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Fast & Furiously stupid

June 1, 2013

[J.P.'s Moment of Common Sense on Broad View, KRNG 101.3 FM Reno. Listen live Saturdays at 11:00 AM Pacific Time.]

Every man, sooner or later, loves a woman who is wrong for him. That's my relationship with Hollywood. I know the stuff Hollywood produces is killing my brain cells but I can't stop watching it.

I remember the day I fell in love: I was six years old and the movie was Swiss Family Robinson. The shipwreck on a Pacific island, the clever contraptions they invented to survive, the cute girl dressed like a boy who they rescued from pirates, the logs rolling down the hill when the pirates attacked... I was so captivated by that movie I forgot to eat my popcorn. I thought about it for days afterward. I even thought about copying the Robinson family by building a trap to slaughter my enemies... until my unfortunate lack of enemies caused me to lose interest.

My next great movie experience was Close Encounters of the Third Kind which I attended at a midnight showing on the spur of the moment. The venue was an old-fashioned single screen theatre with Dolby sound. Dolby was fairly new at that time and they had the volume cranked up high that night. When the alien spaceship started blaring music at the end of the movie, the speakers were vibrating our seats, our popcorn, and even our dental fillings. It was awesome.

Then in 2007 I saw Transformers with the love of my life, who happens to be a lifelong UAW worker for General Motors. Every time another GM-vehicle-slash-Transformer showed onscreen she got excited and when Bumblebee transformed himself from a beat-up old-style Camaro into the new Camaro, she stood and cheered. Right there in the movie theatre!

Unfortunately, positive experiences like those are rare. Nothing demonstrates my love-hate relationship with Hollywood better than Star Trek. The original Star Trek TV show in 1966 lasted only two and a half years before the morons in Hollywood cancelled it. They decided to concentrate on more intellectual stuff like Laugh-In and The Flying Nun. God forbid they keep a show that stretches people's imaginations by dealing with complicated philosophical issues about man's existence.

God forbid.

Even though Star Trek is one of my favorite TV shows of all time, it was not immune to Hollywood stupidity. Every time you watch Star Trek you have to watch the opening title sequence which so misrepresents the physical state of the universe it drives me crazy. (Admittedly, that's not a long drive.) You know what I'm talking about—William Shatner's voice saying:
"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."
As those famous words resonate you see stars represented by tiny points of light going past the Enterprise as it speeds off into the galaxy. Wonderful stuff, very cool, except... stars don't do that.

Think about it. A star in the sky is a tiny point of light only because it's far away. It's actually a massive ball of fire like the Sun so when it gets close enough to go by, that's what it will look like—not a tiny point of light. Zipping through the galaxy at warp speed should, theoretically, look exactly like traveling through the galaxy at walking speed—nothing happening, thousands of stars that don't move—until every once in a while one of those tiny lights suddenly grows into a massive ball of fire and zooms past your window, scaring the hell out of you.

Two days ago I went to Fast & Furious 6, that's why Hollywood stupidity is on my mind. The toll on my brain cells was enormous. You'd think after five previous versions they would be running low on stupid but they seem to have an endless supply.

Forget about Vin Diesel getting shot at point blank range, pulling the bullet out with giant tweezers, and immediately being ready to go—I can accept a little dramatic license. What bothers me is the enormous expense and trouble they go to for stunts that violate common sense and the laws of physics. Like Vin Diesel jumping off a car traveling eighty miles per hour, grabbing his long-lost girlfriend in mid-air, then landing on the hood of a car like it was a big pillow. There's a name for landing on the hood of a car at eighty miles per hour: it's called Dying In A Traffic Accident. But Fast & Furious writers are so stupid, five minutes later they have his girlfriend ask, "Did you know that car would be there to soften our landing?"

Huh? Really? This woman is smart enough to rebuild high-performance engines but she thinks a car broke her fall?

In the final climactic action scene, they spend twenty minutes traveling down a runway at 200 miles per hour battling a giant cargo jet, which means the runway is about thirty miles long... about ten times longer than the longest runway in the world.

I figured that out with basic arithmetic on the way out of the theatre even without the brain cells freshly murdered by one of the dumbest movies in the history of Hollywood.

That's... today’s dose of common sense.

"The average Hollywood film star's ambition is to be admired by an American, courted by an Italian, married to an Englishman and have a French boyfriend." — Katharine Hepburn

"I've spent several years in Hollywood, and I still think the movie heroes are in the audience." — Wilson Mizner


From Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA       

June 1, 2013 - Last time I actually saw a movie in a movie theater was "Lincoln." Only because my son and I were in North Carolina for soccer tournament and there was a lack of things to do. Generally we will wait until movies are released via Redbox. I am willing to pay 1.50 to rent a movie for an evening. Just think every time you see a movie in a movie theater you're helping all those Liberal democrats in Hollywood to become richer! I much prefer thinking how much of my 1.50 at Redbox they're gonna get. – Pam T., Virginia

June 1, 2013 - Did you really expect anything different after seeing the last 5? I'm wondering who's the bigger dummy, the one who think's these scenes up or the one who pays to watch them? I'm just saying... – Samantha, Michigan



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