The Car Wash tells the story of an old woman, sweet but sad, who traps a polite twenty-something in a weepy, awkward conversation that no one would want to participate in. What begins as an innocent discussion on car brands transforms into an epic tale of unkind fathers and the sadness that comes from becoming a burden on your children. All the while, the young guy who probably should have just hand-washed his car at home, is texting someone on his phone and trying to make the best out of a bad situation. But this woman’s on a mission. The re-release of the Ford Fiesta isn’t going to distract her from her need to subject strangers to her depressing past. Her husband died, her dad never believed in her, and her daughter took her in against her will. Maybe no one wanted her around because of stunts like this. At one point, she describes how she cries until she can’t cry anymore…and then she cries some more. There is a raw truth in The Car Wash. It’s the raw truth that pushed for the invention of the Walkman—a portable stereo that kept you out of conversations like this one.
Writer/Director James Kicklighter has unfortunately created an overly dramatic, sappy short film that tries too hard to teach us a lesson on civility and kindness. The score has a Feature Films for Families feel, and as it turns out, it was perfect for this project. The film ends on the young guy, whose acting was reminiscent of a high school improv group trying to look “Uncomfortable,” texting his friend this message, “some days i wonder if i say anything at all.” The film ends before the friend’s inevitable reply, “WTF,” which, most likely, sums up the average reaction to The Car Wash.
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