Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Need for Speed (PG-13/130 Min.)

Dear People Who Expect Need for Speed to Stand Based on Plot Alone,

Remember Magic Mike. Most women (and a few men) were not there for the acting. Same goes for Need for Speed. Yes, there is a plot, but we know why anyone would really want to see this. It's for the cars. If you ever played the game, you know the cars are going to be nice, to say the least. Movies are supposed to be a release from your own reality. Need for Speed lives up to that theory. Go see it for the fun of the racing alone.

According to IMDB:

"Fresh from prison, a street racer who was framed by a wealthy business associate joins a cross country race with revenge in mind. His ex-partner, learning of the plan, places a massive bounty on his head as the race begins."

I know I shouldn't tear apart other people's summaries but this one is so far off as to make me wonder if they saw the movie. I didn't care much for the reviews given by the critics listed on IMDB but you can tell they at least attended a screening. The film does not start with our main character getting out of prison. You'll see what lands him there. For some reason, I got that the "wealthy business associate" was someone the main character knew away from the car world. The cross country race? It's against time as our main character has 45 hours to get from New York to "somewhere in California" to be able to compete in the real race. The massive bounty as the race begins? Yup, there was a bounty. When our main character was already a good way across the country and NOT during the actual race (against other cars). See? This is why you should go see it for yourself. Also, if you haven't already seen the trailer, avoid it at all costs. Why is it that the people who make the trailers either tell you the entire story or mix it up so much as to make you believe things are going to happen that just don't?

I just came across this description that I like ever so much better:

"In an exciting return to the great car culture films of the 1960s and ’70s that tap into what makes the American myth of the open road so enticing, “Need for Speed” chronicles a near-impossible cross-country race against time — one that begins as a mission for revenge, but proves to be one of redemption. " -DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC

Now, that's more like it!

This is going to sound incredibly insulting and I truly don't mean it to be but I want to say a quick something about the actors/characters. I'm not going to talk about them individually this time but I'll explain that more in the next paragraph. These are not your typical "beautiful" Hollywood types. Sounds rude, I know. What I mean is, each of these people actually seem attainable. As a not drop-dead gorgeous person myself, I go to movies full of those "beautiful" people and think, "There is no way any of these people would give me the time of day." Yes, that sounds self-deprecating, but come on. We all know that's part of the non-reality (unreality?) of most movies. We go for the fantasy and, you've got to admit, Hollywood does provide. These actors in Need for Speed are, by no means, ugly. My friend Mack said she definitely has a crush on Aaron Paul. I've said all this to say, I wouldn't mind more movies starring actors like this. The fantasy is fine, but the unattainable fantasy gets kind of old. I think the "pretty" people would have hurt, more than helped, this movie. I do realize I got completely off topic. It just needed to be said.

As far as the acting...I'm sorry. It was not Oscar-worthy. But, then again, they know this. Some of it was cheesy, some of it was just guys baggin' on each other, and a small portion of it was the typical "I'm going to make you pay for an injustice you caused so you'd better look out 'cuz I'm coming to get you". And there was the silly but fun repartee between the male and female lead (Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots, respectively). And the predictability! Holy cow!

Now, let's talk cars. I am so not a car person but let me tell you how in love I am with some of these cars. We saw no less than a McLaren P1 (I adore McLarens. No idea why. Just do.), a Saleen S7, a Bugatti Veyron, a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento, three, yes, 3, Koenisgegg Agera Rs and, my favorite from the film, a specially modified 2013 Shelby GT500 Mustang. What? It's cute! Stop groaning, car people. I did tell you that I'm not a car person. If you end up liking the Mustang as much as I did, be prepared. Nice things do NOT happen to this car. I just realized that I forgot one of the cars from the race. There were 6 (not including the Mustang). If you see Need for Speed, please let me know what I forgot. Never mind! I just went to the Need for Speed website and they mentioned it. A GTA Spano. And lets not forget all the other modes of transportation included in Need for Speed. We also got to see a teensy little airplane, a news helicopter, a police helicopter, an Army helicopter, a Hummer and multiple other vehicles driven by men wanting to collect the bounty, civilian cars and several different police vehicles. I have a feeling Tim "the Tool Man" Taylor and his boys would LOVE this film. And then there were all the cool cars in the drive-in movie scene.

Please, I beg of you, leave reality at the door. Go ahead and get the eye-rolling and groaning out now. Our main character does drive his car at high speeds while messing with/talking on his cell phone and, at one point, switches seats with another character. Don't get me started on the gassing up scene! Mack had to listen to a lot of, "Bull! Bull, bull, bull!" Sorry, Mack. In all fairness, she'd already seen the movie so I didn't feel as bad as I normally would have.

I'm still not quite sure what defines the difference between a PG and PG-13 movie but following are the reasons this was not rated G. Like they ever rate anything G anymore. We saw one, that we are sure of, death scene. There was cussing but not near as much as you'd expect. They left out the really naughty ones. The favorite was $#!+ and I only counted six or seven. Once again, I'm not condoning cussing but it could've been a lot worse. There were multiple cars wrecks. Shocking, I know. However, there was no nudity, minimal drinking (not before or while driving), and no smoking or [non-prescription] drugs. Only one person got punched so that was the only non-racing violence. I do wish that someone other than Disney had been associated with this film. I don't know that Walt would approve. Omigosh! I'm not sure how I forgot this, but there WAS nudity in the movie. What's the opposite of full frontal? Full backal? We saw the back side of one of the guys. It wasn't difficult to look at either. Thanks for the reminder, Mack.

I wanted to see Need for Speed because I had to see how they were going to turn the game in to a movie. This game is one of a few good memories from my marriage. My ex and I played this all the time. I drove the Viper and I wasn't too shabby, if I do say so myself. Granted, I always got the controller with the actual steering wheel. I never did quite grasp the thumb controls.

You can basically already guess to whom I would recommend Need for Speed. As mentioned before, don't go for the acting. It is secondary to the action. And when the credits start, stay in your seats and don't step on the feet of other people as you start to leave. There is a little bit more. Once that happens, it's all credits, nothing but credits. Give this film some credit and don't let prior "from video games" movies sour you on it. Just turn your brain off and enjoy the ride.

P.S. You can't have a car movie without mentioning Detroit. It gets at least 2 shout-outs that I saw.

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