Monsters, Inc.

2001, Pixar/Walt Disney

One of Pixar's earlier efforts, Monsters created something of a benchmark for the studio, a bar they would attempt to clear (and subsequently raise) with each new release. And the bar was set mighty high with this one. Appealing to audiences of any age is a tall order, yet the characters will engage young and old alike; they're goofy and funny-looking enough for tykes, yet emotionally complex and fully-formed enough for their parents. And the closing scene will tug at the heartstrings of anybody.

       

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Monsters University

2013, Pixar/Walt Disney

Leave it to Pixar to deliver a sequel as entertaining as its predecessor—well, to be honest, nearly so. But even a below-average Pixar film is usually above-average in the grand scheme of things. Anyway, this prequel sequel spins a tale of how Mike and Sully became close friends, in a setting all too familiar to college graduates. Unfortunately it relies a bit too much on campus-related humor; consequently, at times it comes off as somewhat mean-spirited.

       

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