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This week:
Speed Racer

Filthy says:
"Go, Speed Racer, Go shit on us!"

Okay, here's my problem with nostalgia. It's fucking lame and pathetic. Why the fuck do people get all misty-eyed about shit from their childhoods that sucked stained ass? I don't understand why people would rather relive a crappy past than go out and find new stuff that, at least, isn't worse. I see it in music with all these bad radio stations playing oldies or "Jack" or "classic rock". All these terms for "old shit instead of new shit".

I can understand missing really great stuff. But why the fuck would an adult miss or want to relive Speed Racer?

The only reason for Speed Racer is nostalgia. It sure as hell isn't because the old TV show was so good or powerful that someone felt a new generation needed to be told the tale of the boy who raced a lot and mostly won. That's probably because it was a really stupid tale.

The original cartoon was fucking dreadful. Bad animation, lame, repetitive jokes, stale characters and some of the shittiest dialog outside of German industrial films. Anyone who tells you otherwise is deluded by some sad notion that his childhood was idyllic. Probably, he's not even thinking that the show was great, just that his life was better back then. Back then his mother bought his sugared cereal and did his laundry and he had yet to be rejected by women. None of that had anything to do with Speed Racer, but nostalgia is all about associating objects with some vague feeling that you once had a good time in life, and you are no longer capable of doing that. It's like having the same damn conversation at the Tavern with Worm about the time he took a dump in the town square drinking fountain. It gets sort of sad when you realize the poor bastard doesn't have any newer or better moments to relive.

I think nostalgia is for chumps. My question is, why would the chumps let the grassfuckers in Hollywood serve it to them? Why would anyone want something that was shitty the first time around regurgitated to them by soulless hacks in search of easy profits? How bad must your life be today to be that desperate for reminders that you were once just a loser-to-be? If you want to be nostalgic, why not just go back and see the original cartoon rather than pay a bunch of assholes to soup it up with computers?

If the reason for Speed Racer is to introduce a new generation to the boy racer: why? Why start from such shitty source material when you can start from scratch and do so much better? I'm sure the answer is because Hollywood is full of lazy fuckers who are scared to death with taking chances. They know at least with Speed they can screw the nostalgia chumps.

I don't know the answer. What I do know is that Speed Racer the movie almost nothing to fundamentally improve the source material. It's as colorful as the innards of a rich kid's stomach after the circus. It looks a hell of a lot like Tron with human faces slotted into wild computer-generated backgrounds. It's about as much like a cartoon as a movie can be.

Emile Hirsch plays Speed Racer. Yes, that's his name. He's a young man with only one interest: racing. This is supposed to make him interesting. It doesn't. Hirsch is part of the Racer family, which builds race cars and lives auto racing. All except his brother Rex, who mysteriously died years earlier.

In Speed Racer a billionaire tries to lure Hirsch to join his fancy racing team, but the boy chooses to stay with his family, angering the rich dude. The rich dude then tries to destroy Hirsch's racing career. Guess what? Hirsch is just too fucking good to lose, though. And by winning, he destroys the billionaire.

Seriously, there is very little else to the plot. Well, there is that Rex Racer, played by Matthew Fox, didn't really die and is now the mysterious Racer X. He helps Hirsch. Just like in the old cartoon.

The movie is divided into two distinct pieces. The first is painfully long, unbearably boring deserts of dialog that the bad actors have to trek across. Characters talk intensely and too much about the stock market, old races and racers, corporate buyouts and industrial manufacturing. The story is too detailed, and yet simplistic and retarded. Pushing Speed Racer is that old hollywood chestnut about how big business is evil and the little independent has spunk and nobility. That horseshit always means so much more when it's told to us by a bigass studio in a mega-budgeted action flick milking a tired franchise for more than it's worth.

To be fair, people wear crazy suits and have colorful houses. I suppose those are supposed to make us forget how lame the plot is. They didn't, though; they just help bloat the two-plus-hour movie the way a 95-pound tumor bloats a 110-pound girl.

The other half of the movie is the racing. The races are supposed to be extremely fast and dangerous. They are definitely colorful and cartoonish. The best parts of Speed Racer are in them, like villains who try to launch beehives at other cars, or slice off tires with retractable blades. There is also a racer named Snake Oiler (same as the cartoon) that is supposedly a bad guy. He has a car straight out of Death Race 2000, covered in snakeskin and with a giant golden cobra for a shift handle. That sort of silliness could be pretty entertaining if the directing Wachowski Brothers didn't zip past it in their need to use every color every damn second.

Besides, you still have to trudge through all that plot to get to it. And even when you get to the races, you're supposed to be rooting for a driver who is one-dimensional, mostly humorless and not really worth rooting for. Why the fuck should I want a guy to win just because he's obsessed with racing? That's like wishing teen boys could have sex because it's all they think of.

When I was a kid Speed Racer the cartoon was on just before Kimba the White Lion and Little Rascals every afternoon. It was a great way to kill an afternoon. And I had a lot of those to kill as a latchkey kid. But, I was supposed to grow up and expect more, and have a life without as much time to waste on really shitty and mind-numbing entertainment. If I had kids, I was supposed to raise them better, too. Hollywood, and the nostalgia chumps, I guess, have other plans for us. Two Fingers for Speed Racer.

Want to tell Filthy Something?



Sara Edwards of the Comcast Network

What Happens in Vegas is "Laugh-out-loud funny! Sweet, smart, sexy. Works on every level!"

Filthy's Reading
Graham Greene - Brighton Rock

Listening to
The MAKE-UP - In Mass Mind


The Adventures of Milo and Otis