This post was written on Blue Monday. I’m not sure when you’re reading this but I just wanted you to be aware of where all this came from. Truth be told, I don’t think I ever knew what Blue Monday was before today. It was always just a New Order song or a newspaper headline when a team in blue wins a big match on a Monday.
As it turns out Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year. The term was actually given to the third Monday in January by Sky Travel in 2005, so the whole thing is gibberish. It got me thinking though. On the supposed “most depressing day of the year” what should I do to raise my spirits? Who should I call on for help? Simple, Buzz and Woody.
Mental health and the conversation around mental health are extremely important to me as I’m sure they also are to you. It’s not something that should be taken for granted and is never something to be shrugged off or ignored. Being honest with yourself and others about how you’re feeling is of the utmost importance. In that spirit I wanted to tell you a bit about what’s happening in my life. Don’t worry, it won’t take long and I promise you I will talk about Toy Story soon.
Everything in my life right now is great with the exception of one thing. I am unemployed. I have been for some time now and it is hard (that’s what she said). Being unemployed when you don’t want to be is extremely tough. It can make you question your self worth, your skills, your abilities and can obliterate your confidence.
The reason I’m writing this is because I sat thinking about my own personal situation, about trying to find a job that’s right for me and I thought, I know it feels like I’m the only person on the planet who is going through all this but I’m not. I can’t be. I hope that someone who might be going through something similar reads this and realises that they’re not on their own. One of the major issues with feeling worthless or inadequate is the loneliness that accompanies it.
So maybe Blue Monday was invented by a travel company, who cares at this point. Maybe it’s just a tough day in your world. You probably feel like it’s a burden or you’re annoying someone by telling them you’ve had a tough day, but please don’t. Your friends and family can help you. They can listen, they can make you laugh, offer advice…my advice would be to watch Toy Story…that’s what I did on Blue Monday.
It might seem like an odd choice for a 33-year-old man to watch on a Monday afternoon. I joked in another post about how if I was honest I would admit to myself that Toy Story is my favourite movie ever made. I’m starting to feel like it’s not a joke. It doesn’t matter if it’s daytime, nighttime, midweek or weekend, Toy Story is awesome and it has aged extremely well partly because it’s animated but also because it’s really really clever. Plus it deals with a lot of universal themes like jealousy, forgiveness, thinking you can fly and cruelty to toys, that are truly timeless.
At the heart of the movie is the relationship between Woody the cowboy and Buzz the space ranger. It’s so easy to relate to Woody. He sees himself as the leader of the toys and Andy’s favourite and then all of a sudden he’s replaced by an idiot. He doesn’t understand why people can’t see “the space ranger” for what he really is, a buffoon. Woody is Barack Obama and Buzz is Trump. I think we can all agree that we would enjoy watching Obama hit Trump with a car and knock him into some bushes.
What always catches me off guard is how mean Woody is, often for no reason at all. He tries to eliminate Buzz, he’s a control freak, he causes irreparable damage to a child who will be haunted by toys for the rest of his life. But it’s the casual meanness that I find most appealing. At one point he yells at Slinky to shut up just because he doesn’t like what he’s saying. Plus there’s a lot of bad feeling between him and Mr Potato Head and it can’t be all one-sided.
There is a casual meanness that’s been ingrained in me ever since I saw this movie. I find meanness hilarious. I think it’s probably a character flaw. If I had been in Full Metal Jacket I would not have made it past the first day, I would have laughed way too much. That film veers into full on bullying which is maybe the thing I hate the most in the world so it obviously stops being funny when that starts to happen.
I will periodically say something mean to someone and forget that they’re not in on the joke. I’ve gotten some very strange looks for calling my dog a dummy in public. But she is a dummy and I’m only saying it from a place of love. She’s a totally lovable dope. My Fiancee is in on the joke so I quite frequently say mean things to her but all for comedy, you understand, and she enjoys it. Or at least she says she does. Hopefully I never find her in the bathroom in the middle of the night with a shotgun. That would be bad.
Buzz for the most part is an idiot. Even after he’s seen the commercial explaining explicitly to him that he cannot fly he still climbs to a high height and leaps off to what could have been his own death. Everyone knows that you should try to fly from ground level first, it’s flight testing 101. Also, I’m not trying to pick apart the logic of a movie about talking toys but is there a reason why Buzz freezes with the rest of the toys even though he thinks he’s a space ranger and not an actual toy?
It’s often overlooked how perfect the soundtrack to this film is. Certain TV shows or films or music have the effect of a cup of soup on me. Meaning that they make me feel all cozy and warm inside. When I hear ‘You’ve Got a Friend In Me’ by Randy Newman? That’s an instant cup of soup!
This was the beginning of an astounding run of films made by Pixar. Toy Story (Inspite of John Lasseter) , A Bug’s Life (Even though it has Kevin Spacey), Toy Story 2 (Lasseter again) Monsters Inc (I think that one is clean)…and it continued. It was an insane run of films, each arguably better than or at least equal to the last. Pixar had a seemingly magic formula for creating child and adult friendly films that can stand the test of time. Films that can help you get through a Blue Monday or a Tough Tuesday or whatever day you need a pick me up on.