Friday, April 13, 2012

Don't Shed A Tear For Me (Shed A Tear for "Toy Story 3")

Forgive me if I'm a little emotional right now. I just watched an incredibly heartrending film. It was a story of friendship. It was a story of struggle. It was a story of survival.

It was Toy Story 3.

I cried while watching it. I cried while watching a movie about toys. Animated toys. How embarrassing. And this was the second time I'd seen Toy Story 3.

There's one scene in particular that really touched me. In the film's climax, Woody, Buzz Lightyear and their toy friends are trapped on a conveyor belt leading to an incinerator. Facing certain death, they reach out to one another, hold hands and close their eyes.

(Spoiler alert: They all live. Another spoiler alert: There's a climactic scene in which they are trapped on a conveyor belt leading to an incinerator.)

At that moment, I lost it. Tears were streaming down my face. The mere thought of a beloved movie franchise killing off a fictional wooden cowboy and an electronic space ranger was more than I could bare.

I'm reflecting on this after the fact because I would have never felt this way had I watched Toy Story 3 as a kid. For whatever reason, I have more of an emotional attachment to the toys now than I would have had when I was younger.

I owned a piggy bank. I owned a Mr. Potato Head. I owned a dinosaur toy. And I treated them all terribly. I didn't so much play with them as I tortured them. I threw them down the stairs, kicked them around, called them names.

That wasn't even the worst of it. I popped off He-Man's head. His arms, too. Tried to force them onto Skeletor's body. This is how I treated the most powerful man in the universe.

Who knows what my toys were saying behind my back whenever I left my bedroom. They probably would've jumped into an incinerator had they had the chance. I was like a real-life Lotso.

Not once did I regret the way I treated my toys. And I didn't cry when my parents gave them away. But when I watched Andy in Toy Story 3 say goodbye to his toys and hand them over to a little girl, my eyes welled up and I overreacted more than Taylor Swift whenever she's announced as a winner at an awards show.

As a kid, I rarely cried while watching a movie. To be honest, there were only three pop culture-related moments during the 1980s and 1990s that made me cry: 1) The first time I watched a horror film; 2) The scene in Jerry Maguire in which Tom Cruise tells Renee Zellweger, "You complete me"; and 3) the post-match segment during WrestleMania VII in which the "Macho Man" Randy Savage reunited with Miss Elizabeth after being estranged from one another for two years.

Nowadays, it doesn't take much to get the waterworks flowing. Toy Story 3 is one example. Million Dollar Baby is another. Though it won the best-picture Oscar in 2005, I never got around to watching it until recently. Prior to renting it, I thought I had a firm grasp of what the plot would be. I thought it would be the female version of Rocky; Hilary Swank rising through the boxing ranks to become a beloved boxing champion.

So imagine my surprise when she was sucker punched, fell on a stool and was paralyzed. Didn't see that coming at all. I cried throughout the rest of the movie. That scene scarred me so much that I refuse to watch The Next Karate Kid, the only Karate Kid movie I haven't seen. I don't want to risk the possibility of witnessing Mr. Miyagi pull the plug on Hilary Swank.

I'm proud to say that I did not cry when I watched the animated movie Up. A lot of people told me I would during the film's first 10 minutes, which essentially spoiled the beginning for me. Since I knew beforehand that there would be some sort of emotional element to the initial scenes of the movie, I was unmoved when the old man's wife died. It was a much different sensation than when I watched Toy Story 3.

Perhaps if she'd died after being trapped on a conveyor belt leading to an incinerator, I would've felt differently.