40 Years, 40 Disney Movies: Counting Down to Daddy’s Birthday Night 21 – Up!

Hey everyone – welcome to yet another installment of DADDY’S MOVIE NIGHTS THAT ARE LEADING UP TO OUR TRIP SO LET’S EAT AND WATCH MOVIES AND DO ACTIVITIES nights (hm, I kinda like that one.) For this one, we are watching a movie that is dear to my and Nickie’s hearts. Yes, we love Up (I mean, who doesn’t?) In fact, we love it so much, we made “Married Life” a key part of our vow renewal in Disney. Pixar has shown us some beautiful examples of love on screen. But Carl and Ellie are a love that transcends death. And I mean…who doesn’t want that kind of love? As one who has found it, I gotta tell ya, it’s pretty sweet.

Adventure is in here!

And for this night, it wasn’t just the four of us. We were joined by someone that was actually at that vow renewal. Nanny was with us (yay!). She didn’t join us for dinner, but she joined us for our activity and the movie. And we were glad to have her. Obvs squad. Fam squad.

The food

table 2
I mean. Right? I mean.

For food, we ONCE AGAIN had hot dogs. You know, this week on the Bachelor, Jubilee stated she had an obsession with hot dogs. This has obviously endeared Jubilee to us.

Wait, did I say Bachelor? I meant…um. Football?

bachelor draft
This is NOT a picture of the our bachelor draft.


Anyways, yeah. Hot dogs. There are dogs in this movie that serve hot dogs. So it was kind of a necessity.

hot dogs
Our Disney nights are 90% hot dog.

We also had Ellie beans (baked beans).

scotty likes beans
But why did you draw the duck blue?

To drink we had some grape soda. You know, cuzza the pin.

grape soda
Grape soda > grape juice. Everybody knows that but no one wants to admit it.

And for dessert, we had ice cream sundaes with chocolate bars in honor of Kevin. Kevin likes chocolate. Don’t you Kevin?

In the immortal words of Sloth: “Chocolate? Chocolate.”

The activity

The timing of this movie worked out very well for us personally as a family. Just as Carl embarks on his own adventure, as were we the week after and of course, a few months from now. The week after we watched this one, we were heading to Universal. Blasphemy, I know. But it was for a work thing and the family was coming along. Also, I mean…Harry Potter and the Simpsons so back off. And as you all know, we are also heading to Disney in April.

Sooooo….for this night, we decided to do a little trip planning. We talked about our upcoming trips (parks we are visiting, hotels, dining reservations) and watched some YouTube videos. This is literally one of Myles’ favorite past times so he was in heaven. And Owen…well, he put up with it.

The movie

As one of the shining stars of what I look at as the Pixar Golden Age (2007-2010), Up stands as a pretty incredible film. A pretty incredible film that, when I first saw the commercial, I was like wha? So it’s about an old guy. And a talking dog. And a flying house? Based on first impressions, I was really not expecting much. I was actually thinking this might be Pixar’s first official flop. That, of course, didn’t happen until the atrocious Cars 2 was released 2 years later.

But minutes in, I knew I was wrong. That first ten minutes of this movie is so charming, so funny, so heartwarming and at the same time heart-wrenching that you can’t help but be in love with it from then on out. And it’s not like the movie doesn’t continue to be awesome from there. I mean, in that ten minutes we haven’t even met Russell. Or Kevin. Or even Dug.

hiding under your porch dug

This movie has everything a great movie should have. Adventure. Humor. A great (really great) score. But what makes this movie so special to me is how “real” the characters and their stories are to me. And yet, they are so obviously cartoonish. Carl, with his big hands and squished face. Kid Ellie’s wild hair and missing teeth. And I mean…Dug has a leash that makes him talk. And yet, they are all so overflowing with real emotion. All of our main characters are missing something in their lives. Kevin wants her babies. Dug needs respect (and a master.) The way we are slowly exposed to Russell’s feelings of loneliness is super authentic. And obviously at the center of all of this is Carl’s loss. His love for Ellie is so beautiful and the gap in his life left by Ellie so sad. But beyond death always lies hope. Hope that we can go on, somehow. And we see Carl’s salvation in Russell, Dug and Kevin.

the crew
You guys. Are my best friends. Through thick and thin. We’ll always be together.

I have heard some say this movie is too sad or depressing for a children’s movie. But those criticisms seem short-sighted to me. This movie does show us loss and death. But that’s not what it’s about. This movie is about love and life. Though we may lose those we love, love is never lost. And life always goes on. There is always life. Losing someone we love may make us feel as though purpose has left us. But there is purpose everywhere. We just need to keep our hearts open.

carl and ellie


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