This year is the 25th anniversary of the release of the first Jurassic Park. For most of us at Cinedelphia, it is a film that has defined what we look for in a summer blockbuster. So what better time than now to revisit the last 25 years of summer blockbusters and pick our favorites? View the criteria and full introduction here, and the whole series here.
21. The Fast and The Furious (dir. Gary Scott Thompson, 2001)
I spent a really long time hating The Fast and the Furious. But to be fair, I had never seen it. I just knew of it and assumed I would hate it. I lived that sham of a life for a long time. Then I dated a car salesmen (I know, I know, huge mistake, right? RIGHT!) Although he was the worst for many reasons, he thankfully convinced me that I needed to actually watch the Fast franchise. And…my god, am I glad that I did. Paul Walker (RIP, Bud) and Vin Diesel, both in their prime. Plus Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez? Come on.
I came to this franchise very late in the game. Like thirteen years late. Clearly I was not expecting much of anything, and I was just being a really cool, supportive girlfriend who lets her boyfriend watch his dumb car movies. When the film started, I chuckled, and probably rolled my eyes a little bit. But then something shifted (pun fully intended). Did I live my life a quarter mile at a time? Maybe I did. Before I knew it I was beyond sucked in. I went from jokingly “enjoying” the movie to flat out loving it. I’m pretty sure I watched the rest of the franchise like that week. Fast & Furious 6 (2013) came out while we were dating and I had to convince him to attend the midnight screening at the Riverview. It might sound like a terrible idea, but after a fight broke out in first five minutes everyone calmed down. There was a standing ovation at the end of the movie. I truly felt like I was a part of a very special community (who definitely did not need to know that I had only joined said community about a month prior). It really was one of the most bizarre and thrilling movie-going experiences I’ve ever had.
Although I came very late to the Fast party, I’m glad I waited so long. I’m fairly confident that had I seen the movie back when it first came out I would have genuinely hated it, perhaps marring the whole franchise for myself. As hokey as it can be, it really has a knack for capturing the strained dynamics of family, a true love of cars, and the problematic people who are a part of the Fast family. (Did I just come up with a sequel idea where the whole crew is settled down and all have mischievous kids who run around and like draw on the cars and get jam all over the back seat? You heard it here first, folks.)
Author: Catherine Haas
Catherine Haas is a native Philadelphian who received her master’s in film history from Columbia University. She is a freelance film programmer, writer, and an avid pug enthusiast.