Tag Archive: Woody

Getting Cozy in the Cabin

Family Movie Night

As the temperature begins to drop, all I really want to do is dress in a big sweater, jeans and hide indoors.

Picture by Anita Patterson

I felt it this morning as I was getting up and trying to get the kids up for the day. It was cold on those floors to the bare feet. No one wanted to get up and face the day.

Here’s the rub – it is not even that cold yet. We are talking about temperatures in the 40s. I guess after the hot summer we had had, 40s feel like a slap in the face. Where is the comforting warmth, the cool breeze at the right time? My guess is that they packed up and went to Bermuda.

Which leads me back to the couch with a warm blanket and a cup of hot something to drink. As the kids and dog huddle around, we also want to watch something heartwarming and comforting in its own way.

That is when you pull out Toy Story. Give yourself a mini film fest of the best family movie series of all time.

Buzz and Woody race back to Andy, Picture from IMDb.com

When the first movie hit, we fell in love. Woody and Buzz, as voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, were the kind of guys we could relate to and cheer for. Plus, they are always trying to go home. They understand as much as we do that there must be one safe place you always want to go. Call it the “Cheers” maxim, go where everyone knows your name.

Toy Story saw the introduction of Buzz to Andy’s bedroom and the big rescue from Sid’s house. Toy Story 2 introduced us to Jessie, Bullseye and Mrs. Potatohead as well as the world of collectible toys while bringing on a great airport rescue.

Jessie, Woody and Bullseye watching their TV show. Picture from IMDb.com

Toy Story 3 was released on DVD on November 2, making the final entry of the series that will have you crying at various parts for all the right reasons.

In this outing, Andy is leaving for college. He is packing up his room and has to decide what to do

An 18-year-old Andy deciding what to do with his old toys. Picture from IMDb.com

with his old toys. No 18 year-old wants to admit he still loves his toys nor does Andy truly want to be parted with them. By accident the gang finds they have been taken to a daycare center. What seems like paradise turns to be something very different and sinister.

Why do all three movies work? Because first and foremost, the scripts never doubt the intelligence of the viewer. It is not dumbed-down just because this is a “family movie.”

The characters are fully formed with many aspects to them. The animation is always top quality, giving pictures to the wonderful voice talents that are being used. It’s not just Hanks and Allen who are great. So are Don Rickles, Joan Cusack, Annie Potts, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenburger, Laurie Metcalf, Kelsey Grammer, Ned Beatty and the late Jim Varney.

Finally, the music written for this series has always been perfect. The songs have me laughing and crying, amazed by their depth of emotion.

There are so many reasons to love this movie series but the biggest one is that it is fun.  We learn so much through playing but because it is play we never realize just how much we are learning. After you watch Toy Story once, you will be a fan forever.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below. Become my friend on Facebook.

Zombie Love

Family Movie Night

Oh, it is the season for scares. I am noticing more and more Halloween decorations up on houses around the area. Ghosts and pumpkins are hanging from trees. Purple lights are going around windows and doors.

My favorite decoration is a witch who had crashed into the ground and was buried. Haven’t seen that one at night yet but I plan to do so soon.

Last week, I talked about classic scary movies. This week I want to talk about one of the more popular subsets – zombie movies.

I believe that unlike other monsters, zombies seem closest to being like us. Usually the cause of zombiehood is poison, pollution or a virus. One wrong move and you or I could be a zombie. While zombie movies have been made


Picture from IMDb.com


since movies have started, the one that sticks out the most is Night of the Living Dead (1968) directed by George Romero. Set in a graveyard, corpses start rising from graves and they are hungry. We are with a small group of strangers for the entire night as they try various methods of escape.

It is a classic flick that sets up every zombie movie to come. The zombies are created by toxic pollution and they enjoy eating human flesh. Romero would make two more movies in the series, taking until 1985 to complete the last one. The movie would then be remade in 1990 and again in 2006 as a 3D version.


Mila Jovovich in Resident Evil, picture from IMDb.com.


Meanwhile, video games would be developed in which the player is constantly battling against zombies. Resident Evil appears to be the most popular of these games because it became a four-movie series. Mila Jovovich stars as Alice, an amnesia victim who becomes a stunning fighter in a red dress. Fans love the series but as I have not seen it, I cannot really comment.

What I can comment on is 28 Days Later (2002) directed by Danny Boyle. Set in England, the movie focuses on a virus that turns people into anger machines who cannot


Brenden Gleeson, Cillian Murphy and Noamie Harris in 28 Days Later, picture from IMDb.com.


do anything but kill. It stars Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris as survivors who are trying to find others and a safe haven.

The story is well told and the action is constant. There are several stories going here that are terrifying and exhilarating. I believe I had nightmares for a week after this movie but Danny Boyle really knows how to make a movie that makes you think about more than zombies chasing you.


Simon Pegg in Sahun of the Dead, picture from IMDb.com


The last two I want to mention are Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Zombieland (2009). The former stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as best friends who are trying to save their friends and family from the zombies that have suddenly infiltrated their British town. The movie is serious and humerous in parts. Bill Nighy gives an honest performance as Pegg’s step-father. And yes, this movie gave me nightmares despite the fact I love it. Can’t ever watch it again.


Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson in Zombieland, picture from IMDb.com


The same goes for Zombieland starring Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson. People travel around the U.S. trying to find survivors after zombies take over. The opening scene in which Cera details his rules for living in a zombie world is hilarious. The rest of the movie can be poignant and frightening. But it is also filled details that are wonderful to watch. I barely got through it with my oldest son and his girlfriend. This is a great movie.

Next week, I’ll talk about monster movies. Let me know your favorite one.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below.  Become my friend on Facebook.

Andy giving a loving look at his favorite toys. Picture from IMDb.com

Family Movie Night Column

This week the third installment of the Toy Story franchise will come to theaters.

 Andy is about to go to college and his mother mistakenly gives his old toys – Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the whole gang – to a day care with other toys she meant to give away.

 Are you going to see it? I know we are. Our house has loved this series of movies. We had the first movie on VHS when our second oldest was a toddler. He loved watching this movie so much it became a daily routine.

 When Toy Story 2 came out on VHS, we had to get it just for him. Then I had to make the one-movie-per-day ruling because that child wanted to watch both movies every day.

 On the other hand, this child also had some speech problems and by

Buzz and Woody fighting at the gas station. Picture from IMDb.com

repeating the lines over and over, it helped his annunciation. I would come around the corner and listen to him saying Woody’s lines or making Buzz and Woody fight.

 For a while we had just about every character in toy form. Over the years, some have been broken and had to be thrown away. Broke my heart every time.

 Why? Because a part of me buys the premise that when we fall asleep or are not in the room, toys come alive. They seem very real. There has to be a reason toys are never where you put them or why game pieces suddenly go missing.

 Before you go to Toy Story 3, go ahead and rent Toy Story and Toy Story 2. See how Pixar broke the mold of family movies by making them with

the gang crossing the street to rescue Woody in TS2. Picture from IMDb.com.

solid plots, good characterization and taking away those bad parental figures.  We love these characters because they have our faults and graces. We know them inside and out in a good way.

I like that Tom Hanks and Tim Allen have always managed to find the right notes for their characters. Woody may be a benevolent despot but he likes to be in control of his world. Yet, his character always manages to grow and do the right thing when he wants to do otherwise. And Buzz? I can’t think of anything mean to say about him. He is just a great guy, even when he believes he is a real space ranger.

I have watched Toy Story several times, loving it with each viewing. I can repeat dialogue and know when everything is going to happen. I have analyzed the music, noting how Toy Story 2 uses incidental music that sounds like it could come from a 1950’s serial flick.

Jessie, Woody and Bullseye watching their TV show in TS2. Picture from IMDb.com

In the end, I believe that Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are in that small group of perfect movies in the world. And I am hoping Toy Story 3 is just as good at pulling my heartstrings without making me feel manipulated.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for your own Family Movie Night and leave a comment or become my friend on Facebook.