This month has been the month of Cars for us. My wife and I have seen the movie twice, bought the soundtrack, and purchased a lot of Happy Meals for our two-year-old. We've probably spent about $200 on related paraphenalia. The irony of buying mass-produced merchandise based on a movie that emphasizes the uniqueness of small towns isn't lost on me, but it's a tension I can live with.
Why the attraction? First, it's just well done. I can't wait to get this one on DVD because I know there's so much that's been put in there in the background that I can't quite catch in the theater. Second, I'm the audience, and I appreciate that. I've seen some reviews that complained that this one just didn't have the magic the others did, but they tended me make me wonder about the reviewer more than the movie. I can see how a movie that suggests that all they consider valuable is detrimental to a real appreciation of life wouldn't make their top ten. In a sense, it seems the movie is about them, but not for them. It's for someone like me who's stepped off that interstate and is happily watering his flowers in "the middle of nowhere."
Finally, it's re-awakened my wife and me to the possibilities of traveling for the sake of the journey instead of merely the destination. We don't live far from Route 66, and we're finding the notion of traveling along it quite appealing now. It's great to watch a movie that reminds us to see what's there instead of looking for what isn't.
Oh, and Larry the Cable Guy is Mater. How cool is that?