Friday, April 3, 2009

My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories.

Recently I was talking with a friend of mine and we realized that by the end of the year we will have known each other for ten years. Jesus Christ, TEN YEARS? Because my sad pathetic life revolves around movies, I used cinema and not life events to gauge just how much time has passed. I thought of all the movies I've watched with him and his friends, and now it all seems so long ago. I remember I went to see The Fast and the Furious with this friend back in 2001, and that shit feels pretty recent to me. But the truth is that I'm fuckin' deluding myself into thinking that wasn't so long ago. Now I'm much closer to my 30's than I am to my 20's and that's fuckin' life I guess.

But just because you're getting older doesn't mean you can't still live your life a quarter-mile at a time. That's what I learned recently when I found out that there was not only another Fast and the Furious flick coming out, but that they got the old gang back together for this one. I suspect they must feel the same way about aging as I do. These motherfuckers are in such a hurry to relive the glory days they didn't waste time coming up with a title, they just called this one Fast & Furious. Not The Fast and the Furious Returns or 4 Fast 4 Furious or The Fast and the Furious: The Quickening or any of that shit, nope -- they just took out "the" and "and" and in its place put in an ampersand.

I honestly had no intention of seeing this movie, figuring that I would wait for the DVD. But my local theater was having a midnight showing last night (or is it "this morning"?) and their tickets are pretty cheap and I had nothing to do, so there I went. It was a nearly full house, the crowd ranging mostly from 15 to 35. The only people I saw over that age was a mother and father with their tween son, and either it was spring break vacation for him or they were cool enough to take him on a school night to watch a flick he was all hyped up for. That's kinda like when my dad took me to watch the midnight showing of Dick Tracy; I'd never gone to see a movie that late before and instead of a ticket, they gave you a Dick Tracy t-shirt that proclaimed you as one of the first to watch it. Being the faggot douche that I am, I proudly wore that shirt the very next day at school, like that shit was going to get me all the prime grade-school pussy or something.

The movie opens with Diesel's character Dominic Toretto hijacking a tanker truck in the Dominican Republic, and he's got his girl Letty working by his side like old times. Also in his crew are two "wacky" Reggaeton-types and Han from the last sequel, Tokyo Drift. I thought that was pretty cool to add that extra bit of continuity, and considering what happened to Han in that flick, this must take place before Tokyo Drift.

They barely succeed with their caper, so Dom calls it quits because the heat from this past jacking along with Dom's added heat as a fugitive from U.S. justice will only make things worse on the entire team. They all go their separate ways, but Dom ends up sneaking off and leaving Letty in the middle of the night; he knows it's a matter of time before he's caught and he doesn't want to take her down with him. We then jump forward to Dom fixing cars in Panama, where he gets a long-distance call from Los Angeles; it's his sister Mia with bad news -- Letty's been murdered.

Now before you get all "What the fuck, dude! Why the fuck did you spoil that shit?", then my response is I don't give a fuck. I'll spoil shit if I think it doesn't matter, and you know what? It doesn't matter here. Besides, this is all in the first 20 minutes of the movie and I can't really give you a plot synopsis without giving that shit away. Also, this is a Fast and Furious movie, and I don't think motherfuckers watch these flicks for the intricate plots and surprising twists.

So Dom treks back to L.A. on a mission to find out why Letty was killed and to kill the motherfucker or motherfuckers responsible. It's pretty cool, because for a short while it almost looks like we're going to get the Vin Diesel version of Payback, but it doesn't quite work out that way. Meanwhile, Paul Walker is back as Brian O'Conner, now an FBI agent (and introduced with a shot that reminded me of Warren Beatty's final scene in The Parallax View) trying to bring down a major Mexican drug kingpin. The movie goes between our two main characters' efforts, and if you guessed that Brian's mission and Vin's mission will somehow intertwine along the way, then you's a smart mo-fo. Not really.

Poor Michelle Rodriguez, always getting killed off potential long-lasting franchises. I take that back, I don't feel sorry for anyone with more digits in their last bank account statement than me. The last thing I saw her in was the last fifteen minutes of a movie called The Breed, which was alternately dull and lame-as-fuck. I remember talking about her with a couple of friends, one who found her attractive and the other who didn't. Me, I'm in the middle. I guess it depends on how she's photographed and dressed. I didn't really care for her in the first film, but she cleans up pretty well for this one.

One of the side characters here is a fellow FBI agent that does nothing but look and act like an asshole. He's got this snide and smug demeanor to him, and he's always making fucked-up comments to Brian and I kept waiting for the moment that Brian would grab him and slam this motherfucker against the wall and scare the shit out of him. I figured it would happen near the end of the movie, and about halfway through when he comes up to Brian to give him more shit, I thought to myself "Goddammit, how I wish he could just give this motherfucker the business right now rather than later". Well, I guess the movie read my mind, because Brian not only grabs this cocksucker, but he proceeds to BEAT THE FUCK out of this prick. I've never seen the asshole side character in a movie get dealt with like this, usually they get one punch in the nose or they're shoved against a wall or they get embarrassed in front of their superiors. Not this motherfucker. He gets fucking OWNED and it is a beautiful sight to see, made even more beautiful when we see all the blood on his face afterwards. It's nice when a PG-13 movie gets all R-rated on you like that. The entire audience cheered and then spent the next couple of minutes laughing about it. That, my friends, is the magic of cinema right there. In a fuckin' Vin Diesel movie.

The bad guys have the requisite hot chick henchwomen, and she's an interesting bird, this one. She's very pretty and very tall -- she's pretty tall. She's also a little too skinny, but it actually fits her. Here is the rare girl that actually looks like she was built with this body, rather than forcefully trying to retrofit it like most Hollywood chicks. There's a scene where she tries to pick up on The Diesel and I liked the way it ended and so did the girl sitting behind me apparently, because she went "Awww" afterwards.

There's a scene that takes place in a party, filled with smoke, loud music and blacklighted rooms. It's been a long time since I been to a party with a blacklit room. I miss that shit. But I bet if I go to a blacklighted room now, I'll only succeed in embarrassing myself when all the cumstains show up all over my clothes, so maybe it's better that I never go back to one of those.

Let me count off each of the flicks and how I felt about them. I liked the first one, I thought it was entertaining and I'm a sucker for nice cars and shots of girl booty. The second one was one of the greatest homosexual love stories ever committed to celluloid, alongside Bulletproof with Adam Sandler and Damon Wayans. And Tokyo Drift was a decent flick, definitely better than the second, and it looked like they were starting to veer out into other characters and adventures. But Fast & Furious, while obviously an attempt to grab more cash and to heat up the careers of Diesel and company, manages to be almost as good as the first.

I say almost because the original thrill of seeing rice-rockets and muscle cars racing it out is gone, but what you do get with this one is a darker movie that can be considered a true follow-up to the first movie. You can skip parts 2 & 3 completely and miss nothing. The only downside of this one having a darker tone (for the most part) is that you do kinda miss the occasional moment of having a dude like Ja Rule screaming out "MENAGE!" or "NOOO MONICA!!!" and you miss the sincere douchyness of Paul Walker calling people "dog". But it's nice to see something that reminds me of my early twenties while watching these actors acting like they never missed a beat in between all these years. We're partying like it's 2001! (Minus the blacklight.)

I know it's only been 8 years, but it might as well be 18 the way things have gone for me. Things were simpler back then; you can walk across the street at night safely, candy bars cost a nickel, and all I did was party and get laid, I had my whole life ahead of me. That's all bullshit -- all I did was watch movies and eat. But I DID have my whole life ahead of me, and while I still watch movies and eat, it's less about joie de vivre and more about Jesus Christ I Need To Forget What A World Of Shit I Live In, you know what I mean? No you don't.

In my self-misery wallow, I forgot all about Jordana Brewster! She's in this movie too. Damn, I was totally into her but I guess as soon as the calender year changed from 2001 to 2002, she became out-of-sight, out-of-mind with me. But it's nice to see her again, and I guess it says a lot about me that I found her fashion of relatively demure styles hotter than the latex tampons worn by the hoochie-mamas running around in this movie. She seems to be dressed in what I could only best describe as late-90's Jennifer Love Hewitt. I guess I like the "nice girl" look.

During the movie, the guys down the row from me kept making commentary. I was okay with it because this is kinda what I wanted from this crowd anyway. It was amusing to hear one dude in particular saying things like "That bitch is bomb" or "That fucking shit is fuckin' fake shit" until his own friends told him to keep it down. At one point he tried to light a joint until his friend told him to stop. Another from the group started snoring near the end and his green-haired girlfriend had to shake him awake. The loud-talker was also downing tall cans of Bud and being rather conspicuous about it. That bothered me.

Back when I still drank, I loved sneaking in booze to the movies, but at least I was really fuckin' stealth about it. These kids today, they don't care if anyone else in the theater knows, and then they bitch when they get ratted on. Hey bitches, the rats can't rat if there's nothing to rat about in sight. Anyway, this kid ended up knocking over one of his open cans and soon the scent of spilled beer entered my delicate nasal cavities. I bet that's going to smell up the theater something nice tomorrow afternoon. To add insult to injury, the group left all their trash behind, beer cans included. It's these kinds of motherfuckers who ruin it for the rest of us moviegoing alcoholics & druggies, the ones who pick up after ourselves and don't make it obvious to others that we're sneaking a drink or a puff or a snort.

Okay, I'm wrapping this one up. Here's the deal -- you give me a decent action-adventure movie with flashy cars, cool races, fast chases and nice looking ladies, all for a $7 ticket price? That works enough for me. But add the extra nostalgic value and now you've got a friend for life, and I guess that's why you shouldn't really put any value on what I've been saying about this movie. But then I'm sure you haven't put any value on anything I've said in this entire blog either, right? If so, then you are very wise.