Baby Driver (2017)
June 28, 2017 9:23 PM - Subscribe

Edgar Wright is back! After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.
posted by axiom (52 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Yeah! JSBX gettin' paid!

The movie was great, too, but you already knew that.
posted by whuppy at 4:32 AM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Man, i loved every second of that movie. I saw it at a super-early screening with my coworkers (hooray for working in media) and I nearly screamed for joy during opening sequence car chase. Edgar Wright even made me love Ansel Elglorp's dumb soft face. And The Hamm has never been hotter! He should be the tragically sloppy leather-jacket wearing villain in every movie. I can't wait to see it again this weekend.

But I have to admit, I have a bunch of questions about the last 5-10 minutes. I don't want to ask them because spoilers but wtf.
posted by queen_mob at 8:55 AM on June 29 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the audience whooped and hollered at the end of the opening sequence. See this in a theater.
posted by whuppy at 9:55 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]


I was so hoping someone had posted this.

- The super long tracking opening shot has been on my mind for 2 full days. (We saw a 7pm Tuesday night show)
- My wife's love of Jon Hamm may have leap frogged Jason Bateman's or Paul Rudd's over his portrayal of a bad guy.
- The soundtrack's on Spotify. Missing a couple songs. (Debora by Trex (lol.) being one of them.)
- My only, very minor, complaint: I could have done without Kevin Spacey.
- If I weren't moving in a week, I suspect we'd be having a Cornetto Trilogy + Scott Pilgrim + Ant Man marathon followed up by another trip to the theatre.
posted by DigDoug at 12:38 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


The super long tracking opening shot has been on my mind for 2 full days. (We saw a 7pm Tuesday night show)

The one from right left as the Subaru takes off? There's another similar shot I thought equally cool a little later on (can't remember if it's the same chase sequence).

I really looked forward to seeing this movie; first film I've gone to on opening night in a while. I liked it, but maybe not as much as I was hoping too. It wasn't as funny as I thought it might be (though the funniest bit, with the masks, was in one of the trailers and therefore spoiled for me). Loved the music synchronization thing it had going for it, but everybody knew Wright would do something cool there. I have to agree with a commenter in an earlier thread (on the blue?) who worried Debora would just be a standard damsel-in-distress trope; she mostly was, though she got a few licks in on Hamm with the crowbar too. Loved the Paul Williams cameo. I thought Spacey was good, and maybe even a little underused. But The Usual Suspects is my favorite movie of all time, so anyone from that cast automatically has my vote for "MORE PLEASE".
posted by axiom at 7:10 PM on June 29 [1 favorite]


Saw it last night and absolutely loved it. The plot is fairly standard and unremarkable, but the action sequences and the music really made it for me - very clever and a lot of fun.

I enjoyed how they used a lot of classic songs which have been sampled (the girl next to me actually started to "Jump Around" when Harlem Shuffle started) and then because of this, towards the end of the film we got the opening bars to Theme from Shaft, but this time it turned out to be a sample, and we got Young MC instead. Nice switch.
posted by jontyjago at 3:08 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


As an Atlanta resident, I loved that for once a movie filmed here was set here (most blockbusters are filmed here at least in part currently). Although the geography was screwed up at times, of course, it felt like Atlanta throughout. Octane Coffee is real. Our endless series of pointlessly wide one way streets and elevated highways is real. And the battle with the crooked cops occurred in the old Pullman Railyard, which is also where one of the big battles in Mockingjay was filmed.

I feel like Atlanta is full of young folks like Baby and Debora, who have just had too much shit happen to them already in their lives, and now they're stuck where they are. Honestly, my one complaint is that I think Baby would have been more into the Atlanta music scene, and there should have been more Atlanta hiphop.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:51 AM on June 30 [11 favorites]


The super long tracking opening shot has been on my mind for 2 full days. (We saw a 7pm Tuesday night show)

The one from right left as the Subaru takes off? There's another similar shot I thought equally cool a little later on (can't remember if it's the same chase sequence).

I'm presuming that this was referring to the opening credits single-take scene of Baby going to get the coffee (harkening back to Shaun of the Dead's long shot trips to the corner shop).
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:29 AM on June 30 [4 favorites]


It didn't pass the Bechdel Test, but I can't remember the last time I had so much fun at a movie. Can't wait to see it again!
posted by chaoticgood at 1:24 PM on June 30 [3 favorites]


OMG, that was so much fun. Wright is such a pure craftsperson; I can remember the last movie that I've that was so perfectly directed and edited.
posted by octothorpe at 6:20 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


I loved this movie wholeheartedly and unabashedly. The opening heist and the coffee trip was so full of joy, I felt like crying and laughing all at once. I walked out with a huge smile on my face. It reminded me of an updated True Romance sort of, but with cars and a better budget. I think that part of why I loved it was that I went to college at GA State in downtown Atlanta and it felt like coming home. There were even some buildings and logos visible in several shots!

I'm going to have to go see it again!
posted by gemmy at 7:21 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


I was referring to this tracking shot of the Subaru as it spins and rounds a corner. There's a second shot like it, only from left to right.
posted by axiom at 9:28 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


Glad to see that this is doing well at the box office as our theater was half empty on a Friday evening and it deserves to be a big hit.
posted by octothorpe at 9:47 AM on July 1


I'm surprised by how many people don't know about it. One of my companions tonight had heard zippo about it.

Edgar Wright's movies are so packed to overflowing with delight that I can almost literally hear him going WHEEEEEEEEEE when I watch them. And he has a focus and discipline for detail that I very much envy.

I may actually love this one more than the Cornetto trilogy. I'll have to watch it a few more times to be sure.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:15 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine posted today at how surprised she was at how great it was. She hadn't heard anything about it and only went because her teenage daughter is a fan of Ansel Elgort but thought it was some sort of teen road movie.
posted by octothorpe at 7:49 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


Oh, yinz have seen Wright's video for Mint Royale, right? It's basically the opening scene of Baby Driver with the steering wheel on the other side.
posted by octothorpe at 8:00 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


The finger snap / gum pop / elevator bell sound edit at 2:02 in that international trailer just kills me. The whole movie is just as good.
posted by How the runs scored at 5:54 AM on July 3 [3 favorites]


I enjoyed the heck out of this movie. The plot is pretty by-the-numbers but the way everything is so well timed makes it just a joy to watch. I got tipped off ahead of time or I might not have noticed but the graffiti song lyrics after the first heist was really nifty.
posted by graventy at 1:27 PM on July 3


You can hear Wright discuss The Driver, an inspiration for Baby Driver, on the podcast The Cannon.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:45 AM on July 4 [1 favorite]


Saw it, was disappointed. I've been lurking this thread for a few days to figure out how to say why I was without sounding like a jerk who just shows up to spoil the party. Then there was a thread on the blue about this, and mediareport said:
"I like Edgar Wright, love that he's getting to do what he wants, and mostly enjoy his fun, stylish, slight movies, but the back end of Baby Driver is a slog that drops most of the cool stylistic moves that make the first half hour so wonderful and gets dumber and dumberer as it limps to a predictable conclusion. Such a disappointment given the inexplicably gushing reviews."
and that, I felt, was a good summation of most of the issues I had with this movie. If I were to add anything it would be that I was most disappointed in the fact that there are only two women in this movie and each of their purposes is to [suffer threat of harm / be harmed] just to motivate a male character. I think that's what kept it most firmly grounded in Dumb Action Movie territory for me. Being extremely clever with your shots and timing and audio cues and music choices and all that can only take you so far if the underlying story is the same old schlock.
posted by komara at 6:46 AM on July 5 [13 favorites]


I've been lurking this thread for a few days to figure out how to say why I was without sounding like a jerk who just shows up to spoil the party.

Ha. Welcome to my favorite club. (I had to drop out of the Fargo discussions when I saw folks all over the net creaming their pants over that ridiculously pretentious and incoherent bowling alley/purgatory episode. Better to just bow out.) But I'm happy to discuss where I think Baby Driver fell apart, since I really enjoyed the first half and think it showed flashes of real genius that were, well, kind of betrayed by the second half.
posted by mediareport at 8:18 AM on July 5 [5 favorites]


I'm on team komara and medareport here.

I didn't hate it, but I don't get to go to movies very often with Mr. Lorensen (due to the existence of Soren Jr.) so we did burn a rare date night opportunity when we could have seen Wonder Woman instead, because I love Edgar Wright (even though I'm kind of meh on heist movies). The first half hour is great but even there I found the story just so totally lacking and Ansel Elgort super boring. I felt like he was cast entirely because of his babyface and not because he made the role pop at all.

The role of women in the plot and just the general thinness of the plot and characters all the way around was really disappointing. It wasn't funny enough to get away with a bunch of cardboard cut-out gangsters and dames as characters.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:32 AM on July 5 [7 favorites]


soren_lorensen, are you my wife? Because we had the same situation and we both came out of it saying, man, that opening car chase + going for coffee was GREAT, followed by 2 hours of mediocrity sliding into incoherent boredom. I love Wright's other work and I had high hopes for this one but that script needed another pass.
posted by nushustu at 8:57 AM on July 5 [4 favorites]


Also more or less enjoyed it, but also don't understand the hugely glowing reviews...And I just want to point out one thing that I thought very early in the movie, and which probably has more to do with Ansel Elgort than anything else: the long "getting coffee" credits scene made me flash back to Spider-Man 3, and not in a good way.

(As if there's such a thing as flashing back to Spider-Man 3 in a good way.)

I'd been ready to stand up for Elgort before I saw this, when people who don't go see tween romance movies (and thus didn't really know him) were questioning his casting...But I'd seen and liked him in exactly one thing: the Carrie remake. I thought he played a good sweet-natured dullard in that. But that might be the limit of his range, because I never warmed up to him completely in this role. It's not like the opening credits scene totally lost me on him or anything, but I thought he came across as awkward, doing that celebratory dancing stuff...To me it was not a great note to start with.
posted by doctornecessiter at 9:41 AM on July 5 [2 favorites]


But that might be the limit of his range, because I never warmed up to him completely in this role.

Same. When he was cast, I assumed he was going to playoff his somewhat dbag-ish persona, and for the first couple scenes I thought that's where things were headed...but nah. I agreed with the LaineyGossip review's thoughts on his performance: I keep thinking what this movie would be like with charisma jackpot Taron Egerton playing Baby—so this ends up being a classic “Table Performance”. He’s not taking anything off the table, but he’s not putting anything on it, either. He’s just at the table.

That review also touches on the other main problem I had with it, which is: Wright can make whatever movie he wants and he is not under orders do make a movie with a female lead, but even as a huge fan of his, it’s getting harder to ignore that he doesn’t invest in female characters. I love Edgar Wright movies but I’m starting to feel like they don’t love me back.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:26 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


I'm a huge Edgar Wright fan, and I gotta say that after a week of sitting with it I found Baby Driver pretty underwhelming. It doesn't help that our local theater had a Cornetto Trilogy night a few days ago, making it really obvious that Baby Driver just doesn't have the character development or charisma in it's leads that the former do. It was certainly exciting while sitting in the theater but now I can hardly remember what happened aside from the scene with the postal worker being shooed away. And seriously, why couldn't Jon Hamm have been killed and Eiza Gonzales be the one kicking vengeful ass? Cause he's the dude in the relationship? Why is Debora so willing to tolerate all the shady bullshit swirling around Baby when they barely have even had a conversation? I do enjoy that the movie is a love letter to people who like to drive fast to good music, but boy does it sag for the last 45 minutes. The tight editing and pacing for the first half hour make the mess at the end more obvious.

The only character who has any sort of arc at all is Doc, and it all weirdly happens for no apparent reason in the last few minutes of the film. "no I'm not helping you out! Oh okay, I'm helping you out- in fact I'll die for you!" wut. Edgar Wright is very good at many of the things he does, but I think having a co-writer is better for him. Also I have no idea why this movie has such non-critical reviews. Hopefully it means more from Edgar Wright, and more will = better. I just don't think this one lives up to the hype.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:29 PM on July 5 [9 favorites]


I wanted to love this movie so bad, but as someone with actual tinnitus, it caused me plenty of actual pain seeing this at The Alamo.

Please someone make a movie with tons of action scenes that doesn't use that awful sound that sets off actual sirens in my head... I swear, it's like I hear it used freaking everywhere these days.

ow
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:50 PM on July 5 [1 favorite]


I love Wright's other work and I had high hopes for this one but that script needed another pass.

I suspect that Wright's work without Simon Pegg suffers a bit in that area -- Wright has the encyclopedic knowledge of cinema as a craft, and Pegg has a bona fide education in film criticism (did a thesis on Film+Marxism/Hegemony). I had some similar issues with Scott Pilgrim that the Cornetto Trilogy handled much better.
posted by tclark at 1:20 PM on July 6 [2 favorites]


I was really excited about this movie. It being Edgar Wright and having Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey around to chew the scenery I went the first moment I had some free time.

Overall though, I left feeling really cold. I had way more sympathy for Gosling in Drive even though he was bashing people's heads in. Baby was this sort of an "aw-shucks I don't kill people but all these bank guards and quick-stop clerks keep ending up dead around me my bad" kinda guy and it really unnerved me. He almost gets everyone he loves murdered but it's okay, he nodded at the Postal worker woman and returned that lady's purse. He's a good* kid. There's even a courtroom character reference scene to really pound it in, he's a good kid!!!!

*white
posted by M Edward at 11:53 AM on July 9 [5 favorites]


So I'd heard nothing about this movie until suddenly a week or so ago I kept hearing its name as this awesome movie that just opened. It sounded vaguely like my kinda thing, then I heard it was by the "Hot Fuzz" guy, so oh hell yeah.

I really liked it, it was great fun, but yeah, it's true that the "Harlem Shuffle" sequence early on, where the lyrics are even synched as graffiti on the street as he passes them... that, and all the early scenes, had a kind of almost whimsical style that doesn't really hold all the way through. In the climactic gun battles, the shots synch to the music but somehow it doesn't fully hit as happening that way.
posted by dnash at 7:28 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Something about everything syncing to the music drove me nuts. I've been seeing that sort of stuff in action trailers recently (F8 was the first) and it felt like too much. Unstructured cacaphony is its own reward.
posted by grumpybear69 at 11:59 AM on July 10


I loved the music / gunfire syncing. I've gotten tired of shaky cam, explosion, more shaky cam you don't know what's going on motion blurrrrrrrr. So if a few movies want to stand out by being over-choreographed I wouldn't mind.
posted by Gary at 3:06 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]




From sapagan's link: Because Baby has two and a half dads: scary, shouty biological dad; lovable deaf, wheelchair-bound foster dad; and weirdly paternal dad-age Jon Hamm as “Buddy,”

Biodad, check. Foster dad, check. Father figure among the heist crew...wait, what? If there's any father figure there, it's surely Kevin Spacey's character, who is literally never even mentioned in the Freudian analysis article, which seems like a pretty major oversight, if not a deliberate omission.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:59 AM on July 11 [7 favorites]


Buddy was the older brother stand-in, if anything.
posted by ODiV at 10:25 AM on July 12 [2 favorites]


This was fun, though I too found it a bit draggy in the end (particularly where Buddy basically became part Terminator or something to keep surviving everything).

But one tiny detail that cracked me up completely was that Buddy and Darling had matching "His" and "Hers" neck tattoos that literally said "His" and "Hers." So perfect for them.
posted by TwoStride at 6:32 PM on July 14 [4 favorites]


I just saw this tonight. There was a bit in the middle of the movie where I started to get disappointed that the characters weren't acting like people, and then it sort of clicked with me and I gave in and rolled with it: this is a heist movie that's a paen to other heist movies. None of the characters are developed; instead they're deliberately flattened and stylized, with emotive expressions and physical grace standing in place of emotional depth. Panto Bullitt. As little dialogue as possible, and the mood all created by music. Once I accepted that, I enjoyed it a great deal.
posted by Diablevert at 8:55 PM on July 14 [5 favorites]


I really enjoyed that immediately after Debora says, "I'm going with you," to Baby, it cuts to the other server yelling "He just shot someone!" to the cops. Make better choices, Debora!
posted by amarynth at 10:58 AM on July 15 [5 favorites]


I really enjoyed it. It wasn't perfect, because you can't stare too hard at the love story or the turn Doc Spacey takes without realizing there is a lot missing there, but I was thoroughly entertained. The film as a whole was like a great exciting pulpy story where each character isn't the important thing, it's how they all combine to get a zoom bang story delivered.
posted by PussKillian at 4:44 PM on July 15


If Quentin Tarantino had directed John Wick, it would be Baby Driver.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 2:08 AM on July 16


Lily James sells the hell out of the love story even if the writing doesn't.
posted by RobotHero at 10:00 AM on July 19 [6 favorites]


I thoroughly enjoyed it, but as soon as I knew it was an Edgar Wright homage to heist movies, I dropped my expectations for plot and character right down. It was sugary fun with no depth, and although one day I'd like to see Wright tackle something meatier I'm happy with this as it is. I'll probably buy the soundtrack.
posted by harriet vane at 2:52 AM on July 23


I think you're nudging up against the soul of it, to wit: Baby Driver and Get Out play it straight, but they’re based in the lost art of parody

I agree that it dips a bit in the second half when some of Wright's more exciting stylistic choices take a backseat to more conventional and talky scenes, but I think the criticisms that the plot was thin or whatever kind of miss the point. At bottom, there are really only a handful of plots out there, and Wright knows that. This movie isn't there to build one of them up into a lot of twists and turns or interesting character analyses, it's there to play with the stylistic tropes and expectations of a genre. And it does a pretty damn good job of that.

The only things I would have done differently would be to try to keep what was great about the first half going stronger in the second (though I don't know how, it wouldn't have occurred to me to make this film in the first place, which is what I love about it), and I would have ended with them gleefully on the run. Taking Baby off the road was like Twain taking Huck Finn off the Mississippi.
posted by middleclasstool at 5:18 AM on July 23


Just saw it. I'm so glad there are other people in this thread who also didn't like it. Reviews have been so glowing that I was starting to wonder if I was crazy.

The characters' actions made no sense! At all! None! WTF?
posted by kyrademon at 2:49 PM on August 1 [1 favorite]


Chekov's rebar
posted by schmod at 6:23 AM on August 2 [4 favorites]


I'm of two minds about the film. On the one hand, I went in looking for and not expecting much more than a bunch of car chases set to music, and on that score it delivered wonderfully.

On the other hand, it seems like it wants to be like Thief or Heist, and at that it fares rather poorly. I think a big part of the problem is that those movies require a clever protagonist, and notwithstanding his skills behind the wheel Baby is a rather dim bulb.
posted by ckape at 1:41 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


I would like to see a good documentary about product placement/embedded advertising. If Apple didn't pay the bill for this film I will eat my ipod. Even great, great films (Get Out) are now ads. Capitalism eats everything.

Having said that, I enjoyed this movie a lot. I am not a fan of watching people get shot, nor do I appreciate women serving only as pretty props and African Americans as supportive instruments to propel white heroes. But, despite that and the Apple ads, I just found this super fun and sweet and compelling. This is the kind of thing that movies are for.
posted by latkes at 2:26 PM on September 18


Sort of a weird thing to focus on, product placement has been standard procedure in movies for generations at this point.
posted by octothorpe at 3:24 PM on September 18


I always find it upsetting and distracting. I mean, sexism is a classic too, but I don't like it. I guess I'm old school. Still, despite that stuff, I did find this movie delightfully entertaining.
posted by latkes at 3:27 PM on September 18


Usually when a company pays for product placement they require it to be a product they are actually selling.
posted by ckape at 4:22 PM on September 18


I saw this tonight. I'm glad to see I wasn't the only MeFite to dislike it.

I was trying to think where, exactly, it started to go wrong. Like obviously the whole last robbery was bad. It could have been redeeming, but it just kept being uncreative and unspectacular from the post office to the parking garage. Plus... that may have been the most boring foot chase I've seen in quite awhile? The parkour bar is pretty high; you gotta do more than slide down the area between two escalators or jump over a hedge from a park bench, and that's been true for decades. I'm not saying the stunts had to be wilder, there just had to be something more interesting about them. Or jokes. Maybe some jokes.

I started to think maybe the turning point was when Bats wanted to stop at Bo's Diner, which is where the plot starts to commit to kind of the most predictable course. Then I remembered the second robbery, with the armored truck and the strangely uncharacterized "patriot" guy, who seemed to cheapen Baby's character by being a better driver than him.

I think that's when I started to squint at the movie, like, if the heists aren't good, and the chase scenes aren't good, and there's no jokes, I don't think this is gonna work because I already saw Drive and it was better than this.

this is a heist movie that's a paen to other heist movies

I knew it was an Edgar Wright homage to heist movies

I wish! The first couple scenes, it sorta seems like it.

The second robbery is grabbing stuff from an open truck. We don't see the third robbery which is over immediately. The numbers and locations of the cameras, drawers, employees, never matter at all, and the LED masks have no payoff. There's no switcheroos, no big complicated final heist. We barely see any loot and there's zero friction over the division/holding thereof. Nobody except Baby seems to even have any kind of skill or specialty. There's no camaraderie. No safe is cracked, no wall drilled through, no guards distracted, no creative means of getting at the loot required. A wholllllle lot of heist elements are not present at all.

I think the film's attitude towards heist movies shows clearly in the planning scenes. Baby doesn't seem to be paying attention or giving a shit, and the movie isn't either. So I'd say It has some trappings of heist movies, but anything heisty is pushed off-screen as much as possible so it can all be about Baby instead.

I dunno, it's like they had the first two scenes filmed, then Edgar Wright died, and they threw away the script and hired some hack who hated the whole idea of heist movies and said, "You finish it."
posted by fleacircus at 2:58 AM on October 15 [3 favorites]


fleacircus yes! The whole thing with heist movies is, they meticulously plan the heist, and show how it will go without a hitch, in the planning. Then when they actually do the heist one of two things always happens. Either the thing goes wrong and they have to improvise, thus ratcheting up the tension, or it turns out the REAL heist includes ripping off members of the team. A lot of good heist movies include both.

This movie included neither for the most part. Hell, it barely including the planning. It was so non-existent that for a bit I wondered if part of the movie got skipped or something. And since it also avoided including any real car chases after the first 20 mins, I have to wonder what Wright was thinking.
posted by nushustu at 2:54 PM on October 16 [2 favorites]


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