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This Cars 3 feature is brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father and Disney•Pixar. Interviews edited for clarity.

"I have two daughters, and one day my daughters told me rather abruptly that certain things were for boys and certain things were for girls," recalls Cars 3 Director Brian Fee. "And if something was, quote 'for boys,' they automatically didn’t have an interest in it or didn’t feel like they could have an interest in it. That was a red flag and it just kind of killed me that society puts those kind of labels on things, and that they, at such a young age, were already feeling those labels." Sitting in on a press conference at Sonoma Raceway ahead of the release of Disney•Pixar's Cars 3, I couldn't help but flash back to something that I'd written on this very site back in 2011, and how much things have changed in just six years. It was then that I asked, "Is Cars 2 Forgetting that Little Girls Like Cars TOO?" In the years since, I've echoed that sentiment, as the father of two daughters myself. While it wasn't necessarily the film at the time, the merchandising of Cars 2 was aimed firmly at one segment of the audience. With Cars 3, Pixar crashes the gate on all levels, delivering a movie that's truly for everyone.

If you've seen the trailers for Disney-Pixar's Cars 3, then you've no doubt seen the down-and-dirty world of demolition derby on display. But this isn't any demo - it's "Crazy 8's," and like many things in Pixar films, face value isn't always what it seems. "Have you ever been at a crossroads in life where you feel really out of place?" asks Supervising Animator Bobby Podesta during a presentation on Pixar's Production Pipeline, held during a media event at California's Sonoma Raceway.  "That’s the point of this scene," he says. "The audience ends up feeling out of their element, just like McQueen does." Much of Cars 3 is focused on that those crossroads, and how to move beyond them. For the production, that was mirrored by how intertwined the technical team was on bringing this new story to the screen, moving well beyond everything that they'd pulled off in the past.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of Lexus in general, so I was excited to drive the 2017 CT 200h F SPORT when it arrived here at Rock Father HQ some weeks back. Packing Lexus style and F SPORT performance into a small, hatchback package, the immediate draw of the CT 200h is that it's a hybrid - a fuel-efficient, gas-powered luxury vehicle that carries a combined fuel economy of 42mpg. 

As of this writing, Paramount Pictures' big-screen BAYWATCH has just hit theaters for Memorial Day weekend, ushering in summer with a new spin on the syndicated TV favorite. With Dwayne Johnson stepping into David Hasselhoff's iconic trunks as lifeguard Mitch Buchannon, a new generation is getting a taste of slow-mo beach running as Mitch and the crew (which includes Jon Bass as Ronnie, Alexandra Daddario as Summer, Zac Efron as Matt Brody, Kelly Rohrbach as CJ Parker, and Ilfenesh Hadera as Stephanie Holden) take down some baddies that threaten the bay. For the new BAYWATCH, the coast is flipped - with Los Angeles County out, and Florida's Broward County in. While you might not think that an R-rated BAYWATCH screams "toys!," the folks at Greenlight Collectibles are here with a 1:64-scale offering as part of their Greenlight Hollywood series.

Saturday, May 27 2017 09:05

Review: Hot Wheels Super Rigs "Pencil Pusher"

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With the amount of options available for kids in the diecast aisles, it's often easy to overlook some of the most creative ones in the mix. From Mattel's Hot Wheels Super Rigs Collection comes the Pencil Pusher, a removable cab semi-truck that's inspired by the creativity of a child. This isn't just a toy truck, though - it comes packed with a gold chrome edition of the famed "Hot Wheels High School" bus, and the truck itself is sized right to haul crayons. But that's not all...

In my adventures over the years, I've had the opportunity to drive a lot of different vehicles. What I've come to realize is that I'm definitely a "car guy" - meaning that I have little interest in motorcycles, and a limited knowledge of trucks. That doesn't mean that I haven't driven them, as I've been behind the wheel of many, but surprisingly it's full-size pickup trucks that have largely eluded me. That's just one reason why I was so intrigued by the chance to get behind the wheel of the 2017 Toyota Tundra Limited Double Cab - a full-size pickup, and a ride that feels just gigantic compared to what I'm used to. The quick take? I loved it.

As we approach the June 16 release of Disney•Pixar's Cars 3, there's quite a bit of fantastic toys and merchandise that I plan to feature here on THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. With shipments having already arrived here at Rock Father HQ from licensing partners like Mattel and Just Play, I have plenty to keep me busy - and then this news shows up... that Sphero, the same company that blew people's minds with their App-controlled BB-8 back in 2015, has an "Ultimate Lightning McQueen." I could tell you that the $300 app-controlled RC car looks fantastic, but you really need to just watch the video...

As the June 16 release of Disney•Pixar's Cars 3 approaches, various partners are getting in on the action, and today it's Subway, along with Joe Gibbs Racing driver Daniel Suárez. The NASCAR driver, who voices "next generation racer" Daniel Swervez in Cars 3, rolled into the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Greater Charlotte for a special after school event.  Suárez fired-up his specially branded Subway/Cars 3 stock car for the children in attendance, after speaking with them about the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. 

Presented in collaboration with Little, Brown & Co

How long should it take to change a tire? In truth, that’s not an easy question to answer, as there’s variables to the equation. From type of vehicle to the tools available, the speed of changing a tire can have vast differences. One prime example is changing the tire of your daily driver. If you had a flat, you could probably change the tire in 20-30 minutes (or less), provided you had a spare, a jack, and the right wrench to remove the lugnuts. On the race track, a pit crew could change all four tires in a matter of seconds. Those are all human applications, so what about penguins? How would the PENGUINS OF AMERICA handle a tire change - particularly one on the track? In theory, the same way we would “lefty-loosey, righty-tighty."

As many of you are probably aware, we're big fans of Disney●Pixar’s Cars franchise here at Rock Father HQ, hence I was pretty excited to have a chance to take an early look at Cars 3 while working with the folks at Disney to support its launch. As we approach the June 16th release, new promotional partners are rolling out, and the latest is Autotrader. This week, they've got a new commercial racing onto screens co-branded with Disney●Pixar’s Cars 3. Why does it make sense? Because "every car has a personality." and Autotrader can help match the personality of a car with the personality of its driver. Check it out:

As a kid, I grew up around racing. My dad was a track announcer, traveling on occasion with World of Outlaw/UARA Midgets - an era in which I got to see a lot of the short tracks across the Midwest. For awhile, he was also a regular announcer at the famed Santa Fe Speedway near Chicago, so I had plenty of chances to get up close to some high-octane fun. As an adult, I've seen my girls become enthusiastic about racing, and it all goes back to when our oldest daughter first saw Disney•Pixar's Cars. That was the start of the fascination here, and that makes it even more special that I've had the opportunity to work with Disney in promotion of Cars 3 - in theaters on June 16, 2017. During the early press days for the film, I found myself on the track at Sonoma Raceway - the road course formerly known as Sears Point - for a ride-along, along with some time spent doing a "Pit Stop Challenge" and witnessing a presentation on the history of NASCAR racing, presented by Cars franchise Creative Director Jay Ward and former Hendrick Motorsports Crew Chief, Ray Evernham. If you love racing, Cars 3 is going to mean a lot to you... but even if racing isn't your thing, you just might learn a lot, and find something new to love.

If you're into Mattel's Hot Wheels, you may have seen the recent Forza Motorsport assortment of the Replica Entertainment Series that's been hitting stores, and now you could say that was just a little bit of foreshadowing. Hot Wheels has partnered with Microsoft’s popular racing game to create one of the coolest expansion packs – Forza Horizon 3 Hot Wheels – arriving on May 9 exclusively on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs (Xbox Play Anywhere) as part of the Forza Horizon 3 Expansion Pass or as a standalone purchase for $19.99.  A trailer just hit my inbox, and I'm sharing it below. Check it out, along with all the details on the new expansion. Something tells me that the recent addition of an Xbox One to my office is going to be commanding some more attention...

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