Confession: Up until last Friday, I had never seen The Fast and the Furious. I know. I know. Like many other people, I suspect, I started with Fast Five, which marked a shift for the franchise into bigger-budget, heist movie territory. Enjoyed it. Ate up movies six and seven. Yet, somehow, I never went back and watched the film that started all that dumb, glorious, The Rock-flexing-his-way-out-of-a-cast nonsense. It’s not quite to the level of me having only watched Jaws like two months ago (shut the hell up), but still, there was a tiny kernel of shame burning hot in my heart.
So what better way, I thought, to watch The Fast and Furious than at BBQ Film’s Toretto Family Cookout, held last Friday in Brooklyn? BBQ Films’ other movie-themed events, which pair parties with screenings, piqued my interest: They’ve done Ghostbusters HQ, Beetlejuice’s wedding, the Enchantment Under the Sea dance from Back to the Future, REX MANNING DAY. “Surrounded by superfans of varying levels of tipsiness who will lose their shit every time a new character shows up on-screen” isn’t the way you want to see every movie—or even most movies—but there are certain instances where just such a rowdy communal atmosphere can only help. (True story: I was once at a screening of a Buster Keaton movie *adjusts monocle* where this elderly gentleman told off a girl for laughing. FOR LAUGHING. AT A COMEDY.)
Lo, I was right. It was a really fun event. There was about an hour for mingling before the screening started, which was just about right for my generally party-averse self. (Part of this is that I’m not really a drinker; despite being told that “you can have any brew you want, as long as it’s a Corona” as I entered the event space, I opted for a water instead. Because I’m a rebel like that.) There were fancy-ass cars (I can offer no more accurate description than that) to look at and props for photos, and Ja Rule karaoke (that I did not participate in; any YouTube videos you find are of my evil twin), burgers ‘n’ fries, and a tattoo station (more on that later). It was high-energy without being obnoxiously packed.
Look at that! There’s breathing room in there!
*The people who, when the movie played for the first three minutes or so sans sound, proceeded to provide their own soundtrack in the form of VROOM VROOM noises.
*The guy who gave me a Peach Tea Snapple. I appreciate you, man.
*The Nitehawk Cinema employee who chose the video of baby Vin Diesel breakdancing for the pre-roll.
*The woman accepting money for the Paul Walker Foundation, because A) that is a good cause, and B) we commiserated about our shared tendency as knitters to buy more yarn than we strictly need, which isn’t a line of conversation that I necessarily expected to be explored during a Fast and Furious party. I live life one skein of yarn at a time.
*My friend Rudie, for successfully ignoring my pleas that he get a “Ride or Die” tramp stamp at the free tattoo station. (Yes, they were real tattoos. Yes, people actually got them. These are the designs.) Ignoring my blatant and persistent attempts at trolling displays a real strength of character.
*Whoever made the decision to decorate the Ja Rule karaoke area with framed pictures of Ja Rule, making it look as if he were dead and the entire event had been set up as some sort of memorial shrine.
*The anonymous hero who led the chant of “KISS. KISS. KISS” during the final scene, when police officer Paul Walker cements his loyalty to criminal-with-a-heart-of-gold Vin Diesel by letting him escape instead of arresting him.
You are not my friends. You are my family.
You can check out BBQ Films’ website for info on upcoming events; according to the information I was able to get FOR JOURNALISM, there are a few in the works, though nothing’s been 100% firmed up yet, so if you want to campaign on Twitter for a drug-fueled The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T tribute, there is still time.