"Cars, "Over The Hedge," & "Just
In "Just My Luck," Lindsay
Lohan plays a young woman with the "pixie dust touch": everything
she touches turns golden. She seems to have everything going for
her. Then she kisses a guy, and the luck transfers to him. Now
she stumbles and breaks a heel, she steps outside and it rains, cabs never
stop for her, and things go so badly at work that she's fired from her
high-powered promotions job, and forced to clean a bowling alley.
Ah, but here's where the lemon starts turning to lemonade: she
learns a little humility. There are now fewer things (and people)
"beneath her." She pays more attention to her friends. This
time, when fortune smiles again (yes, the same guy has to kiss her back),
she accepts it with more grace. Because she had to lose herself in
order to find herself (Luke 17:33). This could have been really
corny, but it was cute, instead. And teaches positive
The same could be said for "Cars."
Luke Wilson is the voice of "Lightning McQueen," the rookie racecar driver
who's on his way to the big runoff race for "The Piston Cup" when he gets
waylaid in a small town named Radiator Springs, off old Route 66.
There, his luck seems to run out: he's stuck repaving a road he tore
up, he can't get to his racetrack in L.A., and their idea of nighttime
entertainment is tipping over tractors in the field. But along the
way, Mr. "I Don't Need Anybody" encounters what he desperately wanted but
hardly realized it: a true friend (not somebody he pays to be his
agent), a mentor (the voice of Paul Newman, who steals the show), a love
interest (don't worry, there are no overheated crankcases, they just
"cruise" together), and some locals who just plain root for him.
It's a nostalgic view of small-town living, and it's also a way to remind
everyone that there is more to life than greater speed. Pixar and
Disney collaborate in a delightful animated adventure that's a worthy
successor to "Finding Nemo" and "The Incredibles." The children will
be watching this one; the good news is that adults can enjoy it,
"Over the Hedge" is less likely to
become an instant kids' classic, but Dreamworks, in the tradition of Shrek
and Madagascar, has also created a quality animated film that all can
enjoy. RJ (the voice of Bruce Willis), a pilfering raccoon, is the
main character. He gets caught by the bear "in the act," and must
replace the whole stash of (junk) food, "or else." He enlists the
help of a naive little band of forest animals (a turtle, a squirrel, a
couple of porcupines, a skunk), who think they are foraging together to
provide for a winter, which promises to be more difficult with the
constantly-encroaching suburbs which are just "over the hedge." As
RJ's luck changes, he, too, learns the importance of friends, and learns
that others aren't just for manipulating. By losing himself in this
fellowship-adventure, he learns the value---and the personal investment
required---of good relationships. But it's not heavy-handed, there's
a lot of humor, and viewers can identify with animated forest animals just
as quickly than with cars, and ironically perhaps not quite as quickly
with the "real" human, the young woman who was also formerly a loner, but
now is redeemed through a caring group. Can anyone say
Questions For Discussion:
1) Have you had an experience where adversity taught you more
about yourself than success?
2) Have you had an experience where you were part of a small
group that really cared about everyone in it? How do such groups
form a bond?
3) Have you had an experience where you have "found yourself"
by "losing yourself"?