I think if I had known about a female race car driver, I could’ve probably been the 1st African-American chick to blaze NASCAR!!! Naw, not really, but in Disney/Pixar’s latest in the Car franchise – Cars 3, there is some serious female empowerment going on!
In this installment, our favorite hero Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson) and his red-hot career have cooled down. Even his biggest fans and sports world constituents consider him as a washed up hunk of metal. Enter Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo)!!! Ramirez reminds McQueen of that “eye of the tiger” mentality Doc (the late Paul Newman) recognized that ultimately turned him into an unstoppable champion until he meets a younger, faster, slicker looking Next-Gen racer – Storm (Armie Hammer). Storm challenges Lightning in ways he never saw coming. Mostly, the fact that one can’t turn back the clock on aging. Your body may be slower, ache and you pull muscles just breathing, but a powerful, masterful clever mind can ultimately combat what the body may fail at accomplishing.
It’s the first time you see a male/female relationship that’s more mentor/friendship based than romantic. Let’s face it, there are actually some men and women who are great friends who never become romantically involved. Cars 3 takes on the task of subtly teaching this lesson, as well as inspiring young girls to not let their gender inhibit their ability to dream about being the best in whatever lane they choose to live in.
This was a theme extremely close to the heart of Cristela (Cruz Ramirez), who comes from a very poor section of Mexico, and was convinced that her life would be one of never having an opportunity to live her dreams. One of her high school teachers saw a spark and changed her class schedule so that she could study drama. Thank goodness for us that teacher existed. It only takes one person to make a difference and change the trajectory of a life.
Of course, the usual suspects Mater (Larry The Cable Guy) and Smokey (Chris Cooper) are present along with some new characters in the form of a slick, chilly sportscaster – Natalie Certain (Kerry Washington), a school bus from hell with a lot of attitude – Miss Fritter (Lea DeLaria) and a billionaire investor whose mind changes as quick as the wind blows – Sterling (Nathan Fillion).
In addition, Cars 3 earnestly and humbly pays tribute to racing car legends of the past adding characters River Scott (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.), Louise Nash (Margo Martindale) and Darrell Cartrip (Darrell Waltrip). Needless, to say, it didn’t get lost on me that Grammy winner Andra Day was used as the bar chanteuse and contributed a track to the film. It was fantabulous to say the least.
Led by former NASCAR crew chief, Ray Everhham, hot button topics were discussed with cast members Kerry Washington, Lea DeLaria, Cristela Alonzo, Nathan Fillion, Larry The Cable Guy, Isiah Whitlock, Jr., Owen Wilson, Armie Hammer, Producer Kevin Reher and Director Brian Fee. Here are some excerpts…
How Does Cars 3 Resonate For Cast/Creatives as a Parent?
Kerry Washington and Cristela Alonzo Speak About Cars 3 Female Characters and their Empowerment
Why has Cars 3 Stood The Test of Time and Will Kids Really Want to Mess with Miss Fritter?