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Yesterday I picked Thelonious up early from school. I walked into the office at 11:50 and said, “I’m taking my son, Thelonious Fox.” It was so cool. I didn’t even have to make up an excuse. Which was good, because I was afraid the actual reason would result in the instant (and probably vehement) denial of my request for the early dismissal of my firstborn. Instead, the secretary just radioed to the playground and 5 minutes later a sweaty Thelonious strolled into the office.

“What’s up, Dad?”

“Ohhhh, I dunno. I just thought maybe we would ditch school and go see SPEED RACER!

I have to say, that was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Speed Racer was incredibly good. I had seen Iron Man the week before and truly enjoyed it – Robert Downey, Jr. was perfection as Tony Stark. But, I have to say Speed Racer was better than Iron Man. And, just because it’s the kind of mood I’m in, I’m going to break it down list style.

Top Five Reasons Why Speed Racer Is Better Than Iron Man:

5. Casting. The casting in Iron Man was reallllllly good – but, Speed Racer was inspiring. Matthew Fox as Racer X? Dear god, it’s the first role he’s actually been good in – ever. From soup to nuts the best cast film since The Big Lebowski.

4. Trixie vs. “Pepper” Potts

3. Visually, Speed Racer was the “best looking” film I have ever seen. And, I don’t mean, “dude, the graphics were over the top!!!” Somehow, the cgi managed to be seamless, realistic, and understated – perfectly enhancing the storytelling. But, more importantly, the Wachowski brothers were able to visually interpret the methods of the original cartoon through the juxtaposition of dead pan close ups of the characters commenting on the story with the action taking place in the background. Iron Man kicked ass, but it looked like every other action movie out this summer.

2. Speed Racer had more monkeys than Iron Man.

1. Speed Racer (the movie) was better than the original. It’s like the Chronicles of Narnia. Everyone knows those were pretty good books considering when they were written. But the first Narnia movie totally ruled! It was way better than the book! It was actually suspenseful and interesting and had real action. Speed Racer is the same way (except the original Speed Racer cartoon was better than the original The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe book to begin with) – its way better than the original. I don’t know if you ever watched the old cartoon, but they didn’t make a lot of sense. Fully one third of every episode was Speed gripping the steering wheel as if his life depended on it and grunting. Ughhh! Another third was recapping what happened before the commercial break – 3 minutes of car race and then 1 minute telling you they had just shown 3 minutes of car race. The final third was a mish mash of the Mach 5 jumping into the air, Chim Chim, and Pops jumping up and down. The Wachowski brothers kept ALL of that, and at the same time formed a surprisingly interesting story with a real narrative structure you could follow. It’s like everything you loved about the original PLUS a plot.

Don’t get me wrong, you need to see Iron Man. But, do whatever it takes, even if you have to pull your kids out of school early, to go see Speed Racer right now!