Dads, bring the tis­sue. New ‘Toy Story’ might make you cry

Austin American-Statesman - - LIFE & ARTS - RAIS­ING AUSTIN | TARA A. TRoWER

Much is be­ing made about the abil­ity of the lat­est in­stall­ment of the “Toy Story” fran­chise to make grown men cry.

Crit­ics, in­clud­ing Owen Gleiber­man at En­ter­tain­ment Weekly, have writ­ten their con­fes­sions of cry­ing in the dark the­aters be­hind their pop­corn boxes. And in do­ing so, they have em­braced “Toy Story 3” as a tear­jerker that even men can love. (Our re­viewer Chris Gar­cia was not brought to tears, but con­cedes that the po­ten­tial for wa­ter­works ex­ists.)

I have not seen the movie (daugh­ter Ayanna is deathly afraid of the dark), so I asked my for­mer col­league Gary Susswein, a fa­ther of two who saw the movie on Fa­ther’s Day week­end, “What’s up with the tears?”

This is what he wrote back (Spoiler alert: There is some de­scrip­tion of the end­ing, so if you are try­ing to avoid spoil­ers stop read­ing here.):

“I thought the movie was fan­tas­tic. And while I didn’t ex­actly get ‘weepy,’ maybe, just maybe, a fleck of pop­corn got in my eye dur­ing the last scene and maybe, just maybe, it caused me to tear up.

Melanie, the kids and I had just re­turned from a Dis­ney cruise a week ago, so I was sort of im­mune to the typ­i­cal Dis­ney schmaltz. Af­ter see­ing Mickey Mouse save our ship and then watch­ing Peter Pan teach a girl to fly with noth­ing more than fairy dust and her dreams, I didn’t get even slightly emo­tional through­out most of ‘Toy Story 3.’ The film was funny and beau­ti­fully done but, over­all, it was just a re­ally well-ex­e­cuted piece of Dis­ney schmaltz. That in­cludes the scene in which the gang holds hands as they slide to­ward the in­cin­er­a­tor. Schmaltz.

“But the fi­nal scene — in which Andy passes his toys onto Bon­nie — was a cut above the usual fare.

It was mov­ing to watch this char­ac­ter we knew as a young boy grow up and sep­a­rate from the toys that had de­fined him for so long. It evoked mem­o­ries of per­sonal ‘mov­ing on’ ex­pe­ri­ences from both child­hood and adult­hood. It was es­pe­cially poignant on Fa­ther’s Day as I sat be­tween my daugh­ter who, amaz­ingly, is pre­par­ing for first grade and my son who’s about to go off to overnight camp for the first time.

“And, frankly, the 3-D an­i­ma­tion made the whole thing — es­pe­cially the moment when Andy pulls Woody back from Bon­nie — seem more re­al­is­tic than a cou­ple of child ac­tors ever could have.

But the most en­dear­ing part of the scene was the sweet­ness that Andy re­tained even as a teenager. There were al­lu­sions through­out the movie to a girl­friend, his long hair, frus­tra­tions with his mother and other typ­i­cal teenage is­sues. But, deep down, he was still a boy who loved his toys and who hadn’t be­come hard or cold. I hope my kids can re­tain that same sweet­ness and will never be afraid to ad­mit they still love their stuffed ‘guys’ or tear up in a movie.

“But, yeah, it was the pop­corn.”

Age of Rea­son: 3

We are two weeks into age 3 with Ayanna and, wow, is it dif­fer­ent from age 2.

About two days be­fore her birth­day, it was like a switch flipped on in her head. The change ap­pears to be per­ma­nent.

We have en­tered the Age of Rea­son.

Ayanna has a lot of rea­sons, in fact, why she will not do the thing we ask. All of them are echoes of rea­sons we have given her.

Mom: “You need to try your veg­eta­bles.”

Ayanna: “No. My hands are full.” (Hold­ing her head in her hands to make the point.) Dad: “Put your toys away.” Ayanna: “No, I’m too short.”

Mom: “Put your clothes back on.” Ayanna: “No, it’s too hot.” Some­times she skips the rea­son and goes di­rectly to “No. Nope. Not.”

We have also en­tered the land of the “why?”

“It’s time to get up to go the air­port.”

“Why?”

Or, “It’s time to go to school.” “Why?” I now get “why” a half dozen times a day. I sup­pose I should be ec­static about her mental devel­op­ment (and I re­ally am amazed and happy), but I swear it’s ex­haust­ing. Be­cause some­times in ex­plain­ing I raise more ques­tions than I an­swered.

Ayanna: “Let’s go for a walk.”

Mom: “Not now. Af­ter your sis­ter eats.” Ayanna: “She’s done.” Mom: “No, she’s not; she’s just tak­ing a break.”

Ayanna: “El­iz­a­beth’s bro­ken?”

You try ex­plain­ing the con­cept of fig­ure of speech to a 3-year-old.

Food as health les­son

No. 1 rule of feed­ing chil­dren? If it’s bad for them, they will eat it.

Maybe not. As the mother of a preschooler, I was not con­vinced that all this talk about teach­ing kids how to eat wasn’t largely bunk. That once they were cut loose from Mom’s kitchen, kids would re­vert to their sweet, carb-seek­ing ways.

We don’t keep juice in our house be­cause our 3-yearold would beg for it ev­ery day at ev­ery meal and never touch an­other drop of wa­ter or milk. Same thing if we bought soda or any­thing with a car­toon char­ac­ter on it. I don’t buy the stuff, be­cause I just don’t want to have that fight. I’m not strong enough to keep say­ing “No.”

The last time I bought ap­ple juice was while my daugh­ter was sick and I needed to push the flu­ids. Once healthy, she saw the juice in the fridge ev­ery time I opened the door. We tried hid­ing it be­hind other food so she’d for­get about it. We tried rea­son­ing with her, telling her she could have it once a day. Fi­nally, my hus­band and I poured half the jug down the drain.

But this week­end I saw the light at the end of the tun­nel while vis­it­ing fam­ily in Hous­ton. My sis­ter-in­law has put an enor­mous amount of en­ergy into teach­ing her school-age kids to read la­bels and to know the dif­fer­ence be­tween car­bo­hy­drates and pro­tein — and what is a fat gram.

At age 11, my niece Berit has the vo­cab­u­lary and abil­ity to rec­og­nize when she is mak­ing good choices.

It’s a good re­minder to me that while I still have to en­gage in the game of keep-away for now, I need to ex­plain why I’m do­ing it.

DIS­NEy/PIxAR

Andy (voiced by John Mor­ris) is be­ing nagged by his mom (voiced by Lau­rie Met­calf) to pack away or do­nate his old toys be­fore he heads off to col­lege in ‘Toy Story 3.’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.