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The Fast and the Furious (10th Anniversary Review)

chapter 7
chapter 7

2001posterreleased June 22nd, 2001
10 years ago today!

Wow, I never would’ve predicted this: THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS has aged well. Or maybe I just wasn’t ready for it back when I first saw it. Skimming over my intentionally pretentious and off-topic original review I can see that I saw it as an attempt to exploit a fad. This is supported by all the old dvd extras (now on blu-ray) which make a huge deal about it being based on a Vibe article about street racing, and how they went to watch races and ran from the cops and all the cars and extras in the car show scenes are real racers who responded to a web posting. They wanted us to know this “street racing” was a real thing happening somewhere at night, and director Rob Cohen and friends are on the front lines ready to show us what’s going down.

That shit (and the music on the soundtrack – “Rollin'” by Limp Bizkit!?) is still goofy, but watching it with ten years and four sequels of distance it seems like the street racing is a relatively small part of the movie, not worth fixating on. It’s a story about these men who happen to be obsessed with fixing up cars to go fast, and who use those skills to hijack shipments of DVD players. But it’s more about them as characters than about the specifics of their engines. It’s way more based on POINT BREAK than on that Vibe article, and I never got hung up on the portrayal of surf culture in POINT BREAK. It’s just the world that the story takes place in.

mp_tfatfThere’s one major street racing scene, the one where Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) puts his $80,000 car on the line and loses it to Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel). I always thought it was a funny idea, they’re just driving in a straight line and their winning seems to mainly depend on pushing the button that kicks in the nitrous oxide, or as I would call it “the go-faster button.” Cohen tried to come up with a new way of showing speed on film, so it’s all very artificial, the actors driving fake cars with blurry, pulsating surroundings, and the famous camera-move-through-CGI-engine that was in a couple of these and then became standard in movies for a while in the early 2000s.

Watching it now it’s more of a special effects sequence than an action one. It reminds me of the speeder bike chase in The Return of the Jedis. But in my 2011 wisdom I can just smile at that silliness and appreciate the scene for its place in the story and characterization. I like it for Brian smiling like a stoner (or like Keanu?) after the catastrophic loss of his car, because he knows he’s earned some kind of respect with his impressive showing; for Dom’s macho and overly-competitive rebuttal to Brian’s claim of “Dude, I almost had you!”; for the way the outcome of the bet sets up their relationship and the perfect ending to the movie.

The stunt coordinator and second unit director is Mic Rodgers, director of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: THE RETURN. Alot of his career has been spent with Mel Gibson, as his personal stunt double, stunt coordinator on alot of the movies he was in, and second unit director on APOCALYPTO, among other things. He also performed stunts in ROAD HOUSE and ON DEADLY GROUND, making him an important part of our nation’s great cultural history. And he does his job well here. Despite the digital slickness of that street race scene the rest of the movie feels very organic. It’s real car stunts, lots of crazy car flips and people climbing on and off of speeding vehicles, getting shot at. They’ve made this type of scene more elaborate over the course of the series, but the original ones still work great, sold by great stuntwork and the conviction in Diesel’s face and arms.

The filmatism is better than what I associate with Cohen. Although I don’t care for the song I like the musical montage of the police raiding Johnny Tran (Rick Yune) and his people. Busting in, humiliating a guy in front of his family, the guy’s father slaps him. And he didn’t even do the crime. (Although he did blow up the car Dom won from Brian, and later shoots one of their friends.)

One thing that hasn’t changed in ten years: the movie lives or dies on Diesel’s charisma. His type of macho confidence was a rarity in the pop culture of 2001 and arguably even moreso now, although averaging in THE EXPENDABLES might fuck up the statistics on that one. Dom is introduced behind chain link fencing in the back room of Toretto’s, the cafe and mini-mart that his sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) runs. Brian sits there eating his tuna fish sandwich and sees Dom’s bald head and muscular shoulders from the back. He doesn’t get to meet him until getting in a fist fight with Vince (Matt Schulze) and Mia begging Dom to intervene.

Dom is a great character, or at least Diesel makes him great. Brian’s boss, in a car movie variation on the “just how badass is he?” scene, says Dom’s “got nitrous oxide in his blood and a gas tank for a brain.” But Mia describes him as “gravity,” attracting everyone to him. We see this at the street races, where he doesn’t really have conversations, more like makes speeches to the crowd, like he thinks he’s Maximus from GLADIATOR, or Cyrus from THE WARRIORS, or The Humungus in MAD MAX 2. They hang on his every word, “ooooooohhh” on his every dis, cheer for his macho proclamations like “Ask any racer, any real racer. It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.”

I mean really, is that supposed to be a great piece of real racer wisdom there? Why would you cheer for that? Because Dom said it, that’s the only reason. He can sell it like a preacher.

Not many actors could’ve pulled that part off. I know there’s a long list of all the people who were supposedly considered for Brian (Academy Award winner Christian Bale) and Mia (Academy Award winner Natalie Portman). I’m not sure who else was up for Dom, but I know Diesel had to leave John Frankenheimer’s REINDEER GAMES to take the part. You can describe that kind of presence, but you can’t simulate it. If it was phony the movie would be nothing. Obviously Diesel returning to the series is a big part of its growing success, but I think if it hadn’t been him in the first place there never would’ve been any sequels anyway, because nobody would’ve gave a shit.

There’s been some talk lately, some positive talk, about this series being “post-racial” and admirably diverse, the way it brings together all different races and nationalities in its cast. FAST FIVE has a super team of African-Americans, Latin Americans, Asian Americans, Puerto Ricans, Brazilians, some Samoan in The Rock, and one white guy. I would add that TOKYO DRIFT has a hick from Alabama who tries to graciously ingrain himself in Japanese culture, doesn’t drag his feet about it, doesn’t complain about having to take his shoes off.

But I gotta credit part 1 (and the Vibe article) for this approach. The street racing culture seems to be primarily Asian. You’ve got an Asian team, you’ve got a Hispanic team, and you’ve got our lead team which is 3 white guys, Jordana Brewster and Vin Diesel. They all have rivalries, sometimes with machine guns, sometimes with deadly results. But nobody ever calls anybody a racial slur, or seems like they have a problem with race, or notices it. Nobody even brings race up, it’s not about that.

This becomes more interesting when all the racers converge for a big convention that’s called “Race Wars.” That’s what they fucking call it! And you gotta wonder… didn’t they know what that sounds like? They had to’ve. Or maybe not. To them “race” means cars driving fast, what else would it mean? They’re not whites or blacks or Asians, they’re not a race, they’re people who race cars. Racists.

In a way it’s the same as that scene that had to be explained to me in the Coen Brothers version of TRUE GRIT. The little white girl and the little black boy talk about what a great name “Little Blackie” is for a pony, and it’s sweet because they’re both too innocent to be uncomfortable about any racial connotations in this conversation. Race Wars is the same thing. People from all walks of life can come together and have a Race War and still be brothers.

But then again they’re not all good people. Some of them are killers. Dom and his friends are behind a string of truck hijackings, that’s the whole reason why undercover cop Brian had to get acquainted with them in the first place. But why are they doing these robberies? What are they spending the money on? Mia isn’t going to medical school like she wishes, Jesse isn’t going to MIT like Brian says he should, the house is not real fancy. In a deleted scene we learn that Vince is paying medical expenses for his mom or grandma or somebody, but I’m not sure that counts since it’s not in the movie. As far as we know all this money goes into their cars. If so that’s kind of an accidental condemnation of the sport, isn’t it, if that’s what you gotta do to afford the equipment? You don’t gotta commit grand larceny to play basketball. You just gotta beat up somebody your size and steal their shoes.

Despite their crimes you like these guys because they’re like a family, and Dom is like their dad. He even brings them together for a fried chicken backyard picnic and he makes them say grace. Afterwards they lay around in the living room and watch DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY.

(By the way, I wonder whatever happened to Leon [Johnny Strong]? He was the guy on the racing team who didn’t get anything to do. He wasn’t Vin Diesel, he wasn’t the guy who’s jealous of Brian, he wasn’t the ADD computer expert, he was the other guy. They should bring him back in part 6, have him do something.)

Watching it now it doesn’t seem like a movie about racing (or “racism”) as much as it’s about macho bonding. The family doesn’t always take care of each other. Dom gets abandoned and almost picked up by the cops and can’t believe it when it’s Brian that saves him. He comes home and the people that should’ve been looking out for him are having a party. Vince is playing guitar. Letty is playing video games. Girls are making out. Nobody gave a shit about Dad, except Brian, so he’s in.

Of course, he’s an undercover cop, he has ulterior motives to get in with Dom. So the key moment is toward the end when Brian and Dom are in a field tending to the wounded Vince, and Brian calls for a medevac, calling himself “Officer Brian O’Conner” right in front of Dom. Dom gives him the ice cold “you motherfucker” stare. At this moment he could easily bash Brian’s skull in with a wrench like he did to the guy who caused his dad’s death. But he has to eventually come to understand what Brian has done. He found out when Dom was going to hijack a truck, didn’t want the cops to catch him or for the truck driver to kill him, so he went to help. He had Dom’s cell phone traced to get his location. Why didn’t he just call him and say the cops were onto him? I don’t know, but I’m glad he didn’t because everybody had failed to get Vince safely off the side of the truck, but Brian swooped in and did it. And Vince fucking hated him, so this is a supreme act of grace, like Babe saving the pitbull that tried to kill him in Babe part 2: Rise of Babe.

In summary, O’Conner has blown his cover, betrayed his people, risked his life and performed incredible stunts, all to save the life of an asshole that tried to beat him up and (at first) refused to even eat chicken with him. Brian did that because the guy was Dom’s friend. And all of that’s in the air while he’s looking down at the wounds trying not to blush from Dom’s “I’m gonna fucking tear your throat out” stare.

A whole lot of movies have squeezed drama out of the undercover cop forming a bond and then feeling like Benedict Arnold. Sometimes they just relate to the guy, sometimes they actually switch sides like this, and now they’re a rat to the crooks and to the cops. We’ve seen it a million times. But somehow this dumb racing movie pulled off a really good one, an almost mythic take on this classic situation, and not with dialogue – just with the expressions and physicality of two actors whose skills are generally shat upon.

Something occurred to me about the title. I always thought of “the fast and the furious” as being a lurid description of this group of people, or this subculture, or this generation or something. Like “the young and the restless.” But could it have been intended like THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY? Brian is “the fast” because of his driving, Dom (despite being equally fast) is “the furious” because of his anger about what happened to his father and what that did to his life. I don’t know, maybe that’s not what they meant, but I kind of like it.

This one cost about $38 million, less than half a MUMMY RETURNS, but they got way more for their investment. It’s a hi-octane thrill ride, a rubber-burning action vehicle, a nitrous-injected race car thingy, and other Peter Travers type quotes. This isn’t the type of movie I think of when I’m talking about the sons of JAWS and the Big Summer Popcorn Movie and all that shit, but it’s by far the best and most entertaining movie in this retrospective so far. It’s silly and it’s derivative of a better silly action movie, but it’s got heart, it’s got screen presence, it’s got codes of honor, and it’s got a hell of a car crash. That poor Dodge Charger, man. It’s been through so much over the last decade.

Happy birthday THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS. And many more.

* * *

legacy: 4 sequels so far and giving inspiration to other movies such as TORQUE.

Summer ’01-’11 connections: the best movie of the summer so far is FAST FIVE, sequel to this sleeper hit of ’01, and reuniting most of the original cast (even Matt Schulze).

would they make a movie like this today? The music would probly be better. And I would say the stunts would be more digital, except FAST FIVE has gone back to the glory of the real car stunt. FAST FIVE has also drifted away from the souped up Japanese cars to the classic ’70s muscle cars many of us prefer to see on screen (here just used as Dom’s dad’s car).

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
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171 Responses to “The Fast and the Furious (10th Anniversary Review)”

  1. When Brian got caught breaking into the hispanic racers’ garage by Dom and the crew and he defended himself by shouting, “THIS IS ABOUT RACE WARS,” there was this uncomfortable second where I forgot that there was a big racing event called Race Wars and just got really confused.

  2. **You don’t gotta commit grand larceny to play basketball. You just gotta beat up somebody your size and steal their shoes.**

    This retrospective to 2001 seems to be causing flashbacks to even earlier time in the clink. Easy, Vern. We know how it is, but you’re free now, you’re on the outside. We got next game. You pick first, shoot for ball, game to 16, all ones, win by 2, please don’t shiv me.

    A paradox: I hate car racing, but I love movies about car racing. I love basketball, but I hate movies about basketball.

  3. Whenever they show this movie before 10pm on German TV, they have to cut the ending. More specific, the part when Dom is allowed to escape. The movie has a “16” rating over here, only based on the “glorification of criminality”, so of course the kids, who might watch the movie early in the evening, are not allowed to see how the “bad guy” gets away.

  4. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 22nd, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I guess I need to watch all of these movies now. Are there any that are totally skip-able?
    I have only seen Fast & Furious (several times, actually- they used to play it constantly at the gym) but I really enjoyed it.

    Diesel can make 100 THE PACIFIERs, but still get a lifetime pass from me for his role in BOILER ROOM and for being the voice of THE IRON GIANT.

  5. I would say that you can skip parts 2 and 3, but to be honest, the fun of seeing part 4 (and apparently part 5, which I haven’t seen yet) is how all the characters from the previous movies return. So no, you have to watch them all.

  6. I also have to repeat my statement that 2001 was an awesome year for me.
    When I was in school at that time, we had a pretty cool Spanish Teacher. And one day I brought a VHS copy of that movie to school and because it was a warm day and the last class for that day, we asked her if we could just watch this movie instead. She not just said yes, but also wrote into the class register as topic of that day’s lesson: “Ill gato negro”, just because one scene features a bar with that name.
    “Oh, Ill gato negro! That means The Black Cat. If anybody asks you, that’s what we learned today, okay?”

  7. Vin Diesel gets a lifetime pass because his triceps scare me.

  8. I never liked this movie. Vin was great, but the action was anemic and its idea of what was cool was so “old guy with a ponytail” that it had no allure for me. The second and third one were much the same, minus the Indefinable Vin Factor. But since I liked FAST FOUR and FURIOUS FIVE so much, and Vern is really making a case here, I’m gonna have to go back and reassess it not as a half-assed action movie, but as a fully-assed crime drama. Thanks, Vern. I didn’t want to get a tan this summer anyway.

  9. Has anyone seen No Man’s Land with Charlie Sheen and D.B. Sweeney? It pretty much has the same basic plot as Point Break and Fast 1 (young rookie cop goes undercover, becomes friends with the bad guy, drama ensues, etc.) only it came out in 1987. Good flick about stealing cars and I really feel it set the template for Point Break and Furious.

  10. I remember that one. Charlie Sheen was in the Swayze role. Nowadays he’d be in the Busey role.

  11. I’m kind of surprised that Vern’s original review was so dismissive of this.

    I remember this being the big hit for the theatre I worked at. Well, this and Rush Hour 2 but that was because New Line was having a spat with Regal Theatres (or another group) and Rush Hour 2 was not shown there so our theatre was the only one that had it in the area.

    This was such a big deal in Norfolk that we had people doing street races after the last showing of this on Fridays and Saturdays. Eventually the cops camped out at the theatre around 11PM just to stop people from doing it. Not many people came out of Pearl Harbor wanting to fly a Japanese Zero and bomb Pearl Harbor so I think based on that The Fast and The Furious is a better movie.

    Oh! I also remember taking a girl out on a double date to this. My friend Gabe was friends with this girl Sabrina who was so awesomely pale and busty and it was fun to take her out to see it.

    I’m really glad a lot of other people have come around onto this series. It wears its heart on its sleeve. It’s ridiculous but in a glorious way. It’s just a really solid film that has had some great sequels (mostly 3 and 5).

    I also agree with Vern that I can’t imagine anyone else as Dom. As generic Paul Walker’s character is I think he really comes a long way and lends a lot of credibility to this film and the series. He manages to intermingle with every group and every race and it works. He manages to do the bro-handshake-hug-conversion and make it work. He could have been a really awful suburban white guy that came off as too heroic, too pandering, or too unbelievable but I think he manages to do a lot with the role and fit into the world that this series creates.

  12. After reading your initial tFatF review back-to-back with this one, I must say that I much prefer the intentionally pretentious and off-topic style.

  13. “Ask any racer, any real racer. It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.”
    Going off that, I’d love it if in a future F&F movie, O’Conner actually beats Dom because he fitted a remote control expandable rod to the front of his bumper that gives him the one inch edge.

  14. Darth Irritable

    June 22nd, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    This really was a sleeper I was expecting to be a train wreck. I ducked out of work on a Saturday afternoon to see this with a buddy, and it was totally worth it. I never would have thought going in, that it would:
    1. Spawn 2 real sequels, a bastard child and a half brother sequel
    2. Make me like Paul Walker (this movie was why I bothered with Running Scared – another good one)
    3. Be a car movie I enjoyed

    And then he did A Man Apart.

  15. Darth Irritable

    June 22nd, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    He being Vin Diesel.

  16. Without the intentionally pretentious and off-topic 2001 Vern to have indoctrinated me all those years ago, I doubt I’d be visiting this site today. But I’m glad you’ve gone pro, Vern! (Or should I say “Verns?”)

    (Just kidding. That’s an intentionally pretentious and off-topic reference for those of us who fondly look back on the Geocities days)

  17. caruso_stalker217

    June 22nd, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I actually enjoy this movie more now than I did ten years ago.

    And, honestly, I think it’s better than POINT BREAK.

  18. I think I’ve only seen part of the original and never any of the sequels

    I should have a netflix marathon one of these days

  19. I think a big reason why this movie has the legs it does it that it is totally and completely of the day. Like The Dude of the summer of ’01.

    Other movies I can think of to fit this would be Trainspotting, Casino Royale, and Indecent Proposal, just to name a few.

  20. why is Casino Royale “of the day”?

  21. I think The Fast and The Furious has a pretty good first act and third act, but the second act is a drag. I can’t understand how anyone can prefer this over Point Break. Point Break had a great act 2, with the raid on the surf nazis and the great backyard chase. TFATF had almost no racing, action or suspense in the second act and just dragged, while Point Break had a great raid since, and the film escalated a lot with the mid point and you wondered what Patrick Swazye would do with Keanu Reeves and the sky diving scene was pretty nail baiting. Plus Ted Levin is not as cool as Gary Busey and John McGinley is a great asshole, but I do prefer Jordana Brewster over Lori Petty, and also adding Michelle Rodriguez do help. But Point Break have got crazy naked woman stabbing FBI agents.

  22. All that POINT BREAK talk is on point (heeheeheesorry), Ghost, and it’s making me think maybe Vern shoulda revisited 1991 instead. Has anyone else suggested this yet?

  23. Hmm, I’m think that F&F has a reverse Star Trek rule; all the odd numbered films are good while all the even numbered entries kinda suck. Hopefully I’m wrong and Fast 6 is awesomesauce.

  24. I felt the same way, when I rewatched The Fast and The Furious this spring. I didn`t care for it on it`s initial release, but loved it 10 years later. I think the time-capsule feel elevates it, and it`s nice to see a proper no-nonsense action-movie, which doesn`t pander to the audience. I even like the soundtrack.

    BUT! I originally disliked this movie because of it`s paperthin characters. I just didn`t care for them. I suspect the movie feels better now, cause ìt expanded its universe and characters in it`s sequels, so without sequels, it would proberbly still be a pretty underwhelming Point Break rip-off. I guess I enjoy this movie a lot more than it actually deserves.

    Also, Point Break has the atagonist picking up a dog and throwing it at the protagonist during an extended footchase. That makes it an instant classic.

  25. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 23rd, 2011 at 1:23 am

    I ordered a dvd player once and the delivery truck had its contents stolen. Because of this (I had to wait an extra day for my player), I can never support the criminal behaviour in this movie.

  26. If POINT BREAK mated with THE FAST & THE FURIOUS, they could name their kid RaceWarChild.

  27. I have to sit down and write about my summer of `01 at some point. It was totally insane, including my best friend trying to burn down my workingplace, me hiding her from the police, a lot of bottlethrowing, footchases in sexclubs, a suicidal girlfriend and the premiere of my first (and last) feature. It all ended new years eve with me waking up in a public bathroom with a total blackout, covered in blood, while being filmed by a giggling maniac. Kind of The Hangover meets Fatal Attraction sort of-year.

  28. caruso_stalker217

    June 23rd, 2011 at 1:37 am

    I think POINT BREAK beats THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS in a lot of areas. Obviously, that foot chase is a classic. And you can’t beat Busey or dog-throwing. Swayze doing his own skydiving is a plus.

    But I’ll tell you where that film fails: the Bodhi character is a fucking douchebag. And this is revealed long before it turns out (surprise) that he is a criminal. They spend all this time trying to build sympathy for him. I just never bought into his pacifist beach hippie Buddhist bullshit. Especially when he turns around and robs banks for kicks. And later when he gets his friends killed AND Gary Busey he never fucking owns up to it. At the end of the movie he just tells Keanu “Yeah, man, that stuff just went bad. No one could have seen it coming. I really can’t be held responsible for being a complete dick and wasting time taking money from the vault because my adrenaline boner wasn’t big enough for my liking.”

    And Keanu fucking buys into it and lets the guy go out his way. If I were Keanu I would’ve looked Bodhi square in the eye and said “Fuck you” and sent his worthless fucking ass to the clink.

    Then I would’ve probably gone home and fucked Lori Petty.

    My point is, Dom is likable. Bodhi is not. I can buy Paul Walker letting Diesel go at the end. POINT BREAK failed in that department.

  29. DNA, you should get Mike Werb to write the story of your 2001.

  30. In Spain, POINT BREAK is called SE LLAMAN BODHI.

    True story.

  31. – fred

    I`ve used bits and pieces from that summer in several of my film-school shorts, and the feature I`m trying to get financed at the moment, is sort-of inspired by my friend. But the “real” story is my baby and the movie I`m gonna make if everything works out, hopefully 6-7 years from now.

  32. In 2001 I also came seriously close to direct my first movie. Then it all fell apart and I haven’t been that close to anything like that again.
    Like I said: 2001 was awesome!

  33. 2001 was a watershed year for me too

    I was 11 years old and it was my first year of middle school, which meant I had to go to a totally different school and get used to a totally different style of schooling (namely changing classes throughout the day)

    and oh I hated it, I was diagnosed with ADHD earlier in the year and they put me on Ritalin which probably made things worse

    I just found it so unbelievably cruel that after getting used to Elementary school they pulled the rug out from under me and made me go to this very foreign place where I knew no one

    I was completely miserable, so finally after a few weeks I said “fuck it” and asked my parents to home school me, they agreed and the rest is history

    I don’t really like to tell people I was home schooled because of the stereotypes associated with it (and the stereotypes are not necessarily untrue, it pretty much is a guarantee of geekery), but I would be a totally different person if I had stayed in public school, it’s a scary thought

    at the end of the day I think I made the right decision, but being home school was not without it’s drawbacks

  34. I got off the Ritalin too I should add

  35. Man, I wish here in Germany we could be home schooled. I wasted more than half of my life with school and all I got from it are a ruined back (from the chairs and the heavy bags) and clinical depressions.
    That’s one of the reasons why 2001 was so cool for me: It was the first time that I got along with my teachers and my fellow students and also mostly didn’t suck at what I was doing. (The last point changed neyt year, though.)

  36. Ok. ok. oooooooh-kay.

    WHO ARE YOU AND WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH VERN, MOTHERFUCKER??!!!

    Seriously… should I give this movie, that I only remember as being incredibly lame and a complete waste of Vin Diesel, a second chance?

    (Thinks about all the movies I haven’t seen which have a chance of actually being good…)

    No. No I shouldn’t.

  37. Oh, and for the record, “Point Break” was a big disappointment. (Thank you guys for that.) Two hours of Keanu Reeves’ mancrush and they don’t even have the balls to make him actually gay.

    Jeez, I’m feeling like the forum version of Debbie Downer again. I actually really like films, just not… these ones.

  38. Seen all of these in the cinema except #2, which I caught on dvd – As much as I enjoyed each and every one of them, the real joy was coming out of the cinema and seeing all the teenage racing wannabes and their pitiful attempts
    at souping up their cars – little Fiat Puntos and Ford Fiestas with spoilers, tinted windows and
    big fat exhausts…laughed all the way home…

  39. I don’t remember anything significant about 2001 at all, I was with Katy and we smoked a lot of weed that’s about it. Pretty boring. 2002 though…….oh man that was epic.

    I really enjoy this movie but prefer Point Break, I think that Bigelow just has bigger balls than Cohen, hence her ability to film pure testosterone is better.

  40. – paul

    Keep in mind that Point Break is pretty tounge-in-cheek with the testherone-thing and kind of making fun of those macho-heroes, actioncinema and it`s latent, but hidden homo-eroticism. This is, after all, the movie where Keanu Reeves doesn`t “get” his guy and “fires” his “weapon” in the air while screaming “arghhhhh” in frustration.
    Well, that`s the way I percieve it, and the reason why I can enjoy the movie despite its “anti-hero” being a total jerk. I`m pretty sure that we`re not supposed to root for a guy who threatens to let his ex-girlfriend getting tortured and killed by a sadistic maniac.

    I think Point Break is the Starship Troopers of the buddies-movie. Totally badass and subversive at the same time.

    – Griff

    South Park made a brilliant episode about home-schooling, I think it`s season five.

  41. Excellent review Vern. Love the whole franchise and it is amazing to think that it’s made it to 5 (or hopefuly 6). I think hindsight helps for the haters to re-watch the first couple as you do get a real feel for the characters. I have to say though, I do think Point Break is the better movie if I’m forced to compare. A review please Vern
    !

  42. Jareth Cutestory

    June 23rd, 2011 at 7:04 am

    Vern’s “fuck cars” rant in the original FAST & FURIOUS review was the first of many instances in which I realized I was not simply reading a movie review but witnessing a National Treasure at work.

  43. I think this looks better in retrospect, and I always liked it but I might have been at a point in my life better predisposed to like it, because action movies have really been pretty awful in the past decade so a fairly simple retelling of Point Break with some solid characters and action scenes and it looks really good. The characters are also fleshed out in later sequels but I think they managed to go five movies, well more like 3 and a half movies, with these characters and have them be consistent and at no time do I think they “betray” the characters.

    2001 was pretty normal until the Fall. I went to a Circle of Dead Children show and some goth girl ends up breaking my nose at the show by accident and she goes with me to the emergency room. You guys might not believe this but a goth girl who works as a “dancer”, I guess she’s not a stripper since she had to use pasties, makes your life insane.

  44. dna: Vern actually addressed that “latent homosexuality in action movies” deal in another review, but dismissed it sort of angrily. I wonder if “Point Break” would jibe with that. The movie is pretty worshipful of Swayze’s image, e.g. the slow motion walk out of the surf as he shakes his blonde locks.

  45. Patrick: But Point Break was directed by a woman, so it is not latent homosexuality, but blatant heterosexuality.

  46. CJ – I would agree with you there. There’s absolutely nothing ambiguous about Keanu’s sexuality in that film.

    Gotta say, the “Starship Troopers” comparison ALMOST makes me want to watch “Point Break” again.

  47. When I watch POINT BREAK, I don’t think about sex or sexuality except when the naked stabby chick runs out and when Lori Petty is changing her clothes underneath her clothes.

  48. Vern, great review. You are way kinder to this film then I ever was. I have always dismissed it as a lesser POINT BREAK knock off, but maybe that clouded my judgement. There is no comparing the two. POINT BREAK is one of my favorite films of all time, but maybe I never gave THE FAST & THE FURIOUS a fair chance because I compared it to POINT BREAK instead of judging it on its own merits. I would say that I am going to rewatch THE FAST & THE FURIOUS and give it another chance, but I would rather watch POINT BREAK again for the 1 zillionth time.

  49. Okay, the starship troopers comparison is a bit off, I was trying to make a point. But Point Break is one of the true classics of the actiongenre. The Fast and The Furious is just a pretty good movie.

    Now, all this latent homosexuality in actionmovies, especially buddie-movies, is only a theory. I get it, with all the muscles, big guns and grunting, but I don`t believe that people who enjoy actionmovies are latent homosexuels. And I don`t know any gays who actually like actionmovies, so I don`t think they play well to that crowd.
    But actionmovies ARE about repressed masculinity (imo), in a society that has taught us that masculine values are wrong and dangerous (aka feminism). They are not about sexuality at all. But I think that Bigelow is pointing out (and making fun of) the masculinity in actionmovies by exaggerating it and giving it a homoerotic subtext. It`s like she`s saying “come on fellas, can`t you see that the masculine actionheroes you worship are a bit silly?” Or something like that.

    And even though I don`t agree with her, I think it`s a valid point (and a profound point) for an actionmovie to make. That`s why I compare it to Sharship Troopers, which had the same “holy shit, why am I applauding those guys?”- feeling.

    I might be totally wrong about the latent homosexuality in Point Break, but it`s macho-dialogue is full of snippets like;

    “I’m so hungry I could eat the ass (end out of a dead rhino)”
    “We’re just gonna fuck you (up)”
    “You gonna jump or jerk off?”.

    And of course Bodhis: ” I know, Johnny. I know you want me so bad it’s like acid in your mouth. But, not this time…”

  50. dna, Bodhi was never going to hurt his ex. He did it to avoid apprehension but he also did it to make Johnny Utah believe she was in danger to get him to continue on his journey to what Bodhi believed was a spiritual awakening. Bodhi is like Morpheus in THE MATRIX he wants Utah to take the red pill and open his eyes so he can see the truth that his life is pointless. That is why (SPOILER for the few who still need to see POINT BREAK immediately) in the end Utah lets Bodhi surf to his death then quits the police force. Bodhi, has altered his outlook on life and forced him to question his priorities. In the end Utah took the red pill and there was no turning back.

  51. Also, on the subject of homosexuality in POINT BREAK I call bullshit. It is a movie about brotherhood and masculinity but it is not homosexual. If you are seeing a homosexual subtext in the film it is because you are assigning it one. I will agree that the men in the film are treated in a fetishistic way, but that is because it is directed by a woman. Bigelow shoots her male leads the way West shoots Jolie in TOMB RAIDER. However, that does not make the film homosexual.

  52. caruso_stalker217

    June 23rd, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Then who do you explain the female lead’s mannish haircut!?!

  53. caruso_stalker217, I don’t mean to be rude but your gender politics seems a little dated. Buy your logic would a man with long hair then be lady like? I know a number of surfer chicks and/or skater/snowboarding chicks that have really short hair, because they don’t want to be bothered with caring for a lot of long hair. It is not a priority for them. Also, I can understand if you don’t like her hair cut, but I wouldn’t call it mannish. That pixie cut (as I believe it is called) is pretty popular. This is not the 1950’s girls don’t not have to have long flowing hair, and news flash they also now have the rite vote.

  54. Easy, big fella. I believe that was a joke.

  55. I like how when men are fetishized on screen there has to be some homesexual undertones attached to it but when women are fetishized you never hear a peep about it. Apparently if there’s a guy in a loincloth on screen, that means the director is gay, or the writer is gay, or the producer’s 2nd cousin is gay, or the audience is gay. 99% percent of the time, I fail to see any of the homosexual undertones people mention. Maybe that means I’m gay? But, wait, I just commented on Katy Perry’s wonderful knockers in the other thread. Now I’m confused.

  56. – charles

    I haven`t seen it in a while, but I remember Bodhi showing Utah a tape of his girlfriend being tied to a chair, screaming and scared out of her wits. You might be right about Bodhi bluffing about killing her, but treating her like that, since she`s clearly not in on his plan, makes him an asshole imo. The dude gets all his friends killed, traumatizes his girlfriend and commits suicide. Goddamn hippie!

    And I really don`t think that Bigelow thinks that her characters are repressed homosexuels (which would be awesome too, imagine Keanu grapping Swayze in the end and kissing him, wouldn`t exactly seem out of place, would it?). No, I think the homerotic subtext is a part of the style and the dialogue, like our heroes being portrayed as nazis in Starship Troopers, without them actually being it. It`s in the eye of the director, not some hidden plotpoint or character-trait.

    I love this movie, but I`m pretty sure your not supposed to take it serious, and since the director is a female, I suspect her of laughing at the ott machoism. I think her ironic attitude towards masculinety is what elevates the material and makes it a great actionmovie.

  57. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 23rd, 2011 at 11:18 am

    That’s right guys… let’s bump the comment count to Tomb Raider-esque proportions by turning the discussion to boobies.

  58. OK, now I feel like a jerk. caruso_stalker217, if that was meant to be joke and it went over my head, my bad. I apologize.

  59. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 23rd, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Speaking of which, we do not have many ladies here. What is up with that? LL Cool Action too, right? We need some female perspective on Lori Petty’s hair, Paul Walker’s abs and Angelina Jolie’s TR stunt-boobs.

  60. charles

    People tend to forget that women like actionmovies too. I think both Stallone and Scwartzenegger was percieved as sexy in the eighties. If the director is pandering to anybody, it`s most likely the female part of the audience, not the repressed homosexuals. Even though Van Damme was pretty popular in certain circles…

  61. Bodhi kinda comes off as a self righteous cult leader to me. At first his ideas and beliefs are very seductive but at the end of the day he’s just a theif and a murderer. He refers to cars as “metal coffins” and talks about “paying the ultimate price” but robs banks so he can spend all day surfing and spend all night drinking tequila with his buddies (and more surfing) at someone else’s expense. Dom Toretto is a lot more sympathetic even though he robs people as well. At least he’s not painting himself as some kind of buddhist monk who just wants to open people’s minds (and surf, and drink tequila).

  62. ups, my last post was a comment to Thomas Crown.

  63. dna, I am not so sure Bigelow has an ‘ironic attitude towards masculinity”. She seems to have a very firm grasp on it if you look at her body of work. I would agree that POINT BREAK is an amazing piece of absurd over the top film making, but it is also about to apposing philosophies. Bodhi, means “enlightenment”, and like a monk he has no ties to the material world except to help him in his pursuit of what he believes enlightenment to be. They only reason he robs banks is for the rush and to support his quest. That is why Utah is drawn to him. Utah is a former star quarterback and FBI agent, he is part of the system, but he is unfulfilled and looking for answers. Bodhi, offers him an alternative, a red pill if you will (to use my MATRIX example from earlier), and once Utah has seen the other side and felt “alive” there is no turning back.

  64. dna, I agree that women like action movies as well. I would not call my wife a fan of action films, but she does like T2, TRUE LIES, POINT BREAK and CON AIR to name a few. To your point about the female objectification of men in film by women, my wife will watch anything with Christian Bale in it. For example, she likes AMERICAN PSYCHO, but she will admit if it didn’t have a chiseled Bale running around his his underwear in it she probably would not like the film as much.

  65. DNA, i agree with you on your comment. People seriously underestimate the female audience when it comes to action movies. My mom loves action movies and though she’d never admit it, i’m sure she appreciates the occasional shot of some six pack abs and bulging biceps. Did the male audience really need a Mel Gibson ass shot in Lethal Weapon?

  66. OK but guys, you’re seriously going to argue that there’s no homosexual subtext to POINT BREAK? That’s like the guy I used to work with who furiously denied that the Village People were gay. I’d always heard that Katherine Bigalow and her cast deliberately and intentionally played up this element (although I admit I don’t have a primary source for that). I mean, not every film with attractive hyper-masculine male leads is gay (I always get annoyed when people talk about the gay subtext in FIGHT CLUB, since it just doesn’t fucking make sense in the narrative. What, he’s sexually attracted to his imaginary self?) but POINT BREAK is so overt it almost ceases to be subtext.

  67. Charles

    “I am not so sure Bigelow has an ‘ironic attitude towards masculinity””

    I think most people have. I know I do, I`m fascinated and attracted to masculinity, but I`m also find machoism silly and dangerous.

    You describe the plot and the subtext, which I agree with, but my point is that her ironic (or satiric) attitude towards masculinity is in her style, like in Starship Troopers. Another director could have made it deadly serious, but Bigelow has a more ambiguous attitude towards the masculinity and the action-genre.

    The Fast and The Furious is basically the same story, but I don`t see any subversive satire or latent homo-eroticism in that one.

  68. Also, I don’t mean to get political, but for those of you that are hating on Bohdi do you guys really find banks to be sympathetic? The whole point is that Bodhi and his followers do not hurt anyone, and the money the are stealing is insured. The only reason anyone gets hurt in the final robbery is the cowboy cop who wants to be a hero. Otherwise there would have been no bloodshed.

  69. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 23rd, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Charles, regardless… fact remains that they are criminals and that regardless of their “philosophy” or their attempts to make sure no one gets hurt, they are still consistently putting innocent people in EXTREME danger. Are we supposed to sympathize more with the men of Resevoir Dogs just because they try to make sure that they only kill cops and not “real people” during the heist? Psssh.

  70. I still maintain that this movie is equal to Point Break, and that only adds up to about a C+/B- on a good day. For me, I have horrible memories of seeing Point Break in the theater. It was my first ever date and I wanted the girl I was with to like me but all she did was talk about how hot Keanu was. Needless to say, that was our one and only date, mostly because of her constant ogling was off-putting. Had the flick had a babe in it for me to ogle besides the annoying Lori Petty, we might’ve been tit for tat. It took me until The Matrix to even give Keanu another chance at being “credible” in my book. I’ve since forgiven him, mostly because he was pretty awesome in Constantine.

    Okay that was very therapuetic, thank you for listening.

    I’ve since watched Point Break and haven’t been able to shake the bad first date connotations. It basically lives and dies by Swayze. Any time he’s on screen, it’s damn good times. Everything else (the Keanu shit) is pretty lame.

  71. Hey Chris, is your favorite WATCHMEN character Rorsarch, by any chance?

  72. Bodhi and Utah seem to have a man crush on each other and thats it. Hell, they might even love one another on some level. Personally, I think two men can love one another without wanting to fuck each other. It just seems to me that they’re BFF’s the same way that Dom and O’Conner are. Compare O’conner’s friendship with Tyrese’s character to O’Conner’s friendship with Dom. His friendship with Dom is way more complex, deep, and meaningful. Tyrese just seems like a buddy from back in the day that he had some good times with. Some people would have you believe that while O’Conner is sharing his bed with Jordana Brewster, he secretly wishes Dom were there instead. Then again, like I said before, I fail to see 99% of the action movie gayness that apparently goes on.

  73. Charles

    I`m no fan of banks, but did Bodhi expect the police to look away, while he runs around with a pumpgun, blows up gas-stations, etc? And the final bloodshed is because he breaks his own rules, if I remeber correctly. I even think Utah screams “you`re breaking your own rule” or something like that.
    Anyway, I don`t know a lot about surfing, but couldn`t he sell sandwitches and safe up for the summer like everybody else? It`s not like a surfboard and a pair of boxers are THAT expensive.

  74. Did you guys hear about the POINT BREAK Off-Broadway musical? Apparently, every night they would pluck some random guy from the audience, hand him a script, and he would play Johnny Utah.

    Kind of a dick move, in my opinion.

  75. dna, I agree that masculinity can be dumb and dangerous, but it is also an undeniable and primal part of our make up. There is nothing fulfilling or masculine about working a 9 to 5 desk job, but many of us including my self do it. It is not rewarding, but that is the world we live in. My wife and I got to eat. I don’t consider myself an aggressive or violent person, but I love violent action films and MMA. It the context of the modern “civilized” world masculinity seems even more out of place, but I would argue that in many ways our modern “civilized” world is even more absurd and silly then your idea of masculinity. That is what Bohdi is talking about.

  76. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 23rd, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Of course. But I do not find him sympathetic and realize that even though he is a fascinating character that he is a psycho and more criminal than hero.

    And don’t get me wrong, Bodhi is ridiculously charismatic and a great character and Swayze is a god in the movie… but his “philosophy” is bullshit and despite it coming close to fully winning over Utah, I think the movie still shows Bodhi to be full of crap.

  77. And the point of the movie is that Bodhi is a hypocrite who pretends to be a holy man but is driven by greed and anger just like everyone else. But Utah has a soft spot for him anyway because hidden in his bullshit was a kernel of truth that changed his life forever. Besides, he didn’t hunt him down to send him to jail. He hunted him down to prove he could, to win. Once he caught him, bringing him in was redundant. Might as well let him kill himself with his own warped sense of honor.

  78. Chris, I don’t want to get into a political or philosophical debate, but our government consonantly puts innocent lives in danger for financial gain. We persecute the kid that was born into poverty that sells crack on the corner, but the CIA has admitted to helping in the distribution of crack in the ghetto without consequence. We also, never go after the banks that help the criminals launder money, but there are people sitting in jail for weed possession. The real world is way more absurd than any fiction.

  79. charles

    I haven`t said anything about my views on masculinity, but if you wanna know, I basically believe in a balanced world, not an overtly masculine world like the fifties, or a overtly feminine world like today. I got nothing against masculinity or feminism as long as it doesn`t dominate or supress the other sex.

  80. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 23rd, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I am not denying the hypocrisy of the government, Charles, but that does absolutely nothing to alter my perception of Bodhi and his crew (or Dom and his crew for that matter, Dom just doesn’t soak his guilt down with crystals and lovebeads- or at least from what everyone is saying and the one FF movie that I have seen all the way through).
    “Let’s put innocent lives at stake so we can get “adrenaline boners” (whoever said that earlier… nice) and surf and drink tequila. The government puts innocent lives at stake all the time, this is peanuts in comparison. Hang ten!”
    BS.

  81. Well said Mr. M. Not, only was bringing in Bohdi redundant, but it was hollow. It is why Utah quit the force he thought catching Bohdi would change the way he felt but it didn’t.

    I do agree that Bohdi is exposed as a hypocrite, but like you said that does not mean there is not truth in his message.

  82. caruso_stalker217

    June 23rd, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Charles:

    No problem, bud.

    And I actually like short hair on the women. Especially Lori Petty. She can teach me to surf any day (poor sexual euphemism).

  83. Mr. Subtlety, can you give me any hard proof of a homosexual subtext to POINT BREAK?

    See what I did there with my use of “hard”? You could take that as a joke, since I used the word hard in a sentence about male homosexuality. However, you could also take it in a more literal way. It is open to your interpretation and what you assign to it. The same thing goes for POINT BRAKE you can interpret it however you like, but I don’t believe it has a gay subtext.

  84. dna, I agree. It is about balance.

  85. Chris, I understand what you are saying, but I think it is way to easy to reduce everything into a black and white, good and bad world view when most of the time we are dealing with different shades of gray.

  86. As far as masculinity and feminity i guess somewhere between Mad Men and Sex and the City lies the truth.

    As far as the Bodhi and U.S. Govt comparison, yeah, they’re both full of shit. Both use a warped sense of holier than now philosphy to convince people their way is the best way but do things that fly in the face of that very same philosohy (and there’s always collateral damage involved). Yet there is a nugget of truth in what they’re preaching.

  87. ThomasCrown442, not only that, but to make another comparison, how is Bohdi any different than Robin Hood? They are both rebels that live on the outskirts of society, and attack what they see as an oppressive system.

  88. I can’t discount the argument about POINT BREAK because I know a young Kathryn Bigelow did some short film deconstructing masculinity in action movies, so it would fit her work thematically. And I have definitely mused about things seeming “gay” (including but not limited to NO RETREAT, NO SURRENDER) so I’m not taking a stand against discussing gay subtext. But I do think in some cases that it can be a superficial and even implicitly homophobic way to look at movies (ha ha, Stallone thinks he’s so cool but really he’s gay). And I’ve never understood the idea of “phallic symbols” and the idea that any movie with a gun or sword in it is gay and/or macho because a gun is very vaguely dick shaped. I’m pro-feminist, pro-gay, pro-sensitivity, pro-Dolph’s character being gay in BLACKJACK, but I don’t see how objects-that-could-be-construed-as-dick-shaped theory adds anything of value to the discussion.

    But my main objection is I don’t like how the “gay subtext” line of thinking can discount the possibility or existence of friendship or camaraderie between men. Can’t two men respecting each other just be two men respecting each other, not a metaphor for sucking each other’s dicks? And since people also say that a man can’t be friends with a woman without wanting to fuck her I guess it means there’s no such thing as male friendship at all.

    I probly ranted about this before, but it goes along with the concept of the “mancrush” and the “bromance.” It used to be normal and expected that there would be people in the world that you respected. It doesn’t have to be about you want to fuck ’em or hold their hand. There is no subtext or symbolism involved, it’s just a person in the world who you admire something about and you can learn from them. But now days everything has to be sexualized so you have to call it a “crush.”

    I just happen to like when people who are very different or even natural enemies find their common ground. Like on that reality show where Tammy Faye Bakker and Ron Jeremy lived in a house together and I’m sure the plan was they would hate each other but actually they became close friends. I found that seriously moving and until writing this paragraph never pictured them fucking each other. So I like when Chow Yun Fat teams up with a guy from the other side of the law or Clint becomes buds with William Smith in ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN or a UFC guy congratulates the guy that just beat the shit out of him. I think it’s an important aspect of what makes us human and how we can solve our problems and that gets devalued by the idea that anything between two men = gay.

    In fact, why isn’t this applied to the animal kingdom? If a tiger raised a baby zebra it would be an adorable youtube video, nobody would accuse them of fucking each other. But Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in a car together, that’s gotta be gay, ha ha.

    I don’t think anybody here has said that, but I read talkbacks and shit so I know it’s a popular topic in some circles. I don’t mind if people like looking at a movie that way because it makes them giggle, but otherwise I don’t really see what the point is. I prefer to look at it as two men who should be enemies becoming friends and earning each other’s respect. Some people prefer to think “ha ha, cars are like weiners.” Although my interpretation is more literal I think it might be smarter.

    I got no explanation for the volleyball scene in TOP GUN though.

  89. I mean, there is no point in the film where they have gay sex, if that’s what you mean. You can’t reall prove a subtext. But come on, I think you gotta admit that the meaningful glances, the subjective ogoling (note that the camera is not just ogoling objectively, but its frequently representing Reeve’s perspective) the dynamic between Swayze and LeGros (and the way Reeve’s entry into things disrupts that) the sexually loaded dialogue (I think he says something like “Are we going to jump or jerk off?”) — all of that stuff is waaaaaay more emphasized than it is in comperable action movies like the FAST AND FURIOUS ones.

    You can joke about the RAMBO movies being gay because of their fetishistic obsession with the male anatomy, but POINT BREAK goes way beyond that, suggesting –using basically every cinematic tool in the book– that there’s a strong sexual subtext between these two specific characters. To ignore it is like ignoring that DR. STRANGELOVE is about the sexualization of violence. They don’t say it aloud, but filmmakers use the tools of their craft to communicate ideas and POINT BREAK is using every tool available to communicate a sexual angle between Bodhi and Utah. It’s completely different than the way Bigelow shoots male relationships in any of her other films.

  90. I like how this became more about Point Break than F&F

    and I’ve never seen Point Break, I know right? what the fuck is wrong with me?

    also ThomasCrown442 – the stereotype is that women are not as visually oriented as men when it comes to sexual attraction, but that’s not necessarily true, pretty much every woman appreciates a guys muscles and butt, but not many women like to look at a guy’s Doink (but how many men like to look at a woman’s Hoohah?)

  91. The difference is Robin Hood (according to the legend anyway) gave the money to the poor people who were being repressed. Bodhi just used that Philo 101 bullshit as an excuse to take what he wanted and not feel bad about it, and he didn’t give a dime to anybody. And do you think Robin Hood would ever let Little John hold a knife to Maid Marian’s throat is the Sheriff got too close? Because that’s what Bodhi basically does to Lori Petty. The comparison just doesn’t hold water. Bodhi might see himself as a noble outlaw fighting against a crooked system, but you can tell by the haunted look in his eyes at the end that that lie cannot sustain him anymore. He stares at that wave and sees the death wish that has been at his heart since the beginning.

  92. And just to say again, I’m totally with Vern that just because a film is about a close relationship between two characters of the same sex it has to be a sexual one (although to be fair, I think its what most people would reasonably expect out of an equivalent pairing of two heterosexuals of opposite sexes, as unfortunate as that is). I also think movies can sexualize males without being gay. I definitely see why people see Tyler Durden in FIGHT CLUB as being gay, but I think it makes more sense (and is more interesting) to see him as sort of fluidly hypersexual, not some kind of hidden gay fixation of his own mind (which as I said, makes not a lot of sense in context). People are right that RAMBOs II and III are waaaaaay into glistening male bodies, but I think the attraction is more complex than just gay desire. When every hint of sexualization automatically makes everything explicitly sexual (particularly homosexual) I think a lot of interesting subtelty is glossed over in favor of slapping a label onto something that we can understand without much thought.

    That having been said, POINT BREAK is actually legitimately filled to the fucking brim with homosexual subtext. And I maintain its quite intentional. Someone told me Bigelow talks about it in the commentary or in an interview but a quick google search turned up nothing conclusive to that effect. Either way, I seriously doubt all those factors I described above escaped the notice of someone even remotely familiar with cinematic language.

  93. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F1wrDsUqYc

    The trailer for Killer Elite featuring Clive Owen vs Jason Statham and Robert DeNiro doing martial arts.

  94. Griff, i agree with you that men in general are more visual creatures than women. Just look at strip clubs. When women go to a strip club its like a wild party with yelling and screaming. I’m sure they appreciate the naked guy but they’re there for the party atmosphere and to have fun. Men go to strip clubs purely to oogle at the dancers. Sometimes they can get a little rowdy but most of the time they’re quietly oogling and soaking the nakedness in.

    As far as Bodhi and Robin Hood, i have to generally agree with Majestyk that Bodhi is the more selfish of the two. It seems to me that Robin Hood was never meant to be as deep a character though. He’s more of a classic “good guy.” So yes Robin Hood is the more noble of the two. He steals from the rich and gives to the poor (which actually leads to a corrupt leader being ousted and therefore changes the political landscape for the better). Bodhi steals from the “rich” (if you wanna call it that) in order to fund his endless summers but in the end, gets alot of people killed and loses his personal war with the system.

  95. Mr. Majestyk, fair enough. However, I don’t think the Sheriff of Nottingham would describe Robin in such a glowing way. Also, who is to say that Robin was not also chasing an “adrenaline boner” like Bodhi, and his excuse was “I am doing it for the poor”. I am sure there were some innocents he endangered during the course of his adventures.

    “Bodhi might see himself as a noble outlaw fighting against a crooked system, but you can tell by the haunted look in his eyes at the end that that lie cannot sustain him anymore. He stares at that wave and sees the death wish that has been at his heart since the beginning.”

    That is a great piece of writing my friend! However, as flawed as Bodhi is I is still don’t consider him evil.

  96. – vern

    I agree with most of your points (and I also pointed out that I don`t think Bigelow intended to present her characters as repressed homosexuals), but that doesn`t exclude Point Break from having (an intended) homo-erotic subtext (or lesser actionmovies having an un-intended homo-erotic subtext).

    Maybe it`s because my english isn`t good enough, but I think their is a big difference between homo-erotic and homosexual subtext. Leni Riefenstahl made movies witch are clearly homoerotic visually, but I don`t think the nazis want to fuck each other when I watch them. Erotiscm is usually in the mind of the watcher (the director and the audience) not the object (the character or the actor). Even a flower can erotic, if photographed in the right light etc. Doesn`t mean I wanna fuck it.

    When Bodhi says “I know, Johnny. I know you want me so bad it’s like acid in your mouth. But, not this time…”, I know it`s the directors way of presenting the characters relationship that has an homo-erotic subtext, not the characters themselves.

    It`s basically the director giggling and saying “oh, you silly macho-guys should be fucking, not fighting”, NOT the characters being in love with each other.

    I`m not sure this makes any sense at all, but I can`t explain it any better.

  97. I don’t think Bodhi is evil, but I think his deeds caused evil to occur. I actually feel sympathy for him at the end. It’s sad to see a man come to the limits of his ideals and realize the damage they’ve caused.

  98. Oh come on man, you know you want to fuck the flower.

  99. This is all very interesting but where is the information about dog insurance?

  100. how come there`s no female talkbackers on this sight? Kinda weird…

  101. It is actually odd that we’re a boys club, especially since this is, like, the least homophobic, sexist and misogynistic discussion board I have ever encountered…excepting our recent discussion of Jolie’s figure and our drooling over Thora Birch.

  102. DNA:

    Little known fact; Leni Reifenstahl was the owner of a vagina. Nothing gay about a woman eroticizing a man’s body.

  103. We have a couple token females. Mac is a woman, I believe. I have no proof, of course, but as a gentleman I’m willing to take a lady’s word for it.

  104. – Mr Subtlety

    Just playing devil’s advocate here– I’ve never actually thought too much about homoeroticism in Fight Club, because it’s got a pretty overt agenda that’s so intentionally obvious that I’d hesitate to even call it subtext– but there might be something to the idea that “Jack” is such a closet (no pun intended) narcissist that he’s actually sexually attracted to himself.

    Sounds like a bit of a reach to me, but it’s been years since I watched that entire movie, so who knows.

  105. Mr. M, I agree. I don’t think he set out to hurt anyone, but things got out of hand and he has to carry the weight of the consequences. However, I don’t know if it is his ideals that are his undoing as much as his desire to open Utah’s eyes. He could have disappeared after the robbery where he discovers that Utah was a fed. They didn’t really have anything on him and he was wearing his mask the entire time, but he had to try and “save” Utah a part of a final heist and that was the beginning of his undoing.

  106. I think that’s the same thing. He could have bounced with the money, but it was crucial to him to be able to win Utah over to his side. If he couldn’t, then he’d have to admit that he was full of shit. Which is basically what happened.

  107. dna, When Bodhi says “I know, Johnny. I know you want me so bad it’s like acid in your mouth. But, not this time…” maybe it is just me but I don’t see how that is homoerotic. Bodhi, is only commenting on how he knows Utah feels. He has seen the emptiness in Utah. He knows the emptiness because he feels it as well. Bodhi, knows that no matter how many waves you ride it will not fill the void, and in turn he knows that even if Utah apprehends him it will not change the emptiness Utah feels.

  108. Yeah, the emptiness he feels…in his BUTT!

  109. Mr M, I guess I kind of agree with what you are saying. like I said in my previous post in response to dna, Bodhi despite all his talk knows that no matter how many waves you ride it will not fill the void, and I guess he is driven to get Utah to buy in to his ideals because in his mind if he can convert Utah and get him to believe in his philosophy then in a way it gives Bodhi validation and something to believe in as well.

    Also, I would like to take a second to thank all of you for the great discussion and this opportunity to ramble on about POINT BREAK. I am fully aware of how ridiculous it is that I have put this much serious thought into a film about surfing bank robbers starting Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze.

  110. Tawdry Hepburn

    Yeah, I actually thought about that, maybe I`m kinda fast to label movies with halfnaked good-looking guys homo-erotic instead of erotic, but I decided that if the movie has goodlooking guys showing of their physique in each others presence, then it`s homo-erotic. And since action-movies by nature is made for an male audience, it`s (too) easy to label them homo-erotic.

    Anyway, Daniel Craig getting out of the water in Casino Royale while being oogled by a sexy female supporting character (and a horny female audience) is erotic, Swayze getting out of the water in Point Break while being oogled by Keanu Reeves is homo-erotic.

    You`re right about Lena, though. But I was trying to make a point…

  111. Since nobody’s mentioned it yet, did you all know the working title of Point Break was “SURFCOP”? Kinda puts a point in the “it’s just a dumb action movie” column, but I think Bigelow had some pretty ambitious ideas back then…

  112. I will talk to my wife and convince her to post here. I know she reads Vern’s articles and has respect for the people that comment here so it shouldn’t be too difficult to convince her to post once in a while.

  113. Charles

    You`re totally right, but try to read your own sentence again…

    “Bodhi, knows that no matter how many waves you ride it will not fill the void, and in turn he knows that even if Utah apprehends him it will not change the emptiness Utah feels.”

    ..and tell me that it doesn`t read as an metaphore for repressed homosexuality. Your reading of the plot and subtext is spot on, but I see a lot of other layers in this movie, which makes me giggle a lot. And I haven`t even gotten into how Bodhi is basically the feminine presence in the movie. Keanu and Lori are the guys, controlled by reason and logic, both attracted to Bodhi. Bodhi is a girl, controlled by feelings and emotions, and out of control. Just look at their hair; Keanu and Lori have short black hair, Bodhi have long blond curly hair… Coincidence? I think not…

    Okay, I`m fucking drunk right now, but I think it`s great that a review of The Fast and The Furious turns into a heated discussion about Point Break, clearly the better movie, because of it`s many, many layers. And dogthrowing.

  114. psychic_hits

    Did you know that the working title for ROBOCOP was.. well, it was Robocop. Stupid title = brilliant movie.

  115. -dna

    Yeah, we’re saying the same thing– an ambitious, talented director can elevate a script that may well have begun its life as inane garbage into something classic and thought-provoking. I just think “SURFCOP” is a funny title/piece of trivia.

  116. psychic_hits

    SurfCop is the perfect title for Point Break. Now I`m gonna turn up for Diamond Sea, finish the bottle and go to sleep. Goodnight, you princes of Maime, you kings of New England.

  117. “Some people would have you believe that while O’Conner is sharing his bed with Jordana Brewster, he secretly wishes Dom were there instead.”

    This is like the seventh dimension, I didn’t think it was possible to even imagine / visualise a part of the universe in which this could take place…

  118. Maybe it’s because I lived in Puerto Rico but I never really thought there was anything homoerotic about either Point Break or the Fast and the Furious.

    I remember when I first moved to Puerto Rico in highschool and it was a total culture shock. My family are a bunch of Scotts who live in Maine. We just don’t touch other people, ever. Once I started to make friends I would have guys and girls hug and embrace me every day when I got to school. At first I would hyperventilate and just freak out since it was too new to me.

    After living in a very open society I think I have a hard time seeing latent homoeroticism. They’re just guys and guys sometimes have feelings of friendship and general bro-itude towards other guys. Guys can appreciate when another guy works out or is good with a car or has cool hair or has a cool attitude towards a life of bank robbing and surfing. Guys can look at another guy and appreciate that other person’s life and long for it without it being a sexual thing.

    I don’t know, I think both of these movies have a lot more going on and can be talked about in so many other ways that the homoerotic approach not only seems wrong to me but it also feels boring.

  119. Were does Roman fit into all this? The second film after all did end with them stealing evidence money and deciding to open their own garage in Miama, but two films later O’Conner’s back in law enforcement with no explanation to what happened with that, and in the most recent one, they’re cool with each other, but Roman and Dom share an uncomfortable silence when meeting each other for the first time. Why aren’t people considering an inter-racial homoerotic love triangle with that? No wait, quadrangle, because Roman starts bickering with Screen Actor’s Guild Award Winner Chris “Ludacris” Bridges too, and there’s no way that can just be some friendly macho rivalry.

  120. OK guys look, you know I have nothing but respect for you and consider this forum to be perhaps the last bastion of civilized, thoughtful conversation anywhere on the internet. I recognize that people read things differently and that any supportable interpretation of meaning is valid. I think its true and a damn shame that people leap to call any close same-sex relationship or any hint of interest in the male physique gay. I carefully read your points and I thank you for your thoughtful posts.

    But if you can’t see how POINT BREAK at least has some major, major hints of a suppressed gay love story, you’re all on the same drugs as Paul. I can only assume you haven’t seen it in a long time. I mean, it’s barely even subext. It’s like watching the fireworks scene from TO CATCH A THIEF and claiming there’s no evidence they had sex. I would not make this claim about many movies, but in the case of POINT BREAK its basically the whole point of the thing! Without the gay angle it would only barely be ridiculous enough to be memorable!

  121. I agree with the thrust of your argument, Mr. Subtlety, and I certainly won’t allow myself to be characterized as Paul-like in any way, but the thing of it is, I saw & loved POINT BREAK when I was, like, 10. And I loved it equally when I was 12-13, before my understanding of filmatistical technique, like suggesting a character’s perspective via camera placement and such, and before I knew much about sexuality or sexual orientation.

    You’re probably right and all, but the ‘little-kid-watching-and-enjoying’ angle is one argument that the gay factor might as well be absent. I choose not to focus on it.

    I LIKE GIRLS!

  122. I think I might be with Mouth here. I might have seen it at an age where it was a very cool and very fun film but before I had any concept of sexuality.

    I just put Point Break to the top of my queue and my ultra feminist wife said she would post her thoughts about the homoeroticism, or lack thereof, after we watch it next week. It’s been years for me, too, so it’ll be good to revisit it.

    I would not be surprised that if I’m looking for it that I’ll end up seeing it, though.

  123. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 23rd, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Vern… but what if Utah and Bodhi jumped up and down on a bed together?

  124. I bet you agree with his thrusting argument, Mouth. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you wanted to analyze his subtext too.

  125. Paul i agree with you in that only in another dimension or in a earth 2 scenario would any straight man would rather have dom in his bed rather than jordana brewster. But this is the internet universe where anything can happen.

  126. caruso_stalker217

    June 23rd, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    …so would they, like, spoon?

  127. I assume they’re making a fort.

  128. I want to go back to Rambo here. I don’t think it’s gay. I think it’s showing off Stallone. Maybe egotistical but no subtext. Now Tango and Cash, that’s downright homophobic.

  129. And you know what they say about homophobes! Gay or straight – who cares as long as the right people get shot?

  130. I want to play a game of night crawlers in bed with Vin Diesel.

  131. I’ve brought this up before, but I’ve had the misfortune of hearing fuckers talk about how Mac and Blaine from Predator were gay. Because you know, Mac took it really hard that Blaine died, so OBVIOUSLY they were fucking or something. And that’s exactly what Vern was talking about – the fact that friendship now has to have gay subtext attached or postmodernly labelled as a fucking “bromance” is really weird and backwards and kinda homophobic. I swear anytime I hung out with some dudes my ex would always call them “bromances” and it’s like “what the fuck ever happened to having friends?”

    And this is exactly why I try to stay away from these “such and such were gay” conversations, (with the exception of 2 Fast 2 Furious, because that’s the undisputed king of ambiguously gay movies.)

  132. Neal – I think it’s valid when there was an obvious intent by the director to include homosexual overtones. And honestly, if “Point Break” isn’t obvious, I don’t know what the heck is.

    In some cases though, I agree, it’s just ridiculous. And I bet I’m the least-medicated guy on the forum right now (although that, all things considered, may not necessarily be a good thing).

  133. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 24th, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Yeah- I think it is pretty out there to automatically assign/assume a TRUE gay subtext to the friendship of two men on film (even if they have their shirts off a lot)… though (un-PC or not) it IS funny to make jokes about- going back to all of Vern’s laugh out lout (I refuse to type “LOL”… oh wait, FUCK!) gay jokes about the hobbits jumping on beds.

  134. On a completely unrelated topic, I will be watching “Julia’s Eyes” later on, and will try and get a review up in the “Potpourri” thread afterwards. Dunno if anybody has seen it already.

  135. And on a vaguely related topic, I’m glad Vern’s review reminded people of “Rollin'” by Limp Bizkit. By all rights it should be a terrible song by a terrible band, but it’s totally a guilty pleasure of mine, probably because it makes me think of the days when Undertaker changed into a biker and used it as his theme song.

  136. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 24th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    When “New Metal” swept across the planet some ten years ago, I generally thought it was the end of music for all mankind. Fred Durst was a truly despicable little goblin. The bar was lowered to a new low when he opened his cake hole in front of a microphone.

  137. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 24th, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Where is that little incubus now anyway?

  138. neal2zod, I remember when the Undertaker was working his American Badass outlaw biker gimmick that you are talking about. Actually, Limp Bizkit played at Wrestlemania 19 in Seattle. Also, are you talking about the regular version of “Rollin” or the Swizz Beatz Remix that features DMX, Redman, and Method Man? I don’t like the original but I can get down with the Swizz Remix. I can’t remember which version was used in THE F & THE F.

  139. Going totally off-topic here (were we on topic?), has anybody seen this poster for the new Transformers flick?

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/coolproduction/ckeditor_assets/pictures/2222/original/trans3.jpg?1308835694

    Look how freaking busy that is! It reminds me of the poster Vern created for the last movie:

    http://classic.outlawvern.com/APRIL/t2.jpg

    This raises the question: Are the Transformers movies so ridiculous that they can no longer be made fun of because there is no room left for exaggeration?

  140. Charles – call me crazy, but i could have sworn when I saw it in the theatre it was the remix, and when i caught it again this year to catch up for Fast Five, it was the regular version. Maybe there was some kind of rights licensing thing for the DVD? (For instance, I think I read somewhere the DVD version of Nighthawks does NOT have The Rolling Stones’ Brown Sugar in that one pivotal scene, which fucking MAKES THE SCENE if you ask me)

    And still somewhat on-topic, did anyone see Greenberg? There was that scene where he’s at the party and the young hipster wants to listen to Korn (which kinda doesn’t make sense), and Ben Stiller, being the old hipster that he is, gets really offended. It’s like “Dude! You were in the video for Rollin! Don’t act like you’re not down with the nu metal!”

  141. RJ – Yeah, that poster is so ridiculous I thought it was a joke like Vern’s too. And btw, is that “The Fallen” in the background? Looks like getting woke up only to have your face ripped off and your heart ripped out (i think) can’t keep a good man down.

  142. The official name of the song is Rollin (Air Raid Vehicle). There’s also a version called Rollin (Urban Assault Vehicle). Not sure which is which but with a name like that how can it not be in a movie called The Fast and the Furious.

  143. Limp Bizkit released a new album this week. And no, I don’t care, but I was surprised to know that they still exist.

  144. And about the Transformers poster: You are missing the obvious point here. IT’S PAINTED! Not photoshopped! Okay, maybe photoshopped to look like it is painted, but I smell a comeback of the classic painted poster.

  145. @neal2zod: You’re right, that looks like him back there (although I had to stare at it for about 30 seconds before I could make out what the shape was supposed to be). Weird. Maybe he comes back? Or is that another of the old “Primes”? Or who cares? (Clearly not the filmmakers.)

  146. (Urban Assault Vehicle) is the Swizz Beatz Remix.

    neal2zod, I am guilty of not having seen NIGHTHAWKS but it is in my Netflix instant que. What seen are you talking about? I will try and watch it and report back to you.

    Also, not only was Stiller in the “Rollin” video, he was also in the video for P Diddy’s “Bad Boy For Life”.

  147. @CJ_Holden: It does have a sort of painted quality to the texture, but that’s probably just a photoshop filter. But I love painted posters and would love to see more of them, but I guess that requires that the people making the movie actually give a damn about it.

  148. caruso_stalker217

    Liked your Bodhi vs Dom comparison – I never thought about it like that, although I could never buy Swayze as having authority the way Vin Diesel does. I liked your line of thought. Yeah, Bodhi can go screw.

  149. Yeah that would be kind of weird if something called (Air Raid Vehicle) was in The Fast and The Furious and (Urban Assault Vehicle) was not.

    The scene in Nighthawks is in a disco. Why this disco is playing Brown Sugar is beyond me, but the way all the noise gradually drops out, and the song overtakes the soundtrack, and it zooms in on a certain character as he makes a realization, it’s still kind of a haunting and classic scene.

    I’ve heard one cheapo dvd version of Nighthawks has the song but is unfortunately in Fullscreen, and the later Widescreen edition does not have the song. I’d love to know which version Netflix has on Instant so thx in advance, Charles.

  150. I always thought chatter about homosexual subtext was more about the viewer than the film. It’s like the guy in the high school locker room who is always going “fa__ot” this and “fa__ot” that: my, you sure think about homosexuality a lot… are you a homosexual by any chance? So, I think that seeing homosexual subtext everywhere is simply about the viewer being a closeted homosexual. The eye of the beholder and all that.

    Vern’s comment, a passionate defense of the honest idea of simple friendship and clean respect, is 100% correct. Or, to put it another way: “sometimes a cigar is just a cigar” is not valid. “Most of the time a cigar is just a cigar” is valid.

  151. No problem neal2zod, I have been wanting to watch it for a while and you just gave me another reason to check it out. I also still need to pop in my copy of OUT OF SIGHT to verify Paul’s claims from the other day, and I am going to have to watch POINT BREAK again just to see all this blatantly homoerotic subtext that I have never picked up on.

  152. BR Baraka: you got me there. Despite the fact that I would literally sacrifice my soul and a good portion of my life-savings to enjoy a wild night with Rachel Leigh Cook, Jordana Brewster and Eliza Dushku, I am secretly gay. And I’ve been lying about it to myself for all these years!

    Charles – can’t find you commenting on “Point Break” before, but trust me, if you didn’t like it the first time, it’s not worth sitting through it again. I tried. (If you did like it, ignore that.) I think “Point Break” is one of those things where you either accept it or you don’t; and if you don’t, no amount of re-watching will convince you otherwise. LIKE HOMOSEXUALITY**. (See what I did thar?)

    Was “Julia’s Eyes” good? Fuck yes. And I just KNOW that none of you will have heard of it, because it’s a low-budget European horror flick, even though it was produced by Guillermo “Blade” del Toro. Grrrrr…. Full review in “Potpourri” thread, I’m writing it now. If anybody’s interested.

  153. Grim Grinning Chris

    June 24th, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Is Paul really pulling a “I’ve seen a great movie that you guys guys haven’t even HEARD of, check me out”? I hope not.

  154. Don’t hate Paul just because he is cooler than us. I for one think it was damn thoughtful of him to inform us of that fact. Thanks to the anonymity of the Internet we often don’t know anything about one another. So I appreciate that instead of hiding behind some text on a screen Paul was man enough to step up and say, “Yes. Yes I am way cooler than all the rest of you put together.”

  155. Paul, I appreciate the heads up, but if you scroll through this thread you will see that I ramble on and on about POINT BREAK.

  156. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    June 25th, 2011 at 12:16 am

    What about Juggernaut Paul? Was it any good?

  157. To Paul’s credit, I think it was Paul, Silent House was pretty decent!

    I just really don’t understand his attitude. People here are honest, kind, humble, respectful, and open minded. I know a lot of my tastes go against the grain here, but I do feel like I fit in because of my love of Undisputed and F&F and things like that, but I try to be respectful and have good conversations about those films.

    I still have hope Paul will come around and be a righteous dude.

  158. Everyone – sorry for the sarcasm, I don’t mean to be a jerk (this time at least). And no, Chris, that wasn’t my intention. Chalk it down to frustration that I keep bringing up brilliant films that nobody’s ever heard of, while instead we get… “Point Break”. Which, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think is terrible (hell, I’m the guy who likes “Hackers” and “Dude, where’s my car”, although to my credit I will happily admit that a lot of stuff about both of those films is pretty damn bad) but still…

    Ugh, you know what, I should really stop posting. I used to like this site, you know? Before it became less about finding good movies that people either hadn’t heard of or unfairly dismissed, and more about endless debates about movies like “Point Break”. And I’m not exactly helping this trend.

  159. Paul, I think part of the problem is that while those films might be good your attitude comes off as really bad and I get the impression that many people become less likely to see something you recommend when the recommendation appears to be mean spirited.

    I think a lot of these films, especially The Fast and the Furious, are much more subjective than anything. I know I’m able to appreciate the films because the characters and the relationships work for me. I think the actions scenes work. I think the movie wants to be judged on those criteria and I think it succeeds but those successes are largely subjective. As such, I think a lot of discussion that takes place about that film are going to center around its influences, themes, subtext, and other such things.

    A movie like The Dark Knight, at least it seems to me, wants to be judged on much more objective measures so I think there can be some good conversations about what worked and what didn’t and I think it lends itself to deeper conversation. This is coming from someone who merely thinks The Dark Knight is OK, too, but I think a film like that has more to talk about than Fast Five, which I think is ridiculously enjoyable.

    Unfortunately, I think conversations about movies that rely on a more subjective or emotional response won’t be nearly as enjoyable to you if it’s a movie you did not like.

    One thing I’ve been thinking about is the possibility of working with Vern where we all as a community try to organize so we can all watch a movie once a month. I think Juggernaut might be worth a spin, I know Chris thinks Peter Pan is great and is worth talking about, and I would be eager to see other recommendations that people would make. This is Vern’s website and I really enjoy his articles but what makes me stay here is that the people who participate in conversations here seem extremely honest, respectful, and decent. Those are the qualities I care about and I think it’s just a bonus that they have some interesting things to say about movies and have tastes that I largely share.

    I think a big part of this is that Vern sets a really respectful tone and he is very honest and open minded. A lot of people will reflexively scoff at a new Seagal DTV but it takes someone honest and decent to watch those with an open mind and I think that honesty, openness, and respect is what is best about this community.

    I think if you can add to that then you would be taken more seriously and with more respect. I know I’ve thought about not commenting since I am afraid that my overly pedantic and awkward posts can lessen the quality here but instead I’m trying to aspire to the quality that many such as Mouth, Chris, Broddie, and many others regularly deliver.

  160. Paul, yeah, I had kind of figured that you were more complaining about the obscurity of JULIA’S EYES’s than showing off. But I was raised to never waste an opportunity to poke fun at someone. I don’t want to get into some big sob story here, but when I was growing up my family was often forced to go weeks, even months, without making fun of anyone. Believe me, those times were not easy. So nowadays I poke fun at people every chance I get. And I’m grateful for every opportunity I have to do so.

    Thanks for the heads up on JULIA’S EYES, by the way. Though I think part of the reason people haven’t heard of it is that it hasn’t been released yet in America. If it is as good as you say then it will probably at least get THE ORPHANAGE level of attention when it comes out.

    And don’t knock the POINT BREAK discussion. You can type a random series of letters into a Google I’m Feeling Lucky search and come up with people talking about STAR WARS, but where else can you go for people who actually put some thought into a discussion of POINT BREAK?

    (This post is dedicated in loving memory to the Google I’m Feeling Lucky button. May it rest in peace.)

  161. I actually did like Point Break better a second time – I think the structure of it, with the double-ending/epilogue threw alot of people off at first, like “what the hell is this?” I felt the same way about The Dark Knight too – it seems like the last 25 min. of that movie is a sequel to the beginning of the movie, and it had me disoriented in the theater but I grew to accept it at home. (The ending of Taking Lives tried to do this too but it was too stupid to be taken seriously).

  162. Casey – sorry for being an ass, genuinely. Obviously there’s subjective interpritation of a movie, and there’s objective “standards” that you can hold movies to. Both of which are troublesome topics. Doesn’t it seem to you as though more and more lately, though, the former is overwhelming the latter?

    Look, I will happily admit to enjoying some very bad movies, as well as not being able to enjoy some very good ones (I can’t watch “Goodfellas” or “The Godfather”, for example, but I’d never claim that either of them is a bad movie because of that.) Like I said, I’m the guy who enjoys “Hackers”, and I’d never deny that movie’s flaws. Subjectively I love that movie, but objectively… let’s just say it doesn’t hold up that well!

    Vern’s most entertaining reviews have always been when he either finds an unexpected treasure (“Unisol: Regeneration”) or rips into a really bad film and uses it to make some kind of a wider point (“Cursed”, “Chaos”). And for a long time it seemed like the community here bought into that. Now… not so much. Things have changed, dude. And maybe this makes me an old grouch (well, certainly a grouch, at least recently!) but I don’t like what’s happened. This is why I wrote the long post in the “Kill Zone” thread! It wasn’t a negative; on the contrary, it was ELATION that finally, here was an example of a film that Vern called great, the commentators called great, and you know what? You guys were right. Reminded me of a time when “Striving for excellence” seemed like more of a mission statement and less of an ironic footnote.

    Ok, I’m done.

  163. One of the reasons I convene at this site because its the only place on the web where people can have an intelligent/honest discussion about all types of movies. Doesn’t matter if its Taxi Driver, Inglorious Basterds, Point Break, or Alvin and the Chipmunks The Squeakuel. Some of the best discussions have stemmed from the unlikeliest movie reviews.

  164. Psh, I come here for the spambots.

  165. Jareth Cutestory

    June 25th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Paul: I saw JULIA’S EYES a while ago. I thought it was okay. Blindness as a metaphor for social awareness is really hackneyed, but at least the film had some good eerie moments. Not deltororiffic, but good.

  166. neal2zod, “Brown Sugar” is in the scene at the disco you mentioned on the Netflix streaming version of NIGHTHAWKS.

  167. Charles – thanks man. I recommended that movie to a friend who loves the Stones and 70s-style gritty urban thrillers, but I told him if that scene didn’t have that song, he should just queue it up on his stereo to play at the same time.

    What’d you think of the movie though? It’s like the black sheep of the Stallone filmography, but I think it’s fantastic. And I don’t want to say too much about the final scene but I loved it.

  168. neal2zod, I really dug it. I think one of the reasons it is so good is because it is so different from everything else in Sly’s filmography. Also, I imagine the film carries a different weight to it in a post 9/11 world, then it did on it’s initial release.

  169. “-didn’t they know what that sounds like? They had to’ve. Or maybe not. To them “race” means cars driving fast, what else would it mean? They’re not whites or blacks or Asians, they’re not a race, they’re people who race cars. Racists.”

    I fucking lost it.

  170. Wow… I just watched the second “Fast and Furious” movie that I actually enjoyed. (After #2.) “Fast Five” really is pretty good, isn’t it? Not a world beater but… I enjoyed it. I was surprised.

  171. This movie turns 14 today.

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