We saw RUSH last night, and I loved it. Ron Howard can do no wrong in my book. I notice he loves to direct stories about people - their lives, their eras, their way of fitting in. A BEAUTIFUL MIND delved into the same kind of personal story as RUSH - a man with demons. For those not interested in racing, RUSH is about the James Hunt/ Nicki Lauda race for the Formula 1 championship in 1976. I'm sure there's a bit (and probably more) of Hollywood manipulation to make the story more cohesive, but I don't care.
The relationship between the two men is delineated clearly in the scene in the airport hangar where Lauda and Hunt talk for the first time, without ego and with brutal honesty, about their different philosophies of life. In many ways, this is Lauda's story, and he is, after all, still alive to consult with the scriptwriter. His is the more compelling story, mainly because he's maimed in a fiery wreck, and also because no one really liked him. Hunt is the bon vivant, the Lothario with devastating good looks, who can sway a drivers' meeting to race in a dangerous rainstorm on a terrible track where Lauda almost dies.
I remember those early-mid-seventies vividly. I graduated from law school in 1976. Excesses were popular for those who could afford them, monetarily and professionally. It wasn't uncommon for lawyers to partake of illegal substances at office Christmas parties. (Not me, just to be clear!) I won't go into the prevalence of sexual peccadilloes. All in all, for those of us on the straight and narrow, we felt pretty much out of the mainstream. Thus identifying with Lauda's work ethic and downright puritanism is easy for me. It's not easy being a fish out of water when it seems all the other guppies are having a damned good time. That's Lauda's cross to bear and he never complains about it.
Now, I'm of an age where I don't care what's going on around me in society. I do my own thing without worrying about how it looks or what anyone else is doing. My books are reflecting this freedom. I'm writing with a new ease, a certainty that what amuses me will amuse someone else, and if not, well, them's the breaks. No fiery crashes for me, and I'm having a good time.
The straight and narrow can be a hell of a lot of fun.