai and Koda from Brother Bear

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Kenai is put to the ultimate test when he is forced to walk in the footsteps of his biggest rival; the bears. He hates bears, and finds them absolutely despicable. But since he is not able to undo what has happened to him, he lives the life of a bear and slowly grows to understand the suffering and complications that they, and all animals, face. He grows close to Koda, a young cub who is looking for his mother. Koda is goofy and loves everything while Kenai is bitter and resentful. But as time goes on, Kenai has a change of heart. He begins to understand that there is so much to learn about the world. At the very end, when he is returned to being a human, Kenai does the most unlikely thing and asks to be turned into a bear again. He wants to protect Koda, and feels a responsibility for him. The sacrifice that Kenai makes for Koda creates one of the sweetest friendships ever.

#2 Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc./Monsters University

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I took a little poetic justice with this one. Based on the original Monsters Inc., we see the Mike and Sully are best friends. But thanks to Monsters University, we know that they weren’t always so close. I wanted to add them to my Best Buddies Top 10 List, but because I have seen both movies over a dozen times, I just couldn’t bring myself to ignore that fact that when Mike and Sully met, they hated each other! Mike spent his whole life studying and working hard to get into the Scare School and Monsters University. He was dedicated and enthusiastic about his future as a “Scarer”. Sully, on the other hand, had a chip on his shoulder and hoped that his family name and reputation would carry him through his college years. After some interesting twists, Mike and Sully are both facing an alternate career as less-glamorous “Can Designers”, but with some gusto, Mike convinces Dean Hardscarbble to let them compete in the Scare Games. Mike reluctantly lets Sully join (he needed one more guy), and in the beginning the two are competing against one another. They learn to work as a team, though, and by the end the dynamic duo pull of the most incredible scare in Monster history! Now, they are an inseparable pair that use each other’s strengths to climb up the ladder and obtain a spot on the coveted Scare Floor!

#1 Buzz and Woody from Toy Story (trilogy)

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It’s the ultimate enemy-to-best friends duo! In the beginning there was jealousy, a struggle for control, and a galactic misunderstanding between both Woody and Buzz. Woody was the Number 1 Toy, the Big Kahuna, until the spaceman came along. What made matters worse was Buzz’s disinterest in being Andy’s favorite toy. He felt no loyalty to the boy or any of the other toys there. This angered Woody to the point of staging an “accident”. Things got out of control, and the two were forced to stick together if they wanted a chance to survive. After making it through the terrible Sid’s demented playtime, Woody and Buzz came to understand one another. This lead to a wonderful friendship that will forever stand through the test of time. They are the classic best friends today because of the way they started, I’m convinced!

Top 10 Non-Verbal Animals!

I like to think that the world would be an amazing, much better place if animals were able to talk. And of course, within the magical world of Disney, they can! Well, most of them can. But even though some characters are not equipped with the ability to speak, they have still managed to win us over time and time again. These animated characters come to life through their movements and facial expressions, so I searched the web to find the best clips I could of each. Here is my Top 10 favorite animals that didn’t need to say a word to make me love them!

#10. Cri-kee from Mulan

crikee gif 2

Mulan had an interesting entourage with her as she entered battle, none of which were what they claimed to be. And even though Cri-kee isn’t truly a lucky cricket, he certainly is one of the bravest little bugs I’ve ever seen. He stays by Mulan’s side as she battles warriors, ridicule, and her own demons. Cri-kee quickly becomes Mushu’s pal, and while Mushu talks to much, Cri-kee’s silence allows him to gain a presence all his own.

#9. Kevin from Up

Kevin's a...girl?

Kevin’s a…girl?

Kevin’s a… girl? She certainly is, and she’s a girl with a mission. She needs to care for her babies while avoiding capture, and risks her safety for her little ones like any mother would. Kevin’s storyline is truly complex and fascinating when you think about it. For a bird who can’t verbalize her situation, she somehow stirs up a feeling of urgency when she is kidnapped. Still, she also makes us laugh at her weird antics and devotion to Russell. After learning about Kevin’s love for chocolate, it’s no surprise to me that she ended up being a girl!

#8. Meeko from Pocahontas

Meeko's a goofball!

Meeko’s a goofball!

Mischievous Meeko doesn’t seemed fazed by the fact that there is a battle going on over his homeland. All he’s concerned about it getting his next meal. He will be loyal to whomever has the best treats, a trick that John Smith quickly learned. But this little raccoon symbolizes something greater than a cheeky night bandit. He is a friend to Pocahontas, and a friend to all the creatures around him. His silly ways break the tension between Pocahontas and John, and help them reach an understanding.

#7. Figaro from Pinocchio

Tra la la little Figaro.

Tra la la little Figaro.

When characters don’t speak in films, they need to have wonderful expressions. Figaro shows his discontent when he is asked to climb out of bed to open the window. He shows annoyance when he has to wait to eat. He’s a fickle cat with many emotions! Gepetto has a very whimsical and enchanting home, full of trinkets and toys, yet this cat is one of the most interesting things in the little house! His attitude is lazy and blasé, the way most real cats are perceived. But Figaro is also a funny, curious kitten who never stops exploring. His adventures might be silent, but they are fun to watch!

#6. Sven from Frozen

Reindeer are better than people, Sven?

Reindeer are better than people, Sven?

He’s a reindeer who loves his human Kristoff so much, he even allows Kristoff to speak for him! But happy-go-lucky Sven doesn’t mind at all. He’s grown so close to Kristoff that he can even participate in songs while keeping completely silent. Sven is a good guy to have around. While most of the time he is happy to be helping, and only asks for a carrot now and then, he knows when to put his foot down and demand attention. Like when Kristoff was about to leave Princess Anna without going back to fight for her. Sven stepped out of his laid-back self and silently forced Kristoff to head back to the kingdom. His inability to speak does not make him a 2-dimensional background character. No, Sven has a ton of personality, and makes me laugh with his goofy ways!

#5. Nana from Peter Pan

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I wish she could have gone with them!

Growing up, I always wished that I could have Nana babysit me in place of the snarky teenage girlsI was left with. Nana is a perfect example of delivering a message with only her expressions. You can see that she cares and loves her Darling’s just as she would her own puppies. Her meticulous care of the nursery is something she is proud of. And you can also see her heartbreak when she is forced to stay outside like… well, like a dog. Without saying a word, Nana runs through the spectrum of human emotions so well that you might forget that she isn’t a real Nanny.

#4. Maximus from Tangled

This horse has got a mission!

This horse has got a mission!

He’s a horse who thinks he’s a soldier who acts like a dog. Hm, interesting? Maximum has a lot of moral convictions, more than even some human characters do. He’s a rule-follower, and horse who sees right and wrong as black and white, there is no gray area. He will uphold the law to the letter. The best example of this is when we see the moral struggle Flynn Rider puts Maximus in when he leaves him a bag of apples that he bought “most of.” Maximus is perplexed because he doesn’t want to eat stolen apple. How can a horse who doesn’t speak translate such a strong moral compass? It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?

#3. Abu from Aladdin

You know what he's saying without even saying it!

You know what he’s saying without even saying it!

Where would Aladdin be without his silent partner-in-crime? He understands the way of the world, and knows how to get what he wants. Abu is a clever monkey, but he struggles with his lust for gold and the finer things in life. He, like Maximus, comes to many trials of right and wrong. His thieving certainly got the best of him every now and then, but deep down Abu is a loyal and caring companion. He is also very animated and can tell a story, and his feelings, just by acting them out. Pretty impressive!

#2. Dumbo from Dumbo

But I be done seen about everything, when I see an elephant fly.

But I be done seen about everything, when I see an elephant fly.

Dumbo proves that you don’t need to speak to star in your own movie! This little guy defies all odds when he “flies”, quiets the naysayers, and creates his own path in the world, all without mumbling one word. Dumbo grows up right in front of our eyes, learns harsh lessons about the world, but takes it all in stride. I don’t believe there will ever be another leading star that can silently win our hearts the way that Dumbo has.

#1. Pluto from… lots of stuff!

Instead of roses, we threw him dogs bones for his #1 win!

Instead of roses, we threw him dogs bones for his #1 win!

Mickey Mouse’s loyal dog, Pluto, is my number one choice because he encompasses all that personality throughout the decades without needing to open his mouth to speak. He’s naturally a happy dog, but throughout the years we have seen him get angry, sad, confused, and pretty goofy, too. Pluto always makes me smile when I see him. This dog has starred in many cartoons and shorts, and his big ears and dopey smile are recognized across the world. He is the most famous dog who never speaks that I can think of, and he’s also adorable, too!

 

Top 10 Best Buddies!

They’re a pair, a unit, you can’t imagine one without the other! I’m talking about Disney’s dynamic duos! These BFF’s are so important to Disney movies, they teach us friendship, trust, and understanding. Here are my Top 10 Best Buddies!

10. Robin Hood and Little John from Robin Hood

Walking through the forest.

Walking through the forest.

You know you started singing the song as you read the title. Robin Hood and Little John walking through the forest…I digress. Historically, every vigilante needs his proper sidekick. And who better to accompany the slick fox Robin Hood then the clever bear, Little John! These two watch out for each other while travelling across the land, saving those in need. Nothing is too much for these two, they’ll even disguise themselves as women if it will help take down the treacherous “Phony King of England” Prince John. Watch out Batman and Robin, these boys are good!

9. Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum from Alice in Wonderland

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum

You can’t have one without the other! These offbeat storytellers are so in tune with one another. They move in rhythm, finish each others sentences, and help recreate one of the creepiest stories while narrating in sync. Could you imagine a world where only one Tweedle existed? That would be crazy, even in a Wonderland.

8. Todd and Copper from Fox and the Hound

When You're the Best of Friends.

When You’re the Best of Friends.

They are the best of friends, hence their tribute song. Yes, Todd and Copper tipped the balance scale of nature when they became the unlikeliest of friends. They went through a lot together; growing from pups into adults, falling in love, and finding a family. And through it all, even when they couldn’t visit each other, Todd and Copper had a connection of friendship that made our hearts melt. If only the world wouldn’t get in the way…

7. Baloo and Mowgli from The Jungle Book

Baloo and Mowgli.

Baloo and Mowgli.

Sometimes friends are only in each others lives for a small time, but the effect they have on each other lasts a lifetime. Another unlikely duo, a bear and a young boy come together to form such a classic friendship, that it would be impossible to think of one without the other! Baloo steps in as a Papa Bear for little Mowgli, who enjoys learning all the laid-back bear has to offer. They each learn something from each other, but more important, their friendship is tested when Mowgli decided he needs to join his people. Leaving a friendship like that behind, but staying connected for all time, makes Baloo and Mowgli one of the strongest buddies in Disney history.

6. Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio

Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide!

Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide!

Where would we be without our conscious guiding us? For a newly alive wooden puppet, his conscious was going to need to be extra attentive. The dedication that Jiminy Cricket shows to Pinocchio at his lowest moments saves him, and helps him become a real boy. And Jiminy, who once had no place to call his own, finds a home with Pinocchio. A string-less puppet and a homeless cricket don’t naturally fit in many groups, and so throughout their incredible journey, Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket carve out their own place to belong, and forge a friendship as big and powerful as a whale.

5. Winnie the Pooh and Piglet too! from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh 

Pooh Bear and Piglet

Pooh Bear and Piglet

Just one quote will sum up why Pooh Bear and Piglet are the cutest buddies of all time: If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever. So many sweet moments have been shared with these two, and the caring they have for one another is timeless, representing the most sentimental and pure form of friendship. Pooh and Piglet go together like bees and honey. Perfect!

4. Aladdin and Genie from Aladdin

A Friend Like Me!

A Friend Like Me!

I ain’t never had a friend like him 😦 Who didn’t grow up wishing that they could be best buddies with the Genie? I spent a good deal of my pre-teen years thinking about how I would spend my three wishes. One wish always involved Leonard DiCaprio being my husband – and that wish has stood the test of time! I know that some people think Aladdin and Apu are best buddies – and they are. But what an awesome combo Aladdin and Genie make! The Genie helps Aladdin win Jasmine’s heart – and become a better person, too – while Aladdin lends his final wish to freeing the Genie. The two started off a little shaky, but when they came into each other’s lives, destiny took over and they both got what they truly desired and deserved – happiness! Way to go, best friends!

3. Lilo and Stitch from Lilo and Stitch

The best friends!

The best friends!

They’re so close, they named the movie simply after each other. Lilo and Stitch are friends that became family, a truly special and rare thing to happen to people. The two were lost before they found one another, and their friendship created one of the cutest Disney movies of all time! A lonely little girl who just wanted her “angel”, and a mischievous alien from another planet – who knew that they would become such an adorable pair! They will always care for one another and teach each other what it is to be a family. Ohana!

2. Peter Pan and Tinkerbell from Peter Pan

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When you think of best friends, how can you not envision this spritely duo? Not only are Peter Pan and Tinkerbell best friends, but they prove their dedication for each other time and time again. Tinkerbell risks her life to save her beloved Peter, and he stays behind to make sure she is okay before returning to his group, including Wendy! And even if Tink’s jealousy sometimes gets in the way, deep down, her connection with Peter is unbreakable. They are in tune with one another, they have made a lifetime of memories flying through Neverland, and never again will a fairy and a boy have a connection like these two.

1. Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King

You're #1!

They’re #1!

Bowling for Buzzards? Dressing in Drag and Doing the Hula? Possibly Standing Downwind to Boost Your Buddies Confidence? Okay, maybe the last one went too far, but you know as well as I that there has never been a more fun, goofy, and intriguing best buddy pair in any Disney movie as awesome and iconic as Timon and Pumbaa! They are the definition of best friends; trekking off down their own path, watching out for one another, and just having a good time! Take one from the other, and nothing makes sense! Timon and Pumbaa are the best buddies ever to dance and sing across my TV, and they should receive a standing ovation! Love you guys!