Recently, I saw the new Edgar Wright film “Baby Driver”; it’s the story of an unusually gifted Kid (Ansel Elgort) who accelerates both literally and figuratively in being a driver for various heists Orchestrated by Kevin Spacey, and a rotating crew of hoods who actually pull of said heists. For the most part, the movie was A-MA-ZING, and it also makes me want to give Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy” a second look when I have the time. But for the benefit of those who haven’t seen the movie yet, I want to do something that I hope to do whenever I see a new movie—I want to share what I learned during/after the movie WITHOUT using any Spoilers. The following things that I learned are listed in no particular order of importance, they’re just a series of observations I realized while watching the movie. With that said, here’s what I learned about “Baby Driver”…
- I should’ve been more of a gear head growing up.
I know it seems like a common cliché that “Men know cars”, but in all my years of breathing oxygen, I wouldn’t know the difference between a socket wrench and a crescent wrench, even if the names were written in Bold Ink on Flash Cards. Some of the dialogue in the movie was very Car-Specific, and it probably would’ve made more sense to me if I saw more episodes of “Top Gear” in my spare time. Then again, I’m here to see cars zoom down the road and/or watch them crash spectacularly; knowing the ins & outs of car lingo is the least of my concerns.
2. Wearing Sunglasses and an iPod while driving turns you into Vin Diesel no matter how “aloof” you are.
Apparently, this kid (named “Baby”) does his best driving while he’s listening to certain music. Specifically while listening to music. There are reasons for this which sort of verge into “Spoiler” territory, so let’s just say for argument’s sake that this is a highly fantasized version of what happens when a person’s favorite song comes on the radio. I like walking around the city wearing my music, I like walking in rhythm to the tune I’m listening to at the moment, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be Fast and/or Furious as I do.
- At the same time, listening to said iPod is therapeutic–especially if you have Tinnitus.
Yes, this is a plot point, but at the same time, I had to see if there was any medical truth to this or if it was just another work of fiction. Sure enough, I came across This Article and the below video that helps bust the myth while (at the same time) proves it as well. So, take a look at this…
- I love the guy, but I’m sick of Kevin Spacey playing a bad guy in everything; mix it up a little next time!
Kevin Spacey is one of my Top 10 Favorite actors, and I’m sure playing shady characters is his bread & butter. But let’s face it, he’s been playing these kinds of characters for practically his entire career. Even on rare occasions when he’s a “Good” guy, he somehow portrays those roles as seedy as a Chia Pet. Seeing him as one of the Bad-ish guys in this movie just felt like something I’ve seen millions of times. Just once, I’d like to see him play someone who benefitted mankind—Maybe Samuel Morse or Eli Whitney or Somebody who didn’t have Bad intentions. Thankfully, where Spacey was predictable, these next two certainly were not…
- Don’t Mess with Jamie Foxx.
Shouldn’t really have to explain this one, the dude’s a chameleon. He can be a legendary soul singer one minute, a former slave out for revenge the next; and in this case, a gangster just looking for what’s his. Quite honestly, he WOULD’VE been the best Bad Guy in the movie if it weren’t for Don Draper stealing the show…
- Don’t Fuck with Jon Hamm
Believe me, there’s a difference between “Messing” with someone and “Fucking” with someone. Again, without going into “Spoiler Mode”, Hamm’s performance is the human equivalent of going “Zero to 60 in 2.4 seconds”. Anybody who can go from that calm to that enraged on the turn of a dime (especially after losing out on so many Emmys) makes me wonder if he took up Method Acting in his Younger days. Something about his performance was just plain haunting.
- Gotta get more Motown/Hip-Hop/R&B songs for my library.
If the movie was even the slightest bit lousy (which, thankfully, it wasn’t), the soundtrack would’ve acted as the movie’s air-bag. There are over 70 Songs credited as being in the movie; Among them? James Brown, Dave Brubeck, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Martha & The Vandellas, T. Rex, The Commodores, Issac Hayes, Barry White, Queen, The Detroit Emeralds, Brenda Holloway, Steve Miller Band, Quincy Jones, Edwin Starr, Alman Brothers Band, Jamiroquai, Aretha Franklin, The Beastie Boys, Phil Collins, Bill Withers, The Isley Brothers, Blur, Simon & Garfunkel, and most importantly, BECK, but not just any Beck song, a cut from his “Midnite Vultures” album…Like I even have to say her name…
For reasons I don’t have enough time to get into right now, this movie’s soundtrack went into my head and plucked out half of my iTunes Library. If they don’t give Oscars to people who put together movie soundtracks, THEY SHOULD (Failing that, at least whoever put this collection together probably has a Grammy waiting in the “Will Call” section of the Staples Center at Next year’s ceremony).
- Buy LOTS of Kevlar before visiting Atlanta.
OK, that might be a little unfair, but the facts are there; the movie takes place in Metro Atlanta, and I’m sure the movie was rated “R” for more than just language. Point is, shit blows up, people get shot, run over, impaled, fall off buildings, get crushed in cars and a bunch of other mis-fortunes that could happen in any other city…I don’t know if it was Edgar Wright’s decision to film there, but so be it otherwise. I’m sure the City is a great place to have a good time (Bonus points for them name-dropping the [soon to be] world famous “Goodfella’s Pizza”)…Still never gonna root for the Braves, though.
- Good Girls ALWAYS go for the Bad Boys in the grand scheme of things (even if the boy in question has no intention of ever being “Bad”).
It is a cliché as old as time; or at the very least, as old as the “Fat Guy Marries a Hot Wife on a TV Show” one. Thing is, “Baby” is neither a “Bad Boy”, nor does he fit the mold of “Traditional” Bad Boys; he’s very much “just a kid”, and he happens to have done some things that makes him look like a badass—The fact remains though, that driving around like a maniac should not be the key to getting into some girl’s pants. Hell, even the girl in the movie doesn’t want that, she just wants to get out of town and start a new life, and Baby wants to do that too. Then again, if Baby did the right thing from the beginning, the movie would be about 6 minutes long and full of plot holes. So even though I hate this cliché, I have to let it slide for the sake of telling a story…a shame really, because I always thought Edgar Wright was Above clichés.
Having heard variants of this phrase my Entire life, I sympathize. Who hasn’t wanted to search for something Better? Baby with wanting to get out of working with Spacey, Debora (Lily James) wanting to get out of the diner she works in. Sometimes you can see the Rainbow While it’s raining, yet it’s still out of reach………..God DAMN, do I need my own apartment.
Other than that, “Baby Driver” is the perfect movie to see if you want to avoid a barrage of “Minions” fans. The movie itself is not perfect; but the action, choreography, Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm and the soundtrack are more than enough to make up for the film’s (VERY) minor flaws. Having said that, I hope and Pray that they DON’T make a “se” and/or prequel…even though I would’ve liked to know a little more about how Baby wound up working for Spacey’s character and the events leading up to the beginning of the movie, I have a feeling that might’ve been left on the cutting room floor and would make a decent BluRay extra. In the meantime, I have the entire Atlantic Records music library to stream on Spotify…this could take a while…