5 Ways to Prep: The Emoji Movie
By George Rose
July 31, 2017

Even the voice actors don't know what's going on in this scene.

Oh, I’m sorry, did you think I was going to pick Atomic Blonde this week? Last week, I tried to do the right thing. I ignored my instincts and chose to highlight Dunkirk as my pick of the week. I intended to do Valerian. The director also did Fifth Element, which is one of my favorite movies. Space epics are one of my favorite genres, and the TV commercials promised it would thrill 3D fans like me. Even though I haaaaaate war movies, I chose Dunkirk because Christopher Nolan is the best writer/director combo working today and it was destined to be the biggest movie of the weekend. I probably should have waited until I saw the movie first.

Well, I wouldn’t be the man you all love to read if I didn’t YET AGAIN find myself disappointed with the box office. Dunkirk was garbage. The sad thing is we can’t even blame my hatred of war movies. I recommended you watch Inglourious Basterds, which I loved, because one of my other favorite directors (Quentin Tarantino) made a boring genre funny and accessible. Then, only two days after I wrote the Dunkirk article, I saw Hacksaw Ridge on HBO and I bawled my eyes out. I can’t believe those soldiers were so mean to Andrew Garfield but he saved them all anyway and made it back home to Teresa Palmer, who is Queen of George’s Lady Crush Land. What I learned is that war movies are a lot like rap music; on their own they are complete nonsense but when mashed up with another genre it can be amazing and epic.

Basterds was war and humor. Hacksaw was war and romance. Dunkirk was war and Nolan. I previously thought Nolan was his own genre but he is strictly a master writer/director. Dunkirk was purely a war film and I’m sure lovers of the genre will enjoy it. I think it should and will win plenty of technical Oscars but I would much rather see Nolan win Best Director for a piece of his signature art form like Inception than a boring piece of propaganda like Dunkirk. Last week I went with the smart choice and it backfired. Even though I also like spy/action movies, anyone who knows me knows I looooove animated movies and 3D. This could also be a good way to prep for the new movie. If I can somehow make an article about emojis interesting, then maybe Hollywood can make a good Emoji Movie.

1) The Social Network (2010)

Just because I love animated films like Emoji Movie doesn’t mean my recommendations have to be cartoons. Remember when you first heard about The Social Network? “Nobody is going to want to watch a Facebook movie,” we all said. Then we learned David Fincher was going to direct it with his unique visual flair and Aaron Sorkin was going to write it. Sorkin can make an encyclopedia entertaining, and a large portion of the Social Network’s success belongs to him. As much as I hate war movies, I also hate watching the news (CNN news, not E! News). Sorkin’s The Newsroom on HBO had one of the best first seasons of television in recent memory, and he even made the stupid sports genre rather fascinating when he wrote Moneyball. Not even Justin Timberlake’s annoying appearance in Social Network was able to deter it from Oscar glory (eight nominations, three wins, including Sorkin). The Emoji Movie isn’t expected to win any awards but this recommendation reminds us to give movies about internet fads a chance.

2) The Angry Birds Movie (2016)

Though this isn’t the best example of an animated movie, this may be the closest comparison we have to an Emoji Movie. The Social Network was a stupid concept that made an amazing movie, but it was about the creation of a website and not a cell phone feature. Angry Birds is a series of cell phone game apps, not exactly a cell phone feature, either. There really isn’t much to compare to a movie about text message icons, but the internet isn’t even 30 years old yet. It still took almost that long to make a good movie about a website. Maybe there should be a movie about the guy/girl who created emojis, but non-flip cell phones are even younger than the internet, and this just all feels too soon. Neither emojis nor Angry Birds are old enough to be nostalgic, and they seem too simple a concept to adapt into feature length films.

That didn’t stop Hollywood from trying, though! The odd thing is… Angry Birds isn’t bad. It’s not Pixar-level quality but, at this point, it doesn’t have to be. I’d rather pay to watch a decent animated 3D movie on the big screen than pay to watch an Oscar caliber war movie that’s utterly boring. Summer is the time to have fun and be with your friends and family. Is there a better way to escape the heat than by sitting in an air conditioned theater, laughing with those around you and watching 3D effects that you can’t get on your TV at home? “I’d rather sit quietly and be bored out of my mind watching people die horrific deaths while we remember that war is horrible as we glorify it at the same time,” said NOBODY EVER! If someone had reminded me last week that movies should be exciting experiences, I would have seen Valerian. This week, I’ll be seeing the Emoji Movie. If you only have time for movies at home, give Angry Birds a shot. It’s a nice origin story for the game we all play and fun for the whole family.

3) The LEGO Movie (2014)

There are no words for how brilliant this movie is. Instead of trying, here is a list of all the trophies it won at the 2015 Nobody Cares What George Has To Say Awards:

Best Non-Pixar Animated Movie
Best Movie About Toys That Everyone Said Was Impossible To Turn Into A Feature Film
Best Performance By Chris Pratt That Doesn’t Show Him Shirtless
Best Comedic Performance By A Batman
Best Surprise Performance By A Human Actor In An Animated Film
Best Reason To Keep Buying LEGOs
Best Movie Ever That Should Have WON The Oscar But Got Snubbed A Nomination

Seriously, I have trouble talking about this movie because it is so incredible and so shocking in how it blew away the low expectations it had before losing out on the Oscar it deserved. I can only imagine how much Disney spent to make sure LEGO lost out on a nomination so Big Hero 6 could steal the win. If Emoji Movie is even half as good the LEGO Movie was, then we are in for a real treat. Heck, even 10% as good as LEGO Movie would be more fun than Dunkirk and that’s why people take a two hour break in their day to watch a movie. For fun.

4) Inside Out (2015)

Now, this is an Oscar winning animated movie that deserved to win. Emojis aren’t websites, games or toys like the last three recommendations. They are visual icons we use to communicate online with one another that help represent our emotions. Feelings like happiness, anger, sadness, fear and disgust all have their own emoji that is quicker to text and faster to read than the right words needed to convey your emotions. Emotions are very deep and complicated, so much so that if each one was a person in a room it would make for a very interesting experience. One would hope those vastly different but equally necessary emotions was able to have a civil conversation and not start a war. Because war is boring. Like Dunkirk.

Well, my friends, I have a treat for you. A movie about five emotions living in your brain actually exists! It’s called Inside Out and it’s from Pixar and it’s perfect. It’s just so wonderful and smart and funny and I just love it so much. Animated movies have the ability to seamlessly incorporate visuals that don’t seem artificially inserted with CGI and the brain has endless visual potential. What Pixar achieved here is nothing short of astonishing. I cry to the point of snot running down my face every time I see that little runaway girl cry in the arms of her parents as her brain creates its first hybrid emotional memory. I doubt the Emoji Movie is shooting for the heights Pixar pulls off with ease, but Inside Out proves you can make movies about emotions.

5) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

If you’re still doubting the potential that the Emoji Movie has to be even mildly entertaining (which, again, still makes it more worth your money to see on the big screen than Dunkirk), then remember this final recommendation. Emojis aren’t websites, games, toys or deep emotions. They also aren’t a classic kids book that I remember fondly from childhood, which again means they aren’t nostalgic like I mentioned earlier. This movie fits wells as my last chance to help sell the ultra simple concept of text icons, because Cloudy was able to turn a 30-page picture book about food that rains down from above into an hour and a half long movie. And that tiny kids book that turned into a short kids movie was one of the best times I had at the theater in 2009.

I was in my mid-twenties and I snuck beer into the theater with my friend, Marta. She was nervous and thought we’d get in trouble or, worse, judged by the theoretically respectable parents that brought their noisy offspring with them. I pointed out this cute and quaint little family and told her there was a good chance the mom was banging her tennis instructor, the dad was secretly gay and the small boy was probably tripping balls on Adderall because it’s the new millennium and nobody is allowed to hit their bratty children anymore.

The point is you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Movies about raining food turned out to be hilarious and clever and as much for adults as it was for kids. Animated movies are fun for the family and that’s what I’m all about this week, having fun. So screw the Oscars (they don’t always get it right anyway) and screw Dunkirk (it definitely got it wrong). Grab a six-pack and go see the stupid kids movie about emojis. The worst that could happen is seeing Dunkirk instead.