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Hear Me Out, Toy Story 2 Is The Best Toy Story Movie

Toy Story 2

Every Toy Story movie is a miracle. Through the skills, talents, perseverance and even luck of the brilliant animators and storytellers at Pixar Animation, the studio has fostered a treasure trove of wonderful films — each with their own gorgeously crafted worlds, vibrant, lovable characters, hilarious gags, and wallops of heart to boot. But it’s with the Toy Story movies that the company established its well-versed formula — the core foundation through which Pixar has created one timeless classic after another, cherished by audiences everywhere.

Most audience members have their favorite toy story movie, a movie they are more fond of than the others. A movie that struck them in a certain place or time. Mine is Toy Story 2.

Why? I believe Toy Story 2 is what cemented the franchise’s status in Pixar lore.

There is no denying that the original Toy Story is an excellent movie. And Toy Story 3 provided relieved moviegoers around the world with what seemed to be impossible: a long-promised sequel that not only lived up to its predecessors, but also produced a satisfying, emotionally-gratifying conclusion to a beloved series — at least, until Toy Story 4 enters theaters this weekend. However, it was through Toy Story 2 that Pixar officiated the world-renowned excellence the studio is revered for today. This merit was confirmed with the incredible Toy Story 2 sequel, and it was evident that Toy Story‘s success was no fluke.

It can be easy to forget that Pixar’s success was far-from-guaranteed back in 1999, when Toy Story 2 barely made its way into theaters. I say “barely” because it wasn’t originally going to enter theaters at all. Yes, at one point in time, Toy Story 2 was subject to become yet another direct-to-video Disney sequel, joining the ranks of Aladdin 2: The Return of Jafar and The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride with the distinction of hitting video shelves rather than playing in multiplexes.

It was a late-in-the-game decision on Disney’s part to release this film in theaters, and when Pixar was unsatisfied with what it had in store with this follow-up, the creative team reworked the entire story in a single weekend, with the production only lasting a shocking nine months.

Toy Story 2

With Pixar focusing most of its efforts on A Bug’s Life at this time, which ultimately (and ironically) became one of Pixar’s less noteworthy titles in its otherwise well-established history, Toy Story 2 was a side project, the film that was being worked on in opposite offices in mad dashes at an unbelievable rate. The pressure was on for this sequel, this Hail Mary, with the hope being that it wouldn’t a disaster and no thought that it could turn out great.

That exhilarating rush to the finish line makes a lot of things that work in Toy Story 2 all-the-more incredible. For instance, the animation in Toy Story 2 is above-and-(infinity and) beyond better than the first movie, with designs that are more fleshed out — even despite the intense pressure of the fast-ticking clock —and better rendered thanks to the advancements in Pixar’s top-grade animation. It’s also more impressive that this sequel is willing to be slower and more contemplative in certain key sequences found primarily throughout the second half of this movie. But I’ll expand upon that later.

I like to think this mad-rush shooting style helped to give this sequel more room to play with style, genre and mood compared to the original. Toy Story 2 is benefitted nicely by including fresh and exhilarating spurts of invigoration, particularly with different types of films, including elements of science-fiction, body horror, western and action-comedy, to name but a few. The expanded runtime and the additional characters also allows Toy Story 2 to have more possibilities to grow and more opportunities to flourish, which Toy Story 2 does plentifully and impressively without compromising story.

Toy Story 2

In addition to these stylistic additions, Toy Story 2 puts into motion many of the central elements that make the Toy Story movies such emotionally endearing successes for all generations, while also transitioning all the elements that made the first one great. At its core, the original Toy Story is a tale of sibling rivalry, one that helps younger audiences recognize that it’s vital to accept, care and love the people in your family, particularly your younger brothers and sisters — even if they take the focus away from you. It’s a universal story that’s told with a wealth of heart, intelligence and humor, and it’s a great film that helped paved the way for what Toy Story 2 would accomplish.

Namely, that Toy Story 2 is a meatier, deeper movie that touches on subjects that audiences young and old can recognize, understand and appreciate, with messages that resonate with viewers of all ages, particularly as they get older: specifically, the passage of time, the insecurities that come with the fear of rejection and how we learn to make peace with knowing that we’ll one day have to say goodbye and “so long, partner” to the people we love.

Rejection is a key concept in Toy Story 1, and the acceptance that comes from knowing that your baby is finally leaving the nest was ultimately given a beautiful and emotional resolution with Toy Story 3. But it was thanks to Toy Story 2 that these ideas were either fertilized or expanded upon, proving to be the lynchpin in the series that made this franchise as great as it is today. Toy Story 1 is made all the more impactful and narratively complete thanks to the evolution made in Toy Story 2, while Toy Story 3‘s wonderful finale celebrates its tear-inducing final beats thanks to the thematic groundwork that was made wholly realized in Toy Story 2.

Toy Story 2

in Toy Story 2, we, the audience, are first introduced to many of the beloved characters we now love from this series, including Wheezy, Jessie, Bullseye, Barbie and Mrs. Potato Head. Each of their involvement plays critical comedic or dramatic development in the long-spanning narrative that is Toy Story. Jessie, in particular, is a key factor in why these hit movies hold such a dear place in the hearts of children and grown children everywhere.

Jessie, voiced with such giddy affection and emotional depth by Joan Cusack, is so much more than the female version of Woody. She represents the future, the bitter truth that eventually kids will grow up and they will abandon their toys. It’s not out of anger or maliciousness; children simply grow up, and they need to transition out of their childhood affection, lest they end up with weird toy-collection affections like Al The Toy Collector. Still, that does not make the heartbreak sting any less, and the beautiful, devastating montage that accompanies “When She Loves Me” paved the way for how Pixar could say so much with such a little amount of time. Without that sequence, for instance, we probably wouldn’t have the exhilarating opening 10 minutes of Up.

While the filmmakers at Pixar were under the wire when it came time to release Toy Story 2, they didn’t rush the important details. They took the time and patience to make sure these thematic elements were as effective and emotionally resonant as possible, resulting in a sequel that harkens back to the ideas placed in the first movie but using the passage of time and the effects therein to showcase how meaningful and bittersweet this journey can ultimately be. As funny and winning as Toy Story 1 was, it doesn’t often reach the same thoughtful insight that is gleaned throughout Toy Story 2. While Toy Story 3 touches on many of these ideas, they were ultimately first introduced into the series with Toy Story 2, and that reverberating idea of time and passage is what makes that sequel so fully furnished.

Toy Story 2

It’s that commitment to excellence — even under intense pressures in every imaginable way — that proves that the folks at Pixar are, particularly in its heyday, the masters of American CG-animated storytelling. Their desires to expand on their characters, develop their stories, invent new places in well-established worlds and provide emotional beats that match — if not improve — upon their originals that make them the best at what they do. When it comes to Toy Story 1-3, it’s hard to think of a film trilogy that’s more endearing and satisfying in cinema’s lush history. There’s a good reason why.

In my view, Toy Story 2 is not only the best Toy Story movie, but it’s also a perfect sequel. It’s also an undervalued masterpiece from Pixar. While there are many people who love these movies, they tend to give 1 and 3 more credit than 2, and that’s a deeply unfortunate oversight. Through this marvelous sequel, Pixar established its credentials, elevated its status, proved its potential and crafted one of the best movie series ever. It is a tribute to the hardworking, constantly innovative master storytellers at Pixar that they pulled off such a feat once, let alone three times. I can only hope that when Toy Story 4 comes out Friday, it’ll prove to be not only a worthwhile sequel, but one that’s worthy of being in such prestige company.

As much as I love all the Toy Story movies, I love Toy Story 2 the most. And I hope I was able to show you why I believe that’s the case here. I can’t wait to revisit all my friends on the big screen later this week with Toy Story 4, but I don’t think that sequel will ever top what was accomplished with 2.

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders Won’t Be Missed

On Thursday, Donald Trump announced on Twitter that “After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas.” Unlike some of Trump’s statements, this one at least has a kernel of truth to it. Indeed, soon-to-be former White House Press Secretary Sanders has lasted multiples of Scaramucci. She survived Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen and General John F. Kelly as well as fellow prominent ladies of the administration, such as former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Nikki Haley, who served as ambassador to the United Nations.

But like all denizens of Trumpworld (except those who share the president’s last name), she has run her course.

For months, there had been speculation that Sanders would step down. It’s less clear from what, given that she hasn’t stood behind the podium to take questions from the press in over 95 days. The New York Times summed up the job she is set to depart like this: “In Tokyo, she took a sushi-making class. In London, she posted a Buckingham Palace selfie with Louise Linton, the actress who is married to the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin. (In an undocumented interaction, she asked the Prince of Wales to sign her dinner menu. He did.) In Ireland, Ms. Sanders and her husband, Bryan, took a photo with a group of Trump loyalists at the president’s private golf club and visited a local pub.” In other words, she’s spent the past few months like most Trumpian kleptocrats: enjoying the perks of government “work.”

With no actual accomplishments to memorialize in the traditional White House departure post-mortem, Sanders will be remembered first and foremost not for what she did, but for how she did it: With frequent sneers and ceaseless scorn, she was one more woman who helped Trump launder his sexism and racism. Like Ivanka Trump, with her nebulous “women’s empowerment initiative,” or Kellyanne Conway, who claimed that women who oppose Trump “just have a problem with women in power,” Sanders has obfuscated and stalled and deflected, providing effective cover for some of the president’s most misogynistic behavior.

Sanders lied about the president’s hush money payments to adult film actor Stormy Daniels, telling the press that “the president has addressed these directly and made very well clear that none of these allegations are true.” (Reader, it turned out what she meant was all of those allegations were in fact true.)

Taylor Swift Just Revealed What Ended Her and Katy Perry’s Feud

Taylor Swift and Katy Perry confirmed to the world yesterday that all is good between them after Perry made a cameo in the video for Swift’s new single, “You Need to Calm Down.”

Of course, most fans were already aware of the reconciliation. Perry sent Swift a literal olive branch last year ahead of her Reputation tour, and Swift reciprocated by sending Perry some “peace at last” cookies a few days ago.

Now in new interviews, Swift is revealing how it all went down behind-the-scenes. “She and I have really been on good terms for a while. She sent me a really nice note and an olive branch to the—like an actual olive branch—to my tour when it started, the Reputation Stadium Tour, a while ago,” Swift said on the UK’s Capital Breakfast radio show, according to E!. “From that point on we’ve been on good terms.”

“Then we saw each other at a party and walked up to each other and hugged it out and talked about things, and then we saw each other again and hung out at another party, and it was just like something felt so much lighter about my life when things became really good between us,” she continued. “And, you know, she and I have been fine for a while and really on good terms but we didn’t know if we were ever gonna really tell people about it. We wanted to make sure that was solid between us before we ever made the public aware.”

In a separate interview with BBC Radio 1 Swift said, “When we saw each other, it was just very clear to both of us that everything was different, that we had grown up, that we had grown past allowing ourselves to be played against each other. It was just really clear that we remembered how much we had in common, and so both of us have been in a really good place for a while, but I don’t think either of us knew if we were going to talk about it publicly…”

When Taylor Swift got the idea for her “You Need to Calm Down” video, she told Perry but wasn’t sure if she’d want to keep things more private. She says Perry’s response was simple: “I would love for us to be a symbol of redemption and forgiveness.” The burger and fries of it all didn’t come into play until Swift saw Perry’s Met Gala look.

“I was like, that is amazing, because it felt very punk rock to me, her wearing that,” Swift said. “I was like, that’s really cool and funny. And I was thinking, we’re going to have this moment in the video and it’s a bit too on the nose if it’s us wearing normal clothes and hugging—it won’t really fit…because this video is very wacky and very surreal and fun and playful. So I was like, ‘Can we do a burger and fries as a metaphor for two people who belong together, people who are a perfect pair’? And she thought it was really funny and so we did it. And I think that the metaphor of us searching for someone who you have something in common with, and then seeing them and having it originally represented is funny.”

This Model Campaigned to Be the First Trans Angel. Now, She’s Starring in a Lingerie Campaign.

The just-released images place Bloom center stage in sheer bodysuits and floral-embroidered bra-and-panty sets, sometimes surrounded by a cast of models and professional burlesque dancers. (The shoot was inspired by ballroom culture.) The campaign is inclusive not just in its casting, but also in its product: The sizing ranges from 4 to 22, with bras in 30-34 A-K and 36-44 B-K. Prices will be accessible, too, with everything under $70.

The photos are just as stunning as one might expect from the Chicago native, who’s no stranger to the red carpet nor the runway. Yet the significance of this moment carries an intimate meaning for her.

Courtesy of Playful Promises/Anna Sampson

“As a young black trans woman, the first money I got to invest in my transition was in lingerie. It means a lot to me. It’s like putting foundation on or buying mascara from the local pharmacy. It’s an experience that we cherish,” she says. “The thing about Playful Promises is that it represents everyone that feels that lingerie brings their femininity to the next level… That’s what fashion and being part of a fantasy is about.”

In more ways than one, this campaign comes full circle for Bloom. It honors to her path to defining her own femininity, it celebrates her identity in a way other lingerie brands have chosen not to, and it even confirms advice the multi-hyphenate artist lives by. “My dad always told me that if you want something, just speak up. And that’s exactly what I did.”

While this specific path to success was hardly based on one goal-oriented tweet, Bloom continues to be very clear in her intentions in her work going forward. “I just want to continue doing projects that represent me. I think that the impact that it will have on people is, hopefully, that they can see sensuality, sexuality, transsexuality, and femininity in a different light and people can be inspired to love themselves more,” she says. “That’s what I do in everything I do—whether it’s movies, walking runways, doing editorials, or walking into a room at an event and shaking hands. I want to be able to be a presence and I want to be able to inspire. And if I can do that while wearing a two piece lingerie, why not?”

Future Rides Monster Trucks And Spins Around In Old Cars In ‘St. Lucia’ Video

Future‘s is out to crush cars in his new video for “St. Lucia.” Against the nighttime sky, Future is using his metallic voice to offset the angry crunch of monster truck wheels on cars for one of the year’s most interesting, and unique, videos. It’s the latest taste of his recently released album Save Me that sees the rapper in a deeper and darker mood than perhaps ever before. We’ve seen him do a lot, but driving a monster truck? This is new territory.

Future must have just finished watching The Outsiders before shooting this video because his zippered leather jacket makes him look like he’s about to become best friends with Ponyboy Curtis. The film opens by showing a vast assortment of trophies, he’s a decorated racer. And a small crowd gathers in the stands to watch him work his vehicular magic. A truck is driven over car roofs and old cars spin around and fling up red, martian-like dirt in the air. It’s a fierce scene, one that Future, of course, navigates with his icy cool and plain face hidden behind sunglasses.

The video for “St. Lucia” follows the visuals for “Government Official,” “Love Thy Enemies,” and “Xanax Damage” that all came out on the same dayHe dropped Save Me on June 7 after teasing it on Instagram a couple of days before.

Watch Future become a professional monster truck driver in the video for “St. Lucia” up above.

The Bachelorette Season 15, Episode 6 Recap:

Hannah complains to Chris that the Luke drama is taking up her time, and it’s hurting every relationship. Chris’ take: The guys are crazy about her, and they’re jealous of the attention she gives Luke. Wow, that’s…missing the point. My take: If you dump Luke, we wouldn’t have to talk so much about Luke.

Anyway, Hannah decides to just get the rose ceremony over with. Mike and Jed already had roses, and the rest go to Connor, Tyler, Dustin, Peter, Dylan, Garrett, and Luke. That means goodbye to Devin, Kevin, and Grant. Once they leave, Hannah sets the remaining dudes straight: She’s not sure she sees a future with anybody at this point, so they’ve got to figure it out.

And with that, it’s time for the next destination: Latvia. But before Hannah takes the guys out for dates, she sits down with Chris for a heart-to-heart. “I’m not trusting these relationships as much as I’d want to,” she explains. The guys haven’t been asking her the right questions or showing a deeper side of themselves, so she’s not comfortable opening up that side of herself yet. She thought by now she’d understand her feelings and emotions better. But, “I just don’t want to give my heart to anybody who doesn’t deserve it.”

The rest of the episode is a bit strange: Basically, Chris brings Hannah to the Bachelor mansion to recap everything we’ve seen in the season so far. They talk about the highs and lows, but none of it is that enlightening. We do find out Luke is the best kisser, though, so I guess that explains a lot. Also, Hannah once named a pimple Marcus, which I think is a good name for a pimple.

5 Things The Men In Black Franchise Needs To Do To Get Back On Track After International

Chris Hemsworth in Men In Black International

To say the least, F. Gary Gray’s Men In Black International didn’t work out as well as many had hoped it would. After being dormant for nearly a decade, the sci-fi franchise returned with a new chapter that has not only been bashed by critics, but got an uninspired response from audiences on opening weekend. It’s a major disappointment, and many have wondered if it could lead to the end of the series’ big screen run.

At this point, only time will tell if that turns out to be true – but if it does, one could make a fair argument calling it a mistake. While there are a lot of things that aren’t done well in Men In Black International, there still exists a tremendous amount of potential in the franchise, and things could totally turn around with the implementation of just a few changes in another installment. It’s with this in mind that I have put together this feature, suggesting five things the Men In Black brand can do to get things back on track:

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in Men In Black International

Keep Tessa Thompson And Chris Hemsworth As The Stars

There are many reasons why Men In Black International doesn’t really work, but not listed among them are the contributions of stars Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth. On the contrary, it’s because of their individual charisma and wonderful chemistry together that the movie is at least semi-watchable. They are unquestionably the best part of the new film, and it would be a serious mistake if the franchise were to try and replace them in favor of fresh faces for a follow-up.

Not only are the performances from Tessa Thompson and Chris Hemsworth solid, but the characters they play are actually well-drawn as well (the big issue is just that the script gives them nothing to do). Both Agent M and Agent H get something different from the experience of being in Men In Black, and there is tremendous potential in the idea of future chapters that force them to evolve and change their perspectives on the covert alien tracking organization. The foundation for larger arcs is now established thanks to Men In Black International, and sequels could take them in hundreds of great directions better than what we’ve already seen.

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in Men In Black International

Do More World Building With The International Premise

One of the most disappointing aspects of Men In Black International is the way in which it fails to deliver on what feels like a promise from the title: world-building. While Barry Sonnenfeld’s trilogy primarily kept the extraterrestrial-driven action contained to the streets of New York City, F. Gary Gray’s film seemed like it would offer the opportunity for audiences to discover how alien activity is monitored around the world. But it doesn’t. Instead, it simply uses London instead of Manhattan as a base of operations (the style of the headquarters being basically identical), and the story just happens to take the film’s heroes to multiple other countries.

There is still a lot we don’t know about Men In Black’s global activities following Men In Black International – so it would be nice to see a future installment of the franchise actually make an effort to answer some questions. While the London office may look the same and operate similarly to the one in New York, there is still the possibility that there is variety to be found in other nations, and perhaps even a few controversial methods of doing things in certain offices that could spark conflict (and therefore plot). After four movies this brand has still really only scratched the surface when it comes to the potential of this expansive sci-fi universe, and it would be great to see more digging.

Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in Men In Black International

Tie The Plot Into History

As described by producer Walter Parkes, Men In Black has a rather straightforward comedic approach: it takes the world that we all know and recognize, and then proceeds to shine a light on all of the weirdness that exists within it. Because of this, there is an extra bit of fun to be had with major depicting historical events, as it’s entertaining to watch a sci-fi movie tell its own version of the way things happened through a unique special lens. This was an element that was well implemented in the original trilogy, but it’s disappointing that it’s lacking in Men In Black International.

Past Men In Black movies changed the way we look the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Park, and altered our perception of the Apollo 11 rocket launch in 1969 – and that’s a tradition we’d love to see come back in future films. From Area 51 or the events at Roswell, to the story of Utsuro-bune in 19th century Japan, there is a lot of material in our own world that could serve as inspiration for new blockbusters.

Pawny in Men In Black International

Go Back To Using Special Effects

There are many ways in which the film industry has changed since the release of the first Men In Black 22 years ago – but one of the most significant is the way in which visual effects have decimated the special effects industry. As software continues to evolve and improve, Hollywood has almost exclusively started relying on digital solutions over practical ones when trying to make the impossible possible, and it has totally changed modern moviemaking. Unfortunately, it also makes Men In Black International stick out like a sore thumb when compared to its predecessors in the series, and in the future it’s something that needs to be remedied by the franchise.

Legendary effects artist Rick Baker did some of the best work of his career contributing a crazy variety of alien designs to the original Men In Black trilogy, but all of the magic of his tactile work is totally absent in Men In Black International – which is populated with computer-generated otherworldly beings that very clearly aren’t breathing the same air as their scene partners. In the same way that J.J. Abrams brought special effects artistry back to the Star Wars franchise with The Force Awakens – recognizing it as a key part of the brand’s aesthetic – any future Men In Black movie would be smart to return to Hollywood’s more classical techniques.

Pawny M and H in Men In Black International

Make The Movies Scary

If one were to rank the villains of the Men In Black films, the character occupying the top spot would be undisputed. The creation of Vincent D’Onofrio’s Edgar/Bug is one of the great accomplishments of the franchise, as the character is at the center of some of the original Men In Black’s best moments. It’s a shame that none of the sequels released since have been able to match his level of awesomeness – but one element that would help any future installments at least try would be leaning more into the horror/scary side of things.

Whether he was pulling his face skin to be more taut, or snapping at Agent J after eating Agent K, Edgar was frequently nightmare inducing during his screen time in Men In Black, and no villain in the series since then has attempted a similar energy. It’s too bad, because the legitimate scariness is not only entertaining, but it raises the stakes for the storytelling, and makes the audience more emotionally engaged with the plight of the heroes. The antagonists since the first movie have all been tamer in hopes of making the blockbusters more family friendly, but changing things up would be a great way to re-energize things post-Men In Black International.

If you were to hear about a new Men In Black movie entering development, what would you like to see it change after Men In Black International? Do you agree with our suggestions? Do you have a few of your own? Hit the comments section with all of your thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for all of the latest updates.

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Watch Bazzi Turn The Movie & TV Awards Stage Into His Own ‘Paradise’

It’s fitting that the cast of Euphoria were the ones to introduce Bazzi at the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards. Just as the HBO drama depicts the whirlwind exhilaration of being young and free, Bazzi’s blissful “Paradise” is all about “turning nights into memories” and reveling in love that makes you feel alive. And at the star-studded awards show — which aired on Monday night (June 17) — Bazzi definitely brought that kind of love to the stage.

Rocking an all-white outfit accented by touches of blue, the singer used an MPC machine to play the opening notes of “Paradise” from an intimate bedroom setup. But as soon as that rapturous first chorus hit, he bounded across the stage and brought the crowd to “paradise,” even making it rain blue confetti for the song’s climactic final chorus. Suffice to say, he turned this night into a memory.

Prior to his performance, Bazzi caught up with MTV News to talk about his new collaboration with 21 Savage, his love of Lizzo, and more — check that out here.

Lizzo Recreated Sister Act 2 With Her Juicy Movie & TV Awards Performance

Lauryn Hill, who?! For her first-ever performance at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, Lizzo channeled that musical great while creatively paying homage to the 1993 comedy Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit — and taking the show to church in the process.

Specifically, Lizzo recreated the film’s climatic scene: Hill’s Rita belts a gospel standard, then she and the rest of the student choir ditch their robes for a confident, exhilarating performance. In Lizzo’s case, she belted out her smash single “Juice” while a crew of hyped-up break dancers twirled and spun around her. But it was all eyes on the singer herself, who stunned in an all-denim outfit and glittery hair, proving why Elizabeth Moss, Tiffany Haddish, and Melissa McCarthy were justified in introducing her as “100 percent that bitch.”

The “Juice” diva even paused the song at one point to break into a Sister Act-inspired vocal exercise, before seamlessly transitioning right back into her shinin’ hit anthem. Check out the praise-worthy performance below.