TATM: Talkin’ About The Movies #269: Cars 3 & Rough Night

CARS 3

***

Synopsis:

Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician with her own plan to win, inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet, and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage!

Review:

Let’s be honest, the Cars franchise is the worst one at Pixar, the first movie is just okay and the second movie is a horrendous mess. They’ve also spun off a Planes spinoff franchise with a bland first movie and a better but still mediocre sequel. So, there was no real reason why a third Cars movie was going to excite many people.

That was until the first teaser came out and everyone was blown away by the darker turn the series was taking from that teaser alone so, naturally we all got hyped again, we were wondering whether or not this new Cars movie was finally going to be the movie that bucked the trend, could this Cars film actually turn the table and give us a reason to give a crap about this franchise for the first time in our liv….it’s pretty much the first movie again.

Yeah, the third Cars movie is pretty much the first movie again but I say that in a good way. The first Cars movie was not terrible, it’s certainly a stepdown from other Pixar movies but it’s still somewhat enjoyable, that’s this movie. At least this isn’t Cars 2, in fact, this movie does the best thing it can do and just pretend Cars 2 never existed. So already we’re heading into the right direction.

The animation is really, really good here, this is the best animation in the trilogy so far using those hyper realistic setpieces to good use and giving this movie a nicer crisper look to it than they did in the first two movies.

The lessons in here are good, the movie is essentially Cars’ Rocky storyline but the message about what Lightning can do now in his elder state and how he can help his trainee live her dream is nicely done as well and the third act of the film is absolutely the best part of the movie to me because that’s where a lot of the heart of the film comes into play.

The best aspect of this movie is Cristela Alonzo playing Cruz Ramirez, she really is the heart and soul in this movie because she’s such a great character, she proves she can easily catch up with the seasoned actors in the film especially Owen Wilson and if they are going to continue this franchise, this is a character I want to see more of in future films.

Unfortunately, this is where the praises for the film stop for me mostly because the rest of the movie is kind of all over the place and not in a good way.

I mean, for one thing, yeah, the story itself is pretty much a cut and paste Rocky film but with Cars but okay, the first movie was pretty much Doc Hollywood and then, the second film was….every bad spy movie cliché rolled into one. But yeah, there’s nothing original about the story in this one, you can see a lot of the clichés all over the place and know when they are coming.

But the real problems of the film start with the newer characters, besides Cruz, none of these new characters will be remembered at all. Nathan Fillion is the generic dickhead boss who has no personality to him, Kerry Washington has a really pointless role as a statistic analyst, I love Kerry Washington but come on, there was no reason for this character to be in here, she’s only in this movie because she’s the star of Scandal, a show on a Disney owned network, that’s the only reason she’s in this film and she serves no real purpose to the actual storyline at all.

And then there’s Armie Hammer as Jackson Storm and you know what, I hate to do this. For years and years, I’ve been defending Armie Hammer, I’ve been trying to say that this guy needs a good role to break out this rut that he’s been stuck in since he had that strong debut in The Social Network but after all these years of defending him, I have to be honest, Hollywood has wasted Armie Hammer. This guy has been ruined because they keep putting him in terrible movie after terrible movie, Mirror, Mirror, The Lone Ranger, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., I mean, my god, what a waste of talent. This movie, oh my god, they really gave Hammer nothing to do except to just be the douchebag bad guy, every single line they give him in this movie is just a villainous line, he has no personality, he has no character to him, he’s just there to be the bad guy and that’s it. He’s a complete and utter waste in this and really, I’ve given up, if this is really what Hollywood is going to do with Armie Hammer than what’s the point of keep rooting him on if he’s not even going to try.

But the biggest problem with the film is that it never takes that darker approach that we were hoping for from that first teaser. The crash scene, the scene that sold everybody into giving this movie a fair shot, it’s nothing, it’s not dramatic, it’s not intense, it’s just a crash scene. I mean, my god, the first movie had a much more effective crash scene than this does. Watch this scene again:

I mean, that was more intense than what the final crash scene in this end up being? And worse than that, you don’t even see the aftereffect, it just cuts to four months later and Lightning’s worse thing that we see is that his color is gone. They lied to you, they tried to sell you on something more intense and more darker and guess what, you got screwed, we all got screwed out of a more evolved and more adult movie that this series needed. This needed to have a Toy Story 3 or Finding Dory moment where it’s not afraid to be too dark or too intense for kids, this movie doesn’t have that.

To me, that’s the biggest sin of Cars 3 and that it straight up lies to you about getting a darker movie and just gives you more of the same stuff it gave you the first time around.

I don’t know, I don’t hate Cars 3, I did say it’s about on par with the first movie and it does make you forget about that second film. It does have its’ heart in the right place, it’s got nice animation to it, the new character of Cruz is a welcome addition, it’s harmless fun. But like most people who watched those previews and thought they were going to get a more adult and more darker Cars movie out of it, you’ll be very disappointed by it.

Overall, a decent flick but not up to Pixar’s usual standards.

ROUGH NIGHT

***

Synopsis:

Five best friends from college (Scarlett Johnasson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, & Zoe Kravitz) reunite 10 years later for a wild bachelorette weekend in Miami. Their hard partying takes a hilariously dark turn when they accidentally kill a male stripper. Amidst the craziness of trying to cover it up, they’re ultimately brought closer together when it matters most.

Review:

This is the film debut for Lucia Aniello, one of the main people behind Broad City, one of the best comedy series on television today, so naturally, I was excited about this movie because I liked Broad City a lot….and then the trailers came out, and then the movie just looked really bad for me.

I don’t know why but the trailers for this just looked so awful, like they were trying to blend The Hangover, Very Bad Things and Bad Moms together into one movie and the result looked terrible. I even remember screaming out during one playing of the trailer in a theater at the end going “WHERE’S THE JOKE?” because none of the jokes in the trailer were coming together and all I could think to myself is, “my god, I’m really gonna hate this, am I?”

So, I went to see it and the good news is that the trailers made this movie look much worse than it actually is. It is not that bad of a movie but it’s still not a great movie either.

We’re kind of in this lull right now of good R rated comedies, once in a while you’ll get something funny like Sausage Party or Neighbors 2 but the last few years have had either mediocre of just plain bad R rated comedies like Fist Fight, CHiPs, Baywatch, Snatched, Bad Moms, The Boss, Why Him?, The Brothers Grimsby, Office Christmas Party, Dirty Grandpa, just these generic comedies that are not trying to do anything new or break new grounds and just go for the cheapest of cheap gags they can come up. A lot of these comedies have no creativity to them whatsoever including this movie.

I did actually get some good hard laughs, I thought the five actresses worked well off each other, this is one where Kate McKinnon really proves her worth as an comedic actress, and overall, it does keep you invested.

Its’ biggest fault in the script, it’s basically a female version of the more enjoyable Very Bad Things but struggles because they’re trying to take a dark comedy and make it more lighter and mainstream to appease the females who were going to and see this. Like the humor in this is being aimed at people who don’t appreciate comedy when it’s at its’ best, through the power of misery, and more on the levels of Mamma Mia! where it’s “Be Funny…but not really” style of comedy, the kind of comedy people think women can’t handle because they can’t handle actual misery so follow it up with a lighthearted approach, that is not humor. And I was expecting better from the people who made Broad City.

And I know, I’m going to get a lot of criticism from people for this but I’m sorry, trying to be lighthearted and more mainstream with a dark comedy setup does not work, especially for a female led comedy, it just doesn’t work. You’re basically talking down to women like they can’t take darker material, just like how kids films talk down to children like they can’t take darker elements too. Anybody can appreciate dark humor as long as it’s set up in a way that can actually be funny. Most of the jokes in this movie do get a laugh but when it comes to the more darker stuff that happens in this, they don’t dwell on it for a while and just try to lighten up the mood, it’s like a bad house party where somebody just got into a huge fight, half the people have left, and the hostess tries to get everybody back into the party, it will never not be awkward after something like that. And that happens a lot in this movie, the ladies in this still try to liven up the mood after somebody has just died right in their faces and then, 15 minutes later, “hey, we can still party.” This movie can’t do dark humor the right way and that’s why a lot of this movie fails to find the hard laughs it needed to succeed.

Overall, I’m very mixed on Rough Night, it’s not bad but it’s not great either, it’s just kind of in the middle but again, much better than the trailers were letting on. If you’re gonna watch it, wait for it to hit FX or Comedy Central in a few years but don’t rush out to see it.

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Posted in TATM: Talkin' About The Movies

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