March 14, 2014, - 4:28 pm

Weekend Box Office: Need for Speed, The Bag Man, Jimmy P.

By Debbie Schlussel

Another ho-hum weekend at the box office, in terms of new offerings. I did not see, “Veronica Mars,” as it was not screened for most critics.



* “Need For Speed“: This movie is very thin on story, but the reason to see it is the fast-paced, heart-pumping car racing, or as radio talk show host Brett Winterble calls it, “auto porn.” There are a lot of cool cars, high speed chases and racing, and fabulous, death-defying stunts. And this is one of the few movies I recommend seeing in 3D. It makes all the difference. The movie is sort of a mix of the earlier “Fast & Furious” movies, “Cannonball Run,” and “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

I enjoyed the auto racing part of this movie and the cool cars–I’d never before heard of or seen a Koenigsegg (my new favorite car), until I saw this movie. What a cool car. And the movie features a rebuilt $3 million Shelby and other very high end sports cars. If you like those, you’ll probably like this.

The story: a gearhead mechanic (“Breaking Bad’s” Aaron Paul, in his first major feature film starring role) who works on expensive, high end sports cars out of his professional garage, owes a lot of money in unpaid bills. He loves to street race for money and has an offer from a wealthy rival to rebuild a Shelby. He rebuilds it in exchange for a cut of the sales price, but gets caught up in a winner-takes-all street race with the racing rival. In the process, Paul’s best friend is killed, and he is framed for the death by the wealthy rival.

But after getting out of prison, he manages to get the new owner of the Shelby to allow him to use it in a big illegal street race known as the “De Leon.” The race is promoted and broadcast by a cheesy, wealthy guy with an online racing broadcast (Michael Keaton). Most of the movie is spent showing Paul and a girl trying to get the car across the country in time for the race, with the aid of a friend of his who flies helicopters and small planes and scouts out the police and traffic.

As I said, the story is thin, and who would risk jail time to win an illegal street race? Somebody stupid and crazy (and criminal). That’s who. And I didn’t like the many scenes in which police are flouted and even hurt in car accidents, some of them fiery and likely fatal, as Paul tries to get across the country and win the race. That was troubling, especially when the audience cheered that stuff. Also troubling: the illegal use of a U.S. military helicopter to aid Paul in reaching the race destination. I’m supposed to cheer this stuff? That’s the usual “quality” stuff you get when a movie is based on a video game, as this is. But the story isn’t the reason you go to see a movie like this. It’s the cool cars and stunts.

And that’s why I give it . . .


Watch the trailer . . .

* “The Bag Man“: This long, slow, boring movie was pointless and a complete waste of time. What sounded like an interesting story was just a gratuitous killing spree of blood, guts, and gore for what reason? Beats me. I couldn’t care less for anyone in the movie, as none of the characters is likable or interesting in any way.

John Cusack plays a hitman for a wealthy mobster (Robert De Niro in a new and novel role for him). The mobster orders him to get a bag, not look in the bag, and wait in a seedy motel room for the mobster to arrive. Cusack kills several people in the process of getting the bag, holding onto it, and staying alive at the motel. In the process of this, Cusack gets to know a Slavic prostitute and kills her midget and full-sized pimps (am I allowed to use the word “midget” anymore?). He also kills an FBI agent, the hotel manager, two corrupt cops, etc., etc., etc. Who cares? Not me.

Skip this.


Watch the trailer . . .

* “Jimmy P.“: If the most left-wing anti-American college anthropology professor made a movie and insisted you see it, it would be this horribly long, boring, pointless waste of time. High-quality Gitmo torture. Just awful.

“Based on a true story,” Jimmy P. is an American Indian, er . . . “Native American!” played by Benicio Del Toro (yes, I know he’s Puerto Rican, but apparently the casting director thinks “they all look alike,” or something.) Jimmy P. is an Indian who fought in World War II and suffers headaches and nightmares because of a wartime injury. Because he’s a Blackfoot Indian, the Veterans Administration gets a faux-French anthropologist of Mojave Indians (apparently, they are similar to the Blackfoot) to try to help him.

Soon, we are taken on ridiculous, boring, and sleep-inducing tangents into the anthropologist’s life, his married girlfriend’s life, and her husband in France’s life. I could not have cared less about any of them or their stuff. Then, we’re taken back to the Indian dude, who describes his weird sexual experiences and traumas as a kid on the reservation and his refusal to marry the mother of his child. Then, the anthropologist gives a lecture to the V.A. doctors about the Indian’s penis envy. Oy vey. Why on earth did I sit through this weird bleep?

There can only be one reason: So. You. Don’t. Have. To.


Watch the trailer . . .

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22 Responses

Our next door neighbor makes custom motorcycles and he also has a custom drag racing car. So, on weekends in the summertime he brings it out to race at some place near Denton. He will bring it out on Saturday morning and it is awesome! It is really neat. Usually after he tests it he puts it on a trailer and takes it to his races. Our neighbor also has really interesting motorcycles.. and no I can’t have one yet .. acording to Mum.

Karen on March 14, 2014 at 5:06 pm

No excuses to even buy popcorn. Thanks Debbie

Frankz on March 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm

DS, actually you should not use “midget,” unless you want to use a derogatory term to describe “little people” or “dwarfs,” which are always preferred as descriptive terms. Some measure of what is lumped together as “political correctness” IS actually a good thing, as a matter of human dignity.

Similarly, the preferred descriptive term is “disabled,” rather than “handicapped” or “crippled.”

It’s really a matter of respect for human dignity, rather than political correctness. These are very understandable things when you get to really know people like these who may be very different than you.

As an object lesson on this concept, see the movie “Incredible Shrinking Man,” written by the late, great sci-fi writer Richard Matheson. The movie concerns Scott,a normal man, who becomes exposed to a radiation that later causes him to gradually shrink in size, with no end in sight. He learns what it means to become a person ridiculed for no other reason than his size. But his shrinking goes far beyond that of any little person. Here’s the thoughtful closing scene from the movie, as Scott struggles with the meaning of his life and what it has become.

Ralph Adamo on March 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    I remember the movie…saw it as a kid…my favorite scene is when he kills the tarantula (spider) by driving a pencil through its soft underbelly…

    HK on March 15, 2014 at 3:04 am

      HK, close, but Scott uses a common sewing needle as his weapon against the spider. At that point he was too small to lift a pencil. I saw the movie many months ago on a DVD. It was part of 2-disc 1950’s sci-fi DVD set that was available from the public library.

      Ralph Adamo on March 15, 2014 at 9:22 pm

        yes, youre right….thanks for the correction..havent seen the movie since perhaps the early 60s…somehow it has stayed with me all these years

        HK on March 15, 2014 at 10:09 pm

I prefer the term “vertically challenged” instead of short, and instead of calling someone handicapped, let’s call them “handiabled.”

JUST KIDDING. Ralph, I often agree with you, but today you sound like you put on your wife’s dress. Now, let me tell you a little story.

Years ago, African Americans were called “colored.” They called themselves colored. Remember the NAACP. Now, somewhere along the line, that became offensive. Then the term Negro came into play. Remember the United Negro College Fund. That is now a verboten term. If you call someone “black” instead of colored or negro, that was racist in its day. Then black became beautiful, until Jesse Jerkoff started using the term “African Americans” and the press picked up on it.

Today, I hear blacks call each other “nigg–” Is that the new term?

When describing myself, I am an American, and if necessary, A Washington, DC native. That is how is should be. Oh, and I am short (5’5″), not vertically challenged.

Jonathan E. Grant on March 14, 2014 at 8:34 pm

    It’s made almost a complete turn — they’re not called ‘colored’ anymore — now the term on campuses is ‘people of color’. Is that really so different from ‘colored’? Just shoot the dice & hope you come up with what today is the correct term. Someone has to really be a mental midget not to understand that.

    Little Al on March 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      Or, er um, should I have said ‘mental little person’?

      Little Al on March 15, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    JEG, I agree that PC can get totally ridiculous, and today that’s more the case the ever.

    Vertically challenged? Hah-hah. Reminds me of a bald guy I knew who jokingly referred to himself as not bald, but “follicly challenged.”

    And you discussion of blacks reminds me of the great Jules Feiffer cartoon in which the caption went as follows (with a drawing of a black man for each PC term mentioned): “As a matter of racial pride, we want to be called blacks. Which replaced Negroes. Which replaced colored people. Which replaced darkies. Which replaced blacks.” I’d take you to a link to the cartoon if it were available, but Jules Feiffer is still alive and his work is highly protected.

    But I would disagree with you notion that there’s anything feminine about showing respect for people, regardless of their physical appearance, differences, or disabilities. In my very young days, I might have felt as you do. But when I went to college, I happen to meet many students with all sorts of physical issues: blindness, deafness, deformed legs, people, people who lost limbs, and other issues, and little people. At first, I felt very uncomfortable being around any of them. In time, however, I got to truly know some them. That changed me forever.

    Yes, PC can get absurd, and it certainly has today. But there are some basics behind the original notion that make sense–in line with the “golden rule” philosophy.

    Ralph Adamo on March 15, 2014 at 9:43 pm

I never even heard of any of these movies before. I think I’ll pass. Thanks Debbie.

Tommy Thomas on March 14, 2014 at 8:48 pm

This is way more educational

Frankz on March 14, 2014 at 9:06 pm

haha….Malaysian high tech reconnaissance system is amazing…I think they found the plane

HK on March 15, 2014 at 3:15 am

Debbie you forgot one thing about the Need for Speed movie:

It’s based on the long running video game series!!

Squirrel3D on March 15, 2014 at 6:01 am

I saw “Need for Speed” and agree with Debbie’s review in every way. On the negative side, this is an irresponsible and juvenile fantasy with callous disregard for the life and lawful authority. On the positive side, it’s a fun thrill-ride with impressive stunts and set pieces. Another definite positive of the film is the lack of Marxism, environmentalism, feminism or Jesse Jackson-style reverse racism. That’s why, considering the whole, Debbie’s rating of one Reagan is perfect.

Stephen Rea over at the Philadelphia Inquirer points out the self-conscious allusions in this film to “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Thelma and Louise,” “Vanishing Point,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” and “Bullitt.” I noticed myself that the police were referred to as “Smokey” in the film. I think it’s correct to look at director Scott Waugh as an independent thinker and auteur conservative (an earlier film of his was “Act of Valor”); I’ll be keeping an eye on him.

My biggest criticism of the film is a preoccupation of mine that I’ve harped on repeatedly on this site: it’s teen-centric and teen-pandering. Adult authority is marginalized. By their very nature, teens are foolish, shallow and reckless especially when they get together without adult supervision or guidance. Teens and young adults (up to the age of 26 since Obamacare) should be seen but not heard, in my opinion. This film makes young adults and their juvenile fantasies the center of the universe, and that’s corrupt and dangerous.

Burke on March 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Kids at 26 is right. In my day 16 year old’s (like my brother in law for instance) had jobs that could support a family even though they had no family to support. Now we have 16 year old’s with families but with no job to support them even at 26 or 36, 46, 56…a lifetime on wellfare.

    theShadow on March 15, 2014 at 9:38 pm

      …jobs that could ‘help’ support a family…

      theShadow on March 15, 2014 at 9:43 pm


        How true. We have a bunch of babies raising babies. And we have an MTV pop culture that’s replaced American culture. It’s all a house of cards ready to tumble down.

        Burke on March 16, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Why go to any movies that the leftist idiots in Hollywood put out? Boycott them!

SylviaP on March 15, 2014 at 2:05 pm


“To federal authorities…. They refer to him as “FNU LNU” — law enforcement acronyms for first and last names unknown.”

Nick Fury on March 16, 2014 at 2:52 am

LOL. Blackfoot from Montana
Mohawks from New York.
Mohawks(one of the 5, later 6, Nations) have some pronounced Caucasoid features, Blackfoot(one of the 3 Nations) are distinctly Asiatic. The language groups are as different as English from Russian, as the last comingling of these people occurred around 1200 as near as ethnographers can estimate.

pat on March 16, 2014 at 5:42 pm

BOYCOTT these leftist movies that are made to brainwash us. Don’t give money to the enemy. The Commies who control Hollywood and also the media.

Fred on March 18, 2014 at 8:31 am

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