I have been on a pretty rigorous diet of film watching this Summer. Last night I watched Carnival of Souls (1962) for the first time (it’s awesome), and before that The In-Laws (1979), Lake Placid (1999), Cronos (1993), A Man Escaped (1956), Hereafter (2010), Elevator to the Gallows (1957), and E.T. (1982). And that’s just this past week! I skew heavily towards 80s and 90s U.S. and 50s and 60s French cinema these days. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll have a full list oF everything I watched over the past 3 months broken down by year, nationality, genre, etc. A little data visualization of my watching habits . The original plan was to keep a weekly post on the bava of films watched, but that died on the vine. I have the beginnings of a post where I have been adding everything I watched, and I just realized while writing this that a spreadsheet might be perfect for the “data crunching” 🙂 BIG MOVIE DATA.
Anyway, all of that is only marginally related to the post I planned to write. What I wanted to say was while watching the 1979 comedy The In-Laws starring Alan Arkin and Peter Falk, I realized the Pixar animated movie Cars (2006) makes a pretty awesome allusion to The In-Laws—which I think is groovy (get it?). Anyway, in the following scene Arkin and Falk land on a runway in the imaginary Central American nation Tijuara only to be shot at by the bad guys. While they are running for cover Falk gives Arkin this advice: “But remember, SERPETINE!”
In Cars, when Lightening McQueen thinks he is getting shot at by the sheriff (it’s just a backfire) he freaks out and yells, you guessed it, “Serpetine! Serpentine! Serpetine!” I couldn’t find the clip on the web, but I did find the 4 seconds of audio.
The In-Laws was one of the first films I saw on cable in the early 80s. I have a fond place for it in my heart (alongside other bizarre 70s comedies I saw in the early days of cable like High Anxiety and Foul Play). So re-watching it was risky because I was afraid it would disappoint, but quite to the contrary it held up quite well—although not the most liberated film when it comes to Central American politics and diplomacy. I can never get enough of Peter Falk, his whole being just makes me laugh. I mean when he says “What a guy!” in the scene above I believe him, and you start to wonder sometimes if he isn’t really Detective Columbo playing Peter Falk. Anyway, I’m surely not the first to pick up on this allusion, but I thought it was cool to have a recent Pixar film paying homage to a brilliant comedic scene from the 70s.