Five Favorite Films With Toy Story 3 Director Lee Unkrich

The man at the helm of Pixar's latest reveals some curious personal picks

KT

One of Pixar's core creative team, Lee Unkrich joined the studio as an editor in 1994, where he cut Toy Story and A Bug's Life before moving on to co-direct Toy Story 2, Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo... not a bad track record, to put it mildly. With this week's superb Toy Story 3, Unkrich has created what may be his best work for Pixar yet -- a rich, layered sequel that extends the characters and adventures from its beloved predecessors and yet manages to feel like an essential third chapter in a unified story. We caught up with the director ahead of the film's release and asked him to name his five favorite films, which proved to be an interesting -- and revealing -- list. "This is always such a tricky one," Unkrich says."I'm trying to go with different filmmakers and not repeat anybody."







The Shining (1980, 87% Tomatometer)
The ShiningMy favorite film is The Shining, mostly because it was the film that inspired me to become a filmmaker myself.




Punch-Drunk Love (2002, 79% Tomatometer)
Punch-Drunk LoveReally, that just kind of encapsulates all of Paul Thomas Anderson's films for me. I'm inspired by the kinetic energy of his films, and the richness of the characters and the performances especially.




Blue Velvet (1986, 91% Tomatometer)
Blue VelvetIt wasn't the first film to show a kind of alternate vision of suburbia, but it left an indelible impression, I think, on everybody, and all films like that will forever be measured against Blue Velvet.




An Angel at My Table (1991, 92% Tomatometer)
An Angel at My TableHere's an odd one -- An Angel at My Table, by Jane Campion. It's an odd choice and I can't quite tell you why. I've always found that film very affecting. Kerry Fox's performance is great and it's such a particular study of such a particular character done in a very stylish way. It's just always stayed with me.




Raising Arizona (1987, 90% Tomatometer)
Raising Arizona I need one more, huh? How about a good comedy? Raising Arizona. Remains the funniest movie I've ever seen in my life. There you go!



Click here for our extended interview with Lee, in which he discusses the pressure of creating the sequel.

Comments

TalkingGorilla

Philip Zamora

One of these days, I'd like a director to tell us that he likes Plan 9 from Outer Space, Battlefield Earth, I Spit on Your Grave, Catwoman, and Gigli. Just once.

Jun 15 - 12:18 PM

Kieran O.

Kieran ODea

hahaha very nice but i think you missed surrogates and shredder

Jun 15 - 09:44 PM

Zak

Zak Lopopolo

But then the director just can't resist adding a sixth, and blurts out "Freddy Got Fingered"

Jun 15 - 11:40 PM

Film Ninja

Toronto Dog

Yeah, I'm sure some director would pick those... and that director's name is Uwe Boll.

Jun 16 - 08:42 PM

AlexDeLargeisHere

Harold Warren

Surprisingly I read that Uwe Boll's favourite film was Apoclypse Now (1979). I was quite surprised that he enjoyed such a brilliant film, If only he directed brilliant films no one would hate him so much.

Jun 17 - 01:01 AM

The Stunner

Tiago Paulo

why would you hate someone who does bad films?

Jun 17 - 06:32 AM

girly g.

girly girl

haha

Jul 22 - 07:58 PM

The Stunner

Tiago Paulo

interesting.

did you know that kubrick and shelley duvall were nominated for razzies because of that 'shining' flick?

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/user/523619/lists/

Jun 15 - 12:20 PM

frogleg

Josh Quarles

Really?!
I didn't even realize Razzies had been around that long.

Jun 16 - 08:35 AM

joe s.

joe swab

yes kubrick and duvall were nominated for razzies..... 20 YEARS AGO!!!!!! societies perception of things change over time, and so did the shinings status as being bad. a lot of kubricks films were like that (a clockwork orange, 2001, barry lolita, etc). also, if your trying to troll, your pretty bad at it

Jul 14 - 12:09 AM

girly g.

girly girl

are you serious?

Jul 22 - 07:59 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

I actually haven't seen any of these. Interesting that his number one is The Shining; you wouldn't think so, but that's cool. Lee Unkrich is a class act, and in just a few days I'll know how great of a director he is (I know he's co-directed but this is different).

Jun 15 - 12:21 PM

Nadav Raz

Nadav Raz

Why wouldn't you think so; because he's a director of animation? Or because you've never watched the shining and you're talking out of your ass

Jun 15 - 02:49 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

Chill out; what is your problem? It is kind of unexpected to me that the Toy Story 3 director's favorite film is The Shining; I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that at all. I'm sure others were surprised as well.

Jun 15 - 03:44 PM

Taylor A.

Taylor Agnew

Yeah, chill out, buddy! It surprised me too.

Jun 15 - 04:20 PM

anDy

Andreas Babs

That really explains the redrum reference in the first movie.
Thinking of that makes me not so surprised, but otherwise, who wouldn't be surprised? It's a movie about a man wanting to kill his kid and his wife, and this director made a movie about living toys. It's very unexpected, but awesome all the same.

Jun 15 - 07:27 PM

Zak

Zak Lopopolo

well, the way you put it, it actually doesn't seem so strange. When you refer to a film as being "about living toys", it kind of gives you the impression that it's gunna be a creepy horror film. haha.

Jun 15 - 11:52 PM

bijio

biji badness

youre such a douche

Jun 16 - 01:10 AM

bijio

biji badness

to that "Nadav Raz" idiot, obviously

Jun 16 - 01:11 AM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

Maybe we'll see Buzz pull a Shining in Toy Story 3.

Jun 15 - 12:36 PM

cornelius fucklebutt

John Maus

All work and no play makes Andy a dull boy.

Jun 15 - 01:38 PM

Clayton S.

Clayton Shank

Haha

Jun 15 - 04:39 PM

cornelius fucklebutt

John Maus

All work and no play makes Andy a dull boy.

Jun 15 - 01:38 PM

Clayton S.

Clayton Shank

Haha

Jun 15 - 04:39 PM

DoctorXeno

Jonathan Nono

"One of these days, I'd like a director to tell us that he likes Plan 9 from Outer Space, Battlefield Earth, I Spit on Your Grave, Catwoman, and Gigli. Just once" - Please, Plan 9 is a work of a genius. It's not the kind of truly bad film.

This guy loves Blue Velvet? I want to high-five him.

Jun 15 - 01:40 PM

Dave J

Dave J

His picks, totally are the opposite of the films he's involved in! All "R" rated films probably except for "Punch Drunk Love"!

Jun 15 - 02:04 PM

Josh G.

imgonnaget STABBED

No, that's R too

Jun 15 - 03:15 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Or maybe Raising Arizona which might've been a PG!!!

Jun 15 - 02:06 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

Ever heard of Robert Rodriguez?

Jun 15 - 02:33 PM

Dave J

Dave J

What's your point!

Jun 15 - 02:35 PM

Dave J

Dave J

As I recall, Robert Rodriguez made two different top five lists one because of his kids and then for himself!

Jun 15 - 02:37 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

He goes from Sin City to Sharkboy and Lava Girl. Just because someone makes kid's movies doesn't necessarily relegated them to only that genre. Besides, Pixar isn't a kid's movie studio. Its a film studio. Their employees make good films because they appreciate good films.

Jun 15 - 05:45 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Throw an Onion
In all due respect, I wouldn't necessarily put any of the "Spy kids" films as well as Lava Girl in the same category as any Pixar films for that matter! And besides that I never "claims" that Pixar isn't a kid's movie studio.

Jun 16 - 11:18 AM

Dave J

Dave J

What I meant to say is that " I never made any claims"- All I was doing was making a point!

Jun 16 - 11:19 AM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

I wasn't comparing Spy Kids and Pixar. Obviously Pixar is in a whole new stratosphere of quality than the Spy Kids movies.

I was just pointing out that directors that do G or PG rated movies a lot aren't necessarily all about kid movies.

It was late when I posted that. So obviously I misunderstood what you meant. Nice talking with you.

Jun 16 - 01:09 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Likewise!

Jun 16 - 01:42 PM

AlexDeLargeisHere

Harold Warren

Raising Arizona was PG-13 in the US.

Jun 17 - 01:27 AM

MJ

Mardia Joan

In New Zealand An Angel At My Table is only PG rated.

Jun 18 - 06:35 PM

John T.

John Taylor

I find it interesting to see what people involved in movies consider as their own favorites. As is usually the case, I would not put any of the films listed on my own list. Especially his #1 choice. A combination of not liking King as a writer and having to be an in-theatre usher three nights in a row for The Shining. By the way, even though I don't like King, the book was WAY better than the movie. I like The Stand. If The Shining was better, maybe to book version of The Stand is too.

Jun 15 - 02:14 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

If you are referring to the mini-series adaptation of The Stand; it does not even come within a billion mile radius of touching the novel's greatness. Many of the actor's were miscast (except Gary Sinise, that was spot on!), the content had to be toned down to meet TV regulations, it was also edited because of time restraints, and there were overall just a bunch of problems. And also, not attacking you here, but if you do not like King's writing, you would be interested to know he wrote the mini-series version of The Stand himself.

Jun 15 - 06:39 PM

Zak

Zak Lopopolo

I agree. But while we're on the topic of King adaptations, someone should really be castrated for the TV adaptation of "It".

Jun 15 - 11:56 PM

Bjornar

A B

True dat Zak, the giant robo spider at the end of the tv series It was terrible. That novel scared the bejesus out of me when I read it first at the age of twelve. Even now I don't enjoy hanging out by storm drains. The Shining was a good movie adaptation of a great King novel. Sure there was no axe in the novel (big croquet mallet if I remember correctly) but Jack Nicholson knocked it out of the park!

Jul 8 - 09:10 AM

Shannon c.

Shannon clemans

The books are always better than the films, I can imagine that it would be hard to capture everything a book has to offer on film. In addition, a book-movie relies heavily on the acting of the "Stars." That being said some get real close, my favs are; The Notebook, The Green Mile and in my opinion the best book to movie adaptation of all time is "Interview With the Vampire."

Jun 16 - 11:58 AM

Film Ninja

Toronto Dog

I can't say I've read The Shining, because I have a similar distaste for Steven King, but Kubrick put a lot of his own ideas and themes into the film. I think if you are watching it as a faithful adaptation of the novel, you may actually be missing the point of Kubrick's Shining.

Jun 16 - 08:47 PM

August M.

Agustin Macias

Finally, no video.

Jun 15 - 02:21 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree!

Jun 15 - 02:29 PM

Zak

Zak Lopopolo

what's wrong with the video? I like those.

Jun 15 - 11:57 PM

Dave J

Dave J

You may like those but it can be quite annoying especially if it's to listen for a two minute clip! You must be one of those people who always have their headsets on at all times or just have speakers connected to your computer!

Jun 16 - 11:22 AM

RJ Smoove

Ryan Rutherford

Toy Story 3!!!!!!

Jun 15 - 02:24 PM

Lenny Feder

creighton satterfield

Punch-Drunk Love had a pretty solid R-rating.

Jun 15 - 02:25 PM

Nine Oh Two

joe schmoe

SHUT UP! SHUT THE **** UP! Shut up; will you SHUTUP SHUTUP! SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUTUP... SHUTUP! NOW

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Jun 15 - 02:28 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Oops!!

Jun 15 - 02:28 PM

Nadav Raz

Nadav Raz

Punch-Drunk Love was too slow paced for me to watch it. Love his other picks though.

Jun 15 - 02:52 PM

Bjornar

A B

I remember seeing Punch Drunk Love in the theater and leaving with aching hands and legs because I'd been so tense throughout the entire movie. Sandler plays such an excellent character, felt like a more "realistic" depiction of his Happy Gilmore/Billy Madison/Waterboy characters--the violent outbursts but in a way that removes all of the humor. Philip Seymour Hoffman was great as the phone-porno king as well. I wonder if my wife would appreciate me telling her I love so much I want to smash her face with a hammer?

Jul 8 - 09:15 AM

Nine Oh Two

joe schmoe

SHUT UP! SHUT THE **** UP! Shut up; will you SHUTUP SHUTUP! SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUT SHUTUP... SHUTUP! NOW

Sorry, couldn't help myself.

Jun 15 - 02:28 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Oops!!

Jun 15 - 02:28 PM

Dave J

Dave J

I agree!

Jun 15 - 02:29 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

Ever heard of Robert Rodriguez?

Jun 15 - 02:33 PM

Dave J

Dave J

What's your point!

Jun 15 - 02:35 PM

Dave J

Dave J

As I recall, Robert Rodriguez made two different top five lists one because of his kids and then for himself!

Jun 15 - 02:37 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

He goes from Sin City to Sharkboy and Lava Girl. Just because someone makes kid's movies doesn't necessarily relegated them to only that genre. Besides, Pixar isn't a kid's movie studio. Its a film studio. Their employees make good films because they appreciate good films.

Jun 15 - 05:45 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Throw an Onion
In all due respect, I wouldn't necessarily put any of the "Spy kids" films as well as Lava Girl in the same category as any Pixar films for that matter! And besides that I never "claims" that Pixar isn't a kid's movie studio.

Jun 16 - 11:18 AM

Dave J

Dave J

What I meant to say is that " I never made any claims"- All I was doing was making a point!

Jun 16 - 11:19 AM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

I wasn't comparing Spy Kids and Pixar. Obviously Pixar is in a whole new stratosphere of quality than the Spy Kids movies.

I was just pointing out that directors that do G or PG rated movies a lot aren't necessarily all about kid movies.

It was late when I posted that. So obviously I misunderstood what you meant. Nice talking with you.

Jun 16 - 01:09 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Likewise!

Jun 16 - 01:42 PM

Dave J

Dave J

What's your point!

Jun 15 - 02:35 PM

Dave J

Dave J

As I recall, Robert Rodriguez made two different top five lists one because of his kids and then for himself!

Jun 15 - 02:37 PM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

He goes from Sin City to Sharkboy and Lava Girl. Just because someone makes kid's movies doesn't necessarily relegated them to only that genre. Besides, Pixar isn't a kid's movie studio. Its a film studio. Their employees make good films because they appreciate good films.

Jun 15 - 05:45 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Throw an Onion
In all due respect, I wouldn't necessarily put any of the "Spy kids" films as well as Lava Girl in the same category as any Pixar films for that matter! And besides that I never "claims" that Pixar isn't a kid's movie studio.

Jun 16 - 11:18 AM

Dave J

Dave J

What I meant to say is that " I never made any claims"- All I was doing was making a point!

Jun 16 - 11:19 AM

Throw An Onion

Crornk Kaleidescope

I wasn't comparing Spy Kids and Pixar. Obviously Pixar is in a whole new stratosphere of quality than the Spy Kids movies.

I was just pointing out that directors that do G or PG rated movies a lot aren't necessarily all about kid movies.

It was late when I posted that. So obviously I misunderstood what you meant. Nice talking with you.

Jun 16 - 01:09 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Likewise!

Jun 16 - 01:42 PM

poly_pusher

Greg Brown

I love that he chose Punch Drunk Love. As for whether his directorial debut will be a success... He learned from John Lasseter and probably still has to answer to him. In other words, his directorial debut will be a resounding success...

Jun 15 - 02:39 PM

Nadav Raz

Nadav Raz

Why wouldn't you think so; because he's a director of animation? Or because you've never watched the shining and you're talking out of your ass

Jun 15 - 02:49 PM

Mr. Dufresne

Chip McNair

Chill out; what is your problem? It is kind of unexpected to me that the Toy Story 3 director's favorite film is The Shining; I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that at all. I'm sure others were surprised as well.

Jun 15 - 03:44 PM

Taylor A.

Taylor Agnew

Yeah, chill out, buddy! It surprised me too.

Jun 15 - 04:20 PM

anDy

Andreas Babs

That really explains the redrum reference in the first movie.
Thinking of that makes me not so surprised, but otherwise, who wouldn't be surprised? It's a movie about a man wanting to kill his kid and his wife, and this director made a movie about living toys. It's very unexpected, but awesome all the same.

Jun 15 - 07:27 PM

Zak

Zak Lopopolo

well, the way you put it, it actually doesn't seem so strange. When you refer to a film as being "about living toys", it kind of gives you the impression that it's gunna be a creepy horror film. haha.

Jun 15 - 11:52 PM

bijio

biji badness

youre such a douche

Jun 16 - 01:10 AM

bijio

biji badness

to that "Nadav Raz" idiot, obviously

Jun 16 - 01:11 AM

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