Nothing feels warmer than a momma's hug.
- Joe's mother might be pushing Joe to take the full-time teaching job, but its obvious that she loves her son and just wants what is best for him.
- Early in the film, Joe hears from his former protégé, Curley and how he is now a drummer in the Dorathea William's quartet. Despite Joe's obsession with his dream and feeling frustrated with his musical career, he is nothing but happy for his old student and that is BEFORE Curley offers to give a chance try out for said band.
- The Jerrys, while frustrated with 22, truly just want her to find her spark so that she can finally begin her life. They were even grateful when Joe finally helped her find her "spark".
- When it seems that Joe is about to be sent "back" to the Great Beyond for failing to earn her spark, 22 claims there's still more things she wants to try in order to cover for Joe. Why does she does this? Because from where she stands, Joe's life is so mundane and pathetic. This may sound derisive, but it shows she's interested to learn why life on Earth is so great if Joe is so driven to return to it. If anything, 22's Character Development is starting to take root.
- Among 22's giant wall of nametags is Joe Ranft, a beloved animator and voice actor who worked on Pixar's first seven features before his too-early death from a car crash in 2005. Of course, his friend Pete Docter would consider Ranft an impressive enough person to become a mentor. Another is Mike Oznowicz, Frank Oz's father.
- Moonwind's purpose in The Zone is to save the lost souls of still living people who have been completely consumed by an obsession.
- 22 (in Joe's body) trying pizza for the first time. It's one of the first things she has ever genuinely enjoyed.
- When attempting to fix things between Joe and Dorothea Williams, Curley mentions that Joe's music class was the only reason he went to school. Not only is it sweet to hear how much Joe's lessons meant to him and how much he enjoyed them, it's also confirmation that even before meeting 22, Joe was a great mentor who made a measurable difference in people's lives. He not only helped Curley hone his musical talent, but he indirectly prevented him from falling behind (or even dropping out entirely), which likely set him up for better opportunities later on.
- 22 actually bonds with Connie and gives her some genuine advice about life, which inspires her continue being in the band class.
- The entirety of Dez giving a haircut to 22 in Joe's body. First, it's out of spontaneous kindness that he takes one look at Joe's botched up haircut and makes an emergency appointment for him. Second, Dez allows "Joe" (22) to keep the cat (Joe) and doesn't even judge him for wanting a lollipop. And then we learn the reason he loves being a barber despite giving up his dream of being a veterinarian: he gets to meet interesting people, and he gets to make them happy with his haircuts.
- Tying into the above, the conversation leads Dez to share that he wanted to be a veterinarian, but chose to go to a cheap barber school in order to help his sick daughter instead. While 22 thinks it's terrible he's supposedly stuck doing something he doesn't want to, Dez sets the record straight and says he loves his job. Because, as he so puts it, he gets to make people "happy and make them handsome." Aww!
- This makes Joe's remark about how Dez was "born to be a barber" all the more sweet if Dez loves his job so much that Joe never ever suspected his own barber wanted to be a veterinarian.
- At the end of the scene, Dez voices how Joe normally talks about nothing but Jazz, but it's refreshing they got to talk about other topics.
22: (In Joe's body) How come you've never talked about your life?
- A Freeze-Frame Bonus: one of the photos that Dez has placed to the side of his mirror is him holding up his daughter.
- After telling him off at the barber shop, 22 in Joe's body tracks Paul down, offers him a lollipop and makes sure there are no hard feelings between them.
- Terry, despite being the closest thing this film has to a villain, immediately apologizes when they catch the wrong person, sets them back in their body with an apology, and then gives them the recommendation to lay off the processed foods if they want to live a longer life... despite the fact that doing so would probably throw the count off on a later date.
- Through 22, Joe vicariously has a heart-to-heart with his mother about how he wants to follow his passion and she should be supportive of it. At seeing her son wants to be a musician so badly, she will indeed help sew his suit. Better still, she goes the extra mile: she offers his late father's suit and (with help from her co-workers) tailors it so it will fit Joe like a glove.
- While waiting for a subway, 22 hears a man playing guitar beautifully. Not many people may be listening to his song, but the emotion that goes into it inspires 22. In turn, she gives him a piece of her bagel. Hey, it's the thought that counts, and the guitarist doesn't object anyway.
- What's one of the things that inspires 22 to live life? She sees a daughter playfully going on a walk with her father, laughing mirthfully.
- While sharing the accounts of all the little things she experienced on Earth, 22 mentions that one of those memories was being yelled at by a guy on the subway. It was scary, but she acknowledges that it was still an experience unto itself. If anything, she's starting to realize life doesn't have to be perfect to be good.
- Mr. Mittens the therapy cat who had lost his body for most of the movie finally getting it back and reuniting with his owner. There is also a cute moment right after Joe gets his own body back where Mr. Mittens leaps on his lap looking concerned for him.
- Joe finally getting to live out his dream of performing on stage.
- Among the people in the crowd, Joe sees his mother and her coworkers cheering for him!
- Dorothea Williams may be a no-nonsense diva but after performing with Joe, and when he voices his dissatisfaction at fulfilling his dream, she wisely gives him advice that helps him reevaluate his life.
I heard this story about a fish. He swims up to an older fish and says: Im trying to find this thing they call the ocean. The ocean? the older fish says, thats what youre in right now. This, says the young fish, this is water. What I want is the ocean!
- In a Tear Jerker sort of way, Joe's reflecting on 22's trinkets and what they meant to her leads to one such moment. After thinking over what Dorothea said about purpose, he looks back on all of 22's good experiences while on Earth. And then, he looks back on his own experiences, his own memories. It's little things, but they're profound moments in his life, like his mother lovingly bathing him when he little, times he bonded with his dad over Jazz, bicycle rides, his mentoring his star student Curly, the last time he ever ate a pecan pie, and every time he's ever seen a New York sunrise. Reflecting on these beautiful experiences, he feels at peace with the world.
- Joe returning to the Great Before to give 22 back her Earth Pass so she can live her own life.
- The climax where Joe coming to 22's aid when he learns she's become a lost soul. At first, all seems hopeless and Joe can't seem to reach out to her in an ocean of her insecurity. ...Until he finds the helicopter seed in his pocket, the one that embodies 22's fascination with life and uses it to metaphorically reach out to her. It calms her down enough so he can explain what he now knows: life isn't about having a purpose, it's about living.
- Better still, he tells her she's good at "jazzing", despite that he earlier said it's not a real word. It's his way of acknowledging there's no right or wrong way to make your life meaningful, and that she's a good soul all around.
- Fridge-Heartwarming: While conversing with 22, Joe appears to her in the form of the cat he inhabited. It may seem silly out of context, but he was appearing to her in a form she was most familiar seeing him in.
- Fridge-Awesome: On top of accomplishing his dream of playing Jazz for an audience, Joe got to accomplish something else worthwhile. While playing Jazz was his "purpose", but his "spark" is being a teacher, hence he taught 22 the importance of living, and taught this unborn soul how worthy they are to start living.
- At the end of their journey together, Joe comforts 22 as she hesitates to leap down onto Earth and finally be born as a human. He gently takes her hand and the two step into the portal together.
Joe: I'll go with you.
22: You know you can't do that.
Joe: I know, but I'll go as far as I can.
- The second to last scene definitely counts. Before Joe can move on to the Great Beyond, Jerry intercepts him and lauds him for how he helped 22 successfully find her spark like no one before. They even acknowledge that while they're in the business of inspiring souls, it's not every day a soul inspires them! Needless to say, the Jerrys have decided to give Joe another chance at life.
- The ending where (whether he decides to be a jazz player, a music teacher, or both), Joe promises he will live every moment of his life.
- Theres a cute little moment in 22 vs. Earth, wherein 22 thanks one of the souls for sticking with her, hugs them, and they get their Earth pass. While getting the Earth pass and 22 immediately booting them out to Earth while they laugh cheerfully define Mood Whiplash, its sweet that it was 22 offering friendship that gave the little soul their spark. Its very likely theyll grow up doing something to inspire kindness in others, just like 22 did for them.