I Live My Life One Quarter Mile Walk at a Time – The One Summer Movie I Actually Bothered to See [California Seething]
Oh, to be Vin Diesel!
Oh, to be a Big, Bald, American Male who Drives FAST, Kicks ASS and Speaks only in APH…orisms.
OK, so, sure if you take my BMI, Passport and Genitalia’s word for it – I am, strictly speaking, a Big American Male. Incidentally – any connection between the words “Big” and “my genitalia” is strictly coincidental or intended for entertainment purposes only.
I mean, come on – a big hairy Jew with an itty-bitty pecker – now that’s comedy! It’s like an angry purple mushroom poking out of the undergrowth or a Smurf’s house in Gargamel’s forest. You may not know this, by the way, but Gargamel and Azrael were not the original names of the characters – they were changed from Filthy Jew and Kikey after the first episode “Let’s capture Brainy Smurf and Drink his Blood for Passover Wine” did not test well.
Paula Deen had similar problems, which is why she changed her show’s name to “Paula’s Home Cooking” from “N— N—- Chicken Dinner” partially because it’s extremely offensive and racist and partially because that name was already taken by Quentin Tarantino for his cooking show. Oh Paula, if only you’d just shot a black person instead of insulting them, you’d have totally gotten away with it!
So – sure, I’ve got Big American Male covered – and as far as Bald, well, my hairline has been engaged in brutal trench warfare with my forehead for over a decade and is now retreating one brutal millimeter at a time as my follicles die tragically trying to grow over the top of my scalp.
But it’s not the good kind of baldness – the archetypal , uber-manly, Diesel/Willis/Rock-Johnson/Savalis “rogue cop who does what he has to do to get results even if it means bending the rules a little” baldness. No, I’m just balding in the middle-aged, nebbishy, “captain who’s pulling his hair out because the Commissioner tore me a new one when he heard about Detective Bald Manly’s latest shenanigans on the streets” kind of way. Sigh.
The greatest tragedy of my working life is that I’m not the devil-may-care, wisecracking, bend the rules renegade artist but the arts administrator pulling his hair out when the Managing Director tears me a new one over the spike in utility costs resulting from Artsy McFartsy Pants latest shenanigans on stage.
I knew we shouldn’t have produced “1000 Incandescent Bulbs Burning at Once While I Flush All the Toilets and Run the A/C at Full Blast For Six Hours”. Worst. Robert Wilson production of a Phillip Glass Opera. Ever. (BTW- that was just named as Reference of the Year by PretentiousTwits.com – narrowly beating out “Not since the Titan Cronus devoured his children has a parent treated an infant as cruelly as Kim Kardashian did when she named her daughter North West.”
Good thing that kid’s rich cause she’ll never be happy.
And the comparisons between me and Vin just get worse.
He Kicks Ass whereas I Kick Ass at Excel (I live my life one Pivot Table at a time. For those six AGONIZINGLY PAINFUL FUCKING HOURS or less, I’m free). His motto is “Ride or Die” my motto is “Can I please get a ride? I’m dyin here!” He speaks only in aphorisms and I use words like “aphorism” when I speak in order to impress people.
After all, you know what they say about the size of a man’s vocabulary- Don’tcha? Eh? Nothing. Absolutely Nothing. There is no demonstrable correlation between the extent of a man’s vocabulary and the dimensions of his genitals. Oh fiddlesticks.
Of course, I hope you realize that I don’t aspire to be Vin Diesel the actor – star of such movies as Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick…uhm…Riddick, Riddick Saves Christmas, Riddick Goes to Camp, the obligatory asinine comedy about a big strong man who faces his toughest challenge when he has to look after…A BUNCH OF ADORABLE KIDS! WACKY-WACKY!! Shmindergarden Flop or whatever it was called.
And who could forget the Sidney Lumet prestige film he made about a mobster on trial? Wait- I know who- EVERYBODY. EVERYBODY FUCKING FORGOT IT #rhetoricalquestionsareforwussies.
I mean, seriously, why would I want to be an actor – the anxiety, uncertainty, instability and endless compromises – there’s nothing enviable about an actor’s life. Now a high speed truck hijacker illegal street racer and international fugitive, like Diesel’s character in the Fast & Furious franchise – now that’s a life to be jealous of!
So, really – I’m not jealous of Vin Diesel at all, I’m jealous of Dominic Toretto. Actually, let’s just pause there – because, really, the only thing you need to know about the Fast & Furious franchise is that a cheesedick actor named “Vin Diesel” plays a gritty street racer named Dominic Toretto.
It’s like a sweet, gooey chocolatey Hollywood shitball rolled in the toasted coconut of fake urban grit. It’s total fucking bullshit that looks passably like life. It’s Pergo floors and Jersey Shore, a Tuscan villa in Tampa and Armstrong winning the Tour.
OK, so none of these analogies are entirely accurate. Truth be told, I just got caught up writing that sentence because I’m a stinking rhyme whore #onthefloor #givemesomemore #shutthedoor Because what the F&F movies really are is Pro Wrestling – we don’t expect them to be “real” we just need them to seem real – you know, Reality Adjacent (which is also an upscale neighborhood near Calabasas).
And this is much better than reality, because it comes with no risk of disillusionment – after all when was the last time you heard of a Steroid scandal in Pro-Wrestling? And it’s not cause they aren’t using ‘em – trust me, you can’t even bend over in a WWE locker room without someone jabbing you in the ass with a needle.
At least that’s what they told me they were doing back there. (I can show you on the doll where John Cena touched me. OK, so strictly speaking it’s not a doll it’s a vintage Rowdy Roddy Piper action figure, but I can still lift up that kilt and show you what They did to me when They made me Obey).
No – it’s because wrestlers don’t CARE. After all, they know that wrestling is really just a performance – and you can’t spell Performance without Performance Enhancing Drugs. And if you think that sounds bass ackwards – just wait til you hear my argument for why the Fast & Furious films are the Foremost Film Franchise for era of Faux-thenticity that we Fucking Find ourselves Floundering in #imanalliterationwhoretoo.
But First, Some History:
But first, some history (wait, I’ve heard that before). The first F&F movie was released in 2001 and as I was rewatching the movie recently, I was shocked to discover that 2001 was actually a REALLY LONG TIME AGO.
I know – that’s crazy right?? I was positive that 2001 was really just last Tuesday – a couple of days before Obama’s election and about a week after the last R.E.M. record came out – you know the one I mean, Out of Time. Seriously guys, mandolin? I’m Losing My Lunch. No wonder that a couple of days after this album came out they broke up for good (in 2011).
I mean, there’s no way 2001 was over a decade ago – I’m still listening to that Bloodhound Gang album which I downloaded free on Napster (don’t get me wrong, I fully believe artists should be paid for their creative work – I just don’t believe anyone should ever refer to the Bloodhound Gang as “artists”), I’ve still got the Time Magazine with the Summer of Shark cover in my bathroom (my god, was there ever a time so wonderful that our biggest fear was shark attack?).
Hell, I’m wearing a t-shirt from 2001 as I write this and apart from the fact that the printing is totally faded, the armpits have rotted out and it fits my like the casing on an Oscar Meyer Weiner – it’s BRAND FUCKING NEW. 2001 CAN NOT BE ANCIENT HISTORY. I WON’T ACCEPT IT #holdingmybreath #turningblue #crapmorebraindamage #whoareyoupeopleagain
Sadly, though, no matter how much I want to deny it, the original Fast & Furious movie makes it painfully clear just how long ago 2001 really was, as you can see from the plot summary:
Fresh off his breakout performance in VARSITY BLUES, Paul Walker plays undercover cop Brian O’Connor who infiltrates a crew of street racers led by Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel, fresh from his breakout performance is SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and decked out in VON DUTCH APPAREL) while investigating a series of high-speed truck robberies during which a group of precision drivers in PIMP MY RIDE STYLE SOUPED UP 1995 HONDA CIVICS board trucks and make off with thousands of dollars worth of VCRs and DVD Players.
Jesse, one of Toretto’s crew members, is the young genius who designs all their cars on a DESKTOP PC with a NON-WIRELESS MOUSE THAT PROBABLY STILL USES A TRACKBALL OR SOME SHIT. Jesse is smart enough to be at “M.I.T. or somethin’” but he failed out of school because he suffers from the dreaded ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER (or as it’s been recently renamed “Just being born in the 80’s”).
Jesse is so smart, in fact, that he’s actually able to research Brian on THE NET and find all the fake info that the police put out there. Now, that may not sound so smart – but, remember, in 2001, you had to be a fucking computer genius to find anything online except for porn, porn, porn.
Seriously- no matter what question you Asked Jeeves, the answer was always “Wet Hot Nude Teen Pussy Tits Cum Shot Anal Bondage”- which made it unbelievably hard to find a goddamn towel rack.
Anyhow, Brian & Dominic bond over street racing and building cars – plus Brian saves Dominic from the cops after a street race gets busted up and Brian falls in love with Dom’s sister Mia, played by Jordana Brewster, 11 years before her breakout performance in Dallas all the while concealing his true identity.
His cover is almost blown, though, when he gets a call on his CELLULAR TELEPHONE THAT’S SERIOUSLY JUST LIKE…A PHONE AND THAT’S IT from the police one morning while Mia is still in his bed.
Anyhow, eventually he discovers that Dom’s gang really is behind the heists, tells Mia the truth, and races off with Mia to stop Dom from pulling off another heist. He arrives just as the heist goes sour, saves crew member Vince from certain death and then gives away his real identity as a cop as he calls in a medivac for Vince on his PHONE THAT, NO SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS, IS JUST A PHONE – I MEAN IT DOESN’T HAVE A CAMERA OR A FLASHLIGHT APP OR PLAY CANDY CRUSH OR ANYTHING I MEAN IT’S LIKE ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL’S FUCKING MOTOROLA RAZR IS HOW MUCH OF JUST A FUCKING PHONE IT IS, COMPRENDE?
So, Brian follows Dominic back home and as they are arguing, Jesse pulls up to the house terrified because he raced his father’s 1995 VOLKSWAGEN JETTA against evil Vietnamese Guy Johnny Tran and lost – but instead of giving his car to Tran like he was supposed to he drove away like a bitch.
Sure enough, Tran’s crew shows up and guns Jesse down. This is actually the third most common cause of death for ADD sufferers – right behind getting beat up by football players for selling fake Ritalin and being murdered by their boss for being a useless fucking intern who thinks “Ho Lee Fuk” is a funny name to give the media (which, BTW, it is. Really funny. Ho Lee Krap is it funny).
With the gunfire as a distraction, Dominic races off. Brian follows after him, the two get into a drag race, Dominic’s car gets hit by a truck and totaled in a moment of weird trucker karma and Brian decides to give a bruised and battered Dom his own car so that Dom can get away from the cops and be free.
And that’s pretty much all there is to it except JA RULE plays the Funny Black Guy and the soundtrack features R. KELLY just one year before his breakout performance as THE MAN WHO MISTOOK A GIRL’S FACE FOR A URINAL, which, BTW, is Oliver Sachs’ least popular book.
So – there you have it – the first movie – now, much like cell phone technology, subsequent sequels were bigger, flashier and needlessly complicated – though, unlike cell phones, they didn’t get any smarter. Still, within the first movie we can see all of the elements that make this the perfect film franchise for our times:
Isn’t It Bromantic?
When you get right down to it, the F&F series is a love story. Two individuals share a common passion and are so drawn to each other that their love transcends legal and social mores and bridges the gap between the very different worlds they live in.
Oh, and one of them just happens to be schtupping the other’s sister.
There is a heated scholarly debate about the first Bromance in literary history. Was it Horatio & Hamlet? (“Dude. I’m totally slain – you’ve got to tell my story” “Dude, whatever, you’ve got to pull my finger” “Ha! Awesome. That’s so classic you”), Jesus & Peter (“On this rock I will build my church” “Dude, did you say COCK?” “Ha! Awesome. Classic You.”) Moses & God (“I shall strike this rock with my staff to provide water for the people or Israel!” “Dude, did you just say- strike this COCK with my ROD?” “Ha! Awesome. Classic You.”)
The term “Bromance” was first coined in reference to Spencer Pratt and Brody Jenner and, let’s just be absolutely clear here, I had to look that up on Wikipedia because there’s ABSOLUTELY NO WAY that I would just happen to know that from memory.
I mean, how could I possibly know that Pratt & Jenner were BFF until the L.C. – Heidi Montag feud totally led to their dudevorce?? That would mean that I used to watch The Hills every single week which I MOST CERTAINLY DID NOT. Sigh. Oh Whitney Port, I miss you most of all. And to think I’ll never know how things worked out for you in The City.
BTW – “Speidi” was recently selected as the second douchiest couple of all time to be referred to as a one word contraction of their first names by Loathsome Lovers Magazine – right behind Adolph Hitler and Eva Braun who were briefly referred to as E-Dolph during their short lived reality show Our Kampf (not Leni Riefenstahl’s finest work, if I’m honest.)
So, while there have been Bromances long before the term was coined – there has been an explosion in the genre in recent years – most likely since “men” have all been replaced by overgrown, pre-adolescent, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle t-shirt wearing, X-Box addicted man-boys who dress up like Stormtroopers for Comic-Con and can’t handle any relationship more complicated than hanging out with a bunch of guys like a circle of monkeys picking fleas off each other and scratching each other’s nuts.
Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s all the hormones in chicken. All I know is that the 40’s had Bogart and Bacall, the 50’s had Hepburn and Tracy and the 2000’s…well, we have Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Vince Vaughn and John Favreau, Seth Rogen and James Franco, Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson, Mark Wahlberg and Ted, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson (Oh My God, Vince, you’re such a Bro-Ho) and, the greatest screen dude couple of them all Vin Diesel and Paul Walker.
I mean, sure, they both ostensibly have female love interests in the movie – but let’s keep it real – when Diesel stares into Walker’s icy blue eyes, he’s like Greg Louganis diving into two crystal clear pools of pure adoration (only NOT GAY) – and when Walker gives Diesel his car at the end – well, we all know damn well who the true Star Crossed Lovers of this story are – and it’s perhaps the finest Romeo and Dudeliet story since the Reeves and Swayze in the greatest Bromance Ever Told (moment of silence for Patrick Swayze…..OK, now moment of silence for Keanu Reeves’ career….OK, now a moment of silence for the boundaries of good taste…..OK, good #respectforthedeadshmespectforthedead)
One of the few good things about this turdbucket of a century that we find ourselves living in is that the bar for deviant behavior has never been set lower.
I mean, in the early 70’s just about everything was considered harmless fun – unprotected casual sex, booze, cigarettes, alcohol, big cars, red meat, pesticides and even cocaine were perfectly acceptable in polite society. So, if you truly wanted to engage in anti-social behavior you had to go WAYYYY out of your way and snort the ground-up leg bone of a 10-year-old boy while taking a shit on a nun’s face and voting for Nixon (this is also one of the more obscure Passover rituals.)
Then came DDT and cancer and AIDS and cholesterol and fuel shortages and global warming and Just Say No and Monsanto and as a result, nowadays all you have to do is drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee to Ralph’s to buy non-organic strawberries and you’re like the evil lovechild of Jeffrey Dahmer and General Zod.
As a result, what used to be ordinary is now totally titillating – and entertainment has adjusted accordingly.
We’ve had Cholesterol Porn with Paula Deen (don’t despair, Deen fans – the Food Network has found a new host for her show. I think you’ll just love this Zimmerman guy), Booze, Cigarettes and Casual Misogyny Porn with Mad Men, and glorious Car Porn with The Fast and the Furious movies – starring Vin Diesel as John Holmes and a huge black 1970 Dodge Charger R/T as his 12” fleshy schlong (you know what they say about muscle cars, once you go black…).
Diesel and company spurt thousands of gallons of precious gasoline into their cars just to make them moan and scream and explode down the road with a burst of speed – and of course it’s usually over in 10 seconds or less.
Phew, I need a cigarette (tobacco free water vapor electronic cigarette of course – I’m no animal!).
Like any other type of Porn, though, it needs to get more and more extreme in order to keep our interest. As a result, the first movie contains an almost innocent Debbie Does Dallas like blend of souped up Mazdas, Toyotas and Nissans, while the 6th movie features a mouth watering, hardcore Cum Buckets 8, Gag Me, then Fuck Me 3 collection of rare classics (1970 Plymouth Barracuda, 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona), insanely expensive science fiction looking supercars (Koenigsegg CCX, Ferarri Enzo) and sheer, unadulterated one of a kind insanity (2012 F1 Custom Ramp Car).
It’s spectacular – I mean, I don’t know what the automotive equivalent of a tossed salad or a triple anal is – but I can’t wait ’til F&F 7 to find out!
And, of course, as a non-driver, it’s even more titillating since I am just about as likely to own a 1970 Dodge Charger as I am to own a 12” penis – and, to be honest, if I was to come into possession of either of those items – I’m not entirely sure I’d be able to handle it.
Thank god then, for Vin Diesel doing it for me (though, ironically, thanks to all the steroids, his junk is quite small. As the Prophet Isaiah said “That which enhances performance in one area, shall detract in another” and then he went on to say a bunch of stuff about rivers of blood and divine justice cause he was fucking nuts #thismeansarodsgotateenyweenybat #teeheehee)
The Morality of Entitlement – It’s the Right Thing to Do if I Get What I Think I Deserve
So – here’s the thing. Or rather, a thing, it can’t be “the” thing because I keep using that phrase and, much like Highlander, there can be only one. So – ok, here’s a thing – Dominic Toretto is a thief. He takes stuff that doesn’t belong to him and we’re supposed to love him anyhow – but why? Is there something redeeming about his actions? Let’s investigate:
Does he steal from the Rich?
Uhm, no, not exactly, he steals from truck drivers who are mostly lower middle class contractors struggling to make a living. Though, I suppose in later movies, he does steal from rich criminals – but he’s still not above pulling the occasional truck heist and ripping off the poor slobs who drive semis and have a wife and kids to beat back home.
Does he give to the Poor?
Uhm, well, no, not exactly. I think he sort of sells all the stuff for quick cash.
Does he use the money to feed the Hungry and clothe the Naked?
Uhm, yeah, well, uhm, no, not exactly – he mostly just spends it all on engine parts and beer – though I suppose he does buy meat for his weekly bar-b-cues with his friends – and they’re all pretty hungry – and, you know, all that Von Dutch gear don’t come cheap – so he does sort of clothe the naked. If by the naked you mean, himself.
So not so much?
No, not so much.
So why do we cheer for this guy? I mean, he’s no Tony Soprano or Stringer Bell – those are finely tuned complex machines designed to handle the difficult twists and turns of a complicated moral landscape.
Toretto, though – he’s a big slab of American muscle – just like his cars. Fast and powerful in a straight line – but not built for complicated moral handling. No – Toretto is just a thief and a street racer and that’s about it. So what’s he got going for him that makes him our hero? Well, he does make his crew say Grace before they eat – and he is pretty loyal to his people. But is that it? Is that enough?
The answer is yes. In F&F 6 – he encounters Owen Shaw – who also happens to be in the “stealing shit with fast cars” business – but Shaw is not loyal to his crew – he sees them as disposable cogs in a machine. So Shaw is a bad guy. Toretto, though, takes care of his crew no matter what, so he’s a hero.
The moral of the story then is that there is nothing worse than a bad boss – and no matter what horrible acts you commit, as long as you exhibit decent management skills, you’re an alright guy.
As a reasonably decent middle manager, I can’t tell you what a relief this is. It’s just a shame nobody told Saddam Hussein this – all he had to do was give an annual 3% COLA increase and he never would have been deposed and executed.
No – to me, Toretto epitomizes what I call “good person relativism”.
The moral philosophy that, it doesn’t really matter if you follow all the rules or do the right thing or make moral choices or stop yourself from stealing shit from trucks – as long as you’re not just an abjectly terrible utterly irredeemable pile of human garbage like Owen Shaw or Saddam Hussein or George Zimmerman – as long as you can say that there is some small way in which you behave decently – then you can be considered a “good person” and, since you are a “good person”, naturally you deserve wealth and success and happiness whether you are actually willing to earn it or not.
And if you’ve ever experienced any type of suffering or adversity, well then – it’s a slam dunk – you DESERVE anything you could possibly want!
You DESERVE an enormous house so take out that stupid loan, you DESERVE to win the race so go on and take those roids, you DESERVE a tricked out car so go on and rob that truck. Even though you’ve done absolutely nothing worthwhile to earn it – you’ve earned it! #america
All of which is to say that, hell yeah, I dragged my ass off the couch to go see Fast and Furious 6 and it was spectacular. I mean, it’s no Sharknado – but Ian Ziering can’t chainsaw his way through a flying shark in EVERY MOVIE.
There’s no way the world could be that wonderful.
So, taking into account the upsetting absence of flying sharks – F&F 6 was a terrific summer flick. Killer cars, a fully authentic street racing scene in London complete with strutting fashion models and DJs (the writers didn’t actually travel to London, but they did watch Austin Powers a few times – so they figured that was close enough), and, best of all a brand new Bromantic Lead.
That’s right – as of F&F 5 – Paul Walker isn’t the only law-man in Toretto’s life. That’s right – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is back as CIA Agent Luke Hobbs – and when he and Diesel are on the screen together, the air practically crackles with testosterone and baldness as they stand facing each other spouting terse, laconic lines of tough – guy haiku dialogue back and forth:
So this is what 100 million dollars buys
It wasn’t that hard to find you
I wasn’t hiding
Not bad for a cop
I never thought I’d trust a criminal. ‘Til next time.
‘Til next time
So this is worth billions?
Name your price, Dom
And, perhaps the greatest piece of co-written Hobbs/Toretto tough guy haiku of all time – which comes from Fast 5:
You’re under arrest
I don’t feel like I’m under arrest
How ‘bout you, Brian?
I mean, seriously guys – get a room already! No wonder Paul Walker looks on with envy every time The Rock struts in. There’s no way he can compete with this level of amped up, deadpan, bicep pumping guy talk.
If he wants to stick around in this franchise, he’s just going to have to rely on his acting chops. Wow, he’s fucked. Maybe he can get eaten in Sharknado 2.
OK – I could go on and on about this, but I think (and I’m sure you’ll agree) that I’ve said enough – so I’m just gonna close with this quote from Hobbs:
“The crew we’re after, they hit like thunder and disappear like smoke. You go in alone, you won’t ever touch them. I’ve been chasing these guys across four continents and twelve countries and believe me, the last place I want to be is in front of your door step selling Girl Scout cookies. I need your help Dom. I need your team.”
Just go fucking see this movie. It’s ALL that good. Hell, I’d be thrilled to go with you. Can I get a ride, though? I’m dyin’ here!