It happened today - June 22, 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skpu5HaVkOc Good heavens. Can it already be the 14th anniversary of the first installment in what became the blockbuster Fast & Furious movie franchise? So it seems.
The latest, I gather, has used the amazing star power of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to reboot the franchise. Which is all I know about the subject. And more than I wanted to. Oh, except it was used as the code name for some horribly bungled U.S. government anti-Mexican-cartel operation for which Eric Holder inexplicably managed to shed the blame.
A commentator must of course be up on trends. He or she must know everything about everything and have an opinion on it. And it’s not chic to be ignorant of things that are extremely cool in the eyes of people who know that other people think so.
One advantage of being a curmudgeon, which in my case is not a function of advancing age as I was pretty much like this as a teen too, is that you’re allowed to dislike things that are popular. You can do it as an affectation or with unmitigated sincerity. But simply to ignore things, to dismiss them unexamined, can strike people as not merely closed-minded but as unqualified to pronounce upon them.
I respectlessly disagree. William James once said “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook”. And to me this is the perfect place to start practising.
I say that even I’m actually a big fan of “The Rock,” despite having first seen him in a wrestling event a puckish editor forced me to cover. (Pro wrestling was another thing I had been pointedly ignoring since Haystack Calhoun retired and frankly seeing it again simply confirmed my belief that it was very well worth ignoring.) Johnson can make even a really bad movie worth watching (for instance The Mysterious Island, the main mystery in question being who approved that script). I admire his determination and judgement in thinking he could go from a typically absurd wrestler to a huge box-office draw and in being right. If I met him I don’t think I’d even manage to dislike him for being richer, better looking, more successful and younger than me. He even won a national college football with the Miami Hurricanes in 1991. But The Fast and the Furious?
Like some social media trends that I ignore on the theory that if they didn’t exist no one would begin to suggest we need them, I think this whole franchise is such unutterable rubbish that I’m not going to bother proving myself right. I accidentally discovered in Googling for this piece (to confirm that there are already six sequels and it’s Universal’s most lucrative franchise ever) that it involves “the underground world of street racing in Southern California”. In theory such a premise could be the basis of a good movie; surprising things can and some amazingly lame-sounding plots have been made into memorable films (Big Trouble In Little China and Terminator being classic illustrations). But the ambiance of it is too pro-wrestling, too much testosterone, too little judgement and too much thinly-veiled admiration for the bad guys. And six sequels is too about seven too many.
Anyway, that’s my unconsidered opinion and I’m sticking to it.