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Monday, December 23, 2019

Ford v Ferrari: Good Flick for Fans of Vroom Vroom



The trailers for "Ford v Ferrari" are very stylish. I thought the entire film would be as stylish and that I'd like it, even though I knew it was mostly a guy flick about cars. Well, not so much.

"Ford v Ferrari" is a lot of vroom vroom, men with motor oil on their faces, guys punching each other, guys clapping each other on the back, guys bonding over car guts, guys drinking beer, guys giving each other death stares, guys insulting each other, guys daring and double daring each other, guys modifying car hoods, car brakes, car doors, and car weights, and some more, a lot more, vroom vroom.

There is a woman – just one – and she mostly stands off to the sidelines looking fondly, proudly, and tearfully at her man. Yeah, I got bored, but I woke myself up for the final stretch.

"Ford v Ferrari" depicts Henry Ford II's effort to defeat Enzo Ferrari's cars at the 24-hour Le Mans race in France during the 1960s. Christian Bale gives a fun performance as Ken Miles, the WW II veteran and race car driver who drove the Ford car at Le Mans. Matt Damon is rather bland as Carroll Shelby, former racer, engineer, and Ken Miles wrangler. Tracy Letts, the playwright who wrote "August Osage County," gives an understated but arresting performance as Henry Ford II.

Josh Lucas, who was so good as the romantic lead in "Sweet Home Alabama," plays a villain version of Leo Beebe, a Ford executive. I knew nothing about Beebe but I found his depiction in the movie to be cartoonish. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a story headlined "Philly Friends Of Leo Beebe Say ‘Ford V Ferrari’ Gets The Ford Exec Wrong." The article quotes a slew of people who knew Beebe and who say he was a great guy. Shame on "Ford v Ferrari" for turning him into a cartoon bad guy in what may be the only movie to feature him as a character. And please make Josh Lucas a romantic lead again.

Overall, a good movie, but not so good that it could keep me, not a car lover, fully engaged. The lengthy scenes of Bale as Miles driving for 24 hours around the track at Le Mans gave me a sense of why racers enjoy what they do.

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