Ranking on IMDb Top 250: #6
Director: Lee Unkrich
Starring: Tom Hanks and Tim Allen
There's probably no more controversial movie on the Top 250 than Toy Story 3. It's not that the most people would argue with its presence in the Top 250. It's simply that it's so high. I'm sure when I go back and re-read this blog in 10 years, this movie will have dropped to somewhere in the 200s and I'll have a good laugh about where the Internet movie community was during the summer of 2010.
Personally, I saw Toy Story 3 at its midnight premiere on June 18th, and I loved it. Its final twenty minutes or so nearly made me cry multiple times. (Incidentally, the last movie to nearly make me cry was Up, Toy Story 3's predecessor in the Pixar canon.) It very well may be the best Pixar movie, and I think it's certainly the best movie in the Toy Story trilogy. In my opinion – and yes, from here on out, I'm kind of going to be playing Devil's advocate – the concerns that so many have voiced with its high placement on the list have nothing to do with its quality as a film. It's because of reasons that the high-and-mighty bashers would never admit: it's an American animated movie, it's wildly popular, and it's from 2010.
Yes, the movie elite would like to have us believe they're unfailingly open-minded, but seeing a movie that doesn't satisfy certain "classic" criteria in the top ten films of all time makes their skin quiver. Never mind that Pixar has completed its fifteen year quest to fuse the fantastical elements inherent in any animated movie with earnest emotion and a universal but never heavy-handed message. It can't be that a movie that shot to #1 at the box office and appeals primarily to the age 0-110 demographic could also be one of the best ever made. Could it?
I may not be the best or most impartial judge – my life's milestones have more or less lined up with those of Andy, the film's only human protagonist – but I say it could. I'm not a sentimental person. I can probably count one hand the number of items I still own that I owned before my teenage years, if I can be bothered to think of any at all. But that doesn't matter. Andy is a sentimentalist, and that's enough. In the film's final scene (SPOILERS, but seriously, has anyone not seen this movie at this point?), Andy is forced to look Sheriff Woody in the smiling, plastic face and give him to a preschool-aged girl who wants to take care of him. In an extremely genuine moment that never descends into melodrama, Andy slowly passes the toy off and says (pardon the long quote) "Now, Woody, he's been my pal for as long as I can remember. He's brave, like a cowboy should be. And kind, and smart. But the thing that makes Woody special, is he'll never give up on you...ever. He'll be there for you, no matter what."
My eyes started to sting as tears worked their way into them. It's difficult to imagine a more perfect scene. Not in an animated movie or a movie made in 2010 or in a movie that was tops at the box office in its opening weekend, but in a movie. Any movie. Is #6 a little high on the IMDb Top 250 for this film? Perhaps, but it's merely because there's more than five movies better than it, and not at all because it has any shortcomings of its own. Toy Story 3 exists because there are still people out there who want to make movies that are both entertaining and enlightening, that can satisfy the heart and the mind, the young and old, and because there are still people who want to go to movies like that. It's a slap in the face to Hollywood cynicism, and a great equalizer of a film that aligns the world into two camps: people who loved it, and idiots.
I'm rambling, so I'll leave it at this: Toy Story 3 is damn near perfect, and if you somehow haven't seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to do so. That's all.
The Good: The emotion and the message. Ever since Ratatouille, the balance between family fun and heartstring-tugging has been swaying towards the latter, and this may be the fullest embrace of that yet.
The Bad: The "I don't think those were Lincoln Logs" joke got no laughs in my theater. And rightly so. Leave those jokes for Shrek 5.
The Skinny: Fuck the haters, I can get behind Toy Story 3 at #6 just like I could get behind The Shawshank Redemption at #1. No, it isn't my personal sixth favorite movie ever, but it has everything I look for in a movie and more. If the consensus is that this is the sixth best movie of all time, so be it. The general public could do a lot worse.