Hollywood Passing

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Written by Bryce Waller

This past Saturday night, as I was wallowing in self-pity after the Alabama loss, I heard the news about Paul Walker’s passing. With all the recent hoaxes concerning Hollywood deaths, I didn’t take this one as fact at first. It wasn’t until an hour later that I learned Walker’s publicist had confirmed the death.

Just like that Walker was gone and life was put back in perspective for me; Alabama’s loss didn’t mean anything anymore.

I had just viewed some Fast and Furious 7 set photos, days before, with Walker in several of them. It was surreal because the filming was taking place right down the road from where I live. Only days before, Walker and crew were eating at the same restaurants I eat at, driving down the same roads I drive down weekly, and then he was gone.

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Something serious happening in Fast and Furious 7.

“My next thought was “Why do I care so much about someone I never personally knew?” I see pictures of people on the news daily and it does not affect me. Maybe that is a problem, maybe I have been desensitized through several mediums of movies, TV, and music but Walker’s death really got to me.

It could also be that I lost my own brother to a car accident recently and a flood of previous emotions came rushing back all at once. Either way, I did not sleep much on Saturday.

I returned to the question of “Why do I care so much?” again on Sunday, and I realized that some Hollywood deaths affect me so heavily because, in a way, I grow up watching these people. I remember watching Walker in Meet the Deedles back in 1998. I loved that movie. I wasn’t old enough at the time to realize how bad of a movie it was, but then again, when you are nine years old who cares!

Nobody cares, that's who. Not even the people who made it.

Nobody cares, that’s who. Not even the people who made it.

I never cared that every single Fast and Furious movie was garbage as far as film-making goes, because it was fast cars and good action. The fact that it never won any awards of praise – other than some teen-choice awards – is irrelevant to me.

From 2001 to now, the Fast and Furious franchise gave me an escape from my 70mph life style, and I liked it. My friends who never enjoyed the franchise like I did are entitled to their opinions. But I am, as well, and I friggin’ love those movies. People have often told me that the Fast and Furious movies are their “guilty pleasure” films.

This statement fully acknowledges that films are unrealistic, defying laws of gravity and physics, and have the cheesiest one-liners of all time (I’m looking at you Dwayne Johnson), but I feel no guilt when I watch these films. I feel giddy inside as the next 1000mph car chase approaches. These films will always be a part of my collection – a cherished part.

Collect all seven! Each sold separately.

Collect all seven! Each sold separately.

Losing Walker was the equivalent to losing that third cousin you see twice a year during the holidays. You had fun when you were together, but other than Christmas and July 4th, you never really spoke to each other. But when you get together, you know good times are ahead and precious memories will be made.

A lot of clichés could be thrown out here: You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, Life is short, Don’t blink, etc., but none of those are fitting for this situation. Paul Walker knew what kind of actor he was and the types of films he enjoyed making; and at the end of his days, I think he loved what he did and was proud of the body of work he put forth. He has no reason not to be proud.

People flood the theatres when the newest Fast and Furious film comes out in theatres, and he and Diesel started that franchise. I actually own Into the Blue! Paul Walker gave people that two hour escape they desperately long for. So I say a job well done on a life well lived Mr. Walker! Thanks for the memories, friend.

I don't know what's happening here, but it's Paul Walker with a cheetah so why not?

I don’t know what’s happening here, but it’s Paul Walker with a cheetah so why not?

Here’s an interesting article covering much of what people didn’t pay attention to about Walker.

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