When Toy Story 3 falls with style into theaters on Friday, it's a safe bet that most of the scene-hogging won't come from Woody or Buzz. If past Pixar movies are any indication, a minor character will get all the best lines and probably a totally excellent short on the DVD. Our money is on Lots-o'-Huggin' Bear, a cuddly and probably downright evil pink bundle of cute. But how does he rank with Pixar's other awesome supporting characters from the past 15 years?
Pixar's first movie, from 1995, introduces Woody and Buzz Lightyear.
Awesome supporting character: Aliens
Scene-stealing moment: Stranded in a Chuck E. Cheese-like circle of hell, Buzz asks a group of tiny toy aliens in an arcade claw machine who's in charge. "The Claw!" answers one. "The Claw is our master," says another. "The Claw chooses who will go and who will stay."
A Bug's Life
Meek ant Flik defends his colony against a mean grasshopper.
Awesome supporting character: Francis
Scene-stealing moment: Francis is a ladybug ... voiced by Denis Leary. We're not the only ones surprised. "So, bein' a ladybug automatically makes me a girl. Is that it, fly boy?" the long-lashed Francis barks at a fellow insect in a voice scarred by years of smoking tiny cigarettes.
Toy Story 2
More adventures with Woody and Buzz in this terrific sequel.
Awesome supporting character: Mrs. Potato Head
Scene-stealing moment: You always knew this lady would sound just like George Costanza's mom. As Buzz and the gang prepare to rescue Woody from an evil toy collector, she fills her husband's back compartment with accessories. "I'm packing your angry eyes," she says. "Just in case."
Furry Sully and one-eyed Mike protect a little girl from scarier monsters.
Awesome supporting character: Roz
Scene-stealing moment: Roz is the grumpy dispatch manager at the factory where Sully and Mike work. After Mike blows off his paperwork (again), Roz scolds him (again): "I'm watching you, Wazowski. Always watching. Always."
Clownfish Nemo gets lost. Dad Marlin searches the ocean for him.
Awesome supporting character: Crush
Scene-stealing moment: Crush is a wake-and-bake turtle who lends Marlin a helping flipper after the fish's encounter with deadly jellyfish. "Saw the whole thing, dude," says the probably stoned Crush. "First you were all like 'whoa,' and we were like, whoa, and you were like 'whoa.'"
Mr. Incredible raises his family in a world where superheroes are outlawed.
Awesome supporting character: Jack Jack
Scene-stealing moment: The family's infant son is presumably a normal baby ... until the end of the movie, when he shows off an explosion of super powers. His flame-on moment at the climax is classic.
Racecar Lightning McQueen learns a lesson or two about friendship.
Awesome supporting character: Mater
Scene-stealing moment: Mater is a slow-witted tow truck voiced by the slow-witted Larry the Cable Guy. He introduces himself to Lightning: "Like tuh-mater, but without the 'tuh.'"
A food-loving rat becomes a star chef in chi-chi Paris.
Awesome supporting character: Emile
Scene-stealing moment: Ratatouille's overweight and boorish brother doesn't share the same refined tastes. The star looks at his sib with disdain as Emile munches on an indiscernible object. Shrugs Emile: "I think it was some sort of wrapper once."
Pixar's best film stars a robot on a mission to save a dying planet — ours.
Awesome supporting character: BURN-E
Scene-stealing moment: Blink and you'll miss the Basic Utility Repair Nano Engineer. As WALL-E and gal pal EVE enter a spaceship, they inadvertently lock out the tiny worker droid. BURN-E became the star of the short included with the DVD.
Pixar's most sentimental film is about an old man, a little boy, and a house.
Awesome supporting character:
Dug the talking dog
Scene-stealing moment: Dug's joke: "A squirrel walks up to a tree and says, 'I forgot to store acorns for the winter and now I am dead.' Ha! It is funny because the squirrel gets dead."