Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hey! We Saw a Movie! - Rush

To escape the drudgery of our wretched, wretched lives, Jonny Prophet and I saw the movie Rush. As always, this review is divided into my contribution and... well... whatever the hell Jonny thought he was watching.

Warning... you know what? Screw spoilers! This crap actually happened! You can't spoil history. Oh no, Santa Ana lost! I totally just spoiled the Mexican-American War for you! Read a book!

Toaster's Contribution: What does a Canadian rock trio have to do with Formula 1 racing? Not much. Turns out the movie Rush isn’t actually about Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson or Neal Peart but instead about a Brit named James Hunt and an Austrian named Niki Lauda. They had a very heated rivalry in the 70’s in the Grand Prix circuit… and if the movie is to be believed, they were both colossal assholes. I’m serious. Maybe there were some liberties taken with the script and their personalities were cranked up a bit to make things more interesting, but I really found them unlikable. They were at least two very different kinds of assholes, but assholes none the less. James Hunt, played by Chris “Thor” Hemsworth, was made out to be a wild partier, whose life consisted of sex, drugs, drinking, racing and being an obnoxious jackass. Niki Lauda, portrayed by Daniel “that German sniper hero from Inglorious Basterds” Bruhl, was an anal-retentive, conceited prick who went out of his way to alienate everyone yet somehow believed he was entitled to respect. I seriously didn’t care to root for either of them. I don’t know if Hunt or Lauda were actually that awful in reality, but the movie certainly gave that impression. Rush was directed by Ron “Opie” Howard who has directed such huge films as Night Shift, Splash!, and EDtv (and apparently some movie called A Beautiful Mind that won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director… yeah, I’ve never heard of it either).  

In all seriousness, the movie has great direction and cinematography. (I wouldn’t be surprised if Rush was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.) Regardless of whether you like the overall movie, that’s something that can be expect from Ron Howard’s films. Though I didn’t care who won the races between obnoxious jackass and pretentious prick, the way those scenes were shot made them exciting nonetheless. I will say that Chris Hemsworth gave his best acting performance to date, yet I wasn’t wowed. He did a good job, but the most I saw out of him that impressed me were the moments where he hid Hunt’s crumbling life behind the facade of the hedonistic wild child that the media expected him to be. I will say Hemsworth is improving. (For now, though, we still favor Liam as the better actor… sorry Thor.) As for the part of Niki Lauda, Daniel Bruhl was fantastic. Had Jonny not told me that I had seen him previously in The Inglorious Basterds, I never would have guessed it. He transformed into that character in every way from the how he spoke, the manner in which he interacted with others and even his movements. I hope to see more of him in the future, I really do.

Rush is clearly an “Oscar bait” film, but I doubt it will take away much more than a few nominations. Bruhl could get a Best Actor nod since his performance was a clear standout. It might earn a Best Movie nomination or, as I mentioned before, one for Best Cinematography. I enjoyed Rush, but I honestly didn’t think it was great.  One problem was the limitations of the actual events. You never had a definitive penultimate race between Hunt and Lauda because that never happened in real life. I won’t explain the reasons for that as to not spoil the movie, not wanting to deliver a confusing explanation and because if you really need to know you can just hop on over to Wikipedia and read about it for yourself. Regardless the reasons, it makes for a less satisfying film. The movies are a medium for the fantastic, full of larger than life moments and where everything can work out in a comfy 120 minute span of time. Life seldom works that way and often biographical films are cursed by the unpredictability of reality. Alas, it was an interesting rivalry nevertheless.

Jonny's Contribution: I was hoping to see Chris Hemsworth's brothers Liam and Loki. 

On that note, I did wonder what the movie would have been like if the part of Niki Lauda had been played by Tom Hiddleston. 

Until the next review (or whatever we post)... Stay Strange.

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