Animated films often try to reflect the aesthetics of our culture. That can be a dodgy endeavor: For every Ralph Breaks the Internet, we usually get several Emoji Movie–style disasters. Which makes the cluttered, go-for-broke distract-a-thon of The Mitchells vs. the Machines that much more impressive. Here is a picture whose mixed-media cacophony leaves every other movie in pixelated dust. It is filled with Instagram filters and gifs and emoji and memes and freeze-frames and flying blocks of text, and at times it can’t seem to stick to a single story thread for more than a minute. But its emotional design and trajectory are crystal clear, and the chaos feels like part of a grand plan.
Even the plot is cobbled together from a number of other popular movies, which makes sense given the generally spoofy quality of the whole enterprise. Katie (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) is a college-bound film nerd who loves to make goofy videos featuring her dinosaur-obsessed younger brother, Aaron (voiced by director and co-writer Michael Rianda), and their adorable mutt, Monchi. Earnest, eager-to-please mom Linda (Maya Rudolph) and klutzy, outdoorsy loser dad Rick (Danny McBride) just don’t understand their daughter. On the eve of Katie’s leaving home for good, her father tosses the girl’s plane ticket and organizes a cross-country road trip for the whole family to drive her to college instead. Katie, needless to say, is mortified.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
The Return Of Night Life
Out All Night With Remy Duran
The Return Of Everything – The Return of FOMO
The pandemic forced us to simplify our lives and look inward. Now it’s time to have fun again. That should be easy, right?
You Get Back Up
A posthumous album from DMX that feels like it was meant to be the start of something.
Tomorrow: David Wallace-Wells
The Invisible Dead As the U.S. vaccinates, the pandemic enters its colonial phase.
Fifteen candidates for mayor, each selling a different vision of the city. Choose your top five.
Movements: The GOP can win without waging war on democracy
The Big Rig Why are Texas Republicans subverting democracy in a state they already dominate?
Michelle Zauner's Incredible Spring
The Japanese Breakfast frontwoman became a best-selling author with a memoir centered on the loss of her mother. Now it’s time for her dance album.
The Tiger Mom and The Hornet's Nest
For two decades, Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld were Yale Law power brokers. A new generation wants to see them exiled.
The Shared Pleasures of Plutocratville
Little Island is a billionaire’s gift to the public; the supertall 111 West 57th is what the ruling class builds for itself. I [whispers] love them both.
The Real Zola
Five years after she lit up Twitter with her tale of a strip-club road trip gone awry, A’Ziah King’s story has become a big buzzy movie. Now she’s ready to make it her own again.