Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver

The only thing that may rival Baby’s driving skills is his playlist.

Very few things irritate me more than seeing people drive with headphones on. I am not stating I am the safest driver, and I almost always have music on when I drive. Still, headphones when you drive? So stupid, in my opinion. Possibly the worst thing about Baby Driver is that it may encourage drivers to listen to their music on headphones.

Anyway, enough on my driving opinions: you want to know my opinion on Baby Driver, and it is easily the most exhilarating heart pounding time I have had on the streets this side of Fury Road. It is another great action pick that shows that you can have all the CGI in the world (thought it actually looks like they were really all driving) but it means nothing if the script is strong and the actors are on their A game.

The film tells the story of Baby (Ansel Elgort, the male lead of The Fault of the Stars), a child delinquent whose parents died in a car crash and left him with a constant ringing in his head. After stealing the car of  Doc (Kevin Spacey), he is forced to be the getaway driver of Doc’s heists until he can pay off his dues. While Doc is obviously powerful enough to destroy Baby’s life in a heartbeat, there is no doubt he takes a liking to Baby (and it also totally helps that it is Kevin Spacey who is filled with his unbeatable charm.)

Many of the others in the groups that Baby drives (Doc does not like using the same group more than once) will question Doc if Baby is right or not. It does not take them (or us) long to see that Baby is such an elite driver it is as if he plays the Grand Theft Auto games in his spare time.

What is also so likeable (even lovable) about Baby is his heart. In one scene, the group steals a car of a mom and her child, who Baby makes sure to give to the mother. He still cares for his ailing deaf foster dad (CJ Jones).  He also starts taking a liking to the local waitress, Debora (Lily James).

All of the actors are stellar. Some of the crews that Baby works with include Griff (Jon Bernthal, who knows how to play a tough guy better than most guys in Hollywood), Buddy (Jon Hamm), his girl Darling (Eiza Gonzalez) and Bats (Jamie Foxx). Along with Spacey and James, it is one heck of a lineup of thespians. In the end, however, the movie belongs to Elgort, who holds his own against all of them. Not for one second do you see the guy who fell in love with Shailene Woodley’s Hazel in The Fault in our Stars.

Parents, the R rating is for swearing and action/violence. There is no nudity or sex in the film (though a lot of making out between Buddy and Darling). Basically, High School and above, unless you have a very mature middle schooler (I would think you would be fine taking them to see it).

As of now, my only real flaw with the film is the last five minutes or so. I will leave it at that, so as not to give anything away. Still, the action in the movie kicks the crap out of any Michael Bay movie one can think of (I am still in stunned silence from the climax of the film). I have not even talked about the amazing soundtrack.

My only other hope is that the CEO of Uber does not show the movie to potential clients.

 

Overall: Four Stars ****

Me Before You (2016)

Me Before You

A nice date idea for the characters in “Me before You”.

I have a hunch that whoever is reading this review is interested in one thing, and one thing only: Did I cry during Me before You?  I can confidently say I did not cry at all.

That is not to say I am not one to cry at certain movies (I did feel my eyes get wet during The Fault in our Stars, a far better film). The problem is that the characters in Me before You make decisions that seem unrealistic to their characteristics (mainly the character of Lou Clark).

Lou Clark (played nicely by Emilia Clarke) is a decent, soft hearted young woman who still lives at home with her parents and older sister. Ever since her parents have lost their jobs, Lou has decided to stay behind to be with them, despite dashing what dreams she may have had. She is dating Patrick (Matthew Lewis), who is more obssessed with running than he is with her.

One day, she gets a new job working for a very (and I mean very) wealthy family. After meeting with Camilla (Janet McTeer) and Stephen Traynor (Charles Dance), she becomes the new care taker of their son Will (Sam Claflin), who was recently paralyzed after a motorcycle accident. Sorry, but no points on guessing whether or not they fall in love.

Clarke and Claflin have fine chemistry as the sweet innocent girl trying to help the hard heart in a wheel chair. Really, none of the actors are at fault here. There is also a few pieces of fine imagery that would work, but not in a movie like this where the story takes every wrong turn possible. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say we are supposed to feel some form of either happiness for a specific character, or some form of sadness. The feeling I felt was more of a betrayal.

Parents, there is no real nudity of any kind, though some revealing clothing. There is some swearing, but nothing the local middle schooler would not have heard. If they saw movies like The Fault in our Stars or The Notebook, then they are fine here.

The movie was based off the book by Jojo Moyes, who also does the screenplay. I did not read the book, and have cemented my status in saying I won’t anytime in the future. There are good romantic films that can make you cry (I already mentioned The Fault in our Stars and The Notebook, but there is also A Walk to Remember, Love Story, and even going back to the Chaplin masterpiece City Lights, though it is more of a comedy). Me before you is far from those films.

I end by saying this is the first movie I ever went to that I was the only one in the theater. I guess others learned about the movie before hand.

Overall: One and a Half Stars * 1/2