Fast and Humorous

Over the top. Jumping the shark. There really are no other ways of describing the Fast and Furious movies at this point. If you have seen the latest installment, F9, you know that cars in space (spoiler alert?) is literally possible, so nothing is out of the realm of attempting with this franchise.

As my wife so humorously put it, F9 is really only about one thing. John Cena just wanted a hug. Literally. (Another spoiler?) She had gone into the theater with me having only seen the first three movies. After asking many other friends about the franchise, I have found out that many people have only seen the first three films.

The interesting thing about that is when the third film, Tokyo Drift, came out, I remember it was not well received. It had nothing to do with the other films, it had no reoccurring characters, and was generally the odd ball out. It wasn’t until after the maybe the 5th movie that people started really enjoying the 3rd movie and defending it as part of cannon to the franchise. I think most of that has to do with Han. Anyway, I find it humorous that Tokyo Drift became the jumping off point for so many people, that it became a well liked film (it is one of the best), and six more films came after. If you have only seen the first three films, there is nothing wrong with that. You just might be really scratching your head and asking yourself “what am I watching” if you watch the ninth movie.

F9 does own up to the fact that they know what they are doing is unrealistic. I like that. Without breaking the third wall, the characters describe the fact that they have done things no human should be able to do, survived things no human should survive, with vehicles that shouldn’t be able to what they do, in places that shouldn’t be possible for any of that all to happen. The way I have come to describe them is that if a grown up were to still play with toys, this is what they would do.

They also make sure the main focus is family. I don’t know how well that works for everyone, but it always seems to work for the characters of these movies. Cliche or not, it is what it is.

Either way, I really enjoy these movies. All 9 of them. Even if they are incredibly over the top, cliche, and unrealistic.

The Byron Bet

the-byron-bet
I wish I had gone to a university that sponsored a NASCAR team.

After Jeff Gordon departed from NASCAR, the number 24 car was left open in the Rick Hendrick stable. While Chase Elliott was chosen to fill that seat immediately, everyone knew Chase would go on to pilot the 9, like his dad, so everyone wondered who would eventually take the wheel of the 24. When the dust settled and the ink dried, William Byron, at the age of 20, was going to be driving the iconic number 24 Chevrolet Camaro.

Now, after 2 years, he has no wins, only 22 top 10 finishes, and 5 poles. Sadly, he has not been all that successful even though he has Chad Knaus as his crew chief. Chad helped another driver at Hendrick, Jimmie Johnson, win seven championships. William has the best racing equipment money can buy with one of the best crew chiefs and yet he can’t seem to put it all together to get the car to victory lane.

William reminds me of the third Cars movie. He is very good at virtual racing and training on simulators. We saw during the hiatus that he is clearly good at iRacing. He won twice during the break for the pandemic. But, he isn’t quite like the Cars movie in regard to the digital talent translating to the real-life track. Maybe he should simply stick to virtual racing? NASCAR might be branching off in that direction someday sooner rather than later, and he could be a star that transitions from real life to virtual.

I don’t want to speak ill of him though. He might simply be in a situation like Joey Lagano was. Even though Joey had top tier equipment at JGR in his first few years, he certainly wasn’t showing the results of having it. Once he moved to Penske, he has won numerous times and even has a championship to his name. Could Byron still be getting his legs in the sport, and need to move to a different team to experience success? Only time will tell with that. but I do think that this might be the case. I think he still needs time and potentially a new team or manufacturer in order to start experiencing success. That is what I am betting on. The real question will be if he will ever leave Hendrick?

Lastly, but more of a side note. Byron attends Liberty University, that also sponsors him. I wonder if he pays tuition? I am also somewhat jealous because I went to Regent University, a rival to Liberty. Regent is not anywhere near Liberty in regard to campus size, student population, sports, or anything else, except maybe the televangelists that founded each of them, and they are both in Virginia. I would have loved to have gone to a school that sponsored a NASCAR team, even if it was a non-winning driver.