“I’d literally rather burn $30 in a fire.”
“Can I pay you $30 to run me over instead?”
“That’s a whole lot of suck, for just $30 bucks!”
These are just a few of the responses we received when we announced that we would be hosting a FAST AND FURIOUS marathon this Thursday, May 23 at Vintage Park. We get it already. A few of you aren’t fans of the franchise – a series of heist films that have escalated in their over-the-top approach to vehicular stunt-work since the series debuted in 2001. Here’s the thing, though: You’re wrong.
It’s OK, though. History has a long tradition of people being mistaken about misconceptions history would later prove with fact. The world is round, not flat. Brontosauruses do not exist, they were just Apatosaurus with the skeletons misassembled. The FAST AND THE FURIOUS series is not just good ol’ fashioned escapism (a tradition well entrenched in the theatrical experience), it’s one of the most consistently great film franchises in American cinematic history. Seriously.
2001’s THE FAST AND FURIOUS is a stupid film but few films elevate stupidity into as entertaining an experience as the Paul Walker and Vin Diesel starring film. For crying out loud, it’s about a group of kids who steal DVD players through completely unnecessary and death-courting stunts involving high-speed highway chases; grappling hooks; N2O-equipped, candy colored race cars and the shiny bald head of Vin Diesel himself. And then they go home and hangout in a sandwich shop! If this isn't high-entertainment, I just don't know what is? Perhaps you'd rather be watching a movie about paint drying or gass growing?
What should have been a forgettable action film from the director of STEALTH and XXX became something more – a burr on the sock of humanity, unwilling to detach itself from public consciousness. Sequel followed sequel and – as the series progressed – something amazing started to happen. The films became sentient. Like the dreaded shadow of artificial intelligence, the FAST AND THE FURIOUS movies became self-aware under the guidance of director Justin Lin, who took over the franchise with FAST AND THE FURIOUS: TOKYO DRIFT - a movie that is a legitimately great remake of THE KARATE KID.
The plots began to develop a continuity-heavy approach, bringing together minor characters from earlier films to form a super team of car heist enthusiasts. This was THE AVENGERS of over-the-top car race movies. Sure the movies never quite lost that homoerotic subtext or the slightly wooden acting from thier leads but with each new movie, the films grew. The stunts (the majority of which were done practically!) were increasingly amazing. Any film that risks the lives of real-life stuntmen is worth a watch - if only out of respect for the fact that somebody nearly died in an effort to entertain you. Even the characters began to develop a lovableness thanks to audience familiarity. In much the same way it’s fun to see high school burnouts rise above their limitations and achieve success in time for the ten-year reunion, it was amazing to see characters who had started in such a gloriously silly film like THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS achieve glorious majesty with FAST FIVE. It was like seeing a baby pigeon grow into a peacock.
Are the FAST AND THE FURIOUS movies stupid? Yes, but so are many of the films that get pumped out by Hollywood in any given year. THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS films are so much more, though. They are fun, edge-of-your-seat, raw machismo and they have absolutely no sense of limitations when it comes to delivering entertainment.
Join us this week for a marathon of all six FAST AND THE FURIOUS films for only $30. This is an experience akin to watching the evolution in nature, or the childhood development of a meathead. You'll see the first steps, the first words and the first big, sweaty man punch. Watch as the series grows and develops and becomes something truly special - something fast AND furious.
And buy your tickets to the 10 PM screening of FAST AND FURIOUS 6 (how is this movie not called FUIOUSIX ?!?!) here!