Pixar Movie Short “Lou” Addresses Childhood Bullying

Pixar Movie Short “Lou” Addresses Childhood Bullying

I saw an advanced screening of Lou at the 2017 Disney Social Moms Celebration. I was not compensated or influenced in this opinion. I’m writing about it because it’s just that good! Thanks for reading.

Cars3 has been getting tons of press lately as we approach the movie’s official opening weekend. We adore the Cars franchise so we will be seeing the movie as well, but I wanted to draw specific attention to an important lesson you’ll get to see before the movie starts.

Childhood Bullying

I have written about childhood bullying many times. My perspective on bullying is a little different because I was the the bully. Bullying is wrong no matter how you slice it, but it’s important for me to shine a light on the fact that there is always an underlying reason that bullying happens, and that many bullies regret their actions later.

I deeply regret my past actions. In order to combat bullying and protect kids, we have to first understand how it happens in the first place.

Disney-Pixar

I have been a rabid fan of meaningful story since I was a young communications college student in the 1990’s. A little up-and-coming animation company got up at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Chicago and showed us a story about two little desk lamps. I never forgot the name Pixar after that.

They tell stories in ways nobody else can. They nail nuance and the little things. They draw you in and make you think ‘what the heck is this?’ Then you laugh and have an “awww” moment and then your emotions start to swirl and build and then you have an all-body goosebumps moment that triggers the burn in your nose and eyes that welcome tears on the brink.

“Lou” will take you through every roller coaster emotion you have in less than ten minutes, as only Pixar can.

What or Who is “Lou”?

I’m certain there was an audible squeal out of me during general session at Disney’s 2017 Social Media Moms Celebration when Dave Mullins of Pixar (The Good Dinosaur, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Inside Out) was first introduced as a speaker. He’s also the director for “Lou”.

I was incredibly moved when I saw the advanced screening of “Lou” after he spoke to us about the lengthy editorial process and importance of story.

Lou: the new animated short by Pixar airing with Cars 3 in theaters June 2017
Photo: Disney-Pixar

“Lou” is a character composed of numerous lost and found items. You can see his name formed from the missing letters on the box in the picture above.

More About “Lou”

“Lou” may be the reason our family actually arrives early and in plenty of time for a movie. Are you interested in learning more?

The playground bully J.J. from the Disney-Pixar movie short Lou, airing ahead of Cars3 June 2017.
J.J. the playground bully. Photo courtesy: D23.com

J.J. is the main character. (His name is also the initials of Dave Mullins mother, a cancer survivor.)

I don’t want to give away the farm here for a six minute feature, but prepare to be moved. There is a reason J.J. is a bully.

The playground bully J.J. from the Disney-Pixar movie short Lou, airing ahead of Cars3 June 2017.
J.J. has an epiphany. Photo courtesy: D23.com

Another thing I noticed? Remember how I said Dave Mullins also worked on The Good Dinosaur? I saw several animated similarities between J.J. and Spot in the way of mannerisms and facial expressions.

And an Easter egg moment the director shared with us:

The bully J.J. in Lou is also a student in the classroom from Inside Out
J.J. stands in the back of Riley’s classroom in Inside Out. Photo courtesy: D23.com

J.J. is based on another student you’ll find in the background of Riley’s classroom from Inside Out. Seriously. Pixar is so cool they don’t even know how cool they are…

The End

I see myself in J.J. for many reasons. Childhood bullying is hard on all involved. There are the obvious victims we want to protect and then there’s the bully. Their actions are wrong, but underneath it all they are very troubled.

I’m glad “Lou” shines a light on the root causes of surface behaviors and holds J.J. accountable at the same time.

I look forward to seeing it again before meeting the new hot rods in Cars3.

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