There is no movie series that seems to pull harder for people to try and explain its world—yet need such interpretation less—than that of Cars. If I never endure another, “Did people make them? If so what happened to the people? If not, why do they have doors?” discussion it will still be too soon. I think I may be angrier at Disney/Pixar for making a Cars 3 for this reason than I am for the naked consumerism of it all.
Rough Night, in its own way, has come under too much attention and interpretation—especially for a film not yet released—as well (dig that transition FOOLS!). Billed as the white version of the ladies hang out movie of 2017—Girls Trip being the black version—it has sparked a conversation about the balkanization of the film industry and the overt and systemic racism therein.
Yet, any kind of close look reveals one appears to be a pitch dark comedy about an accidental death at a bachelor party (think Very Bad Things) and the other is a hang out and party and sort life lessons out of the fallout (think the Hangover with more learning and emotion or Waiting to Exhale with more debauchery). Which makes me wonder if perhaps this is more about sexism in how we view women’s movies. But who knows.
Cars is not the best Pixar movie it is true. But neither is it the worst and not just because its bad bad sequel certainly would come lower on the list. Cars is a solid middling offering from Pixar, a kind of “child’s first Pixar” film. I love its use of color, I like the voice casting, and I like the warmth all the characters are infused with, excepting Lightning’s main rival Chick Hicks who is voiced with obvious glee by Michael Keaton to be a wonderfully arrogant buffoon.
People who will tell you it is Doc Hollywood with cars are not wrong. But a lot of movies mine this “workaholic goes to small town, finds out what he/she have been missing” territory (see also: Sweet Home Alabama) and like so many stories, the key is execution. Cars never sets the world ablaze but is fine and sweet and never lingers too long.
Also, Paul Newman’s last role, so…I love me some Paul Newman.
I confess to not really knowing what to use for Rough Night so I offer these three quick takes on ones that might give you a feel
Chef- The last time Scarlett Johansson played a relatively human character AND got to do any kind of humor. Chef is not a world beater, but it is a good small movie that focuses on human interactions over plot. Johansson is somewhat improbable as the love interest but the fault does not lie with her performance.
Very Bad Things- As noted above, these two appear to be gender swapped versions of similar stories. Dark and mean spirited with a wicked turn by Cameron Diaz as a bride who has no intention of letting her future husband’s libido and involuntary manslaughter get in the way of her big day. I remember liking it but it has been sometime and I can see being turned off by its cynicism in a way that I wasn’t when I was mean cynical jerk kid.
The Hangover- For the bachelor/bachelorette party aspect. The Hangover remains, more often than not, a very funny movie. The parts that have aged poorly or into problematic, however, are glaring and impossible to ignore. A movie very of its just about ending at the time era, it is fair to say.