Fast and (Not Always) Furious

I don’t “watch” TV. The last series I actually watched was the last season or two of NYPD Blue, back in the early ‘00’s. My life was just too complicated to worry about being home to catch a program, because nine times out of ten, it just wasn’t going to happen. And my life was so much better for it! Free time I never had before.

But, thanks to the availability of On-Demand programming, whether streaming Hulu or Amazon or Netflix or Hoopla, I do get to see some shows – on my time, when I’m able, and it’s no crime if today’s not one of those days. If it’s a television show, we’ll watch one episode during dinner – everyone around the table, talking and watching. That’s how I got through six seasons of Sons of Anarchy, two fabulous seasons of Penny Dreadful, a full 12-season recap of NYPD Blue, and now my husband has me watching Blue Bloods, a mild police drama starring Tom Selleck, though I still think of him as Magnum, P.I., and the original Sweeney Todd himself, Len Cariou, whom I adore in anything.

Blue Bloods is okay. It’s got good actors, it’s entertaining, but it’s not deep. Each episode is self-contained, bright and polished like an old Quinn-Martin production, and none of the gritty realism and continued drama of NYPD Blue. It’s very clean and family oriented, but the writing is not always the greatest, with occasional weak scripts and clichéd lines. Because each episode wraps up on its own, nothing can get too much meat to it.

The last episode I watched had to do with insurance fraud over a valuable car – the car allegedly from the Steve McQueen movie Bullitt, which they touted as one of the greatest car chase scenes ever.

So of course we had to watch it.

My dad’s favorite sport was cars – race cars – not the NASCAR stock stuff, but the elegant turns of the Monaco Gran Prix, the high-speed chase of Formula One, or the Holy Car Holiday in our house, The Indy 500. I thought Jackie Stewart was the greatest announcer in history. And I learned to drive stick on my parents’ automatics just by the engine sounds my dad would make when he pretended he was driving a race car – when I finally did learn stick, it was effortless because I could tell when to shift by the sound of the engine.  So I don’t mind a bit if I have to watch a car-chase movie. And I guess I’ve watched a lot of them.

Bullitt, as a movie, is typical of the late-60’s-early-70’s dark genre: a slow movie where actors must have been paid by the line, because nobody says anything unless they absolutely have to, all the actors are deadpan, and the sound quality is horrible because they really did just take a cheap microphone out onto the street, with little soundtrack, and there’s no great conclusion, they just sort of end with a “Life Stinks” blackout. What was strange was realizing not only there was Zero airport security, but no paramedics yet (1968; paramedics weren’t even an idea until 1971), rotary phones – not even push button, glass IV bottles, and no gloves during surgery. San Francisco lends itself to many great film chases (such as the comedy What’s Up Doc?), and this one does not disappoint, pitting a 1968 Ford Mustang 390 GT against a 1968 Dodge Charger 440 Magnum. That they manage to hold those corners is impressive.

Fandango listed their account of the ten best car-chase movies (a bad thing to think about as summer approaches and pavement is dry and the weather begs you to take a long drive) as:

  1. Bullitt
  2. Max Mad: The Road Warrior (still my favorite movie of all time)
  3. To Live and Die in LA
  4. Deathproof
  5. The Blues Brothers
  6. Ronin (I think this should be number 2 myself – it’s truly awesome)
  7. Smokey and the Bandit (How can you not love this one?)
  8. Gone in 60 Seconds (the 1974 original, though I like the remake better as a film)
  9. The French Connection (more famous than Bullitt, but the same era of filmmaking)
  10. Terminator 2: Judgment Day

For myself, I’d add Batman: The Dark Knight (anyone who can flip a tractor trailer end over end ranks high in my book), and the new Bourne movie, Jason Bourne, which opens with a wicked car chase through Las Vegas that got me from the first go.

Even if you don’t like car movies or car chases, I highly recommend the movie Ronin, as well as French Connection, Jason Bourne, and even Bullitt, movies where the storyline takes precedence and the chase is inconsequential and there’s no harsh screeching music track – like the Fast and Furious films, the thinking person’s car chase films; a little something for everyone.


These are Seriously Funny

Have you ever felt the frustration of watching a movie that’s labeled as a comedy, only to find that it’s really a drama with a few funny moments? Where are the real comedies? The ones that make you laugh from beginning to end? They’re right here at the library:

 Blazing Saddles Blazing Saddles

The ultimate parody of Western movies. Bart is the sheriff of a town that is being targeted by every wild west villain you can think of and by some not-so-wild west villains. He knows how to outsmart them, though!



 What’s Up, Doc? WhatsUpDoc

This is the story of four red traveling cases, each containing four very different contents, and each owned by four different people. So of course they’re going to get mixed up.



ninetofive 9 to 5

Three female office workers take on their lying, sexist, egotistical, hypocritical boss. Tying him to his chair is the least of it!



weekendatbernies Weekend at Bernie’s

What do two young men do when they show up at their boss’ house and find him dead? Why, they pretend that he’s still alive, of course!



bringingupbaby Bringing Up Baby

Two people with very different personalities meet. One is trying to get married. The other is trying to prevent this from happening. They’re also watching a leopard cub named Baby. What could go wrong?



holygrail Monty Python and the Holy Grail

The search for the holy grail involves witch hunts, the perils of an all-female castle, and knowledge of swallows. And let’s not forget the importance of shrubbery!



somelikeithot Some Like It Hot

Two men who are on the run from a criminal gang disguise themselves as women and join an all-female ensemble.




operationpetticoat Operation Petticoat

Men, women, children, birthing mothers, and a goat all manage to land themselves inside of a pink submarine that seems to be held together with duct tape.



clue Clue

The characters from the classic board game are trying to figure out which one of them keeps murdering every single person that walks in the front door. Let’s just say, most of them are not detectives.



What other laugh out loud movies would you recommend?