One of the truest idioms I have ever encountered regarding the creative process is the phrase “art inspires other art.” I’m not sure who originally coined this expression or even how specific they were being in saying it – whether they meant art in the traditional sense or art in the wider music, literature, graffiti, fashion design, etc. sense – but the fact remains a true one.

For a writer, that phrase is especially true b/c no ideas spring forth w/o an active interaction w/ the rest of the world…and even if they did they would lack that all-too-necessary flavor of truth that makes for compelling characters, places, stories, etc. (I hope they’re compelling, anyway)

As such, in the last few months I have made a more concerted effort to get to the movies (even though it goes against my every inclination, which is to be in the Hawaiian sunshine as much as possible), listen to more music, etc. I’ve always read a great deal (as you may have noticed on the This Week page), but this summer I am trying to be gluttonous in consuming as much other art as possible.

The end result of it? Hopefully better writing. At the very least though you folks get to hear back w/ some random reviews from me, starting this week w/ Furious 7. (Since this movie has been out for almost three months now and has been seen by roughly ¼ of the planet, I feel no real need to make spoiler alerts, though there may be some here. You’ve been warned 🙂

****

This was one of the most anticipated movies of 2015 even long before the tragic passing of Paul Walker. Placed in the first week of April it was this year’s unofficial kickoff to the summer movie season (which, much like Xmas season, will soon precede the actual event by a good five months), the answer to last year’s Captain America: Winter Soldier.

As a franchise that as recently as eight years ago looked to be destined for a slew of direct-to-DVD spinoffs in the wake of Tokyo Drift (which Im pretty sure all involved parties would like to pretend never happened), FNF has managed to reboot itself this decade into one of the more dependable money printing tent poles in the movie business.

B/c of that, it is obvious this will not be the last film in the franchise. Far from it. This movie just became one of the top five ever, Vin Diesel claimed it deserves an Oscar, and most of the cast is under contract through 2050. At the same time though, there is an undeniable ominousness that hangs over the entire thing.

More than once, major scenes are set in quiet graveyards. Images from prior movies are pulled back w/ surprising regularity. Throughout, the characters continually allude to their newest caper as “one last ride.”

How much of this was originally intended and how much was recrafted on the fly after Walker’s passing is unknown, though the further the movie goes on the more omnipresent his death feels. Conversations that don’t need to be there appear, a montage tracking him through all seven movies appears at the end, and there are moments when it is quite apparent that the person we see on screen is a computer recreation and not the genuine article.

While this hangs over the film like low cloud cover though, it doesn’t detract the sunlight from getting through. At its heart, this is still a highly entertaining movie that is loads of fun. Long ago this franchise set aside all notions of physics and thermodynamics, allowing the viewer to suspend all belief and merely relish in the hijinks that occur.

Skydriving between towers in Dubai? Heck yeah. Parachuting automobiles out of a military transport? No reason not to. Bringing in scads of celebrities from various walks of life for roles? Take your pick, it’s all here!

Was Diesel correct when he forecast Oscar wins for this? No. Perhaps for editing, but not for any of the major categories.

Was this film a welcome intro to summer after a long slog through Oscar season? Unequivocally.

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