Friday, June 30, 2017

Try something new, huh?

Last Sunday, about a hundred miles into our trip to Delaware (yeah, Delaware), we passed the massive Dover International Speedway. And because I'm a Dad, I essentially demanded that my kids look up from their devices and take a gander at that!

Now, since I'm not a backwards hillbilly, I've never been to a NASCAR event, but I almost pulled the car over immediately when my wife, gazing longingly out the window, wistfully said, You know, I'd go to race if you took me.

Wait, what?

You'd willingly want to go to a racetrack, surround yourself with a bunch of redneck a-holes, and watch a bunch of stupid cars drive in circles? Really?

But, didn't we just do that?

Even though it reminds me of the glorious time when my son was a wee lad, I hate just about everything concerning the Cars franchise. The latest installment, Cars 3, isn't the outright lemon that Cars 2 [review] was, but trust me, that ain't saying much.

What's that, you don't give a damn about the plot? Neither do I. But here goes anyway:

In the Piston Cup, a new wave of racers have cropped up, and these speedy youngsters are forcing all the old-heads into retirement. Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), the once upstart rookie, now a seasoned vet, crashes in the final race and appears to be finished. But when he heads back to Radiator Springs for rehab, hanging it up is the last thing on his mind.

Honestly, at this point, I was kind of on board with what Pixar was offering up as Cars 3, at least initially, is a welcome return to the pace and themes of the original (again, not a film I want to sleep with, but I wouldn't kick it out of the bed, either). McQueen's nostalgia for his old mentor Doc Hudson (the late Paul Newman) was totally welcome, and the idea of going out on your own terms was also appreciated. But then...well...

...the girl showed up.

See, after Lightning finally realizes that he can't cut it on the track, he decides that his legacy will instead be tied to mentoring another racer: a female car named Cruz Rivera. Yep, somewhere along the way, Cruz was told she'd never be a race car, you know, because she's, uh...different.

Cruz and Lightning, training.
Or, as it's known around here, the part where I went to get more popcorn.
Whoa, whoa...whoa. Before you accuse me of being a sexist dickhead (uh, which I am), let me foolishly attempt to explain myself.

  • First, I have a daughter, which doesn't really mean anything, but isn't that what a-holes say before they show you what misogynistic bastards they are? I'm pretty sure that's how this goes (Oh, and I have a mom, too). 
  • Second, just about anybody you ask will tell you that Cars films exist solely to sell toys, and this female empowerment angle felt a bit sneaky, like the whole thing was designed to simply get into a different, more fashionable set of pockets. I guess girls also deserve the chance to needlessly buy dumb shit like boys do, right?
  • Third, and I realize this makes me sound like a terrible person (uh, which I am), but we get it, girls are tough, too. Look, I'm not even close to saying that women/ladies/girls don't kick ass (trust me, they do), nor that they shouldn't be portrayed on film doing so, but good God, I feel like Disney is f--king relentless lately. As I guy who has been watching films for over thirty years, crying here we go again in regard to a female hero is the biggest dick move ever, but...I guess that's what I'm doing.
I realize this movie wouldn't have been any better or worse regardless of the hero's gender, sure, but I felt like, in this particular situation, the move was very calculated. And even worse? It wasn't at all interesting. 

Speaking of boring, misguided, and likely way off base, here are the Yays and Boos for Cars 3. I'm telling you now, this will be the last Cars film that will ever be reviewed at Two Dollar Cinema. Hopefully.

This scene, though entirely unnecessary... a helluva good time.
  • Dude, the short film LOU is nothing short of amazing. I'm usually scared of what's in the Lost and Found, but now I want to dive in and hug everything
  • Even though it bummed me out, it was great to hear Paul Newman's incredible voice again. Same goes for Tom Magliozzi from Car Talk. I love that guy, too.
  • Man, that crash was epic. Hell, looking at my kids, possibly even traumatic. 
  • The whole beach-training sequence, while likely designed to sell Beach Training Playsets! was not only super cool, but also super sexy.
  • As was 99% of the film, honestly, as shocking no one, Pixar's level of visual detail is peerless. I'm convinced that some of this stuff is actual scenery, not something animated.
  • Man, that finishing move was fantastic. Night racing was too.
  • Okay, so even if I'm down on the whole thing, any movie that reminds me of The Karate Kid can't be all bad (or should I say The Next Karate Kid?).
  • And finally, even if I'm complaining like the world's biggest asshole about dang ol' girls girlin' up man-time! I actually thought the story, as a whole, was inspired. Wait, what? No, really. After sucking the exhaust pipe of the second film, I genuinely appreciated the way they brought the story full-circle. Oh, I still strongly dislike these movies, but at least it seemed like someone out there gave a shit, you know?
This is Jackson Storm.
And, like everyone that isn't old, he's terrible.
  • I ate a lot of Chewy bars for this movie. A lot of Chewy bars.
  • So...we're making trailers for shorts now? Hmm...
  • Okay, c'mon, let's get this out of the way now: How are there little kid cars? have sex with one another? Is that what you're saying?
  • Armie Hammer plays Jackson Storm. And shocking no one, yes, Jackson Storm is an a-hole.
  • Chick Hicks is not played by Michael Keaton in this film. Yes, one of the best characters in a terrible franchise...was not voiced by Batman.
  • Radiator Springs is apparently, back to being a vacant shit hole. Thanks, Lightning.
  • Wait, they just covered Ramone's work? That's some bullshit.
  • So, those ol' race cars, right? Uh, we're talking a little bit of racism and sexism, right? Damn, Pixar. Okay, that's cool. Social messages are good. Just know, don't make die-cast versions of the racist cars. That might seem insensitive.
  • And finally, even though I ultimately thought the story was well-done, I'm not even remotely kidding when I tell you this movie is boring as shit. Seriously, it was the middle of the day and I had actually slept the night before and I had to fight to stay awake. Between you and me, I actually think it was more than just falling asleep. I think I was fighting off the light.
It turns out, my wife's bit of nostalgia for the racetrack, well, that was ultimately rooted in some dude she used to date a few years back. I think the race that f--ker took her to was the Daytona 500 of all things. Pretty fancy, right? Taking her to the Super Bowl of NASCAR races. Nice work, dude. We're all impressed.

But guess what? After two kids and three beach vacations?

Turns out the real hero... my wife.

(Didn't see that one coming, did you?)


  1. "Between you and me, I actually think it was more than just falling asleep. I think I was fighting off the light." I loled so hard at that line.

    Never seen any of those flicks and unless I have a kid never will - so never will - but yeah Disney and their girls angle...there is absolutely nothing worse when it cimes to this than the taglines in TV spots for Rogue One but it does seem like they are going all for it lately. It's cool though even if it's in a movie about cars....the only thing I know about cars is that men look hot when they drive. Maybe it's because it impresses me since I could never drive one - I can bately focus on one thing let alone mind the signs, pedestrians and all that shit. I dont even know what the theme of this comment I am writing is anymore. Now I am thinking of limo being 'driven' in nighttme

    1. I really think I was going to die if I gave in. Honest.

      My friend is (rightfully) giving me shit about my anti-girls stance...but it's not that simple. I'm all for girls/women being represented as kickass in whatever genre of film, all day every day. But...and this is where I sound like a's starting to feel manufactured. Which I know it is...stuff trends all the time...but when everyone is making the same feels less like a stance and more like nodding along.

      Dammmit...I know I'm not articulating it I'm just gonna give up already.

      Can we please just have a conversation about how you can't drive a car? Please? This fascinates me endlessly. And shocking no brought up 'the limo'.

    2. That limo is heaven. Literally because an angel is driving it.

      That is one of the many things I cant do. I work 20mins by public transport from home and I am too tired to go anywhere else so there is no immediate reason for me to learn how but honestly this shit just seems dangerous. And you have to watch out and pay attention which under any circumstances is a difficult thing but lets imagine I am driving and Hugh tweets something.

      My God.

      Think of the casualties.

  2. I fucking hate the Cars franchise. I was doing really well at having my son avoid it until his cousins showed up and went all Cars fanatic on him. I told him he and his dad can see this without me. I'll sit through Despicable Me 3 for him, but not this one.

    I mean you can only do so much for your kids.

    1. Hahaha...I hear you, Brittani. I don't even remember how he got started, but at this point? I'm not sure any of us give a f--k. My daughter might've said something in passing...I think we just end up at these out of habit.

      Shoot...I think we might miss Despicable Me 3 altogether (just don't hold me to it).

  3. Believe it or not, I like Cars 2 slightly better than the original. That said, they both suck all sorts of ass so I'll skip this one if at all possible. Sorry, you had to sit through it.