13 Things I Learned While Watching: Speed


13 Things I Learned While Watching: Speed

  1. The Plot: In a post Die Hard/pre 9/11 world Graham Yost writes an action movie using the Die Hard screenplay as a blueprint (ergo: he crosses out the word ‘building’ and replaces it with ‘bus’.) Hans Gruber and his gang of thieves are rearranged into Dennis Hopper. Bruce Willis becomes Keanu Reeves. The cop who buys his pregnant wife Twinki’s is re-imagined as Jeff Daniels. Bruce Willis’ bloody bare feet are transformed into Sandra Bullock, etc., etc, etc.
  2. Sure, Speed is commonly referred to as Die Hard on a Bus. Because that’s what it is. It can’t be accused of being original, but after re-watching it tonight for the first time in a long goddamn time Speed is also something else I’d completely forgotten about. Speed is fun, in the same sort of way that Road House is fun. Or Footloose. I mean, fucking Footloose has no business being anything close to watchable. On paper the plot is downright stupid, but on the big screen it’s something else. That’s just how things work sometimes. I had a goddamn blast watching Footloose as a kid. Just like I had a hell of a good time watching Speed tonight. So you know, the little TV shunning art house hippie hipsters smoking their little trust fund cigarettes can slam it all they want, but I say Speed is necessary. Ergo: the world needs more fun.
  3. Keanu emotes from his forearms, which is still emoting. So leave him alone. Keanu’s forearms should’ve played the main character in I Am Sam instead of Sean Penn.
  4. While watching Speed this time it occurred to me, the way the bus weaves in and out of traffic, bouncing off whatever it needs to bounce off, disobeying basic traffic rules, cutting in front of everyone, behaving as if it owns the entire goddamn road, I mean, I’m not sure if the filmmakers have ever been to Boulder, Colorado, but if you have been to Boulder then it’s almost impossible to watch Speed and not pick up on the fact that the bus in the movie = some sort of eco-friendly metaphor for all the narcissistic assholes who peddle their bikes around this town as if they’re in charge of the goddamn show.
  5. The only difference being that the bus has a valid reason for being an asshole. It’s got a bomb strapped to its mechanical ball sack. The people in Boulder who dress up in their tight spandex pretending to be sponsored by corporations who have no idea who they fucking are, the people who feel like it’s perfectly ok to peddle around with what looks like a sheet of gaudy saran wrap outlining their ass cracks, the people who get mad if you treat them like vehicles when they want to act like pedestrians or pedestrians when they’re pretending they’re vehicles, these loopy fucks have no intelligent reason for behaving the way that they do. The cyclists in Boulder tend to feel that as long as they’re wearing a ridiculous costume that hugs their genitals in the sort of way that only tight neon can hug genitals and their protruding shoulder blades can be easily mistaken for belonging to an emaciated cadaver, this gives them the right to pull in front of whoever they want to pull in front of and feel superior to the rest of us poor shmucks who are driving our cars because we need to get to work.
  6. The bus in Speed behaves like an asshole because it’s an un-sentient being whose actions are being dictated by a goddamn madman. The bicyclists in Boulder possess consciousness and some form of free will and all that, and yet they still choose to behave like the goddamn Speed bus.  
  7. Keanu Reeve’s hairline is almost perfect, like a Red Baron pizza or that one song by Enya
  8. Not so fun fact: Joss Whedon re-wrote 90 something percent of the dialogue for Speed but was denied a shared screenwriting credit because (according to the new book Joss Whedon: The Biography and me listening to almost all of the Graham Yost Speed DVD commentary track) Graham Yost can be a dick.
  9. In Speed there’s a character named Helen. In the movie Helen is a nervous nail biter who thinks she’s the most important person on screen. She ends up falling out of the bus in an attempt to save herself, even though she knows that by saving herself she’s dooming everyone else she’s left behind to sad explosions and the C-4 scent of goodbye. Ergo: Runaway bus movie imitates life.
  10. Pop Quiz Hotshot: Your wife leaves you for a metro card with a dick and your car’s been hung up in the shop like an abandoned Tempo for 4 years. What are you going to do?
  11. Write my own Die Hard movie spec script maybe. That’s what I could do. Write: Die Hard on a Kite. A kite is rigged to blow if it drops within 7 feet of the ground and/or gets tangled up in some power lines or a bunch of trees.
  12. Obstacles which will be used in order to create dramatic tension:
               wind fluctuation
                a small child eating ice cream who totally gets in the way
                at one point maybe it looks like it might rain
    Also there’s a long action scene in which the hero has to run to keep the kite up because the wind has gone away without saying goodbye. Screaming things as he’s running. Stuff like “Get out of the way!” or “Get OUT of the way!” (Kite as metaphor for penis or meaning of life)
  13. Being that this is the way the world works, there are the inevitable whispers of Hollywood’s plan to remake Speed. Various directors are being considered, and because the big studios seem to take some sort of sick pleasure in fucking with the movies we grew up loving I portend trailers for the brand new Speed reboot: Tyler Perry’s Medina Takes The Bus will be hitting Youtube soon.

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