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June 18, 2009 6:10 PM   Subscribe

Dying of vascular cancer, all this girl wanted to do was to see Up!
posted by Heliochrome85 (132 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
Colby died about seven hours after seeing the film.

Gosh darn, it's just my allergies which have hit me hard just now.
posted by ericb at 6:12 PM on June 18, 2009 [23 favorites]


Pixar continues to be stunningly awesome. What a great company.
posted by boo_radley at 6:24 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


The hospice company couldn't be bothered to send her the requested wheelchair when she was strong enough to leave the house. But when Pixar found out, they had someone at her house with a pre-release DVD +other gifts the next day. That says good things about the company (I don't care if the cynics point out that it was also a smart PR move).

A horrible and uplifting story, all at once. Yea, it made me cry. RIP, Colby.
posted by gemmy at 6:28 PM on June 18, 2009 [10 favorites]


scblackman mentioned this story briefly in MetaTalk.

(I just linked to the thread, because I'm new and don't know how to link directly to a specific comment, which is towards the end of the thread)
posted by litterateur at 6:29 PM on June 18, 2009


That's so sad.
posted by collywobbles at 6:30 PM on June 18, 2009


Jesus, like the movie itself didn't practically dehydrate me.

Excuse me, I need to go hug a couple of kids now.
posted by padraigin at 6:31 PM on June 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


On preview:

In regards to the following: "(I don't care if the cynics point out that it was also a smart PR move)"

"Pixar officials declined to comment on the story or name the employees involved."
posted by litterateur at 6:32 PM on June 18, 2009 [18 favorites]


The movie is tear-jearking enough. This just added to the waterworks. Thank you for sharing this story!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:34 PM on June 18, 2009


I think it's possible that what Pixar did was uplifting, an intelligent PR move and compassionate all at the same time.

I think it's possible for all of these to be true.
posted by kalessin at 6:41 PM on June 18, 2009 [10 favorites]


I have some dust in my eye.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:42 PM on June 18, 2009


We just saw "Up" last night. Loved it.

Very class act, Pixar.
posted by Artful Codger at 6:42 PM on June 18, 2009


I just linked to the thread, because I'm new and don't know how to link directly to a specific comment

If you click on the time the comment was posted, it gives you the link with the correct anchor (#) already added.
posted by hypersloth at 6:44 PM on June 18, 2009


Hello Pixar, I have just met you, and I love you.
posted by mattdidthat at 6:46 PM on June 18, 2009 [20 favorites]


litterateur - the post times have direct links, which would take you here.

To be a crass bastard, I wonder how other studios would have used this story. Pixar was classy to not comment, as litterateur pointed out.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:49 PM on June 18, 2009


*sniff*
posted by flibbertigibbet at 6:51 PM on June 18, 2009


.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 6:56 PM on June 18, 2009


.
posted by dhammond at 6:56 PM on June 18, 2009


You have to love to simplicity, living in the moment, of kids.
My adult brain could never allow my final dying wish to be so wonderfully simple.
posted by Flood at 6:58 PM on June 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think it's the particular human being at Pixar, whoever he/she is, who answered the call, took the initiative, and made this happen, who should take credit more than the company itself. This isn't about the company, it's about human-to-human relations and obligations.
posted by ornate insect at 6:59 PM on June 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


It amazes me sometimes how movies can occupy such a major place in our lives.

Anecdote - a good friend of mine recently passed away due to what started as testicular cancer. For the last few weeks of his life, his was bed ridden and came in and out of consciousness. During his lucid periods, he liked to watch DVDs with his partner.

Not a great film, but one of the last movies he watched was Mission Impossible 3. They ordered their movies through Netflix and, apparently, they had sent the wrong movie at first. My friend, again in one of his rare lucid periods, spent thirty minutes on the phone with Netflix aggressively demanding that they send him the right movie as quickly as possible because he wanted to see "the last decent movie Tom Cruise will ever make" before he died.

His partner reports that they did send the movie and he was very satisfied with what would end up being the last movie he completed.

That's obviously not nearly as cool or moving as this Pixar story - not even in the same ballpark. However, when people tell me that movies aren't that important in the grand scheme of things, I can't help but think that maybe sometimes they actually are.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:01 PM on June 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


Oh jeez. COME ON, Pixar. You couldn't stop with Astro Zombie's girlfriend. Now you have to make *me* cry?
posted by katillathehun at 7:02 PM on June 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Colby couldn't see the screen because the pain kept her eyes closed so her mother gave her a play-by-play of the film.

I was holding on pretty well until I read that line at the end of the article.
posted by cazoo at 7:04 PM on June 18, 2009


.
posted by _dario at 7:04 PM on June 18, 2009


Pfft, this is just another … EmotionsFilter … post. sniff
posted by shadytrees at 7:11 PM on June 18, 2009


.
posted by jquinby at 7:13 PM on June 18, 2009




.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:14 PM on June 18, 2009


My guess that, while there clearly had to be someone who heard the message and escalated it, it probably was a corporate decision - to allow a dvd out of the building, for one thing, and also because they got there the next day. They flew someone from the bay area to southern california to get that movie to her. Musta been something else to be the employee who delivered it.

What a great story.
posted by smartyboots at 7:15 PM on June 18, 2009


Pixar officials declined to comment on the story or name the employees involved.

Honestly, I find that the best thing about this story. It just made all the rest of it so... just. And right. And fucking wonderful.
posted by Brockles at 7:15 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Father of nine-year-old daughter here. Read the article. Cried.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:17 PM on June 18, 2009


Father of nine-year-old daughter here. Read 5 paragraphs in. Could not continue.

.
posted by FfejL at 7:25 PM on June 18, 2009


Yeah, totally crying.

But, as one of the commenters on Reddit said, if my daughter said she wanted to see 'Up' before she died, I'd throw out the DVD player and never let her go near a theater again.

because the she wouldn't die, right?
posted by GuyZero at 7:33 PM on June 18, 2009


Yes, doing the right thing is often a good PR move. Bravo Pixar. Now I think I have something in my eye, too; must be contagious.
posted by Mister_A at 7:38 PM on June 18, 2009


It's too bad they didn't have a girl-centric picture to show her.

I kid, I kid!
posted by graventy at 7:39 PM on June 18, 2009


*SOBS*
posted by Space Kitty at 7:41 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not crying
It's just been raining
on my face

.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 7:41 PM on June 18, 2009 [8 favorites]


I don't have a goddamn thing in my eye. I'm tearing up, dammit. Okay? Okay.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:41 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Somethings in my eye. Honest.
posted by Artw at 7:43 PM on June 18, 2009


You know, if Pixar's next movie had a character named Colby or even a simple "In memory of Colby" in the credits, I'd be totally cool with that and the resulting catch in my throat.
posted by onhazier at 7:46 PM on June 18, 2009 [11 favorites]


By "catch in my throat" you mean uncontrollable bawling, right?
posted by Mister_A at 7:49 PM on June 18, 2009


Cuz I would not make it through a movie that featured a character named Colby.
posted by Mister_A at 7:49 PM on June 18, 2009


Colby could no longer be transported to a theater and her family feared she would die without having seen the movie.

That's when you say: okay, just this once, I'm gonna torrent.
posted by naju at 8:02 PM on June 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Puts my problems in perspective, this does. It's a hell of a thing. Nothing else to say.
posted by Snyder at 8:03 PM on June 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


.
posted by OolooKitty at 8:09 PM on June 18, 2009


You know what's awful? I saw this and thought "Oh, how nice for Pixar to get themselves more good PR, and only on the back of a dead child." And then I read it, and thought "Of course they wouldn't comment. That would seem crass. Well done." And what I hate is that none of those thoughts have anything to do with Pixar or this actual story. They're all about what omnipresent marketing and, more important, the constant assumption of marketing has done to me. I hate that. I want to be able to enjoy this story without that reflexive mental sneer, and I can't. Because I still suspect this was very well managed by Pixar's marketers.
posted by rusty at 8:19 PM on June 18, 2009 [14 favorites]


Because I still suspect this was very well managed by Pixar's marketers.

The worse part is that commerce taints the story, and always will — except perhaps for her parents. Maybe that's all that matters, in the end.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:24 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


incredible

.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:26 PM on June 18, 2009


Sometimes I wish I was interested in 3D animation, because I really just want to work at Pixar.
posted by Brainy at 8:27 PM on June 18, 2009


What's the greater evil? Denying this girl her last wish, or satisfying her last wish even though you will still benefit from the PR? There was absolutely no way they could NOT get good press from this, apart from somehow swearing the family to secrecy. But that would mean the family wouldn't get the opportunity to show their gratitude by praising Pixar in public, which means that any attempt by Pixar to appear self-sacrificing and modest would actually hurt the family.

Sometimes you do good even when it hurts you. Other times you do good even though you benefit. So fucking what? Doing good is not a zero sum game.
posted by maudlin at 8:29 PM on June 18, 2009 [42 favorites]


.
posted by corey flood at 8:29 PM on June 18, 2009


.
posted by Cookbooks and Chaos at 8:33 PM on June 18, 2009


Grant a dying child's last wish or STFU Rusty.
posted by Scoo at 8:34 PM on June 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well done Pixar. *sniffle*

Also:

If anyone here is in advertising, or marketing: Kill yourself. Just a little thought...I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they'll take root. Ya try, ya do what you can. Seriously though, if you are- do. Uhhhh no, really, there is no rationalization for what you do and you're satan's little helpers. Ok? Kill yourself. Seriously. You're the ruiner of all things good.

-Bill Hicks
posted by nzero at 8:37 PM on June 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


The little girl got her dying wish, and that's all that matters.
posted by OolooKitty at 8:38 PM on June 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


rusty none of that matters, do you know why? Because we all die whether
we market well or not, whether
we avoid or not. Go see the stupid movie, don't. It's no matter.

If this was marketing, all it's managed to do is fill me with a sense of nihilizm.
posted by nola at 8:39 PM on June 18, 2009


I'm gonna be tarred as the local Pixar hater forever now, after this and not liking Wall*E. Oh well. My point isn't that Pixar did anything wrong, or shouldn't have done this. My point is that my ability to view it as people doing something nice for another person has been (possibly permanently) compromised by the endless stream of marketing that infuses every other aspect of life now. Just listen to Bill Hicks is all I'm saying. The ruiners pre-ruined this for me.
posted by rusty at 8:47 PM on June 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Because I still suspect this was very well managed by Pixar's marketers.

Yeah. Pixar totally gave her cancer.

BTW, you know Bill Hicks had an agent who used a PR firm and both employed marketing agencies. So. Yeah.
posted by tkchrist at 8:47 PM on June 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


And I'm sorry if I'm inadvertently raining on anyones inspirational parade. I just can't read this story without wanting to scream NO NO NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Can't you just feel that girl's desire to live? I can I don't want to die at the age of 10. I want a chance to go on. I get no feeling of inspiration from this story. It's just shitty all around, she should have had a chance to grow old and bitter like everyone else.
posted by nola at 8:54 PM on June 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


BTW, you know Bill Hicks had an agent who used a PR firm and both employed marketing agencies. So. Yeah.

*gasp*
posted by nzero at 8:55 PM on June 18, 2009


What's the greater evil? Denying this girl her last wish, or satisfying her last wish even though you will still benefit from the PR? There was absolutely no way they could NOT get good press from this, apart from somehow swearing the family to secrecy. But that would mean the family wouldn't get the opportunity to show their gratitude by praising Pixar in public, which means that any attempt by Pixar to appear self-sacrificing and modest would actually hurt the family.

"Some are born great marketers, some achieve greatness in marketing , and some have greatness in marketing thrust upon them."
-my main man, Willy S
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:58 PM on June 18, 2009


Aw geez, who can criticize goodness?

Oh yeah, Rusty.

Coda: and then the RIAA sued the family for $1.92 million for having a bootleg copy of a film in their house
posted by mazola at 8:59 PM on June 18, 2009


If anyone here is in advertising, or marketing: Kill yourself.

And do they get a dying wish? Maybe it could be "lets not get carried away"
posted by mattoxic at 9:06 PM on June 18, 2009


.
posted by yeoja at 9:07 PM on June 18, 2009


And do they get a dying wish? Maybe it could be "lets not get carried away"

Or for everyone to develop a sense of humor.
posted by nzero at 9:13 PM on June 18, 2009


The ruiners pre-ruined this for me.

Cut to shot of Livia Soprano: "Poor you."

I mean, really, if you've let marketing and cynicism turn you into a cynic yourself, forever incapable of seeing or believing something else, well... that's sad. You shouldn't give up like that.

IMO.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:16 PM on June 18, 2009 [9 favorites]


You know what? If the effing hospice people had done their job, Pixar wouldn't have gained crap from this. Pixar didn't go seek out this little girl or her family and I think they kept this as low profile as they possibly could have.

Cynicism runs rampant here at MeFi, but once in a great while, folks just do the right thing. That being said, here's what I'd like to see as a counter-piece to this- someone else needs to out the sorry sons of bitches that couldn't get this poor kid a wheelchair for a couple of days. That'll put a damper on Pixar's free 15 minutes.
posted by PuppyCat at 9:18 PM on June 18, 2009 [7 favorites]


I don't want to get all Hannah Arendt / banality of evil on anyone, but the easy thing for Pixar and Pixar employees to do would have been to ignore this request as someone else's business. That would have been far worse, and was far more likely an event. I know people who work at big record labels and big movie and television studios, and do you know what? A lot of them are wonderful, kind people who'd go out of their way for a poor kid like this, without even thinking - just as people anywhere else would do. Someone made the call to make this little girl's dream come true, and good for them for doing so.

This little girl was 94" around her stomach - nearly eight feet - when she died. I can only imagine the pain and misery she suffered from that alone. And she just wanted to see a movie before she died. Poor thing.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 9:21 PM on June 18, 2009 [11 favorites]


Not to be crass but one of my most fervent hopes is to die before my kids. Because the alternate would completely kill me.

Crap. Now I'm tearing up again. Bigtime strength to you out there who have suffered that kind of loss. Seriously.
-
posted by Ron Thanagar at 9:34 PM on June 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Having had very minimal experience caring for an injured family member, who was wheelchair bound, I can say that some wheelchair van drivers and medical supply people are amazing caring people. Others are udder assholes unable to recognize that maybe you're in an emotionally trying time, and view you as dollar signs. Moving my grandmother, with a broken femur, to and from hospitals, nursing homes, and our home, was very difficult. Wheelchair vans had to be scheduled a week in advance. It's unlikely that the hospice had their own van or transportation staff, for whatever reason it's a separate, specialized thing. Yay healthcare.

But that's not what's important here.

Also for several months afterward I viewed every bump on the ground, raised threshold, step, stair, curb, or sunken living room as the enemy, and realized what a godsend ADA must have been.
posted by fontophilic at 9:43 PM on June 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Her parents, at the end of the article, basically talked about the adventure book and all the things she'll miss... what stuck me the most about this is what a simple wish it is, what a little thing it is to watch a movie. I'm glad, at least, that Pixar was able to give her that much.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:46 PM on June 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Pixar also declined to comment on or publicize when they invited my girlfriend to join them. I suppose they might have guessed it would get out -- we made a point of it, to reward them with whatever publicity we could offer -- but there was never any guarantee of it. So whatever PR benefits they might get from this sort of behavior is obviously uncertain and secondary to them.

They treat their audience with respect and real affection, down to making a point of performing small acts of gratitude, as with my girlfriend, and with larger acts of compassion, as with this story. I can't think of any other company that has a track record like that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:48 PM on June 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


At what point does it stop being Disney-Pixar and becomes Pixar-Disney) at least the movie making part)
posted by edgeways at 9:52 PM on June 18, 2009


rusty: "You know what's awful? I saw this and thought "Oh, how nice for Pixar to get themselves more good PR, and only on the back of a dead child." And then I read it, and thought "Of course they wouldn't comment. That would seem crass. Well done." And what I hate is that none of those thoughts have anything to do with Pixar or this actual story. They're all about what omnipresent marketing and, more important, the constant assumption of marketing has done to me. I hate that. I want to be able to enjoy this story without that reflexive mental sneer, and I can't. Because I still suspect this was very well managed by Pixar's marketers."

Believe me, I understand what you're trying to say. I'm one cynical prick but there are times when I have to dial down the "paralysis by analysis" and simply enjoy a story for what it is. I may have the unfair advantage of having an 8 year old daughter who adored this movie. I cannot fathom going through what this girl and her family went through. I can appreciate the wonderful gesture by Pixar which, putting myself in the parents shoes, could bring some respite from awful grief they must be experiencing.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:04 PM on June 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


This might sound crass, but wow, what a perfect movie to go out on. Especially for someone so young. I mean, yeah, it's a great kids movie, with lots of humor and fanciful imagery. But the core message -- that exciting, globetrotting adventures might sound romantic, but in the end all that really matters are the simple happy moments you spent with the people you loved -- that's just... right. I hope it helped give her and her family peace.

Lastly, because it made me smile:

Up theme, piano and clarinet duet
posted by Rhaomi at 10:07 PM on June 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Astro Zombie: "Pixar also declined to comment on or publicize when they invited my girlfriend to join them..."

Another great Pixar story. I was thinking of this when I read the post but couldn't remember which Mefite was involved. Thanks for reminding me!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:07 PM on June 18, 2009


Beautiful (but terribly sad) story. Yay Pixar for doing the right thing, and to hell with the cynics.
posted by honeybee413 at 10:19 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


As someone who lost a close relative who didn't get to see me get my PhD, this has hit me harder than I thought it would.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:25 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's good that she made a realistic wish not like some of these kids. Yeah, I'm going to hell.
posted by w0mbat at 10:32 PM on June 18, 2009


You know why this defies cynicism? Have any of you tried to get approval for company-paid travel lately? I can't get approval to visit customers and partners, much less get approval to hand-deliver my product to one customer for free. That this idea made it through the company without getting squashed with a "not my problem" is the miracle here. Because that happens a heck of a lot.

He didn't just deliver a DVD, the person sat down and told the girl stories about the making of the movie.

I mean, really, cynical? Someone saw someone suffering and found that they had a unique opportunity to help out. PR people are human too you know. Believe it or not.
posted by GuyZero at 10:33 PM on June 18, 2009 [13 favorites]


Read half the article, read the comments, thought yeah OK, read the 2nd half the article and now have tears streaming down my face. Wow. Fucking love Pixar. Always have, always will.
posted by jontyjago at 10:51 PM on June 18, 2009


I just thought of something. This situation reminds me of Ikiru, which I recently saw for the first time. I'm not sure if it's the illness (both involve cancer of the stomach) or the bureaucrat/corporate employee going out of his way to do something incredibly kind.
posted by sonic meat machine at 11:08 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


This thread is no place for comments like this. Really, now.

maudlin said it best and I weep for anyone who truly thinks this was little more than simple PR hackery. It's a beautiful thing to read about, and if you have a heart, it should go out to the family of Colby.
posted by revmitcz at 11:11 PM on June 18, 2009


That poor kid. My heart goes out to her family.

.

And the people from Pixar who got involved displayed real humanity. I know I've worked places where a request like this would have been shot down; the actions of the employee(s) happen to reinforce the appearance of a healthy corporate culture, so good for Pixar. But I'm sure the guy who screened the dvd for Colby and her family is going to carry that day with him for a long time to come. Such sadness.
posted by maryh at 11:20 PM on June 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Cazoo: Colby couldn't see the screen because the pain kept her eyes closed so her mother gave her a play-by-play of the film.

I was holding on pretty well until I read that line at the end of the article.


Yeah... just had myself a cry on the couch.

It's nice to think that there was some happiness and enjoyment even at the worst, most unfortunate point of this child's life. And just plain good that someone made it happen. Let's hope we can all do something so kind (anonymously, maybe) at least once some time soon.
posted by pkingdesign at 11:24 PM on June 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


This isn't the kind of thread that usually garners this comment; however, there is no way I'm clicking on that link. *going to go hug my daughter now*
posted by Mitheral at 11:35 PM on June 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Q Q
      Q
posted by emelenjr at 11:49 PM on June 18, 2009 [23 favorites]


Rhaomi, just listening to the theme sets the waterworks off. Man, I love that movie but it's just wrenching.

I'm glad that Colby got to "watch" Up in the end. A pox on the hospice care company and kudos to Pixar.

.
posted by ooga_booga at 12:03 AM on June 19, 2009


Kudos to Pixar and the decent human beings that work there. But didn't the guy that flew down with the DVD have the hardest day at work ever? He probably just got home from the trip when he heard that Colby had passed.
posted by Harald74 at 12:22 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


there is no way I'm clicking on that link

Me neither. My two have made it safely to adulthood, but there is still no way I could click that; reading this thread has been kind of a bit too much ...
posted by woodblock100 at 12:25 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is the kind of story that makes me think I shouldn't have kids. Or that I should have immortal kids. How could anyone deal with so much sadness?

.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 12:52 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


there's all this liquid in my eyes and it keeps coming back when i wipe it away

what is going on this is not normal
posted by Mikey-San at 12:53 AM on June 19, 2009


Big mistake, reading this while listening to Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" on the radio.
posted by RavinDave at 12:54 AM on June 19, 2009


The worse part is that commerce taints the story

Really? Then that would be the.... entire American story? The story of humanity? Is someone here commenting from a Communist nation? Commerce is everywhere. If not for commerce, one might argue the little girl would be dead a long time ago. Making a big fuss over the evil of marketing a la Bill Hicks isn't really that cynical, but it is facile and kind of pathetic. It makes me wonder what the hell happened to the complainant's sense of agency and self-worth. I mean, unless you're eating home-grown beets in your cave wearing a hide thong, or living a nice pirate/freegan/mooch lifestyle, you're still complicit and continuing to buy shit, so where's the beef?

So yeah, Kudos to that kindly company for knowing when to hustle to give their product away free of charge. And remembrances for Colby, may she be at peace.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:03 AM on June 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "The worse part is that commerce taints the story, and always will[...]"

If you grant this, they have won. This thing you say, it has not always been so.
posted by JHarris at 1:21 AM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


The worse part is that commerce taints the story
Really? Then that would be the.... entire American story? The story of humanity? Is someone here commenting from a Communist nation?

I laughed when I read this, as I'm from a (former) Communist country. How I got out of story is a very very long story, but I couldn't have done it without the efforts of six people in particular. Four of those are people some in America would know by name. Two of those four are household names. And do you know what? Not one of them had a thing to gain by doing it, and not one of them ever publicly mentioned their good deeds or used their actions to their advantage to even the slightest extent. They could have done, but they did what they did for their own reasons. I know them as humble and generous people, but I wonder how much more they might be willing to do if it weren't for the incessant, soul-crushing snark that public revelation of their kindness would incur.

Perhaps if I were a child, I would be a big fan of Pixar movies. But I'm not a child, and I'm not a fan. I also abhor the sort of commercialism and sameness that has overtaken so much of America, and threatens to do so nearly everywhere else on Earth, and one could easily see Pixar as representative of this trend, and the attitude that motivates this trend. So I don't feel a need to defend Pixar per se.

But since I've come to America, I've had many experiences where people and organizations one might view cynically have done wonderful things - big and small - without making a big fuss of it. The head of a Fortune 500 company showing up in high-needs school to assess the school's needs and speak to kids, and to make a life-changing, and uncredited, donation. Joe Strummer quietly picking up the tab for an entire bar, just because he had a great time chatting with fans. A country music legend paying for the education of an incredibly hard-working hip-hop kid he met at a car wash. I have a friend from part of the world who's studying for free here in America, courtesy of a kind man who left an eight-figure endowment to a university, without any requests to have any buildings or scholarships named after him. It'll change my friend's life, and it will help the area where he comes from immeasurably.

Yes, we all see cheap publicity ploys by individuals and big corporations. I don't always feel at home here in America in the way I feel people born here must, but I've been a witness to a lot of humble generosity, even in the fraction of a lifetime I've spent here. I'm stunned that so many people here can't see a good deed as simply a good deed. Even with as many reasons for cynicism as I have personally, they're just outweighed by the amount of good acts I see daily. My deep wish is that the cynics here get out a little more and witness how nice a place the world really can be.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 2:09 AM on June 19, 2009 [42 favorites]


Really? Then that would be the.... entire American story? The story of humanity? Is someone here commenting from a Communist nation?

Just curious, but did you read the rest of my comment?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:21 AM on June 19, 2009


I kept thinking this story was about a dying girl's wish to see Russ Meyer's last film, which is a shame because it's not nearly as good as his early stuff.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:43 AM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


“Do you think you can hang on?” Colby’s mother said.

“I’m ready (to die), but I’m going to wait for the movie,” the girl replied.


I want to be as brave as this little girl.

I haven't even seen the movie yet, but I am going to soak my popcorn for sure.
posted by orme at 5:01 AM on June 19, 2009 [4 favorites]


Thank you Dee!
posted by Heliochrome85 at 5:03 AM on June 19, 2009


Universal did something similar for a friend's nephew who had an inoperable brain tumor. He was a huge Curious George fan and was already very sick when the Curious George movie came out in theaters in 2006. Universal sent him a DVD of the movie (about two weeks after it came out in theaters) and his doctor brought his wide screen TV over so the kid could have the "big screen experience".

To my knowledge, no one knows about what Universal did other than those that know the family. Sometimes big, faceless corporations just do nice things.
posted by elfgirl at 5:27 AM on June 19, 2009 [6 favorites]


I really shouldn't have read this uplifting but sad story right after I chopped up all these onions. Oh, man.



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posted by Spatch at 5:33 AM on June 19, 2009


What they're not telling you, is that she got the cancer from watching Cars.... Bastards....


seriously, *sniff*

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posted by Debaser626 at 5:55 AM on June 19, 2009


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posted by limeonaire at 6:06 AM on June 19, 2009


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Not afraid to say this made me cry a little. But yeah Pixar has my vote from now on.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 6:09 AM on June 19, 2009


I want to be able to enjoy this story without that reflexive mental sneer, and I can't.

This says a lot more about you than it does Pixar or omnipresent marketing.

Sometimes people really do just choose to do the good and right thing.

Now excuse me, my allergies are bothering my eyes a lot this morning.
posted by Fleebnork at 6:42 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


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posted by Halloween Jack at 6:43 AM on June 19, 2009


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posted by Reverend John at 7:03 AM on June 19, 2009


Fleebnork: It says nothing about Pixar, that was my point all along.
posted by rusty at 7:14 AM on June 19, 2009


And what I hate is that none of those thoughts have anything to do with Pixar or this actual story. They're all about what omnipresent marketing and, more important, the constant assumption of marketing has done to me.

I can't help but think this is a ploy by rusty to trick Pixar into showing up as his house with unreleased movies until he is "cured" of his marketing-induced illness.
posted by mikepop at 7:15 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think Bill Hicks would approve of the beatification of Bill Hicks.
posted by Mister_A at 7:40 AM on June 19, 2009


For those criticizing rusty, read his post again. He was really criticizing himself for instinctively being cynical even though it wasn't applicable in this case.

Hawaiian attire that is appropriate for church is strongly encouraged as a way to celebrate Colby’s life.

This is obviously a Mom who sees the best in life even in the worst of circumstances, and as a result Colby got to see her favorite movie before she died. The last few years have left us all a bit cynical. Maybe we all need lessons in a better way to approach life.
posted by eye of newt at 7:49 AM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fleebnork: It says nothing about Pixar, that was my point all along.

Metafilter: I want to be able to enjoy this story without that reflexive mental sneer, and I can't.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:50 AM on June 19, 2009 [3 favorites]


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posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:54 AM on June 19, 2009


I just want to point out that the guy who showed up probably wasn't in marketing, wasn't a peon, and wasn't a mid-level manager. It was either him, him or him. Who else would have "shared some quirky background details of the movie" as they settled in to see the movie?
posted by jabberjaw at 8:07 AM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


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posted by flippant at 8:08 AM on June 19, 2009


For Colby Curtin: .

At about 12:30 p.m. the Pixar employee came to the Curtins’ home with the DVD. He had a bag of stuffed animals of characters in the movie and a movie poster. He shared some quirky background details of the movie and the group settled in to watch Up.

Pixar officials declined to comment on the story or name the employees involved.

As it should be. They did something incredibly nice for a young girl and her family at a moment's notice out of the goodness of their hearts, and without fanfare. What a wonderful thing. :)
posted by zarq at 8:16 AM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


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posted by mistersquid at 8:27 AM on June 19, 2009


It was either him, him or him. Who else would have "shared some quirky background details of the movie"

I don't understand your logic at all. It could have been anyone from Pixar; you think that these quirky stories aren't shared among all the staff as part of the enjoyment of working on these projects?

Quirky stories within a company are not kept secret for top level people's enjoyment only.
posted by Brockles at 8:28 AM on June 19, 2009


^ we're talking about Pixar, Brockles.
posted by jabberjaw at 8:42 AM on June 19, 2009


I'd wager it was an upper-level exec as those guys just bullshit all day and don't do any real work anyway.

please god don't fire me if you read this people who manage me
posted by GuyZero at 8:43 AM on June 19, 2009


It was either him, him or him. Who else would have "shared some quirky background details of the movie" as they settled in to see the movie?

Even if it was, so much the better for Pixar not trumpeting this story and naming names. It would put all the focus on the Bigwig From The Movie Industry who stopped by some family's home. Would probably read the story from the Bigwig's point of view. The story, as OolooKitty quite simply stated, is about a little girl who got her dying wish. That's all the perspective we need.
posted by Spatch at 8:54 AM on June 19, 2009


If anyone here is in advertising, or marketing: Kill yourself.

I'm a publicist. In the last 15 years, I've helped spark news coverage for (among other things,) various medical procedures that enabled couples to become parents, helped educate the public about two forms of cancer, a variety of potentially life-threatening vascular and circulatory disorders, and connected kids with congenital disorders to surgical teams that helped them see and hear. I'm completely realistic about the minimal impact I've made, who benefited and how, and who did the actual, hard work in every single case. (It wasn't me.) But publicists, ad reps and marketers aren't all craven, greedy, soul-less monsters, either. Some have ethics and standards. Please don't stereotype us all out of ignorance.

Pixar deliberately chose not to take credit for granting a last wish to a dying 10-year old girl. Many other companies would have jumped at a chance to grab such a spotlight. But this story isn't about Pixar. Not really. It's about the young girl who was in so much pain before she died that she couldn't even watch that movie -- and her mom, who got a chance to tell her what was happening on the screen. As with this story, the gesture itself is less important than the person receiving it.
posted by zarq at 9:11 AM on June 19, 2009 [10 favorites]


The mom names the Pixar employee on the girl's website. I emailed my friend who works at Pixar and she knew the story but didn't even know the employee's name until I told her.
posted by bendy at 11:46 AM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yay Pixar!

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posted by Samizdata at 11:52 AM on June 19, 2009


OMG!

zarq, DON'T KILL YOURSELF!
posted by tkchrist at 11:56 AM on June 19, 2009


As if the article wasn't enough, I visited her Caring Bridge site, and now I'm crying like a baby. At work.

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posted by ahdeeda at 12:17 PM on June 19, 2009


ok, I really should not have read this at work.
*tears
*
posted by Librarygeek at 12:50 PM on June 19, 2009


Pixar needs to create a MetaFilter account so I can fake internet marry it.

I'm surprised no one mentioned it, but it's the adventure book and Colby's mom saying that she'll have to fill in the adventures on Colby's behalf... that just ripped the still beating heart right out of my chest.

That's ok, I don't need it back. I'll just use this smooshy piece of goo over here, that'll do just as well.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:15 PM on June 19, 2009 [2 favorites]


Aaand...
The mom names the Pixar employee on the girl's website.
...there goes my speculation.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:45 PM on June 19, 2009


I'm a fully grown man and I'm not afraid to say that I cried at this. I just checked on all three of my boys, asleep in bed. No parent should ever have to bury their child.

I think the PR argument is absolutely ridiculous. I don't care if Pixar, the Easter Bunny or Satan himself delivered the movie to this little girl. I'm just glad she got her wish.

I know that I will never be able to approach my own death with the grace and dignity that she did.

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posted by double block and bleed at 11:36 PM on June 19, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would both laugh and cry if this had been a set-up by a scene organization to get a pre-release DVDrip of Up! out.
posted by tehloki at 4:07 AM on June 20, 2009


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posted by mustard seeds at 6:30 AM on June 21, 2009


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