Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Is "Toy Story" now the best movie trilogy of all time?

Actually, before we get into any of that, I saw an update on a contender for the title of movie I'm most looking forward to for the rest of this year, and it's one I had almost forgotten about.

If you haven't seen Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's minor league baseball/immigration drama "Sugar," there really are very few rentals I can recommend higher. It was easily one of my favorite movies of 2009, so it's certainly only good news that they're coming back this fall, especially when they've got such a good cast in tow.

Their next movie, set to be released Sept. 24 by Focus Features, will be called "It's Kind of a Funny Story," adapted from the Ned Vizzini novel of the same name. It's about a teen (Keir Gilchrist) who checks himself into a mental institution only to find himself stuck in the adult unit, where he encounters a bunch of colorful characters.

The supporting cast somehow includes Zach Galifianakis, Emma Roberts, Lorelai Gilmore, Viola Davis and Aasif Mandvi of "The Daily Show," and it was described in Entertainment Weekly by producer Kevin Mischer as being like a "teen version of 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,' but the tone is more similar to 'The Breakfast Club,' it's funny." OK, I'm in.

But before I got distracted by all of that. this was supposed to be all about movie trilogies, spurred by a comment from one of my fellow cubicle slaves, reporter Phillip Ramati: "So, is 'Toy Story' now the best movie trilogy ever?"

Having thought about it for a couple of days, I'd have to say yes, and with no hesitation. Think about it. The first "Toy Story" was as groundbreaking as it was simply entertaining, the second one was just miles better in terms of story and humor, and the third installment was the best of all, just a fun ride from the start to a finish that's making grownass people around the world cry (yes, me too.)

For that consistency, I'd have to say that yes, it certainly is the best movie trilogy ever made. Below are the eight others that were in contention in my mind, but before that a bit of a digression about the third installment in a trilogy that, while it will almost certainly never make anyone's best of list of any kind, certainly brings the funny.

Kal Penn has quit the White House to reteam with John Cho for the third "Harold & Kumar" flick, "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas," coming as the perfect Christmas day gift next year. The story finds Harold as a suburban dad who's awakened from his new world by the return of stoner buddy Kumar. We've already learned that, thankfully, Neil Patrick Harris will somehow be revived and veryfunnyguy Patton Oswalt will be involved in this somehow too. And now comes word that Thomas Lennon of the late "Reno 911" (and, rather amazingly, the co-writer of the "Night at the Museum" movies too) has joined the cast as Harold's neighbor.

That's a whole lot of funny for one movie, so here's hoping the duo goes out on a very high note (sorry, I couldn't resist.)

And here, without any further digression, are the eight movie trilogies that, in my mind, could even enter the same conversation with the "Toy Story" saga. As usual, please feel free to add any at the end that you think I've snubbed.

"Back to the Future": For sheer fun, there probably isn't a trilogy that delivers more than Robert Zemeckis' flicks starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. 'Nuff said.

"Evil Dead": I've sung the virtues of Sam Raimi's "Drag Me to Hell" here, well, probably way too many times, but the reason it's so good is it was a return to the form Raimi was in when he made these priceless zombie flicks.

"Goal!":I may well be the only person in the world who holds these movies in such high esteem, but the the soccer series about Mexican futboler Santiago Munez and his journey from L.A. to Newcastle United to Real Madrid and then, of course, to the 2006 World Cup (hey, this is a fantasy, after all), really is just about my favorite sports underdog tale.

"The Godfather": Though the first two movies in Francis Ford Coppola's epic saga get regular and unconditional love, I'd like to take a second to clear up a misconception about the third installment: It's really not a bad movie at all. Not nearly as good as the first two chapters, but a solid ending to the story, especially when you compare it to the simply awful third chapters of, for example, "Spider-Man" and "X-Men."

"Lord of the Rings": I have no idea what's going on with "The Hobbit," which may or may not somehow going to be directed by "LOTR" helmer Peter Jackson, but my favorite moment in the whole Rings trilogy shows just why a "Hobbit" movie would be so amazing. Of the entire nine hours or so, the best stretch for me is still the first 20 minutes or so of the first movie, which take place with the hobbits in the Shire. I'm probably the only person in the world that thinks the rest of Jackson's flicks fail to reach that high point, but there it is.

"Major League": Really? Yes, really. And rather amazingly, writer/director David S. Ward, who's responsible for the first two installments of this baseball comedy epic, says he has a script ready for a fourth chapter, and has even had at least primary talks with Wild Thing Charlie Sheen about it. How could you make another "Major League" perfect? Make it about a winning season for my beloved Baltimore Orioles, because at this point, nothing would be funnier than that.

"Star Wars": Just in case anyone needs any clarification (which I rather seriously doubt), I'm talking here of course about what I believe, thanks to George Lucas, are somehow now called chapters IV-VI. But the abortions that were I-III have been wiped from my mind, so these are really the only three "Star Wars" flicks, and even with the Ewoks at the end, they're all three great.


"Blue," "White" and "Red":
Nothing like saving the artsiest for last. I actually Netflixed and watched all three chapters of Krysztof Kieslowski's sublime trilogy over a recent weekend (yes, I live a wild life), and I think the second chapter, "White" with Julie Delpy, is my favorite, though they're all sensational. Though it appears last on this list somehow, this is the movie trilogy I'd put right behind "Toy Story" in terms of overall appeal.

And there you have it. Please feel free to add any you think I've snubbed, and have a perfectly passable Wednesday. Actually, I'm gonna leave you with easily the funniest picture I saw this morning, which really needs no explanation from me. Peace out.

9 comments:

J. Marquis said...

Sorry, there's no way the Toy Story trilogy is better than the LOTR films. Not even close.

Reel Fanatic said...

A lot of people certainly agree with you there, Mr. Marquis, but I'm still sticking with "Toy Story"

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