Rating 12 Iconic Pixar Shorts
Updated: Jan 20
Everyone knows the shorts are the real reason we went to see Pixar movies.
1. For the Birds - shown before Monsters, Inc.
Let’s start with a classic. This vibrantly-colored short features a flock of birds sitting on a telephone wire when a larger bird comes to join them. Did you know some of these birds have names? Me neither. We have Bully, Chipper, Snob, and Neurotic (how family friendly) who team up to get rid of the bird that tried to join them. Sounds pretty cliquey to me. So not only is this short hilarious and brings back childhood memories, it also has a life lesson (DUH, it’s Pixar).
2. Luxo Jr. - shown before Toy Story 2
How old were you when you learned that the Pixar lamp had a name? Asking for a friend. This is one of the original shorts by John Lasseter, one of Pixar’s first animators. It’s simple, yet paved the way to Pixar’s first animated feature film, Toy Story.
Without the history, 5/10
With the history, 11/10
3. Tin Toy - shown before Toy Story
Tin Toy is one of the oldest shorts, I mean it even has the pre-Luxo Pixar logo (Luxo is the name of the bouncing lamp) and opening. Tin Toy? Adorable. The baby? Absolutely terrifying and creature-like, please look it up.
4. Lava - shown before Inside Out
This short is absolutely adorable, paired with gorgeous animation and music. So I just want to know whose idea it was to put it before Inside Out. Inside Out is one of the deepest and most mentally draining Pixar movies there is, to the point that my “adult” brain can barely process the talk about “feelings.” So the fact that there is someone out there who was like, “Ah, yes. Let’s crush their hearts even more. By the time they’re done with this movie, Lava will have seemed like a fever dream." It just really blows my mind.
5. Geri’s Game - shown before A Bug’s Life
This may be the best short of all time. It’s the intense, back and forth story of a day-long chess game. Who’s going to come out on top? And how far are they willing to go to succeed? Fake a heart attack? Use dentures as an advantage? Spoiler Alert! Geri wins.
6. Boundin’ - shown before The Incredibles
For some reason, this reminds me of Splash Mountain and I love Splash Mountain. Also, a tap dancing sheep? Heck yeah. Then, out of nowhere, someone comes along, hijacks the sheep, and cuts all his wool off so he’s scared and naked. But don’t worry, a jackalope comes to the rescue with the best life advice there is, “Now sometimes you're up and sometimes you're down. When you find that you're down, well, just look around. You still got a body, good legs, and fine feet, get your head in the right place and hey you're complete!”
7. Knick Knack - shown before Finding Nemo
This short is one of the earliest memories I have that I didn’t know was real until I rewatched Finding Nemo in my later childhood and saw Knick Knack again. The animators took something so simple and brought it to life. Some may even say it’s cute, fun, and quirky.
8. Lifted - shown before Ratatouille
The old-time farmhouse in the middle of nowhere with weird things happening gives me major Courage the Cowardly Dog vibes and that takes me to a very dark place of my childhood. Honestly, I just find this one strange.
9. Day & Night - shown before Toy Story 3
This is my favorite Pixar short and I’ll tell you why. It is such a simple concept but had multiple life lessons: give the world a new perspective, find someone who brings out the best in you, walk a mile in their shoes, accept others for who they are, be proud of who you are, share your knowledge and experiences with others, teach others, don’t envy others, do I need to continue?
10. The Blue Umbrella - shown before Monsters University
Ah, the modern love story of our era. As the rain falls in the colorless city, the blue umbrella happily does his job to keep his owner dry. When suddenly, he spots the most beautiful red umbrella. It had to be love at first sight. I didn’t ask to cry before Monsters University, but here we are.
11. Dug Days - Disney+ Original
Once again, I didn’t ask for Pixar to make me cry and here we are. In case you didn’t love the Up characters enough, this series of shorts reminds you how adorable Dug and Carl are.
12. The Adventures of Andre & Wally B
Presented by Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Project (Star Wars?), The Adventures of Andre & Wally B is the oldest Pixar short and was featured to honor the first time John Lasseter worked on a 3D animated film. Andre sounds like Donald Duck when he laughs and Goofy when he gets stung by Wally B.
Olaf Presents - Disney+ Original
These may not be your traditional Pixar shorts, but they are 100% the best Disney shorts to ever be created. And, amongst them, The Little Mermaid is obviously the best one. “Hey I’m Octalady. Give me your voice for some legs.”