Phyllis Smith – Inside Out (DVD)

November 17, 2015 by  
Filed under Interviews

In what is surely the best casting in an animated film this year, actress Phyllis Smith (TV’s “The Office”) was tapped to give voice to one of the five main characters in the newest Pixar film “Inside Out.” In the critically acclaimed animated dramedy, Smith plays Sadness, one of the five personified emotions in charge of running the day-to-day operations in the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley.

Finding it difficult to adjust to her and her family’s recent move from Minnesota to San Francisco, Riley tests the limits of her emotions, including Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear, and Disgust, as she tries to settle into her new surroundings. But when an emergency happens at headquarters where Joy and the other emotions work, the team must band together to help Riley discover who she is and put her back on the right path to find happiness.

During an interview with me for the recent release of “Inside Out” on DVD and Blu-ray, Smith talked about how she settled on the sound of Sadness and how self-conscious she’s always been about her own voice. We also discussed which emotion she would want to add to the film’s roster.

What was your initial reaction when you saw what Sadness was going to look like?

I loved everything about the look of Sadness. Actually, the very first drawings I saw of her were a bit different. She looked more like a teardrop. Then she morphed into her cuteness with her little pigeon toes and her stringy hair and her glasses. I thought she was adorable.

How did you decide what an emotion like sadness should sound like?

[Producers] Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera heard my voice in another project I had worked on. I can remember the very first session that I had, I was trying to feel sad but I was trying too hard. Then they played me a portion of my voice from that other project, which was “Bad Teacher,” and when I reheard my voice I realized it was my energy level I had to change.

Are you the kind of person that hates to hear her own voice?

I used to be! When I would hear my voice when I was speaking into a microphone or something, I was very insecure about it. Somewhere along the line that fell to the wayside. I never really thought of my voice as being anything different or unusual. In fact, I’ll tell you a story: a friend of mine asked me one time, “Why do you talk like that? You’re never going to get any work with that voice. You have to talk with authority.” This was when I was working in offices, not “The Office,” but offices. So, all I can say to that person is, “Hmm” because I never changed a thing and I’m glad I didn’t because it worked out the way it should.

How do you think a character like Sadness can help kids deal with their own emotions?

Well, when they see the film they can see that it’s OK to be sad. Maybe it’ll help them want to talk about it or help others who are going through an emotionally down day. They can just sit and listen to someone else and that could be helpful to them as well. Usually sadness is thought of as a negative, but it could still help to find out that not necessarily always the case.

Would you consider Sadness a bit of a drama queen?

(Laughs) Yes, of course! But she does it in an inoffensive way. I think she’s kind of cute with how she picks her leg up and wants to be drug around.

What emotion is usually in charge of your personal dashboard these days?

After seeing the film, I did do something thinking about that. Joy and Fear are my two driving forces. Fear that I’m not going to do [something] right or whatever. But I’ve be a very blessed person, so I think Joy is the main one in my life.

If you could add another character to the roster of emotions in “Inside Out,” which would you add and what would he or she look like?

(Laughs) I think irritation might be fun. It would be like an offshoot of anger and disgust – in between the two of them. Irritation might have wiry hair or something.

Who would win an award for most melancholy animated character, Sadness, Eeyore or Droopy Dog?

Well, I know who I’d like to win it. (Laughs) I’m going to go with the one closest to my heart, which is the little blue one.

Who is getting the DVD/Blu-ray as a stocking stuffer next month for Christmas?

Oh, a number of people on my list! (Laughs) They can binge watch it and have a good cry.

Ep. 52 – Inside Out, Dope, Brad Pitt movie headed to Netflix for $60m, and Tom Hanks to play Captain Sully for Clint Eastwood

June 22, 2015 by  
Filed under Podcast

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Click here to download the episode!

In this week’s episode of The CineSnob Podcast, the guys from review “Inside Out” and “Dope.” They also discuss Brad Pitt’s new film that Netflix paid $60 million for and Tom Hanks being cast as Captain Sully for Clint Eastwood’s biopic.

[0:00-9:28] Intro, hipster, and Daisy Dukes talk
[9:28-26:10] Brad Pitt movie financed by Netflix for $60m
[26:10-40:33] Tom Hanks to play Captain “Sully” Sullenburger for Clint Eastwood
[40:33-1:05:41] Inside Out
[1:05:41-1:18:49] Dope
[1:18:49-1:27:50] Teases for next week and close

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To give your feedback, e-mail us at podcast [at] cinesnob [dot] net, or leave a voicemail at 920-FILM-210.

Inside Out

June 19, 2015 by  
Filed under Kiko, Reviews

Starring: Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Lewis Black
Directed by: Pete Docter (“Up”) and Rolando Del Carmen (debut)
Written by: Pete Docter (“Up”), Meg LeFauve (debut) and Josh Cooley (debut)

In its most thematically rich film of the last few years, Pixar Animation Studios returns to form with “Inside Out,” a lively and heartfelt movie that proves the studio probably workshops much bigger ideas than casting Larry the Cable Guy as a rusty old pick up. While “Inside Out” might be a bit too complex narratively for the youngest of moviegoers (“Eternal Sunshine” for kindergarteners, perhaps?), there is still enough silliness mixed with the more serious issues to push this Pixar project ahead of schlock like “Cars” or overrated Oscar winners like “Brave.”

In “Inside Out,” Pixar veteran director/writer Pete Docter (“Up”) and newbie screenwriters Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley dive deep into the thoughts and emotions of a child by bringing each of these emotions to life through a cast of colorful characters. They may not be as memorable as those in the “Toy Story” franchise, but Pixar does a great job in “Inside Out” casting the voices of the five lead roles – Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). By anthropomorphizing each emotion, “Inside Out” cleverly attempts to explain just how a child’s mind functions without getting too caught up in the psychological intricacies.

Here, we follow a young girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), who is uprooted by her parents and moved to San Francisco when her father gets new job. Depressed about having to leave all her friends behind, we watch from the inside of Riley’s head as she comes to terms with her new life and how her five main emotions (joy, sadness, fear, anger, and disgust) control her mood and personality in her new environment. When Joy and Sadness are accidentally lost inside Riley’s subconscious, the two emotions must find their way back to the “Control Room” where they can help Riley manage her feelings. Along the way, they must confront Riley’s memories, some of which are fading as she transforms from little girl to young lady.

Much like “Toy Story” and the idea that all childish things must be put away once we reach a certain age, “Inside Out” captures that same kind of emotion that will give older kids the chance to think about the way they react to certain things in their own lives.  There is a message here about how emotion isn’t monotone that is important for moviegoers of all ages. It’s nice to see Pixar finding that sweet spot between entertainment and inspiration again.