©2008 Big Empire Industries and Randy Shandis Enterprises
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This week:

Filthy says:
"It makes me want to use some more oil."

I love Father's Day. When else does a guy so many gifts for doing nothing? My parents sent me this bottle opener that says Coors in gold inlay, and Mrs. Filthy's folks sent me this sheet you're supposed to put under your car so it doesn't seep oil onto the street, but it also makes a stylish poncho. Best of all, though, was my yearly bottle of cheap rye from the City of Arvada.

All that free shit plus nice thank you cards, all for not being a father. Makes you feel sorry for the suckers that sire a kid just for the Aqua Velva they get each year. I'm thinking, though, that if the City sends me a bottle of hooch out of gratitude, what would they give me if I dropped them a note: "Thanks, but I'm thinking that unless I can get drunk a lot more I might just go ahead and have a kid or two."

Worm told me they used to send him bottles and he got so bitter about it that he knocked up a couple of high school kids just to spite them. Now he never sees the kids because of some court order, and the city doesn't comp him any more booze. I guess the moral is; everyone does lose when kids are born out of wedlock.

I'm not really thinking about having kids. But do you think if I pressed the issue Arvada would let me off the hook on my community service requirements, or give me a few tubes of model glue? I think so. For the record, then, I'm gonna fill up Mrs. Filthy's belly with triplets.

I've been thinking about kids a lot lately, actually. I went to a matinee of the latest animated Pixar movie Cars this past week, and the God damn kids were crawling everywhere and making noise like it was their birthday. Apparently, according to one very rude mother, it was her son's. Look, lady, I was only asking an innocent offer to help control your children, and if you wouldn't get so hung up on the words "fucking", "brats", "shove" and "cakeholes" you'd see that. Don't be so fucking defensive.

I understand that a movie like Cars appeals to kids, and I certainly believe that youngsters should go to the movies. I believe, though, that parents should do it at the appropriate time. I don't like having a bunch of screaming kids in the theater, because all their noise prevents strangers from hearing my witty commentary and snide remarks. Besides, you can barely hear your damn cellphone ring when some teething six-month old is bawling her eyes out. If you insist on taking your three-year-old to the movies, take them at the same time the other responsible parents do: 11 p.m. on a Friday night. And like the other adults, take them to the really loud, shitty, gory ones, so their crying will at least blend in with the yelps or terror onscreen. I mean, for Christ's sake, if I can't get some peace and quiet during a kids' movie weekend matinee, when can I get it?

I think I caught the gist of Cars between tantrums and hissyfits at the Olde Town Cinema (whose sign currently just lights up "Olde ... Cinemas"). Owen Wilson plays a hotshot young race car who must get to California for a duel to determine the best stocker in the country. He suffers from a common movie malady. That is, hubris. The same God damn hubris that Michael J Fox had in Doc Hollywood. He thinks he's such a fabulous racer that he doesn't need anyone's help. Then, whammo, he finds himself stranded in the dying town of Radiator Springs along the blue highway of Route 66. I'm guessing this is supposed to be somewhere around Peach Springs or Grand Canyon Caverns in Arizona, but it really looks more like the windswept sandstone of Southern Utah, where there is no Route 66. Regardless, the trip to small town America humbles Wilson's race car, just as it has humbled a thousand movie characters before him. And in exactly the same way: through hard work, learning to operate as a team, finding that the common man is important too and that guys with only a couple teeth spew wisdom, and that he ain't so great as he thinks.

Of course, along the way he discovers love with a Porsche voiced by Bonnie Hunt, and finds that the town's doddering old coot (Paul Newman) is actually a former champion racer who has a lot more to teach Wilson than he thinks.

The story of Cars is easily the most formulaic and uninspired that Pixar has made. Wilson's journey from hubris to humility is about as overused as the knocker on the Harelip's apartment. It'd be a pretty shitty movie if it were cranked out with the same carelessness as the rest of Hollywood's turds. It wasn't, though, and that's the really strange thing. Although it's as easy to predict what'll happen in Cars as it is when someone drops a quarter at the Tavern, the movie is filled with so much affection and detail I found it hard to dislike.

Rather than cram a heartwarming story down our throats like a ham sandwich into Mama Cass, Pixar fills Cars with authentic detail that doesn't need to be there just to sell tickets. It's as though--get this--they give a shit about the story. Fuck, I wish that didn't feel like such a novelty. It does, though.

The movie doesn't just have cars in it, it actually gives a shit about getting those cars right. All sorts of vehicles that--like the route the movie pays tribute to--are often forgotten and left to rot on the back 40 of some farmer's lot. The retired, curmudgeonly race car is a 1951 Hudson Hornet. In fact the early 50s Hornets are legendary for their brief reign as the kings of stock car racing. The detailed neon and rotting architecture in Radiator Springs suggests that someone really did drive Route 66 and saw the awesome motel signs in Flagstaff, Gallup and Kingman, or the expanse of dry nothingness across the southwest.

More important is that the movie is about something more than the cornball plot. It is a bittersweet homage to the blue highways and to all that goes unseen when you keep to the interstate. It's not a new sentiment and I'd guess there are are 50 good books and a 1000 really shitty ones about this exact subject. But, it's expressed with sincerity in a medium where it's unexpected.

Hopefully, I can make a comparison without sounding like one of those insanely annoying fuckwads who worship everything Pixar does and like to write me tedious e-mails filled with minutiae that make it abundantly clear how lonely they are. If Dreamworks were to make a movie called Cars, it would have nothing to do with cars or highways, and a lot to do with Will Smith talking sassy. Pixar's movie Cars resonates much more about real cars and a real car culture than it does about its plot.

I have no idea how many kids are going to ask for stuffed Hudson Hornets to sleep with, or neon motel sign nightlights, but I'm damn glad the makers didn't give a shit about that when they made Cars. Three fingers.


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Maria Salas of NBC Miami

The Lake House "Will touch your heart like no other film this year. Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves are the best on-screen couple of our generation."

Nacho Libre is "Hilarious! The perfect summer movie!"

Filthy's Reading
Raymond Chandler- Stories and Early Novels

Listening to
Eggplant - Sad Astrology