I'm glad that my friends couldn't see through my window shades to see me mimic the victory celebration of Duke Kaboom after he succeeds at jumping his motorcycle across a wide space in one of the last climatic scenes of the movie. Later, during the final scene when Woody is surveying the wide new world before him from high atop a carnival carousel, I was even happier that they couldn't see me cry. I always cry at the end of these damned movies, and I wish whoever is writing them would knock that shit off. Not really. It's their power to move us that makes them what they are.
I love the Toy Story movies. I had just told a friend that I wished that I could go see this one on a big screen. He told me to just go see it. I told him I'd have to borrow his kid because someone my age just can't walk into a animated kid's movie without people pouring on the side eye. We have to treat such things like we used to treat girlie magazines and worn out Playboys, and watch them when nobody's looking.
This is a sad state of affairs because these movies are so we well written and the artistry is such a wondrous thing to behold, but mainly because the message they send is so damned uplifting. And at age sixty-seven, I need the uplifting almost as much as I need my blood pressure medications.
These stories, so different from what passes for adult fare nowadays, tell us how to live life and face the obstacles that it constantly throws at us. They illustrate the need for friendship, love, and respect, and, above all, they show us the importance of acting decisively and doing the right thing for the right reason.
Woody is one of my favorite all time characters; Tom Hanks, who provides his voice, one of my favorite all time actors. They are both modern versions of the Jimmy Stewart/ Abraham Lincoln persona; they come across as being trustworthy and willing to sacrifice their own happiness for the happiness of others.
This story is about aging and losing your purpose in life. I've struggled with both since I retired a year ago. When the girl child starts neglecting Woodie in favor of her other toys, it really hits home. I wasn't happy with the way I was treated at work before I retired, no one, except a few friends, would listen much to anything I had to say despite the fact I just spent forty-five years perfecting what I should say and how to say it.
According to the creators of movies like Joker this should be the time I start turning on society and reeking horrible vengeance on society at large. Woody doesn't do that and neither should I. He is noble, he acts decisively when his friends' well being is being threatened, and he is, above all, selfless. It seems a shame to me that a fictional wooden puppet knows more about how humans should act than most of our so-called real heroes with their constant blathering, virtue signaling, preaching, and willingness to commercialize pretty much every aspect of their message.
There is a subplot going on too. Woody has to make a hard decision regarding his loyalty and love for his friends and doing what is right for himself. The last scene of this movie is my favorite because as always, with the help of a bit of fate engendered in large part by his decisive action, he figures it out. It's kind of like the choices that people my age have to make whether we will continue clinging to the familiar till the bitter end, or finally overcome our fears and doubts and be willing to take on something new.
I know, I know, haters going to tell me the Toy Story brand is a commercial venture too and Woody ain't really real.
But he is, Virginia. He lives inside us all, or, at least, those of us who can still muster up a tear or two.