Stupid Hollywood Lessons (part 1)

I encourage other Hypothica authors to contribute to this series but try and keep it on target with the lessons Hollywood is teaching us.  The topic of other Hollywood stupidity is far too broad.

Some time ago I watched Toy Story 3.  To avoid spoiling too much I will focus on the parts of the film that are important to this post.  It takes place in a world where toys walk and talk when there aren’t any people around.  The film follows a party of toys that find themselves in a day care center.  The toys in this center are led by a stuffed bear who seperates the toys into a favored group that plays with the older kids and an unfavored group that has to endure the rough treatment of the younger kids.

The film portrays the bear as a villain.  But…how fair is that really?  SOME toys have to wind up in the younger kids group.  And the way the bear handles it (a seniority system) is about as fair as you can get.  The system is portrayed as a kind of prison arrangement but…in that position how would YOU enforce the rules?

When I actually think about it I can’t agree with the lesson Toy Story 3 tries to teach.

  • JGStorms

    G’day whtllnew!
    I find the ending offers a better system. If I recall, they opted for shifts throughout the day, rather than dooming a particular group. Enforcement could be tricky, but overall the pain is diluted rather than piled on a few. Who will either cower or rebel. Imho.

    If you’re offended by wannabe writers, please don’t read past here. But if you’d like to see an alternative style to your post…

    *Take a breath, and remember the movie that brought you so much joy.

    Now that you’re feeling upbeat, let’s talk about movies that left a bad taste in your mouth. Movies based on stood life lessons, if you’re Hypothica author, u want to read your part in this series.

    Today, let’s look at the twisted vision in Toy Story 3. No spoilers: Toys walk and talk when there aren’t any people around. The main toys find themselves in a day care center run by a stuffed bear who seperates the toys into favored and unfavored groups. The favored group plays with the older kids and the unfavored group has to endure the rough treatment of the younger kids.

    The film portrays the bear as a villain. But, is that true?
    SOME toys have to wind up with the younger kids. And the way the bear handles it (a seniority system) is about as fair as you can get. The system is portrayed as a kind of prison arrangement but…in that position how would YOU enforce the rules?

    • whtllnew

      [If I recall, they opted for shifts throughout the day, rather than dooming a particular group]

      I don’t recall that bit. Even if it’s true, though, I don’t see that as really better than a seniority system.

      • JGStorms

        Fair enough, but that’s not so much stupidity as it is differing politics.

  • Kaito Kid

    A little off-topic, but I have a couple ideas for what I think would make good Hypothica posts, is there somewhere (an email adress?) I can send them?

    • JGStorms

      Iprayiam@gmail , if I’m not mistaken..

  • priceymark

    Other lessons that Hollywood teaches us:

    Being a good person is more important than being attractive and popular (as long as you eventually become attractive and popular).
    -She’s All That; The Princess Diaries, Mean Girls, any Disney princess movie

    Being a good person is more important than winning (as long as you win in the end)
    -Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights, Mighty Ducks, any sports movie

    Being a good person is more important than having money (as long as you get rich in the end)
    Pursuit of Happyness, Jerry Maguire, Slumdog Millionaire

  • Matthew Schweigert

    While the system seemed like seniority it was a bit more than that.

    The teddy bear recruited the strongest toys to enforce the hierarchy. A major plot point was Buzz Lightyear being recruited/brainwashed as muscle. I believe Bo-Peep or Barbie was also invited for more adult reasons.

    So, all new recruits by default (humans) were dumped in with the preschool kids. The teddy bear then tapped the talent pool.

    They painted him as a dictator that used bullying and threats to keep people in line.

    When he is eventually toppled they select Woody as leader (naturally) and adopt his idea of taking turns and helping each other shoulder or avoid the worst the preschoolers have to offer.

    The new system’s motivation is where the strongest toys are rewarded for braving the worst conditions with admiration from fellow toys. I’m not sure how this exactly plays out but I believe one of the old “bad guy” toys gets a kiss from a girl toy. So, us adults can assume this is partly based on sexual rewards. However that works in toy land.

    If I had to make the rules a voluntary system where toys seek to endure the hardships seems easier to maintain than a dictatorship.

  • Kingfisher12

    Hollywood sometimes does morally ambiguous stories, but rarely for children. A filmaker knows you can’t complicate the story too much by questions about whether the bad guy is really a bad guy, or just trying to make the best out of bad situation.

    I agree with Matthew Schweigert. The lesson wasn’t about how a bad system was made a better one. It was about how the protagonists stopped a bully and restored a sense of community and friendship.

    Toy story 3 is not supposed to be a lesson on how to run a happy daycare. It is supposed to be about how a good leader acts towards those he leads. The bear rules with an iron fist, Woody led with friendship.

    This is not a good leadership style for all situations, but for children, and informal social groups it is.

  • Umm, coming back after a nice week’s holiday last week, not wanting to rain on anyone’s right to discuss whatever they want here, is this really what Hypothica exists for? have our thought experiments on how to solve big issues of the day, year, or decade abstracted away from the specific history/context of US or UK or wherever’s politics now devolved into us discussing Star Wars, Toy Story and Hollywood? and is it a coincidence that the number of posts per discussion is shrinking considerably?

    • Kaito Kid

      I really hope Hypothica is not dead, but I really don’t see what the problem is with those types of posts. I like reading discussions (and giving my opinion if nobody said what I think yet) about the “old” subjects and the “new” ones too.

      Obviously a week without posts doesn’t mean anything, the writers could be taking abreak, lacking ideas, not having time to post, etc. But for such an interesting, albeit small, blog, I can’t help but be scared that it could die at any time. Just at the time I finally got around to starting my own blog too (, one of my three “interesting” blogs advertised in it could die? Not thrilling.

      • I agree Kalto, I hope Hypothica is just taking a break. I see you were wanting to suggest topics to Ipray, may I encourage you to go right ahead, he’s a really good guy – I suggested a couple of topics a couple of months ago (one of the most successful discussions, about immigration, and one much less successful about privatisation)..

        I don’t have a problem with discussions of films and hollywood per se, the most I can say is that they don’t thrill me, and I’d noticed that the number of comments per host had dipped recently, so I put 2 and 2 together and got a crisis as the result:-)

        • Kaito Kid

          I actually already sent an email at the address JGStorms posted, in the same day, IPrayIam didn’t answer it yet. If it never gets posted here, I’ll probably touch on thos topics on my blog, but they really fit this blog’s format more.

          • 404_Username_Not_Found

            Well that is depressing because I just show him an email last night. I hope he gets them.

          • Kaito Kid

            I hope so too…

          • Kingfisher12

            I’ll second that.

        • Kaito Kid

          @disqus_nRUYRXYJLp:disqus @travisbooth:disqus @404_username_not_found:disqus @EdmontonJim:disqus @whtllnew:disqus @jgstorms:disqus
          I made one of my topics idea (something related to the orlando shooting) into a post on my blog. It fits the hypothica format a lot better, but Hypothica seems to be on pause at the moment. I’ll try to wait as much as possible between my posts on my other topic ideas hoping Hypothica comes back so they can be discussed here instead.
          Still, if any of you want to go discuss it over there in the meantime, that’d be nice 🙂

      • whtllnew

        I think we’re suffering from a problem that I foresaw before the creation of Hypothica: lack of audience. There may also be something to what Duncan says about us straying from what Hypothica was originally supposed to be about. Perhaps we lost our audience because we weren’t different enough.

        • Kaito Kid

          I must admit that I’ve been following Hypothica ever since the very first day, but I almost never bothered to comment because I like reading opinions more than posting them. I’m probably not the only one, so I’m probably part of the problem…

          • Yeh, let’s all agree that it’s YOUR fault:-) On the other hand, if you started out not commenting (when there were lots of comments per discussion) and now you are commenting (and there are fewer comments per discussion), then you’re clearly trying your best to keep the number of comments per discussion stable:-)

    • Travis

      Discussing Hollywood in general doesn’t necessarily have to be low brow. We could discuss the mounting pressure on Hollywood to ease up on whitewashing…

      It seems everyone is blaming each other. Is there a solution? Does there need to be? Is this a Hollywood problem that deserves a Hollywood answer or is this just another systemic racist issue endemic of society, perhaps that would go away by solving other similar racist issues?

      I find these sociological questions fascinating but often have a hard time sorting them out.

      • Whitewashing sounds like a possible interesting question for us to discuss, Travis.

        Wearing my rose-tinted Panglossian glasses, we should surely start by saying that the film industry is getting better over time,

        I don’t think a modern day white actor would “blackface up” to play Othello, as Olivier did back in the day?

        Similarly, on UK tv until the mid 70s there was the popular entertainment show “the black and white minstrels”, white singers “blackfacing up” and singing negro spirituals. It’s hard now to look at that and not wince, just as it’s impossible not to wince at some of the casual racism in various 60s and 70s sitcoms.