Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

The Two Popes is a dramatization of what happened in 2013, when Pope Benedict VI (Anthony Hopkins) was the first pope to resign in over 700 years. Benedict was a conservative and, in religious aspects, a hardliner. He was elected during a time when Catholicism was under immense internal pressure and change.

Cardinal Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) would eventually become Pope Francis, Pope Benedict’s successor. But he didn’t know that in 2012, when he traveled to Rome to submit his request to retire. He was one of Pope Benedict’s harshest critics and an activist in the church.

The Two Popes tells the life story of Jorge Bergoglio through the framework of the conversations between the two men over two days in Rome. The unlikely pair of adversaries became friends, and the rest is history.

Joseph Ratzinger, who would eventually become Pope Benedict, taught at the University of Regensburg in Germany in 1969, about the same time I was a school boy learning Latin in Regensburg. During one of my visits there a decade ago, when he was pope, I went to find his house in Pentling, right outside of Regensburg and just a few kilometers from the university. It’s an unassuming place, mostly behind a tall and grown-over wall of ivy and green. I never knew about him when he was active in Regensburg and later Munich as bishop, of course, and only studied up on him when he became der Bayerische Papst (the Bavarian Pope).

I am not a Catholic, and I am not a Christian, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching The Two Popes. Other than the doctrine and the thinking of Pope Benedict, I didn’t learn much about him. But I learned the entire history of Pope Francis, and while I have criticized him for many of the decisions he has made and the atrocities of the church that he has allowed to continue, I have gathered renewed respect for him through this movie.

And I feel solidarity: If I were pope, I would shun the red shoes too.

Read Full Post »

DuPont is one of the world’s largest corporations, and apparently one of the world’s most brazen polluters.

Dark Waters starts when a farmer with a box of videos walks into a law firm asking for help. He has farmed his land all of his life, but when DuPont bought the land next to his farm and started a landfill, the water in his creek quickly became poisonous.  All the livestock on his farm is dying. He finds grotesque deformities and strange behavior.

This movie is inspired by this true story and sequence of events that takes us from the 1960s to the current time. Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) is an attorney who works at a law firm in Columbus, Ohio defending DuPont. He eventually switches sides and takes on DuPont on behalf of the people in his home town in West Virginia. He is quickly ostracized by his peers, and even shunned by the townspeople. After all, DuPont is the main employer there, the company that puts bread on everyone’s table. They don’t want to know that the company also makes them all sick.

Reminiscent of Erin Brockovich or even Karen Silkwood’s true stories, Robert Bilott’s quest to get justice for his clients goes way beyond just a lawsuit.

We were shocked watching this movie, and we promptly, the next day, threw out our existing Teflon frying pans that we had been using for years and got new ones.

You just have to watch Dark Waters to find out why.

 

Read Full Post »

I Confess

Warner Brothers, 1953, B & W, 91 minutes

Produced & Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Starring Montgomery Clift

This classic thriller is arguably the most underrated of Hitchcock’s films from the 1950’s. As hinted in the title, the film explores the dilemma posed by the Seal of the Confessional: after hearing the confession to a murder, a priest is torn between his civic duty to report the crime and his unconditional obligation to protect the privacy of the sinner. The plot was adapted from a play, Nos deux consciences (1902), by French author and journalist, Paul Bourde. Hitchcock’s adaptation is far removed from a typical detective yarn, since the identity of the murderer is revealed at the outset. The crime is promptly followed by a candid confession. From this ominous beginning, the drama unfolds at a glacial pace. The dénouement of the convoluted plot seems beyond reach as the unrivaled Master of Suspense deftly inserts twists and turns in an unpredictable sequence of events.

Montgomery Clift stars in the leading role as Father Logan, the priest who is burdened with the truth he is forbidden to reveal; Anne Baxter stars in a supporting role as his devoted friend and ally, eager to shield him from the ceaseless prodding of a determined inspector (played by the veteran Karl Malden), impatient to crack the case.

The action was filmed on location in Quebec City, with elaborate shots of church interiors. The melodramatic climax was filmed inside a historic landmark, the Chateau Frontenac.

The film was praised as well as criticized for its Catholic sensibilities (are there situations where even a priest is morally compelled to reveal the identity of a confessed criminal?). The reviews, for the most part, have tended to sidestep the gut-wrenching dilemma of the protagonist, focusing instead on Hitchcock’s casting and cinematography.

The film was a US submission to the 1953 Cannes Film Festival, but failed to win any awards. It is currently available in a Blu-Ray format from the WB Archive Collection.

Read Full Post »

Goya’s Ghosts

Warner Bros. 2006, 2 hours

Directed by Miloš Forman

The title of the film is misleading: the story is less about the famous artist himself than about his social circle, about people whose lives are disrupted by the upheavals in Goya’s Era. Various personal dramas unfold against the backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century. The central plot revolves around the fateful encounter of a corrupt priest with a young Jewish woman, one of Goya’s models. We witness the personal story of the cleric and his victim through the prism of a panoramic historical canvas. The fate of the protagonists is linked with the rise and fall of the Spanish Inquisition; the shifting fortunes of the régime in Spain are in turn linked to the reversals in Napoleon’s military campaigns. The Inquisition, dismantled after the French invasion of Spain, is promptly reinstated with its full powers after the expulsion of the French from Spain by the British.

What about Goya himself? What role does the famous artist play during this momentous period of social turmoil? Goya appears sporadically on the screen as various incidents unfold around him. Before the French invasion of Spain, his cozy rapport with the royal family emboldens him to challenge the Inquisition through his provocative sketches. But after the French invasion, his presence is less visible. He becomes more of an observer of events than a participant in them. The British restoration of the Old Order does nothing to restore Goya’s confidence in society. The “ghosts” which permeate the artwork of his later years express — quietly yet earnestly — his indictment of the violent repression of the popular cry for justice and freedom; and yet Goya never openly defies the ruling class. The film confronts the viewer with a disturbing question: Was Goya’s silence a mark of cowardice in the face of public corruption? Or was it a heroic but muffled outcry against the mistreatment of fellow human-beings?

The Swedish actor who plays Goya, Stellan Skarsgárd, is best remembered for portraying Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who rescued thousands of Jews from the Nazis. The director, Miloš Forman (best known for Amadeus), does not shrink from depicting with graphic realism the notorious interrogation methods of the Spanish Inquisition. The film remains dramatically compelling in spite of the mixed reviews it received on account of its convoluted plot and excessive violence.

Read Full Post »

If you ever want to know what happened to Jesse of Breaking Bad after the end of the series, when Walter White was killed, El Camino is the movie to watch.

Through a series of scenes going forward after Walter’s death, and via many flashbacks, El Camino brings back the full cast of characters, Jesse, the hapless Todd, Skinny, Badger, and definitely Mike. There is also a flashback appearance of Mr. White and Jesse in a coffee shop, which is priceless.

I watched El Camino right after watching the second episode of Better Call Saul, and before watching the third, and the whole series, with El Camino in the middle, brings me back to 12 years ago when Breaking Bad was breaking really bad in this country.

El Camino is a “must watch” for anyone who followed the Breaking Bad craze. And while this review is not about Better Call Saul, I have to say: The current (and last) season of Better Call Saul, which is the immediate prequel to the Breaking Bad series, is the best of Better Call Saul ever. You must see that one too.

Read Full Post »

Movie Review: Parasite

Parasite made Oscar history:

Parasite is the film that took home the most awards at the Oscars 2020, winning four Academy Awards at tonight’s Oscars including Best Picture, Directing, International Feature Film and Writing (Original Screenplay). Not only that, but it also became the first non-English language film in Oscar history to win the award for Best Picture.

Oscar.go.com

Of course, with this much attention on a film, we had to go back and see it. I had never seen a Korean film and while I  was afraid that the subtitles would get in the way, I was immersed within minutes and forgot about the whole foreign language thing altogether. I was in the movie all the way through.

The story is about two families:

The Park family is in Korean’s upper class. The father is an young entrepreneur and the head of his company. He gets driven to work by a chauffeur in his Benz. They live in an upscale neighborhood in an opulent, modern house that has won awards for its architecture. His wife is beautiful, pampered, overprotective of her children, and has obviously never had to worry about anything serious in her life, other than being a socialite, planning elaborate parties, and worrying about what her friends would think about her and her family. The teenage daughter is smart, worldly, and is getting tutoring in English. The little boy is a spoiled terror and the entire family is under his playful thumb.

The Kim family is on the other side of the spectrum of society. They live in a basement apartment in the seedy part of town. Their main living room window faces out into the alley at eye level, where drunks regularly urinate right in front of them. The father (Song Kang Ho, who is generally understood to be the top Korean actor of his generation) is a loser. He has no job, no prospects of work and seemingly no ambition beyond somehow cheating the system wherever he can, including mooching off the WiFi of the neighbors in the building. His obedient wife does what she can to support the family. The two of them have taught their kids well in the way of gaming the system. The son and daughter are early college-age but neither are enrolled, even though both are resourceful, smart, energetic and ambitious. They have learned their father’s way well. The family ekes out a living by folding cardboard pizza boxes from the flat delivered shape to a usable form by the cooks. And they can’t even get a simple task like that right, and end up with 25% rejection rate.

Through a fortuitous connection, and by his sister helping him forge a diploma, with their father’s admiration and blessing, the Kim son gets a job tutoring the Park daughter in English. While on the job, he learns that the family is looking for a new art tutor for the little boy.  He manages to install an acquaintance, who is, unbeknownst to the Park family, his sister. Within a short time, the entire Kim family is employed by the Park household as tutors, driver and housekeeper. The Parks have no idea that all their employees are one family. Except the little boy, when he notices that the driver and the housekeeper smell the same.

Under wealthy Korean homes there are often bunkers for protection from war and disaster induced by the North Koreans. The Parks apparently don’t know they have such a bunker below their basement. However, in that bunker lives a man who has been there for years. A parasite. And here is where it starts getting complicated.

Parasite portrays the income diversity of society and how the rich can afford to be oblivious to the real problems and needs of the people. The poor are forced to fight for every scrap, and they end up being hardworking, resourceful and creative in making a living. We feel the constant humiliation of the poor and unfortunate, and how they deal with this continuous pressure and struggle to overcome it.

The movie is 132 minutes long. At every turn there is a surprise. I never knew what would happen next. This is DEFINITELY NOT HOLLYWOOD.  The storytelling is superb, and the twists seem to never end. Even the last 30 seconds left me wondering what might happen next. When the credits finally rolled I wondered what had just happened. This was different than any movie I had ever seen. This was a glimpse of a culture I knew little about. I had just heard more spoken Korean in the last two hours than in my entire life before combined. And I felt I had just watched a great movie. The Oscars were deserved.

You should go and see it.

 

Read Full Post »

Movie Review: Casablanca

The movie Casablanca is 78 years old and is renowned to be one of the best movies of all time. It seems to show up in all lists within the top five, and everyone knows it as a classic. So it may come as a surprise when I tell you that I had never before watched Casablanca, and other than having a picture in my mind of an airplane in a fog and people in white suits surrounding it, I really knew nothing about it.

Yesterday I watched Casablanca with a group of about 15 other movie buffs, a number of whom had watched it many times before. I feel odd actually describing such a classic here, but I must at least make a cursory effort:

It’s early in World War II. The Germans have invaded France and occupied Paris, and they are making their first incursions into North Africa. Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) is a jaded former freedom fighter. He had had a love affair with Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), a beautiful woman in Paris, just before the German invasion. When they were going to escape together, she unexpectedly abandoned him at the train station. Rick never got over losing the love of his life. A year later, in 1942, he runs a nightclub in Casablanca and his life is turned upside down when Ilsa suddenly walks in with a famed rebel leader, seeking to escape the Nazis and travel to America.

While I have a lot of respect for all the people who admire Casablanca and praise it one of the greatest movies of all time, frankly, it didn’t do much for me. Yes, it is a very well-crafted story, yes, the casting and acting are superb, and yes, it tells a story of what it was like in World War II in North Africa, where corruption and money made things happen and ordinary people were crushed. I could not quite connect or get into the story, and I found myself observing myself watching a classic. I certainly can’t imagine wanting to watch it again.

“So here’s looking at you, kid.”

Read Full Post »

World War I was one of the deadliest conflict in human history. Almost 40 million people died in that war. We generally think of WW I as the war of trench warfare. Soldiers lived in trenches on both sides of the front.

In April of 1917, two young British soldiers, Shofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), are sent on an impossible mission: cross into German-held territory in northern France and warn the commander of a British unit of about 1,600 soldiers about a deadly trap they don’t know about. Without any means of communications, the two soldiers are hand-carrying a letter. Blake was picked because his brother is a lieutenant in the endangered unit and the commanding general assumes that will give Blake the necessary motivation.

They only have one day and one night for the mission, since the unit is scheduled to attack in the morning and run into the ambush.

The movie follows the two hapless soldiers on their journey. The entire picture is filmed in one continuous shot, not in individual scenes. This gives the action some urgency and fluency. As they progress through the war-torn wasteland, they come across an endless stream of corpses in trenches, ditches, bunkers, on fields and in streams. The brutality and horror of war comes to life in 1917, and the senselessness of it all is ever present.

Some people just want to fight.

And therefore, many others have to die.

As I watched 1917, I realized that Adolph Hitler was a common German soldier in that war, and the experience of the conflict, and the aftermath and subsequent humiliation of the German people, was one of the driving forces that shaped his world-view and fueled his eventual rise to power – just to repeat the whole atrocity again.

Everyone should watch 1917 for the political and humanitarian message it sends, not just because it’s going to win many awards.

Read Full Post »

CITY LIGHTS

United Artists, 1931, 87 minutes

Starring Charlie Chaplin and Virginia Cherrill

Produced and Directed by Charlie Chaplin

Film Score by Charlie Chaplin

A blind flower girl captures the Little Tramp’s heart. Smitten by her charm and beauty, the homeless hobo is resolved to rescue the girl from her hapless condition. This is the premise which drives the plot of City Lights, Chaplin’s unforgettable romantic comedy. The encounters between the Tramp and the blind girl project a gentle pathos that echoes the recurrent theme of unrequited love. By contrast, the meandering episodes, featuring the Tramp’s arduous ventures to earn money, provide broad comic relief. Enter on the scene a drunkard, distraught over his marital woes. In the course of his clumsy attempts at suicide, he is rescued by none other than the Tramp. The brooding tippler turns out to be a bourgeois millionaire! In gratitude to his rescuer, he promises to assist the blind girl. But can such serendipity be real? Or is it too good to be true? The millionaire’s behavior turns out to be erratic, his shifting moods alternating between bouts of intoxication and sobriety. Will he keep his promise to Chaplin to aid in the rescue of the poor flower girl?

City Lights was greeted enthusiastically by audiences weary of the hardships inflicted by the Great Depression. Considered one of Chaplin’s greatest films, it is preserved in the Library of Congress as a cultural treasure. City Lights ranks 11th on the list — created by the American Film Institute — of the 100 best American films. At the time the film was released, the silent era of cinema had been eclipsed by the advent of sound. Yet Chaplin would continue to work without spoken dialogue. Modern Times, his last silent feature, was released in 1936. The Great Dictator (1940), his lampoon of Hitler and Mussolini, ushered the introduction of spoken dialogue in the next wave of Chaplin films.

Although Chaplin composed mostly his own music for his films, the romantic theme in City Lights was a melodic arrangement based on the popular Spanish song, La Violetera. The composer, José Padilla, sued Chaplin for not acknowledging authorship and won.

The restored print of the film in black-and-white is available in DVD format through the Criterion Collection (which has acquired exclusive rights to the entire Chaplin Library).

Read Full Post »

The picture above shows a piece of the demolished Death Star crashed into an ocean on some planet. I always like pictures of crashed space ships (or in this case huge space stations) on some planet, hidden by clouds and mist and off in the distance. Star Trek had a few shots of spaceships sitting on the ground from time to time, and Star Wars does the same. And that shot, and a few of the scenes that come along with it, were the most interesting and enjoyable part of the movie.

This movie is rated only 53% on the Tomatometer. We went to see it because we had seen the other eight Star Wars movies over the last 42 years, and “we just can’t stop now” even though everyone said there isn’t much to go and see. The Star Wars series is an epic, and in such, it shaped my entire life of enjoying science fiction.

So what about The Rise of Skywalker?

  • I don’t know what the title means. I didn’t see any Skywalker rising.
  • There aren’t any decent aliens. All the aliens have only cameo roles in the background, mostly lasting a fraction of a second, not enough to enjoy them. The few aliens that speak are the trite humanoids, as usual. Whatever happened to the classic bar scenes?
  • Sword fights. What’s with the light sabers in every Star Wars movie? I get it. Wars waged by huge fleets of thousands of advanced battle ships miles long in size with weapons that can destroy planets are ultimately solved by two young people and their swords. The sword fights are always boring. Nobody ever gets hurt, they just go on and on, and I simply find myself waiting for them to be over. This is the case in every Star Wars movie. Half of this movie seems to be sword fights.
  • Stealing from the classic theme of Independence Day, where the alien mothership is attacked and defeated by pilot jockeys in fighter jets, the same thing happens in this movie: A thousand ships suddenly materialize in the sky over this planet where the entire battle cruiser fleet is for some reason suspended, and they, by their sheer numbers, eliminate the battle cruisers.
  • Then there is the invincible emperor, who has magical telekinetic powers, that are eventually matched by one Jedi with two swords. Deus ex machina.

There was no story that I cared about. There was no plot that I could follow. There were no characters that I could empathize with. There was no technology or space travel gear that was interesting. The movie makers just packed as much Star Wars legacy and as many characters into two hours and twenty minutes that they could to make a bang ending to the series.

But I think it fizzled.

After all, where was Jar Jar Binks? (backstory here)

 

 

Read Full Post »

Movie Review: Bombshell

Bombshell is a dramatization of the time in 2016 when Megyn Kelly didn’t put up with the degrading behavior of candidate Trump, and when Roger Ailes, the creator of Fox News, fell after a massive scandal of sexual harassment.

It is not clear, of course, how much of the story is dramatized, and how much is real. But it gives a telling view of Fox News behind the scenes.

Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) are the main characters in the drama of the fall of Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). They know something is rotten in Fox News, and they struggle internally and openly between coming forward, telling the truth, and exposing what is going on, or staying quiet and continuing with their lucrative careers. We all know how it eventually ended. Roger Ailes was let go by Robert Murdoch, the owner of the network. Eventually, Bill O’Reilly also fell from grace.

I remember watching Fox News over the years, and I remember wondering why all the women in prominent roles, especially the anchors, looked like Barbie Dolls. Now I know. Management required it, all the way from the top down. All the women knew they’d have to buy into it if they wanted to be on television, it was as simple as that. And watching Fox News now, Roger Ailes long gone and meanwhile deceased, it’s still that way today. Fox News hasn’t changed.

Megyn Kelly doesn’t work there anymore, and many others have gone, too.

Bombshell is a revealing movie about a time in our history that is not over yet. Therefore it is quite relevant right now and watching it was insightful. It was a little odd to have all the characters played by actors. Charlize Theron does an amazing job with Megyn Kelly. She looks just like her, and acts just like her. The same holds true for John Lithgow playing Ailes, where it’s important to remember that Ailes was never on television on the front lines, so the viewers don’t know him that well and therefore cannot judge whether Lithgow got it right.

All the other main characters in Fox News make appearances in the form of actors, including Hannity, Pirro, O’Reilly and many others. Fortunately, when a new character is introduced there is always a caption with the name of the character. In some cases, there was a strong likeness, in others not so much. I didn’t recognize Hannity, for example. The playing of Fox News celebrities in Bombshell is somewhat reminiscent on how it is done of Saturday Night Live – a bit comical. But what else could they do?

Overall a movie worthwhile to watch, particularly if you are NOT a follower or fan of Fox News.

Know thy enemy!

Read Full Post »

Movie Review: Uncut Gems

We went to see Uncut Gems on Christmas Day. It was the highest-rated movie available, and while we didn’t know much about it, we thought it would be a safe bet.

Uncut Gems kills your Christmas spirit with the speed and power of a baseball bat hit on the side of the head.

Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is a New York City jeweler and compulsive gambler. His life is filled with frenetic activity in all areas. He is cheating on his wife, he is neglecting his three children, he is not paying his debts to mafia-types, he is abusing his employees, he is using his friends, and he swindles everyone he comes in contact with. That does not come without a cost.

He succeeds in buying a rare opal from a dubious source at an Ethiopian gem mine. He estimates the raw (uncut) gem is worth over a million dollars, and he tries to sell it to a superstitious basketball player who thinks it gives him power. But it’s never that simple, because he has to use the leverage of the gem to hold off the many wolves he owes money to. As you might expect, things don’t always work out like he has been planning.

Uncut Gems starts out with frantic activity, total chaos all around, cussing, beating, cheating and subterfuge. Every scene is accentuated by a powerful sound track of custom music to further disorient the viewer. Within about ten minutes of watching I realized I didn’t have a clue about what was going on. I was severely disturbed and wondering why I was there. The couple who sat next to us left after about 30 minutes. I assume they couldn’t take it anymore. I was close, but we stuck with it in hopes of it getting better.

The plot was impossible to follow. But I assume that was by the design of the music and the camera work, accompanied by the constant yelling of the people. Confusion abounded.

The movie also holds a dubious record of being in place seven of all time for movies with the word fuck or fuck-derivatives. There are 408 in the movie, or about three a minute.

Fucks notwithstanding, this was a very hard movie to watch, and when it was done, I was dazed.

I found no moral, no redeeming value and no lessons.

Just stay away from gambling, and from the jewelry business in New York.

I felt like I needed a shower when it was all done.

And yes, Sandler will probably win some awards for that performance.

Read Full Post »

Zak (Zack Gottsagen) is a young man with Down syndrome who lives in a residential nursing home because he has no relatives and is under the supervision of the Department of Social Services with the state. He feels imprisoned, and realizes that he does not belong there. Eleanor (Dakota Johnson) is tasked to keep watch over him and take care of him. She does it with kindness and dedication.

But Zak needs to get out. His dream is to become a professional wrestler, and he wants to start by enrolling in the wrestling school run by his idol, Salt Water Redneck (Thomas Haden Church), in Florida. With a little help from his elderly roommate and friend (Bruce Dern) he breaks out one night and does not come back. He runs into an outlaw on the run named Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) and the unlikely pair team up against all odds and start heading south. First stop: Salt Water Redneck’s wrestling school.

Reminiscent of Little Miss Sunshine, a group of unlikely underdogs make their journey and come out better on the other side.

This is a feel-good movie for all of us and it makes us think about our place in society, and those who are not as fortunate as we are.

Read Full Post »

 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood tells the real-life story of the relationship of Tom Junod, a journalist who wrote for Esquire Magazine, and Mr. Rogers, the famous children’s television show host.

In the fictionalized story, the journalist is Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys). He is burned out and trapped in an emotional mess of his own making. He can’t reconcile the broken relationship with his father Jerry (Chris Cooper), and he takes it out on his supportive wife and indirectly on his infant son. When he is assigned to profile Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), he first thinks it’s a joke.

When he meets Mr. Rogers, he goes through a learning process, when the famed star of the children’s show uses his techniques of dealing with emotions to elicit empathy and kindness. While Lloyd ends up writing the story of his life, ending up on the cover of Esquire Magazine, he also learns how to deal with his emotions and inner conflicts. He makes peace with the demons of his life and settles his scores with his estranged father.

Tom Hanks makes a wonderful Mr. Rogers. They could not have found a better actor for this role. While we see into the soul of the journalist, Tom Hanks shows us that the seemingly unflappable Mr. Rogers has his own pains and moments of sorrow and anger.

This comes to life in the last minute of the movie, when Mr. Rogers plays the piano in the studio, after a show, when the crew has left, the studio is all quiet and dark. Mr. Rogers plays a painful tune and then suddenly pounds all the lowest keys of the piano a few times hard, and we, the viewers, all know what that means.

You’ll just have to go and find out.

Read Full Post »

In 1968, when I was a young boy of 12, I enjoyed learning about cars. I was impressed with the Ford Mustang, but my all-time favorite car was the Ford GT40. Of course, I never, ever saw one in real life. I had to be satisfied with pictures.

Ford built the GT40 as a race car, specifically designed to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race that was dominated by Ferrari in the early 1960s. One of the requirements to compete in the Le Mans was that the company had to build at least 25 road-going versions of the car they were racing. Ford built 31 GT40 Mk I street cars. Nowadays they sell at auctions for over three million dollars each.

The first time I ever saw a GT40 in real life was at the Escondido Hot Summer Nights a few years ago. Escondido is my home town. On Friday nights in the summer, they close down Grand Ave for an all-town party. Car lovers bring in their babies by the dozens, maybe hundreds.  All the restaurants are open, and it makes for a great outing – and an occasional sighing of a classic, like the Ford GT40.

The movie Ford v Ferrari tells the story of the legendary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon), who worked with Ford on the GT40, and the daring driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), as they built a car from scratch, in record time, against all odds, to beat Ferrari at the Le Mans.

The movie is over two-and-a-half hours long, but worth every minute of it.

Christian Bale did an amazing job in this movie. He had to lose a large amount of weight to fit the role. Remember, this is the same actor that played Dick Cheney in the movie Vice in 2018. See this article for a picture of the same man for these two extreme roles. I find he is unrecognizable.

I didn’t know much about racing in the 1960s, and this movie taught me a lot. And I got to see the Ford GT40 in action. What more could this 12-year-old boy in the body of a 63-year-old man want on a movie night?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: