• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Cars

TITLE: Cars

YEAR: 2006

GENRE: Animation and Family

Pixar Animation is surely the great animation studio of the past fifteen years. This studio has been creating memorable characters and dominating box offices all over the world since the company’s first full-length animated feature Toy Story back in 1996. One of the most marketed characters in the Pixar empire would be Lightning McQueen, the sporty race car in the 2006 blockbuster Cars and its 2011 sequel Cars 2. Lightning’s grill is on literally any kind of marketable product imaginable, from matchbox cars to toiletries. Most Pixar films are truly wonderful in their storylines and subsequent morals to their mostly family audiences, but there are always exceptions to the rule. Cars may have a spectacular look, but the storyline is a bit cliché that does little to help raise the film to an elite status.

Lightning McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) is a race car in the Piston Cup series competing against aging veteran Strip Weathers (Richard Petty) and perennial runner-up Chick Hicks (Michael Keaton). On his way to a final race that will decide the Piston Cup winner, Lightning gets separated from his loyal big rig Mack (John Ratzenberger) and ends up in Radiator Springs, a forgotten small town off of Route 66 that has been bypassed due to new highway routes. While speeding through the town, Lightning is captured and impounded by the local law enforcement and is forced to repave some roads as part of his community service. While in Radiator Springs he meets a few friends: Mater (Larry The Cable Guy), an antique pick-up truck with a redneck sense of humor and lifestyle; Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt), the city’s district attorney and cute little sports car; and Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), a 1951 Hudson with a mysterious past. With the help of his friends, Lightning returns to the Piston Cup race inCaliforniajust in time for the race. Will Lightning win the Piston Cup?

As with all Pixar films, Cars looks absolutely fantastic with excellent graphics and unusually great depth in the set animation. That being said, Cars does not capture the imagination like most Pixar films because the storyline is so run of the mill and basic in its delivery and scope. In terms of the yarn it seems that Cars has taken an often told and old approach in its story of the importance of friends and how they are more important than awards and trophies. On the bright side, a couple of the characters in this film are top notch and performed especially well including Larry The Cable Guy’s portrayal of Mater, which in reality is his stand-up character so there is no real stretch here. It was also a creative choice to include Petty, a NASCAR living legend, as one of the voices as it does add some authenticity to the voices.

Cars was one of the very last acting roles for Newman, a Hollywood legend whose resume include Cool Hand Luke, Slap Shot, and The Sting. Cars does have a beautiful look and will entertain the kiddies for a couple hours, but the morale of the story is that a hackneyed and overused message will not guarantee a classic animated film no matter how stylish or progressive the animation may be. According to Rotten Tomatoes this is the worst reviewed film in the Pixar library, and in this reviewer’s eyes I would say Cars is not their worst but it is definitely in the lower half of their portfolio.

* * *

–Mark

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