Toy Story 4

[5.0 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

The IMDB raters (as I type) have Toy Story 4 ranked #177 on the best movie list of all time.

Hey, maybe. I certainly liked it a lot. Mrs. Salad and I went to BarnZ's in Barrington, and—hey!—since we were there last, they installed reclining seats! Gotta keep up with the times, I guess.

We may also have been the only people there without kids in tow. We are no longer ashamed of this.

Plot: Woody and the gang have settled in with new owner Bonnie. And Woody's super-protective, even to the extent of tagging along to Bonnie's Kindergarten orientation. Where Bonnie is initially miserable, but a little deft interference gets her started on a craft project: a spork, pipe cleaners, tongue depressor, googly eyes, etc.… et voilà! Forky is alive!

Really, those are the rules of the Toy Story universe. Unfortunately, as we've seen before, those rules don't guarantee that the toys will be smart or well-adjusted. Remember, years back, when Buzz Lightyear thought he was an actual astronaut? Well, Forky considers himself to be … trash. And, true to that nature, he keeps trying to throw himself away. Suicidal! Woody decides this must not be allowed!

And some wonderful high jinks ensue. Those Pixar folks can still tell a story, simultaneously hilarious, suspenseful, and heartstring-tugging. New characters are introduced while we're under way, and old characters are rediscovered.

Particularly good: Keanu Reeves as "Duke Caboom", Canadian motorcycle daredevil. Doomed to not quite live up to his TV commercial hype. That's a crisis.

Only complaint: the aliens are mostly MIA. I love those guys.