The Fast and the Furious (Watch Culture EP. 1)

So, you’re sitting at home on a Friday night and you want to watch something cool, but you just realized you don’t even know what’s cool anymore. Ya feel me?

Well, this is it, the latest and greatest venture on timotheories.

Ever so timely, and thanks one more time to Andre Lindo for inspiring me to come up with a new series of shows talking about Culture, from my perspective.

We’re doing something to challenge those top 10 lists and review videos that are ever so popular, creative cuties. These are going to be shorter videos with a more intimate feel and will feature myself at the helm (most of the time), guests, and and lots of unbridled passion about the topics at hand.

These ain’t your momma’s review shows, because we’re not going to focus only on the new and novel – Nope, we are going to inject into your consciousness the culture you need to navigate this crazy world of ours.

But enough of that, I think this show should be able to speak for itself, Watch Culture episode one is going to dive right into the thick of it, and it features my all-time favourite movie to watch when I’m sick, when I’m excited, when I’m ringing in the new year, and sometimes just to have on in the background when I’m painting or drawing. That’s right, we’re opening this can of worms with an episode on The Fast and the Furious,

Hit the jump to watch this video or stick around to stay on the site. Either way, This is going to be a fast paced 6 and half minutes of passion, fun, and entertainment on an amazing film that spawned an even better franchise.

theories Summarized

Look how happy I am just to talk about this movie, dear readers! And we haven’t even dug in just yet. I have so many more things to say about this movie, other movies and tv shows, and heck, who knows, I may dip my toes into some other creative channels. But you’re just gonna have to stick around to see what shows up next on timeotheories. Campfire theories continue to unfold and I’m stoked for it.

But you know what’s even more important here? Your feedback. Tell us what you think in the comment section, subscribe to the reading list for more great content, and please share this with your fellow lovers of creativity. We do this for you! Yet another theory to unravel folks.


Spoilers Ahead (The Fate of the Furious)

I really do love The Fast and the Furious.

The original movie, with all of it’s flaws, is a clear derivation from the equally ridiculous Point Break, and all of the challenges that came with telling a story about a cop gone native.

The story was simple – Brian, as played by the late Paul Walker, was an undercover cop investigating street racers in hopes of uncovering a group of thieves that committed larceny using their cars. Dom, played by Vin Diesel, was the head of one of these gangs, and because of their mutual love of street racing, and Brian’s interest in Dom’s sister Mia, a friendship was born.

One of the things that haters of these kinds of movies seem to forget is that all films are stories. Some of us just happen to prefer certain story themes over others. But all good stories function well at both exaggerating and limiting elements of a tale in hopes of constructing a narrative that affects you on a personal level. I stand by the statement that these are good films.

The original The Fast and the Furious spoke to me not only because of the chemistry between it’s two male leads, but because of how the cinematography was handled, as not once did any shot remain static. Additionally, the attention to crafting relationships with dialogue, as well as the semi-plausibility of it all were essential – I could imagine an undercover cop falling in love with the sister of a suspect, and becoming friends with that suspect and his crew because the cop related to them at some level.

We Ride Together, We Die Together

Each of the subsequent films worked to build on this formula of bonding and added in details to flesh out the stories of Brian O’Connor and Dominic Toretto. Turning them from friends into brothers. This is where the mention of “family” in parodies later becomes brutally apparent. That said, family is what has made these films interesting, the glue that binds them together. Brian gave Dom a 10 second car at the last minute of The Fast and the Furious out of respect and love, but also because another of his best friends, Roman Pearce, was a criminal that he couldn’t/wouldn’t help. In 2 Fast 2 Furious we learned more about Brian’s past, which helped us better appreciate the first film.

Throughout the series Brian realized that family beats out everything, and it became the backbone of his purpose in the stories. Dom served as the father figure that would bring everyone together, and would fight for his loved ones at all costs.

As the franchise evolved, the action sequences and set up for each story became more elaborate, partly because of fan expectations, but also because of a theory I have which demonstrates the heroic nature of the protagonists. They could achieve the impossible, but most importantly, they were at the core, a group of misfits bound by love. They started out as street racers, but were really superheroes underneath it all. This is why when Paul Walker died mid-production of Furious 7,  I had hidden reservations about the future of the franchise.

This Time It Ain’t Just About Being Fast

But when the first trailer for The Fate of the Furious came out, I was still stoked.

Charlize Theron was cast, and I heard rumours that Helen Mirren was a last minute addition. I even did a Facebook live post while I watched the trailer. And as time went on, I enjoyed each of the subsequent trailers that cropped up. Maybe they had found a way to move on without Paul Walker.

After all, the series had managed to progress from robbery and street racing, to drug dealers, to heists, to fighting against international terrorism, why would this film be any different?

Well for a few reasons.

Without going into great detail about the plot of this film, I’ll start by saying that I was glad to go see it, and director F. Gary Gray has done the series justice in terms of cinematography and action sequences, on top of that we get to see the most dramatic portrayal of Dominic Toretto to date.

But it doesn’t have quite that same balance without the glue that is Brian O’Connor. Luke Hobbs, played by Dwayne Johnson, is way too big of a star to properly co-share the screen time with Dom, and adding in former villain Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), just feels dirty and wrong. Lest we forget that Deckard killed Han and several military types en masse as revenge for what happened to his brother Owen.

Deckard then becomes a sort of goofy trigger-happy member of the team in the last act, which, while entertaining, drove me completely nuts. Why couldn’t one of the other members of the team seen more screen-time, like Roman, Tej or Letty? Heck, I’d even have been happier to see more Ramsey, but less Ramsey as object of competition between Roman and Tej.

theories Summarized

In brief, F8 loses some of the charm and brotherhood that made The Fast and the Furious feel like home to me, though to be clear, Dom never really does turn his back on family, in fact, the twist is too good. It perfectly fits with his character. But, if this is a set up for what ends up being a satisfying trilogy conclusion to the Fast franchise post Paul Walker, I hope it’s all worth it.

It could just be a theory, but maybe Scott Eastwood could replace Paul as the new guy with good hair?


How To Get Good At Anything Within A Day (Accelerated Learning, Josh Kaufman)

Always be closing.

That’s one of those expressions that a lot of people know about but few follow through on. It is supposedly a great philosophy when it comes to sales. I’ve personally never seen the movie, shocker I know, but it differs only from the play on one count. You know what I’m referring to, the scene which Alec Baldwin was injected into to produce this famous speech.

Always Be Closing

The sequence sends chills down my spine literally every time I watch it. But here’s the thing, while I haven’t seen the whole movie, I have seen Boiler Room. Another movie about sales, and one which features the talents of Ben Affleck, Giovanni Ribisi, and Vin Diesel – Some of my favourite actors.

If I’m being brutally honest, I think Ben Affleck does an even better job of upping the ante on this line of thought because he explains the sales process from end to end, keeps it short, and leaves an entire room full of men confused about their talents. He is able to do this because it comes after the recruits have been there for some time and he has already delivered a killer orientation speech. Ribisi is even told to watch Glengarry Glen Ross for inspiration on how to close sales. Though I suspect Affleck got him on the right track in a better way from the outset.

Always Be Learning

Now here’s where I turn this idea on it’s head. What if you considered for a second that coffee really equates to success and closing means learning? Then you would always be learning.

Which is where the conversation get’s really interesting.

Have you ever wanted to learn a new skill, but realized you were older than twenty five and already had a fully formed and functioning adult brain? Then you just said fuck it and went back to browsing the internet and watching Netflix?

Yeah, me too man. Me too.

But the problem with that theory is that it assumes things. First, while the brain might be less malleable after twenty five, it’s ridiculous to think that adults have no discipline to sit through a few more reps to gain those mental muscles. And second, the theory forgets that children are incredibly insulated with their own thoughts and self-centric world views. New things can be learned by anyone at any age as long as the student doesn’t have any physical limitations that impair their mental ability.

Hunger is an incredible motivator after all.

I know it sounds like a lot of baloney, but a friend of mine recently convinced me that I could learn anything in under 24 hours. He didn’t do this intentionally mind you, he was actually showing me an interview to help me learn some camera techniques for framing my interviews and Cross Talk videos better. It was a matter of convenience that I stumbled upon this gem.

Accelerated Learning

Josh Kaufman agrees that you can master anything after 10,000 hours of experience. But he questions the logic of it all. After all, who really has 10,000 hours to dedicate to mastery, when most of us have full lives and are only interested in certain aspects of a skill set? For instance, let’s say you want to learn how to light a setting for interviews – Well common instruction methods say that you should learn how light works in all settings and get the full exposure to photography and videography methods. Only then will you be properly equipped for implementing light equipment.

That’s just not true. You really need to follow these five points, and you’re on your way.

1. Have specific goals and a strong curiosity
2. Deconstruct the skill into sub-skills
3. Learn each sub-skill adequately to practice it and self-correct
4. Eliminating distractions of practice
5. Commit to the first 20 hours of practice

If you know what you want to know how to do, you can break apart the techniques of lighting into sub-skills and focus on the key sub-skills you personally need. Then you practice that set of skills until you have a good understanding of them. At the point of 20 hours you will be proficient at lighting and you can learn other skills in that wheelhouse as they come up. It’s kinda brilliant. But hey, it’s only a theory.

So why not try it out and prove Kaufman wrong?


Swordfish Doesn’t Even Taste Good Anyway (The Fast and the Furious 15th Anniversary)

Fifteen years ago my life changed, and for the better.

Last Wednesday marked the anniversary of that transformative experience and so I sat down in a theatre by myself to watch my favourite movie of all time and reflect on it’s impact on my own life – I remember that first experience like it was yesterday, dear readers.

My best and oldest friend, who we’ll call Rick for the sake of the story, was living in the city of Airdrie and I was visiting him for a couple of weeks at the start of the summer. We had grown up on the same block, living in mirrored houses of all things, and we spent most of our free time together, though we did go to different schools and had somewhat different hobbies, we were inseperable. Life was pretty good for two young boys, and we got into all kinds of adventures until he moved to Drumheller for his dads new job after the final year of elementary school.

So Rick and his family lived in Drumheller for the next 3 years and we would hang out for at holidays and in the summer, and we did our best to keep in touch. Initially with letters and phone calls, migrating to MSN messenger as new tech become available. And then Rick and his family moved a second time – now to Airdrie for another 3 years, right at the start of high school. I mention this because it helps bookend those memories for Rick and I and it REALLY helps me in the recall of this tale.

In the summer of 2001 Rick and I had both finished grade 10, hormones raging away. We decided to sneak into an 18A movie, but because we weren’t 18 yet, we needed to buy tickets for another movie first. What did we want to see you ask? Well if your memory is as good as mine, you’ll know that Swordfish had just come out that summer, and Halle Berry was paid an additional $500,000 to go topless in the movie. $250,000 per breast if you want to be specific.

As straight CIS males in the midst of puberty, and who didn’t have high speed internet, money, or legal adult status, nudity was in high demand for us. To put it another way the sexuality supply was short. And so, context given.

But we chickened out, and ended up in the theatre for The Fast and the Furious instead. Thus, my first taste of this franchise was born. On first pass I thought it was a fun action movie, but I didn’t make too big of a deal out of it, because I didn’t drive yet, and the actors were unknown. It was quotable though.

The summer concluded, and I went back to school, though I decided it was high time to get a part-time job at an arcade called Playdium. I learnt a lot about retail, people, and West Edmonton Mall working there, but most of all I watched a lot of partial movies on my breaks. I must of seen The Fast and the Furious in 30 and 15 minutes pieces over 15 complete times that year. This is because one of the older techs at Playdium lived on his own and would record movies from the movie channel onto VHS and bring it in for the staff. And so the quotes and culture of the first Fast became ingrained in my mind.

It was tough to invest in the franchise though, because as the as the first couple of sequels came out, I was entering into university, and getting involved with hipsters and philosopher king types. So my love of movies and brooding love for Vin Diesel and Paul Walker took a back seat. I would tell people it was my favourite movie, mostly under the thin veil of irony, and I also proclaimed that it was a standalone film.

Then I graduated from university and a couple of years later Fast & Furious came out in April of 2009 – I finally had a true sequel with the original cast and the beginnings of a tie-in with the 2nd and 3rd entries. As movies were added, the ensemble cast grew and the relationships between characters evolved. And then I realized that I had grown as well.

As a cultivators of the arts, a student of film, and a fan of this franchise, I can say confidently that The Fast and the Furious instills values of friendship, love, and family from it’s first few minutes all the way throughout its films and into the culture.

Best of all, in watching this limited release I had an opportunity to see advance footage from the set of the 8th instalment, and I was not disappointed. This is a franchise that has grown organically and so has it’s fanbase. I was so happy to see a packed theatre last Wednesday, and you really do feel like part of a family sharing with these actors and their characters.

Most of the already existing posts on this re-release have focused on the scale of the franchise and the “improbability” of it’s success. But what has been ignored time and time again is that at it’s core The Fast and the Furious is about heart and honour, it started out as films about car thieves, and slowly evolved into superheroes, but the heart has always been there, and I think that’s why it’s beaten the odds. But hey, that might just be a theory.


A Natural D20? (The Last Witch Hunter review)

Have you ever even played Dungeons and Dragons? That’s what so many advocates have said to me so many times before I finally took the plunge a couple of Christmases ago. And believe me, I get it. I get why they get so excited about it. It’s an opportunity to get lost in a role and play out a character for a period of time.

With all the risks and rewards of a narrated life.


But it’s that labour of creating the character and learning all of the rules, which by the way, there is always a  chance your character will get killed off.

Not unlike in a certain indie movie called Unicorn City. But what if you took your love for D&D and made it into a movie? That’s this weeks question…




The Last Witch Hunter (2015)
Cast: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Julie Engelbrecht, Michael Caine
Director: Breck Eisner
released on blu-ray January 12, 2016
**** 4/10


IMDB: 6.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 16%, Audience Score 43%
The Guardian: **/*****

Who the heck is Breck Eisner, and why is he directing a Vin Diesel movie? Argh, Vin Diesel is an avid D&D player and has exactly the casting type to pull off the character of an ancient warrior who fights witches! This movie feels like it could be tons of fun, and yet it doesn’t quite get there.

So why, oh why, did the guy who directed Sahara and The Crazies land this film? Well, I suspect it had a bit to do with the fact that Vin Diesel is already the helm of 3 other action franchises and I heard he pushed really hard to make this movie a reality using his own money to fund the project.

Is the movie really terrible though? Why don’t I give you a tease of the story first.


The warrior Kaulder (Vin Diesel) is a witchhunter who has lost his wife and daughter, but works with the Axe and Cross during the Middle Ages. Kaulder and friends slay several witches on their path to the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht). They eventually find her, and many are slain in the process, but not before Kaulder sets his sword on fire and kills her. In her last moments she curses The Witch Hunter with immortality, so that he may always live with his suffering.

Fast forward to present day, where Kaulder is headed to New York to see off the 36th Dolan (Michael Caine), his representative of the Axe and Cross. The 37th Dolan (Elijah Wood), is eager to work with Kaulder, but also nervous of his personality.

The Axe and Cross serve as a bridge between witches and humans, who operate in secret, and the priests execute those who break the law.  When the 36th dies, the 37th immediately take over duties. Kaulder goes to investigate the 36th’s apartment, because something is off. He learns that the place has been cursed, and dark magic indicates foul play.

After visiting Max Schlesinger (Isaach de Bankole), a shady man who works with witches and warlocks on occasion, Kaulder determines that Max gave something to a warlock called Ellic (Joseph Gilgun). After capturing him, Ellic is deemed guilty by a council of witches and imprisoned.

Kaulder and 37th go to see 36th’s body and realize he’s been cursed, and not dead. They can bring him back if they kill the witch that did it.  The clues left the 36th left behind spell out “remember your death,” so Kaulder decides to visit a witch to enter his own memories.

Chloe (Rose Leslie) runs a bar for witches. Kaulder enters the bar, and it immediately empties. Kaulder asks Chloe for a memory spell to remember his death. She concedes and he falls asleep. This is where he sees the tree the Witch Queen died on, and his own burned corpse, and suddenly wakes up to discover he has been chained to the floor by Belial (Olafur Darri Olafsson), a warlock. Kaulder breaks his hand to escape, but Belial lights the bar on fire. Kaulder and Chloe leave just as the place is destroyed.


And freeze spell! That’s enough of that.


Pros: The casting choices are fun and Vin Diesel always does a solid job as an action movie lead because he delivers his lines with authority and authenticity. It’s fast and fun, and exciting, at the ver the least.

Cons: I’ve seen this movie before, one of them was called Constantine, and the other was called Highlander. A lot of the time I got the impression that the rest of the cast was phoning it in and the script drags on at times, proving the direction isn’t good enough.

Runtime: 106 minutes

Points of Interest: The main character Kaulder is based off of Diesel’s real life D&D character, also a witch hunter. Julie Engelbrecht makes her debut with this film.




This was a difficult review for me to write, because I like Vin Diesel in pretty much everything he does, but if I am going to give an honest review, the movie doesn’t have an interesting enough plot, good performances or properly executed pacing to keep most people interested. You can watch the movie once, but I doubt this will become a cult classic.


Now, having said that, that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it if you go in expecting a medieval action flick with bad guy witches. So think on it and decide if want to get immersed in this character, dear readers. Otherwise, I’ll be back tomorrow evening with something clever. I promise.