Go *$%#*&@ Speed Racer!

May 7, 2008
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Last night I caught a sneak preview of “Speed Racer,” the would-be summer blockbuster from the makers of “The Matrix.”

This overlong adaptation of the cheesy kids show of yesteryear has a cool color palate, a lead performance from Emile Hirsch that’s better than the film deserves, impenetrable plot twists and computer-generated stunt work that break physics laws left and right. (I refer you to Tom Rogers’ book “Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics” if you are interested in such things.)

It’s also got three or four uses of the a-word, one s-word and a kid flipping the bird to a bad guy.

Now, I’m not a prude when it comes to language. I’ll happily quote along with “Glengarry Glen Ross” and “Raging Bull.” What bugs me is the unnecessary nature of the usage here - and the fact that it is embedded in a PG movie that has no greater ambition than to gosh-wow its audience.

So am I just being an old guy? Should George Carlin’s “Seven words you can’t say on television” be welcomed in PG movies? Is the fact that my 6-year-old son has heard these words before enough reason for me to chill out and take whatever the “Speed Racer” creative folks throw at us?

And would the language be more tolerable if the film weren’t so dull?

Your thoughts?
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  • You're #$%%@!! right that such language shouldn't be in a %^&$#@ PG movie. (seriously.)
  • Thanks for the notice. I like the commercials, but now know it is off-limits to see at the movies or for family purchase later!
  • I agree. Had they thrown in the f-word once, it would have gotten a PG-13 rating; twice and it's R. But graphic violence only warrants a PG-13 rating. Go figure.
  • Hmm. What's worse, abuse of language or abuse of physics?

    Seriously, it seems fairly pointless. Why would they feel the need to use such language in something based on a Saturday morning cartoon and aimed at the under-10 set? Obvioiusly realism is out the door as a justification. I'm all for artistic freedom and dead-set against censorship, but I'm not a big fan of crassness or lazy writing either.
  • Brian,
    That's part of what threw me. There is a choice word or two in ET and Zathura, but at least they seem to come out of the characters, not the writers pandering.
  • Yes . . . to this day I remember Elliott hurling p*nis breath at his brother in E.T., but he was an emotionally frazzled boy, and his mom got mad at him for it! (It's also hilarious.)

    I would find this objectionable for the same reason I find the incessant fart jokes and already-dated pop-culture references in SHREK tiresome - not because they're leading down some slippery slope of cultural decay, but because they're just, well, lazy - the substitution of a cheap shot for genuine cleverness. (There are entire films based on this principle, e.g. the _______ MOVIE (date, scary, etc.) franchise.)
  • You go hang out at a mall, a coffee shop, or even a playground. And then listen to how kids talk to each other. I think kids today are exposed to more language due to music, video games, cable TV, comics and graphic novels, etc. And I don't think it's a bad thing, it just is what it is. I think parents should decide what to expose their children to, but they can't do that 24/7, so I'm betting they've already heard most of those naughty words as soon as they hit the education system.

    Just my thoughts.
  • But the question remains, why include them in this movie? Just because it's out there, does that mean in the next Toy Story movie that Woody should say to Buzz, Hey, get your a-- over here?
  • In the first Super Man movie starring Christopher Reeve, the writers inserted a scene late in the production process where Supe sees through Lois' skirt to identify that her underwear are pink. That scene was intentionally inserted to garner a PG rating, fearing that a G rated movie simply wouldn't sell. Since movie making is, believe it or not, a business, not just existing for the purposes of giving you two hours of entertainment in the dark, movie producers simply look to give the people what they want. I think you'll find in a week or two that this is a top grossing movie-at least in the short-term. If it was rated G, it would simply be a movie appealing to a much smaller demographic. The inclusion of these words and scenes, I can promise you, is a very calculated business move. You don't have to like it, but there's your reason.
  • Besides all of the explosions, fighting and gunplay, the torture scene--with the bloody mouth--would probably have been plenty to give it a PG. The language didn't tip the scale.
    --Lou
  • All I know is that I want to party with a guy who can quote along with Glengarry Glen Ross. (As long as the kids are out of earshot.)
  • The I hear these words at school all the time argument is one I hear from my 11- and 13-year-old kids, too. My answer to them is, Just because kids get away with it among each other doesn't make it right. The occasional swear word that truly helps make a character seem real is OK and explainable, but gratuitous foul language should be reserved for PG-13.
  • Beth,

    Just remember: A-I-D-A. Attention, Interest, Decision, Action.

    --Lou

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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