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Smoke, Flicks, and Chill: Animated Animal Favorites

These are the best kind of creature features.

by Sean Abrams

by Sean Abrams

Animated animal movies tend to come with a certain stigma that they’re typically targeted for children. If you were to visit your local theater and plop down with your extra large popcorn, chances are you’ll be sandwiched between two tweens who will talk, cry, and laugh throughout the movie because frankly, they’re there for the cute talking animals (and the vibrant colors). The advantage you are so lucky to have is that you can actually understand the story and true message, and maybe learn a little something along the way. Plus, as an adult, you are able to walk into that theater so high that you’ll feel like those talking animals are actually having a direct conversation with you, and only you. That’s why, in honor of both Finding Dory and The Secret Life of Pets, here’s a few animated animal favorites (in no particular order) that you should get high during. There’s a reason for the label ‘man’s best friend.’

Madagascar (2005)

Four of Central Park’s finest zoo animals discover captivity is no way to live after being shipped off to a Kenyan wildlife preserve. During the trip, penguins overtake the boat they’re carried on (as you expect penguins to do), and the ragtag team of a lion, giraffe, hippo, and zebra end up washed ashore in sunny, lemur-filled Madagascar. Animated antics ensue, and if you’re itching to find out if the group makes it back to good ‘ol New York, just check out the 2005 film’s two follow-ups.

Munchie: Even lions like sushi as a hearty, meat alternative.

Zootopia (2016)

There’s a reason Zootopia emerged as an animated buddy cop frontrunner in the box office early on, finishing its run with over 1 billion dollars worth of revenue. A not-so-ordinary relationship between a novice bunny cop and a con artist of a fox makes for the animalistic duo you never knew you needed, as the pair team up to discover why the patrons of their little urban utopia have suddenly become so.. Animal-like. Set with enough life lessons and a solid Breaking Bad reference to boot, you’ll finish this film wondering why you don’t watch animated movies designated for children much more often (unless you already do.. No judgment here).

Munchie: Keep it hoppy with carrots and ranch.

Finding Nemo (2003)

The beginning chapter and original introduction to the sweet blue tang with memory loss, Dory, of Finding Dory, Disney’s Academy-Award winning underwater feature of the early 2000s is one for the ages. It’s hard not to root for this fictional talking clownfish, who is in hot pursuit of his son Nemo after being swept all the way to Sydney Harbour by scuba divers. A combination of top notch animation, a put together screenplay, and talented voice acting makes for a sopping wet film that actually encourages you to get in the water, even if there may be vegetarian sharks around.

Munchie: Fish are friends, not food so stick to Goldfish.


The Lion King (1994)

This isn’t just your typical animated movie. The Lion King delivers on all fronts, acting as Greek tragedy-esque cartoon centered in Africa while delivering an emotional blow through a storyline so simply focused on lions, hyenas, and singing warthogs. When cub Simba realizes that it was his vicious uncle who was truly to blame for his father’s untimely death, he makes a return to his homeland to put an end to the dominating rule of Scar once and for all. Try not to sing along during “Circle of Life,” I dare you.

Munchie: Gummy worms.. Slimy, yet satisfying.

Ratatouille (2007)

While he’s not exactly the typical cuddly house pet you’d root for, goal-oriented rat Remy shines in and out of the French kitchen he so yearns to cook in. What the animated creature may lack in dialogue, he makes up for in culinary ability (yes, you read that right), which helps him develop a strong bond with the amateur chef in the making, Linguini. While the preparation of the infamous ratatouille dish may be a little untraditional, it’s the heart and little rat soul put into it that matters most in this Pixar picture.

Munchie: Well, isn’t it obvious? Ratatouille, please.


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Sean Abrams

Sean Abrams is a Brooklyn native with a penchant for being the guy who eats only the pink Starbursts. He currently resides in Astoria and is an Associate Editor at Maxim Magazine. Follow him down the rabbit hole on Twitter at @seanybrams.



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