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Posted at 4:05 PM ET, 06/19/2010

Seven Best Tangential Reasons to See 'Toy Story 3' this weekend [UPDATED]

By Michael Cavna


Sure, you could catch "Toy Story 3" this weekend because it will be one of the best films you'll see this year. You could go because it offers Pixar's requisite heart and soul and humor. Or you could head to a screening simply to see an entire packed theater weep in true 3-D.

But given all the sideline storylines that surround a movie this huge, Comic Riffs offers you, as well, the Seven Tangential Reasons to See 'Toy Story 3' this weekend. To wit:

1.If you, the true studio fan, want to help boost Pixar to its biggest opening ever.

By showing in 4,000-plus theaters and charging 3-D prices, "Toy Story 3" will very likely become the first Pixar film to top $100-million in its debut weekend -- and has a better-than-decent shot to sniff $120-million.

(The biggest Pixar opening to date is "The Incredibles" at $70.5-million, though four other Pixar pics opened at roughly $90-million in "adjusted" box office, according to

UPDATE: "Toy Story 3" grossed an estimated $41-million at the domestic box office Friday, reports Variety. That's the biggest opening day ever for an animated film, says

2. So you can join the pile-on!

"Toy Story 3" was tracking at 100-percent "positive" among film critics after 136 reviews on Then strode in two detractors: NY Press critic Armond White and Cole Smithey. (Yes -- the correct response to that reveal is: Who?) White has a track record as a proven Pixar hater, so it's no surprise that his review charged Pixar with rampant, soulless consumerism that brainwashes the masses.

Now, those "masses" have reacted, questioning White's credibility and credentials and calling for his ouster from the Rotten Tomatoes roster.

Now: How long till some PhotoShop-happy fanboy turns the "villainous" Armond White into an image of the film's Lots-O'-Huggin' Bear -- aka Lotso, the "prison warden" bear who smells of strawberries. Or in White's case, one big raspberry.

3. So you can hunt for "Easter eggs"!

You can always count on Pixar to pack a picture with visual cues and clues. "Toy Story 3" fills the frame with the usual "Easter eggs" -- sly references to characters from other Pixar films especially abound.

Two of 'Riffs favorite eggs this time are: (1) a nod to Hayao Miyazaki with a silent Totoro toy; and (2) a good ol' reference to A113 -- the fabled CalArts classroom studio that has helped birth so many great animators.

For Easter-egg spoilers -- including the T-shirt that identifies the sanitation man as a grown Sid -- you can check out the growing list at

4. So you can pipe up during the premature Oscar talk

Yes, "Toy Story 3" is already a mortal lock to be nominated in the Academy Awards' best animated feature film category next year -- and an early front-runner to win. But months after Pixar's "Up" received a best-picture nod, the animation fan's appetite grows to see a Pixar film win for best picture. There's also early buzz for screenwriter Michael Arndt, who won a screenplay Oscar three years ago for "Little Miss Sunshine."

5. To see it before the final two scenes have been "spoiler-ed" to death.

To Comic Riffs's way of thinking, the Toy Story characters never have felt as staggeringly "human" as they do in the climactic penultimate scene. And it is followed by the scene that has launched a thousand hankies -- a scene that Arndt described to 'Riffs as "scary" and "risky" to attempt. Both scenes are generating much chatter, and the details are sure to be dropped in the office, on the Metro and wherever else you consume public air unguarded against ambient spoilers.

6. So you can join the updated debate: What's the greatest Pixar film ever?

It's the constant question that adds a new contender like an annual rite: What's the best Pixar pic? Which is silly, of course, because everyone knows it's "The Incredibles." Well, unless you count "Up," "Ratatouille" or "Finding Nemo." And how do you count out "Toy Story," even if for its status as the film that revolutionized CGI animation.

(My pick for best Pixar film? Easy. "Luxo Jr." Well, except for "Knick Knack"...)

So yes, if you want to weigh in with your favorite Pixar film ever -- or your new and adjusted rankings -- feel free to do so below.

7. Because Dad just might cry.

The core creative team at Pixar is dominated by dudes who are dads. And they well know Dad's soft spots. So for Father's Day, don't bother with the cheesy tie, the fly fishing lure, the Stephen Strasburg rookie card or the remote control that doubles as a beer hat. (On second thought, the Strasburg card is not a shabby investment.)

Instead, though, take Pop to see "Toy Story 3." And as a bonus, you just might get to see him shed a tear under the cover of multiplex darkness. (Sniff.) Now that there's anything wrong with that.

By Michael Cavna  | June 19, 2010; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  The Animation, The Holly Word, The Riffs  | Tags:  Box Office, Pixar Disney, Rotten Tomatoes, Toy Story 3  
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Next: Defend That 'Toon: Does 'BARNEY & CLYDE' spark a billion laughs -- or bum you out?

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