If you’ve been following Popcorn and Tequila for awhile (or me on social media), then you already KNOW I have a few issues with Pixar Soul coming to Disney Plus. If not, just click on that link and read my thoughts there.
However, I absolutely loved that we (meaning, we Black folks) were finally getting a Pixar film! I mean Onward, was good, but it didn’t do much for the Black community and Soul was Pixar’s road to redemption, or so I thought.
But alas, I can’t say that I’m fully happy with this movie and it breaks my heart to write this! I wanted MORE from Soul!
I wanted to feel the way I felt when I watched Safety, a Disney Plus original released just a few days ago about a Black college kid having to make hard choices to ensure that his little brother didn’t get dragged off to foster care.
Safety moved me in ways I hoped Soul would, but it didn’t! Thankfully, my daughter loved Pixar Soul, so here’s my parent review here on Tequila’s sister site, Popcorn and Tater Tots.
But since Pixar Soul (which will start streaming on Disney Plus on Christmas day) isn’t a complete disappointment, and there were a ton of great moments in the film I figured I’d break down what I loved and what I hated instead of just sharing about my disappointment.
So here’s everything I loved and hated about the new Pixar Soul movie on Disney Plus.
13 Things I Love About Pixar Soul On Disney Plus
1. It’s set in New York City.
As a native New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn, I love that this movie is set in NYC. They get a ton of things right and it makes me super proud to see NYC highlighted in a way we natives are used to seeing NYC, not the way tourists see things.
Also, the pizza rat is hilarious! I don’t even remember where that spawned from, but I know it’s a thing here and I love that it was included. And when Joe screams “why are you just standing there, you don’t just stop in the middle of the street” my heart smiled.
That’s a common issue natives have! We’ll be rushing off to work and someone will just stop in the middle of the sidewalk to take a photo, check their map, or just look around in amazement. Whatever the reason is, if you’re not dying, you need to get the hell up outta here and do that ish on the side! So having that tidbit included while they navigated a crowded street in Manhattan was genius. Shout out to whoever included that!
2. I also love that Joe wasn’t scared to die, he was just mad that he was dying before getting to live out his dream!
If that ain’t the blackest response to dying, I don’t know what is!
Like … you’re not mad you’re dead, you’re mad you died before you could play on stage and live out your life long dream?? This made me laugh way too hard! Black folks really just be wanting to be great! How many people have said, I’ll sleep when I die? Or I’d die happy if I could just do xyz? So this was great.
3. The animation is also incredible!
And when I say the animation, I’m talking about that one moment where Joe is falling, THAT animation!
Cause I mean it’s a Pixar film and the animation itself is always top notch. But that one moment was spectacular! I loved it! Even my daughter pointed it out and said it was cool.
4. I loved when 22 said, “it’s not great but I know what to expect.”
Being comfortable is such a big issue for us sometimes. And when I say “comfortable” I don’t necessarily mean life is great. 22 felt comfortable in other ways!
She knew what to expect in her current life, she knew folks would disappoint her, and that once she went through the emotions everything would go back to square one. She could anticipate the next few situations, and emotionally prepare for them! And this is why being “comfortable” in a bad situation sometimes feels easier than leaving a bad situation for the unknown, even if the unknown may be better than what’s comfortable.
I’m dealing with this right now, and I dealt with it before I quit my job last year! I knew that even though my job sucked my soul, and I no longer loved working for folks who didn’t give two f*cks about their employees, that it had a consistent paycheck that allowed me to provide for my daughter. I didn’t have to worry about where our next meal came from. So that quote meant a lot to me, and it’ll be a great teaching moment for others.
5. I loved the art gallery of his life!
I don’t remember what other movie had something similar, it may have been a tv series, but I love the idea of being able to walk into a room and seeing all of your accomplishments in front of you, or just moments of your life on display like a big art show. Ignore the fact that his story was
6. Another quote I absolutely loved is, “You can’t crush a soul here. That’s what life on earth is for.”
It was a cheeky nod to the fact that life as an adult sucks! So the notion that souls can’t be crushed in their little universe, no matter what those crazy little kids do, was super cute.
7. I also love seeing what “the artistic zone” looks like.
Creatives talk about being “in the zone” all the time, and it was kind of cool to see that concept visually. And I loved the bit about the Knicks and why they keep losing! As someone who questions the sanity of hardcore Knicks fans, this bit was delightful. At least now they have an explanation for why they keep losing.
8. But another great joy, was the contrast of the artistic zone to being “zoned out” due to depression and/or anxiety.
Showing anxiety and depression in a way for others to understand was truly amazing to watch. Especially as someone who deals with both. And when they said that lost souls aren’t much different from those who are creatively zoned out, aside from the fact that one is happy while the other obsesses over something, I almost lost it. Pixar writers have a great way of explaining what emotions look and feel like, and for that I’m grateful for.
I also loved seeing what “word vomit” looks like, and what happens when folks with anxiety obsess over the negative things people have told them throughout their lives.
While it’s not a happy moment, those who don’t suffer from anxiety and depression don’t really understand what happens. When I go through my hard days, it really does feel like I’m zoned out and in a dark place I can’t easily escape! The thoughts are hard to turn off no matter how hard you try. So I hope this helps others understand what it can feel like. I hope it helps others be kind.
9. I’ll also pause here to just mention that the music score is wonderful and they keep the Jazz throughout the entire film, which I loved.
I know it seems like common sense since the film is about a Jazz musician, but you’d be surprised at the crazy things folks do! So I was happy the music stayed consistent.
10. Oh and the joke about how it would be hard to catch a cab even if he wasn’t in a hospital gown, was hilarious, in an ironic way.
If you know how cabs work around here, you know that folks are discriminated against. Which is why the world was so damn happy when Uber and Lyft came around. It was hard for people of color to get yellow cabs to stop for them, so hence the irony of the joke. Not only did he look like he just escaped a traumatic hospital experience, he’s also Black!
11. Plus the vibes in the barbershop were on point!
The lollipops for the kids, the empty chair that no one wanted to sit in, the discussions about life, the hot towel, everything felt right!
I’ve never been to a barbershop, but I’ve heard the stories, and I can’t explain it, but it just FELT right.
12. Oh and the fact that a Black woman was running this music show was great.
Her being in charge and calling all the shots, reminds me of Ma Rainey on Netflix. (Which is great for adults to watch as well.)
However, they also made her glisten like she was sweating on stage! That was so dope to notice! Standing on stage, under those bright lights, ain’t easy, and it’s HOT!
13. Last but not least, I loved the ending credits!
And you totally gotta watch all the way to the end, because Terry is the cutest! (Also, folks work really hard on those damn title sequences! Watch them!)
Now that I’m finally done listing everything I loved about Pixar Soul on Disney Plus, here’s everything I hated.
11 Things I Hated About Pixar Soul On Disney Plus
1. First thing’s first, is Jamie’s voiceover.
I love Jamie, but his voice is well known, and it’s incredibly distracting when I can HEAR the actors voice before I can really hear the voice of the character and that’s what happened.
Hell, I didn’t even realize Phylicia Rashad was playing Joe’s mom until like the middle of the movie! And her voice is super known too! Eventually, Jamie’s voice sort of faded away a bit and I could finally hear Joe, but it bothered me at the beginning.
2. Also, the notion that a musician could just do whatever he wanted during practice bothered me.
Funny enough, I mentioned Ma Rainey above, and how both films have a strong plus size Black woman running the show.
Well, both films have another similarity – and it’s the male musician who has no problem stealing the spotlight. But in Soul, Joe doesn’t seem to do it intentionally. However, as someone who was meant to be apart of the band, and as someone who didn’t have a solo part, him playing as if it was his solo part, annoyed me. Especially since he was supposedly in the presence of someone who he respected. Somehow, he still found the space to steal her spotlight?
3. Then, 9 mins into the film and boom he’s a soul!
He ain’t even do anything yet! They couldn’t even let him play the gig and f*ck it up first??? 9 mins of being a human and boom he’s a soul? We all knew this movie would be about Joe’s journey as a soul, but gosh this still bothered TF outta me!
Lots of Black folks were worried about there being yet another Black character in a Disney / Pixar film who wouldn’t be human throughout the entire film and although he wasn’t a soul for the ENTIRE thing, 9 mins as a human was a slap in the face.
Oh and if you don’t get why Black folks are so angry at our Disney characters not being humans, please remember there was a time when folks thought Black folks weren’t human! (Whether that has changed or not, is still up for debate, but yah.) So having Black Disney characters thrown into films to only be animals (and now dead souls) is hella disrespectful.
4. The male Jerry repeating what the female Jerry already said, but slower?
As if they didn’t hear the f*cking woman the first time? I think this was the worst moment of the film! It was clearly meant to be a funny moment, but it made me cringe so damn hard!
Why the hell did this man have to repeat what she just said? And then, not only did he repeat it, he slowed it down! As if this man was only gonna understand another man? Disgusting!
Why can’t we just listen to women? Why does a man have to swoop in and pretend like he did something? Is this a male ego thing? Someone please explain this to me!
5. And then, Jamie is playing another character?
Did he collect an extra check for all the characters he played? We couldn’t find another Black male singer to play the guy in the subway? Why the hell did they use Jamie’s voice for that character? It was so weird!
Are y’all just tryna be cheap? Like I don’t get it! We could have given that to someone else! Someone unknown could have gotten a check for that one line, and possibly some discovery for an amazing voice. *sigh*
6. Then there’s the damn base player who doesn’t ever say a word!
And I’m not sure if I’m angry that this woman base player never speaks, or that Pixar missed another great opportunity to be more inclusive here! There ain’t no deaf / hard of hearing base players? Could we not have highlighted musicians who still play despite being hard of hearing or deaf? She ain’t say one damn word! She coulda signed some shit then! That woulda been such a great moment!
7. Oh, and Joe’s nose still bothers me!
His nose seemed to be the only one that was abnormally enlarged as well! Like why? Was it done on purpose? I just wanna know! Because we all know how Black folks were always drawn with freakishly large noses and lips, as if ours are that much bigger (hating asses) but for this to be aa film geared towards the Black community, I’m confused on why the main character was drawn this way.
8. Now can we talk about how excited I was when I heard Daveed Diggs was in this, just to be disappointed by his role?
I had to google the movie after watching it to figure out who Daveed played! (I’m happy I didn’t immediately recognize his voice, but damn!) I was so darn excited another Black man was in this movie, and then boom … he had like 5 lines and then he was gone again. Hell, now that I think about it, they coulda had Daveed play the guy in the subway!
9. Speaking of guys in the subway, that one guy in the train who spoke … pissed me TF off!
Why is it that every time someone white from NYC speaks, he sounds Italian? We ain’t freaking Italian! I ain’t NEVER heard that accent on the train in my lifetime living in NYC! So where the hell y’all keep getting this stereotypical accent from? It’s seriously annoying as hell! Stop doing it!
10. I probably shoulda mentioned this one before, but I’m not sure if I’m tripping. However – the narrative that Black folks hate their noncreative jobs gotta stop!
Not every creative takes a side job that they HATE! Why couldn’t this musician LOVE teaching and STILL want to live out his dream?
Why is there a narrative that Black teachers hate what they do? Also, Joe HAD to be a Black teacher with a class horrible at music? Them kids couldn’t be great?
They could have been great and that could have been Joe’s trigger that caused him to crave being a professional again! His kids could have been his inspiration, but instead them kids were his darn burden? Ugh!
11. Last but not least, this is one of those movies that doesn’t get really good until the end and I hate it!
Like I said before, I wanted to love this movie, but I just didn’t and this is partially why.
For Pixar’s first film geared towards the Black community, it was an incredibly dull ride through a new universe that could have been much more exciting. I don’t know what happened, but I feel like this movie could have been WAY better! Up is one of my favorite Pixar films, and it’s entertaining throughout the entire film!
So while Pixar Soul has a ton of great messages, including a big reminder to live life to the fullest and enjoy the small things, it’s a good movie, not a great one. Safety, despite being a whole different story, was a much better movie to me. Of course, my daughter may not agree, as she absolutely loved Soul.
But for me? The adult who was super excited for this movie, and loves animation? This didn’t hit the way I wanted it to. Honestly, I stopped watching it the first time around to scroll social media for a bit. That’s how bored I was! I had a better time watching Pixar Soul on Disney Plus with my daughter, so this does work as an entertaining family film, but nothing more.
It’ll surely be a great film to watch with the family this Christmas, but will you be dying to watch it over and over again? I won’t! Maybe my daughter will though. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Until then, here are my favorite Pixar Soul movie quotes!