Thursday, October 01, 2015


Franchises. I have worked for a few. I have entertained and enthralled dozens with my tales of the back room at Arby's. I got a name tag for that. And a nice brown vest. With a pocket in which I kept the keys to the register. After a stint at Target, where I was not even required to wear one of those hokey red vests, I found myself ensconced in the rarefied air of a locally owned video store. Customers knew my by name, thus badges were not necessary.  They knew me by reputation. I was the guy they could go to for advice about movies they had never seen, but was disposed to rolling my eyes whenever I was asked "what'snewthat'sgoodthat'sinthatIhaven'tseenyet?" You want to see what everyone else is watching? Be my guest. Sigh.
And I got away with that. For a while. Until our store was sold away to a lawyer from out of town who had it in his head that owning a video store might be a fun way to spend his time because practicing law turned out to be an awful lot of work. The lawyer turned us into a National Video franchise store. If you haven't heard of them, that's okay since they went belly up not long after the store in which I worked passed away quietly back in the late 1980's. It may have been the overhead. All those blue polyester shirts. And name tags.
So I know a few things about franchises. Which is probably why I had to click on the story whose headline read, "Vin Diesel Says The 'Fast and Furious' Franchise Will End After Three More Films." First of all, from Vin's lips to my ears, right? And it also got me thinking about what it must be like for him and the rest of the F&F crew to work for a franchise. It's probably a little different than my experience at Arby's, and even though I like to think of my video store experience as part of my film career, I don't guess that Mister Diesel is required to wear a name tag while he is on set. If you're curious, by the way, three more "Fast" films will bring the total to ten. Not content to stand on lucky number seven, probably because of the less-than-lucky fate of the late Paul Walker, And that one made a hemi-powered drone full of cash, so why not make them until that particular stone has been wrung dry?
The first episode in this saga roared across movie screens in 2001, and there has been a nearly constant biennial stream of fast cars and tough talk coming from the producers of this series ever since. That will mean that this franchise will last a little over twenty years. Nice work, if you can get it, even if it doesn't come with a nice blue polo shirt.

No comments: