Coco (2017)

Coco (2017) movie poster

director Lee Unkrich
viewed: 12/02/2017 at the Balboa Theater, SF, CA

My kids are both teenagers now, so all Disney or Pixar movies are no longer mandatory screening. I was actually a little surprised when my daughter asked if we could go see Coco.

After the atrocious and annoying Frozen “short”, the double-branded Coco begins. Patting itself on the back for its innovations in CGI and its due diligence to Mexican culture, the film opens up on the story of a long-lost patriarch and the remembrances of the Day of the Dead.

My daughter said her Spanish teacher had encouraged seeing it. And she was pleased by how many words she recognized (though I frankly knew about as much of the  Español myself.

It’s vividly-realized. I mean, this is Pixar, after all. The land of the dead is gorgeously depicted with meticulous details abounding in shot after shot.

Still, I wasn’t enthralled in it. I’m still trying to weigh exactly why this was. My daughter did enjoy it.

And I enjoyed going with her. I don’t know how many more of these we’ve got.

How old were you the last animated film you saw with your parents as a child? What was it?

Finding Dory (2016)

Finding Dory (2016) movie poster

director Andrew Stanton
viewed: 07/24/2016 at the Alamo Draft House – New Mission, SF, CA

Pixar’s Finding Dory got pretty good reviews, but I wasn’t terribly bothered about seeing it, big screen or small.  My 12 year old daughter, though, given her druthers for a movie outing, opted for it.  And truly, as my kids break on through into their teens, I realize that my need to see the latest animated fare is on the verge of falling away.  So, I willingly embrace it.

I’ve commented before on Pixar’s once magical touch and how it’s been whittled down to a mere mortal hand.  The fallibility is less human and more corporate, of course.  Movies that didn’t need sequels now get sequels, this one 13 years out from Finding Nemo of 2003.

Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks are back as Dory and Marlin, and Andrew Stanton is also back with another story of fish seeking family across the ocean.  This time, it’s Dory, she of the bad memory, looking for her family who turns out to live around Morro Bay, CA.

I guess they were running low on new fish.  This time we’ve got a beluga whale, a whale shark, and most notably a 7 legged octopus (Ed O’Neill).

You’d have to be a real grump not to enjoy it pretty well.  But it’s far from innovative, fresh, original, or overly compelling.  Often, even in a weak Pixar film, the innovations of their animation technology are stunningly on display, but nothing really stood out for me in that regard here.  I might even consider it moderately forgettable.

But my daughter enjoyed it.  And I’m glad we went.

Inside Out (2015)

Inside Out (2015) movie poster

director Pete Docter
viewed: 06/19/2015 at Century San Francisco Centre 9 and XD, SF, CA

Pixar’s latest, Inside Out, is being touted as “the best idea that Pixar has ever had” and praised as one of the digital animation studio’s best films.  And, sure, it is a return to form for Pixar, certainly the best film they’ve put out in five years, whether your measuring stick is Toy Story 3 (2010), Up (2009), WALL-E (2008), or maybe Ratatouille (2007).  It is more in the veins of those films than in the less wonderful films that they’ve pumped out as they’  ve let Disney eat their creative lunch.

I’ll just say this: the idea about “the voices inside your head” embodied as individual emotions (joy, anger, fear, sadness, and disgust) isn’t so wildly original nor is its reductively considered sensibility all that complete.  Disgust?  One of the five primary emotions?  It’s kind of problematic to reduce the primary characters of the film to single emotional range — not that they are all that limited….but still…genius idea?  Okay idea maybe.

But the film works, in large part because of the performances by Joy (Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith).  And the world within the head, the spaces for memories, the mechanisms for storage and retrieval and removal are beautifully rendered and realized.  When a 12 year old girl is suddenly hit with the challenges of a new home in a new city, and Sadness starts to taint her core memories, Joy and Sadness have to journey through the system to bring back the pieces of the girl’s persona before she runs away back to Minnesota.

Directed by Pete Docter, whose last directorial role for Pixar was in Up, it’s a Pixar film as we’ve come to expect from the company: fun characters, beautifully rendered designs, clever humor, emotional arcs, and good storytelling.  Docter has been sort of the #2 director behind John Lasseter at Pixar, a solid filmmaker in that particular mold.

My guess is that the gushing reviews will sway popular opinion, enshrining Inside Out in the pantheon of Pixar films, at least in general consensus.  I thought it was good, quite good, but not ever great.  Still, a sizable step up for the venerable Emeryville company and a step back in the right direction.  It’s kind of interesting that we’ve got a second Pixar film due this year, The Good Dinosaur (2015), which is a first.  Don’t know what that will turn out to be like.

The kids liked it.  Clara quite well.  Felix a little more begrudgingly.  Me somewhere in between.

Monsters University (2013)

Monsters University (2013) movie poster

director Dan Scanlon
viewed: 06/23/2013 at CineArts at the Empire Theater, SF, CA

It’s far too early to be sounding the death knell of quality films from Pixar, but it’s well worth noting an overall downward trend in their output since their purchase by Disney in 2006.  The first sequel they released, Toy Story 2, (1999) had an interesting evolution from a “straight to video” film recognized to be really good enough to be a feature film.  When your own knock-off product is that good, you’ve really got a studio kicking some ass.  The eventual Toy Story 3 (2010) was always planned as a theatrical film and was actually quite good, itself.

Cars (2006) was the studio’s first true dud, in my opinion.  Cars 2 (2011), was the first Pixar film that I actually didn’t bother seeing.  Quality hasn’t stopped the Cars franchise from expanding to theme park rides, oodles of toys and branding, and an incredibly dubious-looking film coming out this summer from Disney called Planes (2013), which rips off (expands on) the world of Cars while not being a Pixar production.  I’ve heard that Cars is a touchy subject at the studio, a pet project of head honcho John Lasseter, though not one commonly appreciated by the rest of the animators.

It is in the wake of the Cars franchise that the studio offers its first prequel, Monsters University, the first revisit to the charming characters and universe of 2001’s Monsters Inc.  Soon too be followed in 2015 by Finding Dory, sequel to Finding Nemo (2003).  The studio has been pumping out a film a year since 2006, seeming to need to keep producing product every year rather than gestating their best ideas only.

They’ve certainly produced some fine films in this time, including Ratatouille (2007), WALL-E (2008), Up (2009) and the aforementioned Toy Story 3.  As I said, I don’t come to bury Pixar, or to praise or not praise them, but to try to keep honest tabs on a venerable studio and its evolution.

That said, Monsters University is rather uninspired.  I think that Monsters Inc. was one of the studio’s top 3 films, great characters, great world, wonderful story.  As for prequels or sequels, I don’t mind seeing Sully (John Goodman) and Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) again.  Putting them in college, riffing on the 1980’s “college movie” like Animal House (1978) or Revenge of the Nerds (1984), et al., isn’t necessarily inspired but seemed to have possibilities.

The film, as all Pixar films are in constant progression, is beautifully designed and rendered.  Unlike the water in Finding Nemo or the curls of Princess Merida in Brave (2012), evolution in computer design and technology isn’t as glaringly advanced.  It certainly seems like the animators and creators had a blast creating more and more of the monsters that comprise the world of the film.  They are legion and part of the package.

The story isn’t overly fascinating.  Mike Wazowski is a small nerd of a monster, not considered scary enough to be a “scarer”, the elite job and college at Monsters University, to which many a monster aspires.  He’s up against Sully this time as a rival, a naturally talented scarer who is has no work ethic.  They end up joining a loser frat house and competing in a scare games competition.  The story’s heart is where Mike and Sully make friends, realizing that they both had been “jerks” and accepting their shortcomings.

It’s diverting enough and moves along at a reasonable pace, but what really struck me while I was watching it was that I didn’t laugh once.  I didn’t find myself smiling throughout, amused by whatever gags or whatever.  For all its designs, inventions, and creativity, it’s just not all that compelling.  And I guess it’s not particularly funny either.

After Clara and I saw Monsters Inc late last year, she was really excited about the characters and the film.  She liked the new one, but by no means as much.  This is not to say it’s a dud exactly.  It’s not Cars or its offspring.  There most certainly are animated feature films that I will avoid if I can and I wouldn’t call Monsters University something to avoid.  It’s just not great.  And for Pixar, that is a real shame.  They’ve established their brand by consistent quality films and the inventiveness, character development, humor, storytelling, filmmaking all are less here than in others.  Last year, I think I wound up liking Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph (2012) more than Pixar’s Brave.  They are not necessarily the digital animation studio elite as they once utterly were.  I sense a trend evolving here, though I would gladly be proven wrong about it.

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Monsters, Inc. (2001) movie poster

director Pete Docter
viewed: 12/22/2012 at CineArts @ the Empire Theater, SF, CA

Next to The Incredibles (2004), Monsters, Inc. is likely Pixar’s 2nd best film.  Clara had never seen it.  She loved it.  Big time.  Great characters, designs, clever, funny concept.  Excellent stuff.  ‘Nuff said.

The Incredibles (2004)

The Incredibles  (2004) movie poster

director Brad Bird
viewed: 11/09/2012

It was the first film that I ever took my son to see in the theater.  He was not yet 3.  It was probably not the best idea.  I recall him finding a lot of it very intense (it is).  He ultimately sat through the whole thing, a couple of bathroom trips, a few frightened, doubtful moments.

Of course, today he doesn’t remember that at all.  He’s familiar with The Incredibles the way that anyone surrounded by pop culture and marketing would be.  The images were more ubiquitous before the next several Pixar or Disney or other films filled the shelves and products lines all over everywhere.  But even Clara, who hadn’t seen it, knew that the family all wore red suits together, even if she didn’t know anything else about it.

It was actually in discussing The Incredibles with the kids that I realized that they hadn’t seen it or didn’t remember seeing it.  While for me, with perhaps Ratatouille (2007) as a possible contender, considered it the best of Pixar’s films to date.   But even I hadn’t seen the film since 2004.

Directed by Brad Bird, who has an excellent filmography including The Iron Giant (1999), RatatouilleThe Incredibles, and most recently Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011), it really is the best film Pixar has made.

I’d forgotten how it starts with a rather elaborate opening sequence depicting a world in which superheroes are prevalent, though after one particularly impractical rescue, Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson), gets into a ton of litigation.  In fact, it’s litigation that winds up dooming all superheroes to become regular schlubs, too dangerous are their forays in rescue.  But Mr. Incredible marries Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) and they wind up with a family and a classic Americana suburb.

Only they are not happy.  It’s mind-numbing being a regular joe, especially if you are no regular joe.  The kids wind up with powers, too.  The son can fun superfast and the daughter can turn invisible.  The baby…well, we’ll just have to see.

Mr. Incredible is lured out to battles and rescues by a mysterious employer, jetting off to an obscure island with a sultry white-haired nymph.

But, you all probably know the story.  I don’t need to spell it out.

The thing is that it’s not just a “family film”, kid-play.  It’s actually quite a thrilling action film (which makes sense how Bird was able to transition to the Mission Impossible franchise so successfully.  The character development and design are wonderful and clever and it’s a pretty whiz-bang kind of film, where at nearly 2 hours, you’re never once detached from the adventure.

Felix and Clara loved it.  They expressed surprise that there hasn’t been a sequel.  Truly.

Some of the oddball human characters and some of the animation has dated less-well.  I’ve noted that before about digital animation, which is always pushing the technology to the most crystalline designs and depths, that eventually that technology becomes the norm for everything, is old.  It looks like the cheaper, crummier stuff today.  Most of The Incredibles‘ designs are sharp and lively and wonderful.   I only note this now because it’s doubtlessly something that will continue to become more outstanding as time moves along.  It’s not just aesthetics changing.  It’s the capabilities of the technology.

It doesn’t detract from the excellence of the film overall.  It’s not just design and characterization, but it’s good storytelling, great adventure, good humor, and lots of fun.  I still think it’s the best Pixar has done.

Finding Nemo (2003)

Finding Nemo (2003) movie poster

director Andrew Stanton
viewed: 09/15/2012 at CineArts @ the Empire Theater, SF, CA

As I’ve stated here in the past, I’m not a fan of 3-D, and so this whole retrofitting of 2-D films with 3-D technology (a la The Lion King (1994)) and releasing them to theaters to make not just “more money” but to make more money by over-charging for the whole thing really sticks in my craw.  I balk at 3-D at every chance I can.  So, when Finding Nemo (2003) was being re-released in 3-D, it wasn’t high on my list of things to do.

But we’re going through one of those “down” periods for films with kids in the cinema, and a Saturday afternoon with nothing better to do rolled along and we found ourselves in West Portal, making up our day as it was going.  Luckily, the early show at the Empire Theater wasn’t even in 3-D, so it was just revisiting a film that I remembered, but the kids didn’t really know all that well.  Clara had seen it in parts.  Felix didn’t remember his first time seeing it (unsurprisingly).

Finding Nemo has worn well in its near decade since release.  The animation and design still looks lush an beautiful, particularly the underwater worlds.  It hasn’t set as well with me over time as a story.  It’s very emotional, yanking at the heartstrings throughout, from the very get-go.  But its charms and its merits are all still intact as well.

Albert Brooks voices Marlin, a single father clownfish who loses his wife and all but one of his offspring before the title sequence comes onscreen.  So, in over-protective kvetchingness, he coddles his little child in a fear of the ocean (the world that they live in).  And when the little guy, Nemo, gets snatched in a net by a diver, the unlikely adventure begins, which takes Marlin out of his element and into the rest of the world in an adventure that proves his love and dedication to his lost son.

The characterization is great, particularly the character of Dory, voiced by Ellen Degeneres, and Bruce, the vegetarian shark (Barry Humphries) is a signature creation.  And the animation, sequences, characterization…it’s all that top of the line work that has defined Pixar as a studio, the gold standard in the digital animation industry.

Director Andrew Stanton would go on to helm WALL-E (2008) and this year’s box office bomb John Carter (2012).  WALL-E and Finding Nemo are now part of Pixar’s cache of “classics”, able to re-capitalized on, sequelized, retrofitted technologically, and re-shown.  The fact is that it’s a good film, a very nice, albeit emotionally heavy-handed, kids film, still very intense and scary and dramatic for tykes, still a good film for most.

Brave (2012)

Brave (2012) movie poster

directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
viewed: 06/23/2012 at CineArts @ the Empire Theater, SF, CA

It’s all about the hair.

Much has been made (probably more by publicists than anyone) that Brave was the first Pixar film to feature a female lead character and the promotions have shown the heroine, Princess Merida, with her wild, super-curly red locks blazing abundantly in their lush kinky unruliness.   And what amazing hair it is!  It’s beautiful.  And it’s echoed in the hair of her father Fergus and her three wee wily brothers.  But it’s nowhere as verdant and magical as it sprouts and tumbles from the head of our hero.

Of course, the hair is a visual metaphor for the young princess who fires arrows with great skill and romps, impassioned about her personal freedom.  As much as her mother tries to teach her to be “ladylike” (hiding her hair in a snood and corseting her – a physical metaphor of constraint and constriction), the heart of the story is about an untameable spirit as wild and gorgeous as her luscious locks.

It’s probably Pixar’s greatest visual achievement in this lush and beautifully rendered animated film, those fiery curls.  Pixar is the gold standard among digital animation and while that extend beyond visual design and execution to story and characterization, it’s always more than evident in the amazing designs, details, and splendor of the rich, wonderfully rendered characters and worlds of their film.  And the hair.  Merida’s hair has a buoyancy and verve entirely all its own.  It’s as much a character as Merida herself.

For all its gorgeous eye candy, Brave is not as strong in its other elements as one hopes from Pixar.  It’s actually quite surprising that it’s taken them this long to develop a film around a female character considering their appreciation of the work of Hayao Miyazaki who has given almost all of his films to his female leads.  And then she’s a princess.  Pixar is owned by Disney, of course, who seems to demand an endless array of princesses for it to endlessly market to little girls.  No matter how independent and heroic a modern princess is, she’s still a princess.

The film is laden with Celtic-style music, as it’s based in Scotland.  Funnily enough, the kids were thinking it was racist that “everyone was wearing kilts”.  I had to explain to them that there is a difference between stereotypes and racism, especially when the setting is one in which variable historical suggestions are probably largely accurate.  But the music is a bit overdone and heavy-handed.

The film’s themes about forced roles for women are pretty obvious.  The story is about a girl who doesn’t want to be married off.  She announces that she’ll vie for her own hand in marriage, showing herself to be the best archer of the crowd.

The film picks up when she ventures out to an old witch to help influence her mother to her way of thinking, which unleashes a transmogrification from human to bear, the point in which the film finally kicks into gear.

And it does kick into gear.  In the end, it’s a good film, far more beautifully rendered than written or directed.  If only all parts of a Pixar film could live up to their animators’ skills and technical achievements.  Then Pixar would be as good as its gold standard.

Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 (2010) movie poster

(2010) dir. Lee Unkrich
viewed: 06/19/10 at CineArts @ the Empire Theater, SF, CA

Pixar’s latest, a return to their most visible and repeat-performing pool of characters, the team that launched one of the most successful studios currently producing films in the American mainstream, is a genuinely quality film and most uniquely, a sequel that feels like a real movie, and is in fact, a real good movie.  It’s been years since I’d seen either Toy Story (1995) or Toy Story 2 (1999) but whereas the sequels to the Shrek films for instance seem less and less appealing and compelling, Toy Story 3 actually feels like a complete movie and a worthwhile experience.

If you think about it, that makes this film quite remarkable.  It’s not a cynical, get the product out to the people, keep rolling with the sequels until the audience becomes numbed and tired of the product.  It evolves the characters and the narrative, from a prior film released over 10 years ago and an original 15 years ago.

The story follows the toys of a boy named Andy, now ready for college, ready to leave his favorite childhood playthings in a box in the attic or worse.  Woody and Buzz Lightyear and the gang are going through the toy version of “empty nest” syndrome and there is something very compelling in the emotions therein.  I’ve been reading about many a viewer in one’s 40’s who was hit “right there” by the story.  And it’s striking that it’s able to pull that off with such genuine originiality.

With every film, Pixar’s design and technologies evolve, making each new movie look that much more fresh and striking, even the Toy Story characters, who were in many ways the prototypes for the company, the breakthrough for computer-animated feature films.  The wit and charm of the characters, the clever developments of the narrative, it’s the whole package.

The film’s major plotline has the beloved toys accidentally donated to a day care or preschool, which seems like a good thing to the toys who have been losing playtime as their owner evolves into adulthood.  And initially they are welcomed by Lotso, the strawberry-scented oldtimer bear and the other toys that live at the day care.  But it turns out that Lotso is a twisted tyrant who sends all the new toys to the very dangerous “little tykes” room where they are manhandled, chewed on, and wrecked, while the other toys, who’ve earned their spot in the calmer, older child room, live in relative harmony.

The film’s best addition to the cast is the Ken doll, voiced by Michael Keaton.  The mileage they get out of Ken’s dreamhouse and his endless closet of clothes, his vain, but good-natured affability and head-over-heels love for the newly arrived Barbie.  You know, product placement usually annoys the hell out of me, but this material, clearly aimed at the adults in the office with their knowing precepts about the Ken doll, was killing me it was so funny.

The film on occasion does go a little extreme, particularly in the finale, where the toys are all headed to the dump to be chopped and crushed and burned in a totally apocalyptic vision far outside of the world of the rest of the film.  Perhaps as a final chapter of this series (who knows if or not there will be another), the idea was to make the dangers more extreme, more universal.  And gosh knows that it scared Clara.  She was clinging in excitement to my arm through much of this final portion.

As I said, it’s been a long time since I saw Toy Story 2 which had its villains and drama, too.  But in this case, the villainy and danger seemed to far outpace the storylines in the prior films.

Clara loved the film.  Felix enjoyed it.  Maybe he’s getting a bit old for it or just in that in between age of really enjoying it.  I personally thought that the film was great, a real testament to Pixar’s character development, handling of story, making of movies.

I think that the Shrek comparison is the most apt.  There is a series of four films now since the original in 2001, which to my mind never really was better than amusing, but which gladly rolled out film after film, every couple of years despite no one really wanting or needing them.  We didn’t even bother with this year’s Shrek Forever After (2010), which is kind of unusual for us since the kids do like going to the movies so much.  What I posit is this: Dreamworks offers a standard product, not utterly soulless, and not utterly unamusing, but vapid by comparison.  Pixar could easily have made several more Toy Story films in the last 10 years had they simply wanted to cash in, but they didn’t want to cheat their audiences or their characters or themselves.  Pixar makes films with greater heart and character than most others in the biz these days.  And ultimately their legacy will be much greater.

Up

Up (2009) movie poster

(2009) dir. Pete Docter, Bob Peterson
viewed: 05/30/09 at the Castro Theatre, SF, CA

Pixar has been, since 1995’s Toy Story, the tops in the biz regarding digital feature animation filmmaking in the United States and doubtlessly the entire world.  Even with their weaker efforts, they are still miles ahead in the storytelling and development, visual aesthetics, character creation, and vision.  Their model is traditional narrative storytelling, much in the mold of classic Disney films, without the musicality, and certainly with their own modern voice, evolving away from the classic Disney model, creating a Pixar model that is pretty much digital feature animation’s current gold standard.  And I doubt that there are many that would argue that point.

There is more quality work that goes into their productions, and it’s clear that the leaders and primary directors there, Brad Bird (Ratatouille (2007) and The Incredibles (2004)), John Lasseter himself (Cars (2005) and Toy Story), and Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc. (2001)), the primary director here too, these guys are avid artists, historians, and rich thinkers, bringing a great more to every product that Pixar delivers than 100,000 Shrek‘s (2001).

Pixar shoots for the moon on their films, trying to deliver movie magic.  From WALL-E‘s (2008) touching the stars to the floating house lifted into the blue beauty of the sky in Up, they’re striving for something bigger, not just visually, but as a film that effects people, moves them, and makes them feel.  And it is this passion and artistry that really does raise Pixar above the others, much like the cloud of balloons attached to the house in this film.  And like the main character of the film, Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner), the small old widower, they can blow raspberries at the madding crowd below them if they had such a desire.

But, like WALL-E, Up strives for movie magic, shoots very high, yet ends up cloying a bit in its reaching for those heartstrings.  It doesn’t hit that magic point, but you can’t really fault them for trying.

The film is charming, and the characters are fun.  The best of the characters is the dog, Doug, who has a collar that allows him to speak his thoughts, goofy and occasionally unfocused as they are, but is really the star of the show.  The story is evoked effectively, telling of a life-long relationship between Carl and his now deceased wife, setting him up for his relationship with Russell, the abentee-fathered scout who ends up as a passenger on the house.  Carl strives to take the house and himself (the house sort of representing his deceased wife) to their long-fantasized trip to South America.  It was interesting that their vision of their fantasized “lost world” was the spitting image of the lost world in The Lost World (1925) which I’d seen at the Castro only a few weeks before.  (Sometimes seeing this many films has the pay-off of recognition that would be otherwise unnoticed.)

The adventure turns into a bit of a thriller when they encounter Carl’s childhood hero, adventurer Charles Muntz, a hero like the adventurer in The Lost World, who is scoffed at for his discoveries and heads back to the jungle to bring proof of his findings.  Unlike The Lost World, Muntz has been mired in the jungle for a lifetime, trying to catch a giant colorful flightless bird and has turned evil.  And the ruthlessness of Muntz seemed a bit more nasty than was necessary.  It seemed a bit out of tone with the rest of the film and the resultant thrills and action felt a bit forced.

But it’s quibbling to say that Up isn’t a five-star film, the magic was unachieved.  The film is fun and delightful, wonderfully realized, and much, much more rich than any of the other animated films due out, many of which seem to be all about aliens, looking more and more generic all the time.  Pixar makes a better film than others probably 99 times out of a hundred and Up is certainly among the majority.   Outside of the coming release of Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film Ponyo (2008) (due soon I hope), it’s doubtful that much will challenge it.  My opinion that Coraline (2009) is the best animated film since Spirited Away (2001) still stands true, as well.

Finally, I’ll say that the movie’s 3-D qualities were absolutely unnecessary and perhaps ultimate proof that this industry-driven fad needs to end.  There’s been this push to make all digitally animated films 3-D of late and it’s a waste of time and energy and a waste making all those 3-D plastic glasses.  Luckily, Up really didn’t cater to throwing yo-yo’s at the audience or have any corny blades or sharp objects poked out at us.  The kids both enjoyed the film, largely without their glasses on.  And I think they would have enjoyed it more if they hadn’t needed them at all.  I know I’m not alone in my opinion on this topic, but who knows.