Also during the narration, when Miguel mentions that Imelda taught her son-in-law (his great-grandfather) to make shoes, we see a young Coco drag her young future husband, Julio, to Imelda. And Julio has a nervous expression, like he already knows that having a woman like Imelda as his mother-in-law will NOT be a pleasant experience.
The Montage of Miguel spending time with Mama Coco counts as this and heartwarming.
The way Miguel plays "luchador" with Coco, despite that she can barely interact in this game. He even has her dressed in a luchador mask and cape.
Elena: (cheerfully serves him more tamales) That's what I thought you said!
When Miguel introduces Elena and her repeatedly refusing music:
[At Miguel who's blowing music into a bottle] Elena: No music! [Takes the bottle away] [At a passing Pizza Planet truck, whose music is playing over the radio] Elena: No music!!! [Slams the window shut] [At a drunk trio of traveling street performers] Elena:NO MUSIC!!![chases the musicians away]
What's funnier is that the trio is singing "La Llorna", one of Imelda's favorite songs before she banned music. It counts as Imelda posthumously telling the drunk musicians (through Elena) "You keep that disgusting music away from mi casa!"
Miguel finding Dante and telling him to do tricks. Dante obliges over-enthusiastically, but can't do shake or fist-bump. Miguel decides to just bump Dante's paw.
Miguel told Dante to "shake," and Dante responded by shaking his body on the ground.
Admittedly, Ernesto's death is actually kind of funny—it's not everyday someone dies from a giant bell being (accidentally) dropped onto them.
Even funnier is that they leave the sound effect of Ernesto getting crushed by the bell on the official soundtrack version.
The timing of Miguel expressing his ambition to be like de la Cruz makes it seem like he wanted to be crushed by a falling church bell as well.
YouTube commenter: Sweetie, your ambition is admirable, but, let's NOT get ourselves crushed by a giant bell.
The Mariachi interrupting Miguel, telling him he wanted a shoe shine, not his life story.
Becomes funnier in hindsight when you bear in mind Miguel's narration took roughly 5 whole minutes. That means that in the span of those five minutes, Miguel told his entire family story while the mariachi waited rather impatiently for him to shine his shoes.
Elena effortlessly terrorizing the mariachi is even funnier considering that a minute earlier, he'd declared that if he were in Miguel's position, he'd march right up to her and tell her off.
Elena spinning her shoe in her hand before putting it back on her foot like an old gunfighter.
Elena chucking her shoe at Dante to get him away from her, and then her ordering Miguel to go fetch her shoe.
Doubly funny for Mexican audiences, where this kind of shoe (known as "chancla") is considered the Weapon of Choice of mothers.
Make it triply funny because if your mom throws the chancla at you (because you were running away from her, trying to avoid the punishment), it's you who has to fetch the shoe back to her.
Elena tells the family that Miguel was at the square shining a Mariachi's shoe, and the family all collectively gasp. One of his cousins (Abel) who's shining a shoe looks away from his work and the shoe shoots up into the ceiling, where there are other shoes sticking through the boards.
Elena tells Miguel that if he were to pursue music, he'd end up like his great-great-grandfather, whose face is missing in the photo on the ofrenda. Miguel begins to ask about him, but Elena says to never mention that man. He then tries to point out that she just mentioned him, but she continues to shush him.
As he watches movie segments of Ernesto de la Cruz, one such segment shows him telling a woman "The world may follow the rules, but I must follow my heart" before he kisses her. Miguel reacts as naturally as you would expect from a boy his age.
Just as Julio reassembles himself (after Miguel bumped into him), Rosita runs through Julio, causing his bones to fly everywhere as she goes to give Miguel a big hug.
As Oscar and Felipe (Imelda's brothers who happen to be twins) appear to tell the family some bad news, one of them greets Miguel with a gentle smile, before the two of them realize that Miguel's still alive.
Miguel's awed by the Land of the Dead, and claimed that he thought this place was a made up thing that grown-ups tell him about, like vitamins.
A skeleton girl sees Miguel and points him out to her mother who tells her staring isn't polite. When she sees Miguel, she immediately flees.
Mother: Mija, it's not nice to stare at — Ay! Santa Maria!
One of Miguel's twin uncles warning him to watch out for alebrije flying overhead, because they leave "caquitanote droppings" everywhere.
While Miguel and the dead Rivera family wait in line to re-enter the Land of the Dead, we see skeletons who get to visit to the Land of the Living. One such skeleton has a large set of braces on his teeth. Apparently, his dentist put up an ofrenda for him. (Kind of falls under heartwarming when you consider the skeleton must've been a star patient).
Hector attempting to disguise himself as Frida Kahlo in order to cross the bridge to the living world. It doesn't work, and he still tries making a run for it, only to gradually sink under the petals in an anticlimactic fashion.
Hector: Dumb flower bridge!
Though this becomes a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment when we learn WHY he's trying to do so. Spoilers He's been trying to cross the bridge to see his daughter and Miguel's grandmother, Coco, but can't because, thanks to Ernesto, there is no clear picture of him on the family ofrenda.
As he tries to pass as Frida he suggests the bridge officer to just let him through.
Hector: I'm on so many ofrenda's it'll just overwhelm your blinky-thingy.
When the dead Rivera members present Miguel to the attendant:
Miguel starts to explain how he didn't technically steal, since it was a guitar from his great-great-grandfather who would have wanted him to have it, but Imelda quickly interjects, telling Miguel that that man is dead to this family. He then quietly points out that they're all dead.
Dead employee: Whatever [Dante] is, I'm terribly allergic.
Miguel: But Dante doesn't have any hair!
Dead employee:[Deadpan] And I don't have a nose, yet here we are.
This dialogue is even funnier once you realise how far it takes Artistic License Medicine / Artistic License Biology. Contrary to what many people believe, people who are allergic to cats/dogs/other furry animals, usually aren't allergic to the actual fur but to the animals' dandruff, making whether the animal is hairy or "naked" (and Miguel's point) a moot point. And to drive the point home even more, a person's being allergic or not doesn't have anything to do with their having a nose or not; it comes from their white blood cells and Histamine produced in their blood stream (which, again, the dead clerk can't even have, given that as a skeleton he doesn't have any blood stream to begin with).
Due to not having a nose (or any ears) to perch his glasses on, the "immigration" clerk attending to Imelda when she's trying to re-enter the land of the dead, has to tape them to his skull to make them stay in place.
Even the family members noted that Dante didn't look like an alebrije, and one of the twins say that he looked like a sausage that was dropped in a barbershop. Tia Victoria gives an annoyed eye-roll, while everyone else grins at the joke.
Julio braces Miguel and quickly slaps the boy's face a few times to keep him awake to undo the curse.
Imelda gives Miguel her blessing with the condition that he never plays music again which he accepts. Once he's back in Ernesto's shrine, Miguel whoops with glee, spots the guitar and grabs it, prepared to head to the talent show. Just as he sprints to leave, the world quickly shifts back into the Land of the Dead, where Miguel's body slams into the clerks desk. The Rivera's turn back in surprise, and once Miguel realizes where he was, and his hands made it clear he was holding a guitar, he grins bashfully.
Imelda:Two seconds and you already break your promise!
Fridge Funny: The blessing didn't take because Miguel (A) decided to go to Mariachi Plaza instead of returning home (B) had no intention to put Imelda's photo back on the ofrenda first (C) AND grabbed the guitar. In other words, he managed to break all three conditions of the blessing at the same time.
Miguel tries to get his other relatives to give him their blessing, but because none of them would dare go against Imelda, everyone shrinks away from the marigold petal in fear, as if Miguel were offering them to eat a disgusting bug. When he gets to Tia Victoria, she just shakes her head no.
In order to make himself less conspicuous, Miguel pulls his hood over his head so tightly, you can barely see his face.
Apparently, falsifying a unibrow is Serious Business in the Land of the Dead.note Considering the reverence that everyone holds for Frida Kahlo...
Hector asking if he could at least take back his costume. The officer pretends to pause for a moment before denying his request.
During their first meeting, Miguel tells Héctor that he believes Ernesto de la Cruz is his great-great-grandfather. Naturally, Héctor's so stunned by the news that not only does his jaw drop, but his eyeballs fall into his mouth like two marbles.
Just before that, Héctor calling Miguel's sudden request to be taken to Ernesto to get his blessing "weirdly specific."
The Rivera's spot Miguel, and out of panic, he grabs Héctor's wrist and dashes out of the building, accidentally pulling Héctor's arm off. Just as he's running down the stairs, Héctor's hand snaps its fingers to get Miguel's attention, and gestures back to show that he left Héctor's body behind.
Héctor: Espérame, chamaco!note Wait for me, kid!
Julio nervously showing Pepita (Imelda's animal spirit guide) the marigold petal that Miguel touched and meekly muttering, "Nice alebrije..."
Dante tasting the white shoe polish that Héctor uses to disguise Miguel as a skeleton.
Héctor shows Miguel the picture of himself when he was alive, a smiling young man. When Miguel looks at Héctor, the latter is giving a somewhat goofy grin.
Héctor: Muy guapo, eh?note Very handsome, right?
Miguel tries "walking like a skeleton" by copying Héctor's awkward pigeon-toed walking style.
How does Héctor get Ceci the seamstress' attention? Shooting his arm up like it's an arrow to get to the window.
When Ceci picks up his detached arm and sternly remarks that he'd better have her dress, she accusingly points Héctor's own arm at him.
While at Frida Kahlo's studio, Miguel walks past a female skeleton posing for an artist without her clothes on.
He doesn't so much as "walk by her" as he does stop and stare at her and bashfully covering his face while skittering off when she notices.
A spider-monkey alebrije riding on Dante's back.
Later, that same alebrije demonstrating the ability to change colors and breathe fire.
Frida believes for a moment that Dante's an alebrije, a powerful spirit animal sent to guide others. Then, after she sees Dante chewing and choking on his own leg, she (understandably) figures that he's probably just a normal dog. Which makes the reveal when Dante turns out to really be an alebrije even funnier in hindsight.
Frida Kahlo's entire scene with Miguel describing her performance art before Ernesto's concert, which consists of multiple versions of herself climbing around in a spider-like fashion around a half eaten papaya and a cactus (that is also her) that cries tears of metaphorical milk. After receiving some music advice from Miguel, she concludes that the whole thing needs to be on fire (the dancers aren't too happy about that last idea).note Fortunately, the final show doesn't include the stage props actually being on fire.
This gets even more funny because Frida's touching upon her constant theme of always being born from herself. The papaya is not a random choice of fruit: "papaya" is also a Spanish slang term for a woman's naughty parts. The most brilliant case of Bilingual Bonus of Pixar, at least for non-Spanish audiences.
Miguel suggesting music ideas for Frida:
Miguel: Oh! What if you did like..."Doo, doo, doo, doo, doom"? [Frida snaps her fingers and her band plays back that exact riff] Miguel: Uh...oh! And then it can go..."Da-da-la, da-da-la, da-da-la, da-da-la, da-da-la...ooip"! [Again, Frida's band plays back that riff, with a trombone on "ooip"]
As the stage rises to reveal Ernesto, the stage light flashes onto the figure to reveal a bunch of fruits and wood tied together to look like Ernesto, to Miguel's disappointment.
According to the other musicians, Héctor died because he choked on a chorizo (a type of spicy sausage common in Spanish-speaking countries such as Mexico), thus earning his nickname "Chorizo." Héctor defends himself by saying it was food poisoning. It becomes much less funny and actually Harsher in Hindsight when it's revealed Hector was literally poisoned, and his killer tried to assuage his worries about his stomach pain by suggesting it was some chorizo he ate.
The joke goes deeper than merely a dropped bridge; "chorizo" is used as a Latin American euphemism for male genitalia.
As they go to meet a person Héctor knows that has a guitar, when they make it to the end of a broken bridge, Héctor simply jumps down, takes the impact and allows his body to reassemble itself. The look on Miguel's face is a mixture of awe and fear.
The weird alebrije that hops on the docks that's a mixture between a toad and a rabbit. Dante is too confused to even attempt to chase after it.
Héctor tries to say hello to Chicharron, but the old skeleton glares at him and declares he didn't want to see his stupid face.
Chicharron also hasn't forgotten that Héctor has borrowed A LOT of things from him over the years and not once given it back. That includes his van, his mini-fridge, his good napkins, his lasso, and, for some reason, his FEMUR. Not even Word of God can explain why he needed the femur.
Although a Tear Jerker moment Héctor plays a song for Chicharron, "Everyone Knows Juanita", about an ugly woman. At one point, he spots Miguel watching him in wide eyed awe, has an Oh, Crap! moment and switches out a word with "Knuckles", which "drag on the floor". Even in his tragically tired state, Chicharron still has the spitfire to say that's not how the song goes. But Héctor points out that Miguel is present.
Not to mention the punchline of the song: after singing about how horrendously ugly Juanita is, the singer laments that if he weren't so ugly, she'd give him a chance!
"There are children present!" could also be taken as a meta joke, seeing as this is a family movie and there will be children in the audience.
Miguel decides he'll play "Remember Me" for the talent show, but Héctor says that won't work. Why? Everyone else will be singing that song, thus making Miguel white noise if he plays that song. The camera then shows a small guitar player rehearsing the song, as well as a man and woman singing an opera version, and a man playing it on glasses of water.
Particularly funny if you've ever participated in or run an audition, and know just how much the latest hit recording artist and/or musical turns up.
The look Héctor gives after Miguel sees all of said performers. A humorous, slightly smug smirk that all but explicitly says "See what I mean?"
All of the acts shown before Miguel's big number at the Battle of the Bands are rather hilarious:
A tuba/violin duo.
A solo saxophonist.
A rock band which the crowd shows complete distaste over.
A skeleton plays the scales of his alebrije like a xylophone.
Before seeing Miguel, the guard sees that Santo was invited and said he was a huge fan. He takes a photo with his idol, by taking off his head while his body holds the camera.
When Miguel gets the large band to sneak him into Ernesto's party, it looks like they hid him inside the drum, due to lingering shots on it, or maybe in the middle of their tightly packed group as they walk. Nope, they put him in the sousaphone. He even gets shot out by the instrument when it's blown into.
When entering the party room the music switches from normal music into dubstep. The change can be a bit jarring and funny for some.
Miguel enters Ernesto's plaza to play a song of his to him and his crowd...only for Miguel to walk into the pool without realizing it.
The montage of Ernesto introducing his great-great-grandson Miguel to everyone and their dog.
When Ernesto and Miguel walk to the window, three of Ernesto's chihuahuas are running around with a fourth sweetly slumbering in Ernesto's arm. At the first sound of the fireworks, at the same time Ernesto perks up and becomes all giddy, the sleeping doggo wakes up and starts yipping.
Ernesto's uncomfortable reaction to Miguel's torso turning into bones is both humorous and weird all at once, mostly because he's treating this as casually as one would at seeing it's way past a child's bedtime.
Also, as he offers Miguel a petal, he tells him "I hope you die very soon". Miguel looks up incredulously before Ernesto chuckles and adds, "You know what I mean". Also doubles as Five-Second Foreshadowing.
Héctor (whilst still dressed up as Frida) confronting Ernesto. (Even funnier, before shedding his disguise to reveal his true self, Héctor rolls his eyes a little because Ernesto actually believed he was Frida.)
Though it's ultimately a heartwarming moment, after Miguel learns that Héctor is his actual great-great-grandfather, the latter despondently bemoans that he couldn't have been a more "impressive" ancestor. But Miguel admits that previously, he was worried about being related to a fraud and a murderer (Ernesto), and that Héctor's more like an "upgrade," and assures that he's genuinely happy to be related to him.
The dry/depressed look Héctor briefly gives Miguel when he says "You're a total upgrade", as though dryly thinking "Really kid? Am I supposed to know what 'upgrade' means?"
When Imelda and Héctor meet for the first time in years, he nervously compliments that she's looking well. After she notices Miguel with a bright smile and then sees Héctor, she gives him a Death Glare.
The great thing about this moment is that the audience has just learned that Ernesto is not Miguel's great-grandfather, so her reappearance comes at the same moment the audience realizes that the man Imelda was so angry at is in fact Héctor and she will not be happy to see him.
While riding on Pepita, Héctor (possibly at Imelda's strict orders) is forced to ride upon her tail, holding onto it for dear (after)life.
Héctor nervously offers Imelda a hand to help her off Pepita. She responds with a hilariously exasperated eye-roll and then sliding off of Pepita herself, on the opposite side of Pepita to where Héctor is standing.
Dante changing into an alebrije, in a fashion where his body turns day-glo colors. Then he sprouts an appropriately ragged, lopsided pair of wings that barely keep him airborne.
What's especially hilarious is Dante's reaction, when he sees his leg suddenly glowing and changing color, he starts gnawing on his leg as if that would make it go back to normal. Once he gets his wings, he attempts to fly, and stops in midair before falling. He manages to fly in the end.
Frida Kahlo's concert—it's so abstract that it leaves the audience quiet, unable to tell if they should be impressed or disturbed (or a little bit of both).
Miguel and the Rivera family (Héctor included) sneak into de la Cruz's Sunrise Spectacular by dressing as Frida Kahlo (courtesy of Frida herself). Miguel then has to rip off the fake unibrow, which pains him in the same fashion of ripping duct tape off.
Héctor offers to help Imelda out of her costume, but she gruffly refuses.
Though it kind of doubles as heartwarming, Héctor's so touched by Imelda calling him "the love of [her] life" that he asks her about it twice (earlier after she hits Ernesto with her boot)—she brushes it off both times, but after the second time she denies it, their great-great-grandson smugly remarks that's what he heard.
Her response to the first time he asks Imelda if he was the love of her life is pretty funny.
Imelda: I don't know, I'm still angry at you!
Hector is so over the moon that he can't wipe the ridiculous giddy grin off his face even as they chase after Ernesto.
During the ensuing chase after Ernesto, he bumps into dancers dressed as... Giant Ernesto heads.
Dante shows up and manages to tackle one of the guards' heads off its body.
Imelda accidentally winds up on stage at the Sunrise Spectacular looking bug-eyed at the audience, and has to sing and act like it's All Part of the Show while being chased around by the security guards.
Her look of surprise and absolute disgust when Ernesto shows up and turns the performance into a duet where the two are dancing while fighting over the photo of Héctor. But due to Ernesto being such a Glory Hound, she manages to slip out of his grip and stomp on his foot, which causes him to let out a howl of pain that sounds like a grito- or he's just tried disguising it as such (certain dubs make the attempt to disguise his yelp as a grito more conspicuous than others.)
As Imelda begins to sing, Tia Victoria and Rosita's jaws drop and they glance at each other as if saying, "Mama Imelda's singing??" To top it off, as Héctor starts to accompany his wife on guitar (for the first time in nearly a century!), the conductor glances at the guitarist in the orchestra with a questioning look, only to get back a confused shrug from the man. Their body language says it all in the brief aside shot. "Where's that music coming from?" "Not me, boss." The conductor and musicians quickly decide to just roll with the apparent change of plans, with smiles on their faces. To quote one youtuber:
The conductor is all "who is playing? what is going on?" but then gets into it like "To heck with it, she is KILLING it!"
Major props to Antonio Sol (the singing voice of Ernesto de la Cruz in the original English version) for managing to make Ernesto's cries of pain when Imelda stomps on his foot sound like a yelping dog...much like his chihuahuas.
Family blessings can come with all kinds of conditions and if Miguel takes the blessing, returns to the living world, and rejects one of the conditions the blessing is revoked and he's snapped instantly back into the Land of the Dead. Later in the film he's almost, it's a Hope Spot given a blessing with the condition "and never forget how much your family loves you", which may lead some audience members to imagine a rebellious teenage Miguel deciding his family hates him, being snapped back into the Land of the Dead, and most probably he will face a long sermon from his dead ancestors, particularly from Imelda herself.
During Ernesto's confession, there's a blink-and-you-miss moment in the crowd. Out of all the skeletons who react with disgust and shock, one skeleton holding a corn-cob just awkwardly looks left and right.
Let's sum it up: Ernesto's been caught on camera trying to murder a little boy, revealed to have stolen all his songs by killing his best friend, and then gets thrown around by Imelda's alebrije and crushed under a bell as he did in real-life. The hilarious part comes while the crowd is cheering and a man who went to get food returns to his wife.
Man: What'd I miss?
The way Pepita shows up, growling menacingly at Ernesto for attempting to hurt Miguel and flies him all around the venue, swatting him like he were a ball of yarn, tossing him in the air, and then hitting him with her tail. It's not only satisfying, but also plenty humorous.
Also Ernesto nervously smiling as Pepita slowly stalks towards him and he quietly stutters, "Nice kitty."
One of Miguel's cousins (the one who shot the shoes up into the ceiling) is sleeping on a bench with his uncle, drooling in his sleep. When his uncle jolts up after recognizing Miguel, he falls backwards, and he only has one shoe on his foot.
In the ending montage, Dante returns to the land of the living as an ordinary dog. And Pepita's silhouette seems like a large jaguar...but she appears as a normal house cat, even smaller than Dante.
Also in the ending, we see a bust of Ernesto with the plaque "Remember Me," then pan up to see a sign hung around the bust that say "Forget You."
"You seem like a nice crowd, better than my last group. What a bunch of stiffs!" *Miguel shows no reaction* "A bunch of stiffs..."
After being interrupted of his dialogue, Hector repeats it saying "As long as our families back home remember us, we live on in this beautiful city" whilst the bus has moved on to the slums and a skeleton flashing the passing train.
Hector tries to list all the people of Mexico whose memory will live on forever. The funny part is, one of those names is Montizuml.