Retro Relapse: The Magic of Monaco

RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.

*Written in 2014.

There is something pretty special about the Monaco Grand Prix.

To start is it’s name. It is named after its hosting country Monaco, the beautiful sovereign city-state located on the French Riviera – surrounded by France and near the Italian border.

It isn’t like all the other Formula 1 races that are named after large and well-known hosting countries; some notables being the British Grand Prix, the Spanish Grand Prix, the Chinese Grand Prix, the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Australian Grand Prix, the United States Grand Prix and so on. No, the Monaco Grand Prix is unique in its distinction – it is a tiny nation and known across the world by racing fans of all social and economic backgrounds almost entirely because of this race.

There are a lot of insanely beautiful circuits throughout the entire Formula 1 calendar but something about Monaco sets it apart. There is an added level of mystique and beauty. There is a greater degree of pageantry that sets the bar at a height that other places can’t seem to reach. Between the waterfront littered with luxurious yachts and the old European architecture that creates majestic looking canyon walls next to the lightning fast Formula 1 cars weaving between them, there is just a little something extra special about this world-renowned race.

The Monaco Grand Prix is Formula 1 at it’s most prestigious level. Monaco is the sport at its absolute best and is the highlight of the season from year-to-year. It has been the standard bearer for the sport going as far back as 1929. It is also considered one of the world’s greatest races and is on a level similar to that of Le Mans.

In fact, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the only race that I’d rank above it. However, Le Mans is a different type of motorsport. Formula 1 is the pinnacle of auto racing and with Monaco being the pinnacle of Formula 1, you can’t not respect and appreciate it.

For those who have never watched this truly amazing race, it will be on this weekend. This year’s Monaco Grand Prix should be one for the ages, as Lewis Hamilton is going for his fifth straight win, as Mercedes has dominated the sport this season. Also, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is still arguably the greatest driver since Michael Schumacher and he will most likely be at his best this weekend. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen will turn up the heat, as both are still top level drivers and have a lot to prove due to their misfortune so far this season.

Formula 1 is the greatest motorsport in the world and possibly the greatest sport in the world. This weekend we are once again treated to the best this sport has to offer. Grab some real champagne, not that sparkling wine crap, and eat about five pounds of Gruyèrs and croissants because it will be a special day that we only get once a year.

Film Review: Freejack (1992)

Release Date: January 17th, 1992
Directed by: Geoff Murphy
Written by: Steven Pressfield, Ronald Shusett, Dan Gilroy
Based on: Immortality, Inc. by Robert Sheckley
Music by: Trevor Jones
Cast: Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins, Jonathan Banks, David Johansen, Esai Morales, Frankie Faison

Morgan Creek, Warner Bros., 110 Minutes

Review:

“Get the meat.” – Victor Vacendak

Freejack isn’t a good movie but it’s one of those cool ’90s action, sci-fi flicks that just hits the right notes for me. But you probably need to be a fan of these sort of films for this one to resonate.

It has a very Philip K. Dick style to it in plot and visual flourish.

I guess the coolest thing about the movie is that this has a really cool ensemble cast that features two rock and roll legends: Mick Jagger and David Johansen. But it also stars Emilio Estevez, Anthony Hopkins, Rene Russo, Jonathan Banks, Frankie Faison and the seemingly underappreciated Esai Morales.

Estevez stars as a Formula 1 driver that dies in a pretty spectacular crash. However, his body is plucked away just before the moment of death and he wakes up in the future, confused, lost and distraught. He is also being hunted by Mick Jagger and his posse, as Jagger has been tasked with capturing Estevez so that some rich guy can steal his body by uploading his brain into it.

The movie follows Emilio on the run where he finds out that he can’t trust any of his old friends. Overall, the film is action packed, high octane and balls out fun.

The chase sequence with Emilio driving a champagne delivery truck with Jagger following in a SWAT tank is pretty damn good. It’s accented by the great and booming score by Trevor Jones, who also provided good scores for The Last of the Mohicans, Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Cliffhanger, From Hell and Dark City.

For me the real highlight was Mick Jagger. The guy looked like he was having a great time filming this movie. Now I don’t know if he actually had fun but he certainly looked to be eating this film up. But the guy has infinite levels of charisma and he was entertaining as hell in this.

Anthony Hopkins, on the other hand, felt like he was dialing in his performance. He later went on to bash this film and maybe he had a sour taste for it when he was still making it.

All in all, this was actually better than I remembered. In fact, I wasn’t too enthused to revisit it but I wanted to watch something in this film’s style. I’m just glad that I was pleasantly surprised by it.

Rating: 6.25/10
Pairs well with: the original Total RecallThe 6th Day and Timecop.

Book Review: ‘Senna Versus Prost’ by Malcolm Folley

Senna Versus Prost is one of my favorite books on Formula 1. It covers the rivalry between two F1 legends, the late great Ayrton Senna and superstar Alain Prost. For those who don’t know, they had one of the most bitter rivalries in the history of not just motorsports but all of sports.

Many people are now familiar with the rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda due to the film Rush but even that epic feud wasn’t as big as the one between teammates Senna and Prost.

Malcolm Folley wrote a damned good book and from cover-to-cover this thing wasn’t just compelling it was eye-opening and emotional. The events surrounding Senna’s death were tragic and the words of Prost within this book offer up a level of respect and admiration for the man he seemingly hated.

This book lets you into Prost’s mind and shows you how despite the differences and anger that these two amazing drivers had with one another, they never doubted the greatness of their biggest rival or themselves.

Senna Versus Prost is well-written and thorough, giving the reader stark insight into the history between these two super talented and passionate men. It also shows Alain Prost in a better and more fair light than the documentary film Senna, which painted a negative picture. That wasn’t a bad documentary but it had an agenda in the way that it was told. This book gives a more balanced view and lets the reader form their own opinion.

Rating: 8.5/10
Pairs well with: The Death of Ayrton Senna by Richard Williams, The Mechanic’s Tale by Steve Matchett and Winning Is Not Enough by Jackie Stewart.