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If you are like me, movies can be so mighty they change you. Movies so memorable, so cool, so unexpected, so moral, you walk out of the theater a different person than who walked in; hopefully a better person. Movies are powerful in that way. Perhaps more than radio, books, or television, movies are the common medium of our culture, our country. This can be for better, but often is for worse. Impressionable minds can learn all sorts of ways to blow things up and beat up the bad guys, but very little about how to form lasting love and friendships. So it is a great delight to tell you to go see Toy Story 3.
I have no criticisms. How could I? Disney-Pixar once again hit it out of the park. Best movie of the year? Sure. Another example of animation for kids being a better film for adults? Absolutely. Pixar focuses on timeless, classic story telling, on universal themes like the joy and pain of childhood’s journey into adulthood, and preserving the innocence of children. But above all, Toy Story 3 is about the importance of loyalty to friends. And it’s smart enough to be funny, exciting, and entertaining with blessedly little irony. This film is kind. And really, how many movies are “kind” these days?
Tom Hanks is back as Woody, and Tim Allen is back as Buzz Lightyear. Ned Beatty joins the cast; good to see he is still alive. John Ratzenberg, Michael Keaton, Bonnie Hunt, and even Whoopi Goldberg get in on the fun. And why not? Why wouldn’t you want to be part of the best movie so far this year? If Toy Story 3 is overlooked by the Academy like they’ve done with so many previous Pixar films, I will threaten to throw something really hard, but then won’t, and will seethe for a long while.
This movie belongs with Old Yeller, Watership Down, Where the Red Fern Grow, and E.T., as classic gut wrenching, tear jerking, moral movies that imprint their timeless lessons like cattle brands on the brains of children. This is for the better. Toy Story 3 ought to be required viewing for our jaded, seen-it-all, youth.
But don’t skip this one because you’re not a kid. That’s no excuse. The elderly couple in front of me joined the end chorus of sniffles; a lot of sniffles. The last 15 minutes delivered an emotional wallop something like Andre the Giant smacking you with a two by four to the gut while simultaneously winning the California state lottery and having your childhood dog fly into your lap with angel wings.
Okay, so I’m going to man-up here. True story: It's the end of Toy Story 3, and yeah, I too was on the verge of tears. To deflect an embarrassing display of manly waterworks I whispered to my 4 year old Carmen in fatherly concern, "does this make you sad?" Carmen looks at me with her wide sky blue eyes, "No, dad, it's just a movie."
Toy Story 3 is playing at Gross Alaska Theater Glacier Cinemas this weekend. This is Clint Farr, schooled by his four year old, at the movies.