See It Instead: Cars 3
Another iteration of Pixar’s Cars franchise is racing into theaters this weekend. If you’d rather hit the drive through instead, have we got a deal for you!
Hello there Belindas! I saw you kicking the tires on Cars 3. Got a hankering for a movie that doesn’t have so many miles under it’s hood? Want something a little sleeker, a little sexier? Come on down to the Deluxe Video Online lot and pick from these three tales of anthropomorphic protagonists! All Sales Final.
I’m not gonna bury the lede here. Check out this trailer. I’ll wait.
Um. Wow. This seems a little more adult than the last two. Like going from watching a kid punch a weeble-wobble to watching Rocky. Mostly because this SEEMS like a Rocky movie, but with cars. The junky one where after defeating the Russian he gets CTE and has to retire.
Well, anywho, the Cars 3 trailer gave me the idea for our See It Instead candidates. First: the movie must be about anthropomorphized objects. No animals. We’ve done talking animal movies to death. Second: the movie must be ostensibly made for kids, but have deeper subtexts that are adult. The grimmer the better.
So that’s it. The green flag is up, off we go!
The Safe(ish) Pick: The Brave Little Toaster (1987)
At first blush this is a tale of talking appliances making their way home from a cabin in the woods. Seems like standard children’s fare. Starring Jon Lovitz (never thought I’d type that, to be honest) and Phil Hartman, this story is very much an animated retelling of The Incredible Journey (you might better know its remake: Homeward Bound).
But this story has a darker message at its core: abandonment and obsolescence. The pets in Homeward Bound got left behind, but they were missed and loved. It was an accident. Not the case here. These appliances were at the summer cabin because the owners had newer, better stuff back at home. The were exiles; they just didn’t know it.
If you ever want to shame your kids about abandoning their old toys for a new one, skip Toy Story (TS stole the idea from this; tBLT stole their story from The Incredible Journey: c’est la vie.) and give ’em this. It’ll give Jon Lovitz a few bucks at least.
The Serious Pick: The Snowman (1982)
Talk about a beautiful downer. A short film, this tale is based on the 1972 British Picture Book of the same name. The Snowman is a wordless film, except for one song and a brief introduction by David Bowie. Hell Yeah.
In this tale, an old man recalls the time he built a snowman as a child, and it came to life. This leads to an adventure on a motorcycle through town, a meeting with other snow folk in a wooded clearing, and a gift from St. Nicholas himself. The boy goes to bed with sugar plums dancing through his head. The snowman dies a slow melty death the next morning. So, good times were had by all!
This short film is gorgeously animated. The music is lovely and charming. The ending is heartbreaking. This short is how Hans Christian Anderson would have interpreted Frosty the Snowman. It’s worth the watch, especially the remastered version that added the David Bowie reverie.
The Unconventional Pick: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (2007)
By unconventional I mean “Remember those unconventional parents that treated their child’s illness with coconut oil and prayer, and now they are in jail?”. This movie is very marginally for kids, but if you like twisted humor and so do your spawn, you do you, boo.
Adult Swim’s anthropomorphic meal set: Master Shake, Frylock, and Meatwad are back, and on the big screen. This time around, a mystical piece of exercise equipment has the trio exploring their origins. All the series staples return, from their long suffering scumbag neighbor Carl to the Mooninites. It even has a life saving cameo by Neil Peart of Rush.
Despite this being basically “cram all our jokes and characters together” this movie is really funny. The eclectic, schizophrenic nature of the show lends itself well to the expanded run time, and using every trick in the bag keeps it from getting boring. Plus, this premise never had a plot, so it works that they didn’t feel the need to try and graft one on for a movie.