It’s hard to believe it, but we’ve been writing this blog for a year now. A few months ago, colleagues of ours suggested we partner with a local venue for a special in-theater viewing of a movie as a way for us to expand our reach and challenge ourselves as a blog. We decided that with our one-year anniversary on the horizon, now was the time, and we reached out to the team at Central Cinema to see if they were interested. They were unbelievably accommodating, and we soon found ourselves facing the debate of which movie we should choose.
We wanted to watch something that was meaningful to us and the blog, but also something that the audience would enjoy. An early favorite was Con Air, the first movie we watched that actually got us started down the road to Munch. Unfortunately, this gem is locked away and no longer available for viewing in theaters. We tried another Nic Cage favorite, Vampire’s Kiss, but it too proved too elusive for us. With our top two films eliminated, we decided survey our fans and have them choose between Sharknado (the first movie we actually posted about on the blog), Face/Off (because Nic Cage again), and The Fast and the Furious (the movie that solidified our decision to start the blog and later became our longest and most enjoyed series on Munch). The results were clear, The Fast and the Furious blew the others away. Looking back on it now, we can’t imagine a better movie for this occasion and it was a magical experience watching it with all of our friends and coworkers in the theater. Here’s the story about how it all went down.
Central Cinema has a full kitchen and bar, so even on their regular movie nights, you can eat dinner, snacks, and dessert while you sip a drink and watch the show. Their team was incredibly helpful and worked with us to craft a menu that complimented this 2001 street opera. A picture is worth a thousand words (or in this case somewhere around 200), so here’s a look at the menu we offered at the event:
We based the majority of our meal around the first (of many) Toretto family barbecues. First, we took Jesse’s impromptu prayer over the meal and transformed it into four dishes representing each part of the car he mentions: direct-port nitrous injection, four-core intercoolers, ball-bearing turbos, and titanium valve springs.
For the main course, we served a barbecue chicken pizza and tuna sandwich (well, panini) with no crust. Dom and family dine on barbecue chicken at the family gathering we mentioned, so we felt the pizza would tie all of our appetizers together. As for the tuna sandwich, that’s just a little piece of Fast and Furious history. It’s the cornerstone of one of the greatest love stories of our time. Brian orders a tuna sandwich every day in Mia and Dom’s cafe, despite how awful it tastes, as a crafty excuse to see and talk to Mia. Spoiler alert: it all pays off in the end, and they even pay tribute to that fateful sandwich in Furious 7:
We just couldn’t call it a true Fast and Furious night without the tuna sandwich.
For dessert, we served the only two things you can race for in the Fast and Furious world: two large (scoops of ice cream) and pink slips (strawberry cheesecake). Both were wonderful, and we were even surprised by what maybe tasted like goat cheese in the cheesecake? We’re not certain, but it was a great way to close out the meal.
We wanted the drinks to capture the spirit of the film, so we named and themed them after the cars driven by the characters we have grown to love. We crafted drinks for Dom’s black 1970 Dodge Charger R/T, Jesse’s white 1993 Volkswagen Jetta A3, and even the iconic 1995 Honda Civic EJ1’s used to hijack the trucks during the heist scenes. Missing from the final menu is Brian’s Orange 1994 Toyota Supra MK IV, but it was basically a modification of the 1327 that we created in memory of Paul Walker for Furious 7.
But our most iconic and most popular drink of the night, by far, was our signature NOStail, the NOScow Mule. Central Cinema makes their own ginger-infused vodka, and they made a double batch for this particular drink. The crowd cleared them out.
Since this was an in-theater event, we switched out our drinking rules for interactive rules to get the crowd more involved in the movie, à la The Room. The crowd seemed to get into it early, and it worked wonderfully.
- When the cars shift, yell shift. When they drift, yell drift (drift, drift).
- When you see a NOS logo, or if someone uses NOS, yell NOS as loudly as possible.
- Whenever Vince acts like a dick (the director himself calls him one, so it’s fine for us to say that), heckle him as much as possible.
It’s hard to believe this is the only Fast and Furious movie we haven’t yet reviewed for the blog. It’s also difficult to go back and review this movie, with later films in the franchise still fresh in our memory. The Fast and the Furious is not over-the-top in terms of stunts, like the later movies with budgets in the hundreds of millions. The stunts were smaller, but still impressive, especially in their believability, which was something the later movies start to get away from.
The Fast and The Furious turns out to be a great movie to watch with a crowd. Being in a room of over a hundred people, all cheering for our heroes to win the big race, was an incredible experience. Hearing everyone jeer at our least favorite character, Vince, was also priceless. The rush you feel when everyone shouts, “NOS!” is so much more rewarding than the cheesy hyperspace effect the director found necessary to add. This was an experience we were all privileged and humbled to have, and was an impressive celebration for the blog.
This might not have been the best Fast and Furious movie, as the directing, casting, and acting all got better in the sequels (i.e. Dwayne The Rock Johnson), but it sure set the stage for a great series. In addition, The Fast and the Furious also introduces the theme of family, which is really what sets this series apart from the countless other action movies out there. It establishes that this series is very much about cars, which gives the series a focus that a lot of other action movies lack.
Finally, the last five minutes is some of the most intense and breathtaking in all of cinema. Seriously. If you don’t trust us, then just watch the gif below and reconsider.
Andre: 4.5 Stars. While I really missed Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s presence, I still very much enjoyed The Fast and the Furious. I think the Central Cinema event spoiled the movie for me, though, since it will never be as fun to watch again after experiencing the movie in an excited crowd. It’s like seeing a band live, right? Their music just sounds flatter when you listen to it afterwards. Oh well, it was worth it because the experience was great!
Leanna: 10 large out of 10. The event at Central Cinema was a dream come true. It was such a surreal experience to have so many of my close friends and colleagues there to watch a movie with me that they probably wouldn’t otherwise have ever watched and that was so important to us and to the blog. The Fast and the Furious may not be my absolute favorite from the series, but 1) there are a lot of movies to choose from and 2) the budgets and casting have only gotten bigger. The Fast and the Furious started the series on the right track, and set the pace for what was to come (it’s just too easy to make racing puns when talking about these movies – another plus in my book). All things considered, it was the right movie for the occasion, and the event was everything I wanted it to be.
Ben: 95%. In the course of preparing for this event, I had the lucky task as of watching this film several times. In each viewing, small details worked their way out of the woodwork, and allowed me to appreciate the film a little bit more with each subsequent viewing. Vin Diesel’s performance, one that I originally thought was passable, showed to be an impressive feat of commanding the attention of the audience as well as the racers around him. The moments when characters open up to each other, while subtle, build the true groundwork for the the theme of family that is so prevalent later in the series. Finally, the multitude of blood-pumping exhilarating moments is where this movie excels. The ability to keep you at the edge of the seat, especially in the closing moments, is what has made this movie so easy to re-watch, over and over again. What a way to start such a fantastic franchise.