‘Baby Driver’ isn’t just about Fast Cars: A great film about touching the magnificence of life

It won’t save Hollywood from itself, but I was quite surprised by how good the movie Baby Driver was. The Edger Wright directed film was a remarkably good film for a heist movie with great car stunts. Personally, I’m a sucker for car stunts in movies and I had said that I could tell that I’d most relate to the main character of Baby—because when I was younger, I lived a very similar life. I made those comments from just the previews, but after finally seeing the movie over this past weekend on my home theater system, I am astonished by the work. I didn’t just like the movie because it reminded me of my teenage years, it was just a fabulous—well thought out movie that had some very bad characters in it, but was essentially about loving life and being a good person. I give Baby Driver two big thumbs up. For a business enterprise, it had a good budget and it made more domestically than it cost—which is always a good thing. The numbers shown below are the breakdown of the profitability of the movie which is important because it should be a lesson to Hollywood about what works and what doesn’t, What set this movie apart from everything else out there was the unabashed sense of hope that it displayed throughout the film. The main character, Baby was a good kid and the viewer found themselves rooting for some way that he could find a happy life with his incredible talent. If I didn’t know better I’d almost say that Edger Wright took sections of my book Tail of the Dragon and changed the scenes a little bit, but that’s OK. I would have never ended the movie the way he did, but it was satisfying all the same.

Baby Driver
Domestic Total as of Oct. 12, 2017: $107,796,728
Distributor: TriStar
Release Date: June 28, 2017
Genre: Action / Crime Runtime: 1 hrs. 52 min.
MPAA Rating: R Production Budget: $34 million

Total Lifetime Grosses
Domestic: $107,796,728 47.6%
+ Foreign:
$118,526,768 52.4%
= Worldwide: $226,323,496
Domestic Summary
Opening Weekend:
(#2 rank, 3,226 theaters, $6,371 average)
% of Total Gross: 19.1%
> View All 15 Weekends
Widest Release: 3,226 theaters
In Release: 107 days / 15.3 weeks


Even the villain played by Kevin Spacey had redeeming qualities. This was a story oozing with hope and the kind of valor only professional thieves understand who are driven by their enormous genius to live unconventional lives just because the world is otherwise too boring for them. Most of the bad guys in Baby Driver are overachievers who have fallen in the cracks of an overly institutionalized human existence. Maybe it’s just me and the kind of life I’ve had, I could relate to every character, even the deaf guy who was the godfather of Baby. But even so, the movie is great even if nobody has had those types of experiences.

At this point a lot of people have written reviews about this movie so one more by me won’t do much to help it. But I can say that it is movies like this that will help Hollywood in the future—movies without huge budgets that touch people’s lives in an honest way. Nobody with a beating heart could help but not cheer for Baby toward the end of the film and people rewarded the movie with a decent box office reception. Baby was a kid pulled into crime by losing his parents early in life. He didn’t know fear in the traditional respect until he met a girl that he loved and had the same kind of innocent passion toward life that he did. At the start of the movie I recognized in Baby a young man who had not had his childish imagination turned off and it was that which made him so extraordinarily good, and creative in driving cars for professional bank robbers.
My life was a bit different, I didn’t lose my parents so there was no reason for me to find myself in similar situations with similar people but for the fact that I loved to drive fast. I still do in fact. Baby in the movie was a natural driver where his car and his vast imagination made him into a superman behind the wheel—he was virtually unstoppable so long as he had a car. For me it was always that I resented that by the nature of driving I was constrained behind normal people—and was forced to live by their restrictions in life. Driving fast for me was an open declaration that I was not like those other people—that I was living an exceptional life. And if anybody had a problem with it, they could take a hike.

I was in constant trouble, I went to court a lot and was threatened with jail almost every three months. And with such attitudes of course a criminal element would be attracted to such a rebellious character. So that made for some interesting experiences. However when the rubber hit the road, literally, I was always a good person. I had a good family and good grandparents and my foundations were always solid, so no matter how murky things became, my moral compass was always able to show me the right way. So I really felt for the kid in Baby Driver, his mom was obviously a good one and he lost her too early in life, but she had made an impact on him that lasted a lifetime.

Baby’s love of life at the very beginning of the movie was a fascinating examination into human behavior. Baby was boyishly optimistic about everything so that made him an intriguing character—something you really don’t see much these days in movies. Some critics might think that his depiction of life was unrealistic, but I can say that it was pretty spot on in relation to my own experience. Ultimately it was that goodness which kept Baby from rotting in jail at the end. He was just too good of a person to be thrown to the wolves of society and people know and respect that when they see it. I had a very similar experience at many court appearances and more than a few judges told me that they didn’t have room in their jails for kids who were just too good. Jails are meant for menaces of society, not people who are genuinely good in every aspect. Being fearless is not a reason to put people in jail, or being overly imaginative. It can be unfortunate if the criminal element gets a hold of such people, but goodness tends to rise to the top in spite of the efforts of evil.

If you haven’t seen the movie do yourself a favor and do so. It’s a real treasure. It was unusual and optimistic in the ways we want our movies to be—and Hollywood would do a lot better to make a lot more of these kinds of films. Critics might say that Baby came from a broken home and had suffered terrible tragedies that would have prevented him from becoming such a person—but I know better. What the critics don’t know is that a good parent can produce similar young geniuses—just through the love that they give them. That is after all what makes people what they are in life—institutions certainly don’t. People who love to drive fast do so for usually some psychological reason that has great merit. I always knew why I did it in real life. Baby in the fictional sense was discovering it. And we who watch movies understand how those relationships work, because we understand people like Baby—even if we can’t relate so strongly to the character as I might. That’s because what’s in us as human beings desires so much to be loved and to flee from institutional mechanisms designed to artificially manipulate our lives toward service to a system. We don’t all have to be geniuses to feel that yearning for individual freedom—and that’s all Baby wanted in this movie. And that’s what we all can relate to.

Rich Hoffman

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