Cronenberg bores Jarv shitless: Fast Company

This film is garbage. I thought Rabid would be the worst film in Cronenberg’s filmography, being as that is also rubbish, but this terrible wart of a film sits there glaring malevolently at me. It doesn’t even feel like a Cronenberg film. In fact, what it feels like is some sort of god-awful lifestyle movie of the week; some sort of shitty and ill-conceived biopic of a redneck drag racing icon.

William Smith plays Lonnie “Lucky Man” Johnson. One of the most humourless and charmless asspickles ever to drive a rocket car in a straight line. He drives for Fastco, and is supported by his loyal mechanics, up and coming young driver and professional horndog Billy (Nicholas Campbell), and in dispute with cost cutting cardboard villain Phil Adamson (John Saxon). They travel round North America driving something called, without a shred of irony, a “funny car” in a straight line for a crowd of literally dozens of bored fans. They also fight with Phil, and Lonnie is having some sort of dispute that transcends boredom with number 2 driver Gary “The Blacksmith” Smith.


I feel like a bit of a bastard here, because I’m going to give Fast Company  a monumental kicking and I don’t want to do that to a Cronenberg film. This could, honestly, have been directed by absolutely anyone- it doesn’t contain a single Cronenberg theme, and there’s none of his directorial touches. It’s crushingly dull, but to be fair I’ve got an inkling that this is because it’s about drag racing, and clearly nothing on the planet is as boring as watching 2 cars go in a straight line. He really emphasis this by having sequence after sequence of cars revving and revving then going forward for a quarter-mile. It’s massively boring and irritating. Later Cronenberg would at least have had Lonnie go and savagely mount one of the groupies every time he makes the car explode (which is a few), but even that concession to weirdness is beyond Dave at this stage.

"I agree, Drag Racing is hugely dull"

A huge amount of the problems, in a film with more problems than a 13-year-old schizophrenic goth with a penchant for cutting herself, come from the sub-par contradictory script. For example, we know that Phil is a nefarious corporate bastard because we see him take a bribe for having Lonnie appear at some redneck track, and yet he spends the rest of the film trying to get Lonnie fired. Is Lonnie his meal ticket or not? Or how about that early on Phil states that he doesn’t give a fuck about winning, and yet he spends the 2nd half of the film trying to arrange it so the new Fastco driver, Gary, wins. Which is it, Phil, do you care about winning or not?

The only 2 reasons to watch the film, and I don't mean fat swine Murphy

Then there’s the acting, which is shit. William Smith is a charisma vacuum as Lonnie, John Saxon radiates the evil of a sedated Care Bear, Campbell is at least having a bit of fun, but he should do really, being as he spends most of the film persuading random women to take their tops off then pouring Fastco oil over their naked tits, which is probably meant to be some sort of cutting critique of corporate America, but is really just an excuse for gratuitous oiling of breasts. And, in a testament to how boring and annoying the film is, even Billy’s Jugg related antics grew tiresome after a while.

The score is fucking awful. It’s some kind of poor (as in destitute and giving hand jobs for crack poor) man’s Bruce Springsteen wailing a series of fucking terrible specially commissioned soft rock anthems. Aside from “the music” the rest of the film consists of loud motor noises. Cracking folio work there, I don’t think.

"Shhh, something exciting's about to happen"

Really, though, the problem with this film is that it is ridiculously dull. Monumentally dull. I just didn’t give a monkey’s about the “conflict” because there just wasn’t any. Lonnie wanders round like he’s in the process of having a fucking stroke, Billy whines petulantly about how it’s his turn to get the “glory” of driving (quite what glory there is driving a shitty car 12 feet in front of 7 deaf retards is lost on me), Gary glowers in the background, and Phil keeps being up to no good, but in a really dull way.

"Now, remember to drive in a straight line"

The problem is, as I’ve said above, Drag Racing is a (for want of a better word) sport that only the most stupid banjo-playing result of inter-family marriage could find interesting. Cars go in a straight line. One occasionally explodes to enliven the boredom, but nobody ever gets hurt. However, mostly cars just go in a straight line. They drive up to the mark, rev a lot, drive forward a wee bit, then reverse, rev a bit more, drive forward a bit again, then reverse, rev a bit more, then the race starts and they go really quickly in a straight line (no chance of overtaking because they’re in different lanes) before deploying a parachute to stop. Crowd goes wild, Jarv looks at Mrs. Jarv who has a face that promises severe retribution if film doesn’t improve. Film fails to improve.

Overall, this is a very, very bad film. It’s crushingly dull, annoyingly simple and represents another enormous step back for Cronenberg. It’s painful watching, there is nary a shred of interest and if I didn’t know better then I’d suspect that he’d done it purely for the paycheck. Christ knows what he was thinking of. I can’t bring myself to “Murph” a Cronenberg film, so I’m hauling the dreaded Orangutan of Doom out of retirement:

The Orangutan of Doom: 0 Changs

Damn you Dave, this bucket of shit has condemned me to Sex and the City 2 in the next few days. Thanks, mate.

Thank fuck I’m now through the first “shit period” as next up is his first borderline great film: The Brood.

Until next time,


The ranking  order so far:

  1. Shivers
  2. Rabid
  3. Fast Company

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About Jarv

Workshy cynic, given to posting reams of nonsense on the internet and watching films that have inexplicably got a piss poor reputation.

35 responses to “Cronenberg bores Jarv shitless: Fast Company”

  1. lordbronco says :

    “some sort of shitty and ill-conceived biopic of a redneck drag racing icon.”

    That alone makes this picture sound like a masterpiece.

    OK, Now I’ll read rest of review…

  2. Tom_Bando says :

    And, according to Noted_Sage Jarv, and I quothe, “The problem is, as I’ve said above, Drag Racing is a (for want of a better word) sport that only the most stupid banjo-playing result of inter-family marriage could find interesting…..” ohhh my.

    This hadda be the funniest review I’ve read here yet. HAW. Good one Jarv. I’ll sure to avoid this one at all costs.

    I like William Smith too-so you GOTTA know this was a mistake.

    • Jarv says :

      He’s terrible in this Tom. His one moment of non-suckitude was punching out Phil.

      • Tom_Bando says :

        Drag racing was more popular in the sixties and 70’s, you don’t really see it on the idiot box so much now. Instead you get endless nascar racing or CSI: Kardashian Apprentice, shit like that.

    • lordbronco says :

      Hear Hear-It’s Right bloody Un-American to disrespect our fine institution of Single Lane Driving Fast In A Straight Line At High Speeds Racing.

      And on our most holiest of Drag Racing Holidays-Memorial Day no less.

      For shame, good sir, FOR SHAME.

  3. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    Are you sure you weren’t fooled? This doesn’t even sound like a Cronenberg movie. What it sounds like is the kind of lame older-than-dirt, photo-shopped cover 3.99 dvd I’ve seen large, unwashed trailer folk fishing for in the Walmart DVD bin.

    You know the one. When you finally open up the dvd, the inside of the box smells like a tire fire.

    Seriously, Dave, you made this?

    • Jarv says :

      It isn’t remotely like any of the other Cronenberg films from the period, and wouldn’t fit in nowadays.

      He must have needed the money.

      Thank fuck I’m over the hump now, from The Brood onwards, all of them are mint.

  4. Echo the Bunnyman says :

    Mint? Really?

    How far up are you going, because Im thinking that Crash is a long ways from mint.

  5. ThereWolf says :

    I’ve seen about 20 minutes of this, some years ago now.

    Verily I say unto thee – it was tedious. I switched it off. Poo.

  6. M. Blitz says :

    Ha, well at least you got it out of the way…

    I still don’t think Rabid is THAT bad, but this one I never bothered to track down.

  7. Stuntcock Mike says :

    This is Canadian Crap at it’s finest.

    Still better than Eat My Dust.

  8. xiphos0311 says :

    Does anyone actually like Drag Racing?

    Yep I do it kicks ass live and when a car eventually crashes or explodes its pretty spectacular. Fact of the matter the only reason anybody really watches any motor sports is for the crashes. Open wheel is the best for that. Those vehicles get airborne and disintegrate.

    Tom drag racing is popular at least out west. If you go to tracks in California, Arizona, Las Vegas on a race weekend they are usually packed. The one race I went to in Michigan was also full.

    On TV drag racing is carried almost exclusively on the race network or whatever it’s called now and it use to get good ratings for such a market specific network. With the rise of ESPN and its rigid commitment to covering only Northeast teams in Baseball, basketball and football and the demise of shows like Wide World of Sports about all sports but especially niche ones, off of the beaten path activities like drag racing have been banished from major networks.

    • Stuntcock Mike says :

      Old school NHRA is the shit. Nothing better than watching Shirley Muldowney get her eyelids welded open in a Funny Car fire.

      Seriously though, I’ll take drag racing over the chiclet-toothed backwoods hick Nascar sheeeot anyday.

      • xiphos0311 says :


        The other good thing about watching drag racing live is the talent in the stands. Lot’s of tarted up skanky white trash hot bimbos go to the track.

        Not that I like NASCAR but the back woods hillbilly tag doesn’t fit it anymore. According to market research, which keeps bearing this out, College educated women and suburban white collar families are the two largest groups of NASCAR consumers and have been for about a decade.

    • Tom_Bando says :

      Yeah I agree w/ you on the narrowcasting that they have nowadays Xiphos–I miss the whole Wide World of Sports thing. I’m gonna puke if I have to see Fox baseball show either NY team or the Sox or Phils again. You know there ARE 26 other teams out there, guys….

      • xiphos0311 says :

        WWoS was excellent. Major boxing matches on a weekend on broadcast TV. Ski jumping, judo, steeplechase all could be on one episode. There is something to be said for being a generalist.

        I agree Fox MLB coverage is about as wide and varied as the four letter network’s jibber jabber.

    • MORBIUS says :

      ESPN2 carries Drag Racing on Saturday (qualifying) and Sunday (elimination and finals) afternoons.
      Pro Stock
      Funny Car
      Top Fuel
      and sometimes motorcycles.

      • xiphos0311 says :

        Thanks Morbius I forgot about those since I hardly watch ESPN anymore. Unless it’s ESPN Ocho because if it’s almost a sport it’s on the Ocho.

    • Jarv says :

      Well, I think all motorsport is dull as shit, to be honest, but when you can’t overtake and there are no corners?

      Honestly, I’d rather watch paint dry (and I say this as someone who made a dedicated effort to watch cricket in the rain on the weekend.)

  9. Tom_Bando says :

    Jarv gets two goat hooves up (on the Almada scale) for his creative use of Tags on this one in particular. Murphy gives giant Robots (and their movies) a bad name. Mikey Bay well that goes w/out saying.

  10. Tom_Bando says :

    More wisdom from the Almadan Idiot…..

    “It’s obvious that THE HOBBIT is heavily controlled by the accountants and beam counters. Those vultures must be smelling huge riches of the LOTR kind, and they must want to lead the movie in the “right” direction, or rather, the solely commercial direction. Any filmmaker with any artistic talent and integrity must feel that’s it’s pure hell to be working with the beam counters who are in charge of THE HOBBIT.

    Don’t be suprise if some hack will be chosen to direct THE HOBBIT. JJ Abrams, anybody? I bet the brainwashed geekoids must be clamoring for his name, as he’s their favorite souless corporate used-cars-salesman hack of the moment.”

    I REALLY really wish JJ Abrams was named now to direct Hobbit, just to make this guy’s eyes pop out.

    Though what would REALLY work, of course, would be for Mikey Bay to bring to the world of Tolkien what he did for Hasbro’s.

    Get ready for Giant Robots on Erebror, yessir.

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