43. Toy Story 2

Movie: Toy Story 2

Release Date: November 24, 1999

Director: John Lasseter

Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, Wayne Knight, Laurie Metcalf.

Tag Lines: “The toys are back!”

“The toys are back in town.”

Relevance: ‘Toy Story 2’ was released in late November of 1999 to huge critical acclaim. In fact, it was deemed even better than its predecessor and held the ever so rare 100% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Also rare, audiences definitely agreed with critics. It debuted at number one its opening weekend and enjoyed a very successful holiday run in theaters. Eventually, it became the third highest grossing film of 1999 as well as the third highest grossing animated film of all time far surpassing the original. There was no stopping the power of these toys.

Similar to ‘Toy Story’ (see 186. Toy Story), I did not see ‘Toy Story 2’ during its time at theaters but waited until it was available to purchase on VHS. Unlike ‘Toy Story,’ my son was born and three years old (almost four) when it was released and I bought it more for him. Although I was probably just as excited to watch it with him. I had loved the first film and had already shared that movie with my son. At three, he loved Buzz and Woody and all the toys and it generally made him laugh every time he watched it. I was hoping for the same effect with number two.

‘Toy Story 2,’ for me, was even better than the original. It made me laugh, it made me cry and I thought its story was beautiful, timely, innovative and absolutely hilarious. My son thought the same exact way as I did and the movie became one that we would watch every weekend that I was able to have him. I was already divorced by 2000 and my time with him was reduced to every other weekend and vacations. Those weekends were always jam packed with fun things to do, but it became a ritual to end our Saturday nights watching ‘Toy Story 2.’

My love for ‘Toy Story 2’ has not diminished and it remained my favorite film in the quadrilogy. However, I can’t say the same for my son. As he matured into a more cynical, opinionated person, he now says that it is his least favorite film in the series. When I try to combat him with “But you loved it as a kid,” he would simply respond, “I must have been a stupid kid.” I then retort with, “You are a stupid adult,” and start singing “When She Loved Me” to him, which only irritates him more. (I think that is one of the most beautiful songs from any movie. He vehemently disagrees.) We did both like ‘Toy Story 3’ and ‘Toy Story 4,’ but as great as they were, nothing compares to the second one. I just love it, despite of what stubborn adult males, aged twenty-three might think.

Today’s Thoughts: “I’m packing you an extra pair of shoes, and your angry eyes, just in case.”

Like yesterday (see 44. The Usual Suspects), I watched ‘Toy Story 2’ in my warm bed after my husband left for work. It was the perfect way to start my day as nothing makes me smile more than Woody and the gang. All of the ‘Toy Story’ movies make me feel like a kid again, but this particular one makes me feel all warm and fuzzy from head to toe. It is sheer perfection.

‘Toy Story 2’ is the seventh of nine animated titles on my list of most influential movies of all time and the eighth sequel out of ten. I don’t know what it is about this animated tale, but I never get tired of it. Its so funny and touching and the voice cast is absolutely perfect. I just love these characters and all of the high jinx they get into. It is one of those rare children’s movies that is just as entertaining for adults and parents as it is for their kids.

I would definitely recommend all of the movies in this franchise, but for me ‘Toy Story 2’ is the crème de la crème. It is really a fantastic movie and although it is the only one to not win any Oscar gold, it gets a gold star from me.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song, “When She Loved Me,” Randy Newman (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (winner), Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture, “When She Loved Me,” Randy Newman (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Animated Film (winner), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Animated Film (nomination).

Ways to Watch: Disney +, iTunes, Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability.

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