Once a year, seemingly everyone I know gets together and fills out a bracket for “March Madness”, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Also known as “The Big Dance”, this single-elimination tournament features 68 teams. Each bracket entry allows a person to take a shot at predicting the eventual winner, the national champion. Their competition lurk around every corner, prepared to hurl trash talk and devour each other like so many hungry carnivores.
Even this humble writer is not immune to the siren’s song of filling out paperwork and not winning a dime. I don’t know anything about basketball. I played something like basketball when I was a kid, but that was a recreational league. I was 4 foot nothing and knew the ball was supposed to go in the hoop. I’m pretty sure that’s the only rule. I think you’re supposed to be tall, also.
See, when I make my selections, I have no insider knowledge to base them on. I look at things like the name of the team, their record, their uniforms, and if someone I hate went to that school. You know, the important stuff. Needless to say, no bracket I’ve submitted has ever come close enough to sniff whatever the hell they give you if you win. Is it money? A basketball filled with booze? Court-side seats? Or something even better, like a trophy made of chocolate? I’m not sure, and perhaps I’ll never know.
Here at Titan Town, I wanted to pick a movie that goes hand in hand with madness. I don’t think it has anything to do with March, and it definitely doesn’t have anything to do with basketball. Welcome to March Maxness! Maybe I’ll do a bracket thing at the end. Maybe I won’t. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I don’t know anything about basketball.
“Mad Max” (1979)
HEY, DT! CONVINCE ME! SO WHY…: MAD MAX?
“A few years from now” in Australia (at least), the highways and byways will be inexplicably filled with motorcycle gangs and other assorted vehicular mounted baddies. Enter the Main Force Patrol, a sort of highway patrol cobbled together by whatever is left of the Australian government. BUT ENOUGH ABOUT MY BRACKET, FOLKS.
As the film begins, we’re introduced to several members of the MFP, most of whom have goofy names and apparently zero driving ability (Check out the 7 minute mark for the most ludicrous combination of bad luck I’ve seen in quite some time). No driving ability? Sounds like *your favorite NCAA team*, am I right?
Anyway, these MFP gentlemen are trying to re-apprehend The Nightrider, a “fuel-injected suicide machine” who was “born with a steering wheel in his hand and lead in his foot.” Sounds like a guy with some serious medical issues, if you ask me.
Without giving too much away, the situation soon calls for the MFP’s top pursuit man, Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson in pre-meltdown mode), to enter the fray. What results is the catalyst to a chain of events that will put Max and his family in the crosshairs of a savage biker gang, as well as shake Max to the core of his being.
NOW THAT YOU’RE HERE, CHECK OUT:
Max’s (eventual) ride, the V8 Interceptor. C’mon, you knew it was coming. It’s his dang trademark. Man, this baby has everything. It’s got….4 wheels. And a V8 engine. Windows, too, I suppose. Some kind of exhaust? I don’t know, it’s fast as shit ok? Much like basketball, I don’t know anything about cars. It looks like a….slam dunk to me, though. Perhaps it’s stated best in the film: “She’s meanness put to music, and the bitch is born to run!” It’s a cool car. It reminds me a lot of my first muscle car, a 4 door Ford station wagon.
WHO BRINGS A DVD TO A GUNFIGHT? YOU DO (IF IT’S MAD MAX):
For action fans, there’s a lot to enjoy here. Plenty of car chases, stunts, and other assorted vehicular hi-jinks. There are some explosions, not to mention a noticeable amount of property damage. Beyond stunts of the physical nature, there’s also a veil of dread that tends to cover most scenes. You can tell that the journey to this strange future has affected most of the people in Max’s world, not to mention Max himself. The few glimpses of happy family life are immediately drowned by scenes of terror and violence. At times, viewers may find themselves yearning for a quick shot of a restaurant or gas station, if only to remind themselves that not everything they remember has been perverted or lost to time.
Not bad for having a budget of about $350,000 USD and filming a lot of scenes without the proper permits!
I don’t recommend watching Mad Max if you have a driver’s exam or family vacation coming up. Although, bellowing to a panicked driving instructor or your terrified loved ones that you have lead in your head and a steering wheel in your veins or whatever the fuck could make for an interesting story down the road.
THIS IS THE END…
A cult classic, Mad Max carries a tremendous amount of influence to these day. Not to mention spawning sequels The Road Warrior (1981), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985), and most recently Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). From comic books to action figures to video games, you can feel the spirit of the George Miller films all around you. It’s even permeated the discourse of the day. Many times, when describing a post-apocalyptic society, Miller’s vision is what people tend to reference. If I had to choose, I would definitely pick this scenario over Waterworld, which we all know sucked ass.
It has definitely become one of my favorite series, with the exception of Thunderdome, which for the most part I found to be pretty cheesy. I’ll always be grateful for Master Blaster, however.
So, as we journey though this season of madness (much like Max), don’t forget to take a break from your ballots and get out of your own head for a bit. Do some driving, get some grease under your fingernails, declare a one-man war on a renegade biker gang. You know, normal people stuff that we all do. And if your bracket is going down in flames, much like the world around us, make like Max and just keep driving.