Wednesday, June 28, 2017

BABY DRIVER: Screening #2 brain dump…

This post is gonna be a spoiler-tastic collection of notes, thoughts, Edgar/Easter eggs, and crazy talk on elements of Edgar Wright's BABY DRIVER after a second screening tonight.

About names and casting…

Buddy—Jason Van Horn.

I couldn't hold onto his last name after my first screening, just vaguely recalled it being Van Winklevossy, y'know? Something that fit Bats's educated guess from an uneducated man. But this time, I remembered, and hours later, I get it! I think? Jason VAN HORN! =)

Darling—Monica Costello.

In the car after taking care of the Butcher & friends, the crew press each other about their names and Buddy explains that they only know each other by nicknames, aka "monickers." With punny timing, Darling then reveals that her real name is Monica. We find out her last name is Costello from a breaking news bulletin later. My mind always jumps to Abbott-and- but I don't think that applies here. =)

Griff—short for Griffin.

We never get his real name, but that doesn't matter so much here. We do get Griffin, as in the legendary eagle-lion mashup beast, depending on the culture and time in which you ask, supposedly supernaturally wise and partial to gold treasure and testing humans with riddles.
Frack, am I confusing them w/sphinxes? Hrm…I'm gonna go with it, just to get my thoughts down.
After the first heist, Griff takes it on himself to find out what makes Baby tick, believing his quiet and aloofness to be signs that he considers himself better than the rest of the crew. He explains to Baby—You can't do crime without being a little criminal…One day, you're gonna get blood on your hands.
I wish I could remember more/all of what he says to Baby, but I'd bet all of it is and/or comes true.
Even if the name isn't a perfect connect, he still plays a Cassandra-like Wrightian soothsayer in the shape of a bank robber.


I don't think we get any clue as to his altar ego, if he has one. All we know is he's a heist mastermind with impressive resources and a line on people with nasal troubles. We do see him sharing drinks w/Big Boi and Killer Mike at Bacchanalia, tho. ENT to hip-hop stars who was once in love, too? =)


The batty lion. That works. I think we must've gotten his last name in that breaking news report, too, but I missed it. Nuts.

Eddie No-Nose—formerly Eddie the Nose.

Heh. That's a No-Nose no-no, page 1.


I didn't catch any hint as to his real name. Maybe it's a filmmaking reference, like R2-D2? But specific to something or someone disposable? Or maybe a clue as to his fate, when or if he's ever discovered, post-sunset, he'd surely be tagged as a John Doe, right?

The Butcher—never get his name, but the actor? OMG! STILL ALIVE! =)

Crazy amazing casting and a damn impressive delivery of a pig-themed bad cop sales pitch! Perhaps PHANTOM holds a special place in Wright's heart? I know it does in mine. Or perhaps it's the man's extensive and inspiring oeuvre as a whole. In any case, a joyous experience seeing him in the BABY DRIVER world.

And the rest…

Now, whatever I can recall that I want to recall, roughly in the order of appearance in the film…

The graffiti behind Baby is definitely updated between his trip to Octane and back to the Healey building. Maybe in more than one place, but I'm only sure about the "RIGHT" + "Shake Shake" art. On the way to Octane, along with Baby's "Harlem Shuffle" track syncing with graffiti and posted words in the environment, we see Baby match poses with wall art of a guy looking up to the sky and play "air horn" in front of show window featuring a trumpet. On his way back, a sandwich board doomsayer tells him that he must save himself from sin, and when crossing the street, a police car just passes him by before turning on its siren.

I wonder…Could the lyrics to "Harlem Shuffle" be a map to one of the getaway scenes? Or the acts and plot of the entire film…?

Hrm…Maybe…? Certainly can't put it past Professor Wright =)

When Baby flips thru channels at home w/Joe early on, there's a series of channel audio bits that felt a lot like SHAUN OF THE DEAD. The MONSTERS, INC bit that Baby uses on Doc—"You and I are a team. Nothing is more important than our friendship."—is part of it. At the end, we see coverage of a bullfight, a matador stepping around a skewered but undefeated bull. We hear, and see via cc—"The bull still stands." In the moment, that seems to be comment on Baby's sticking with his one-more-job-and-I'm-done plan, despite Joe's objection.

However, before we cut to the next scene, the announcer continues, talking about how the matador, having failed to finish the bull from horseback, must now try his luck on foot, which is kind of what happens to Baby after the Post Office robbery and also in his finale duel with Buddy in the parking garage. Post-Post Office, after skewering Bats, Baby (and Buddy and Darling) have to abandon their steed and escape on foot.

Later, when it's down to Baby and Deb vs. Buddy, they start car-v-car (the red Charger and the police cruiser), but Baby tells Debra they have to get out of the car so that he can end this, and although he does that just to get into a different car, the final confrontation has all of the players on their feet. Well, y'know, until they're not any more.

I think the second time we see Baby or Joe channel-hopping at home, Noel Fielding appears on screen for a few seconds. On my first screening, I thought it was a clip from THE MIGHTY BOOSH, but now I realize that it's from the video for Mint Royale's "Blue Song," which Wright directed and was sort of an early short form riff of his BABY DRIVER concept. A wheelman waiting on his crew to the sound—and duration—of a favorite song of the right length.

Debora vs. her sister Mary for songs with their names.

Bo's Diner decor/wall art—Route 66, couple in a convertible. Same as one of the postcards Deb sends Baby in jail.

Where is Bo's Diner? If ever in the area, gotta go—gotta go!
Laundromat decor/wall art—rockets and space.

Was the decor in the dinner and 'mat redone for the movie, or left as found?

The senior waitress says that Baby's been coming there since before she started. She thinks/heard that his mom used to work there. Lucky for Baby Deb thinks that more sweet than creepy. =)
BABY: I have different iPods for different days, different moods…
Bo's Diner number—555-1270. I think that was it. December 1970? Does that line up with a significant birthday or cinematic event?

There's a beautiful pair of shots one after the other when Baby, at home, calls Debora at Bo's. He's framed in a doorway of a darkened room, Joe in the lit living room behind him, with most of the dark on screen to the right. Then we see Deb, framed by the dark foreground of part of the kitchen, or maybe a supply/pantry area, to the left, with the light of the diner behind her. There's a palpable sense of their connection thru that phone line that crosses a darkness between them.

Or something. =)

Baby notices JD's "HAT" neck tattoo. JD explains that it used to read "HATE" but he had it "fixed" to be more marketable to prospective employers. After all…
JD: Who doesn't like hats?
Baby invites Debora to "Buck & Ella" for the finest wining and dining of all the wine and dine in town.

Deb and Baby make music with their glasses at Buck & Ella. The whole non-verbal carousel cam montage of their date there is in wonderful sync to the music. LA LA LAND, eat your hat! (Cuz, who doesn't like hats, right? =)
DOC: Take the buds out, shades off. Take the nephew, it'll be less suspicious.
I remember thinking that this seems like a way for Doc to set Baby up for capture later, getting his uncovered face caught on camera. A contingency plan to keep Doc under his thumb? Or put him away after this job?

NEPHEW SAM: You have a mint that says "Sam?"

When Baby and Sam deliver their reconnaissance report, I think Doc says, "Chips off the old block." A hint of actual fatherly affection? A Fagin-like show of pride? A clue to his brother's identity? Something else?
POSTAL WORKER: Everybody wants happiness, nobody wants pain, but you can't have a rainbow without a little rain.
This after saying she's working "9 to 5, just like Dolly."

It's a sweet connect to the rain that falls the next day, the day of the Post Office heist, and the rainbow that appears five years later when Deb picks up Miles on his release from prison, ready to drive west on 20 in a car they can't afford with a plan they don't have.
I guess that's romantic? Sounds like a lot of stress to me. =)

Whenever someone slams a door or trunk, we hear Baby's tinnitus ringing. Always a flashback to the accident?
BATS: You don't need a score for a score!
And he talks about Hex Songs…
"Knockin' on Heaven's Door"
"End of the Road"
"Hotel California"
BATS: An educated guess from an uneducated man.
Bats at Bo's "reading" Buddy and Darling. They rob banks to support doing drugs. Bats does drugs to support robbing banks. They're on vacation; he's at work.

The bill at Bo's for four Cokes, aka three Cokes and one Coca: $5.70. Baby leaves a 20 and a note: Road trip 2am.

When Baby and Deb are on the run after shooting Buddy at Bo's, Baby steps into a phone booth in a bit of empty lot to call Doc, who is not helpful. The booth has graffiti on its clear walls of tentacles reaching up from the ground—a visual representation of the realization of Griff's prophecy? This is just before they—Bonnie and Clyde? More like Bonnie and Bonnie—acquire the red Charger from the vaping punks. One of them asks Baby to leave him his phone but since it's playing the music, Baby says—Nope. =)
BABY: Fuck you, Buddy.
Paraphrasing Elvis? FYB vs TCB? =)

I didn't mention it in my previous ramble, but Baby definitely vibes Elvis at least as much as Han throughout the movie, and earlier, actually. When lip syncing to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's "Bellbottoms" in the opening heist, he's definitely channeling Elvis for me.

Caught in the credits this time that WALTER HILL is the ASL interpreter for Joe in the courtroom at Baby's trial. Only heard, not seen.

Also, Baby's prisoner number is 28071978—the release date of Walter Hill's THE DRIVER. =)

WHO gives Baby his mail in jail? Not credited (in order of appearance, he should've been last, and the judge was last). Whoever it is has a very unique look, and a distinctive voice. Guess I'll just have to see it again!

Keep on keepin' on~

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