Friday, July 2, 2010

why it's a good idea to see Toy Story 3 at the drive-in

As usual, Team Testosterone had a blast at the Field of Scenes. Popcorn! Playground! Mini golf in pajamas! (Mr. D's a huge fan of admission: $18 for all five of us to watch a double feature.) The drive-in has a tradition of playing the national anthem before starting the previews, and Mr. T really loves the anthem. It kind of wells a gal up with patriotism to see families, teenagers, old people and little kids standing in front of their minivans, monster trucks and Impalas while the anthem plays on The Big Screen. I resisted the urge to yell, "Play ball!" after it ended.


Lots of previews--everything is in 3D. I remember when 3D was all the rage the first time around. Now anything else is the exception if it's a kids' movie.

By the time our old pals Woody and Buzz showed up on the screen, Team Testosterone were lying in the back of the Momvan chewing popcorn and sipping slushies. They had blankets and pillows to keep warm and OFF to keep the mosquitoes from sucking them dry. Mr. D and I kicked back in our lawn chairs on the grassy knoll in front of them. Andy's growing up, the toys miss him, the first scene involves a clever ploy to get Andy's attention. A later scene was equally witty with a group of toys explaining their owner's temperament--"We do a lot of improv here." Were you that imaginative kid? One minute in a space ship blasting towards galaxies unknown, the next fending off witches in a haunted house?


Midway through Toy Story 3 we hear a long, loud wail from the bowels of the Momvan. What the what? Mr. G is bawling. I'm ready to yell at his brothers--who hit him? But no--he was scared. Mr. G who has seen a fair share of PG-13 movies about super hereos was freaked out by a PG-rated Pixar flick about a toy cowboy and space ranger. I crawled up in the back of the Momvan to ascertain why.

"Monkey."

Aha. Toy Story 3 is a little dark, a nod towards film noir, some sinister characters ruling the underworld at the day care. I held Mr. G in my lap and talked him down while we watched the rest of the movie. (I laughed so hard at the exchanges between Barbie and Ken--when he's showing her his closet--what a hoot!)

And then the ending. Sheesh. My fleece is still damp from tears. Honest to Pete, Pixar, cut a girl a break. Did you have to drag out the emotional ending for a full 10 minutes? While I sniffled and wept and soaked the edge of my sleeve, I felt grateful that I wouldn't have to exit through a brightly lit lobby. When you watch Toy Story 3 at the drive-in, you can leave in the dark privacy of your Momvan and no one can see your blooming red nose or the mascara streaked beneath your eyes.

Naturally I got all sentimenal and began thinking of my childhood toys. The most beloved are still with me, believe it or not. The dolls are in a box, despite my best efforts at gender neutrality, Team Testosterone didn't want My Friend Mandy, Baby Beth or Strawberry Shortcake. But the stuffed animals--a kangaroo, a snake, several dogs and a giraffe--are beloved by my sons and get slept with and hugged--even played with occasionally. I donated my Cabbage Patch doll to the neighbor girl who plays with her, dresses her in outfits and takes her on adventures. That neighbor girl just got a baby sister, so I see a bright future for that doll.

As I've come to expect, Pixar nailed it with Toy Story 3. But if you can't see it at a drive-in, make sure you have a handkerchief. Spill it, reader. Where are your old toys? Are they played with by your kids or did they get donated to parts unknown?

24 comments:

  1. Ok, we definitely have to see it at the Sky-Vu then! There's something wholesome about it all---norman rockwell-ish (just as long as I don't think about the scene from Twister all night ;))

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  2. We saw it with Precious Youngest last Sunday - loved it! But I did remark to the Saint on the way home that it had a lot of dark moments and I wondered how small children would react. The monkey was seriously creepy!

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  3. My girls want to see "Shrek Forever After" and "Toy Story 3" at the theater, but I can't get excited about either.

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  4. I have my lovey in a box somewhere, but the kids did have their dads buzy bee pull toy to play with when they were little. It is fun to see the toys handed down.

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  5. My Barbie is in a box in my Mom's garage. Other than that, I pretty much grew up without toys. We had books and art supplies.

    That is why I spoiled my daughter. I have a box full of Beanies, American Girl, Barbies, Polly Pockets. The label on the box says "FFG-Jeanne knows what's in this box"

    FFG=For Future Granddaughter

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  6. Good one, Chica Verde!
    Francis is a hand-puppet that one of my mom's friends made for me, and still in great condition at 40+ years old...he's some kind of nondescript animal, made of teal corduroy with festive hawaiian floral applique details, sort of giraffe-like ears,bright red mouth, and happy eyes. I named my bird partially after this toy and partually after Saint Francis, who I also like a lot. I can't believe I still have this toy after an ocean of time has passed, but there he is! *haha!* And he still makes me happy and gives me comfort just existing.

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  7. I carried Tortilla (um... that's purposely mispronounced, "Tor-Till-Uh") the Bear into adulthood. Tortilla had no name from the day he was discovered under the Christmas Tree in 4th grade until he went to college with me. My room mate named him. Tortilla eventually belonged to the daughters in turn, and was only passed on to charity after Little Bit opted out on him when she started first grade.

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  8. I passed on Barbie, Ken, and Skipper to Lola last year (for that reason only I NEED to see Toy Story 3!). And then there is an old, stuffed doll that has been with me since the day I was born. It now sleeps with Lola too, in the company of about 30,000 other stuffed animals. I don't remember passing that one on, but I love seeing it in her bed anyway.

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  9. Awww--that sounds like an awesome night! I wish, wish, wish we had a drive-in theater!

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  10. I thought you'd get weepy, what with the combination of having Andy-like boys (big imaginations) and just your ability to see the life in a bunch of old toys.

    We haven't seen it yet, but I've read alot about it. I hope to see it soon.

    My toys are currently being played with by Kitty at Meme's house, except for my Raggedy Ann doll. That's currently safely tucked away in my closet until she's old enough to respect her. She's been through too much to be manhandled. She went to college with me and at night when firedrills occured, she came with me outside.

    Somedays I think I like that doll more than farmer. :)

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  11. I thought for a moment that Mr. G was your husband. What the monkeys? A grown man bawling at Toy Story? Alas, he's your boy. Got it.

    I loved Barbie. My daughter? Hates her. She thinks she's dumb.

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  12. I wish I had my old toys!

    I loved my Merlin handheld computer game from 1982 and dimly remember seeing it in a box recently...but that's it.

    Also, I loved my Lemon Twist and books, books, books. Do those count?

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  13. I am so glad I am not the only one. I bawled too. My favorite toy was my Chrissy doll head with the pull out that you could style. That and my Puff the Magic Dragon record player.

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  14. Okay that would be pull out hair, you could style. Oops.

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  15. Love the drive in! My son has seen it twice
    xoxo
    SC

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  16. I remember the drive in. Loved it as a kid. I wonder if there is one in Cincinnati?

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  17. You are just the best darn writer! You create wonderful mental images in my head, and I feel like I was a little mouse in the Momvan. Your kids are so lucky to have you!!

    Happy 4th!
    Joni

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  18. I am going to have to check out our drive-in listings now - Toy Story 3 sounds like a good one to see. We only make it to the drive-in about once a summer; it's the only type of movie where Little Brother's hyperactive-ness is a non-issue. He never makes it to the double feature, though, so the cost savings isn't there for us. Fun anyway - and I get to bring fun snacks! Hello, grocery sack full of popcorn!

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  19. Well, I'm glad you survived the thunder storm in order to be derailed by the movie : -). My brother saw this and said it was one of the best movies he's ever seen, hands down! That's quite a testimony. Since there's no convenient drive-in movie set up, we may be watching this in the dark home theater where the mom can run into the bathroom and weep?

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  20. Ooooh, how I miss the drive-in! It brings back sooo many fun childhood memories. When we were kids we'd barely made it through the first movie let alone the second feature without falling asleep.
    I'll be taking hubs to see Toy Story, looks like it'll make me misty, so thanks for the heads up.

    Sweet wishes,
    Sara

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  21. I have a tote full of my Cabbage Patch Kids. My mom gave them to me several years ago. For some reason that is all she kept of my toys so that's all I have. I think maybe they were her favorite toy of mine. She used to sew for them and help me make cakes on their birthdays.

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  22. Since there are no drive-ins in my neck of the woods, I had to do the long walk of shame across the brightly lit lobby. Red nose. Mascara streaks. And totally worth it! Great, great movie. My 21 year old daughter turned to me at the end of the movie to grill me on the location of her toys. :)

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  23. Just got back from visiting my family but I had to weigh in on this one - especially since my niece and nephew were playing with my youngest sister's My Friend Mandy just yesterday!

    I still have my most special dolls - Raggedy Ann and Andy, Bimbo the blue bear (I have no idea where his name came from but there is a song to go along with him), Albert (Frahnch pronunciation, s'il-vous plait) the teddy bear, and the queen of all: Living Baby Tender Love.

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Spill it, reader.