Saturday, July 1, 2017

Notes on Baby Driver

Usually when I title a post "notes on" it's a recap of a movie considered with respect to possible Oscar action. This won't be that this time.  Not that there isn't some potential for Oscarness in the movie; it's just that I'm too tired to think about that and want to get some other stuff written down.

Disclaimer: there are probably a lot of spoilers here.

Double disclaimer: there is only on baby in the movie but it never drives. There is no baby driver in this film. Fail.

Baby Driver fails the Bechdel test... I think, I was in the rest room during the one scene in which both Love Interest to Male 1 and Love Interest to Male 2 appear, so it's possible that I missed the scene where the two discuss the lack of women on the Atlanta police force, and/or how lucky they are to both be under 35.

It also breaks the 10-year rule by pairing a 46 year old Jon Hamm with 27 year old Eiza Gonz├ílez (who has the letter Z in her name 3 times) without acknowledging the age difference. If they'd cast Michelle Pfeiffer, someone I'm sure wasn't too busy to take on the role, the age difference would shrink from 19 years to 13 years. Do you suppose someone would wonder about that disparity? Here are some actresses who are more age appropriate for Hamm, who could easily pull of the demands of shooting a gun and kissing Jon Hamm, and who probably would have appreciated being in a high profile movie: Connie Britton, Shannen Doherty (oh, noes, Shannen is battling cancer, we can't have her missing treatments), Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano, Jennie Garth, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Lisa Bonet, Sanaa Lathan, Samantha Morton, Michelle Rodriguez, Ashley Judd, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Lucy Liu, and one of the actresses that prompted me to create this rule in the first place, Samantha Mathis.

A review of the movie I read before seeing it praised the movie's driving scenes as artful and smart, contrasting them with Fast and/or Furious driving scenes that are comically unbelievable (or something like that, I've never seen an F&F movie). Compared to this or this BD's driving scenes seem over the top (although the first of those links includes scenes of a girl driving a getaway car which we all know is impossible).

The movie's blocking/choreography is wonderful and reminds me of Birdman in a good way. Anton Elgort is almost painfully cute in the title role. The rest of the cast do solid, but unexceptional, work.

The sophistication of Doc's (Kevin Spacey) mastermind planning is undermined by the ridiculously basic visuals drawn on his chalkboard and the seemingly trivial toy cars that are used as props a couple of times. The fact that, the minute it is time to clear out of the criminal lair, Spacey's character can be seen methodically packing up $4 worth of used Matchbox cars, instead of getting the fuck out of there, prompts me to ask this question using the parlance of a key scene in the movie: Is Doc retarded? It would explain the blackboard diagrams.

Who the fuck was the dude with the blue truck?

The 6 main characters were named Baby, Bats, Buddy, Darling, Deborah and Doc.

There is a TON of parking in downtown Atlanta these days.

There are some magnificent visuals in the movie: a shot that uses a side view mirror to paint a full picture in a stand-off, another of a wall filled with dryers tumbling loads of primary colored sheets are both really slick==are good justifications for ignoring the many points in the movie where people do very stupid or unbelievable things. I'm not sure a gender reversed version with Dakota Fanning or Sarah Hyland playing Baby would have been as easy to forgive. The wording is clunky on that, but the movie gets a lot of leeway for its stupidity and I doubt women or people of color would have gotten as much berth.

Kudos to whomever assemble the soundtrack and then cast Jon Spencer, Paul Williams, Big Boi and Killer Mike in cameos. Sky Ferreira is in this movie.

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