Friday, January 20, 2012

Fink Out!

Tales of the Rat Fink (2006) DVD
Directed by Ron Mann
Starring Rat Fink!
Shout Factory

Fun, eye-opening documentary about Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, creator of Rat Fink and the entire Kustom Kar movement, by junk culture king Ron (Comic Book Confidential) Mann. Brilliantly and subtly animated, using a cartoon Rat Fink as the erstwhile guide, John Goodman's voice as Big Daddy himself, and a variety of celebrity voices (including Jay Leno)  as Roth's many cars, this movie traces Big Daddy's career from his teenage gearhard days to his final years as the undisputed king daddy of customized car creations. Along the way, Roth pioneers just about everything cool about the 50's and 60's, from t-shirts with designs on them (entirely his idea, if the doc has it right), to drag racing and skateboarding, to model monster kits, to using fiberglass to create wild new car shapes, a technique that was later plundered by Detroit with nary a thank you to ol' Ed. It's really hard not to be in awe of the guy, really, even when they show a few of his foibles, including a 'flying' car that lost a propeller during it's first exhibition, nearly decapitating some startled on-lookers. We owe a lot to this guy, that's for sure. Don't expect any dirt, as "Tales" is purely a valentine to the dearly departed big daddy, but even despite it's sweet nature, Tales rocks and rolls along nicely, thanks in no small part to the groovy animation and the tasty soundtrack by the Sadies. Think Fink!

- Ken

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