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Heartwarming / Cars

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There's a lot more to racing than just winning.
Well, you go through life
So sure of where you're headin'
And you wind up lost
And it's the best thing that could happen
Cause sometimes when you lose your way
It's really just as well
Cause you find yourself
Yeah, that's when you find yourself
Brad Paisley, "Find Yourself"

  • Lightning and Mater are talking about helicopter rides and this little piece of dialogue emerges:
    Mater: I knew it! I knew I'd done made a good choice!
    McQueen: In what?
    Mater: My best friend...
    [The two smile at each other.]
  • Lightning being appreciative of Mack initially stepping in to be a one-man pit crew for the big race.
  • When all of the cars from Radiator Springs show up to be McQueen's pit crew and cheer him on at the big race.
    Doc: Alright. If you can drive as well as you can fix a road, then you can win this race with your eyes shut. Now get back out there!
  • After the King's crash, when Lightning gave up the Piston Cup to instead make sure he'd finish his last race...
    King: You just gave up the Piston Cup, you know that?
    McQueen: Ah, this grumpy old race car I know once told me, it's just an empty cup.
    • And after the race is over, the King's wife kisses Lightning on the cheek (or fender?) and thanks him for his selflessness. Owen Wilson's gentle delivery of Lightning's "You're welcome" just sells it; there is no way the Lightning from the beginning of the movie would have spoken to ANYONE like that.
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    • When Lightning took the lead mere moments before the King’s crash, the King can be seen cracking a smile. Unlike Chick Hicks, while the King may want to win, he's not at all bothered by the thought that he might lose a fair race.
  • When Lightning has finished the road and decides to have a shopping spree before leaving.
  • Right before he leaves Radiator Springs, Sally thanks McQueen for everything he did. He responds, "It was just a road," and she answers back, "No, it was much more than that." It contains a double meaning. McQueen didn't just fix the road, he helped fix the whole town back up and gave everyone a newfound sense of pride for their town. But also, for many people—in both the movie AND real life—Route 66 was much more than just a road. For many, it was a way of life and a thing of wonder, something that ought to never be forgotten.
    Sally: 40 years ago, that interstate down there didn't exist. Back then, cars came across the country a whole different way.
    Lightning: How do you mean?
    Sally: Well, the road didn't cut through the land like that interstate. It moved with the land; it rose, it fell, it curved... Cars didn't drive on it to make great time. They drove on it to have a great time.
  • After helping the King, Lightning turns down a big-time offer from the King's sponsor, Tex. Then after a pause, he says "Actually, there is ONE thing you could do." Cut to Mater riding in a helicopter, having the time of his life, because he's always wanted a copter ride. Made even better when you remember that Lightning wasn't being sincere when he said he would get Mater a ride in a helicopter. But now he remembers his promise to Mater and chooses to keep it.
    • Doubly heartwarming at the end of the third movie, when Tex not only hires Cruz on the spot but buys out all of Rusteeze to get McQueen's contract.
  • With Doc as McQueen's new crew chief, you see the rival pit crews look up at him in pure awe, and the camera crew have a mini freakout when they realize it's the Fabulous Hudson Hornet. Soon after the announcement is made, a few fans a heard realizing it and soon you see the crowd shift and realize the entire stadium is cheering for him. The industry may have moved on, but the fans never forgot him.
  • A minor example, but Mia and Tia's scenes in the final race. Even though they became Chick's fans in Lightning's absence, they express concern for Lightning when he's struggling with the race. They also boo Chick off the stage and throw their headpieces at him after he caused The King's crash.
    • The girls also still have their McQueen decals on them after close inspection.
  • Though it is a tearjerker, shortly before Lightning's departure as he talks with Sally, right after she says "It was much more than that" we get a shot of Lightning's reaction. Upon close inspection, he has tears in his eyes, making this the very first time he really cried and had a mental heartbreak following his Heel–Face Turn throughout his visit. It's sad and adorable all at once.
  • The entire Tractor Tipping sequence is humorous, but also cute because it's the first time Lightning actually gets to play a game with someone who really likes him.
  • Mater offering to be Lightning's lawyer in Traffic Court. Besides Lightning sighing and rolling his eyes in response, it was a very nice thing of Mater to do so, since he was the only one there who immediately warmed up to him and already recognized him as a friend.
  • The first time Lightning meets Sally, he is completely mesmerized by her and begins a love-inducing conversation with her. The dreamy look in his eyes and heartfelt smile he has throughout adds it all up.
  • Even before his Heel–Face Turn when he was a spoiled, uncaring snob, Lightning still had a few good moments:
    • Revealing himself to the crowd at the start and posing for the paparazzi after the race.
    • Giving a little smooch to the press just after Mia and Tia are taken away by security.
    • Talking with The King, who is the nicest of the other racers and gives wise advice.
    • Feeling sad for himself after ending his call with Harv, which is the first indication of his potential image change later on.
    • Lightning also never resorted to dirty tricks during the race.
  • The lyrics to the song "Find Yourself" pretty much sum up the course of the entire movie, from Lightning getting lost in Radiator Springs, causing him to rethink himself, make friends, fall in love, and of course, becomes a true friend.
  • Meta: After dedicating Finding Nemo to him, Pixar named this movie’s hero after their late animator Glenn McQueen. So one of the most iconic characters of the Turn of the Millennium carries the name of a beloved employee and all-around good man.

You got a lotta stuff, kid.

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