Thursday, April 02, 2009

Fast & Furious a.k.a. Drift from Fan-base

I attended an early screening of this movie and received a promotional item. It was a book of matches. I opened the matches to realize that it was not in fact a matchbook, but a very small condom…with Fast & Furious scrolled on the cover. It made me laugh.

In fact, many parts of Fast & Furious made me laugh. Like when the actors attempted to act. Or when the screenplay attempted to tell a story. And who can forget when the director attempted to compensate!

The story is simple. A wanted man in the states, Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is brought out of hiding when a heroin importer kills his girlfriend Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in Los Angeles. There, he teams with Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) in an attempt to get revenge and clear his name in the process.

With this being the original cast of The Fast and the Furious, which ended with everyone going their own way, the audience is treated to the obligatory “where did you go?”, “I thought you loved me!” scenes that reconnect the characters. And whether it’s Vin Diesel looking confused in moments of reflection or Paul Walker delivering lines with the depth of a mud puddle, we begin to realize how these actors came to be involved in a fourth installment of the series.

It certainly wasn’t because of a worthwhile script. That a story with no more than six plot points could make each one confusing and illogical is somewhat of a miracle. A racing-inspired movie contains one generic race and becomes the redheaded stepchild to Traffic. The dialogue is recycled from a bad Pennzoil commercial. And there is more than one occasion in which a character expresses a reason for doing something only to contradict himself the next line (no other character seems to notice).

Did I really expect more? Yes. I hoped for simple, stupid entertainment. What I got was one of the funniest movie-going experiences of my life. Usually that’s a good thing, but, well, let’s just say this won't have me backtracking to catch Tokyo Drift

What, When, Where this Weekend - Sugar, Adventureland, Alien Trespass, Paris 36

What, When, Where is a weekly guide to select screenings, discussions and events in the NYC-area of interest to screenwriters. Have an event you'd like to see listed here? Give us a heads-up at

Opening this weekend...

SUGAR, written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck

Premise: A chronicle of Miguel "Sugar" Santos's experience in the U.S., as the young Dominican baseball star is recruited to play in the minor leagues.

Angelika, AMC Empire 25, Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

I'm not even a baseball fan and I really want to see this one. Good reviews all around. (See here or here.)

ADVENTURELAND, written and directed by Greg Mottola

Premise: During the summer of 1987, recent college grad James Brennan takes what he thinks is a going-nowhere job at his local amusement park, only to discover it's a perfect opportunity to prepare himself for the real world.


I know Cake Man wants to see this one because he's mentioned it at least fifty times since the trailer debuted. I do, too. It looks funny, I like the cast, I liked Superbad. Bring it.

PARIS 36, written by Christophe Barratier and Pierre Philippe, dir. by Christophe Barratier

Premise: In the spring of 1936, three residents of "the Faubourg," a working class neighborhood north of Paris, look to produce a musical that will bring back to life their cherished local theater.

Union Square Stadium 14

The trailer is very colorful and pretty. Is it reminding anyone else of Amelie?

ALIEN TRESPASS, written by James Swift and Steven P. Fisher, dir. by R.W. Goodwin

Premise: A sci-fi/comedy set in 1957, in which residents of a small town in the Mojave Desert make an alliance with an alien named Urp, whose ship has crash-landed on Earth and released a second creature, the monstrous Ghota, who is bent on destroying humankind.

Angelika, Clearview Chelsea, AMC Empire 25

I like that they're marketing it as a lost film from the 1950s, and readers know from my weekly Trailer Trash feature that I'm a sucker for awful movies. I'm in.

What are you doing/seeing this weekend?