Conversation with Max
[I open the
yellow cabís door. Sitting in the driverís seat is a man who strangely looks
like Jamie Foxx. No, it couldnít be. Why the hell would an actor want to
drive a cab? Oh, well. I sit down.]
MAX: Where to,
DANNY: Take me
as far as you can go.
MAX: Which way?
try east. You know, go against Feng-Shui, for a change.
floats your boat.
DANNY: Are you
MAX: I wish I
DANNY: You look
he played me in a movie once.
DANNY: You mean
MAX: Yeah, that
DANNY: It just
came out this weekend.
MAX: Oh, well,
I donít got the money to see the thing. I donít follow the cinema release
date schedule like itís the back of my hand.
follow the back of your hand?
DANNY: You must
make enough for a movie ticket, in this job. Maybe not the popcorn, though.
Can anyoneís pocketbook really handle a few kernels with butter, nowadays?
Iím trying to start up a business. This is only temporary. Gotta save my
DANNY: Oh? A
limo company? Just like in the movie?
MAX: No, a
MAX: Iím just
playiní. Yeah, a limo company. People will never want to get out of my
limos. Their insides will be like paradise.
DANNY: So, how
long have you been doing this?
years, itís only temporary.
DANNY: Oh, in
the movie itís twelve.
probably because they filmed it a year ago.
DANNY: I hear
Ďya. So, did you really become a hostage to a crazy guy one night and have
to drive him around and aid him in covering up his murders?
[Max turns up
the music (soul, of course) on the radio, so our conversation cannot be
heard by any of the other drivers on the nearly vacant nighttime road.]
indeed. He was one crazy mothafucka. Excuse my language, please, sir.
DANNY: Was he
anything like Tom Cruise?
MAX: He looked
a bit like him; kinda similar to a weasel.
DANNY: But, did
he act the same?
MAX: Nah. Tommy
seems to be goiní crazy lately with his role choice. I was laughing my ass
off when I saw him in that Samurai suit in that crazy Japanese movie.
The Last Samurai. I liked that a lot, actually, despite the cornball
factor. I thought you said that you didnít go to the movies.
MAX: I do when
they have Tom Cruise in them, playing a Samurai.
DANNY: So, you
MAX: Nah. He
needed to be killed at the end.
that ruin the heroicness of it all?
MAX: So what?
At least he gets killed. And no Tom Cruise is better than a Tom Cruise.
Donít you think heís a good actor? You seem to hate him as much as the guy
who took over your cab that night.
MAX: I do. Heís
not a good actor. Heís terrible, in fact. How was the movie? Was he somehow
bizarrely good in it?
DANNY: Yeah, he
was, but I normally like him. And Jamie Foxx was great, as you, too.
I should go and see it; it is about me and all.
DANNY: Go to a
cheap showing, though. Itís nowhere near.
MAX: Why? Did
that Michael Mann guy destroy it or something? I dug The Insider.
That was one of his, right?
DANNY: Yeah, it
was. And he directs Collateral with undeniable flair. His music
selection, in correlation with his cameraís coloration, is phenomenal, too.
Just like with Stacy Peraltaís recent surfer movie, Riding Giants. I
think he did a tremendous jobóone of his better onesóthe style is flowing.
The movie doesnít add up, though.
MAX: Why not?
writing is either incredibly bland and boring or preposterous and
ridiculous, at nearly every point in the picture. Stuart Beattie, who put
together the script, doesnít know how to keep us interested or engaged. For
awhile, the taxi-talk between your character and another is entertaining,
but it wears on us, quickly. And then, during the climax, the whole thing
becomes some kind of atrocious rip-off of Action Movie A.
MAX: Yeah, it
sometimes becomes quite a snoozer in this cab. His depiction of the job,
itself, is probably pretty realistic. But what happens in the climax?
Cruise is basically invincible and your character runs around and protects
his newfound crush of sorts. She works as a lawyer, but both of you are
having a hard time getting away from the enemy; youíre certainly still in
his clutches. His gun remains in his hand, but your will to survive is
abundant in every frame. It may be heart-pounding, but the material is just
so stupid, thereís nothing to really admire, besides Mannís work, in such
MAX: In real
life, I got stuck with a guy like Tommyís character, but I got away after
one of his kills. That was the climax. End of story. And I certainly
didnít run into any woman of my liking.
they clearly ripped your story off, then.
MAX: Why didnít
they depict me as a simple driver, and engage the audience in some
interesting dialogue regarding my nightly travels, or something to that
thatíd kind of be a rip off of Abbas Kiarostamiís Ten.
Iranian filmmaker. He made a movie, comprised of ten different shorts about
MAX: Yeah; I
donít watch too much foreign stuff. None at all, in fact.
MAX: So, should
I see Collateral, or not?
DANNY: Yeah. I
guess so. A rental would probably do it justice, but it wouldnít make a bad
night at the movies, in the least. For two hours, it manages to be watchable
and somewhat respectable.
MAX: I will do
as you say, commander!
címon, Iím not that torturous to converse with, am I?
MAX: No, no.
Not at all. [Heís speaking sarcastically, of course.]
DANNY: You can
let me out here; thanks for the ride.
want to be dropped off in East LA?
MAX: Maybe the
movie is great and youíre just a wacko. You sure are showing it, now.
DANNY: Hereís a
[After I exit
the vehicle, he speeds away through the alley, and I take a seat at a nearby
bench and look at the dark sky, pondering why Michael Mann, Jamie Foxx, and
Tom Cruise chose to star in a movie like Collateral. Mark Ruffalo,
who is always great as a cop, even seems out of place here. I wonder if Max
will like it, status-quo. He seems to be one hell of an interesting guy.
But, ultimately, just another cool person wasted on a lukewarm movie.]
-Danny, Bucket Reviews (8.7.2004)
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