Today! Because if you want to get out of here, get rid of that monkey!
Toy Story 3 (2010)
Directed by Lee Unkrich (x2)
Starring Tom Hanks (x4), Tim Allen (x3), Joan Cusack (x3), John Ratzenberger (x4), Wallace Shawn (x3), Ned Beatty (x4), Michael Keaton (x6), Estelle Harris (x2), Don Rickles (x2), Laurie Metcalf (x3), John Morris (x2), Jodi Benson (x2), Blake Clark, Timothy Dalton, Kristen Schaal, Jeff Garlin, Bonnie Hunt, Whoopi Goldberg (x5), R. Lee Ermey (x2), Richard Kind (x3)
One of the most disconcertingly emotional movies ever made, Toy Story 3 manages to be alternatingly hilarious and heart-breaking, and forces you examine issues of loss and abandonment in ways that aren’t typical in mainstream entertainment. Hell, I would say it’s not something even esoteric filmmaking would attempt to inflict on an audience too often. If it weren’t for Buzz’s Spanish mode and hard-bitten, crime noir-ish gags from the telephone, I would say this might be the most insidiously horrifying children’s film ever created.
Seriously, how do you navigate little ones through this movie? Is it possible to just separate the nightmare of Lotso’s life from all the Woody and Buzz adventures? I get that the ending is geared toward making adults cry – none of that can be anything kids will really understand – but what about the psychologically torturous aspects of this story? I would only imagine there are a million unanswerable questions raised through the middle section of this movie, straight through to Lotso’s end – which is no walk in the park either. And maybe that’s truly the genius of this film, and this whole series. We can examine the people and things we’ve lost – the parts of our lives that were left behind somewhere, by choice or just forgotten – without it killing us. Toy Story 3 sure as hell tries to rip you apart along the way, but in the end it’s okay. Like our heroes, we made it. Even if we narrowly escaped the landfill incinerator in the process.
But really! How tense is that finale? Sure, again, the bit on the porch is there to kick all the adults in the tear ducts, but what about the bit at the landfill! It’s damn near unbearable! It’s a prison film (hell, it’s a concentration camp film), an escape film, a harrowing action/adventure, an unmistakable comedy, and a coming-of-age movie all rolled into one. Dear God, Toy Story 3. How and why did they even make a fourth film? As of this writing, only the first teaser trailer has come out, and yeah, it looks pretty solid – and given the near perfection of the first three movies, I have to assume they know what they’re doing revisiting this again – but man, it’ll be some colossal letdown if that movie is anything less than amazing. The bar is too high, Pixar!
The third and (as of this writing) final animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture, Toy Story 3 followed the recently discussed masterpiece #158 Beauty and the Beast (emotional, but more an old-fashioned glorious Disney musical than anything) and 2009’s Up (a fine movie, with the most brutally manipulative opening sequence ever put on film). It came a full eleven years after #240 Toy Story 2, and was the highest grossing film in the series and for Pixar unadjusted for inflation at the time. Given that Finding Dory ($486) and The Incredibles 2 ($608) have since passed it, I can only assume Toy Story 4 (if, you know, it’s any good) will likely pass 3‘s domestic tally of $415 as well. Predictions! 3 was nominated for five Oscars in total, winning Best Animated Film and Best Song for “We Belong Together,” Randy Newman’s second trophy in twenty tries.
Oh, and the film MVP is absolutely the Chatter Telephone, hands down.
Being the second Toy Story movie on the list means we’ve got a ton of Two-Timers and up today, including director Unkrich, but those making the furthest advancements are Whoopi Goldberg, only the third female Five-Timer in the group, following work in #391 The Lion King, #219 The Player, #398 Ghost, and #259 Soapdish, and the great Michael Keaton (#205 Batman Returns, #393 The Dream Team, #172 Out of Sight, #185 Multiplicity, #282 Johnny Dangerously), our eighth Six-Timer! Spotlight!