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Monday, December 9, 2019

No Politics: Ford v. Ferrari

Been remiss in my blogging duties.

Life keeps getting in the way.

Still dealing with lawyers, brokers, accountants, etc., re my father's estate, and a real estate transaction of my own which I hope to undertake in the next few days. First world problems in the land where the rich are thin and the poor are fat.

OK. I am not going to discuss yet again the horrid impeachment hoax, and I only have begun to read the IG report on the FBI/DOJ actions in the Russia hoax. To be kind, so far, it seems a bit of mixed bag with a little bit for all sides of the debate. Very bureaucratic in its writing style and conclusions. More commentary to follow when I have read the whole thing without having the media tell me what's supposedly in it.

Yesterday, the Diplowife and I took two Diplosons and a Diplo-daughter-in-law to the movies. We went to one of these new-fangled cinemas that have the huge screen, reclining seats, and waiters dashing about, taking overpriced food orders, and serving you while you watch the entertainment. All good fun; I admired the waiters' physical dexterity and night vision. Nothing spilled. Amazing.

What did we see? The one movie I could find with no blatant politics, no social justice nonsense, and no absurd bad-ass lesbian detectives: yes, we went to see, Ford v. Ferrari. The two women in our little band proved a bit reluctant to see "a movie about cars" but, in the spirit of family unity, went along, as long as I kept buying drinks, popcorn, and burgers.

The movie is terrific.

It is about cars, sure, but also about something else.

It is an old fashioned bit of movie-making and story-telling celebrating physical courage, brilliant engineering, wit, commitment, hard-work, family, and all the other components of the ethos that made the West great. It has terrific direction by American James Mangold, a tight, funny, and inspirational script by an Anglo-American writing team, and great racing scenes. The two main actors, neither of whom is my personal cup of tea, Christian Bale and Matt Damon, proved quite good, and managed to put in some very credible performances as the two brilliant, high-testosterone, stubborn auto enthusiasts, British-born racer Ken Miles and iconic American car designer Carroll Shelby, who took on Ferrari and won--with several million dollars in backing from Henry Ford II.

Henry Ford's failed effort to buy Enzo Ferrari's brand led to Ford "going to war in Europe!" Ford became convinced that he had been played by Ferrari, whom he suspected never had any intention of selling his factory to Ford, and vowed revenge! He contracted Shelby, the first American to win at Lemans, to build a car that would beat Ferrari at Lemans, long the preserve of Ferrari. Shelby, in turn, contracted British ex-pat Miles, and they set about doing Henry Ford's bidding. After initially working on a car built by Ford in the UK, Shelby and Miles decided to make their own in California from the ground up--and they built arguably one of the greatest race cars ever, the Ford GT40.

I know that none of this sounds like gripping movie material, but, believe me, it is, thanks largely to the superb direction. It, needless to say, has some wonderful racing scenes and a bitter-sweet--and true--ending to the 1966 Lemans race being driven by Miles.

Go see it on a big screen.

And, by the way, the two women in our group actually enjoyed the movie.

Politics later.

15 comments:

  1. Those eat-in theaters (ours is Cinema Cafe) are the only way we see movies anymore. The tickets themselves are cheaper, and the food prices aren't outrageous like popcorn at a regular theater.

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  2. Diplomad,

    If you liked the movie, there are two documentaries on Netflix that you might be interested in. Both were made by Adam Carolla. One is "The 24 Hour War" which documents the same territory as the movie. The other is "Shelby American" which focuses on Carroll Shelby.

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  3. you're a better man than I. I've basically given up on Hollywood.

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  4. I liked Christian Bale's performance in Empire of the Sun way back in 1987, but that movie had so many other factors that made it really good.
    One of my favourites.

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  5. The Hubs dragged me to this movie and I enjoyed it as well. My reticence wasn't because it was about cars but because it starred Matt Damon. I have to say that it was the best Damon movie in well over a decade.

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  6. Best wishes on dealing with your Father's Estate, sometimes it seems estate issues will never finish.

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  7. Let me put in a plug for the only movie I have seen in a theater in the last several years -- "Midway", about the period from Pearl Harbor to the very costly naval battle at the Midway Islands. Gripping, moving, terrific!

    From what I have previously read about the Battle of Midway, the movie makers tried hard to be historically accurate. The movie gives respectful treatment to the Japanese side, and also to the Chinese who paid a heavy price for assisting Dolittle's Raiders after their bombing raid on Tokyo. Interestingly, the movie was made in part with Chinese money -- Chinese movie-goers apparently like movies in which the Japanese get a bloody nose!

    Being historically accurate, there are no long blond-haired slim lesbians in high heels out-flying Japanese air aces. The only downer about "Midway" is the realization about how far our society has fallen since those difficult days.

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  8. I saw the movie and I thought they got the big things right. A few things, like giving Henry Ford a scary ride in the GT 40 was movie stuff.

    Shelby and Miles did not create the GT 40, they refined it. I got a chuckle because one of the most influential people at Shelby American, Phil Remington, had an almost cameo appearance.

    I saw the movie twice and other than one time where he introduces him as Phil Remington one just see an older guy with a shirt with his name Phil on it. The movie by inference shows his importance but it is never really spelled out. He is in the background.

    Of course the movie is about Miles and Shelby but it was Remington who devised the quick change system for the brake rotors and the aerodynamics of the GT40. I’m on I am sure many other things.

    Miles was working for Shelby from the earliest days with the cobra.

    I agree with you even non-car nuts can enjoy this movie. I think it’s about friendship most of all between Shelby and Miles.

    I was thinking to that Ferrari was playing henry Ford to get more money from Fiat but the fee our sale wasn’t until six years later, in 1969. So was he really playing him? I think with history he was angered that he would lose control of the racing team is what killed the deal and that is what the movie alludes.

    These days there’s few movies that I even bother to see; much less twice but this was one of them.

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  9. https://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2019/12/the-ig-reports-whitewashing-of-fbi-is.html

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  10. I liked your post, but I was a bit surprised at the way you mangled the name of the race; it is not Lemans. It is in fact, Le Mans; two words. Le Mans is actually a city in France, the capital of the Sarthe department.

    I would have expected you as a world traveler, to have known this. Sigh.

    On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and it prompted me to read the book which was the inspiration for the movie; Go Like Hell. Ford, Ferrari, and their battle for speed and glory at Le Mans, by A.J. Baime.

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    Replies
    1. I did indeed mangle and I beg forgiveness from all especially those in my old home town of Losangeles.

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  11. When I was in college, long ago, we used to go to "road races" lost of times. Palm Springs was a favorite. They used the runways. One time, we were driving toward the gate to park when Carroll Shelby driving, I think , a Maserati drove out of the airport and onto surface streets to warm up his car. By the time he was past us he was going about 150. Good old days,.

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