Saturday, June 15, 2013

You sure you can handle the disappointment?

My brother Nikos is visiting and we were talking the other day about how you don't really have to know how do anything anymore, you simply need YouTube. We compared lists.

                  Me:                                                                                       Him:
How to find the starter on a Jeep.                                   How to adjust the idle on a motorcycle carburetor.
How to clean an elephant-shaped air dehumidifier.       How to break a bike lock.
How good (or bad) is a certain camcorder is.                How to start a fire using a water bottle.
And probably the most pathetic, how to tie a tie.            How to generate electricity with fruit.

Clearly, I'm much cooler than he is. I mean, clearly. I kind of feel bad for the kid.
Anyway, even though it too is on there (I just checked), there's one thing I know I don't need YouTube for:

How to rob a bank.

Admittedly late to the party, I caught Fast Five the other day in an effort to get ready for the surprise smash sixth entry, currently in theaters. I'd heard good things, and the box office numbers are ridiculous, so doing a back-to-back was going to be the plan. But after spending over two hours with Dom and his crew on blu ray, I might just pump the breaks on that shit.

Obviously, you don't go into the fifth of anything expecting genius, let alone a Fast and the Furious flick, but the reviews and buzz were generally positive. Foolishly, I thought it was going to be all pink slips and tight clothes, but not so much. In fact, the only race where somebody gets a car as a result? Oh, that shit's implied. Oh, Fast Five. You so crazy.

Also crazy, is how much this movie is like a certain George Clooney film. Seriously. If the first one is a remake/reboot of Point Break, the fifth one gives Ocean's Eleven the same treatment. Both have giant, ensemble casts full of recognizable and not-as recognizable ethnically diverse faces. Both involve robbing some unlikable jerk in an impossibly complicated manner. And, surprising no one, both flicks rode this formula all the way to the bank.

And speaking of heaps of money, that's what these intermittently attractive people need - and quickly. Most of them are on the run or living unsavory lives, so this score will be their last. They simply have to break into a state-of-the-art safe belonging to, surprise, a huge foreign d-bag (who no one dares stand up to). This safe is housed in a police station, naturally, so that's going to be a dilly of a pickle. Guess what they gotta do? In an unheard of move, they are going to need an exact replica of the safe to repeatedly practice the fine art of cracking it. Luckily for us, this particular safe needs to be driven to. Fastly. Potentially even in a state of elevated anger.

Enough will all the tomfoolery. Let's floor it over to the ultra-serious Yays and Boos. We've been traversing all over New England for the last week in a rented 2013 Jetta. 'Twas a nice car, but I couldn't seem to find the nitrous switch. Really could have used it on the Mass Pike...

  • That opening sequence was all kinds of awesome. It was like a live action version of the opening of Toy Story 3. Just replace Woody with um, Riddick.
  • As much as I liked it, I think I actually peed a little, pure-joy style, when Dom throws that guy off of a moving train into a railing. Wow.
  • If the highly likely situation where I need a Spanish Bad Guy, I'm dialing up Joaquim de Almeida. He rules.
  • Which brings me to a favorite staple of mine in these movies, shooting the messenger. I've always enjoyed how the big boss handles bad news. Usually, it's some dude sweating it out, detailing what happened to his ________ (insert: money, car, brother, um, entire opertaion). Sometimes the boss goes nuts, sometimes he handles it all very calmly. But then, after the news is digested, it's basically mandatory that he shoots the poor chump in the head. Awesome.
  • In a movie like this, it's damn near blasphemous to ask the audience to do a lot of reading. But, with the international cast and location, it's a necessary evil. Solution? Swooshy subtitles! Oh. Yeah!
  • Ludacris. Sorry, but I love this dude.
  • Raise your hand if you like it when a sexy lady walks toward the camera in slo-motion. In fact, raise both. Pervs. You can do that on your own time.
  • The finale. Whoa. Completely impossible. Both on the able to actually happen and the to not be entertained fronts. Equal parts epic and ridiculous.
  • Which fully describes the fisticuffs between Diesel and The Rock, too. That whole bit really throws a wrench into their plan, huh? That was a pun. I think.
  • And finally, let me just sheepishly admit, that I kind of like these movies, just not when I'm watching them, if that makes sense. See, they're big, loud, incredibly dumb and lack anything resembling subtlety and nuance (which perfectly describes Elizabeth Berkley in Showgirls, by the way). In fact, I barely finished this one. But, somehow, by the time it was over (after the ridiculous chase scene at the end), I just kind of surrendered and thought f--k it. Shit's entertaining.
  • Just for the record, there's no way that Paul Walker holds on to the car. In what scene? Um, any of them.
  • I love The Rock. It's been well-documented on this blog. But when his character, Hobbs, speaks? It made me want to give the script the People's Elbow. He might set a record for worst dialogue spoken consecutively. He's like Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive. On steroids.
  • But he's not alone. I think 89% of the script is shouted. The rest is irrelevant/subtitled.
  • Paul Walker's pregnant wife? She can jump through a roof. Mine? She can barely jump to conclusions. Just kidding. She can totally jump to conclusions. I mean, I said she.
  • Anyway, what made me really, um, furious? A cash-counting room. Pardon me, a titty-free cash counting room. Curse you, PG-13. Curse you.
  • Wow. The remote control car. Necessary, but ridiculous.
  • Also absurd, is the whole safe thing. These guys apparently have an unlimited budget. If they had this kind of money, perhaps they don't really need to risk their lives for one last job. Well, till the sequel.
  • Oh, and speaking of unnecessary, the invisible cars. I'm fully okay with them stealing cop cars - fine. But then they race them for fun? Seems foolish and excessive. And by foolish, I mean utterly retarded. And by excessive, clearly I mean, f--king pointless.
  • The worst scene ever? The This is Brazil scene. The feds can't arrest these guys, because you know, it's too crowded with a-holes.
  • And finally, why are these movies so long? I'm all for lots of action and tons of characters, but damn. Two hours and ten minutes? I thought this shit was supposed to be fast.
I'm really behind in my summer movies, obviously, but two things are really slowing me down. First, the Bruins made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, so I've been watching a shit ton of hockey. Awesome. Also stellar, is my brother's visit. He flew up, so the least I could do is pay for every movie we see together right? That gets pretty pricey though, you know? Damn.

Maybe I should rob a bank.

I totally know how.


  1. "Equal parts epic and ridiculous" -- wait until you see the sixth one... epicly ridiculous and ridiculously epic altogether!

    Being on the other side of the globe, I have no idea what the Stanley Cup is, but I guess I can just look it up on Youtube. But only after I watch that video on "How to generate electricity with fruit" followed by me uploading a video on "How to tie a tie".

    1. Great. You might have just sold me on the sixth one. I mean, you don't just throw around phrases like 'epicly ridiculous' right?

      Two things: 1. Being the soccer fan that you are, I'm sure you could easily get into hockey. Especially the finals.

      And 2. I dare you to upload that video. In fact, I double dare you.

  2. This is the one that saved the franchise for me and rightfully so. It's fun, entertaining, stupid, and self-knowing with the limits of control it has. Nice review M.

    1. That makes sense.

      Is the sixth one better?