At a time when everyone I know is mostly sad and tired, who couldn’t use some fast and furiousness? In honor of the rumor that the next Fast & Furious movie will take those shiny, scientifically-improbable cars into space, I decided to zoom back to the beginning.
The Fast and the Furious is a fairly comprehensible under-cover cop movie. Paul Walker’s cause is self-righteous, but the criminals are more human and more stylish than he originally budgeted for — our boy is torn, and who can blame him? Also, there are cars. But like the similarly-undying Grey’s Anatomy, Fast & Furious has no idea how to de-escalate. Over eight movies, it has dropped cars out of airplanes, leapt cars between buildings, introduced a global surveillance MacGuffin, and fought Rhonda Rousey. The only place to go in movie number nine is up. Way up. Out of the stratosphere.
Michelle Rodriguez’s character-introduction shot in her platform boots and tiny-lensed dark sunglasses meant I had to watch The Matrix next, but it’s impossible to watch The Matrix anymore without thinking about the red pill in right-wing radicalization parlance. The movie itself and reddit-radical misogyny feel like uneasy bedfellows, but there’s something in the disposability of un-radicalized background characters that feels connected to the way MRA-types talk about people other than themselves. Neo and friends treat matrix-dwellers like collateral damage in a game, despite the fact that Neo verifies that these are actual people who actually die. They don’t know enough about their world for their lives to count.
That thought brought me right back to tired and sad, so I tried something new — The Spy Who Dumped Me, a movie I have spent the last two years not-watching because the trailer lead me to believe it would be a “girls can do gross-out-humor too” action comedy. If you have not-watched this movie for similar reasons, let me assure you: it is better than the trailer! That might sound like damning it with faint praise, but I liked it a lot. And really, isn’t that something we can all aspire to, to be better than our trailers?
In it, Mila Kunis is an ordinary American woman who proves her ordinary Americanness by not having been to Europe — I also haven’t been to Europe, so this attempt at relatability worked for me, but it’s probably not a requirement for enjoyment. It turns out that her boyfriend who ghosted her has actually been a spy all along (likewise relatable), and so she must compromise her ordinary Americanness by going to Europe to shoot people. Meanwhile, the guy from Outlander casually bullies a coworker for having gone to Harvard. Truly, a beautiful film.
Honorable mentions: The Best of the Bachelor, The Musketeers (BBC, 2014), Raising Hope, Sense and Sensibility (1995, obv), Skyfall, Ghostbusters (2016), Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, Bridget Jones’ Diary (in that order), The Clash: Westway to the World (lovely, oddly tasteful), Serendipity (cuteish, self-involved), You’ve Got Mail (if you like this movie, you don’t want to hear what I have to say about it), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
Sidney Dritz is (currently, constantly) reevaluating what to do with the rest of her life. She finished her three-college tour of America at the University of Southern Maine, and her poetry has appeared in Glass Poetry Press’s #PoetsResist series, in Claw & Blossom, and in Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters. Twitter: @sidneydritz