Tag Archives: red

XFASLNR

This is a true story involving road rage and a customized license plate. I was a senior in high school and I was driving home on the freeway, my friend was in the front seat, and Tom Petty was on the stereo. We saw a red pickup truck with a customized plate that said “XFASLNR.” We spent a few minutes debating and deciding what XFASLNR meant. Extra Falsener? Is that something? We gave up and drove past the truck and as we did, my friend made a funny face at the red truck. He didn’t flip him off, or scowl at him. I think he stuck out his tongue and waved his fingers like a five-year-old taunting his crush on the playground.

That was enough to make XFASLNR declare war. He instantly floored it, cut me off, and slammed on his brakes. I used my ninja reflexes to dart into the other lane. I didn’t even have time to flip him off before he tried to cut me off again. And again and again. He would veer into my lane; he would speed up behind me and try to tap my bumper, he would try to run me off the road. I wasn’t close to home either. He chased me for a few miles before I finally got to my exit and made my escape. We considered ourselves lucky and the matter closed.

A year and a half went by and I was now in my second year of college. I went to my buddy Cody’s house and there was a red pickup truck in his driveway with the license plate XFASLNR. I had a flashback to my near-death experience and ran into to Cody’s house and demanded answers. A mutual friend who was from the same hometown was sitting in the living room admitted that the truck was his dad’s. I told him the whole story of being chased halfway across the county. He told me that it was definitely his dad and regaled me with stories of his dad tailgating, swerving, and instigating fights over perceived slights for years. He told me about being five years old and pleading with his dad to not punch another driver who cut him off. He acknowledged that his dad was crazy and I realized I was lucky to be alive.

And then I asked him the question that had been bugging me for years, the whole reason why my friend made that stupid face that set him off… What does XFASLNR mean? And it means Ex Fast Laner. His dad used to race cars and be in the fast lane. I know that’s not the most exciting conclusion to this tale of road rage, but at least I got closure. That’s worth something, right? And it’s kind of stupid to road rage when you have a memorable customized plate that makes it easy to identify you.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express is a stoner action film staring Seth Rogen, James Franco and Danny McBride. David Gordon Green directs and Judd Apatow produces. It’s about a stoner who witnesses a murder and gets wrapped up in the middle of a drug war. I hate when that happens.

Seth Rogen is Dale Denton, a 25-year-old process server who dreams of being on the radio someday. He smokes weed and buys from a smalltime dealer named Saul (James Franco). Saul sells Dale some rare weed called Pineapple Express, and Dale goes back to work. He’s waiting to serve a guy named Ted Jones (Gary Cole) ,and he witnesses Ted and a cop (Rosie Perez) kill an Asian guy. Dale freaks out, tosses his roach and goes to Saul for help.

Saul buys his weed from a guy named Red (Danny McBride), and Red buys from Ted. Pineapple Express is really rare and Ted is the supplier, so he is able to trace it back to Saul and Dale.

They go on the run. They spend the night in the woods and have a little bonding time. The next day they go to visit Red and find out if he’s told Ted anything. And he did, because he was threatened by two henchmen (Kevin Corrigan and Craig Robinson). Dale and Saul get in a clumsy stoner fight with Red, and they escape before Ted’s henchmen come back.

They go to warn Dale’s high school girlfriend (Amber Heard) and her family that they might be in danger. And even though her dad tries to kill Dale and Saul, he’s able to convince them to hide out a hotel.

Dale and Saul have a fight, and Dale says that they were never friends. Saul gets caught by Ted’s men and Dale decides he has to save him. He gets Red to help, but Red bails at the last minute and Dale confronts Ted’s gang alone. He gets captured pretty quickly and is reunited with Saul in a cell.

They chose a pretty good night to get captured, because Ted’s rivals, the Asians, stage a raid of Ted’s base. Saul and Dale manage to escape and they are killing their way out, while the Asians are killing their way in, and Ted’s guys are killing everyone. Even Red comes back to kill some people.

Dale, Saul, and Red all manage to survive. And they celebrate by getting breakfast and deciding to be best friends.

If you are a fan of quality entertainment, you might recall a show called Freaks and Geeks. Judd Apatow developed that show and Seth Rogen and James Franco starred in it. It’s good to see them working together again. Even Kevin Corrigan guest starred in an episode.

This movie has a few cool action scenes, but it never forgets that it’s a comedy. So the fights have gags in them. Saul and Dale don’t know how to fight and it shows. The car chase scene was completely absurd and it was really fun to watch,

As with a lot of Apatow movies, the dialog seems to flow. Everything seems improvised. James Franco and Seth Rogen are perfect for this movie, but Danny McBride steals the movie as Red. He has so many great lines. And he can’t die.

Pineapple Express is a solid comedy. People will still be quoting it in twenty years. It doesn’t take itself too seriously… that whole subplot with the Asians feels pretty tacked on and I’m sure that it’s intentional. All things considered, it’s a fun film and comedies should be fun.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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The Shawshank Redemption

Some movies transcend the big screen and will change your life. The Shawshank Redemption is one of those movies. The first time you see it you want to run around shouting about it and share it with the world. Frank Darabont directs this adaptation of a short Stephen King novella, and Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman headline the amazing cast. Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufresne, a hotshot banker who gets locked up for killing his wife and her lover.

Andy’s not cut out for prison. He doesn’t belong there, he kind of strolls around like he doesn’t have a care in the world. He maintains his innocence, but so do all the other prisoners except for Red (Morgan Freeman), the only guilty man in Shawshank. Andy and Red form a friendship, and he makes a few more friends as well. Tim Robbins does a great job, but Morgan Freeman steals every scene that he’s in, plus he narrates the movie (which is always awesome cause his voice is like sexual chocolate).

Prison life kinda sucks. Especially when you’re constantly getting man-raped by the Sisters. And when the corrupt warden relies on your prodigious banking skills to launder money. And when a sadistic guard will beat the shit out of anyone for any reason. And when you’re getting thrown into solitary confinement for months at a time.

Despite a few minor setbacks like those, Andy is able to maintain his sanity when a lesser man would break. He finds flashes of freedom by celebrating the little things in life. He makes a deal with the guard and gets a few bottles of beer and Morgan Freeman goes, “We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation. As for Andy, he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his face, watching us drink his beer.” Another memorable part is when he broadcasts the opera music over the loudspeaker and all the prisoners drop what they are doing and listen in silence. Little victories like these make you all warm and fuzzy inside like an Irish coffee in the shower.

Some of the happier moments are really inspirational, and you kinda want to go to prison. Then you remember the man-rapes and realize you’re stupid.

The Shawshank Redemption

So here comes a little spoiler: Andy actually is innocent. He’s just a victim of circumstance. He also escapes at the end. Oh yeah, another spoiler. Not only does he escape, he escapes in spectacular fashion. It’s not super spectacular, there’s no ninjas or exploding hot air balloons, but it’s a memorable reveal that blows your mind the first time you see it.

Most chicks don’t like prison movies. But they like this movie. That’s because it’s not really a prison movie. It just takes place in a prison. It’s about a man who finds freedom, hope, and happiness within himself. So even though he’s trapped he’s free. Brooks (the decrepitly old inmate) got institutionalized, and when he finally got released he couldn’t handle the world. He had no friends, no family, no hope. He was trapped in his freedom, and took his own life. Red is going down the same path as Brooks, but Andy’s friendship saved him. You have two choices: get busy living or get busy dying.

The Shawshank Redemption is one of the best movies of all time. Go to IMDB and see for yourself. It’s practically a perfect picture. If you don’t like this movie you have no soul.

Critically Rated at 16/17

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