Tuesday, July 25, 2017

BABY DRIVER: My review

BABY DRIVER is a fun summer movie thrill ride. Imagine FAST & FURIOUS but not idiotic and Quentin Tarantino without Samuel L. Jackson. Writer/director Edgar Wright has crafted a super stylish adrenaline rush that has the best soundtrack I’ve heard in years.

The car stunts (all 2,000 of them) seemed real. They may be CGI – today they’d use CGI if they were making MY DINNER WITH ANDRE -- but they felt real. I don’t know many cars that could handle those turns, but then “getaway” capabilities are not a high priority for me when auto shopping. The story has some holes you could drive the entire Atlanta Police Force through, but you don’t go to this movie for Chekhov.

(I haven’t read any reviews but how many of them start with “Fasten your seatbelts!?”)

Young Ansel Elgort plays “Baby” the driver with a heart of gold and foot of lead. He has a baby face and sweet quality. He’s like Jesse Eisenberg but without that smugness that makes you want to just punch him in the face. I predict this will be a breakout role for Ansel.   He won't have to play a teenager on some CW show. 

Kevin Spacey is the mob boss for the thirtieth time. Yes, it’s familiar but at no time does he do his Bobby Darin or Johnny Carson impression. And as toupees go he’s sporting a good one.

Jamie Foxx is playing Django gone bad, and Jon Hamm is playing Don Draper gone bad.

Two notable cameos – Brogan Hall as Sam and Paul Williams (yes, Paul Williams) as “the Butcher.”

Enough people get killed that you think you’re watching an episode of 24 and nobody wears seatbelts (even though they could all be cited), and again, none of that matters when “Nowhere to Run” or “Harlem Shuffle” is blaring. And yes, they feature Simon & Garfunkel’s “Baby Driver.”

This is one of those movies I’d recommend you see on the big screen. It won’t be the same on your phone. Okay, fasten your seatbelts. Damn! I just couldn’t go the entire review without saying it.

21 comments :

Peter said...

This is on my list to see.

I'd be curious to know what you think of Spider-Man if you've been to see it.

Oliver said...

Wright together with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost made the Britcom of my generation with "Spaced". Loved it to pieces. So glad to see someone good in actually directing a movie.

Andrew said...

I've seen it twice already (once with one of my kids). I haven't done that in years.

Great movie, just tremendous fun. And I loved the choreography between the music and all the action. (My favorite example wasn't a car scene. It was when the criminals were planning their heist and Dave Brubeck's Unsquare Dance dictated the hand motions.) The movie was like one long glorious music video.

Jamie Foxx stole every scene he was in. "That's some Oscar shit right there!"

blinky said...

My favorite story hole is how Bay kills multiple people and because he returns a purse to the lady whose car he steals at gunpoint, he only get a year in jail.

Frank said...

What are the story holes you speak of? Would be interested to know. Don't think it's very fair to make that comment without providing specific examples.

Brent Alles said...

Totally agree with your review, Ken. Edgar Wright is a "film geek" filmmaker, and I don't mean that pejoratively. He's in the same category of Tarantino, but I tend to enjoy Edgar's films a bit more due to the humor. I had a grin on my face during most of the movie, even though, as you say, there are a few major plot(pot?)holes here and there.

Even Wright's only "miss," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," was still pretty entertaining. Can't wait to see what he does next!

Mike said...

@Frank: Ken writes his reviews without spoilers. Doesn't he, @blinky?

Having said that, The Damned's Neat, Neat, Neat, but no Motörhead? Shame.

Anonymous said...

It's been stated in numerous interviews and articles that all of the driving was done practically. No CGI; no green screen. Every stunt was real.

yatesy said...

I do believe that all the car stuff was done as practical effects. Meaning, yeah, no cgi!

Jane said...

Hi Ken, did you watch Dunkirk?

BADuBois said...

Enjoyed the very first few minutes of the movie, where the lyrics to the song playing was reflected in street signs, store signs and graffiti on the wall. Very cool!

Brian said...

Friday Question:

Ken, do you think this is Chris Nolan's year - in Oscar terms? Finally a war movie to get the attention of Hollywood powers that be. He has been grovelling a lot for an Oscar, maybe they will throw him a bone this year. Give us your snarky take on your favorite subject of Oscars and its supplicants.

Jahn Ghalt said...

I don't think I've seen Spacey in a "film" since '21'.

(and the book was pretty good)

He does most of the heavy lifting in House of Cards - though Robin Wright lifts right along with him in that completely irredeemable show.

Corvus Imbrifer said...

Paul Williams? Paul Williams?!? Much as I like Edgar Wright, I had zero interest in this but for Paul Williams I might be moved.

B Smith said...

I suspect Paul Williams' presence is due to Edgar Wright being a self-declared longtime fan of "Phantom Of The Paradise"

Andrew said...

@Frank and @Mike:
All the main characters die in a 20-car pile-up.

ChipO said...

Everyone / anyone, and Ken, of course:
Our theater included a short, just before the studio screens, thank you message from the director, expressing his appreciation for us attending the movie at a big screen, which he stated was his intent in the creation of the film. I didn't find it smarmy, and I actually felt appreciated.
Did your theater have that? and, did it work for you?
and ... i'm now thinking that every movie ought to have some significant (maybe even a writer?) someone do the same thing.
(Years from now: "Well, the movie sucked, but Spike's thank you message was nice.")
(Too fing funny: The captcha test required me to identify all squares with cars.)

Johnny Walker said...

I felt strangely distant from this movie. I just couldn't connect with it. Yesterday I realised I think it's because Debora was completely undeveloped as a character. It was really hard to care about her and Baby, and I think that's why.

Shaun S said...

Great review but nothing will get me to watch anything with Kevin Spacey, as Katherine Hepburn said about Meryl Streep you can always see the cogs turning.

Dubliner said...

I'm surprised you didn't mention the soundtrack, which I think made the film. The characters were pretty cartoonish, except for the only female character who would have had to be fleshed out to be cartoony. There was lots of clunky dialogue and blatant exposition with several glaring implausibilities. Overall I did enjoy it, despite these shortcomings, but really because of the soundtrack and the energy it brought to the whole thing.

I did wonder how the script, which obviously wouldn't have had the advantage of the soundtrack, passed any kind of hurdles to production as I don't think it really stood up on its own.

MattP said...

Thanks for your review Ken which encouraged me to go see this movie. It was a lot of fun, my foot was tapping the whole way through enjoying the music and the scenes. I different type of musical, if you will, and as someone who likes cars, a good one too.