I cannot tell you how many times I have seen Toy Story.
I saw it in theaters a few times as a three-year-old; I ran my VHS of it into the ground; it was one of my first DVDs; it was one of the first movies I bought a second DVD for to get a collector's edition; I saw it in 3D during a re-release; I watched it with my then-girlfriend (now wife) before the fourth one came out; plenty of other times I can't remember, times that blend into my subconscious.
It's one of my favorite movies, and one of the best movies ever (at least to me). Though, this past Sunday, the Nashville Symphony gave me a new way to look at an all-time favorite.
The film screened for Toy Story in Concert, which sets the movie on a big screen and accompanies it with the Nashville Symphony playing the film's score in real time. I'd done this before with La La Land, and have seen the symphony play the music of John Williams and various Disney/Pixar films on other occasions in the past. This, though, really drove home for me what a special experience this is for any movie fan, a way to watch something you've seen a million times before with added appreciation and new surprise.
Randy Newman's score has always been one of the undersung aspects to Pixar's groundbreaker, with his songs (including "You've Got a Friend in Me") the perennial focuses for his contributions on the movie. Though, the symphony offered a spirited staging of Newman's whimsical backing, and really brought the house down when backing the big songs ("Strange Things" with a symphony was a thrill).
Being able to take in Toy Story on a big screen is always a must, but the music being all around you rather than on a typical film mix really gave the film some depth I've never really experienced before as a die-hard Toy Story fan. You really felt the lyricism in the storytelling pop even more with the music right there for the taking. It really enhanced what is already a pretty perfect film in its own right. It's hard to find experiences like that with films you've grown up with and have seen countless times.
The symphony hosts regular live scorings throughout the year. Recently, they've burned through the Harry Potter catalog and will play Home Alone seemingly every year with Christmas around the corner.
Over the next year, they've got a Sound of Music singalong on July 17, Ghostbusters right around Halloween from Oct. 14-16, Home Alone Dec. 2-4, a special "Music of Star Wars" showcase Jan. 12-15, 2023, music from the Final Fantasy games on Jan. 25, Pixar's Ratatouille March 17-19 (another personal favorite), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 May 11-14 and Black Panther June 15-18. Tickets are already on sale for all concerts.
If you're a movie fan and you want to really get the full-full experience, hop on over to the Schermerhorn and take in a movie you know and love in a way you might not have thought possible. I'll for sure be watching Toy Story again sometime in the future, but I'm unsure if I'll ever experience the film quite the same way again.
The Nashville Symphony makes it possible for Nashville's film community to not just watch their favorite movies, but soak them in with a tidal wave of orchestral awakening. Even if you've seen your favorite movie enough times to quote it, you'll still find something new to appreciate with a symphonic backing.