Sunday, June 30, 2019

Stranger Sightings

Last night I set out from my apartment, on foot, around 5:15 p.m., headed to the Alamo Drafthouse to catch a showing of Toy Story 4. As I walked in the crosswalk taking me from one side of the I-35 service road to the other, I passed a person walking in the opposite direction. The person "stood out" with their dreadlocks, tight green shorts, white shirt, and multiple tattoos. As I often do when passing strangers, I wondered where he was walking to.

I continued on my way down sixth street, saw the movie, then meandered around downtown Austin before finally heading back home around 9 p.m. As I made my way to fourth street to cross under the interstate, I enjoyed the pleasant evening air. I walked in the crosswalk taking me from one side of the I-35 service road to another. And as I walked under the interstate, I passed the same guy I had passed earlier in the evening! I wanted to say hi to him, to some way mark the small connection of our lives, but didn't want to be a creeper under the bridge.

So I let him pass, and thought about what he had done with his night on the east side of I-35 while I was on the west side of I-35. Where was he headed to?

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Toy Story 4

Toy Story 3 came out nine years ago and I was pretty pleased with it. Well, more than a little. It was pretty much perfect, which means I wasn't expecting a fourth outing. And when a fourth outing was announced by Pixar, I certainly didn't expect it to be in any way as good as the third.

Except it was.

Toy Story 4 could be seen as unnecessary, as so many films with the letter or number 4 in their title are. And I guess it is unnecessary, but in the very capable hands of Pixar the story and characters never feel unnecessary. A new adventure is had by Woody, Buzz, Bo, Jessie, newcomer Forky and everyone else and it feels very much necessary.

The animation and cinematography in the film is amazing. The entire film is gorgeous to look at, but pay attention to the scenes where Woody and Bo say goodbye in the rain, Woody and Forky are walking along the highway, Bo is leading her entourage on a daring plan through the antiques store, Woody and Bo catch the late-day sun-through-the-chandelier, and anything during the carnival at night. It is all truly spectacular.

Again, Pixar makes tells a story through animation and toys that is so relevant, beautiful, touching and poignant that I laughed and cried. I was also a little terrified of the dummies! This movie may be animated and rated G, which in our culture means "kid movie" but this most certainly is not; I can't imagine any kid younger than 11 sitting through it and actually enjoying it.

I love that the story gives us a completely bad-ass Bo Peep, a character who didn't have much character in the first two films. Woody is quintessentially Wooody, and Buzz has some great moments as he listens to his "inner voice".  And Rex gets the best line of the movie - Look at how long his arms are!

Definitely see this in the theaters. It'll likely be my favorite film of the summer.

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