The 2 Critics Who Thought Toy Story 3 Was Rotten

Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 hauled in a big toy chest full of cash this weekend. Estimated at $109 million, it was 10th biggest opening weekend in US history, Ugly Americansand the 2nd highest for animated film, behind only Shrek the Third. And with a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, it’s clear that this will be a rare double-whammy – a critically-lauded film that hits it big at the box office.

But not all critics fell in love with the film, and the two dissenting opinions are from Armond White at the New York Press (who didn’t like WALL-e or Up either) and Cole Smithey, the self-appointed “Smartest Film Critic in the World.” It’s a curiosity more than anything, but I find it interesting to inspect why this 1% falls outside the norm. Here’s what they said:

Armond White – 2.5 stars out of 5
“…a bored game that only the brainwashed will buy into.”
“…humor depends on the recognition of worn-out toys.”
“…it’s for non-thinking children and adults.”

Cole Smithey – 2 stars out of of 5
“…inappropriately cruel.”
“…too intense for younger children.”
“…Wrongheaded and overtly mature for young audiences.”

*** UPDATE ***
I probably should have hinted at my side on this issue. I’m merely fanning the flames, as any blogger worth his weight would do, but I surely support any critic’s right to bash whatever they want when the want. I’m more interested here in the way Pixar’s rabid fans aren’t having any of it. It speaks to something that might go beyond just “fandom” into something more holy.

Also, read Smithey’s reply to the fur that’s flown over the issue.


  1. armond white gave satc2 3.5 stars. if he managed to give that horrible movie a higher rating than toy story 3, his opinion really doesn’t matter. it seems like he just pulls a number out of a hat, and writes his review based on that. what a little troll.

  2. Ryan Summers June 21, 2010

    I don’t believe for a second that Armond White honestly believes much of his own reviews. He’s just fishing with juvenile link-bait, and the only time anyone ever talks about him is when he reviews something from Pixar. His antics are worn out at this point.

  3. Aunty Mavis June 21, 2010

    How dare they challenge collectivism!

  4. Burning Fight June 21, 2010

    What’s wrong with that? , I haven’t seen TS3 and have great expectations but come on, Why can’t people disagree ?
    That’s what sickens me in this Industry…

  5. Author

    It looks a few of you have made the assumption that I took issue with these two critics. Read my post again, and you’ll see that I’m merely aiming your attention at this. I find the resulting witch-hunt fascinating – there’s over 700 comments on Armond’s thread over at RottenTomatoes, and you get the feeling that the audience wants everyone to get in line.

  6. Cole Smithey June 21, 2010

    Cole Smithey Responds to “Toy Story 3″ Defenders

    After beating Armond White to the punch of upsetting “Toy Story 3′s” perfect 100% RottenTomatoes score I realize how fascistically fetishistic RT readers are about things like protecting a “perfect score” for a movie.

    What’s more surprising to me is how few “critics” exercise the demands of their job description. There isn’t a film I can think of that doesn’t have detractors, so why should “Toy Story 3″ be any different? That I had to come along behind 150 “critics” to be the first one to speak out about the film’s weaknesses, and they are many, speaks volumes.

    I have young nieces and nephews with responsible parents who are very sensitive to what their kids see. I could not in good consience endorse “Toy Story 3″ as a G-rated film that meets their criteria.

    On top of that, Hollywood is currently changing the game on what audiences should expect from a “3-D” movie in order to charge higher ticket prices. As a critic, I’ve had the luxury of seeing many “3-D” films, and know what that medium should deliver on a consistent basis. Again, I cannot endorse the watered-down version of “3-D” that Disney/Pixar is selling with “Toy Story 3.”

    As for all of the personal attacks that readers make in their rude e-mails to me, I understand that people need to let off steam, especially in these very difficult times. It goes with the territory of being a critic who takes his job seriously.

    By definition, being a critic means it is our job to “criticize.” I wrote this review just as I approach writing any piece of criticism–with honesty, sincerity, and a singular mission to express my ideas as clearly and briefly as possible.

    I gave “Toy Story 3″ a C+, and I stand by that grade. A masterpiece like Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket” only has a “96%” rating on RT, but I don’t think anyone’s losing sleep over the fact that it isn’t a perfect “100%.” It’s still a far better film than “Toy Story 3.”

    To feign indignation over such a trivial issue is a sign of ulterior motives from people pandering to some imaginary form of lowest common denominator.

  7. Jeremy June 21, 2010

    I saw this movie the day it came out, meaning, packed theater. And it’s safe to say that everyone in that theater were the people who saw Toy Story eleven years ago when they were younger.

    I doubt that they did this on purpose, but maybe they were directing it toward that older audience, since their fans have grown up.

    However, the kids that were in that film, do you actually think they saw the first two and understood it? This movie was quality no matter what anyone says about it because everyone is talking about it.

  8. Burning Fight June 21, 2010

    My bad Aaron I wasn’t clear, and it wasn’t aimed at you but the internet brainless fanboys, that trend is really dangerous and unfortunately feeds some people among the Industry. Criticizing DW or PXR has consequences…
    I enjoyed many Pixar movies and dislikes others, like everything, nothing’s perfect. Smithey has an excellent point with the Stanley Kubrick.

    Thanks for sharing these infos.

  9. Aaron H. Bynum June 21, 2010

    Meh. Their outrage isn’t worth my outrage. Such is life.

    As for the film being “inappropriately” cruel or dark… several months ago, I read a film review from a nine-year-old who watched CORALINE. He picked up on pretty much all the thematic intrigue of the film with almost comical accuracy.

  10. Cole Smithey seems to be a little out of touch with reality. I don’t think he remembers being a kid or has kids himself. Children are capable of handling a lot and understand more then we would like to believe.

  11. Joe Corrao June 23, 2010

    Armond White …ha!

  12. Anonymous October 31, 2010


    I think you should realise that Cole had a pretty harsh childhood. For him, movies like Toy Story 3, that glorify childhood as an innocent and blissful period, perpetuate a potential falsehood.

    Yes, I’m defending Cole, because I’m tired of the smear campaign thats dedicated to likening him to his half-brother. Cole’s argument with Toy Story 3 is less critical and more personal, but I don’t fault him.

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