Wednesday, February 19, 2020

FORD V FERRARI: My Review

A movie about auto racing shouldn’t be slow.

FORD V FERRARI felt longer than the 24hour Le Mans Race.

How it won an Oscar for Editing I will never know.   I could take an hour out of that movie.  Give me the Oscar. 

No one can say the acting was the problem. Matt Damon as Carol Shelby and Christian Bale as driver Ken Miles lit up the screen, although I thought Tracy Letts as Ford the third or fourth or whatever stole every scene he was in.

It’s a very linear story with a lot of formula engine studio construction. Ford wants to beat Ferrari. He hires Shelby. Shelby hires Miles to be his driver. And of course the Ford “suits” don’t like Miles and are constantly getting Shelby to go with someone else. All Shelby has to do once is say “if Miles goes then I go” and everyone would back off. But then you wouldn’t have an hour of the same beats over and over and over.

There’s a lot of car talk, which if you know nothing about car engines was “wallla walla walla walla --- yesh, but walla walla walla walla.”

And what would an auto race movie be without numerous crashes? Or a young son that idolizes his dad, the driver? Or warnings that reckless drivers disregard?   Your favorite cliches are all in there. 

There is one thing in the movie that really made me laugh though, and I’m not spoiling it by revealing this. When the big Le Mans Race begins, Bale can’t get his side door to close. I don’t care how many millions went into the design and construction of the car – at the end of the day it’s still just a shitty Ford.

To me this movie would have been way more fun if it were 90 minutes and Elvis starred in it with Ann-Margaret.

Now for a real SPOILER ALERT so close your eyes if you don’t want to know the ending.

I'll even skip a few lines.












Okay, this movie was made in America. Who do you THINK wins the big Le Mans Race? It’s also based on a true story so you can just look it up.

26 comments :

Anonymous said...

Hi Ken,
Agree with most of the review, the only thing is with the car door scene at the start of the race. Ken Miles closed the door on his helmet, bending the door frame thus causing that problem. For once it wasn't a shitty Ford quality issue.
cheers
Dave.

MikeN said...

I thought they had made up the ending of the race for dramatic purposes. Turns out it actually happened.

Nate L. said...

There is a documentary on Netflix called "The 24 Hour War" that covers the exact same thing using actual footage and the real people. No stars, no special effects and only 100 minutes. I recommend it, but I am a car nut.

blinky said...

Good editing is like the prose of Hemingway in The Old Man and the Sea: concise and to the point. Bad editing is like the prose of James Joyce in Ulysses: one long run-on sentence.

Paul Duca said...

It's all because Ferrari wouldn't sell his company to Ford...

Ron Reyyig said...

It used to be said (by Chevy fans) Ford was an acronym for F(ix) O) R(epair) D(aily).

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

To be honest, of the best picture movies I saw (which is most), this was my second (maybe even first favorite...1917 being the other).

Certainly 15-20 minutes of the first 1:30 could've been edited out BUT once the race starts, it's riveting.

Highly recommend. The fact that somehow DiCaprio was nominated for best actor (actually he could've been cut and the move would've still worked), yet Damon or Bale wasn't...?


Mike Bloodworth said...

There was a movie from the early 70's called "Le Mans." It starred Steve McQueen. It also had several racing clich├ęs. That film was more Porsche VS Ferrari. It also incorporated actual race footage from previous Le Mans.
It has literally been decades since I've seen the movie. So, I can't remember too much more about it except that when I was a kid I enjoyed it. I have no idea what I'd think of it as an adult.
M.B.

YEKIMI said...

It used to be said (by Chevy fans) Ford was an acronym for F(ix) O) R(epair) D(aily).
Also stood for F(ound) O(n) R(oad) D(ead)

Cap'n Bob said...

Another Ford acronym is Found On the Road, Dead.

mike schlesinger said...

And here's yet another argument why movies like this should be seen in theatres and not at home. I saw it in IMAX and it moved like lightning. Reducing films like this to a small screen louses up the pacing. It's the reason why people who saw IRISHMAN and ROMA in theatres loved them and those who watched at home hated them.

And I shouldn't have to tell you this, you being a director and all, but the length of the film is not the determining factor in judging how well a film is edited. The decision to decide what stays in and what goes ultimately lies with the director. Bertolucci's 1900 at four hours was a crashing bore; at five hours it worked perfectly.

Rays profile said...

Friday question: what are your thoughts on the Domino's Pizza ad riffing on Cheers? If you haven't seen it, Domino's stores will have your first name on a display screen when you pick up a pizza and (in the ad only, I'm sure) the workers shout "Chloe!" or whatever, Norm style. George Wendt is even in the first one, the music is the Cheers theme, and the Domino's store has a wood and brick basement look similar to the bar.

blogward said...

Ford vs Ferrari succeeds as a very unchallenging motor racing movie. It's also extremely gung ho for the 1960's US industrial complex, and in that it's very dated. And is Ken Miles' wife an android?

Tom said...

Does my favourite racing movie cliche of a driver being caught by an opponent and only then thinking to put the accelerator all the way down make an appearance? Like he spent the rest of the race trying to optimise his dashboard’s MPG report, but then things got serious. It’s usually pretty subtle, but a shot of the driver suddenly putting his foot all the way down at a key moment is the standard.

Todd Everett said...

Anybody know anything that FORD could be a funny acronym for?

Unknown said...

First on Race Day..& backwards..
Driver Returns on Foot..

Rays profile said...

Sorry, didn't realize my comments are on Ray's Profile instead of my real name. Ray Barrington

mdv59 said...

I thought it got off to a slow start but otherwise thought the pace of the movie was fine.

After reading more about the 'true' story, the thing that surprised me was some of the 'creative license' they took in telling the story. Contrary to the movie, Ken Miles did race in the 1965 Le Mans, but his car, like all of the Ford entries, broke down. Nor was his relationship with the Ford executive Leo Beebe particularly contentious. Also, although Fiat did ultimately buy Ferrari, their initial investment was in 1969-- two years after Ford withdrew support for the racing team in 1967. Although a Ford GT40 did win the race 4 years in a row from 1966-1969, it was won by private owners in 1968 and 1969, not a Ford sponsored team. That aside, most of the critical story points are accurate, notably the finish of the 1966 race.

Jeff Boice said...

I remember the actual race, because of the ending- executive interference at its worst.

Ralph C. said...

I won’t ever watch this movie. I’d rather watch a documentary about this subject.

Anon said...

Tom makes a good point

I think the drivers just realise that no one else is obeying the speed limit.

Unknown said...

It also First on race day.

Unknown said...

The racing sequences were absolutely pedestrian. In this day and age, with CGI etc., so disappointing. Bullitt, NOW 52 YEARS OLD, still has heart in your throat magic. This, meh....

Anonymous said...

Amen to Unknown. BULLITT remains the greatest car chase ever because of its realism. All the crashing and smashing and bashing of the FAST AND FURIOUS epics is for the video game generation. By the way, one of the two Mustangs driven in the chase was recently sold at Mecum Auctions at their Kissimmee show for $3.4 million. Bought from an ad in Road & Track magazine in the '70s and driven as a family car for over 70K miles. One of the first GT40 prototypes went for $7.4 million at a Sotheby's Monterrey auction last year.

Props to Matt Damon or the director for getting Carroll Shelby's accent right and not overdoing it with a yokel-vocal style

And if we're doing acronyms, Fiat stood for Fix It Again Tony

-30-

blogward said...

Bullit: great soundtrack, great car chase - and next time you watch it, notice how POLITE everybody is to each other! Please, thank you, would you, thanks so much - it's really noticeable.

FvF: props also to Christian Bale for getting Ken Miles' Black Country accent, where 'Cup of tea' is pronounced 'Kipper tie'.

MikeN said...

Best racing movie is still Herbie.