Baby Driver

The f-word

The good parts are good but not great, and the bad parts are bad but not terrible.

It is therefore worse than you could possibly imagine.
Reported on 2nd of July, 2017

Editor’s Notes: Having spent the last five weeks dealing with…things, I walked out of Baby Driver and realized I had only seen four films whilst out of the country: Wonder Woman, Transformers: The Last Knight, The Mummy and the aforementioned. As I head back to desirous France, the depressing realization: Transformers 5 was the best of the four, and it ain’t good. Part four of a series of four.

In keeping with the wishes of my small audience, I will post each piece separately, over the next days. In keeping with my perversity, I will post the last one first.

There was initially no reason to write about an unmitigated piece of nonexistence like Baby Driver. It is, as Richard said, ‘fine.’ Intonation is key here. The right inflection at the end implies a question that your audience should ask – ‘fiiiinnnne’. So be careful when you read it out loud. Be especially careful not to tell me that you are not reading this out loud, in public, at stentorian volume.

Baby Driver

29 June 2017 @ The Haymarket

$0.12 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


No reason to write until discovering that Baby Driver, by being unsurprising in any way, has garnered an unsurprising 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. Mr. Edgar Wright has made a lot of overrated films, and this one may be, at 97%, mathematically the most overrated film. And good for him. Fine for him. Average for him.

What constitutes fine in this case is the way the film manages only to be half there. Being fine is hard to describe, being that the good parts are good but not great, and the bad parts are bad but not terrible.

It is therefore worse than you could possibly imagine.

For example, it’s not so much that it’s great that Mr. Bill Pope shot it, as it is that we’re grateful we didn’t have to see the uninspired shitpile that would have existed if he hadn’t. The car chases, well, they’re the f-word, the combination of a DP who clearly knows what he’s doing fighting a director and an editor who does not.

There’s a few decent in camera bits, but Ronin was a friend of mine, etc., and if you’ve ‘totally watched every movie ever made’ (and please check out Mr. Wright’s almost comically so-interesting-to-people-who’ve-never-seen-films list of films here), you should know this: one gag per chase ain’t enough.

This is further unmitigated (using it as verb this time) by the way in which the film sets itself up as leading to the Best Car Chase You Have Ever Seen. It certainly succumbs to the Ringu Problem, in that not only is the girl coming out of the TV not scary, she doesn’t come out at all.

It’s scary.

It’s a shame really, because the skeleton is there. The characters, while underwritten, have definition – the millennially named Mr. Ansel Elgort, always listening to music and nearly mute, Mr. John Hamm and Sra. Eiza González as inseparable lovers. And Flea.

Flea!!!!! How do you make a bad film with Flea?

By thinking putting Flea in it automatically confers cool.

There are occasional lines of dialog. Mr. Foxx telling us that it’s his money, that they stole it from him before each heist. The use of the phrase ‘you catch feelings’ is solid, as is ‘sunset that ride’ for dumping a car.

Thing is, the writing is like the directing. None of it ever truly sparkles. This is very hard to convey, though maybe it isn’t. It’s not unlike the car chases which think that one bit is enough. Either amp us up on every line, or come up with something that’s a set up for ‘They all say that.’ That’s from the other film that I saw at the glorious Haymarket, and the two do not compare well.

This was going to be a bit for The Take, but like pretty much everything I touch, it became unwieldy, so instead of cutting it, I gave it its own rule (The Second Three of Hearts rule) and its own paragraph. Then I gave it some more paragraphs.

Ms. Lily James is brain-suckingly beautiful, a special effect in her own right. Mr. Wright wisely knew this, and featured her visage – though not her character – in a variety of ways.


I was put in mind of another variation of Mr. Russ Meyer’s boobie speech, to be read in its entirety here. Summing up: ‘Roger Ebert? He’s more of a breast man than I’ll ever be.’

This was initially related because boobies are great, and we need more of them. Boobies includes penises; read the fine print. I don’t allow discrimination. Not when it comes to porn and not here.

But thinking of Mr. Ebert and his love of The Boob, I remember his praising Ms. Ashley Judd in and Ruby in Paradise itself. I don’t remember the film and neither do you, but I remember remembering – this was a shit art film that everyone loved and soon disappeared. And Ms. Judd, well, she purty.

There are many reasons to like a bad film, and ‘she purty’ is fine. I’m not above it – I’m soaking in it (super-eww). I enjoy watching a pretty girl who can’t see me as much as the next guy, but I 1) admit it, 2) think that by admitting it I am absolved, and 3) only minimally count it towards the final score of the film. If I want to see pretty girls I have porn.

Sorry that could so easily be misinterpreted. When I say porn, I of course mean Kong: Skull Island. One thing you can count on: I never miss the opportunity to disgust you.

Ultimately, Baby Driver feels like a first film. One would watch it and say, ‘well, it’s got potential. Here’s a filmmaker that could someday accidentally produce a pretty good film, be greenlit to helm half a dozen gradually increasing budgets until they lucked into the depressing Marvel franchise they always wanted only to complain how they had been trapped. Like they always wanted.’

Baby Driver is not, however, the seventh film of someone who’s been unjustly praised his entire life, only to spew out this quotidian and not a little solipsistic collection of dryer lint.

And yet, it is.

The Take

Total Profits
‘I was in love once’ is a solid line. I’m glad it came from the man (Mr. Kevin Spacey) who was actually in the film that inspired it (Glengarry Glen Ross). The line deserved a better film, writing, characters and setpieces.
The use of ‘Pick Up Sticks’ made me love it…
Total Profits
…and hate it. There’s something about the music that says awesome and look how awesome I am.
The P/P is off the charts with this one. Both Great Wall and Star Wars: Rogue One have more energy wit and fun than this fine film; why this one and not them? A painful example: ‘Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is one of the most entertaining thrill rides of this year, this decade.’ No one is that cute. Even if she can’t see us ogling.
Total Losses


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