06 Feb

Fast & Furious

Every so often here at Munch we’ll ask one of our friends to join us in the kitchen and on the couch as we watch another movie. These guest posts will allow us to bring new insight into a particularly bad movie, another voice on the blog, or a talented cook in the kitchen with a flair for something we won’t even touch. This week we have Andrew joining us on our continued ride through the Fast and the Furious Franchise.

My first reaction to being asked to guest write for this post went something like, “Hell yeah, I can get trashed and watch Fast and Furious, and then write something OBVIOUSLY genius because I have an English degree so I know everything.”

Which was then followed by a far more reasonable “Wait. This is something that my friends have clearly put a lot of time, energy, and alcohol into… DON’T FUCK THIS UP FOR THEM.”

This post will likely be a conflation of those two disparate thoughts, and that’s what we call in literature (and maybe human psychology) “negative capability.” A short definition of “negative capability,” for the sake of redundancy, is the ability to hold two dissimilar emotions or thoughts in one’s existence simultaneously. A good example of this might be stressing out about the midterm/project/paper that you haven’t started to work on while you’re on Facebook liking the photos your friends posted from last night (okay, bad example, that doesn’t happen anymore, we have Instagram and Snapchat now). A better example is watching the fourth installment of a bad action movie franchise without having seen the preceding films and expecting logic, realism, and decent acting. You get the basic idea.

Anyway, all this segues into my review for the cinematic experience that is Fast and Furious, but I first, some brief words about the meal.

The Meal:

With the recent deluge of fried foods appearing on Munch, we figured it would be best for this meal, and our arteries, to go with some tasty, heart-conscious baked french fries. Add on top of that a little bit of garlic and salt and you have perfect starchy sticks of deliciousness.imageimageimage

Inspired by the classic Americana elements of Fast plus Furious, burgers were the selected entree, and not just any old burgers, but the Munch take on In-N-Out’s incredible “Double-Double.” We didn’t just stop there though, sometimes we like it messy here at Munch, so we decided to make those already delicious burgers Animal Style: cooked with mustard and layers with sautéed onions added on top.

Now the pictures will be worth far more than my own feeble words, because words fail in recollecting the perfection of this burger. Seriously, scroll down and look at the burger photograph. WE ATE THAT EXACT BURGER. Look, I’m gonna be honest with you, Fair Reader: I’ve tried several times in this post to explain what exactly made this burger so excellent, and each time, I’ve pulled at my hair in frustration and deleted every word. Why cannot I not seem to adequately describe the nirvana I felt all too briefly while gorging my face? Was it the exquisitely prepared patty? The sharp cheddar cheese? The grilled onions? The perfectly toasted buns (insert giggles)? Words fail. All I can say is, I am a better person for having eaten that burger (this may or may not be true. Sometimes I exaggerate).
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The Drinks:

No In-N-Out meal is truly complete without a milkshake. Those in the In-N-Outluminatti, are aware of the beauty of the Neapolitan Milkshake, an In-N-Out classic off their secret menu. Behold, our take on the delicious strata of a vanilla, strawberry and chocolate milkshake.

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The Rules:

  1. Drink whenever someone pops open the hood of a car.
  2. Drink whenever there is (sexual) tension between Dom and Brian.
  3. Drink whenever Dom throws someone.

The Movie:

I’m sure everyone has heard the phrase “suspension of disbelief” as it applies to works of fiction, and let me tell you, if you want to actively enjoy Fast and Furious you need to set all expectations of logical reality aside and simply (sorry for this) go for the ride.

Normally, I’m excellent at guessing plot twists and turns, but just like the races in “Fast and Furious,” the plot moved at such breakneck speed, fueled no doubt by NO2 and Vin Diesel’s biceps, that I could barely keep up. Thankfully, the narrative arc followed your typical maverick-FBI-agent-reenters-the-shady-world-of-underground-racing-and-also-rekindles-relationship-with-ex-con-homie, so whenever somebody who wasn’t Vin or Paul Walker was on-screen, it was a safe assumption that that character was a) a douche, or b) unimportant. Because at the testosterone-and-Nitrous Oxide-fueled heart of this flick is the incredibly (not sarcasm, not even a little bit) nuanced relationship between the two heroes. We, the audience, follow Paul Walker’s Brian O’Connor, the maverick FBI agent unsure of his conflicting loyalties between his duty to the Law, and his friendship with Vin Diesel’s arms aka Dominic Toretto, our other protagonist.

Due to some prior events, namely O’Connor being a filthy snitch in Toretto’s outfit, the bros are on troubled terms at the outset of this movie, and set amidst a threadbare plot where Dom is trying to avenge his murdered girlfriend and take down a drug empire while O’Connor simultaneously tries to take down the same drug empire, we get the far more compelling (again, not sarcasm) Redemption Plot. This mostly entails scenes where O’Connor locks his steely blue peepers with Dom’s brown Bambi eyes, as if trying to say “Bro. I’m so sorry for infiltrating your gang of car thieves, joining you in criminal enterprises, dating your sister, and then betraying y’all. We cool?” Riveting stuff.

Now, this is a review, so I’ll stop dumping all the crucial details of the film on you, Fair Reader, and I shall now give My Opinion of the Movie (as critic, it is my opinion you so desperately require, and thus deserves capitalization). At face value, this is the same brainless, unoriginal action crap you’ve seen a thousand times in a thousand variations. However, when liberally plied with booze and fantastic company, this movie becomes a far more compelling and rewarding experience. “Will Dom avenge his murdered girlfriend?” (Wait, isn’t the girlfriend back in Fast & Furious 6? Fuck, continuity in this franchise is as haphazard as the film names.) “Do O’Connor and Dom reconcile?” “When will there be another race scene, dammit?”

These were the questions that glued me to the screen for an hour and forty-seven minutes, and I wish I were being sarcastic when I say that I actually needed to know the answers. As a standalone film, it’s terrible. As a franchise, I’m sure The Fast and the Furious is terrible. That being said, I loved every minute of this movie. Get some beers, get some friends, rent this movie, and settle in for (one last pun) a great ride.

The Ratings:

Andrew: Conventional rating systems are too slow to keep up with Furiously Fast, so I gave my score 7/10th of a NOS canister so it could catch up to Paul Walker’s acting. Watch the movie.

Andre: 60%. This was probably my least favorite Fast & Furious movie so far, but it still was fairly fun to watch. I suppose I was a little disappointed that they introduced guns into this movie. I liked the Fast movies better when everything could be settled by a race.

Leanna: I give this one 70 miles per hour. It was great having the old gang back together again after an all new cast in Tokyo Drift, but the plot wasn’t as compelling as previous Fast Films. It also set the stage nicely for what’s to come, so it gets a passing grade in my book.

Ben: I am going to have to give Fast and Furious a 65%. It still has everything that The Fast and the Furious Franchise is known for, just doesn’t have the same bombast or flair that the others have had. It is clear that this is the true low point in the series, but it should just make it all the better for when the franchise hits its stride in the fifth and sixth movie (I am assuming).

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