Movie Review – The Peanut Butter Falcon

Movie Review - The Peanut Butter FalconAbsolutely: a fantastic movie. I am so happy to unreservedly award an A+ to Peanut Butter Falcon. I smiled the whole time. THIS is how to make a funny, heartwarming film that never overtly panders to maudlin sentimentality.

The laughs are earned, and aren’t always PG. I haven’t enjoyed a dramatic film the way I did here in…years. And you won’t need your tissue box. Thank Thor. It’s just a grand old time.

Coincidentally, I watched Forrest Gump last night for the first time in several decades. I loved it all over again. But Gump himself, in spite of having many coincidentally fortunate pop culture influences, also experiences gut wrenching loss as the decades play out. Forrest Gump is both great…and difficult to rewatch.

The Peanut Butter Falcon spares you this kind of emotional manipulation. PBF is funny, it’s fun, and it’s very, very smart — and makes you wish for friendships like theirs. No matter how intelligent you are or aren’t, you can be genuine and lovable and real. You can be best buddies and have your own secret handshake, and make an ersatz family out of what life gives you.

Just see this movie

Like Tyler tells Zak — who thinks he’s a villain because his family abandoned him for being a ‘retard’ — it’s what’s in your heart that counts. In return, when Zak tells Tyler he’s a good guy, your own heart will grow three times that day.

There’s some beautiful lessons to be learned from Peanut Butter Falcon, and I highly recommend everyone — really, everyone — watch and enjoy this fine film. The audience laughed almost continually (as I did), and walked out very happy.

Kudos to the actors, directors, and writers for giving us a yummy late summer sandwich to gobble down in Peanut Butter Falcon.

Grade: A+

PS: Easter Egg found — There’s a Bubba’s gas station/convenience store featured in the film. Nice nod to Forrest Gump. (Also, $1.19 a gallon for gas? WHAT?)

About The Peetimes: I’ve got 3 great Peetimes here. This is a very funny and emotionally uplifting movie, so I’ve chosen Peetimes that show mostly music montages (we love it when that happens). Pay attention to the times listed, so you don’t miss the emotional moments that follow. I recommend the 1st Peetime, if you can use it proactively.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Peanut Butter Falcon. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for thematic content, language throughout, some violence and smoking
Genres: drama, comedy, adventure, sports

Movie Review – Blinded by the Light

Movie Review – Good Boys – Raunchy Laughs, but Big Plotholes

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Movie Review – Good Boys – Raunchy Laughs, but Big Plotholes

Movie Review - Good BoysGood Boys was awkwardly funny. Like really funny. I was worried I was going to pee from laughing so hard, and I can’t RunPee during movies, since I have to get the Peetimes for the rest of you.

There were moments I found myself chastising my inability to hold in my laughter. They pushed the envelope as far as one can be pushed. What I found the funniest was the situations that the boys were getting into was totally over their heads. Them being so young and naive, coupled with the situation, was priceless.

People are screaming over how wrong this movie is. They were scandalized because of the characters being tweens. Sure, it’s not every day you watch little ones swearing like sailors or learning to kiss on a sex doll. But is it any worse than watching criminals kill cops, or a homeless girl turn to prostitution?

There will always be something scandalous on the big screen; that’s what fills the seats. Good Boys is rated R for a reason, folks. Don’t take little Suzy or Johnny; you’re not gonna want to answer their questions afterwards.

The Actors: the Best Part of Good Boys

The actual boys were terrific little actors. Each of them brought just a little bit more spark to the movie. If I were basing my grade on them, it’s an A all the way. My grade faltered a bit due to some gaps in the continuity. There were enough to distract me from completely enjoying the movie.

Good Boys would make a great date night movie, just as long as neither of you are an uptight type. Walk in expecting to see some raunchy jokes, lots of sex toys, and a plot based on drugs.

#DontBringTheKids

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: Good Boys is a really short movie, and they pack a lot of stuff into each scene, which makes finding Peetimes hard. I chose these 2 because they were easiest to sum up without losing a lot of punch. I’ll warn you though, there is humor in every scene, and I can’t duplicate that in a Peetime.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Good Boys. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (R) for strong crude sexual content, drug and alcohol material, and language throughout – all involving tweens
Genres: Adventure, Comedy

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Movie Review – Blinded by the Light

Movie Review - Blinded by the LightRather than Blinded by the Light being a semi biographical movie about Bruce Springsteen, it was more a movie about race, struggle, bigotry, and cultural survival. But more than that, it was a movie about a father and son who could only hope to bridge the generation gap that threatened to tear the family apart.

The awesome music of The Boss provided much needed breaks from the intensity of the emotions onscreen, but also gave the audience a chance to breathe after some of the stressful scenes between Javed…and basically the rest of the world.

So, if you’re a fan of Bruce Springsteen, you must see this movie. It’s a great date flick, and some of the lyrics of his songs were well placed for effect. I’m most pleased to give Blinded by the Light a solid A.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: Blinded by the Light was so beautifully done that getting Peetimes was a challenge. Since it was mainly dialogue driven, trying to decide what was germane to the plot presented a bit of a dilemma. I did get 3 good Peetimes, 2 of which will give you extra half minutes.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Blinded by the Light. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for thematic material and language including some ethnic slurs
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music

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Movie Review – Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Movie Review - Where'd You Go, BernadetteThis is a crazy hard movie to give a rating to. I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it. I was engaged with the story from beginning to end, but wasn’t moved by the resolution.

The characters were well defined and the actors did a great job — every one of them. Obviously, Cate Blanchett is amazing as always, but a shout out has to be given to Kristen Wiig for her nuanced performance of Audrey. And Emma Nelson, the young girl who played Bee, shows great promise.

My problem with the movie lies in the character of Bernadette; namely that she was projected as an elite architect. The problems Bernadette faces aren’t unique, and aren’t limited to only the most talented individuals in the world.

By presenting her and her husband as highly accomplished, former prep-school-attending, wealthy individuals makes it hard for the audience to relate. She could have just as easily been presented an average architect. It isn’t about the talent — it’s about the drive to create: two things that are independent of each other.

In my college days I was an avid, but average, basketball player. I could have earned a master’s degree in physics had I traded in my gym time for lab time. But I loved basketball, and can confidently say I got as much enjoyment and self fulfillment out of playing as any elite basketball player.

An interesting choice the creators took is in giving us Bernadette’s backstory via documentary format. Exposition about a character’s past can be difficult to handle. If it’s too subtle, viewers might miss clues and become lost, wondering why a character is acting in such-and-such a manner. If it’s too obvious, it becomes heavy-handed and feels like a cheat. The documentary was creatively integrated into the story, and split up organically into two separate viewings. Kudos to the writers.

Perhaps this motivated the writers’ choice to create Bernadette as an elite architect, worthy of a documentary, so they could use this form of exposition. Personally, I’d say their choice wasn’t worth making Bernadette unrelatable, but that’s only my opinion.

Maybe I’m the only one who cares about these things. You tell me. Do you think the story would have been better if Bernadette were more relatable?

Grade: C+

About The Peetimes: I would recommend the 2nd Peetime. It takes place in the middle of some serious stuff, but during the Peetime nothing much happens. The first Peetime is okay, but not as good as the 2nd.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Where’d You Go, Bernadette. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for some strong language and drug material
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Mystery

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11 Raunchy Comedies You Should Watch Now

11 Raunchy Comedies You Should Watch Now

superbad actors and seth rogen
Superbad is Supergood. And super raunchy!

The extremely R-rated Good Boys is helping close out the summer movie season this week.  I’ve been looking forward to Good Boys for months, ever since the trailer dropped.  They had me at Jacob Tremblay.  What could be more wickedly subversive than casting the sweet little boy from Room and Wonder in a teen sex comedy?

If you’re also chomping at the bit to see Good Boys, here’s something to help tide you over.  It’s a list of my favorite raunchy comedies.

The Kentucky Fried Movie

The title of the movie is a misnomer as it has nothing to do with The Bluegrass State.  This is an early film from the minds that would go on to make Airplane and The Naked Gun series.  The movie is composed of a series of sketches, the film’s centerpiece being a parody of kung-fu films.  I recently got to witness my girlfriend’s reactions to the movie as she watched it online.  For a movie made in the ’70s, a lot of the humor and shock value stand up.

 

 

Mallrats

It was difficult choosing which Kevin Smith film to include on this list.  Clerks was groundbreaking and battled against censorship.  Chasing Amy and Dogma are dear to my heart.  I adore Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back but it’s not as iconic as Mallrats to me.  And while Clerks 2 is certainly offensive, it’s not as classic.  There’s just something about the running gags in Mallrats that I really love.  (“Like the back of a Volkswagen?”)  From the fortune teller to the chocolate pretzels, there are plenty of raunchy moments.

There’s also a Stan Lee cameo before that kind of thing became common.  And he gets a speech.  And it’s a good one.

 

 

There’s Something About Mary

By the time I saw this one, most of the best laughs had been ruined by previews or my friends.  However, screenwriting guru Robert McKee gave me a new appreciation for the opening scene.  He used as an example in his comedy writing seminar.

Ben Stiller’s character goes to pick up his prom date and while in the bathroom, he gets stuck in his zipper.  The Farrelly Brothers take what could be a one-note throw-away gag and turn it into comedy gold.  I forget exactly how the scene goes.  But more and more neighbors keep stopping by the house or passing by the window and trying to help, just making Stiller’s embarrassment that much worse.  The stuck zipper is like a laugh button.  And every time another character shows up, the Farrelly’s press it.

Watch the scene and you’ll see what I mean.  They milk about seventeen laughs from the audience out of a single gag.  (And just when you think you’re safe, they actually cut to a shot of it!  So gross!)  Definitely a masterclass in writing raunchy comedy.

Plus, the end credits has one of the most joyous sing-alongs of any movie.

 

 

Superbad

This is the Judd Apatow produced forefather to Good Boys.  If you haven’t seen it, I don’t want to ruin the joys of it for you.  Michael Cera, Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Christipher Mintz-Plasse are hilarious in this teen comedy about friendship, and trying to acquire booze for a party.  This movie introduced Emma Stone to the world.

Seth Rogen and Bill Hader play possibly two of the worst cops in history.  This is the movie my ex-girlfriend took me to right before she dumped me, and I still love it.

 

 

 

Booksmart

Booksmart is Superbad for smart girls.  Two brainiacs try to cram four years worth of partying into one night before they head off to college.  Kaitlyn Dever and Beanie Feldstein bring the funny in Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut.

This is one of my new favorite comedies.  It didn’t get a fair shake in the theaters and I hope it gets embraced on digital, streaming, etc.  The drug and sex jokes are funny, but even the innocent stuff, like just watching their nerdy dancing on the way to school, made me laugh so hard.

 

 

The Sweetest Thing

Selma Blair has several moments in this film that still make me laugh just to think of them.  Only Christina Applegate and Cameron Diaz would be good enough sports to round out the cast for a romantic sex comedy like this.  This movie really must be seen to be believed.

Below is an impromptu musical number from the film.  It is NSFW.

 

 

A Dirty Shame

I’ve only seen a few John Waters’ films.  This one again features Selma Blair as a promiscuous character that Waters saddled with a giant pair of fake breasts.  Which is really all you need to know about the film.  It deals in sexual extremes.  Waters tried to fit as many sexual fetishes into the movie as he could.

I only saw this once in the theater 15 years ago.  But I remember laughing hard the entire time.  PSA: This is the only movie on this list with an NC-17 rating.

 

 

American Pie

First things first: parts of this movie haven’t aged well.  Privacy and consent are very important, everyone.  That aside, this movie is still dear to me and reminds me what it felt like to be a teenager.  The screenwriter abstained from masturbating while he was writing the script, so he’d feel the characters’ frustration. 

This movie introduced most of America to the term “MILF” and popularized the phrase “This one time, in band camp…

 

 

EuroTrip

This lesser American Pie wannabe makes the list for one major reason:  an early surprise cameo from Matt Damon singing the cruel, heartbreaking, and utterly catchy “Scotty Doesn’t Know”, during which Scotty finds out his girlfriend is cheating on him.  It’s a totally rewindable moment that redeems the whole film.

 

 

 

Austin Powers: Goldmember

The Austin Powers trilogy concludes with this film.  It’s my favorite for several reasons.  It has the star-studded Austin Powers parody/film-within-a-film that includes John Travolta and Danny DeVito among others.  It also features Michael Caine and a young Beyonce.

All the sex jokes and scatalogical humor are there as well.  The first two movies are fun entrees, but this is pure dessert.

 

 

Bridesmaids

What a gift Bridesmaids is!  It really set Melissa McCarthy‘s movie career on fire.  And it gave us Chris O’Dowd.  The dress shop scene proves women can do gross out comedy just as well as the men.

 

Don’t miss the funniest, most shocking parts of your favorite comedies.  Get the RunPee app.  We’ve always got Peetimes for the latest movies, so you’ll never miss the raunchiest scenes.

You can also keep up with all the latest movie news and reviews by following us on Twitter @RunPee and liking us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RunPee/.

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Movie Review – The Farewell

Movie Review - The FarewellI loved this movie. It was full of emotions and love and laughs; it really has a little bit of everything.

Awkwafina is really proving herself as a very worthy actress. I’ve seen her in many different types of roles now and she has rocked everyone of them.

I’m not usually a fan of movies where subtitles are so prominent, but this one flowed in such a way that I was able to keep up, and it didn’t feel like I was missing the onscreen action.

I’d recommend this one. It was fun stepping outside of my customs and traditions, and watching how other people live their lives with their customs and traditions.

That’s another reason this movie was so awesome: Billi is feeling both sides. She spent a majority of her life in the states, but she hasn’t forgot how her life was in China.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: This was a tough movie to do. It’s almost entirely in Chinese, so there’s a lot of subtitle reading going on. I strongly urge you to use the 1st Peetime — the 2nd Peetime is a glimpse inside the father and uncle’s way of thinking. It’s a pretty powerful scene, but honestly, the whole movie is.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Farewell. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for thematic material, brief language and some smoking
Genres: Comedy, Drama

Movie Review – The Angry Birds Movie 2

Movie Review - The Angry Birds Movie 2I’m not sure just who’s the target audience here. The kiddies will love the action and slap stick humor, sorta like the Looney Tunes cartoons of long ago, but that stuff never gets old. Does it?

The adults who became addicted to this mindless little app will also flock (pun intended) to AB2. There’s plenty of ‘adult humor’ to keep them laughing.

Taking the kiddies to see Angry Birds 2 will be a nice treat for making it through the first day back at school.

Grade: B

About The Peetimes: Just a heads up; at my theater a short animated clip was shown before the actual movie. The clip lasts approximately 4 minutes.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of The Angry Birds Movie 2. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG) for rude humor and action
Genres: Adventure, Animation, Comedy

The Top Six Richard Linklater Movies to See Before Where’d You Go Bernadette

boyhood movie shots
Boyhood. What an amazing feat of cinematic genius.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette opens this week.  While it’s not Richard Linklater’s first commercial film (Bad News Bears, School of Rock), it does appear to be wholly unlike anything else he’s ever done.

I’ve been following Linklater for a while and he’s one of my favorite filmmakers.  Below is a list of my favorite Linklater movies.  (Note: This is not The Essential Richard Linklater.  Because then I’d have to include Dazed and Confused.  Sorry, that one’s just overrated to me.)

 

 

Boyhood

Linklater pulled off one of the most amazing feats in cinema history with this one.  We get to watch a boy grow up over the course of the film.  And he’s played by the same actor at every age!  Linklater had the patience to shoot the scenes once a year or once every few years throughout Ellar Coltrane’s life.

The fact that he was able to do this with the same cast over a period of twelve years without the world finding out is amazing.  (And without anyone dying, quitting, etc.)  This movie was such a beautiful surprise when it came out and remains a gift to the world.

 

 

The Before Trilogy

In 1995, Linklater made one of the essential 90s romances, Before Sunrise.  It features Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy killing time together and falling in love, before having to part ways.  If that was all he’d ever made, it would stand alone as a beautiful, unique, romantic film.

Instead, he made a sequel nearly a decade later called Before Sunset where the two meet up again in Paris while Hawke is on a book tour.  They are each spoken for, but the spark is still there.  Again, if these two bookends were all there is to the story, it would be enough.

But then the artists reunited to make Before Midnight.  The final film in the trilogy deals with love and family at midlife, and all the complications that come with them.

 

Slacker

Slacker was Linklater’s debut film.  It’s a meandering piece where the camera follows an odd assortment of characters through a Texas town, moving from one interaction to the next, never returning to any of the storylines.  It probably sits somewhere at the intersection of Robert Altman and David Lynch.  One of the film’s most famous moments involves a woman being arrested as someone passes by, musing, “I know her.  She was in my ethics class.”

 

 

 

Waking Life

Waking Life is a documentary where the film cells were painted over/animated.  It features Wiley Wiggins trying to determine if he is awake or in a dream state as he encounters various talking heads.  It’s a visually beautiful film that is philosophical and haunting.

 

 

School of Rock

This is probably Linklater’s most accessible film.  A substitute teacher turns a classroom full of children into a rock band to try to win a local Battle of the Bands competition.  Jack Black gives one of his best performances without going over the top.  Writer Mike White who also cameos delivers a great story.  So great in fact, that Andrew Lloyd Weber turned it into a stage musical.  It works surprisingly well.  This is a great feel-good movie.

 

 

Everybody Wants Some

This movie is about the members of a college baseball team bonding together at the start of the school year in the 1980s.  It’s sort of an older cousin to Dazed and Confused. The main character, Jake (Blake Jenner), is figuring out who he wants to be.  This comedy was the first movie I watched after my grandfather’s death and I remember it lifting my spirits with its goofy charm.

 

 

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock’n’roll.  It’s also a long wait to go to the bathroom if you’re gonna white knuckle it until the end credits.

Don’t do that to yourself. Get the RunPee app  (click on the header on top for info) and get some relief without missing any of the good parts of your favorite movies.  We add all the latest movies every week.  You can also keep up with all the latest movie news and reviews by following us on Twitter @RunPee and liking us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RunPee/.

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Movie Review – Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw

Movie Review - Fast & Furious: Hobbs & ShawIMDb categorizes Hobbs & Shaw as: “action, adventure”. I think they should add “comedy” to that as well. The odd couple relationship between Hobbs & Shaw has been building since their “relationship” began in Fast and the Furious 7, and they milk it to great effect in this movie while simultaneously letting their relationship grow.

Hobbs & Shaw also elevates the over-the-top action sequences expected of any movie in the Fast and Furious franchise. There’s definitely a few, “Oh wow, that was cool. I haven’t seen that before,” scenes — mostly by Brixton on his motorcycle.

If there’s one gripe I had going into Hobbs & Shaw, it’s that the ubiquitous trailers appeared to have already spoiled the best action and funniest scenes, but now I can assure you that isn’t the case. There are plenty of funny scenes never hinted at in the trailers and a few — exactly two — “special moments” that will leave you looking to your friends around you in surprised awe. (Note: If you’re a fan, then avoid any Hobbs & Shaw news on social media, or anywhere else, until after you see the movie. You don’t want to get spoiled.)

Good Acting

A special mention has to be given to the rising star Vanessa Kirby. The action movie genre isn’t exactly littered with great acting performances, but Vanessa Kirby, as Hattie Shaw, delivers in every scene — whether it calls for humor, drama, or action. And as unbelievable as some of the action scenes can be, the relationship between Hobbs and Shaw that Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham deliver is perfectly believable.

The casting of Idris Elba was perfect. Few actors have the physicality and gravitas to be such an outstanding villain.

Great Writing

None of this would be possible without the outstanding writing skills of Chris Morgan, who also penned the screenplays for all the F&F movies, going back to Tokyo Drift.

I’m not saying that this script, and his others, are examples of high literature. There are too many instances of unrealistic conveniences that keep the story going, like the main characters just happening to run across the right people at the right time to keep them on their mission. However, this also isn’t the sort of movie that needs to get bogged down in the the nuances of logistics. One of the best tricks Chris Morgan employs in his scripts is to introduce those convenient characters in a surprising and enjoyable manner.

Basically, if Chris Morgan were a chef he would make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But not just any old PB&J sandwich. He’d use the good stuff, on really good bread, and maybe sneak an in Oreo cookie — or two — there as a surprise.

Grade: A

About The Peetimes: It was difficult finding decent Peetimes in the 1st half of this movie. There’s a lot going on: action, character development, etc. The 3rd and 4th Peetimes are the best. Try to use one of those if you must. None of the Peetimes have any action scenes, because that’s what we’re here to watch! Am I right? 🙂 However, there is just a little bit of humor in a few of the Peetimes, but nothing like the best humor.

There are extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Rated (PG-13) for prolonged sequences of action and violence, suggestive material and some strong language
Genres: Action, Adventure, Comedy

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Hobbs & Shaw – The Entire Backstory from Fast and the Furious

Hobbs & Shaw: You better go watch Hobbs and Shaw or a man wearing a skirt is going to kick your ass.The preview for Hobbs & Shaw looks like an exciting action comedy, but these two characters have a long backstory from the Fast and The Furious franchise.  If you haven’t seen all, or any, of the F&F movies, then you’re probably wondering what you need to know about Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson/The Rock) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) to make sense of this spinoff.

Hobbs and Shaw, in a nutshell

Hobbs, played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, is a government agent tasked with capturing the worst of the worst. He was originally hunting Vin Diesel, who plays Dominic “Dom” Toretto, but in due course they become allies.

Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw
Jason Statham as Deckard Shaw

Shaw, played by Jason Statham, was a British Secret Agent – think James Bond with a bad attitude — but was “retired” by the agency six years ago, and now works freelance. Statham’s character is introduced in the end credit scene of F&F6 as a man out for revenge for what Dom’s team did to his brother. Of course, over time, he also becomes an ally.

We get to see Hobbs and Shaw fight a few times, but more often than not they simply fire epic and comical insults at each other.

Basically, Hobbs & Shaw is a action comedy version of The Odd Couple. That’s all you need to know before seeing their movie.

However, if you want to get caught up on the entire Fast and The Furious franchise, then read on.

I’ll give you advice on which F&F movies are worth seeing, and a detailed synopsis of the ones you could decide to skip over.

You can see from the table below, the franchise really starts to pick up with Fast And Furious 5.  If you don’t have the time, or stomach, to watch all eight movies first, you could just cherry pick from the best of them. Then read my synopsis of what you missed in the ones you skip over.

Note: This article gets long after you view the chart below, but it’s chock full of details you need to be up to speed for Hobbs and Shaw. We helpfully also tell you in the chart if there are extra scenes over the end credits

Complete list of F&F movies

Year Tomatometer *Audience score Title Extra/End scenes?
2001 53% 74% The Fast and the Furious
2003 36% 50% Fast 2 Furious ❌
2006 38% 69% The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift ❌
2009 29% 67% Fast And Furious ❌
2011 77% 83% Fast 5
2013 70% 84% Fast and Furious 6
2015 81% 82% Furious 7 ❌
2017 67% 72% The Fate of the Furious ❌
2019 Hobbs & Shaw n/a
2020 Fast & Furious 9 (May 22, 2020) n/a

*Audience score from Rottentomatoes.com user rating.

Dominic "Dom" Toretto
Vin Diesel as Dominic “Dom” Toretto

Fast and The Furious franchise overview:

Every movie in the F&F franchise revolves around stories that create problems that can, seemingly, only be solved with fast cars and wildly fantastic action. This translates into paper-thin plots. They do so many completely impossible things that you don’t blink twice when they do something that’s just insanely improbable.

However, as much as each movie tries to amp up the action, the success of the franchise hinges on likable characters. Vin Diesel as Dominic “Dom” Toretto isn’t a good guy in the classic sense. In the first movie he’s nothing more than a thief with a code:  Robin Hood from the hood.

Fortunately, F&F hit gold when they cast Vin Diesel as Dom. Vin has the gravitas, something many actors lack, to become the center of attraction in a franchise.

Dom is similar to the Star Wars character Han Solo. Solo isn’t exactly a good guy. He did in fact shoot first, and he’s only in it for the money. But when push comes to shove, he does the right thing, and he’s always there for his friends.

If you don’t have the time to watch any of the movies before going to see Hobbs & Shaw, then here’s a general outline of each movie. If you’re only interested in the Hobbs and Shaw backstory, then skip down to Fast and Furious 5, where Hobbs is introduced.

2001: The Fast and the Furious
This is the movie that kicked off the franchise, and perhaps Vin Diesel’s career. (Along with a little-known, now cult favorite science fiction movie that came out the previous year called Pitch Black.) I would recommend watching the 2001 F&F; not because it’s any good, but because it’s the foundation upon which the franchise rests. Better yet, try to watch this movie and the 4th (F&F 2009) back to back. Together they make one complete story and really develop the characters and relationships.

Paul Walker as Brian O'Conner
Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner

What you need to know if you skip it:
Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) is an undercover FBI agent trying to track down a gang of street racers stealing cargo off moving semi trucks. Brian befriends Dominic’s (Vin Diesel’s) sister, who works at a small cafe. The investigation leads Brian to believe a gang of Japanese bike racers is behind it, but ultimately he discovers that it is in fact Dom’s (Dominic’s) crew. The movie ends with Dom’s crew trying to rob a truck. The trucker has a gun and fights them off. Brian eventually has Dom trapped with the police moving in, but out of respect for Dom, Brian lets Dom get away.

Below is the full end scene of Fast and The Furious
where Brian lets Dom walk away.

Beyond the sloppy plot, the characters are well-defined. Dom commands a great deal of respect from everyone around him, including his adversaries. Brian is an FBI agent with complicated feelings about authority.

2003: Fast 2 Furious
By all means, you can skip this movie. It has no redeeming qualities. Vin Diesel doesn’t have so much as a cameo.

Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce

What you need to know if you skip it:
Brian has been kicked out of the FBI for letting Dom get away at the end of the previous movie. He’s in Miami when the FBI and DEA approach him to help with a case, by going undercover and bring down a drug cartel. Brian enlists the help of his longtime friend Roman (Tyrese Gibson). Roman is currently in prison, and blames Brian for it, but Brian convinces the FBI they have to pardon Roman if he helps with the investigation. Blah, blah, blah, car chase in the Florida Keys, and Brian and Roman capture the drug lord…and are BFFs again.

Below is the full “reunion scene/fight”
between Brian and Roman.

Sung Kang as Han Lue
Sung Kang as Han Lue

2006: The Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift
On advice from my sister, I skipped this movie. This movie is somewhat  controversial within the F&F fandom. Apparently the only thing you need to know is that the character Han is introduced, who comes back in F&F 5 and 6.

2009: Fast And Furious
Brian is back with the FBI, and needs Dom’s help to bring down a drug lord… Sorry, I nodded off a little bit there. Seriously, I just watched this movie last week, and I’m struggling to remember exactly what happened.

Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz

What you need to know if you skip it:
Dom is in hiding in Panama when he gets a call from his sister, Mia, who informs him that Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), who plays Dom’s girlfriend, has been murdered. Dom comes back to LA to help Brian (who’s back working with the FBI) to track down the mysterious drug lord who murdered his girlfriend. During the movie Mia, Dom’s sister, falls in love with Brian. Brian has loved her since the first movie.

The movie ends with Dom in custody. Brian pleads with the judge that Dom should be pardoned because he helped put a dangerous drug lord behind bars. The judge rules that one good deed doesn’t wipe out dozens of bad deeds, and sentences Dom to a minimum of 25 years in prison.

Cut to Dom on a bus, headed for a remote prison. Dom’s crew, including Brian, drive up on the bus. The movie ends.

Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar
Gal Gadot as Gisele Yashar

New character: Gisele (Gal Gadot, who would go on to be cast as Wonder Woman) is introduced to the F&F franchise. She works for the drug lord, but turns out to have a soft spot for Dom.

2011: Fast 5
Hobbs is introduced in F&F5, a.k.a.  Fast and Furious: The First Good One. He plays a government/military agent who is in charge of a team tasked with bringing in the worst of the worst criminals: he always gets his man. In F&F5 we get to see Dom (Vin) and Hobbs (Dwayne) go fist to fist. That’s worth the price of admission.

Below: (3:04) clip of the first Dom and Hobbs fight.

Prior to the final climactic action, Hobbs has captured Dom, Brian, and Letty and takes them to to the airport to bring them back to the USA. Suddenly, they are attacked by the antagonist’s men. Hobbs’ entire team is killed. Hobbs is wounded and, of course, Dom rescues him. Thus…setting up their mutual respect for each other in the movies to come.

Below: (4:08) “Dom rescues Hobbs” scene.

At the very end of the movie, Dom’s team has of course emerged victorious over the antagonist, but Hobbs “re-captured” Dom and Brian. Hobbs says, “You know I can’t let you two go. I ain’t made that way. The way I see it, you’ve earned yourself 24 hours… Come tomorrow, I will find you.” Dom smiles, “No, you won’t.”

Below: Hobbs re-captures Dom and Brian, but lets them go.

And thus begins the relationship between Hobbs and Dom. BTW, there’s a MUST see mid-extra credit scene in this movie.

Elsa Pataky as Elena Neves
Elsa Pataky as Elena Neves

Additionally, the character Elena is introduced in this movie. She is a police officer in Rio who acts as Hobbs’ local translator. She and Dom have a few scenes together that leads to her becoming Dom’s new girlfriend in the following movie. She plays a major role in the plot of The Fate of the Furious.

Below: (0:54) End credits scene in F&F 5.

Luke Evans as Owen Shaw (younger brother to Deckard Shaw)
Luke Evans as Owen Shaw (younger brother to Deckard Shaw)

2013: Fast and Furious 6
The Hobbs and Dom relationship builds in F&F6. Hobbs has a new assignment to bring in an international terrorist: Shaw. (No, not that Shaw. The younger brother of Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham)). Hobbs goes to Dom, who’s living in a non-extradition country, for help bringing in Shaw because they have a photo of Letty working for him.

Short aside: Letty “dies” in F&F4, or so we thought. Turns out she had amnesia and doesn’t remember anything about her past. Shaw, the younger, “rescued” her and now she works for him.

By movies’ end, Shaw is in critical condition in a hospital; Dom and Letty are back together, and the entire team has returned home to LA after getting pardoned for their help in bringing down Shaw.

In the extra credit scene we see Han, a member of Dom’s crew, racing in Tokyo. Suddenly, Han gets t-boned by another car, driven by Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham). Han’s car flips and lands upside down. Shaw gets out of his car and tosses a silver cross necklace on the street next to Han’s car then makes a phone call and says, ” Dominic Toretto, you don’t know me.” Han’s car explodes in the background. Shaw finishes, “But you’re about to.”

2015: Furious 7  <—-Read for our Review
That brings us to Furious 7 where… a lot of stuff happens. Let me explain… No, there is too much. Let me sum up. 😉 The movie opens with Shaw, the older brother played by Statham, visiting his younger brother in a hospital. Statham gives his comatose brother a speech about loyalty and brotherhood and revenge. Shortly afterward, we get to see a knockdown drag-out fight between Shaw (Statham) and Hobbs (The Rock). That ends with Shaw getting away, and Hobbs in a hospital room with a broken arm — he dove out of a 4th story window to save his partner.

Dom visits Hobbs in the hospital and gets the lowdown about Shaw: he’s a former British Special Agent that the powers that be decided to “retire” six years ago. He’s been a ghost ever since. Dom wants to find him and get revenge for Han, who died in the extra-credit scene of the previous movie. Oh yeah, and Shaw blew up Dom’s house in LA, almost killing the entire family. So yeah, there’s that.

At this point the story gets a little muddled.

Long story short: Dom’s crew ends up doing battle with a terrorist organization in LA, while Dom himself has a car fight with Shaw. During all this action Hobbs sees explosions from his hospital room and rips off his cast to join the fray. Dom nearly dies. Actually, he does die, but they bring him back. Shaw is captured and Hobbs delivers Shaw to a supermax prison.

Paul Walker Tribute
The actor Paul Walker, who plays Brian, tragically died in a car accident during the shooting of this movie — unrelated to the actual filming of the movie.

As far as the franchise is concerned, Brian has retired to family life.

2017: The Fate of the Furious <—- Read for our Review
Buckle up, because we’re going to be here for a while. This movie is like a parenthetical statement (Inside a parenthetical statement (Inside a parenthetical statement.)))

Seriously, you should watch this one. It might be shorter than reading this labyrinthine synopsis. But in case you really can’t, here we go:

Charlize Theron as Cipher
Charlize Theron as Cipher

How do you turn a “bad guy” into a “good guy”? By introducing an even badder guy, or in this case, badder woman. Fate of the Furious introduces Charlize Theron as Cipher — a super secret pseudo-terrorist who has been behind the scenes, pulling strings, since F&F 2009.

The movie opens with Dom and Letty in Cuba. Cipher tries to recruit Dom to her team, but Dom turns her down. Cipher assures him that one way or another he’ll end up working for her.

Next we see Hobbs coaching his little girl’s soccer team. A government agent interrupts Hobbs, and tells him they have an important mission for him: to get a team together to take back a stolen EMP device that is in Berlin, Germany. But, this is all top-secret, hush hush stuff and if he, or any of his team, is captured, the US government will disavow any knowledge of his mission.

Of course, Hobbs makes a phone call to Dom and asks for his help. Dom says the team will meet him in Berlin. Cut directly to the team getting chased by terrorists, after stealing back the EMP device. Dom has the device strapped down in the back of his car. Everything seems to be going according to script, when Dom runs Hobbs off the road and takes off, alone, with the EMP. Everyone is like, WTF? 🙂

Dom drives his car onto a moving transport plane and delivers the device to Cipher.

Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody
Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody

Hobbs is captured and gets locked up in the very same prison where he locked Shaw up at the end of the previous movie. Oh, and they’re in neighboring cells, and do nothing but trash talk on how badly they’re going to whoop up on each other.

Of course the cell doors, all of them, open, and Hobbs and Shaw fight their way out of prison, to be met by the shadowy Mr. Nobody — the head of a super secret government agency, sort of like the IMF from Mission Impossible — played by Kurt Russell. (Mr. Nobody was introduced in Fast & Furious 7.)

Next we see Hobbs and Dom’s team in a conference room getting a briefing about Cipher from Mr. Nobody. No one has a clue why Dom double-crossed them in Berlin and stole the EMP, but they know something fishy is up, because that’s not Dom. Then Shaw walks into the room and everyone, especially Hobbs, is on high alert.

We learn Cipher came to Shaw first, to recruit him to her team. When he turned her down, she got his younger brother — and we all know how that turned out — see F&F6. Shaw wants to get revenge. Of course Hobbs and Shaw want nothing to do with each other, but Mr. Nobody reminds them that they are the only two people to ever track down Cipher so, like it or not, they’re going to work together.

There’s a very long blah, blah, blah about tracking down Cipher, when she and Dom blast their way into the building and steal the ultra powerful/secret computer program they used to track her.

Cipher and Dom are back on her plane, and this is where we find out the reason Dom is helping her is because Cipher has Elena: the police officer from Rio introduced back in F&F 5; she was Dom’s temporary love when he thought Letty was dead. Now, it turns out that Cipher not only has Elena but also… duh, Duh, DUH, their baby boy. (Ohhhhh, so that’s why Dom is helping Cipher. That makes sense now.)

The action jumps to New York City. Dom is there, seemingly alone, to steal a briefcase from a Russian ambassador. Dom’s team, plus Hobbs and Shaw, are there to stop him. What follows is a wickedly cool scene where Cipher uses her elite hacking skills to hack every car with automated driving capability in a 2 mile radius, essentially creating a zombified demolition derby.

Prior to the action getting started, Dom sneaks into a restaurant to meet with Shaw’s mother, played by none other than Dame Helen Mirren. Dom is there for help, but we don’t learn the details until later in the movie.

We also get treated to a bonding scene between Hobbs and Shaw, where Hobbs reads off a list of commendations Shaw received while working for British Intelligence, before he became a traitor. Of course their bonding scene ends with Hobbs saying to Shaw, “When this is all over I’m going to knock your teeth so far down your throat you’ll need to stick a toothbrush up your ass to brush ’em.” (This is how real men say to each other, “I love you, bro.”)

After Dom gets the Russian ambassador’s briefcase (Which contains the super secret recipe for an ancient Russian version of Coca Cola; just kidding, it has nuclear launch codes.)

Okay, wait just a second. Why would a Russian ambassador, in NYC, have a briefcase containing nuclear launch codes? Please, don’t ask. I already said, these movies have plots thinner than that cheap, see-through toilet paper you find in truck stops. Just roll with it and remember, these movies are about action and bad ass characters.

In the ensuing mess about 10,000 cars get destroyed. Dom gets away with the briefcase, and in the process kills Shaw. (Of course Shaw isn’t actually dead, but Cipher needs to think he is.)

Now Cipher has the ultimate hacking program and launch codes for nuclear missiles. Now all she needs is the submarine that contains the missiles and total world domination will be hers.

(Okay, we’re almost done here.)

Since Dom hesitated during one of his tasks, Cipher has to punish him by killing Elena right in front of him. Everyone converges on the Russian base where the nuclear sub is docked. Cipher hacks the sub and launches it, because sure, that’s possible.

Next: A chase scene on the ice between the Russian military and Dom’s team. Then the nuclear sub, hacked by Cipher, is able to plow through the ice and catch up with sports cars, because the nuclear sub has been upgraded with a NOX turbo injector. (It wasn’t, but I’m surprised the writers didn’t add that.)

But wait, what’s that? Two men wearing personal jetpacks flying through the air? Who could that be? It’s both Shaw brothers? But of course it is. They catch up to Cipher’s plane, remotely open the rear door, fly in and take over the plane. Elder Shaw goes forward to save Dom’s baby boy, while Younger Shaw goes for the cockpit. There’s a hilarious action scene of Elder Shaw fighting against Cipher’s men while he carries Dom’s baby boy in a basket.

Once Shaw(s) have rescued Dom’s baby, then Dom is able to rejoin his team. Dom saves the day in epic fashion.

Shaw has Cipher trapped, but she grabs a parachute and jumps out of the plane.  (She was wearing a light jacket and jumped out of a plane, over the Arctic ice, at 10,000 feet. But I’m sure she’ll be fine. Bad guys/gals are immune to hypothermia.)

Denouement
If there’s one thing more ubiquitous in a F&F movie than a NOX (Nitrous OXide) booster, it’s a long denouement, usually involving a dinner table. At the end of the movie Mr. Nobody offers Hobbs his old position back, but Hobbs turns him down to stay home with his daughter. Obviously, this will be resolved in the Hobbs & Shaw movie.

Did you follow all this? Maybe print it out and bring it along to see Hobbs & Shaw. 😉 

Fast & Furious 1 & 4 Is Really ONE MOVIE

Fast and the Furious – Furious 7 Movie Review

Movie Review – The Fate of the Furious – F8

Movie Review – Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw