Charlottesville Breaking News
By Richard Roeper
Early on in Richard Linklater's Before Midnight, we see an extended sequence more daring and in some ways just as thrilling as anything we're likely to experience in any 2013 movie about superhumans who can fly or futuristic galaxies filled with glorious and dangerous sights.
The scene is shot in near-documentary fashion. Twin girls of about 7 are sleeping peacefully in the backseat of a car. Up front, their parents are driving through the countryside of Greece, discussing all the things that consume the conversations of 40-something couples.
Ethan Hawke is Jesse, a writer who still dresses like a college student but looks every bit his age. Julie Delpy is Celine, effortlessly attractive, and that's a good thing because she's so harried she wouldn't have time to put in any real effort on her looks at this point.
They talk about his teenage son from a previous union, who was just dropped off at the airport and is on his way back to Chicago. They commiserate about his impossible ex-wife. He hints about a possible move to the States so he can see his son more often. She deftly opens the door to a discussion of her new job opportunity, which would keep them firmly planted in Europe. They debate whether they should wake the girls for a promised tour of some ruins, or tell them the ruins "were closed" and they'll catch 'em on the way back. ...
Dear Tom and Ray:
We do a lot of city driving, but in the summer months we tow a couple of Jet Skis around behind our older Nissan Murano, and it has seemed to do the job just fine. The total weight of the Jet Skis and trailer is about 2,100 pounds. We are considering replacing the Murano with a 2013 Ford Escape with the 2.0-liter, EcoBoost engine. The 2013 Escape claims a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds, which is the same as our Murano. We like the idea of a smaller engine (better gas mileage) for when we are not pulling a trailer, but we are concerned about the strain on a smaller engine when we do. Would you recommend the new Escape for our needs, or should we look at something with a six-cylinder engine or larger towing capacity? We live in Minnesota and appreciate the 4-wheel drive, too. If not the Escape, do you have other suggestions for us? Thank you.— Dave
RAY: Get the Escape. Its towing capacity is 3,500 pounds, and you need to tow 2,100.
TOM: Your strategy is correct. You want a vehicle that meets your needs for the vast majority of your driving, not a vehicle that will handle every exception. And if you live in the city, a smaller vehicle with better gas mileage certainly makes sense.
RAY: You're right to be concerned about the towing. Adding 2,100 pounds of weight to any non-behemoth vehicle makes everything work harder— the engine, the transmission, the suspension, the brakes. But the same was true of your...