I really despise the tone of high-five euphoria that often creeps into box-office reports when a film is a big hit. Like Anthony D’Allesandro’s Deadline story (filed at 5:05 am) about Furious 7‘s surprisingly strong second weekend. Describing James Wan‘s cyborgian bludgeoning tool as a “seven-quel,” D’Allesando notes that “with a high-ooctane fuel injection from social media across genres, the prognosis for Furious 7‘s second weekend is pretty amazing.” An “amazing seven-quel,” eh? That’s fraternity talk, neckrub talk, backslap talk. Does D’Allesandro own Universal stock or what? Is he looking to get hired by Michael Moses?
After catching It Follows at the Grove the other night I stepped into a theatre showing Furious 7 so I could see the farewell-to-Paul-Walker finale, which I’d missed at the all-media due to walking out at the one-hour mark. It’s nicely handled as far as it goes. It felt to me like a tribute reel at Cinemacon. But it didn’t get me emotionally. The idea of loss always melts me down, but I draw the line with people who have more or less allowed their own demise. Or, as in Walker’s case, who flirt with danger and in fact get off on the nearness of possible death. A guy from my home town loved serious mountain climbing, and sometime in his mid 20s he died (as you might predict) when something went wrong and he fell. A painful stunner, for sure, but I wasn’t the only one who said, “Well, he knew what could happen if something went wrong but he did it anyway…a tough break but it’s not like a tree fell on him.” Walker died “with his boots on,” so to speak. As did JFK, if you think about it. Let it go at that.
Three or four weeks ago Diesel said to a crowd that Walker would always say to him at a screening of the latest Furious flick — “Vin, the next will be the best.” When John Ford was asked which of his films was his favorite, he always said “the next one.” That meant “I don’t know about favorites or bests, but I love making them.” But that’s not what Walker was saying. Diesel claims that he said more than once that “the next is the best.” And when that next film was screened, Walker would turn to Diesel and say, “the next is the best.” And when that film was screened, Walker would turn to Diesel and say the same thing. For some reason this bothers me big-time.
As I was leaving the Grove around 10:20 pm a group of 12 or 15 youths (mostly Latino) were congregating outside theatre #2 or #3, waiting for a 10:30 pm showing of Furious 7 to start. I just kept walking, avoiding eye contact for fear they would read what I was thinking and feeling.