Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Witz Flix: Premium Rush

I can't think of any better way to zoom into 2013 here on Witz Pickz than to post about the most hipster-sounding flick of all time. In Premium Rush, Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a bike messenger in NYC who feels the need for relatively high speed. From what I understand, he and his fixie are chased all over town by some bad guy because of a package he is attempting to deliver.

I know. I'm excited, too.

Premium Rush is available to watch instantly on or stream it for free at

1 min: Uh-oh. The movie kicks off with "Baba O'Riley" (Teenage Wasteland), the best movie-soundtrack song ever, while a slow-motion Joseph Gordon-Levitt flies through the air like his kick just snapped him back from a dream. Wasting no time, the title "PREMIUM RUSH" hits the screen the same moment JGL hits the ground. This poses the main question of the film: What if I like Premium Rush??

2 min: The time is 6:33pm, but don't get too attached, because we're about to get the high-octane thrill of a non-linear narrative. Back to 5:00pm.

3 min: "Fixed gear, steel frame, no brakes; the bike cannot coast. The pedals never stop turning. Can't stop. Don't want to, either." Even one-nutted Lance Armstrong just went from six to midnight.

4 min: I mean, personally, I have a nice little 12-speeder with a gel-cushion seat popped on there for my man-bits, but to each his own.

5 min: Oh snap! Manny jumped his route! That means this other messenger picked up a package and did JGL's work for him because he got there first and it was convenient for both of them! Don't you just hate it when a co-worker does work for you?? JGL does--he is livid.

6 min: Biking-through-traffic porn. Everyone on the road's like, "I didn't see that coming!"

7 min: Vanessa is the messenger girl he's dating or possibly not dating because she's angry at him. I don't know if this matters.

8 min: Aasif Mandvi plays the dispatch person at the bike office. A job gets called in and he gives it to JGL, adding, "Don't screw it up, it's premium rush," and I swear to you I cannot tell if he means the type of delivery or the film in general.

9 min: More cycling porn. Joseph Gordon-Levitt would have all his Tour de France victories stripped because this guy is DOPE.

11 min: Picks up a letter at Columbia University which has to be delivered in 90 minutes to Chinatown. I can't stress enough right now how easily this could be achieved by hopping on the subway.

(Just take the 1 or walk over to the C train, dawg!)

12 min: Ok, so the important part is probably where the super-religious ATF agent from Boardwalk Empire (crickets?) tries to get the letter back from JGL before he leaves campus. But what I WANT to tell you is that JGL refers to a burrito as an "urban food log." The guy threatens him, to which JGL replies, "Hold my log," and pedals away before the guy can do anything. The guy's left holding JGL's big metaphorical dick in his hands.

15 min: Car chasing bicycle. It's...less than thrilling. I also skipped over 3 minutes of painful exposition which mostly revealed JGL's intense dislike of brakes.

16 min: SALMON!!!! That's the word my buddy told me to call someone riding the wrong way on a one-way street. If you guessed JGL might do that in this movie, give yourself a pat on the back.

18 min: There's about a 50/50 chance I finish this movie.

19 min: Lincoln would have been happy to get shot before this movie ended.

20 min: The producers must have shat a Brick when they saw how bad the box office was for this.

22 min: WhoooOOOoaaaAAAAhhhhHHH! Get ready adrenaline junkies, we just got transported from 5:47pm to 3:27pm!

25 min: There comes a time in every man's life when he has to admit that he no longer understands the plot of Premium Rush. I'll try and catch you up: the bad guy is a cop who is way into pai gow and is also bad at it so he owes a lot of money. In order to get even with the gambling guys, he's told he can steal a "ticket" from somewhere which is worth $50,000. I'm assuming this ticket is in the letter which JGL has, but since my game is mahjong, I'm kind of at a Stop-Loss here.

30 min: JGL's neck is the only proof I need that Brontosauruses existed. 

34 min: Ya know what band this kid would really hate? Brakes Brakes Brakes. (That joke would be better if that band had been more successful.)

39 min: A lot's going down in Chinatown. Also, did you know that they have full-size versions of those tiny umbrellas that go into drinks?? Okay, anyway, earlier in the day, the girl JGL got the letter from, who is roommates with that Vanessa girl, dropped off a lot of money with a dude in Chinatown who then gave her a ticket to a movie which is the same ticket which JGL is carrying and the cop is trying to steal. So, it's kind of like a claim ticket?

41 min: Unfathomable. After starting the conversation in English, the old man and the girl converse in Chinese for literally 1 minute and 40 seconds. Don't get cute, Premium Rush. (Side note: this scene is what it's gonna be like all the time if we keep borrowing money from China.)

45 min: This whole movie is like one giant ad for UPS.

47 min: JGL returns the letter to Columbia, but drops it at the front desk instead of giving it directly to the girl. When she goes to get it, Manny had already picked it up again, with it now going to the new address called in by the cop.

This is not entirely unlike how Em-Dash had to race all around NYC trying to track down her package which was delivered to the wrong address after Hurricane Sandy, and instead of helping her get the package in time, they sent it back to Tennessee. Excellent work, guys.

48 min: When pushed for information, the girl tells him that the money is for an importer to smuggle her son into the country. Only makin' good decisions, this girl...

52 min: Thanks to the highly competitive world of bike-messenger delivery-ing, a simple solution has turned into a street race. Manny has the letter and is racing JGL for it. I just need to say one more time that none of this would  have happened if they had just TAKEN THE SUBWAY!

53 min: Ohhhhh! Vanessa just wiped out on her bike and then ripped off her busted brakes when she got back on. As JGL said earlier: "Brakes equal death!" It's go time!

54 min: I bet the USPS saw this and was like, "Great! Juuuuuuust great! Now we look like a bunch of pussies!"

55 min: "I'm in your draft, dude! It's like you're on my team!" Hahaha...just some cycling humor they worked in for the true fans.

56 min: Oooo, JGL emerging from a cloud of smoke on the street--you can feel the director being proud of that one.

57 min: CALVES! AM I RIGHT?!

59 min: After all that, they basically tied in the race. A bike cop tackled Manny, the bad cop was waiting there for the ticket, but then Vanessa snagged Manny's bag, gave it to JGL, and they rode away while evading cops in cars.

60 min: Just in case I don't get a chance to mention this later: FUCK CRITICAL MASS.

61 min: ...Aaaaand we're back to the opening scene! Motherf#&er got hit by a motherf*ing taxi! Where are those whistling blue birds now, ya sad sap son of a bitch?

63 min: JGL is in the ambulance with the bad cop. The cop pokes JGL's broken ribs until he agrees to give him the letter (which has since been hidden in the handlebars of his bike). The bike is back at the impound lot so they all head there.

69 min: I just realized I have no idea how important spokes are on a bike. JGL gets to his bike, but all the spokeses are brokeses. Is this a problem?

70 min: It is! Vanessa snuck into the lot, so they both sneak around and JGL sees another bike. "I'm gonna shred the living shit outta that thing," he announces not creepily.

72 min: Friggin' X Games NYC up in here. They both waste my time pulling tricks around the impound lot and then escape. 

74 min: This movie coulda been 100 times better if it was a buddy flick with French Stewart.

75 min: Vanessa calls in a "flash mob." This is no time for spontaneous choreographed song and dance! Even if it is delightful!

77 min: Oh, a flash mob is like the Bat-signal for bike messengers. Hey, by the way--is JGL gonna be the next Batman?? Nevermind, nevermind, ok, so all the bikers show up and ride around the bad cop, hitting him and tripping him, etc, etc. I think it's worth pointing out that while this cop is trying to steal this ticket, he's still A COP and they are all assaulting an officer who has a gun. This is what I'm saying about Critical Mass! It's like, I get it, you like bikes, but laws are laws, people, even when you have one pant leg rolled up!

78 min: Are gloves without fingers cheaper?

79 min: Ya know, despite all the shit I've been talking, bike messengers might be the way to go. Thanks to other modes of delivery, I have had two Netflix DVDs, a "Free Tim Riggins" t-shirt, a check, a VGA-to-HDMI cable, and the special edition DVD of Forgetting Sarah Marshall go missing in the mail. But my dinner always shows up at the right place within 45 minutes when the delivery guy rides it over on his bike...

80 min: Oh, right. The ticket gets delivered, the bad cop gets shot by the Chinese guys, and the kid is smuggled out of China. "Baba O'Riley" starts playing again, but this time I'm a little older, a little wiser, and a little more cynical. You can't just bookend 80 minutes of bike-messenger action between the greatest of The Who songs and expect it to work. People are gonna--seventy-six on rotten tomatoes!? Seventy-six! That is higher than The Hobbit and Les Miserables, and ties it with Flight. Seventy-six. Great work, humanity. Great work.

I Can't Believe I Didn't Get to Work In a Peloton Joke,


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