DID YOU READ

Five Things About “Fast & Furious” That Make No Sense

Five Things About “Fast & Furious” That Make No Sense (photo)

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Good news fans of quickness and anger: the fifth film in the “Fast & Furious” franchise opens this Friday. “Fast Five” continues the full cast reunion begun with 2009’s “Fast & Furious” and takes it a step further by bringing in characters from “2 Fast 2 Furious” and “Tokyo Drift.” Paul Walker! Vin Diesel! Tyrese Gibson! Ludacris! Sung Kang! Plus new addition Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson! This thing is like the “House of Frankenstein” of muscle-bound muscle car movies.

As I recall, “House of Frankenstein” wasn’t exactly the most tightly plotted film, either. But the insanity is part of the “Fast & Furious” series’ charm. These movies represent a decade-long celebration of the nonsensical, a triumph of swagger over substance, and an unprecedented achievement in the annals of unintentional comedy. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the elements from the most recent film in the series, “Fast & Furious,” that made absolutely no sense.

On second thought, let’s just take a look at some of the elements. If we listed them all, we’d be here for a while.

1. The Bad Guy’s Plan Makes No Sense

The villain in “Fast & Furious” is a shadowy drug kingpin named Arturo Braga. He hires drivers from Los Angeles’ underground street racing scene to mule drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border in their hot rods. Now I’m not a drug smuggler, but it just seems like common sense that when you’re smuggling drugs you want to do it as inconspicuously as possible. Hiring a dude in a neon yellow muscle car with LCD televisions for headlights might not be the best way to avoid arousing the border patrol’s suspicions.


Plus, Braga doesn’t just drive the drugs across the border. He sneaks them in through an underground tunnel he built in a mountain. The whole reason he needs street racers and their souped up cars is because they have to be fast enough to sneak into the entrance to this tunnel before they’re detected by security cameras. Fine. But if there are security cameras watching the border, how did Braga build several miles of tunnel through a mountain in the first place?



But wait! It gets dumber! Braga maintains a veil of secrecy around his activities by murdering his drivers after they deliver his goods. As we’ve seen in four different “Fast & Furious” films, the underground street racing scene is a close-knit community. Everybody knows everybody. Wouldn’t someone notice that all the drivers who go to work for this guy comes back deader than disco? Evidently not. Because all the underground street racers in “Fast & Furious” are stupid.

2. The Representation of the American Justice System Makes No Sense

To expose Braga’s operation, FBI Agent Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) convinces an old street racing buddy named Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) to go undercover as one of Braga’s drug mules. She agrees to do it, only on the condition that the government drop their charges against her boyfriend Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel), who’s currently a fugitive from justice in South America.

Now I’m not a legal expert, but this sounded mildly insane. So I asked a friend who is a legal expert, a practicing attorney, if this scenario — someone becoming an informant in order to obtain leniency for a loved one who is still on the run from the law — was remotely possible. His response:

“It’s possible, but it really doesn’t make sense. [AUTHOR’S NOTE: I swear, I didn’t put him up to saying that.] Usually people become informants to either get a better deal for themselves or for money. I’ve never heard of anyone doing it to get a better deal for another person. I don’t see why any law enforcement agency would give a lighter sentence to a fugitive who’s gone to another country to escape the law without doing anything themselves to earn better treatment.”



Of course, when Brian tells a furious Dom (he’s totally fast too!) why Letty was helping him, his explanation is vague enough that it’s possible he didn’t necessarily guarantee herpreferential treatment for Dom. So someone’s an idiot here, either Brian or Letty. Or maybe the idiot’s me, for actually trying to figure this stuff out.

3. The Government’s Plan Makes No Sense

Brian and Dom follow in Letty’s footsteps and become drivers for Braga in the hopes of destroying his operation from within. Braga tries to kill them, but they’re able to escape with some of Braga’s drugs. Brian’s superiors at the FBI want to hold a press conference and announce the contraband seizure, but he convinces them not to. “Braga’s just gonna send another shipment next week and the week after that,” he tells them. His plan? “Let’s use the shipment to lure Braga out and lop the head off a multibillion dollar cartel.” He wants to catch Braga red-handed during a hand-to-hand exchange. One of the other FBI agents says, “He’ll never show,” to which Brian replies “He can’t afford not to.”

But wait, Brian, you just specifically said Braga could afford not to. You said he could lose one shipment and carry on with his business! What changed in the four seconds since you said that? Other FBI Agent is correct: Braga would never show. But then guess what? He does show after all! Because he’s an idiot too.

4. The Police’s Search Techniques Make No Sense

Before the big finale in Mexico, Brian comes to see Dom at his house, where he’s working on a car. “Everyone’s looking for you,” says Brian. The police were looking for a fugitive and Paul Walker was the only guy who thought to check his house? What kind of police search is that? That’s not a police search, that’s a Google search. Nothing came up and they all went back to playing Zuma Blitz. So add the local police to the list of morons in this movie.

5. The Fact That Paul Walker Is Still Alive At the End of the Movie Makes No Sense

Through the mass stupidity of everyone involved, Brian and Dom capture Braga in Mexico and bring him back to the United States. Braga’s stooge Fenix, played by Laz Alonso, crashes Brian’s car, and pulls him out of the wreckage. He’s about to shoot him when Dom rides to the rescue. Dom guns it at Fenix, and before he can get out of the way, a wounded Brian, lying on the ground at Fenix’s feet, grabs his leg to hold him in place. Dom runs over Fenix, killing him. But somehow Brian, who was laying right next to him, is perfectly fine. He couldn’t have jumped out of the way because a)he was badly wounded and b)he was holding Fenix to keep him from jumping out of the way himself. Which means that Brian should have been crushed by the front right tire of Dom’s car, killing him instantly. But the dumbness must continue in “Fast Five,” and so Brian magically survives.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.