Pixar Cars Trilogy

In 2006, Pixar asked the age-old question: What if cars had feelings?

Hotshot rookie Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) wants nothing more than to win the Piston Cup. Something he thinks he can achieve completely on his own. After the last race ends in a three-way tie, it’s off to California for a tie-breaking race. In a hurry to get there before the competition, he forces his driver Mac (John Ratzenberger) to drive through the night. Due to some troublemakers, Lightning ends up stranded in the middle of nowhere in Radiator Springs. He’s arrested and forced to repave the road forcing this fast car to slow down and focus on what’s really important in life.

I enjoyed rewatching this. It’s been years since I’ve seen it. I loved the animation of the cars in general. Larry the Cable Guy is perfectly cast as Mater the tow truck. Mater and Lightning McQueen are one of the best duos to come from Disney in general.
There’s occasional language and a few adult references throughout that will be amusing for the parents but hopefully fly over the heads of the kids. Overall, it’s a great movie with themes of friendship, needing community and reprioritizing what’s really important in life. Who knew that a movie about Cars would be one of Pixar’s best? Stream it now on Disney Plus.

Fun fact that nobody asked for: When we went to Florida on vacation, we got stuck in traffic for hours, but my brother and I didn’t know it at first because we were busy watching Cars on our brand new travel DVD player our grandfather bought for us before we left.

Cars 2 is a movie usually found near the bottom of most people’s Pixar’s rankings, but does it deserve the hate that it gets?

In 2011, Cars 2 asked the question What if cars could be secret agents?

McQueen (Owen Wilson) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) are back again. This time traveling around the world for a World Grand Prix that Mater has accidentally roped McQueen into. Wherever Mater goes, trouble follows, and he winds up being mistaken for an American spy caught up in a diabolical plot to put an end to natural fuel. Long live Gasoline! Will Mater be able to solve the case before someone ends up dead?

When I first saw this movie I hated it! I thought having Mater be the star of the show was a mistake. He’s better off as the lovable sidekick. While I still feel that Mater is better in the sidekick role and that him and McQueen are better together than apart, I actually enjoyed Cars 2 this time around. It’s actually surprisingly good. The secret agent storyline is still weird, but it’s fun.

It’s a bit dark for a kids movie with a car getting murdered onscreen, and there are a couple of adult references. It has a great focus on friendship and being yourself. It’s still near the bottom of my favorite Pixar movie list, but it’s moved up a space or two. Stream it now on Disney Plus.

After a potentially career ending accident, Lightning McQueen’s (Owen Wilson) future is thrown off the tracks. Some encouragement from Sally (Bonnie Hunt) is enough to get him to try one more, and he heads off to the Rusteeze Training Center to train with the latest and greatest technology to try to keep up with hotshot rookie, Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer).

Soon realizing that training using the new methods and technology isn’t working out, McQueen heads off in search of Doc Hudson’s mentor, Smoky (Chris Cooper). He drags his trainer and race-car wannabe Cruz (Cristela Alozo) along for the ride. To secure his future in racing, McQueen has to win his next race or be forced into retirement.

Pixar brought their A-Game and saved the best for last with the Cars trilogy. The story is amazing and emotion-packed. Cars 3 has a more serious, mature tone than the ones that came before. The animation is beautiful, especially the sequence where Mac is taking McQueen to the training center. The scenery is gorgeous!

Armie Hammer as Jackson Storm and Nathan Fillion as Sterling were great additions to the cast. The movie has wonderful themes of not giving up and believing in yourself. I love this movie so much! What a way to end the series on a high note! Cars 3 is streaming now on Disney Plus, and the new series, Cars on the Road, will begin streaming on Disney Plus Day, September 8th.


De Los Muertos Pick: Coco

Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of being a singer like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) The only problem is that his family hates music and doesn’t support his dream. Miguel sees Ernesto’s guitar in a torn family photo, he believes he’s Ernesto’s Great-Great Grandson.

After stealing Ernesto’s guitar in order to play in the local talent show, Miguel is transported to the Land of the Dead. Once discovered, his family tries to send him back to the Land of the Living, but the temptation of Ernesto’s guitar is too great and he’s sent back to the Land of the Dead. While on the run, he runs into Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), a troublemaker trying to cross the bridge to visit his family on De Los Muertos. He fails at his mission because his picture’s been left off the ofrenda. The two make a deal: Hector will take Miguel to Ernesto in exchange for having his photo back on the ofrenda. But not everything is as it seems, and the secrets about Miguel and Hector’s family history are about to unravel in ways that change both of them forever!

Coco is one of my favorite Pixar movies. I love the emotional story, the breathtaking animation, and the music. At the end of it, I wanted to put my Grandarents’ pictures on an ofrenda just in case! I highly recommend this one. It’s easily in my top 6 Pixar movies.

2¢ Valentines, Christian Critique, Dare to Compare

Dare To Compare and Christian Critique: Valentines Edition + Galentine’s Day Pick: Brave

The Lady and Tramp remake was a pleasant surprise. Despite being a nearly shot for shot remake, it was still enjoyable. I liked how Jim Dear and Darling were actually a bit of character development and a more active role in the story. It’s funnier giving it a romantic comedy feel. These two things were the only improvements over the original. It’s longer than the original, but doesn’t drag on forever like Mulan did.

Several changes were completely unnecessary including gender-bending Jock and changing  the beaver scene by replacing the living Beaver with a beaver statue when Lady and Tramp go to have Lady’s muzzle removed.

Despite replacing the Siamese cats, which are now deemed offensive, with R&B singing alley-looking cats, the original song is still catchier. I get why they changed it. I don’t think it was an improvement. Not bad, even fun, but not improved.

No one has ever animated animal expression like Disney’s Nine Old Men could! The bland CGI animals are definitely NOT an improvement over the original. Because of this, I found the most romantic scene in the movie to be bland and lifeless. The original scene was emotional and made me feel something. I felt nothing during the remade version.

The remake was one of Disney’s strongest of the bunch, but was still no match for the original classic. 

Brave is the often forgotten middle child of the Pixar canon. It isn’t Inside Out or Soul, but it’s a good movie in its own right. Pixar tries their hand at a princess movie and it’s a good one. It stands out from its Disney siblings by not focusing on any sort of romance. Instead it heavily focuses on the relationship between mother and daughter. I love romance, but this story is refreshing and is just fine without it.

Headstrong daughter, Merida and her equally headstrong mother, Queen Elinor, constantly butt heads about everything including whether Merida should get married or not. Merida says no. Elinor says yes. Merida runs off and asks a witch for a spell to change her Mum’s mind. But the spell changes Elinor into a bear instead. They have til the second sunrise to change Elinor back or she’ll stay a bear forever.

Brave is refreshingly different from the rest of their movies. It’s a shame it doesn’t stand out from the pack more. The story’s fun and emotional. The animation is beautiful and realistic especially those waterfalls and backgrounds! And it has a good message about family and you being the one in charge of changing your fate.

The story’s darker in places and might be a bit too much for some kids, and there’s some unnecessary nudity, but this movie should be fine for most families.

Old Fashioned was a response by the Christian community to compete with the BDSM-heavy Romantic fantasy franchiese, Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s no coincidence the two movies were released a week apart from each other so that they could compete with each other on Valentine’s Day and give couples a wholesome option.

I’ve never read or watched Fifty Shades, but I do know enough to know it’s trash. Though it’s trash that countless Christian women enjoyed. I found it fascinating the amount of Christian women that were obsessed especially Christian women that considered themselves conservative.

Clay believes in courtship over casual dating and lives by a strict purity code. So strict, he won’t be alone in the same room with a woman he’s not courting! Amber (Elizabeth Roberts), we’re told in the movie summary, is wild and carefree. We hardly see that side of her onscreen. We’re also told she travels aimlessly with no plans to settle down. Thus, breaking a huge rule in writing, Show Don’t Tell. This movie does that a lot. The most interesting parts of the story are the details you’re told not shown. For example, the few details shared about the pair’s past relationships were more interesting than the actual story.

The acting is wooden though Elizabeth Roberts is a better actor than Rik Sweltzwelder. The main characters are bland and the actors don’t have good chemistry. Because of this, they’re not convincing as a couple. In comparison, the supporting characters, David and Lisa, have better chemistry and better story in the short time they have onscreen. 

I felt that Brad, the sleazy  DJ, was unnecessary, and he was the worst actor of the bunch. He didn’t add anything to the story except they made it extremely obvious that this is the kind of  person you wouldn’t  want to date.

There were a couple of cute moments like Clay and Amber drawing their dates at random from a shoebox, and Amber clogging the sink to get Clay to fix it. 

The last half hour was the strongest. I actually liked it. Amber and Clay both screw up and his Aunt Zella nails him to the wall for acting holier than thou and holding others to an impossible standard instead of extending the same grace that God has given him to others. She also helps him see that he’s worthy of a second chance at love even after all the mistakes he made with his ex.

What it made up for in morals, it lacked in quality. Better writing and acting would have improved this movie greatly, and you could’ve had sexual purity at the core without introducing the concept right up front before Clay and Amber ever got together! 

I understand and appreciate what the filmmakers were trying to do, but they could’ve done it better. They get an A for effort.