Plodding Through the Previews: Cars 2

Some folks boast a photographic memory while others claim to count cards. Me, I have a strange telekinetic ability to predict the plot of a movie based solely on the coming attraction. I will channel these talents every week in an effort to breakdown the latest summer blockbuster. With a little luck, and patience, I’ll also connect the movie to a current sports story however, this final pursuit may result in complete and abject failure.

Cars 2

The original Cars is in fact the only Pixar film which I have never seen. As we all know, Pixar movies resonate with adults just as much as kids. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that nearly half of Pixar’s entire feature film library – Up and Wall E to name a few – were explicitly made for adults. Which is probably why these movies makes so much money. Parents are just as excited to see the movie as their kids.

Yet somehow, Cars has eluded me, like my white whale. Maybe my son will grow to be a huge NASCAR fan and we will develop a mutual love and respect for the original imovie. For now at least, I know very little about the premise of the first Cars other than it was Paul Newman’s last major role before his death in 2008.

A Second by Second Breakdown

:25 – Larry the Cable Guy is back! Has he done anything significant since the first Cars? Does he still do the “you know you’re a redneck when” bit or I am thinking of Jeff Foxworthy?

:52 – My absolute favorite part of previews for animated movies, trying to guess the voices. The Italian sports car sure does sound an awful lot like either John Turturro or Luciano Pavarotti.

:58 – No guessing on this one. That is the unmistakable voice of Michael Caine clearly on loan from the set of the latest Batman film. Wouldn’t it be awesome if movies worked liked professional soccer where actors could be loaned out by bigger films to smaller projects for a fee. Speaking of The Dark Knight Rises, when can we expect a preview?

1:01 – Sarah Ferguson Duchess of York? Can someone please explain to me why she is still making the morning show rounds? I swear she has been on the Today show at least 3 times a week for the past 20 years. (Note: I don’t really think this character is voiced by Fergie. At least I don’t after my wife corrected me.)

1:13 – Well this has become totally unrealistic. Brent Mustberger doesn’t have the time to announce a grand prix race. Not with the Little League World Series on the horizon.

1:36 – Who’s the main star of this film: Owen Wilson or Larry the Cable Guy? Judging from this preview it seems as if LtCG is the main draw. But why? I thought attendance at NASCAR events was way down this year.

1:52 – I can’t believe we’re nearly two minutes into a Cars preview and “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts has yet to be prominently featured. This has to be a first. I hope somewhere Tom Cochrane is smiling.

The Plod

Lightning McQueen is a world famous racing car about to take on the best of the best in the biggest grand prix race of the year. It is soon revealed that McQueen is being targeted by an evil international consortium. Michael Cain and Sarah Ferguson believe Larry the Cable Guy is behind the plan to sabotage the big race. Owen Wilson and LtCG have a melodramatic falling out before the big race. Eventually, Larry the Cable Guy is absolved of any wrong doing and returns to save the day, and race, for his good old friend Owen Wilson. Lightning McQueen wins the race, falls for the Duchess of York, and LtCG becomes an honorary member of the British Secret Service.

Cars 2 as it relates to a Major Sports Story

I’ll go with Jack McKeon returning to manage the Florida Marlins at the ripe old age of 80. His first order of business, bench Hanley Ramirez for being late. I love old people, they just don’t care what anyone else thinks. How, you ask, does this all relate to the Cars 2 preview? Easy, Larry the Cable Guy was forced out of Lightning McQueen’s inner circle much like Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria forced McKeon to retire as manager in 2005. Now, as the big race approaches, both McQueen and Loria have regained their senses and rehired their most trusted confidants.

Easy. Right?

view from Sun Life Stadium courtesy of @joecapmarlins

View from Spring Training: 2011 Los Angeles Angels

2011 Los Angeles Angels

NFL Equivalent – Indianapolis Colts: What position would Peyton Manning play if he were a MLB star? My first instinct says starting pitcher because of the arm strength and physical stature, not to mention the preparation that goes into taking the mound every five games. Manning would however drive his catcher and pitching coach absolutely bonkers with the way he obsesses over scouting reports and opposing player tendencies. One potential issue for fans, with the way Peyton likes to run the play clock down we could very well be looking at a 4 hour baseball game every time he takes the mound. With his lethargic, meticulous pace Manning should probably play for the Yankees and become best friends with Derek Jeter.

Google Search: This was supposed be the winter where the Angels opened up their wallets and landed a slew of high priced free agents. They offered Carl Crawford big time money to return home to SoCal, but not as much as the Red Sox. They were willing to pay Cliff Lee as well but he chose a much more comfortable living situation in Philadelphia. These two failed attempts to land a high powered, impact player forced Angels management to trade for a has-been high powered, impact player in Vernon Wells.  Canada hasn’t been this relieved since their men’s curling team won Olympic gold in 2010.

Famous Movie Quote: I’m sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn’t mean to do that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best intentions. What’s the matter? Oh, you were finished! Well, allow me to retort. What does Marsellus Wallace look like? – Jules from Pulp Fiction

Where do cinema snobs rank Pulp Fiction in the pantheon of Quentin Tarantino films?  Personally, I would put it right behind Inglorious Basterds but well ahead of Jackie Brown. It is amazing to think about the careers which were resurrected/preserved by this film, most notably John Travolta and Bruce Willis. Without Pulp Fiction, Travolta would be working on Look Who’s Talking 8: That Bird Can Sing! while Willis would have just completed Hudson Hawk Drowns in the Hudson River. The Angels are hoping Vernon Wells enjoys a similar resurgence this season.  Even still, the Angels will have to fight hard not to become yesterday’s news. 2011 record: 84-78, 2nd in AL West

view from Tempe Diablo Stadium courtesy of @heatherdettmann