movies

Baby Driver Review

Ansel Elgort is stealing more than hearts in the new action film, Baby Driver.

Orphaned in a car accident as a child, Baby (Elgort) becomes a delinquent to get by. As a teen, he finds himself back behind the wheel as a getaway driver. Viewers learn quickly that this new gig is retribution for stealing robbery ringleader Doc’s (Kevin Spacey) car and that Baby has two more gigs to complete before his debt is paid. Baby soon learns that he’s “never done” and that the debt will never be considered “paid”. Complications increase when Baby finds a love interest at a local diner. Love develops and as expected, chaos ensues.

Since opening, the film has raked in over $41 million worldwide. This expected commercial success includes all the classic action movie components including chase scenes, shootouts and romance. Writer and Director, Edgar Wright has masterfully written a script that combines drama with comedy in a way that is believable and fluid. He has judiciously placed jokes to add levity and lessen tension and has inserted such characters as Doc’s nephew to inject dry humor.

Wright’s film boasts a unique form of editing and cinematography that keeps the audience engaged in a seemingly extended music video. Even stacks of cash are dropped on the table to a choreographed beat, creating a soundtrack that spans all genres and generation.

Wright’s unique approach is revealed to the unassuming viewer when Baby becomes aware of the soundtrack and uses it to drown out recurring memories of his earlier car accident. Baby even makes his own music out of recorded conversations; which makes for a comical moment in the film.

The success of Wright’s film does not lie solely with him. It is supported by a tremendous and often witty cast of Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Lily James and many others.

Wright’s trailblazing efforts to create new genres of action films with Baby Driver, is not without shortcomings. Unlike other films of similar genres, there is noticeably less violence at the beginning of the film. This lack of violence paired with a sudden impaling and a shootout end of the film place the viewer initially in a disorientated state. Additionally, the tight music track editing becomes lazy towards the end of the film and it becomes apparent that the beats no longer sync. Despite these minor flaws, Baby Driver is a movie worth racing to and one that is sure to entertain.

The Force Will Always Be With Me

This past week the world lost two amazing women; Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds.

Although, I never had the honor of meeting Debbie, I did meet Carrie. That experience will be one that I will always remember and cherish.

It was a late night at Harvard University and Carrie Fisher was being honored with The Cultural Humanism Award for her work; especially as an activist. The steps of Harvard’s Memorial Church were lined with Darth Vaders and Imperial Soldiers patiently waiting for the arrival of Princess Leia.

Carrie and her sidekick, Gary, a loveable French Bulldog, arrived to the venue with only minutes to spare.  She was not able to stop to greet the crowd on the steps on the way in, but promised to come back to us on her way out.

After accepting her award and sharing her talents as a storyteller with the crowd, she came out to greet us. Gary came running out behind her; tongue hanging, as he chased the rats that were almost as big as he was. “Gary get back here,” Carrie chuckled turning to us with a request to follow her.  She explained that she wanted to meet with all of us, but away from the crowds.  Like the Pied Piper, Carrie led us off campus and about a block to her car.  On the way she stopped for a selfie with a young woman in a wheelchair dressed as Princess Leia.

As we continued the walk, Carrie hugged an awkward glass trophy; while balancing a bag and a few other items. She made light conversation, periodically asking how we all were and making sure no one was left behind.

Steps away from her car, she lost her grasp of the trophy. It quickly slipped out of her hands and broke into many pieces on the ground. She did not get mad or upset at the loss, but quickly made sure everyone was okay. As she picked up the sharp trophy pieces, she told us not to be upset because it was only a thing and that everyone’s happiness and wellbeing was of much higher importance.

Before she hopped in her car, she gathered the group for a picture (that’s me to the right of Carrie) and signed autographs. We thanked her and waved as she pulled away.

carrie-fisher

As I look back at the photograph taken that evening, I can’t help but smile and feel so lucky to have met her.

Carrie was a wonderful person that left an impact no matter where she went; whether it was showing girls their strengths through her roles or using life experience as opportunities to learn, teach, and grow. I can’t think of a better way to honor her than to live with the same amount of positivity that she exhibited that day at Harvard.