Sunday, October 16, 2011

Love the Beast: Pure Awe

Eric Bana's personal documentary/film, Love the Beast is a spectacular argument why cars represent much more than means of transportation. Bana's car a Ford Falcon XB means the world to him. He has had it since the age of 15, and has worked on it with friends for years. It meant a fireplace to his friends, it was a way to socialize, to make friends, to hang out, a discussion point, a place to keep away from drugs and alcohol, and to fuel a passion to last a lifetime. Bana has paired up with Dr. Phil, Jeremy Clarkson, and Jay Leno to help console Bana's love affair with his Falcon. Bana appears at times confused as to how he should act about his crash when speaking to the luminaries.

The film is a great example why cars have souls. They make mistakes, and behave differently than other car names, and thus, they can form bonds.

The film has an uncanny ability to provoke unintentional smiling, sympathy, and outbursts of emotion. Bana participates with his friend, Tony, in the Targa of Tasmania. Tony serves as Eric's navigator, and both, despite being rather amateurish, do quite well. Bana had participated in the Targa years earlier, and had famously claimed he would come every year henceforth. Suffice to say, Bana did not live up to this promise, yet was going to make the 2009 Targa Tasmania his last with his newly rebuilt Falcon. It was his dream to do this with his dream car.

Bana is making great progress through the Targa, but along the line, unfortunately collides with a tree. After the traumatic event, Bana says "This is not what I had in mind", as he stands, without a scratch on him, in absolute shock as to what just took place.

Bana is at a crossroads as to whether or not he should repair what was once his dream car. As he returns to the place that initially race-prepped the Falcon, he notes that he feels even worse examining the damage than he did when the crash happened.

There is rather implicit disclosure to end the film, with white text on a black background that reads, "Bana plans to rebuild his Beast".

The film overall was highly enjoyable, and had done stunning job showing audience members the bond between a man and a machine. The beginning, in fact was perhaps the most enjoyable where Bana accurately details the feeling of track driving, as scenes of him and his racing yellow Porsche 911 scream through apexes. Bana truly understands what it means to be a driver, as his natural skill is evident even through his heel-toeing technique as was involved in the Targa.

I highly recommend Love the Beast as an absolute mad car fanatic.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Racing Dreams: Play with My Heartstrings

Racing Dreams emphasizes three young karting drivers who strive to become national karting champions. The film emphasizes Josh Hobson (12), Annabeth Barnes (11), and Brandon Warren (13) for which Warren is placed in the senior devision, and the other two are in the junior division. Racing Dreams covertly conveys feelings that can only be attempted to be explained through words. For example, when Annabeth is sitting in her new stock car, anticipating to start it up for the first time, or when Brandon dresses in a military uniform, I couldn't help but feel pity for what an extraordinary driver Brandon could have become, yet unfortunately grew up with an alcoholic father and was underprivileged as a result, and there is nothing he can do about it.

Racing Dreams is an unbelievable film-style documentary of the lives of karting drivers and how much commitment it takes in order to be one. Annabeth claimed she found little time to 'be one of the other girls' because of racing, yet she said it was wholly worth the time away from friends in order to pursue driving as a potential profession down the line.

Josh Hobson was a known quantity; he won nearly every race, and was calm, cool, and likely has the best opportunity out of the other two drivers to make it in NASCAR later on. He was also the most forward-thinking, the most precocious, and appeared the best bet among sponsors.

Annabeth Barnes was also precocious, wasn't the absolute best driver yet finished fifth consistently, and for better or for worse, received recognition for being the only girl karting.

Finally, Brandon Warren was the most rebellious of the three thanks in no small part to his absent father, although due to his grandparents, with whom he lives he has a strong foundation. Brandon had ambitions to 'join the Marine Corps in order to whoop his father'. Towards the end of the film, it is revealed that due to financial issues, Brandon can no longer pursue competitive driving, but is pursuing his high school's ROTC program. On his sleeve, it said "U.S. Army", despite what he had said earlier.

Racing Dreams is a mixed bag, it alternates heartstring to heartstring as rapidly as the karts would pass one another. It is certainly an emotion-filled film despite the average movie-watchers' perceptions of racing à la Taladega Nights.