Kitayama might be taking a picture of this (mousapelli) wrote,
Kitayama might be taking a picture of this

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Everything Was Beautiful

There's lots of things that can make a show or a movie great, but to me, the really really amazing ones, the true mark of the Best Shows, are the ones that make me sob my eyes out but then somehow, pull a miraculous 180 and make me crack up, so that I'm laughing while tears are still pouring down my face. For me, that's the moment, when a show can yank me back and forth emotionally like that with a flick of its finger.

It's HARD. I watch lots of stuff that makes me laugh and even some things that spring surprise crying on me, although I purposely avoid things I KNOW are going to make me cry, so it's really really rare for things to make the list. Kyou Kara Maou is on it, One Piece is definitely on it. Voice managed it in one episode. Hikaru no Go is the first thing I recall it happening during. I might be forgetting one or two, but essentially that's the entire list; you'll notice all of those things are Japanese. To accomplish it requires a long-term, deep rooted emotional investment in characters that American television and movies rarely foster, combined with a writing talent and sophistication that's virtually impossible where instead of narrative arc, we depend on 'let's just keep writing these until the money runs out and everybody hates it.'

Tonight Toy Story 3 became the first American-made movie or show to make the list. The last 20 minutes of the movie whipped me back and forth from crying to giggling to sustained quiet sobbing of the best kind to laughing so hard it hurt, and by the time I came out I had no idea whether I was coming or going. Maybe that doesn't sound like a good time to you, but in that moment where I'm fully invested in crying and SOMEHOW this surprise laughter bursts out, nothing else feels like that.

I was surprised several times by the seriousness of the movie, and even though some of it hurt to watch, I was glad that Pixar didn't shy away from what it's been saying all along, that toys are for their kids and those kids grow up. There were a lot of points where it was clear that there wasn't a happy ending to even have (do we go to the attic? the trash? get donated? stay and never get played with?). I love how plain it is that Pixar loves their own characters in the way that they never forget the details of their characters past, like Jesse still hyperventilating about Emily even all this time later (Holy shit I can never sing 'When She Loved Me' the whole way through without choking up).

For me the happy ending that they settled on actually was the most painful of all, because I am such a keeper of stuff, and I do have toys still from when I was little because they mean things to me. Andy's flinch when the little girl reached for Woody, it hurt because it was perfect, because YES, Pixar GETS IT. I think it's amazing that any movie can reach inside and tweak something so deep inside me, especially in such a subtle and nonverbal way, and at the same time bring the story to some kind of satisfying narrative full-circle close, where everything starts with Andy and Woody and ends with Andy and Woody. Not to mention the co-centric circle inside that of Woody and Buzz being best friends; I was definitely pleased by the amount of attention this movie kept on that.

Just to be clear, this was not at all the same sort of crying I engaged in during Up, because Up never even came close to making enough emotional connection with me to make me laugh after it got me crying. I actually haven't rewatched it since I saw it in theaters, and I kind of don't plan to.

Up just made me sad. TS3 did something much more complicated that I'm sure I'm not explaining right, but it happens so rarely that I can't help but be awed when it does.

So anyway, you should go and see it, but with the understanding that it's not the most lighthearted pixar movie by a long shot, but that doesn't mean they let go of the joy in it, and maybe that makes it even better. idk. Bring some tissues, definitely.

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