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Ford v Ferrari

What kind of geriatric dogshit is this? A two-and-a-half-hour movie about car racing that packs as many thrills as watching paint dry on a Zoom meeting? How did Ford v Ferrari get pitched, let alone made, let alone earn almost universally knob-slobbering reviews? It's a mystery for the ages.

What's funnier than anything that happens in this doctor-recommended substitute for sleeping pills is that it's really the story of how one rich asshole, Henry Ford, Jr. ("Dick" Tracy Letts), spent millions and millions of dollars of his company's money to make another rich asshole, Enzo Ferrari (Remo "Williams" Geroni), look bad. Which, of course, is incredibly compelling and relatable for the average moviegoer.

"But Cinemavenger," you say, "It's got two super popular actors in it." Well, yeah, it does star Matt "Mailer" Damon as Carroll Shelby, the guy who designed Ford's race car, and Christian "Hay" Bale as Ken Miles, the guy who drove it. Damon is a solid B+ actor most of the time, but he's definitely just cashing a paycheck as he gives one of his most forgettable performances ever. Bale usually earns an A grade with his thesping, but here he's hovering more in the C+ range, mostly because, like Damon, he seems to be along for the ride rather than driving anything other than the car.

Based on the true story of Ferrari calling Ford names and Ford deciding to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans to show the old Italian just who the pigheaded fattie really was, Ford v Ferrari follows Damon and Bale around like a three-legged puppy as they build the car, race the car, lather, rinse, repeat.

The movie has delusions of relevance when it brings Ford's right hand man, Leo Beebe, in to fuck with Shelby and Miles for no particular reason. Having a sleazy executive as your main bad guy can absolutely work, but here it feels like a lazy afterthought. I can almost picture the writers, and there were three of them credited for this thing, talking about needing a villain, trying desperately to create a good one, then settling for Beebe. "We'll get Josh Lucas to play him. He gives good asshole. Easy money."

Far from being the roaring adventure it promised, Ford v Ferrari is the highway to the slumber zone.

March 5, 2021

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