Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jumpcut Junkies Ep. 16: Toy Story 3

Jumpcut Junkies Ep. 16 from Nick Rumaczyk on Vimeo.

Enjoy, folks.


  1. So TS3 takes a previous, saccharine socialist allegory, and turns it into a homophobic prison film? It must be a trilogy straight from Reagan's childhood dreams.

  2. yes, i hear Reagan had many prison fantasies involving toys...

  3. Considering that Pixar is situated within the Bay Area, the gender policing of Ken (I'm not sure if it is homophobia, as he seems to have hetero-erotic love for Barbie) bothered me, especially in that it came up more than just the initial time. I am glad that Andy decided that a little girl was a suitable heir, though. Also, "Night and Day" rubbed me the wrong way, since these metaphorical characters are given male personhood and male gaze towards the daytime women.

    I had not considered Gabe's point about what the toys deserve, but I think I'd have to watch it again with that lens to be able to weigh in. There may also be a bias against the middle and lower classes as it is surely their toddlers who are mishandling the non-age-appropriate toys, since they cannot afford to have one stay-at-home parent or a personal nanny.

    It is good as a trilogy in that it explores the many lives of a toy, that is, the child environment in 1, the collector environment in 2, and the death/rebirth of a toy in 3, but all things considered I think it is the weakest since it had to resort to petty jokes at its characters' expenses and does not fully explain how Buzz and Woody deserve better than others.

    Also, dislike for crying is more related to machismo, not homophobia, though they are related.

  4. i really liked day and night. those weird, temporally translucent blob things seemed obviously male and the gazing at females fits in comfortably with that. hey, that's what we do and that's part of the joy in daytime beachgoing. i'm guessing they were both male because that's what the director, teddy newton, is and making one male and one female would have added the element of romance, which was not the subject of the piece.
    as far as the implied class distinctions, i'm surprised at your reading, as i automatically assumed all of the kids at the daycare were middle to upper class. from what i see, it's mostly the white-collar 9-5 parents that drop their kids off at daycare, although i guess a little higher than that you get into nanny territory. also, if you look at Bonnie's house as an indicator, it looks like her folks are pretty well-off, but where the other children are poorly behaved, she is mild-mannered and proper, by comparison, a possible reason for which being the time she spends with her parents (they are all outside on the lawn together at the film's close when Andy stops by), saving her from the fate of drop-n-go absentee parents who let daycare and nannies raise their kids.
    based on the other children's behavior, they seem like the aristocrats in Salo: the silver spoon in these kids' mouths gives them a sense of entitlement and the right to act out and indulge in wanton bacchanalian impulses, at the plight of those in a perceived lower position than themselves, in this case, toys.

    or maybe it's just because they're toddlers.

  5. 1) Day and Night -- read more about the male gaze then come back and talk about it. Too bad you took film noir instead of real feminist theory. In a nutshell, at best it excludes female viewers, and at worst it objectifies them too, or causes them to objectify other women. A "boys will be boys" attitude is a bad excuse that hurts everyone.

    I think the blobs should not be obviously male, that is the problem! It is good that they didn't subscribe to male-female binary othering in addition to everything else but still not very good (the fact that you think a male and female character always leads to romance shows you how crazy the movie tropes are). I felt very excluded from what could have been a creative experience.

    2) Alright, if Bonnie's house is the only class indicator: they seemed to be a family of color in a modest house, and she obviously has to find toys to play with and does not get new toys. She frequents the daycare so I think she is lower-middle class at best. Since we don't know what state this is in it is hard to tell.

    The daycare depends on donations for new toys. If the daycare was for higher-income families, they would not be in this position.

    3) The lack of fathers in these movies is crazy.

  6. Agreed on the matter of Day and Night, which was sweet but too borderline solipsistic. Much ado over nothing, as Pixar shorts have usually been sweet, simplistic piffles compared to their feature length. Still, the sexual component was something that should have been excised at an early stage.

    Also, in regards to the class differences, many daycares, even ones in nicer areas of suburbia (as Sunnydale seemed to be (Sunnyside? Don't remember)) do rely on toy donations. If anyone would make the argument that was a daycare for lower income families, I dunno... that was one nice-ass layout.

    I read something about Pixar's aversion to father figures from one of the Pixar guys in particular, but I don't recall what was said other than implying it was an arbitrary choice. I like the movie less now than I did when recording this, and I still don't think Pixar has topped Ratatouille and the first half of Wall-E.

    I don't cry.

  7. The father thing is similar to something a fan once asked Peter Jackson about his films (this was pre-LOTR). He mentioned that PJ's scripts often had a focus on a bizarre mother/son relationship (Dead Alive, Heavenly Creatures, the "born again" gag in Bad Taste, the paternity/maternity case in Meet the Feebles, etc.) and Jackson just said it made for good drama.

    A parental relationship is the first one formed and a lack of one in development can shape a person in profound ways. I don't think it's an accident that many superheroes' backstories include either missing or dead parents: Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Iron Man, etc.; or a strained parental relationship (usually with the father): Hulk, Wolverine, et al.

    Someone should write a book about this.

  8. Yeah, but there's a difference between the drama of Peter Jackson films and the drama of real films. I'm not sure what "good drama" he's referring to in "Bad Taste," and I don't see anything particularly focused on mother-son relationships in Meet the Feebles.

  9. well, in bad taste and meet the feebles these elements are less central, but still there. a little harder to ignore in dead alive and heavenly creatures.
    also, in toy story they never make a big deal that andy's apparently fatherless. it's just a fact of his life.