Best Movies of the 2010s
#9 – Toy Story 3 (2010)
Yesterday’s film was the most recent on this list, and today’s is the oldest. Toy Story 3 just made the decade cut, premiering in 2010.
2019 provided a nice opportunity to revisit it, given the release of the fourth film in the series. The popular consensus on Toy Story 4 (before anyone saw it) was that it was entirely unnecessary because Toy Story 3 was such a perfect ending for these characters. TS4 ended up being pretty darn great in its own right, managing to find new metaphors to mine for humor and pathos, but it still paled in comparison to this masterpiece.
You don’t hear songs from The Princess and the Frog in those Disney “greatest moments” medleys. The dominant musicals of the hand-drawn era are The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lion King and Aladdin.
But for my money, Randy Newman’s songs and score for The Princess and the Frog are as sublime as any of those classics.
That’s because the film gave Newman the opportunity to fully mine his beloved New Orleans jazz, with enough crowd-pleasing Disney sheen to make it go down easy for all ages.
As I write this, I’ve bought 15 albums so far in 2017. I plan to buy at least one more (U2’s Songs of Experience) and maybe two, if Morrissey’s Low in High School is well-reviewed.
Fewer than 20 new albums in a year is pretty lame by serious music fan standards. Music websites and magazines will publish Top 50 lists that might not even include some of these titles. But I tend to buy music by the artists I like, only occasionally dabbling in new artists, and I’m fine with that.
Who but Randy Newman can deliver both laugh out loud funny and hauntingly sad songs with the same finesse?
Today’s SOTD, ‘Same Girl,’ from Newman’s 1983 album Trouble in Paradise, is a somber declaration of love from a pimp to one of his prostitutes. Another thing I love about Newman… he writes songs about things very few artists would ever consider.
Our final Montauk Madness Round Four matchup is another good one. Randy Newman vs. The Beatles.
Newman took out Adele and The Rolling Stones before besting Fiona Apple in Round Three with 80% of the vote. The Beatles blanked Shakira in Round One but have had a progressively harder path, knocking out Ben Folds before winning a relatively close battle against Lyle Lovett, 64/36.
Round Three of Montauk Madness should be the most difficult yet, and this matchup certainly fits the bill. Two piano-playing singer-songwriters from different generations, both comfortably outside the mainstream. Randy Newman vs. Fiona Apple.
Newman defeated Adele with 90% of the vote in Round One, then The Rolling Stones with 89% in Round Two. Apple took down Dar Williams 80/20 in the first round before winning a tougher contest (60/40) against Brad Paisley.