Chris Locke, for Splotch! here, guest correspondent for Cinema Sips (and husband of Liz Locke).
On the surface, Mad Max: Fury Road (Disc/Download) is a two-hour car chase, with a heavy dose of shoot-em-up, which makes it easy to see why my wife skipped seeing it in favor of some Jane Austen / Currer Bell movie with lots of stuffy accents and wooden buttons. But Proust and Joyce don’t really fit the Splotchlife Criteria for Good Movies.
Three ingredients indicate huge potential for a high-quality movie. Dust, dried blood, and fast cars. It’s not that all good movies have these things, or that all movies with these things are good. It’s just that in the Venn Diagram of Good Movies, there is a huge overlap between the circles that contain them.*
The problem is, my wife judged this movie based on the trailer, which doesn’t serve it justice. Mad Max: Fury Road is a wild ride filled with themes of redemption, reluctant commitment, survival of the underdog, and once the viewer realizes it’s really not about Max, the whole thing changes. This is the story of Furiosa, a tough-as-nails woman risking her life to save other more vulnerable women. And where does she take them? To the land of women, of course! It’s an authentic feminist dream wrapped in an action burrito of explosions and motorcycles, and when you look for the parallel romance stories (between Nux and Capable, but also the classic “enemies-to-lovers” pairing of Max and Furiosa), there is certainly enough to entertain any open-minded person.
Still not convinced? Look at it as an allegory of our current times. The whole story revolves around a bunch of warmongering starving diseased sycophants blindly following a sadistic obese tyrannical maniac who causes their hardships, hoards the resources, holds the power to save the people, and convinces the less fortunate to blame themselves. “Do not, my friends, become addicted to water. It will take hold of you, and you will resent its absence!” he says, as he dumps their most precious resource down the side of a dirty rock cliff, then shuts it off before they can get what they need. This guy is a real piece of work.
The main characters try to escape their situation and then (SPOILER ALERT) realize the best thing they can do is not to escape, but to go back to where they live and fix it. They overthrow the tyrannical government and give the people what they need. It’s a real breath of fresh air, especially given the situation we are currently suffering through. The greatest thing that comes from this movie: the message that you don’t have to escape. You can stay and fight for change.
My wife has come around on this movie, but she needed a frozen beverage to do it. She said all the dust and heat made her uncomfortable. Even while we were sitting in air conditioning. Whatever. So if you’re a ninny, watch Mad Max: Fury Road with this Frozen Milk Punch. If you’re a real man, sprinkle some dirt in a rusty can of warm water and call it a day.
Frozen Milk Punch
1 cup Whole Milk
1/2 cup Bourbon
1 cup Crushed Ice
1 tsp Vanilla extract
2 Tbsp Simple syrup
1 cup Vanilla Ice Cream
Blend together first six ingredients until creamy. Garnish with a pinch of grated nutmeg.
*Footnote: Secondary indicators include (but not limited to) apocalypse, kidnapping, homemade weapons. Tertiary indicators include amateur surgery and a scene where the protagonist hangs upside-down from a moving vehicle with their face inches off the ground. Unfortunately, this movie does not contain any of the following: a cop close to retirement, a vendetta, a briefcase full of unmarked bills, Nicholas Cage, double cross, horses (as transportation, never as pets), a time bomb, or a heist. The salvation of the harem may be interpreted as a caper for academic purposes.