I'm not talking about an animal. I'm talking about teenagers.
You've probably experienced teenagers somehow. Perhaps you watched your parents attempt to raise them. Perhaps you've had to attempt to interact with them. In all likelihood, the experience was frustrating. You took a big sigh of relief as you left the teenager's territory and thought to yourself, man, they are the worst.
But there may be help coming. And since it comes from Pete Doctor, it may be just what the doctor ordered.
Coming June 2015 is Pixar's latest, Pete Doctor's Inside Out. If Doctor is not a familiar name to you, all you need to know are the two movies he's made: Monsters, Inc. and Up.
Both of those films started out with out-there premises. Nobody expected much from a story about two monsters who try to be the scariest around. And nobody knew what to expect when Doctor first released a photo of a house with balloons raising it up. But with each of those two movies, Doctor introduced powerfully emotional elements either completely hidden by the marketing or shadowed by our own expectations. Monsters, Inc had the impossibly cute character of Boo. Up had the relationship between Carl and Russell (as well as Dug and Kevin - two more impossibly cute animals). So when Doctor first announced his new project, I decided to Trust in Pete. What else could I do? Slowly, the details started to trickle out. And they have made clear what I expected all along, as I do from all Doctor films: it will be imaginative, it will be quite funny, and above all, it will make you weep like a baby.
The story inventively follows a young teenager, Riley, as she moves from her home of Minnesota to the new atmosphere of San Fransisco. Inspired by his own experience with his daughter, Doctor has made manifest each of her main emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). Since Riley's birth, the leader of the bunch has been Joy. But now as she approaches her teenage years, the other emotions begin to fight for dominance. Along the way, audiences will be exposed to how Riley's internal gearings work, including stops, for instance, to Imagination Land aboard the Train of Thought.
I can't promise that we will all understand teenagers after seeing this movie. But I do hope that teenagers will recognize some of themselves in it, and that more importantly, Doctor will show us how to empathize with another unusual, unexpected species.
So circle June 19th, 2015 on your calendar.
Bring a date. Bring the family. Bring a box of kleenexes. And, if you feel like it, bring a teenager. They might make a little more sense to you.