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Toy Story

Toy Story  

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  1. 1. Does "Toy Story" belong on the AFI list?

    • Yes 🚀
      8
    • No 🧨
      6

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  • Poll closed on 06/28/19 at 07:00 AM

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I don't have the time now, and I don't want to just repeat what everybody has been saying but I have had strong feelings about this being on the list and maybe this is the episode I was looking forward to the most. I will give the TL;DR of it all now, and hopefully tonight bang out a tirade but to me everything that is wrong with the AFI Top 100 is summed up with this movie being on the list. It shows that a) series/trilogies are singularly represented to stand for the franchise, b) first is always best and nothing else is considered unless you are a well known or respected name c) "cultural importance" and actual pop culture impact are often different and d) genre token representation. Should a computer animated movie be on the list? It the grand scheme if it truly is one of the best movies then yes, if it's there to just represent "advancements in CGI" then maybe because it did kill traditional animation in a way. If you have to include one, should it be Toy Story. No. 

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4 hours ago, Cam Bert said:

I don't have the time now, and I don't want to just repeat what everybody has been saying but I have had strong feelings about this being on the list and maybe this is the episode I was looking forward to the most. I will give the TL;DR of it all now, and hopefully tonight bang out a tirade but to me everything that is wrong with the AFI Top 100 is summed up with this movie being on the list. It shows that a) series/trilogies are singularly represented to stand for the franchise, b) first is always best and nothing else is considered unless you are a well known or respected name c) "cultural importance" and actual pop culture impact are often different and d) genre token representation. Should a computer animated movie be on the list? It the grand scheme if it truly is one of the best movies then yes, if it's there to just represent "advancements in CGI" then maybe because it did kill traditional animation in a way. If you have to include one, should it be Toy Story. No. 

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So basically as I said to me if you want to point to the fault of the AFI Top 100 the easiest example of what is wrong with it all is Toy Story. Now I should say, I like Toy Story. I think it's a good, not wholly original, story with some at the time state of the art visuals. However, if I want to watch a Pixar movie, if I want to cry, if I want to entertain a child, etc. Toy Story is not going to be the one I pick. If I wanted to show somebody who's never seen a computer animated film, it's not the one I would show. This doesn't make it bad but it makes it confusing as to why it's on this list, because I bet the majority of people feel similar. The simple answer is if you ask any of the critics or filmmakers who put it on the list the answer will be "When I saw it in 1995 my mind was blown! The use of technology was incredible." These say nothing about the actual movie itself. However, I think there are four main areas in which this film raises questions about the whole list and what gets on it. So I'll break it down bit by bit.

A. ) The first film in the series represents the whole series/movement, regardless if it is truly the best.

So the AFI has a few movie series on its list. You have Indian Jones, Star Wars, Jaws, Lord of the Rings, Psycho, etc. and other films like Snow White that aren't actually part of a literal series but the first in a line of something. While some of the series like Jaws and Psycho are clearly diminishing returns in which the first cannot be topped, others like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings are debatable. We've had the Lord of the Rings discussion and we had some of the Star Wars one in here already, we know there is contention to which one is the best. With Lord of the Rings, Return of the King was the big award winner and Two Towers is the most critically praised. However, the first film in these series set the tone for what the movies were. It established the technology to achieve the visuals. It made the look and tone of what to follow, and therefore the first film in the serues is included regardless if it truly is the best. However, with Toy Story clearly nobody considers the first the best. The 100% Rotten Tomato score was discussed but 2 achieved this feat as well and Armond White was the only thing holding 3 back. If you go to any ranked list of Pixar movies parts 2 and 3 are often higher than 1. They expand on the story and the world and find new stories and often more complex stories to tell. To default to putting Toy Story on the list over 2 or 3  is another example of "Well, this film represent the Toy Story series" but on top of that it is also ticking off my second point.

B. ) The first is always best and nothing else is considered unless you are a well known or respected name

One of the things you'll read about Toy Story is that it is the first fully computer animated feature film. That's impressive. I remember being impressed as a child as well. However, I might have been more impressed if not for a year early I was watching Re:Boot. Re:Boot for those not in the know was the first fully computer animated TV show. Now, the level in quality between the two is different. Then again with one they are working on a 90 minute movie and the other 12 episodes of a weekly series. I only bring this up to point out that Toy Story wasn't miles ahead. Animation was moving in that direction. Pixar themselves had made short films. Tin Toy was talked about and then of course Luxo Jr. People in the animation world had seen these and with the push of computer visual effects in movies the animation world was moving in that way anyway. So yes Toy Story got the be the first feature length film to be entirely computer animated, but that's a historical note, not a stamp of quality on the film. Do you know who the first fully computer generated character in a live action film was? It's Jar Jar Binks. Now, if you are into animation and that you can look at the technical skill that went into making him. However, is he the best computer generated character? No, because people don't care so much about the skill that made him, they care more about his annoying character, accent, stale humor, etc. So if we can look past it there, why not here? As discussed the people in the film are a bit of nightmare fuel. They couldn't do it and it shows. So if humans are so hard, shouldn't we praise the first one with good looking humans more? The fact that it was it's first of it kind kinda of puts the blinders on people. It makes a film important but that doesn't necessarily make it the greatest. Basically, it is easy for us to divorce "first" from "greatest" when the end product is clearly lacking. However, for something like Toy Story and many other films on the list when the end result is actually good but not perfect it gets harder to separate first and greatest. I fully predict Avatar to be on the next AFI list. A lot will be said about it's 3D technology, but that's because it's James Cameron and made money. They're not going to go back through the history of 3D schlock just "this was the first digital 3D film that started a multiyear trend." Again, being first doesn't make something great in and of itself.

C. ) "Cultural importance" and actual pop culture impact are often different

If you think of an animated film these days the first thing that comes to mind for most is a 3D computer animated movie. For the large majority of animated films in America that is the way these days. Now it's easy to say that's because of Toy Story but is it really? This is where things fall into a bit of the "what if" game territory. If Toy Story was a failure would have animation gone back to traditional 2D? Probably not. As I said, the trend wheel was already moving on this. If Toy Story wasn't a success the next or third one would have been. Pixar did start out grossing Disney animated films, but this also coincides with the end of the Disney Renaissance. However, if you want to talk about Box Office gross the real story is with Pixar's 5th film Finding Nemo. Until The Incredibles 2 last year, Finding Nemo (adjusted for inflation) was the highest grossing Pixar movie. It was a true phenomenon. Also between those film there was another very successful computer animated franchise starting movie called Shrek that came out. Now, to we attribute all that success to Toy Story and saying it "kicked off the trend of computer animated movies" is a bit misplaced. Yet, going back to my second point it is easy to point to the first of something and be like "All this because of that" whether the connection is fully there or not. How about pop culture? Yes, the characters are known. Then again, most Disney characters are. If you want to look at merchandising, the Cars movies are king there with Toy Story barely making a blip. Award recognition? Special achievement Oscar, but no best picture. It's sequel Toy Story 3 did get one so again feeding back into point A. I guess what I want to say is if the film is really culturally important we should have had movies trying to ape it and scenes that are parodied. We get beloved characters and a catchphrase but those things are par for the course in most Disney movies. Now take something like Die Hard that inspired so many knock off film, mimicked scenes, etc. and is so well known and accepted in our culture that the phrase "Die Hard on a/in a..." is accepted and understood short hand. Die Hard to this day referenced, Toy Story references not as much. Which of these films had more of an impact? Toy Story to me didn't do anything more so in effect culture than any other animated film. Tying back to point B, it gets a lot of create for paving the way for future computer animated films, yet if it was truly impactful movie it wouldn't just be the technology it would be the film itself. 

D. ) Token genre representation

This is going to be brief because I'm tired and a lot of this I covered in the other points. When thinking of movies for the AFI 100 there is almost a check list of things that need to be covered. Need a silent film, check, need a comedy, check, need a horror, check, okay good let's get back to real movies. The form this takes circles back to point A of just picking one film to represent a larger thing. Film is a wide array of things, and comparing a comedy against a drama can be like apples and oranges. Yet at the end of the day the drama is seen as legit while something a bit more genre is seen as a specialty. To touch upon point C animated films are a huge part of our culture. Many of us grew up in an era of yearly animated Disney films. We watched Saturday morning cartoons. It's part of our culture and the history of film. So what do we get? Snow White and Toy Story, the first 2D and the first 3D. These are huge genres with many films to choose from, but going back to point B, it's the first so it's the best and point A "what we mean by this is, all Disney animated films are great." It is a bit of just short hand ease of recognizing something as important to history of film but still treating it as a side thing and not giving it real though.

 

I'm sure if I tried I could make this points better and there is still a lot rattling around in my head. As I said I see these four point as the major flaws of the whole AFI List and to me Toy Story has so much in it that speaks to these points to me. To see Toy Story on this list just reads as a bit lazy. It feels like you wanted to put a type of film on without having to think about it. Up, first fully computer animated film to be nominated for best picture with a huge cultural impact (how many times has the opening few minutes been referenced) seems like a logical choice but it came out after the list was made. Does that mean it'll replace Toy Story on the next list? I doubt it. As time goes on I hope it will be replaced with another film, but the fact that Snow White is still on the list leaves doubt in my mind.

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7 hours ago, Cam Bert said:

I don't have the time now, and I don't want to just repeat what everybody has been saying but I have had strong feelings about this being on the list and maybe this is the episode I was looking forward to the most. I will give the TL;DR of it all now, and hopefully tonight bang out a tirade but to me everything that is wrong with the AFI Top 100 is summed up with this movie being on the list. It shows that a) series/trilogies are singularly represented to stand for the franchise, b) first is always best and nothing else is considered unless you are a well known or respected name c) "cultural importance" and actual pop culture impact are often different and d) genre token representation. Should a computer animated movie be on the list? It the grand scheme if it truly is one of the best movies then yes, if it's there to just represent "advancements in CGI" then maybe because it did kill traditional animation in a way. If you have to include one, should it be Toy Story. No. 

 

3 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

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There's a lot to unpack in @Cam Bert's post, and I agree with most of what he says (/you say. I used the third person here because the second person felt confrontational, but the third person feels a little condescending?  Suffice it to say that I mean neither of those emotions ), even if I still reach the conclusion that Toy Story should be on the list.  (Maybe I just think it's a better movie than everyone else here?)

I particularly agree with the absurdity of token genre representation, and I'd say further that it goes beyond just genre to include companies or filmmakers as well, like how we have a token Buster Keaton film and a token Fred Astaire film.  One of the worst examples of how stupid the list is with regards to this tokenism is that Birth of a Nation was #44 on the 1998 list and Intolerance wasn't on it at all, and then Intolerance became #49 on the 2007 list and Birth of a Nation got removed completely.  It certainly has the optics that voters felt a D.W. Griffith film was a must, but then realized how racist Birth of a Nation was between 1998 and 2007 and had to sub it out for their next choice.  I absolutely think that this tokenism is wrong for the list, and I would say that it even goes against the criteria that AFI developed for this list (however flawed you think those criteria may be, which I'll get to later).  After all, the AFI criteria all ask you to consider the film, not the filmmaker.  D.W. Griffith's historical significance is not what should be considered at all, nor the significance of Disney as a company, or the significance of CG animation as a subgenre.  What should be considered by the AFI criteria are the merits of Birth of a Nation, Snow White, and Toy Story as individual films.  I didn't think Snow White was a good film (even weighing the historical significance), so I voted no.  I think Toy Story is a good film (even separated from its "historical significance"), so I voted yes.  So to this tokenism point: would people feel better about having Toy Story at #99 on the list if, say, WALL-E and Toy Story 3 were both also on the list?

Next, to point B, which I think relates really well with point D -- should being the first of something important make it a good choice for the list?  Again, even by the AFI criteria, the answer is no, since historical significance is only one of the five things that jurors were instructed to consider.  Unfortunately, I think jurors weighed this criterion too heavily, which is how The Jazz Singer ended up on the 1998 list.  Yeah, it was the first feature with synchronized sound.  But I don't see any merit besides that, and I think the jurors were right to bounce it off the 2007 list.  But I'd also say the same thing about Snow White.  So in that sense, I again agree that being the first CG animated feature is not enough to warrant inclusion, and is at most 1/5 of what is needed.

I want to push back just a bit on pieces of his other two points (respectfully of course, because I do think he laid out a wonderful argument all-around).  In point A, he argues against the idea that the first film in a series/franchise should get preferential treatment.  In my other post, I argued why it should get at least a little preferential treatment.  I won't rehash everything again, but in short, the work done in introducing a new world with 100% new characters is something that a sequel gets to take for granted.  Can you tell Toy Story 3 without Toy Story?  Without changing a millisecond of content, if Toy Story 3 had been released in 2010 as The Toys or Toys Inc. or A Toy's Life and Toy Story and Toy Story 2 never existed, would it still be a great movie?  I don't have a definitive answer, but my instinct is no.  Toy Story created a fantastic universe, and Toy Story 3 told the best story within that universe.  I think the former is the greater achievement.

Next, cultural impact.  I think his argument that the push to CG animated features was more an inevitability than a brilliant insight or gamble is one I hadn't considered, but it's really true.  So I'm willing to set aside the importance of the "first CG feature" tag.  But I just disagree with the statement that Toy Story affected culture no more than any other animated film.  What other animated film franchise spans 25 years like this?  (I'm not counting direct-to-video sequels, sorry Land Before Time.)  I think Woody and Buzz are by far the most recognizable Pixar characters, even with the higher marketing push put into Cars.  They're probably the most recognizable animated film characters of the last 25 years, with only maybe Shrek as competition.  And to compare with Die Hard, in that so many action/terrorism films are thought of using Die Hard as a reference point, I think that's a better comparison than was intended.  Every time someone talks about an inanimate object as having human feelings, you hear "sounds like a Pixar movie."  "I feel like my copy of War and Peace is judging me for not reading it yet."  "That sounds like the next Pixar movie."  But when Pixar gets cited for anthropomorphizing inanimate objects, it might get overlooked that the only Pixar franchises that feature this are Toy Story and Cars.  And the Pixar guys should get credit for basically being the only game in town in anthropomorphized inanimate objects.  No Disney film before had ever done it, and as far as I know, the only animated feature to do it at all before Toy Story was The Brave Little Toaster, which was also made by the original members of Pixar.  (I'm torn on how much mentioning The Brave Little Toaster helps or hurts my argument.  On one hand, it shows that Toy Story was not as groundbreaking in anthropomorphized inanimate objects as I'd like to be able to argue it was, but on the other hand, it reminds people that much of the plot of Toy Story 3 was a clear ripoff of Brave Little Toaster.)  But my point is, just like people make the connection of "Die Hard in a bus", so too do people make the connection "Toy Story but with books" or "Toy Story but with food" even if they often attribute it more to the studio than to the film, which I sort of see as a synecdoche.

I'll end by going back to the AFI criteria, which are critical recognition, major award competition, popularity over time, historical significance, and cultural impact.  AlmostAGhost questioned whether a self-proclaimed list of greatest movies should be using these criteria, as their relevance towards a movie's greatness is perhaps questionable.  But three of the five criteria are about a movie's greatness!  Critical recognition asks, did critics (at the time and over the following years) think the movie is great?  Major award competition asks, did industry professionals (at the time) think the movie is great?  Popularity over time asks, do fans (over the following years) still think the movie is great?  All of this is meant to imbue this inherently subjective process with as much objectivity as possible.  If we just wanted people to vote for the films they liked the best, we'd get a different list.  (We have a list like that; it's the IMDb top 250 and it says that Shawshank Redemption is the greatest film ever made.)  Now, the purpose of this podcast isn't to revote based on all five criteria, but more to update the film in context of the last three criteria, since popularity over time, historical significance, and cultural impact can all change vastly in hindsight.  And in that regard, Toy Story is absolutely one that deserves to be reexamined, since we're as far removed from the 2007 list as the 2007 list was removed from the release of Toy Story.  Only looking back 12 years, it's hard to judge the staying power of something, but I mostly understand why the AFI would put it on the list.  12 years later, I think that its cultural impact has only grown, and that it's still a well-scripted, smart, tight film.  

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42 minutes ago, bleary said:

AlmostAGhost questioned whether a self-proclaimed list of greatest movies should be using these criteria, as their relevance towards a movie's greatness is perhaps questionable.  But three of the five criteria are about a movie's greatness!  Critical recognition asks, did critics (at the time and over the following years) think the movie is great?  Major award competition asks, did industry professionals (at the time) think the movie is great?  Popularity over time asks, do fans (over the following years) still think the movie is great? 

Right, but let's look at the criteria this way.

Out of the 52 films, I've only rated like 10 of these 5 stars. And I feel like a lot of us are doing similar. The criteria of the AFI isn't particularly working. Sure, we're a vastly smaller sample than the AFI voters, but that criteria gives an unnecessary bias to the list. My guess is that the 100 movies on the list, most of them are all really good... but how many truly are truly GREAT? Every week we're seeing that it's not nearly as many as we think. So all that criteria is being rendered silly.

And honestly I'd bet most of the actual voters haven't seen, say, Intolerance anyway, they're just echoing whoever. That's another problem with critics and awards, they create an echo chamber.

The methodology is there for the creation of the AFI list, fine, but I don't see why I or we should follow it or even consider it. When I think about whether a movie is great, I definitely don't go "well how many Oscars did it win?" or "what do critics think of it?" That's a weird way to think about art if you ask me.

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1 hour ago, bleary said:

I want to push back just a bit on pieces of his other two points (respectfully of course, because I do think he laid out a wonderful argument all-around).  In point A, he argues against the idea that the first film in a series/franchise should get preferential treatment.  In my other post, I argued why it should get at least a little preferential treatment.  I won't rehash everything again, but in short, the work done in introducing a new world with 100% new characters is something that a sequel gets to take for granted.  Can you tell Toy Story 3 without Toy Story?  Without changing a millisecond of content, if Toy Story 3 had been released in 2010 as The Toys or Toys Inc. or A Toy's Life and Toy Story and Toy Story 2 never existed, would it still be a great movie?  I don't have a definitive answer, but my instinct is no.  Toy Story created a fantastic universe, and Toy Story 3 told the best story within that universe.  I think the former is the greater achievement.

I think this is a fair point and it is something I often think of. Being a big comic nerd there was a philosophy that Stan Lee use to have and that is every comic book is somebody's first comic book. Meaning that a new reader can pop in at anytime, so an issue (again this is before the Michael Bendis write for the graphic novel era) should be somewhat approachable to them. I feel this way about movie sequels. Naturally you should watch them in order but a part 2 or 3 could be somebody's first. That movie should be able to stand on its own as a movie regardless of knowledge of the other parts. As much as I love the Marvel films I think they don't do this well, but they are a bit of a unique exception with their story telling structure. Anyway, what I wanted to say why I agree with you about Toy Story lying the foundation for the universe, but I come down on the other side of the question. I think if somebody had never seen Toy Story that Toy Story 3 still holds up. Now, maybe the emotional impact of it might not be as great and there are maybe a few things that aren't so obvious (I think people would be wondering why Woody is in charge). Case in point, the ending is still as effective because the movie does re-enforce this idea of Woody being Andy's favourite childhood toy. If we've seen from the start we know this and is maybe that much more tragic, but 3 goes a long way in letting the audience know that Woody and Andy do have this special bond. I do agree that 3 probably wouldn't be as successful if it wasn't a sequel, but I think the quality of the movie would be. I am genuinely curious now to hear from somebody that started with 2 or 3 and their thoughts on the matter.

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13 minutes ago, Cam Bert said:

I think this is a fair point and it is something I often think of. Being a big comic nerd there was a philosophy that Stan Lee use to have and that is every comic book is somebody's first comic book. Meaning that a new reader can pop in at anytime, so an issue (again this is before the Michael Bendis write for the graphic novel era) should be somewhat approachable to them. I feel this way about movie sequels. Naturally you should watch them in order but a part 2 or 3 could be somebody's first. That movie should be able to stand on its own as a movie regardless of knowledge of the other parts. As much as I love the Marvel films I think they don't do this well, but they are a bit of a unique exception with their story telling structure. Anyway, what I wanted to say why I agree with you about Toy Story lying the foundation for the universe, but I come down on the other side of the question. I think if somebody had never seen Toy Story that Toy Story 3 still holds up. Now, maybe the emotional impact of it might not be as great and there are maybe a few things that aren't so obvious (I think people would be wondering why Woody is in charge). Case in point, the ending is still as effective because the movie does re-enforce this idea of Woody being Andy's favourite childhood toy. If we've seen from the start we know this and is maybe that much more tragic, but 3 goes a long way in letting the audience know that Woody and Andy do have this special bond. I do agree that 3 probably wouldn't be as successful if it wasn't a sequel, but I think the quality of the movie would be. I am genuinely curious now to hear from somebody that started with 2 or 3 and their thoughts on the matter.

I started with 2! In fact, I didn’t see the first one until relatively recently. It was right around the time 3 came out and I figured I should actually sit down and watch it. And you’re right. I didn’t watch these in order, and I had no trouble jumping right in. Furthermore, it removed me from having any particular nostalgia for the first one. And I felt then as I do now: I like it fine, but it’s not my favorite (I think 3 is). 

That’s not to diminish its achievements or place in history. And it’s not to say it isn’t effective. It just doesn’t grab me the way the others do or how I feel a “great” movie should. I remember feeling wrecked after seeing the third one, the first just doesn’t stick with me. After watching it, I’m not thinking much of it at all beyond, “That was pretty good.”

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3 hours ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Out of the 52 films, I've only rated like 10 of these 5 stars. And I feel like a lot of us are doing similar. The criteria of the AFI isn't particularly working. Sure, we're a vastly smaller sample than the AFI voters, but that criteria gives an unnecessary bias to the list. My guess is that the 100 movies on the list, most of them are all really good... but how many truly are truly GREAT? Every week we're seeing that it's not nearly as many as we think. So all that criteria is being rendered silly.

I get what you're saying, but it seems like a matter of semantics and subjectivity to me.  What is the difference between a really good movie and a great movie?  Is my 5 stars the same as your 5 stars?  If not, is there an exchange rate?  All of this is a matter of semantics, and if we're talking about weird ways to think about art, using stars and superlative adjectives and lists fits the bill in my book.  Experiencing art is intrinsically personal and is often something that can't be quantified or ranked or even put into words.  We want to because order tends to be more pleasing than chaos (or maybe that's just a hint of my OCD tendencies), but feelings are chaos and art is about feelings.

To this end, I strongly disagree with your conclusion that the fact each person generally only loves about 20% of these films is a failure of the criteria used to select them.  It isn't.  It's a failure that is intrinsic in the endeavor itself.  How did the criteria not give us a set of 100 universally adored and lauded movies?  Because there is no set of 100 universally adored and lauded movies!  You might think only 20% of these films are great, and I might think only 20% of these films are great, but it's not the same 20%.  Sure, there are a few films that are going to be agreed upon by almost everyone, like Citizen Kane, and there are probably some people who think every film on the list is deserving of its position, but the vast majority of people are going to agree with some picks and disagree with others.  (To bastardize an Abe Lincoln quote, "You can please all of the people with some of the movies, and you can please some of the people with all of the movies, but you can't please all of the people with all of the movies.")

So if someone is going to attempt this foolhardy mission of quantifying the unquantifiable and universalizing the personal, it makes sense to try to wring every possible droplet of objectivity out of this extraordinarily subjective process, and the AFI's criteria seem like a pretty reasonable system to do that.  But we, as listeners of this podcast, are not trying to be objective, and that's fine.  One of the community things I enjoy most about this podcast/project is seeing how different everyone's personal lists are.  I see that a perk rather than a flaw.  I objectively see the importance of E.T. and how many people love it and to some degree I understand why they love it, but I don't, so I put it at 41 out of 52.  So yeah, be as subjective as you want; that's part of the fun.  But again, in terms of trying to make things objective, I think the AFI's criteria are solid.

(Also, this isn't necessarily the context you meant, but I don't see how it's weird to consider other people's opinions about something when forming your own opinion, and that includes art, and it includes critics and industry professionals.  Sometimes I see their points and it informs my opinion, and sometimes I think they're wrong, but I think it's natural to take those things into consideration.)

2 hours ago, Cameron H. said:

I started with 2! In fact, I didn’t see the first one until relatively recently. It was right around the time 3 came out and I figured I should actually sit down and watch it. And you’re right. I didn’t watch these in order, and I had no trouble jumping right in. Furthermore, it removed me from having any particular nostalgia for the first one. And I felt then as I do now: I like it fine, but it’s not my favorite (I think 3 is). 

Interesting!  I'm not a fan of 2, but I do appreciate how 1 and 2 go together, with contrasting existential crises from Buzz and Woody respectively.  In 1, Buzz realizes he isn't universally valued as unique, and in 2, Woody realizes that he is.  And one reason I don't like 2 as much is that it felt like a bit of a retread, in that both films end with the main character realizing that their value lies in how much Andy loves them.  So because they have the same emotional beats more or less, it kind of makes sense that either serves as a good intro to 3?  I'd still love to hear from someone who started with 3.  It's been a long time since I saw it, so I honestly don't know how well it works.

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1 hour ago, bleary said:

Because there is no set of 100 universally adored and lauded movies! 

Hm I'm not sure I agree with this. Oh sure, there'll be haters of everything, but I think "the best films of all-time" should be fairly set in stone, give or take. I guess I'm in between subjectiveness and objectiveness here; I think we can answer this question, but it maybe isn't definable. That's a wishy-washy statement, I know. Maybe I'm wrong and it's unanswerable.

Still, the question isn't "how many awards did The Godfather win?" it's "why is this so good?" That's where the focus should be. Wouldn't the list be better if "consider how many major awards it won" was replaced with "has an innovative structure and a story filled with remarkable characters" or "builds a cinematic universe" or whatnot?

My takeaway from Unspooled is that perhaps the 'general consensus' that led to the AFI results needs some shaking up and modernization, and I think the criteria is a big part why.

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5 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Still, the question isn't "how many awards did The Godfather win?" it's "why is this so good?" That's where the focus should be. Wouldn't the list be better if "consider how many major awards it won" was replaced with "has an innovative structure and a story filled with remarkable characters" or "builds a cinematic universe" or whatnot?

But the awards help answer the question "why is this so good?"  The Godfather won Oscars for script and for Brando's performance.  So why is The Godfather so good?  Well, largely because of the script and because of Brando's performance!  I think you're interpreting this criterion as saying "the movie is good because it won awards" (which is an implication I disagree with too), whereas I'm interpreting it as "the movie won awards because it is good."  And that also doesn't tell the full story, but it tells you something.  When the Costume Designers Guild gives out their awards for best costume design every year, you don't believe their expertise should grant that their opinion should be considered when weighing how effective the costume design is?  Again, it's not the full story, but I don't see how anyone is better off by ignoring it.

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I just want to comment on Amy's comment that Job's was using Pixar as a way to advertise his computer company. He was kicked out of Apple in 1985. He was not asked to be the CEO and return till 1997. At the time of the film was released he was CEO & President of Next Computers - they no longer were selling computers but were mostly involved in Internet software applications. Next didn't even have an animation software application to sell. Yes there were Apple tie ins with subsequent Pixar releases but Disney also helped sell cereal and shampoo... Amy's complaint that Jobs was only interested in selling computers is hard to legitimize as Pixar didn't use Apple.or Next computers to render the animation or even imply they did.

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Gotta agree with @Cam Bert that it’s not a problem with the movie itself, but with the AFI list, perhaps it’s criteria. The full criteria list is on the list’s Wikipedia entry, and two of them are:

Historical significance: A film's mark on the history of the moving image through visionary narrative devices, technical innovation or other groundbreaking achievements.

Cultural impact: A film's mark on American society in matters of style and substance.

Both of these strongly imply “Trailblazers and influence on other films.” The list is lousy with films that are those things but aren’t great by themselves today, but are hugely influential on other films. The original list had Birth of a Nation on it, for dang’s sake. But it just feels like too many of the voters gave too much weight to these two criteria out of the seven.

TV Tropes has an enormous page for what I was just talking about called “Seinfeld” is Unfunny.

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Hey, how about some more discussion about the movie and episodes themselves, or maybe the broader franchise? On those topics:

-Dunno why Paul and Amy seemed convinced that the toys can't die, because the third movie pretty unquestionably showed that they can.

-Jessie was added starting with the second one to give the series a female character with some more depth than Bo Peep had in the first one.

-Toy Story 2 was almost accidentally deleted.

-Disney and Pixar had a falling out early in the planning of Toy Story 3. Disney started up their own CGI animation studio, Circle 7 Animation and started working on a story with an interesting plot where Buzz Lightyears everywhere start manufacturing and are recalled back to the factory in Taiwan. The other toys realize that Buzz is possibly going to be destroyed and go all the way there to rescue him. After Michael Eisner left, Disney was bought out by Pixar, and the Pixar people wanted a totally clean slate. That same Wikipedia link also has a different discarded plot that Circle 7 considered.

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I have been lurking for a while but I created an account to reply to this thread because I think people are vastly underplaying the importance of being “the first”, especially with any kind of groundbreaking development. The people who do it first are the ones who have “the spark” and who take all the risk, so they deserve the kudos. If you do it first, and do it successfully, then anybody else who comes after and perfects it are just standing on the shoulders of giants. 

The empire strikes back wouldn’t have been as good if they had to introduce all the characters and the world in that movie, all that leg work had already been done and was super popular.

I think in filmmaking if someone tries something new and innovative, and they pull it off, then that should definitely be held in high regard, even if that idea has been improved upon further down the line.

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5 hours ago, Silvestro said:

I have been lurking for a while but I created an account to reply to this thread because I think people are vastly underplaying the importance of being “the first”, especially with any kind of groundbreaking development. The people who do it first are the ones who have “the spark” and who take all the risk, so they deserve the kudos. If you do it first, and do it successfully, then anybody else who comes after and perfects it are just standing on the shoulders of giants. 

The empire strikes back wouldn’t have been as good if they had to introduce all the characters and the world in that movie, all that leg work had already been done and was super popular.

I think in filmmaking if someone tries something new and innovative, and they pull it off, then that should definitely be held in high regard, even if that idea has been improved upon further down the line.

No, I think we all get that. And if the list was for the most Innovative films, no one would disagree. I think the issue is that the list is one of semantics, specifically with the words “Greatest Films.” I think most people equate the word “great” with “best” or “most enjoyable.”  Granted, that’s not necessarily what the word “great” means, but if that isn’t what was meant, then I think we can all agree we could knock off at least 25% of the movies on the list. Do we need two Marx Brothers then? Or three Chaplins? If we’re looking at just being the first, or most innovative, then we need to put The Jazz Singer back on and probably replace Intolerance with Birth of a Nation. Instead of Sophie’s Choice and Shawshank Redemption we should have Jurassic Park and Terminator 2. And we should definitely have more movies from POC and any(!) female filmmakers.

I guess what I’m saying is until the AFI is consistent with what exactly they want the list to be, we have to interpret it the best that we can as individuals. Personally, when I think “Greatest” I think “Best.” In which case, if we’re talking about CG animation, I want the most fully realized and most enjoyable movie represented, and not just a lesser quality movie simply because it was made first.

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I agree with Cameron H on this. I recently just watched Toy Story and realized I hadn't watched it from start to finish before. It came out when I was in high school, so I never really caught onto the fever and am just catching up now. Anyway, I just don't think it's that great of a movie. The animation is different, but not great. There are plenty of first technical achievements to be lauded, but this doesn't need to be on the list. If we're comparing this to all other American film (and we are), maybe top 150 or 200, and certainly top 100 in animation, but not overall.  I'm pretty scrupulous and would definitely appreciate more backgrounds and points of view versus more men making movies about white dudes learning how to be white dudes. 

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On 6/21/2019 at 3:40 PM, bleary said:

And the Pixar guys should get credit for basically being the only game in town in anthropomorphized inanimate objects.  No Disney film before had ever done it, and as far as I know, the only animated feature to do it at all before Toy Story was The Brave Little Toaster, which was also made by the original members of Pixar.  (I'm torn on how much mentioning The Brave Little Toaster helps or hurts my argument.  On one hand, it shows that Toy Story was not as groundbreaking in anthropomorphized inanimate objects as I'd like to be able to argue it was, but on the other hand, it reminds people that much of the plot of Toy Story 3 was a clear ripoff of Brave Little Toaster.) 

Just a small nit pick, though I agree overall, Disney certainly anthropomorphized inanimate objects before Toy Story, particularly Beauty and the Beast comes to mind. Unless you're thinking they were the first without having to invoke magic... 

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19 minutes ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

Just a small nit pick, though I agree overall, Disney certainly anthropomorphized inanimate objects before Toy Story, particularly Beauty and the Beast comes to mind. Unless you're thinking they were the first without having to invoke magic... 

You're right, I give you that one.  I had ruled them out because the story is that the inanimate objects are inhabited by human souls, so it's less about "what would this object do if it could walk and talk" and more about "what would a person do if they became this object" which I acknowledge is a very thin line.  But looking back, they probably did enough object-based puns to qualify in that regard. 🙂

I also thought about the carpet in Aladdin, but I ruled that out too because it's not fully anthropomorphized, in that its inability to talk separates it from the rest of the characters.  But maybe you're right, that "not having to invoke magic" should be my criterion if I'm going to stick with my statement.

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What about the broomsticks in The Sorcerer's Apprentice in Fantasia?

 

2 hours ago, bleary said:

But maybe you're right, that "not having to invoke magic" should be my criterion if I'm going to stick with my statement

Oh.

 

I can't remember the backstory for Herby the Lovebug, Kit in Knight Rider, that animated car in that Hanna Barbara cartoon from the 70s. Go-bots and Transformers would probably be adjacent.

I also read The Indian in the Cupboard as a kid, which also happened to be adapted to a live action movie, released the same year as Toy Story.

There's also the old silent short, A Trip to the Moon (I believe.  Never seen it. I just know the iconic image of the rocketship in his eye).

The "merit of did it first" debate is a complex one in my head, but somehow, animated inanimate objects in a children's movie doesn't seem that crucial (especially looking back on the long history anthropomorphized inanimate objects in fiction.)

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Just googling, we left off some obvious classics:

The Nutcracker Suite and Babes in Toyland.

 

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11 minutes ago, ol' eddy wrecks said:

The "merit of did it first" debate is a complex one in my head, but somehow, animated inanimate objects in a children's movie doesn't seem that crucial (especially looking back on the long history anthropomorphized inanimate objects in fiction.)

And of course, there’s Jim Henson’s The Christmas Toy which came out in 1986. The plot is about a favorite toy that is afraid he’s going to be replaced at Christmas. The egotistical new space toy doesn’t realize she’s a toy...🤔

 

 

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This may not be entirely fair to what is a quality movie, but until Who Framed Roger Rabbit gets a mention on the AFI list, I don't really see the point of awarding a spot to Toy Story. Not only is it weaker than its successors, but it's inclusion is based on the fact it more or less started a new trend in animation. That may be well and good (and even impressive), but how about the movie that no one has dared replicate in over thirty years (or at least well) (with deepest apologies, Cool World)? I know it's not a competition here, but similar to Andy, the film community seemed to stick the better/smarter gift in the closet in favor of something new, shiny, and about half as remarkable.  

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19 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

And of course, there’s Jim Henson’s The Christmas Toy which came out in 1986. The plot is about a favorite toy that is afraid he’s going to be replaced at Christmas. The egotistical new space toy doesn’t realize she’s a toy...🤔

 

 

Nice deep cut!  I had never heard of this, and the trailer sort of terrifies me.

8 minutes ago, Lutes said:

This may not be entirely fair to what is a quality movie, but until Who Framed Roger Rabbit gets a mention on the AFI list, I don't really see the point of awarding a spot to Toy Story. Not only is it weaker than its successors, but it's inclusion is based on the fact it more or less started a new trend in animation. That may be well and good (and even impressive), but how about the movie that no one has dared replicate in over thirty years (or at least well) (with deepest apologies, Cool World)? I know it's not a competition here, but similar to Andy, the film community seemed to stick the better/smarter gift in the closet in favor of something new, shiny, and about half as remarkable.  

I absolutely agree that Who Framed Roger Rabbit? should be on the list.  (Another film with a few anthropomorphized objects.  Few things disturbed me as a child more than the shoe dip death scene in Roger Rabbit and the junkyard scene in Brave Little Toaster.  So clearly, I'm the right demographic for Toy Story?)  But again, my list would have both.  I mean, of the first 52 films we've done, there are roughly 15 of them that I would just boot from the list based on a lack of quality, so the what-about-this-film arguments don't sway me, because even if I agree, they don't diminish the quality of Toy Story in my opinion.

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30 minutes ago, bleary said:

Nice deep cut!  I had never heard of this, and the trailer sort of terrifies me.

Oh man, it freaked me out when I was a kid - lol

And just so you don’t feel you’re alone, trust me when I say there are other films that we’ve covered that I would definitely kick off before Toy Story. There are a few movies left to go that I would boot too. 🙂

I love Toy Story, it’s just not the Pixar movie I would choose. If I had my druthers, I’d pick something else, but I don’t really mind it being here either.

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