2021 MOVIE DRAFT- ROUND 4 PICK 3- QUINN MADDUX SELECTS- BIOGRAPHY- RUSH
Film – Rush
Director – Ron Howard
Writer – Peter Morgan
Original Score – Hans Zimmer
Stars – Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde
Category – Biography
Budget: $38,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend USA: $187,289, 22 September 2013
Gross USA: $26,947,624
Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $96,983,009
Runtime: 123 min
Aspect Ratio: 2.35 : 1
I apologize in advance for the length of this posting; I am not only passionate about this story, but this sport, and absolutely this film.
When it comes to attending modern American Cinema there are films that I would like to see made, but it either does not happen, or if it is made it is shown in an art house type setting that only happens in a larger metropolitan area, which I do not have access to. I promise this preamble will make sense – I had just started dating this girl, and I normally do not go to the cinema on dates when starting out, because there is not an opportunity to talk, as not to ruin the cinema experience for others (not that everyone pays attention to this rule, wow have we gotten rude as a society, but I digress). She wanted to see the film ‘Now you see me’. So, we had dinner and made our way to the theatre. It was during the week so it was not crowded. I like to get to the theatre early so that I can catch the trailers, as I do not watch television. She was one that ran a consistent 15 minutes late, and ultimately the relationship did not work out. But we were in the theatre when the trailer for Rush came on.
The trailer opens with clouds moving over the sun, then switches to a view of the eyes reflecting these clouds. It was in the next cut that my jaw dropped open and my brain thought this is not happening. Because I was seeing the start of a Formula 1 race, recognizable by the Union Jacks, the Schwarz-Rot-Gold, and the starting grid of Formula cars. The next scene cuts to Daniel Brühl, sitting in a red Formula 1 car (at this point I was practically bouncing up and down in my seat). If you know anything about the history of Formula 1, Daniel Brühl only looks like one person in Formula 1 – Niki Lauda. At first, I thought it was going to be a biography of Niki Lauda, but when the next scene from the trailer cuts to Chris Hemsworth, again if you know Formula 1, he only looks like one man – James Hunt. At this point I could not believe that someone had actually made the story of the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt. The girl was wondering why I was so excited – I could not explain it to her and she and I did not make it until the film premiere.
To give those that are not familiar with Formula 1 racing there were generally 20-22 drivers at this time with 2 per team. F1 basically starts the same with all teams – there is a set of specifications – and every team basically starts with a steering wheel and four tires, after that it is all up to each team to build their car to be the best and fastest machine. In F1 there are two titles awarded each year, one to the driver with the most points – the drivers championship – and one to the team with the most points – the constructors championship. Formula One starts off in South America, moves on to Africa/Middle East, then on to Europe, to North America, and finally finishes in the Far East. One other thing about F1, they race in poor weather. So, when it starts to rain, they pit and switch to rain tires and go back about their business just a bit slower.
For a little backstory, Niki Lauda was an Austrian driver that won three driving Championships in Formula 1. He had won one title in 1975 and seemed to be on his way to winning again in 1976, when the German Gran Prix was next up on the schedule. The race was to be held at Nürburgring Nordschleife (North Course), which when you read the build of the track you will wonder what insanity it took to even show up to race this course. The course was 14.189 miles long, had 160 turns, and an elevation change over 1000 feet over the course of the track.
From the film this opening line absolutely sets the stage –
Niki Lauda: “Twenty-five drivers start every season in Formula One, and each year two of us die. What kind of person does a job like this? Not normal men, for sure. Rebels, lunatics, dreamers. People who are that desperate to make a mark, and are prepared to die trying.”
When it came time for the race the conditions were poor: it had been raining and there was not a lot of practice time. Niki Lauda, the reigning world champion and only person ever to lap the full 22,835-metre (14.189 mi) Nordschleife in under seven minutes (6:58.6, 1975), proposed to the other drivers that they boycott the circuit in 1976. Lauda was not only concerned about the safety arrangements and the lack of marshals around the circuit, he also did not like the prospect of running the race in another rainstorm. Usually when that happened, some parts of the circuit were wet and other parts were dry, which is what the conditions of the circuit were for that race. The other drivers voted against the idea and the race went ahead. Lauda crashed in his Ferrari coming out of the left-hand kink before Bergwerk (the Mine) after a new magnesium component on his Ferrari’s rear suspension failed. He was badly burned as his car was still loaded with fuel in lap 2. Lauda was saved by the combined actions of fellow drivers Arturo Merzario, Guy Edwards, Brett Lunger, and Harald Ertl.
Apologies for the long introduction. I have embedded a map in this posting – in case it does not work visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Circuit_N%C3%BCrburgring-2002-vs-1927.svg
Niki Lauda was the technical driver, while James Hunt was the show up on race day and see what happens. Not that Hunt was not prepared; he practiced and did the right things to be a good driver, but Hunt spent more time chasing women. It is rumored that he bedded over 5000 women, and he wore a patch on his fire suit that said ‘Sex – the breakfast of champions’.
The opening lines by James Hunt: “I have a theory why women like racing drivers… It’s not because they respect what we do, driving round and round in circles. Mostly they think that’s pathetic and they’re probably right. It’s our closeness to death. You see the closer you are to death the more alive you feel, the more alive you are. They can see that in you they feel that in you. My name is James Hunt. My father is a stock broker, my sister is a barrister, and my brother is an accountant, and I… well I do this. It’s a wonderful way to live, it’s the only way to drive, as if each day is your last.”
The film focuses on Hunt and Lauda and their rivalry throughout racing. The film does get a few things wrong and mixes up timelines to fit the story, but while they had a rivalry, Hunt and Lauda were friends. They even lived together for a bit when they were in lower classes of racing, and both of them were not well off.
I do not want to ruin the story or the film, but I will say it will keep your interest, and there are quite a few little lines that offer massive lessons. After Lauda gets married, he is talking to his wife and he says: “Happiness is your biggest enemy. It weakens you. Puts doubts in your mind. Suddenly you have something to lose.” Lauda lived his life rigidly and strict. His focus was solely on being in control and excelling.
After Lauda had crashed at Nürburgring he saw his points lead shrink. At the end of the film Lauda states this: “ ‘That bastard Hunt,’ I would say. ‘I hate that guy.’ And then one day, the doctor came and said, ‘Mr. Lauda, may I offer a piece of advice? Stop thinking of it as a curse to have been given an enemy in life. It can be a blessing, too. A wise man gets more from his enemies than a fool from his friends.’ And you know what? He was right. Look at us. We were both a pair of kids when we met. Hot-headed jerks in Formula 3. Disowned by our families. Headed nowhere.”
Ron Howard did a great job on this film, the Hans Zimmer score is right on. Casting was perfect. This film flew under the radar, because it did not have the huge advertising budget.
Small Spoiler – One of the funnier bits of trivia from this film is this: Jochen Mass portrayed himself, driving the #12 Marlboro McLaren in the movie. Mass is seen passing stuntmen portraying Niki Lauda and James Hunt (Mass’ teammate) in a key scene at the 1976 German Grand Prix, the site of the Nurburgring accident. A production assistant, assigned to work on the end-of-movie credit roll, was allegedly making the rounds on the set as the crew filmed at Nurburgring in fall 2012 and asked Mass what his name was. When he stated his name several times, the assistant protested, “No, your real name. What is your real name?” The assistant went off in search of someone who spoke German because she was sure the man did not understand her question.
Mass spent a decade in Formula 1 racing, from 1973 to 1982, won the 1975 Spanish Grand Prix and the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans. Although he retired from competitive driving long ago, he still races the occasional vintage car event. He managed to emerge pretty much unscathed from his career in racing.
I doubt that anyone will enjoy this film as much as I do, but I do hope that if you have never seen this film you take the time to watch. I cannot promise that you will absolutely enjoy the film, but it will be time well spent, even if the subject matter does not seem like something you would normally enjoy, and if you really want to get a glimpse of the 70s playboy lifestyle do a cursory search on driver James Hunt.