Friday, June 25, 2010

Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 takes a rather dark turn near the end (be prepared for this if you plan on taking really little kids), but the resolution is so funny and so joyous — truly a “Sometimes there’s God so quickly” moment — that I don’t think it will cause any nightmares. (Stephanie Zacharek, “Toy Story 3 brings series to brilliant, bittersweet close,” Movieline, 17 June 2010)

It should give you nightmares. Two futures are presented in this film, one that will soon be familiar to the cast-aside -- a nightmare of being used, tortured and ruled over, without respite, until you're broken and finally gone -- and the other for those who have found some way to sculpt themselves to be relevant -- another couple decades of feeling vital to the future of the American dream. I think most liberals feel that if they continue to fight for the impoverished, to fully side with them, they risk joining the nightmare of junk, and sense that if they only persuade themselves Brad Bird-like that there is simply no hope for the damaged-to-the-point-of-grotesque, that they can continue to accumulate and thrive, enjoying even a sense of now rare election (in a suitably self-downplaying way, of course): it's simply the way of the times. Bird showed he was for construing society so that many of those who saw his films should probably rot, a few films ago. "Wall-E" showed Lasseter still moved by enough of something special that he seemed still for all of us. Not here, though. Another liberal on the other side. May he at least feel guilt pains.

"It's vintage!": for safety, another clue to abandon your status as a hipster, and possibly as a homosexual.

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And it was brilliant and funny and exciting. But it was also possibly one of the tear-jerkingiest movies to come out of Pixar yet. Click through to see what scenes caused the most waterworks, but, of course, beware of spoilers.

5. The Toys Accept That Andy Won’t Play With Them Anymore

4. Andy’s Mom Takes In Andy’s Room

3. Woody Has to Leave Bullseye the Horse Behind

2. Woody and Friends Accept Death Together

1. Andy Hesitates Handing Woody Over to Bonnie (Dixon Gaines, “You got a friend in me: 5 tear-jerking moments from Toy Story 3, Movieline, 20 June 2010)

Re #5: It's not so much that they're not needed, but that they don't fit his understanding of himself as one of the chosen still permitted the path of blue skies, clipped yards and picket fences; college on; the full realization of the American dream. Bringing one precious toy with him would just show anyone who happened inside his dorm room that he came from the right past of involved parents and idyllic (romanced traditional) childhood interests and attachments. Bringing the whole horde would suggest he's too much akin to those broken who won't now find their way to college (increasingly, probably not even the full way through high school), who cannot but now cling to everything with some, with even the faintest bit of, friendly link, as the threat of abandonment or disaster can never now be pushed far enough away from conscious presence to not seem an any-moment possibility.

Re #4: Andy's mom is acting out the drama of son departing for college, in just the fashion all mothers continue to dream of acting out -- because of its resonance of family fitness, healthiness, job-well-done election -- but which we all know and sense that fewer and fewer will able to realize. The mother's look inside the barren room is today's version of Marie's "let them eat cake." Sad indeed.

Re #3: Woody is still infused with a sense of election from proving to have the stuff to be the only toy to find uncompromising relevance in Andy's movement along the right path, his shift away from all that might compromise him. "Bullseye, you're just so sad. Just like a kid, you were always too dependent: no would-be emerging adult in this biting world wants to be reminded of having once been THAT vulnerable. May you find solace in the trash ... but whatever you dumb clinging pony: just find some way out of my sight. Now that's a good pony."

Re #2: Sad, because we all know it's a result of Woody's naive sudden trust of Lotso (what happened to the Woody who took like forever to accept the spaceman?), which seems strangely out of character, and possibly therefore born of some kind of death-wish, willingness, desire to be placed in a situation where you'll be sacrificed. Last straw, or the realization of foremost desire? I suspect the later; may no Afghanistan-bound young American see this film lest s/he believe solace, group camaraderie, sweet-resting-home and eternal acceptance lies in letting oneself passively be drawn into its inner, urgent, hungry maw.

Re #1: The toys go to Bonnie, and get a 5-year reprieve -- until she discovers boys. After that they'll need a PR savy spider to join their cause and "spin them" as the "most specialest of toys," so as to give them some chance of not being donated to some of the increasing numbers of mongoloid, bent kids, who will obliterate themselves once they've finished off everything before them, and whose mothers cannot but call thrift stores their home.

- - - - -

Wow. You use a lot of big fancy words.

But it doesn't disguise that you're wrong.

The Woody of the first film isn't cynical. He's assured because of his place. When he loses that place to Buzz, he's angry (like a small child) but grows to realize that trusting and placing his trust in another (Buzz) is his only hope of salvation.

The Woody of the second film BEGINS the movie saying that no toy gets left behind. Woody wouldn't abandon anyone, and is quick to even give Stinky Pete a chance at happiness with Andy. He is truly shocked when Pete betrays that trust.

The Woody who gives Lotso a reprieve is a culmination of Woody's journey from self-assured ruler of the roost to loving and caring leader of the toy family, and one who believes that every toy should get a chance.

Which is why your analysis is wrong. (Duane, response to post)

Thanks for the great counter -- particularly your Stinky Pete example, which I admit I don't remember all that well, and will have to look at again. Examples aside, though, my overall sense of Woody as someone too worldly-wise and adult -- and sometimes cynical -- to not only feel the need to urgently rescue Lotso but to trust him to rescue them rather than once again deceive and abandon them, was established in the first film, with his long exasperation at everyone elses' idiotic simple trust and naivety (their pre-schoolness), their dumb eager willingness to fall for what should be the most obvious of scams. In TS 3, his instant naivety was meant to make him seem too innocent to thrive, and make their rescue and new home more salvation-like and cling-worthy -- you weren't thinking of the games they were going to enjoy, but simply that they'll have the mercy of a few more years away from the curb.

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"because we all know it's a result of Woody's naive sudden trust of the bear-thing (what happened to the Woody who took like forever to accept the spaceman?), which seems strangely out of character..."

Nope, not out of character...he saved Lotso because he was going to die. It would have been out of Woody's character to watch a helpless toy die. (LEM, response to post)

It was meant to play out as Woody being (apparently) doomed for being in the moment immediately receptive and trusting (and therefore the considered play of the bear being wide-eyed frightened, pinned, weak, and vulnerable). He wasn't principled though begrudging, but naive and trusting: simple. From my remembered sense of him, this isn't the Woody from the first two films, who could get wickedly upset when his friends fall for simple charms. Not meant for the real world is this Woody, whose innocent gallantry could make him fall for the first deception a slickster puts in his way.

Relevant, recalled Lloyd DeMause quote: "Of course, in true borderline style, the price of some closeness with God is total devotion, the medieval Christian saying: 'To my beloved, I will forever be His servant, His slave, All for God, and nothing for me.' As contemporary borderlines say: 'I know you will love and take care of me if I don’t self-activate. I’ll please you by clinging and complying with your wishes, so you will take care of me, and these bad (abandonment) feelings will go away.' (Evolution of Psyche and Society)

Link: Toy Story 3 brings series to brilliant, bittersweet close (Movieline)

Link: You got a friend in me: 5 tear-jerking moments from Toy Story 3

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