The Fate of the Furious

This movie could have been a bomb, but so what?

The eighth instillment of the 'Fast' franchise has already pulled in $432.2 million internationally. 

With only hours left in the weekend, ‘The Fate Of The Furious’ is on track to shatter the opening-weekend box office record set by ‘The Force Awakens’ in 2015.

As predicted by pundits, the eighth edition of the film series performed hugely in the worldwide box office in its opening weekend. In North America alone it earned $100.2 million – though, as Comic Book Resources note, this was actually lower than expected.

However, the movie went above-and-beyond for fans internationally pulling in $432.2 million which leaves the film at a projected total of $532.5 million.

If you're going to evaluate these films as if they were serious, thought-provoking treatments on family, international car theft, and mayhem, you could sit and dismantle them one by one. The entire series spans the careers of everyone involved. I'm not going to write a serious review. No spoilers here. I'm just going to give my reaction.

One, the whole thing is lacking in the Paul Walker department. Even CGI Paul Walker would have been welcome. Something. Anything. It's really sad, and Scott Eastwood is no Paul Walker.

Two, everything is implausible, but that's okay.

Three, Charlize Theron is a terrific villain. Hollywood should probably notice this.

Four, you can see why Dwayne Johnson and Vin Diesel don't get along. They are two alphas in a world full of wisecracking betas. This film looked like it took forever to shoot. If anyone or anything were to delay filming on such a complicated movie, I would get pissed, too.

Five, the real star of all of this should be Michelle Rodriguez, and she should get her own franchise. She's a tremendous star and is allowed to be tough and resilient and powerful in these films, but just not enough.

All in all, it was worth it and I was not disappointed. I did not arrive with huge expectations. They spent every penny of their budget well, and used more stunt persons than actual actors, it looked like.

The Sad Story of Melanie Brown

You don't need to be famous to suffer the effects of domestic abuse:

The first public warning sign came in December 2014, when Mel B was absent from a taping of the reality-competition series X Factor. Viewers at home were told that the pop star had fallen ill, but eyebrows were raised when the former Spice Girls singer appeared on the program the following evening with bruises on her arms and cheek. Mel B’s mother, Andrea, took to Twitter to insinuate that her daughter’s then-husband, Stephen Belafonte, was behind the bruising.

“On average It takes 30 beatings 4 a woman to leave abusive man how sad more should b done 4 these victims!!” she tweeted. Belafonte denied hitting his wife; Mel B remained silent at the time, only to tell the tabloids two months later: “No, my husband didn’t hit me. No, I didn’t get held hostage. Me and my husband are madly in love.” 

She won’t be silent anymore.

According to TMZ, Mel B filed a restraining order against Belafonte on Monday, alleging a vicious cycle of physical and emotional abuse. The singer, 41, claims in her declaration that her ex—a middling movie producer, and no relation to Harry—would regularly “beat me down to let me know he was in charge.” In July 2012, Mel B alleges that, on the eve of taping an X Factorsegment with the pop superstar Usher, Belafonte became green with jealousy, and punched her in the mouth. Two months later, she says that he not only punched her in the face again following her London Olympics performance, but also dragged her across the carpet, causing rug burns. Mel B shares that she tried to leave her husband time and again since they were married in 2007, but says he “threatened me with violence and threatened to destroy my life in every possible way… destroy my career and take my kids away from me.”

Horrible. I hope she gets the help she needs. Now is a good time to remind ourselves that the current state of politics in this country has further marginalized women. We need to focus on resources for people who aren't famous and who are suffering from abuse.

The World Continues to Not Make Sense

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What the ever-loving hell is going on with this country?

What’s a misconception that people have about you?
[Another long pause.] They think I’m a party animal, which … I am a party animal. I mean, that might be one thing. But I am a party animal. But on the other hand, I haven’t … I’m now extremely moderate and … I actually stopped smoking pot almost a year ago.

Mazel tov. That’s not easy. I’m also in the process of trying to quit.
Oh, really?

Yeah, I had a problem with it.
Why? Just too much?

It messes with my head and makes me less productive.
Yeah, that was a little bit of my issue. Just 30 solid years of just partying too fucking hard.

What do you do to keep from relapsing?
Well, like, last night, someone had — not just good herb but sativa; really good sativa. There’s a joint, and beautifully rolled. I like a beautifully rolled … and I just was like, I mean, I’ve gone this long. It would be weird to just be like, “Okay, let me have a hit off that,” and then suddenly go back to smoking too much, which is … I don’t have a problem at all with smoking. I think it’s great. I think it’s a great drug, in terms of … Even cops say that the side effect is euphoria. Or the … what do you call it?

The effect?
Right. The effect of it is euphoria. But when you’re doing it all the time, it just becomes … Well, you know. I feel like it was keeping me from being emotionally available. I really don’t want this interview to turn into a whole thing about that.

Well, congratulations. It’s not easy.
I still drink. But I try to be moderate with the drinking, too.

Woody, good luck to you man. An entire nation of people trying to escape from their own nightmares is looking up to you tonight.