AutoMatters: Seal Beach Classic Car Show & “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

By Jan Wagner

This week we’re going to a car show and a movie.

Saturday, April 26, 2014 was the date of the 27


annual Seal Beach Classic Car Show. Despite the forecast rain the night before, which probably gave the organizers fits, the weather on the day of the show was Southern California picture-perfect.

This was truly a community effort, with people coming together from the Sun Newspapers, the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce, local businesses, event sponsors and more. Visitor parking was available at the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station.

I had never been to this show before, so I was determined to try to see everything. We were welcomed by dignitaries – including the Mayor (the very approachable Ellery Deaton), and Miss Seal Beach and her court. The live rendition of our National Anthem was especially stirring.

The show vehicles were displayed along Old Town Main Street, intersecting cross-streets and by the beach. It was an easy walk from one end to the other, stopping when something caught our eyes in the windows of the shops. The variety and quality of the vehicles were outstanding, with something for everyone – young and old. There were hot rods, classics, muscle cars, imports, racecars, customs and even a few racing boats.

One of my favorites was a right-hand-drive, Japanese spec Datsun 240-Z (Fairlady Z). I had never seen one of those in person, but there was one here. It was interesting to learn about it from its proud owner, and to compare notes with him about the Mandarin Orange Datsun 240-Z that I used to own back in Canada. I learned that in Japan the cars originally came with 2-liter engines, as opposed to the larger, 2.4-liter engines that we bought here in North America.

The variety extended not only to the sights but also to the sounds, as every so often roaring engines from the “Nitro Alley Cacklefest” punctuated the serene ambiance. The time flew by as I walked, took pictures and ate.

Yes, a variety of great-tasting food was readily available from the local eateries and from show vendors. The Lions hosted a popular pancake breakfast by the beach, followed by selections that included Bratwurst for lunch. There were bands on three stages, to entertain us.

Speaking of entertaining, when I walked over to see the cars on the beach, I noticed surfers in the ocean. Seal Beach has a long, convenient pier that is perfect for enabling photographers to get close to the action without getting wet!

I highly recommend the Seal Beach Classic Car Show to you when it returns next year.

Next up is a review of the new movie “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.” I still remember when, as a kid many years ago, I watched the cartoon show on TV. As Spider-Man, Peter Parker always managed to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to defeat the diabolical villains and save the day. The tune of the TV show’s theme song, and some of its words, still stick in my mind.

A somewhat darker tone is present in today’s superhero movies, but Spider-Man has a lighter side too. We observed him having a great time swinging from building to building using his strands of web, moving quickly above the bustling New York City traffic in the streets below.

The special effects are absolutely realistic. Add the 3-D and IMAX, along with the full, rich audio, and the result is a treat for the senses. Thankfully the lightweight 3-D glasses are reasonably comfortable, even when worn over prescription glasses.

The characters – Peter Parker, his girlfriend Gwen and his old friend Harry Osborn are believable and we care about what happens to them. Stan Lee has his usual cameo role.

Unfortunately my kudos for this film end there. My concern is with the screenplay. At times the story seems confusingly disjointed, as it takes off first in one direction, then another and so on. It is difficult to figure out where the story is taking us, and why, although eventually things do make sense. It was as if sections of important, bridging exposition were removed to shorten the film’s running time.

If you enjoy fast-paced action, mayhem and adventure; state-of-the-art special effects and solid acting, you’ll probably enjoy “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” but the flow of the story as it transitions from scene to scene could have – and should have, been better.

As always, please write to

with your comments and suggestions.

Copyright © 2014 by Jan Wagner – #331



CAPTION 10 - The Amazing Spider-Man 2