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April 2017


The Fate of the Furious: an emotions-filled review

April 24, 2017

I. Loved. This. Movie.  I loved it SO MUCH.  I loved it so hard that there is a non-zero chance that my husband’s left hand has soft tissue injuries because I gripped it so hard for the last 25 minutes of the movie.  (I expressed this to him and his response was “last 25 minutes?  You were doing that for the whole movie.”) This was just all-around a delight and I cannot stop thinking about it, and because I can’t stop thinking about it I’m going to try to write out my feelings.  Spoilers ahead, so this post is likely best for those who have seen F8 or haven’t but never plan to – if you still need to see it and care, don’t read!!!

The (very small, but exists) bad

Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson still fighting

Ugh, why, boys?  Why?  Please be cueball meathead bros forever and stop being mad at each other.  Apparently Vin was not respectful of people’s time (making cast and crew wait), but he also made some style choices that cut some of Dwayne’s scenes, and on one hand, I get Dwayne because that *is* rude, but on the other hand I get Vin because this is his and Paul’s series, and just… please get along.  My heart hurts.  Go play Dungeons and Dragons together.


*whimpering* I get it, but oooooof.  This one hurt.  Charlize Theron’s baddie had to be genuinely bad for us to take her seriously as having some hold over Dom, but ow ow ow ow no why owwww.  I was also not psyched about how it looked (kill her so there’s no mom issues! Letty wins!) and I’m not entirely sold on an unplanned pregnancy as being in character for either of them.  I guess this part was bad both because I didn’t adore some of the particulars of this plot twist, and in a larger part because WHAT THE HELL, TORMUND.  HOW DARE YOU.  THAT IS ELSA PATAKY.

Not enough Tormund

Like that is a general life criticism, “not enough Tormund,” but Kristofer was h*ckin underused in this.  Yes, there was a scene where he tosses his beautiful red mane back a bit so he can better look into the scope of a sniper rifle, and I didn’t know I needed that scene, but oh boy did I, and it was delightful, but I needed more of that.

Scott Eastwood

He was… fine, I guess?  I enjoyed watching Roman sass the heck out of him (and “Little Nobody” was a good one), but in an ensemble cast with the largest personalities in the whole world, having a sharp jawline and a Clint Squint ain’t gonna cut it.  No, he did not reach Daario-levels of generic, but I didn’t totally understand why he was there.  Like, Charlize Theron’s hair was more of a character.  And if they are introducing him to be another Paul Walker I have one question

how dare u

there is more to Brian than prettiness u monsters

I’m 0% kidding they had better flippin NOT

The Good

Charlize Theron’s hair

Just kidding what white-girl-dreads nonsense was that

The race at the beginning

Aw man, yes, good!  This was classic engine-revving NO2-blasting gratuitous-butt-viewing Fast and the Furious and I appreciated it so much.  I v much like that they placed the race in Cuba, and that the cars in the race were like, yep, this is how a lot of the cars in Cuba were and are.  Putting Letty on the motorcycle to help referee, Dom winning but saying that earning the loser’s respect was more important in his “I’ve lived solely off of gravel for 2 decades” voice, lighting the stupid old car on fire because of the CUBAN NO2, SURE, I AIN’T EVEN MAD.  This was bright and fast and FUN and felt like a quick trip back to California and I like Michelle Rodriguez’s makeup and just, YES.  Boat engine, hell yes.

The nuclear-football-stealing scene

YOOOOOO.  This was a really flippin’ cool idea.  It may and up looking dated as heck in a couple years (you know when you see a character using a flip phone in an intense scene in movies between 1997 and 2007? and you laugh?  because what u gonna do with ur liddul dumbphone, character?  you gonna flip it open, like a doofus? I’m being mean, aren’t I okay yeah I’ll stop) but for 2017 this was bananas relevant as a legitimate fear.  All those cars diving out of the parking garage????  Like are you kidding me we have a villain who can make it rain Kias because you can hack into a CAR, WHAT.  This looked great, was exciting, and felt believable (within the framework of a ridiculous premise of course).  And sure, Dom’s car has 5,000 horsepower and his tires don’t light on fire, sure.  I ain’t mad.

Sneaky references

Yes, please, Statham, call Dwayne “Hercules.”  He played “Hercules.”  I hope that in this movie universe the actual Hobbs played “Hercules.”  And Dwayne asking Tyrese “why are you always yelling?!” HE IS ALWAYS YELLING.  The submarine scene, “we’re gonna need a bigger truck” THIS STUPID LINE WORKED SO WELL.  And Dom saying “okay Buster, let’s see if this works” BRIAN TAUGHT YOU THAT, HE IS BUSTER, I’M A WRECK.  YOU BEAUTIFULLY SELF-AWARE MOVIE.

They also through a Friday reference in there (“hey, Ms. Parker”) but someone had to point that out to me so that counts less idk I love this stupid stupid movie

The Haka

I didn’t know I needed Dwayne Johnson and a girls’ soccer team performing the Haka to another girls’ soccer team but hoo boy I did, I did SO MUCH

The 10 Most Wanted joke

Oh my WORD, yes.  Placing the whole team on the 10 Most Wanted, except for Roman, because it has to be Roman, and then “Number 11 my ass” like cannot BREATHE, LAUGHING TOO HARD

The prison fight scene

Like, yes, I could go through the whole movie and just address every scene and why I liked it, but this one in particular deserves a shoutout.  There was a ridiculous amount of fight choreography in this scene, and it looked very very good.  There’s also a very well done contrast in fighting styles between Johnson and Statham, and the balance of their filming showed this off to great effect: Johnson just being a moving brick wall of destruction and seriousness, and Statham jumping and spinning his way through an environment that he’s treating like a playground, smile and all.  Not kidding, this was a well-shot, well-balanced fight scene and I love my two muscley meathead prison babies.

The Gooder Than Good; The Amazing

Submarine fight

This scene was absurd and phenomenal and everything I could want ever in a movie ever.  Dwayne Johnson strongarming a torpedo.  Roman knocking out a bunch of snowmobiles.  Dom taking his car on a dive over the sub to blow it up. The Lambo on the ice.  Letty getting to drive, forreals, because sometimes they don’t like to show her, but girl can drive and she diddddd.  The family coming together at the end to make a car barricade to protect precious Dom CAN YOU HEAR THE PEOPLE SING SINGING THE SONG OF FURIOUS MEN




This was a good Letty movie, y’all.  I know Letty can get problematic (her early movies had a decent amount of “other girls are bitches” in them and I know, I know it sucks) but she was great and Michelle Rodriguez was great.  This movie asked a lot of her character, to stay loyal to Dom while trying to stop him, and knowing that he wouldn’t do this without a good reason, and that he loves her and wouldn’t shoot her, and that she’s like “cool, you have a kid! look at this cutie! family!”  And this didn’t come across like “Cool Girl”-type garbage (she’s not doing this because she’s a Cool Girl who doesn’t mind getting shit on), this came across as a really deep level of trust, and a reciprocal act for Dom’s work on bringing her back in previous films.  They don’t give up on each other, and y’all, this love TOUCHES MY HEART.  DOM & LETTY 4EVA

Helen Mirren

If you get one f-word in a movie, and Helen Mirren is in the movie, you give it to Helen Effing Mirren.  She clearly had a great time doing this, including her accent (which I would describe as Jason Statham IS Eliza Doolittle) and scolding her sons.  She is the sword in the darkness and I love her.  She apparently said in an interview that she wanted to be in one of these movies and now she has and just <3 <3 <3

Jason Statham fighting while protecting a baby

This was the best thing about this movie and tbh the best thing about my life right now (my spouse would agree with probably all parts of this: we love each other but we also love Jason Statham and his back muscles; we really do).  He puts Alvin and the Chipmunks on little headphones and tells the baby it’s going to get kind of loud I AM DECEASED.  STATHAM.  He is legitimately an amazing stunt actor and I feel like he was psyched to shoot this scene and I’m pretty sure I died a second time when he looks at the little smiling kid and winks and then goes off and murders people.  “You were gonna shoot a *baby*?”  YOU PERFECT HUMAN, YOU PERFECT SCENE, I LOVE EVERYTHING FOREVER.



Baby’s first trail race

April 11, 2017

The race: the Swamp Creek Stomp

The distance: five kilometers

The official time: civilizations rose and fell while I was out there

Heyyyyy there friends.  SO. One of the things on my list of things I wanted to do this year was to run a trail race.  I’ve run a few dozen road races at this point, and a couple of them have like, touched dirt, kinda, but I’ve definitely never done an actual trail race.  I knew this one was gonna be a tough one, partially because trail races just inherently are tough, but I also log a vast majority, like 95%, of my miles on the treadmill or pavement. The one trail I do use is packed dirt and has no tree limbs or large rocks or creek crossings and y’all, I knew I was woefully underprepared but I DID IT.  I was also concerned that the race did not actually exist, because it was on April 1st, and like, that would be a very jerk move to be like “LAWL THERE’S NO RACE GO HOME, SUCKERS” and runners are generally chill but WHAT IF.


I drove myself there on Saturday morning, and I knew I was nervous because I was doing the thing that I do when I’m nervous and driving which is to sing hymns, so it was 8:15 AM and I’m chugging along belting out “For All the Saints.”  If you’re not familiar, it is an absolute banger and really gets the crowds going.  Ball so hard.  No, I don’t know why I do this, but I do, and it’s like “Lose Yourself” but for slow awkward Catholic girls in terms of pump up music.

I just made myself laugh picturing myself playing for the Yankees and asking for this as my walkup music oh my word


I get there and there are tbh not as many dogs as I was hoping for but other than that everyone is friendly and the race organizers are playing “Eye of the Tiger” as every race within a 100-mile radius of Philly is obligated to do (still love the song keep up the good work fam).  The race announcer tells the 10k people that they had to make some adjustments to the course because we got like, feet of rain the night before and the course is a mess and one of the creek crossings is literally too high to be safe so I’m sitting there like “aight, mud.  Mud is happening.  It cool, I got this, I got my high socks on and garbage bags in my car for later, I ain’t scared, leggo.”


The fun part about being a back-of-the-pack-er is that you get to follow everyone else and kinda see where to go and on road races, who cares, it’s not like they’re beating down the pavement and it’s no good to run on when you get there.  NOT SO WITH A TRAIL RUN.  I almost ate it crossing the actual start line because of mud, and within the first quarter mile we were 1. in the woods 2. in ankle-deep mud.  A girl lost her shoe.  Her dad fished it out and tried to retie the laces and oh my goodness watching him try to untie and then retie cold wet muddy laces with cold wet muddy hands was like if you filled up rubber gloves with JELL-O and then had to use them to practice your Boy Scout skills on exceptionally tough spaghetti.  Homie was there for a while.

The runners before me were confidently placing their feet in the mud and then lifting them up and not??? falling over???? which??? how?????? I had to walk a large majority of the race simply because moving any faster would have been disastrous.  Y’all remember that fight in motor oil from the Transporter movie?  I was every bad guy without even a Statham to look at.  The 10k runners had two laps to do and a good two dozen of them lapped me.

After a while I got into a bit of a not-terrible rhythm, grabbed on to some trees when necessary, my fitbit made some noises, I embraced the cold squishiness in my shoes, and IT’S THE EYE OF THE TIIIIIIGER.  Then I actually checked my fitbit to see how far I’d gone and it was like, 90 feet.  Nine feet.  None feet, possibly, because it had tracked the walk from my car to the starting line.  “Trail race” was a misnomer, as was “trail run.”  “Trailslog.”  But I was Doing It.  I was Making My Dreams Come True.  I was Leaning In, not because I wanted to but because hills [also, quick aside: Lean In and trail running are related in that they’re apparently really only applicable to white women??? Why you gotta be so white, racing, why].  And then, we had one of several creek crossings.


Y’all remember in Homeward Bound, when Shadow can’t get out of that mud ravine and you felt your entire being collapse in on you even though you’d seen the movie like 80 times and he’s exhausted and old and covered in mud and gets *so close* to the top a bunch of times but can’t hold on

That was me, trying to get in and out of the creek.  There were ropes, and people to help, but there was basically no grip on the banks, so hands went in the mud, butt went in the mud, dignity went in the mud.  There was a dude behind me who was also about to use the rope to climb down, and he was all “you can go first” and I was all “no you, good sir” and he was all “no it’s okay, I’m gonna be a while” and I was all “that’s exactly why I was offering to let you go first because samesies” and at this point the race’s Rope Watcher Guy is laughing at us both for being fainting delicate flowers.  We both did it, though.

And then there was another creek crossing.  A 10k runner came up behind me and straight launched himself from one bank to the other because idk we had like Olympic decathletes up in this woods and apparently the Oregon Trail has a cheat code for rivers called “just jump the sumbitch.”  I personally, decided to caulk the wagon and float it and lost

  • One set of clothing
  • One wagon wheel
  • My pride (drowned)

There were rocks and stuff in the creek, y’all, I ain’t about that turned ankle life.  So I did the rest of the race with mud on um, places and my long sleeves were wet at the wrists because I had to put my hands into the creek to not fall over and look even worse than I already did oh GOD, WHERE IS THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY WHY ARE WE NOT THERE YET.

I am 90% sure I got kinda lost – I know GPS trackers aren’t the most reliable and hills will mess them up but when I’m well into 4 miles for a 5k I’m thinking I messed up.  My hands did that thing where they get super puffy after a while of holding them at my sides, and the sun actually came out and I’d been out there longer than my 10k PR and like, what.  So tired.  The most tired.  I napped like a beast when I got home.

Once I got to the end, I was able to run probably a third of a mile over some relatively dry gravel and grass.  At this point, I was very aware that I was the last, actual last, 5k runner out on the course, because the two girls who were behind me quit and hopped on an ATV back to the start, so I suppose I beat two ten-year-olds?  I’ve never actually DFL’ed (dead effing last) a race before, but I’m almost glad I did – it was new and humbling but also meant that I actually finished, which was great.  In the last section, one of the guys giving directions saw a 10k runner about to pass me, and they yelled “don’t let him beat you!” and I yelled back “it’s okay, he’s lapped me already” and they laughed and runners are just cool, yo.

I got me a shirt and soft pretzels at the end (additional bonus to Philly-area races: always got them soft pretzels) and then somehow got back to my car and removed what layers I could, put trashbags down on the car seat (garbage sittin on garbage bags HEYOOOO) and drove home.  Absolutely would and will repeat, and hopefully I will get the mud out from under my toenails Some Day.