Toy Story 3 (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Toy Story 3 (2010)

Dear Lily,

I hope when you are older you will get to read this letter.  Right now you are just getting the movie bug and find it fun going to see movies with daddy. You are not old enough to really know how much that means to me.  You see, daddy is a movie geek.  Before you were around daddy lived, breathed and loved films.  Mommy and daddy averaged watching one film in the theater per week and many more at home.   Once you were born I did not have the time to see nearly as many films because spending time with you was my new favorite thing to do.

When you were just a little baby I had already started to imagine you experiencing some of the great films that have been made and with me right by your side.  I couldn’t wait to watch Star Wars with you and buy you that first lightsaber and I was cherishing the idea of me and you going to the movies together and getting lost in the pictures flickering before us at 24 frames per second.

I now know that I pushed the films on you at way too early of an age, but you must forgive daddy  because he was excited to share his favorite things with his favorite person in the world.   If I was being honest I must also admit that after the 50th time of watching Beauty and the Beast I was desperate to watch ANYTHING else. So I tried to watch some of my favorite films with you when you were only two.  It didn’t go over well and within five minutes you were bored and then within ten you were gone.  I tried and tried but with no luck and after a while I gave up and started watching films like (shudder) Alvin and the Chipmunks with you.  Although they were not films I wanted to watch we were watching them together and that was the most important thing.

Then something miraculous happened and you started to love the Toy Story films right at the time the third one was being released.  As you know I am in love with these movies.  You have played with many of my toys I have collected over the years, have seen the posters up in the house and few things made me happier than sitting in bed with you on my lap and watching Buzz and Woody.

In the summer of 2010, you were 3 ½ and finally at the age where you were requesting stuff from us.  We had taken you to see films before both at the theater and a drive-in, but Toy Story 3 was the first time you were EXCITED about seeing a film.  Since I was just as excited we made the day an event.  We went to the toy store so you could pick out a toy from the film and of course you picked out your favorite character Jessie. With Jessie in your arms and you dressed up in Toy Story merchandise from head to toe we went to the movie.

All of us, even your little sister who was only 9 months old, were mesmerized by the film. We laughed (you really loved when Potato Head used a tortilla as a body) cheered on Woody and Buzz and were scared for the whole crew in the dump.

Then we got to the end of the film and I realized I was no longer seeing Toy Story on the screen-- I was seeing you.   If you remember a character in the film was named Bonnie and she was a little girl around your same age.  But that was not where the comparisons ended; she looked like you with her little brown hair full of curls and even dressed like you.

This realization left me breathless with a giant pit in my stomach.  Toy Story 3’s main theme was about moving on and letting go.  Andy grew up and didn’t need Woody in the same way that he did when he was a child.  Part of growing up is becoming your own man or woman, and, while you might have been sitting on my lap at that moment, I knew sooner than I would like I would have to let you go.

As the movie implied, growing up will have to happen, and that isn’t always easy for the people that have cared for you.  I will enjoy every second of watching you grow up and I definitely look forward to you seeing some of the more adult films you can’t watch with me yet (your mom has said no to me showing you Jaws), but I will always see you and your sister as my little girls.

Toy Story 3 is a damn fine movie without any help, but being able to experience the movie with you made it one of the greatest movie-going experiences of my life.  I also know that even after you have grown up and are not around everyday, I can always pop in Toy Story 3 and watch Bonnie. When I see her dancing around her yard with her boots and curly hair I will remember all the great times we had when you were little.

Maybe in many years from now you will have kids as great as you and will sit down with them to watch Toy Story 3 and you will realize how fast your time goes and how crucial it is to cherish the small moments.  Maybe you will see your kids in the film or totally understand the message of growing up and letting go.  Just maybe at that time the message of the movie will hit you like it hit me and you will finally get the answer to the question you asked me at the end of the film of “Daddy, why are you crying?”

I love you now and forever,


Posted by Ryan

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  1. Very moving letter and overall I’ve enjoyed the 30 years column. You keenly put aside the top grossers that still endure as genuinely great movies and those that got ‘over’ purely because the time was right so to speak and not because of quality.

  2. Thank you for the kind comments. I am glad that you enjoyed the column. It was a joy writing it.

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