Working at a movie theater, I get the common question from customers, “Oh, have you seen this movie yet? What did you think?” and its a logical assumption that I would see a lot of movies. I get in for free, I know what’s out, I get discounted concessions etc. But truth be told, once I finish my shifts at work, some days I want nothing more than to just get out of there. And most of the time, unless I’ve seen the trailer or a continuation for a series is released, my movie knowledge and the ones I decide to see or not see, comes from the customers as they leave their movie. That’s where these two titles come in to play.
I’d seen the trailer for Baby Driver a few times before it had entered my theater, and after my sister insisted I had to see it and it was the best movie she’d seen, I caved. It seemed like an intense action movie, with a twist of romance, and a noticeable cast. Ansel Elgort being of course arguably the most prominent. Alongside Jamie Foxx, Jon Bernthal and Lily James, the film boasts a heavy cast of familiar faces, which might just be its saving grace.
I’m not one for action movies, which undoubtedly makes this review biased. Baby Driver follows a young man, known fondly as Baby. After a car accident that killed his parents (which was mentioned only enough to build a withering and weak plot line otherwise) and left him with a permanent ring in his ears, Baby soon finds himself coerced into working for a crime boss as a getaway driver who uses him for his skill behind the wheel. With a twist of romance, Baby falls in love with a young waitress named Debora and they bond over their love of music. Soon, he earns enough money to leave the crime life and he attempts to live his normal life, but his boss pulls him back into another heist, and having no other option, Baby embarks on a heist that was doomed to fail from the beginning. When two members of the team are killed, he finds himself fleeing across the country, forced to leave behind a life he’d tried so hard to escape.
Baby Driver is a cinematic experience with something for everyone, whether you want romance or action, or both. But after leaving the movie, I felt that even though I’d seen a lot in a nearly 2 hour movie, I’d truly seen nothing. While there are plenty of explosions, curse words and enough Ansel Elgort smiles to make your heart flutter, the film fell flat, relying too heavily on the same tactics all movies seem to follow today. I myself enjoy a good explosion here and there, and while the car chases were amazing to watch, at times, I felt that I wished they would just stop blowing things up and shooting people! While I understand they are crime bosses, there were two particular scenes where I’d felt they took it too far. One, was when Bats (played by Jamie Foxx) killed an entire team of gun dealers and started what seemed to be a pointless gun fight. (Maybe the real reason went over my head, but I distinctly remember rolling my eyes). The entire movie since Bats’ first appearance was an armada of cursing and profanities, which he used as verbs, adverbs, nouns, adjectives, and every other part of speech, so frankly, I didn’t mind it when he was killed.
The second scene I found to be too excessive, was Baby’s final showdown with Buddy, (played by Jon Hamm ) a boyfriend out for vengeance. I was fine, up until his car finally tipped off of the broken car garage, fell into a body of water and still somehow managed to blow up! Hollywood: stop blowing things up for blowing ups sake! I don’t know…maybe I’m too much of a realist; which is why The Big Sick takes the cake for me… But we’ll get into that in a second.
All in all, there were a few things that salvaged the car wreck (pun intended) of Baby Driver for me personally.
1). Ansel Elgort. Case in point. Need I say anymore? If you don’t know him, seriously, just look up his pictures. In a movie and a world full of bad guys, he was a ray of sunshine. He had his normal sweet personality, and was all in all an innocent kid sucked into something he didn’t want. You feel for him. And, as it always is, his acting was superb! The only issue I had with his character was when he was running from the cops, he stopped to pick up his girlfriend to take her with him, because “he promised her a road trip”. Okay two things buddy: Probably not the best or most romantic time, and isn’t the saying “if you love something, let it go?”.
2.) The fun and vibrant soundtrack that was laced flawlessly throughout the entire film, added a whimsical vibe to the character of Baby, and was also a vital part to the plot. It was interesting seeing Elgort acting in a different light, playing a role as a kick butt criminal, but if I had to choose between Baby Driver and The Fault in Our Stars, I’d pick the latter. But then again, I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic. Cue review number two!
I remember first seeing the tickets for The Big Sick trickle in, and then as the weeks passed, it seemed at times to be our most popular film. I had no idea what it was about or who was in it, but two things peaked my interest: when the reviews started coming back with rave reviews from customers, as well as Stu Burguiere , from The Blaze, and when I read about it’s plot summary in a Cinearts Magazine at work on a particularly slow day. After another few weeks of still earning remarkable reviews and reaching an outstanding 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, I was convinced I had to see this movie.
Based on the true love story of Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, The Big Sick follows Pakistani-born aspiring comedian Kumail Nanjiani (played by Kumail Nanjiani himself) as he tries to make it big in the world of stand up. He soon falls for Emily V. Gordon (played by Zoe Kazan), after she meets him at one of his shows. Following a one night stand, in which they realize their relationship is more than just hooking up, the pair enter the precarious world of interracial dating. Nanjiani comes from a traditional Pakistani family, who insists on him marrying a Pakistani woman or risk being removed from the family. But for the first few months, Kumail ignores what he knows his parents will say about his new relationship and falls head over heels for Emily, while balancing awkward arranged dates made by his parents. Until, one day, Emily falls ill with a mysterious illness that forces her into a medically induced coma to try and save her life.
This brings in the parents of Emily (played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) who never before had met Kumail. Kumail juggles between a struggling job, the respect for his parents, the love for his girlfriend and the desire to gain her parents’ respect. The crisis they face together ultimately brings them together, and sheds light on the elements of racism still left in our country and the struggles between the differing cultures and a desire to be your own person and follow your own heart.
The Big Sick is funny, emotional, deep and exposing, heart wrenching and refreshingly simple. Today, we live in a world where an explosion has to occur in the first five seconds or “I’m leaving right now and demanding a refund!”. This movie shows that that doesn’t have to happen for it to be a smash hit. This movie demands attention, because if you zone out you might miss the subtle beauty of the dialogue. Rather than relying on explosions and guns to carry a plot, The Big Sick relies heavily on relationships. The film is dynamically laced with multi level relationships, between Kumail and his parents, developing both the similarities and differences between his relationship with both his mother and his father as well as his brother. It shows his struggles with him trying to please his parents by dating Pakistani women while he falls for an American woman he knows will not gain approval. It shows the preconceived ideas people may have about both interracial relationships as well as the Muslim culture.
One distinct scene, that wasn’t even a huge part of the movie, that truly stuck with me was when Kumail was at one of his shows, and one of the members of the audience stood up and called out “Go back to ISIS!” simply because he was Muslim. This scene was pretty astounding to watch, to think that today there are people who believe all Muslims are terrorists, and that this racism still exists. One of my best family friends is from Iraq and presents as someone who may be “typically ISIS” to uneducated people, but to me, he is the nicest, most kind hearted, God loving person I’ve ever met. It called to attention the problems we face today, but it was done humorously it highlighted the idiocy of this thought held by some, and did it in a way that wasn’t attacking anyone.
Taking on the intense topics of racism, interracial relations (including the side of the family), cheating and medical diseases, The Big Sick does it flawlessly. I truly think it is a movie that could help our world today.
Finally, I know one of my previous critiques of Baby Driver was the overt use of profanity. If you decide to see The Big Sick, it is Rated R for profanity and sexual references. It is an adult movie, and although I am only 18 years old, the cursing did not make me cringe. I personally felt that the cursing actually added to the movie (yes, that is possible). It did two things: One, the cursing added humor. A few obscenities thrown around in a joking manner isn’t a bad thing here and there…but it wasn’t overdone. And two: the cursing added tension. Undoubtedly, the movie is full of tense situations, and under these situations people will say things that they normally wouldn’t. Baby Driver could learn a thing or two from The Big Sick on the importance of dialogue and intentional profanity.
No matter if you agree or disagree with my final opinion, I don’t regret seeing either of these films because I feel that I learned what I like and don’t like in films, I found a newfound favorite from an unexpected underdog, and I also got my first shot at a movie review!
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For Baby Driver: I highly suggest a large size of popcorn so that you can stress eat as Ansel Elgort speeds and weaves through the streets. I DON’T suggest a carbonated drink because the stress may just bubble up in your stomach, and cause an unfortunate sound to come out one end!!
For The Big Sick: Get something sweet! It is a romance after all, and you can cry eat some chocolate through the emotionally stressful parts! Plus, the sugar will make the humor all that much better! It’s a classic choice.
Baby Driver: 2.5/5
The Big Sick: 5/5