Buzz Lightyear finds himself in a support group for fast-food toys in "Small Fry," which is being shown before "The Muppets."
It's easy to complain about the movie experience today. Pricey tickets and concessions, everything in 3-D, jerky moviegoers who text or talk on their phones during the films -- who needs it? But recent films offer at least one trend I'd like to see more of -- the return of before-the-film shorts.
If you go to see "The Muppets," before Kermit and crew get rolling, you'll watch a short called "Small Fry" featuring the "Toy Story" characters. Buzz Lightyear winds up attending a support group for fast-food toys (Tai Kwon Doe! Koala Copter! Pizza Bot! Gary Grappling Hook!) and it's pretty darn entertaining. Yes, as you'll see in the clip below, that's "Glee's" Jane Lynch as Neptuna, the mermaid leading the group.
Before "Arthur Christmas" begins, there's a video of Justin Bieber's version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." Breakdancing steampunk 3-D elves aren't really what I associate with Christmas, but I'm sure Bieber fans were thrilled.
And earlier this month, Disney announced that when "Beauty and the Beast 3D" hits theaters in January, it will come with a short called "Tangled Ever After," featuring preparations for Rapunzel and Flynn's wedding.
I'd sure like to see this become more common, whether just with kid movies, or with others as well. Those awful commercials we're sometimes forced to watch before the feature don't count -- but real short films, be they cartoons, music videos, or something else, are usually a treat. Throw in an action serial and a World War II newsreel and now we're talking.
Are you a fan of shorts before movies, or do you just want to get right to the main film? Tell us in the comments.