Before we talk about Toy Story 3, can we talk about the short that played in front of it, Night & Day? Wow! That was great! I haven’t seen something that I enjoyed so much in a very long time. What a whimsical treat. If you haven’t seen it, I will not ruin it, but let’s just say that it is a clever and delightful mix of 2D and 3D animation with gentle humor and a subtle but affecting message about tolerance that is neither overbearing nor condescending, all of it delivered so artfully that if I were in charge of a museum (that’s a job, right, just being in charge of a museum? Museum Boss is the title, probably) I would purchase Night & Day and put it in a golden frame. You can say what you want about the descending path of our collapsing world into a fire-filled ocean of liquid oil, with roving gangs of cheering imbeciles with bits of junk food permanently trapped in the corners of their slack-jawed mouths, but Night & Day was straight up modern ART, shown in thousands of movie theaters across the country to millions of people. NOT BAD. We may be raising an entire generation of UFC enthusiasts with Brawndo running through their veins and Nintendo DS Lites for eyes, but that doesn’t mean that occasional attempts to pull people’s heads out from the rubble won’t be made.

You know what else was great? Toy Story 3!

Now, as a 52-year-old man, I do not care about toys (abandoned or otherwise) and I am definitely not moved by an incoming college freshman’s difficult dorm-decorating choices. You know he’s having sex, right, Woody? You might want to hop in that Attic Box, if you know what I mean. You don’t have the luxury of popping out your Potato Head eyes. My point is that there are so many aspects of Toy Story 3 that should have made it entirely unappealing, and yet it was the exact opposite: it was very very appealing!

I’m not sure if I even saw Toy Story 2, but clearly it doesn’t matter. That movie was pre-9/11 anyway. The world has changed, I can feel it in the water constant inescapable references to 9/11. I do, however, remember seeing Toy Story 1 in the theater. And I remember loving it. And I remember being surprised by it. At the time, for those of you who were not born yet, Toy Story represented the original shift from hand-drawn animation to computer animation, and as such it made people very nervous. It suggested the disappearance of our own humanity as it would be slowly erased (the argument went) by the age of the machines. In retrospect, this is silly, not only because computer animation still requires the creative input of human illustrators, and not only because filmmakers like Hayao Miyazaki and Sylvain Chomet have proven that there is room for both, but because that transition was already over, and we had already lost. At the very least, we might as well have some fun before they rise up and shoot us all in the face from their self-aware lazer-satellites. But most importantly, Toy Story 1 was really well written. It was literally a movie for people of all ages, unlike most children’s movies, which are movies for people of children’s ages with the occasional joke about taxes thrown in to alleviate the parents’ sour mood.

Since then, Pixar has continued to churn out incredibly sophisticated, ageless entertainments. And while Toy Story 3 is not as good as The Incredibles or Wall-E, it is still really fucking good (EARMUFFS!).

So, all the toys are getting put in the attic because Andy is going to college. Except Woody, who is going to college with him? Sure. Good luck carrying that thing around at the kegger, Andy. “Hey, want to come back to my room and listen to the new Jack Johnson album? I can show you my DOLLS!” But whatever. That’s not important. The important thing is that toys have to deal with the pains of old age just like the rest of us. They are callously discarded and eventually end up in prison after getting thrown against a wall, like, a thousand times by forces much larger than themselves. Ultimately, Toy Story 3 is a movie FOR adults. If a normal kids’ movie is 90-percent for kids, with 10 percent of the dialog being aimed directly over their heads as a nod to the parents, the ratio here is inverted. The characters don’t casually make references to Oliver North in order to keep adults’ attention, they have chase scenes in order to keep THE KIDS’ attention. How many six-year-olds in your theater understood that when Lotsa abandoned the toys to the inescapable fire of the junkyard furnace with a venemous “Where is your kid now?” he was actually making a not-even-veiled-at-all (cynically) atheist remark?

And how many of them understood the quiet desperation in the film’s implied answer to Lotsa’s loaded question?

So it makes sense that Toy Story 3 is getting such great reviews, because for the most part, adults are the ones who write them. Not actually sure what kids thought. They probably liked it, too, though. What’s not to like? This movie was rollicking and charming and visually stunning. Also kids are stupid. They don’t know anything. Let me put it this way: I have never met a kid who was smarter than me. Ever.

I am glad that the Toy Story saga is over. (It is over, right?) The very idea of “a Pixar franchise” seems to go against what Pixar does best, which is create compelling and unique and inventive worlds. Going back to the trough for more is for assholes like Shrek. But if you do have to go out, this is the way to do it. With a thoughtful, subtle, funny, mournful, hopeful KABLANG.

Comments (122)
  1. This isn’t out in the UK until July 23rd. Feel free to use spoilers because I will probably forget them in A WHOLE BLEEDING MONTHS TIME.

    • Those lorry taxes sure cause quite a delay in getting our yank films across the pond.

      • Duncan was British the whole time? OMG, this is just like The Wire.

        Also, I am a 30 year old man, and I cried when the gang realized the answer to Lotsa’s question. That scene belonged in Band of Brothers, if Band of Brothers hadn’t been trying to be all macho and douchey.

    • I am on my way to holiday in New York City this weekend and am definitely TEMPTED to go see it so I can gloat on my return to the British shores to all my lorry friends.

      And mainly to my young, innocent nephews who I promised I would take come the UK release.

  2. It was a good thing this movie was in 3D because I had those glasses to hide behind as I sobbed during the last 10 minutes. Holy crap.

    • I don’t really like 3D, but those glasses were clutch for the end of the movie. *spoiler* When the toys all accepted their fiery fate I turned to my sister & whispered “What kind of children’s movie is this?” Such a good movie.

      • Man, that was such a dark moment. It felt like it lasted forever, too, like when the shot lingered on Jessie’s face.

        • I liked -well not liked, but appreciated- how they made Jessie flip out a bit because she had already gone through the abandonment with Emily.

      • I was so completely convinced that they were going to melt to toy death. So, I’m the target audience?

        • Forgive me for repeating myself: I was also convinced. BUT they set you up for it. When the Aliens are bulldozed to who knows where you are thinking, holy crap! are they all expendable now? I mean, the ones they were talking about having left in the beginning was bad enough! (What’s the matter, Pixar? Annie Potts’ Bo Peep didn’t fit into this story? (…no, no she didn’t)) but also, The Claw is God? The little green squeakers had it right all along.

          • It was a well made harmless manipulation machine! And it felt so good!

            Also, I thought the claw thing was irony, because before everyone is so annoyed with those little aliens. Like, please shut up forefathers of Jarjar Binks. But then the claw is what saves them.

      • Not gonna lie, I was kinda hoping they were all going to burn, just to have a different ending for a kid’s movie. That’s real life, kids! But it didn’t stop me from squealing with joy when the aliens came to the rescue.

      • Seriously, I never comment on here but I have to totally agree Gangy, I turned to my friend and not so much whispered, I kind of yelped through tears, “This is the worst movie ending ever!” Because I too thought it was over and had not accepted the toys fate as calmly and rationally as the 3 yr old sitting next to me had.

    • I was also kind of sad that Jim Varney- aka Ernest P. Worrell died between TS2 & TS3. They replaced him with Shaun Hunter’s dad

  3. “I have never met a kid who was smarter than me. Ever.”

    YET!

    • i was going to say, was that a direct jab at you, notsewfast? because i am willing to admit when a baby is wittier than i, and this is one of those (unnervingly frequent) times.

  4. “I should go to the doctor.”
    -Gabe, on realizing he liked something.

  5. I LITERALLY just saw it! Very good! Very Toys!

  6. Whatever, Gabe. This is on my desk right now:


    #College #Dolls

    Also, this movie was great. I was still crying half an hour after the movie was over. What was NOT so great was accidentally throwing my Ray-Bans into the 3D glasses return box, then running back ten minutes later and having to dig through hundreds of 3D glasses before finally rescuing them from the junkyard furnace that was sure to come.

  7. I thought the movie was awesome. I cried twice, once during the inferno “let’s-hold-hands” scene, and once during the ending.

    It was so bittersweet because I grew up along with Andy. I was a little older than he when the series started and a bit older than Andy when it ended. It was hard on me because I remember those emotions of parting with toys and parting with loved ones when I left for grad school, weep, wail, and sorrow, etc. etc.

    LOVED the Ken Doll.

  8. So this was pretty much me for the last 10 minutes of this movie…

    • i love pixar, but i think the success is starting to make them super depressed. it is saying a lot that the happiest movie they put out recently was wall-e, a movie about a robot who *spoilers time* nearly sacrifices his robo life to save the now terrifyingly obese humans that completely wrecked the earth that he is now the sole cleaner of as all of his wall-e brothers have died.

      on the other hands, if making movies sad enough to make a fully grown tattoo artist (with a big manly beard) cry like a tiny, unhappy baby (no offense, notsewfast) is what it takes to make actual quality movies, then i guess shrek 9: tokyo drift can keep its fart jokes, and i will just have to fake some allergies or something.

      • Dude, Pixar has always made semi-sad films. WALL•E was also sad. Incredibles, Up, the first two Toy Story films- all had sad elements.

        • Monster’s INC! ugh. So sad…but then less so, but still sad (Kitty!).

          Finding Nemo was oceans of sad what with momma dead and things just keep getting harder.

          Ratatouille’s sad moment was beautiful (the flashback)

          In Toy Story 2 there was that scene that had Sarah McCrysong singing as Jesse was slowly being abandoned that STILL makes my allergies act up.

          What was sad in a Bug’s Life? anything?

          • Bug’s Life: least sad of them all, just because Dave Foley voicing rejection is infinitely far away from Tom Hanks voicing loss.

            Pixar has a big ol’ appreciation for Walt’s original desire for animation to imitate life very closely. They explore the theme of loss as far as they can (without medically breaking all of our hearts), because that’s the ultimate expression of a person’s fortitude (I think). What’s the saddest non-Pixar, non-Holocaust movie you can think of? Duh. Bambi. Second? Duh, duh. The Lion King.

            I thought The Incredibles was crazy sad because it ended. Seriously, I could watch that movie, like, for a long time.

          • bug’s life wasn’t sad per se, but man that was a pretty heavy situation. being forced to eek out an existence as best you can while a marauding army forces you to pay tribute is pretty grim.

            monster’s inc and finding nemo (and pretty much every other pixar movie) were really sad too, but i felt like the tone was more upbeat? it’s a really hard thing to quantify, but i guess with most of the other ones i felt like yes these are super sad slash beautiful, but no i don’t need to rush the er afterwards to make sure my heart hasn’t literally (not really literally) broken.

  9. “Night and Day” was like, the best thing I’ve ever seen? Followed shortly by “Toy Story 3″ which was like, the second best thing I’ve ever seen? My only problem with “Night and Day” was all the Vegas attention. Sure, I guess Vegas is probably fun? But it’s nothing compared to BEACH BABES!

  10. Me watching this movie:

    Yay, I love you again, movies!

    What comes out this weekend?

    *sees that THE GROWN UPS opens this Friday*

    Son of a bitch :(

  11. I had like, 40 Barbie dolls when I was 9? Slowly sold them via garage sale over a couple years.

    Toy Story 1 made me feel bad about replacing them with newer versions of themselves. Toy Story 2 made me feel bad about getting rid of them. And now? I had now idea my Barbie’s were BFFs! I separated them!
    OH GOD THE HUMANITY I SEPARATED THEM FROM EACH OTHER

  12. I hope it’s not too weird that during the whole time of watching this I was supremely jealous that I wasn’t a plastic toy. They have so many adventures! Another point against humans.

  13. This movie made me cry SO MUCH! And made me really nostalgic. I tried to find that picture of me hugging my Kermit and Miss Piggy dolls (from like 85? 86?) and contrast that with how they are still sitting on my bookshelf RIGHT NOW looking “well loved”…watching me…judging me.…gross, BUT I couldn’t find that picture (poop).

    SO here’s me from when I met Al Roker:

  14. I dunno guys, I thought it was kinda bad. It seemed even more childish than just about any Pixar movie with the exceptions of Cars and Up!

    There was not one child in the theater when I saw it and I would put money down that no one was under 20 or over 35. Yet, people were howling with laughter all the way through. Like even at all the slapstick physical stuff that is specifically for the kids; probably the furthest from tax jokes you can get. That being said, the end completely melted my soul. I mean, that was absolutely perfect and redeemed the whole evening.

    • Really, an on-the-nose prison rape reference and it’s “too childish” for you?

    • You know what, I’m usually not down with the slapstick humor. But for some reason, it really worked for me in this film. There were so many visual gags that just killed me – like when Woody is trying to escape from the bathroom. I don’t know why but it just cracked me up.

  15. You could pretty much find a pile just like this on my dorm room bed at any given time.

    So, yeah, I liked the movie.

  16. This movie was grade A movie. I cried a bit near the end. Which was weird, because I yelled “What the fuck is this shit, are my eyes bleeding water?” Being a manly man of my capacity, I’ve never had such a problem.

    Also, you guys are going to be all “You crazy, Lemon” for this, but the ending reminded me of LOST. In a really good way. All the toys, together in one place again, Andy not wanting to let go, the music swelling up to drown out all other sound. The only thing that would’ve made it more like Lost is Lotso having a wheelchair and Jessie being the absolute worst.

    • I had a Lost Moment too….(because DAMN THAT DUMB SHOW!):

      When Andy picked WOODY over BUZZ to go with him to college I was like, Kate picked Jack? (no, you are saying dumb things.)

      But also when the Alien’s were bulldozed I was like, ARE THEY TELLING ME THE TOYS ARE JUST GOING TO DIE FOR NO REASON? BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE THAT. …but it really had me fooled into thinking though the gang WON’T DIE (it’s a fricken Kid’s Movie for crying out loud!) there was the possibility that the last thing we’d see is Jesse Kissing Buzz as their hands melt apart and Woody closing his eyes before it all fades to white.

      *Lost*

  17. I ended up seeing a late screening with all adults and one tiny kid on Saturday night and I felt a bit relieved when I left the theater and realized that I wasn’t the only one who spent the last 20 minutes balling my eyes out.

    It was a 11:30 childhood-nostalgia-cry-party up in that theater and I loved it so much.

    Also grown-up Sid being the garbage man? Brilliant.

  18. Movie needed more Kristen Schaal since she’s the best, in fact I wrote a spec script for my new movie Kristen Schaal Story
    Jermaine Clement befriends a new adorable comedienne, Maria Bramford, and Kristen Schaal gets jealous and asserts her dominance as the only one Jermaine reports to

  19. Moments I cried and/or teared up a bit:

    - Andy putting Buzz in the attic bag unexpectedly (so shocking)

    - Lotso’s back story (so sad)

    - The furnace at the garbage dump (so powerful)

    - The final play date and Woody “wave” (so personal)

    I was a blubbering mess throughout the proceedings. I, too, gave away my beloved toys in a similar fashion to younger kids I barely knew and they asked if I wanted to play and OF COURSE I did.

    • Lotso’s backstory was heart-breaking. Even though he was obviously a sociopathic stuffed bear, I still felt so bad for him! Oh Lotso! I’m sorry your life was so awful!

      #Adulthood

    • What about when the MOM was crying? That made me tear up. ugh. this movie emotionally wore me out: all the laughing and the crying and the happy and the awful scary monkey who was so damn scary. ugh again! i need a nap.

  20. I thought I lost touch with my humanity until my eye allergies started flaring up at the end of that movie.

  21. Just superb all around. Not many cartoons can work in discussions of free-will, religion, aging, love, and purpose in one package and still come out enjoyable. What was the best was how the movie’s undertone was how we need others to give our lives meaning, and the perils of those who pervert or reject that… so when I saw the daycare and how toys there at the end, I realized they had a purpose too, and they weren’t sadly “owner-less” toys but rather without Lotsa-as-dictator, they were able to care for each other and the children too. The same thing with the toys as they headed for the incinerator… they thought Andy gave them meaning, but they really gave each other meaning as well. Lotsa never got that when he was lost, his child wanted him again so much she bought a carbon-copy of him. Bravo, Toy Story 3.

    • Nice thoughts Bubbles. It really is amazing how much they comment on love (attachments, letting go, love gone bad) in this really complex way in such simple stories. I love THEM.

      Lotso’s story was particularly heartbreaking, because of course a parent’s instinct when a child loses a favourite toy is to replace it as quickly as they can. If only they knew that the bear would turn into a psycho and terrorise loads of other toys…Pixar really are geniuses at making you feel guilty about everything you’ve done with your toys.

  22. Those lucky enough to have a job as a boss at a museum actually prefer the term “museum stylist.”

    • Also, I saw this in Provo, Utah. It turns out Provo’s only redeeming quality is that it’s the perfect place to see Toy Story 3. It was just a theater full of grown ups (starring Adam Sandler) howling at the jokes and openly crying at the end. I thought the over-emotional audience would start to get to me, but it was strangely life affirming. Everything is not terrible.

  23. Do you know what really stunk about this Toy Story 3 & Night and Day (both of which were awesome, with a capital AWE)…the trailers before them. All were middle of the road, family friendly animated films that only the dullest of families could enjoy. It made you aware of how bereft Hollywood is for ideas and how important Pixar actually is.

  24. hey were there any pixar easter-eggs?? i forgot to start looking till about halfway through and didn’t find any. like a wall-e toy, or nemo in a fishbowl, or whatever? anyone?

  25. 1. Night and Day was a better invention than when [insert deity of your choice here] invented real night and day.

    2. I was kind of let down by the middle plot points around Sunny Side… I expected more blunders or intrigue than “the gang goes to daycare, they find out it sucks, they escape.” I guess I just felt Woody worked out his plan too quickly and everybody executed it too smoothly. (don’t pay much attention to this item, I just read too much about the movie before I saw it – my fault)

    2b. (legitimate gripe) I felt that they tried to cram too many new voices into the cast. It gave the credits a “Dreamworks” feel to me. Maybe Whoopi Goldberg was just like “I’m working on my EGOTP.” That’s nit-picky, but it is what it is. Michael Keaton crushed it, though.

    3. I completely lost it when Mr. Tortilla Head was doing his business. A+ physical comedy animation.

    4. I really loved the story and the way the beginning and end made me remember (like you could forget) why this studio fucking rules everybody.

    I had the immense pleasure of meeting a Pixar employee this past New Year’s. Did you guys know that they are real people? I couldn’t believe it!

  26. “[Night & Day] is a clever and delightful mix of 2D and 3D animation with gentle humor and a subtle but affecting message about tolerance”

    Wasn’t it really about open-minedness though? The way “tolerance” gets thrown around nowdays really bothers me because tolerating something means putting up with it even though you can’t stand it. I’m not trying to be the phrase police over here, I just think there’s an important difference. Also, I really liked Night & Day too!

  27. Oh, and was anyone else super happy that the love-fest the Toy Story series has for The Brave Little Toaster ended with a blatant climax homage to it? God, I love cartoons a lot. Almost as much as I love cures for incurable diseases.

  28. Okay, can we all agree that BONNIE IS THE MOST ADORABLE FUCKING PIXAR KID.

    She beats out Boo from Monster’s, Inc. AND SHE WAS PRETTY FUCKING ADORABLE.

  29. Night and Day was lovely.

    Also I cried like a bitch when Andy started to describe how important Woody was to him.

  30. Gabe you have to see Toy Story 2 this instant!

  31. For a second I thought Gabe was talking about Knight and Day starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz because that does not look great.

  32. It’s actually “Day & NIght”, guys.

    #correctionsgum

  33. you guys ever drink Joose?

    anyways, i’m the living bible and i’m happy to be here.

    i like gabe, townes van zandt, and dennis wise.

    still haven’t finished season 3, though.

    sup? sorry i’m late i just came from a water sports tournament.

    what’s toy story? robin williams remake?

    remakes, amirite? (see that? i’m really monster material.)

    how do you make GIFs?

    head.

    tilt.

    on facebook i sometimes make jokes to friends on their birthday.

    IT TIME FOR TEXAS to BE TEXAS

    ^^^
    What kind of joke was I making?
    (right up there. with the texas stuff. that’s what the question about jokes was about.)

    to be honest, y’all — i hope this works out okay. i’ve really enjoyed reading videogum lately and joining ‘the fray’ (slate lang) would be so much fun. at least i think so. is this fulfilling for you guys? downstairs is jalapeno pimento cheese and fritos. yum!

    you guys like townes van zandt? you guys like gabe like he’s a radio guy and you think you kinda know him and really like what he has to say and when you read him you think ‘man, this is great that this website exists in the litany of websites i visit because i think thoughts pretty close to this guy but he really get them said out there on the internet the best’.

    that (^^stuff up there) is pretty much how i feel, amirite? no sacro? (basically i mean i’m not being sarcastic.)

    black and white old and young dumb and smart dating service YAY!

  34. i’m really enjoying the universal acclaim for this movie – the feeling of it being so good that it becomes an “event” – it’s been such a long time since i’ve felt so in sync with something that’s just plain GOOD. like, i’m finally part of some dance craze where i can actually do the dance really well?

    not like that electric slide bullshit, there are like 20 steps to that dance and they come at you so fast

  35. I thoroughly enjoyed this film and was of course shocked by how dark it actually got towards the action climax. Everyone’s comments have already said better what I loved about the film.

    But Gabe, I would like to point out that Pixar is making more sequels, for better or for worse.
    Cars 2(June 24, 2011) and Monsters Inc. 2 (Nov 16, 2012)
    I don’t know if they plan on making more Toy Story films, but I certainly hope not. Toy Story 3 was a great way to end Andy’s toys’ story and was a nice way to cap a trilogy (you know, where the third film isn’t THE WORST THING EVER)

  36. I loved the Knight and Day short, there was something soo intriguing about two completely different worlds who didn’t know the other one ever existed ever met.
    I didn’t so much cry at the action climax than start flipping out and pulling my hair (4reelz) and I loved the ending but I didn’t tear up, I think it was because all I could think about was how much I wanted to go to the bathroom (damn large theater drinks!).
    Still great movie!

  37. Also I’ve never seen an American animated film before that relied so heavily on subtitles for comedy (the Spanish Buzz Lightyear parts). Isn’t the core audience supposed to be too young to read? Or are they just pursuing the Dora the Explorer crowd?

  38. Even though this thread is dead I had to delurk to let you all know that even the comments made me cry and I’ve yet to see the movie! I didn’t mind the spoilers, I’m going to see this anyway. My 19 year old just dug out all her old Toy Story toys after seeing this movie. I guess I’m going to have to bring a whole box of Kleenex to the theater and will definitely be using the allergy excuse! Glad to read that I’m not the only “adult” who cry while watching the Toy Story movies. And yeah, you need to see Toy Story 2. Great post.

  39. I’m joining some other monsters and admitting I straight up ugly-cried during this movie.

  40. I barely remember toy story 1. Like gabe, i dont even think i saw toy story 2, but god damn, toy story 3 is so universally, purely enjoyable and GOOD that I completely forgot I generally hate animation films. Plus, Day and Night completely blew my mind. how SMART, how god damn clever it all was. Its nice to see a summer blockbuster film thats not just hollywood cramming whatever it is they think they can get away with. Pixar’s always been so good with not dumbing down its story for the audience, and this is a perfect example of that blend of movie thats for children but also really for adults that use to be children.
    It feels good to laugh, and not in that internet age part scoff, part irony, part default mechanism kind of way but in the way where things are just silly and funny and good.

    wow, i am not great at writing words.

  41. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  42. A question for everyone…. The monkey, what is the meaning of that monkey in real life?? I know the image of the toy didn’t scare me, it was his purpose what scared the crap out of me! I laughed so hard when it was taped by woody and slinky.

    Another thing… The Lion King is the best movie Disney has ever put out for us to watch, ever… Before Toy Story 3.

  43. Daughter (13 years old) and I just came home from seeing Toy Story 3. I made the mistake, as we got into the car, of starting to cry and saying that the landfill/inferno scene reminded me of 9/11. We both started bawling our eyes out in the parking lot. We had to quickly think of the funny bits to take our mind off the horrible image I had alluded to. Damn me for opening my big mouth! Did anyone else think of that, or am I deranged?

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