“Speeding is Illogical”
Two films were released in 1989 that had similar principals and attempts at finding peace amidst a culture filled with hatred and confusion. There was controversy because the first film was greeted with numerous Academy Award nominations and won several Oscars including Best Actress and Best Picture while the latter joint was not. I’m of course talking about Driving Miss Daisy and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
Directed by Bruce Beresford, who previously directed such things as Crimes of the Heart and Tender Mercies, Driving Miss Daisy begins in 1948 with the title character (played by Jessica Tandy) getting ready to go for a drive. Making several wrong shifts and wrong turns in the driveway, the car crashes and Miss Daisy is stranded at her house while her vehicle gets repaired.
“Plays, especially small ones, do not always open up with ease on the big movie screen, but ‘Driving Miss Daisy‘ carries most of its cinematic options with great style.” – Vincent Canby, The New York Times
Directed by William Shatner, who previously directed such things as T.J. Hooker season 2 episode 17 and T.J. Hooker season 3 episode 14, Star Trek V begins in 2287 with Captain Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy stranded at Yosemite while their vehicle gets repaired. Doing what any Captain, Doctor, and Vulcan in the 23rd century would do, they sit around the campfire and roast marshmallows while singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. They must have learned that tune from the singing whales last time they visited California. And what do you know, we’re nearly half an hour into the film and we haven’t even left the campsite. Scotty’s getting pretty rusty.
Hearing of Miss Daisy’s little shuffle, her son Boolie (played by Dan Aykroyd, taking a break from busting ghosts) decides to hire someone to drive his mom around. One day, while wandering through his noisy factory, he meets Hoke, the man with a soothing voice (played by Morgan Freeman, the man with the soothing voice). A worker has gotten stuck in the elevator, but luckily, with Hoke’s past work in the Electric Company, he manages to get the employee out right away. Boolie hires Hoke immediately, even though Miss Daisy will have nothing of it.
Meanwhile, back in space, a bit of a ruckus is taking place on a distant planet. In Paradise City, capital of Nimbus III, the “Planet of Galactic Peace” filled with strip clubs, smoking, drinking, and bar fights, some trouble breaks out. The renegade Vulcan Sybok has taken hostage a Klingon General, a human, and Romulan. Though the Starship Enterprise hasn’t been quite finished, Kirk and his pals get beamed back up to the ship where Sulu, the driver with the soothing voice, takes them to Paradise City. Unfortunately, a Klingon starship headed by Captain Klaa hears of the mission and follows them in pursuit, probably because he’s racist against humans and Vulcans.
Back in Atlanta, Hoke is trying to drive Miss Daisy but she keeps refusing, so he tries to help out around the house, but she doesn’t enjoy that either. Finally, after driving alongside her as she walks to the Piggly Wiggly, she gives in and gets in the car. If only she knew how good of a driver Hoke really was, there’s a reason there weren’t any Klingon starships chasing after them. Boldly going where no one has gone before with a chauffeur, Miss Daisy arrives at the Piggly Wiggly. Arriving, she passes by a gigantic Coca-Cola mural, beat that Bill Cosby and Columbia. And besides going to the Piggly Wiggly, Miss Daisy needed a way to get to her own place of Galactic Peace: church.
Landing in Paradise City, Kirk and his buddies didn’t just plan on walking right into the bar and let Sybok waltz into the Enterprise. No, they had a plan to rescue the hostages using many cunning tricks. While Sybok talked on the screen to Chekov, pretending to be the captain, each crew member on the ground did their share of work. In order to distract the natives guarding the building, Uhura does a seductive fan dance. As the horny aliens frolic toward her, Kirk and Dr. McCoy jump out with their laser guns and open fire. Meanwhile, Spock does his Vulcan death grip on a horse. Beating Total Recall by a whole year, a three-boobed alien attacks Shatner, but he manages to get her off. Entering the building, they discover that the entire hostage crisis was a decoy. Sybok merely wanted a starship to land on the planet to give him transportation. He was only three centuries too late, otherwise Hoke would have offered to give him a ride.
Miss Daisy’s Log: Earthdate 1950s. Though never outright saying it, Miss Daisy has finally grown accustomed to Hoke. They had some highs and lows over the years, she accusing him of stealing her tuna, he being taught to read by her, but things have always seemed to work out in the end. One weekend they planned to drive to Mobile Alabama to attend Miss Daisy’s brother’s 90th birthday. While they have a sweet drive together at first, he shares with her that it’s his first time boldly going where no Hoke has gone before: outside Georgia. But unfortunately things take a quick turn for the worse. They get pulled over by a pair of racist police officers asking for both of their IDs. This all could have easily been avoided if Miss Daisy had just distracted them with her seductive fan dance, but she must have left her fans in her other purse. Luckily, it was all just to scare them and the cops let the two travel on their way.
Back in space, Sybok, whom we soon discover is actually Spock’s half-brother, reveals his true reason for hijacking the Enterprise. He is in search of the planet Sha Ka Ree, believed to be the place where creation began, in other words, Eden, in hopes to find God. Why can’t anything normal every happen when it’s discovered that one of the main characters has a long lost brother? I’m not sure why Sybok needs to go to Sha Ka Ree to find God, now that he’s on the Enterprise they just need to make a few slingshots around the sun and travel back in time to attend Temple with Miss Daisy. It would be a lot safer and they wouldn’t have to worry about those pesky Klingons. But no, Sybok forces the Starfleet to take him there by hypnotizing a few of them including Chekov and Uhura.
Miss Daisy’s Log: Earthdate 1960s. It’s been more than a decade since Hoke has worked for Miss Daisy and he’s quite enjoyed it. However, he goes to see Boolie and hints that he would like a raise. Like Hoke and Daisy, Boolie has aged significantly, with a receding hairline he has started to resemble a Ferengi from the Alpha Quadrant. If only he could meet up with Klaa, perhaps he could borrow some of the Klingon Captain’s long and lavish mane for himself. Anyway, contemplating the request, Boolie makes it so, pleasing Hoke greatly. Perhaps with more money, he can finally live long and prosper.
While Hoke seems to be moving up nicely in his employment, the same cannot be said for Captain Kirk. After a couple failed attempts at overtaking Sybok, mainly by climbing and Spock’s shoulders and hugging him while flying on his hover boots, he is forced to give in and take the villainous Vulcan to Sha Ka Ree. Managing to safely get past a nearly impenetrable barrier, the Enterprise lands on the mythical planet. But unbeknownst to them, the Klingon ship has successfully made it through as well and are close behind.
Sybok, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy exit the Enterprise to explore the planet. Actually, McCoy didn’t really want to explore with them, but he had to go make water, so he decided to tag along. Travelling for quite some time, Kirk begins to have much doubts about the truth of the planet- that is until they come upon a giant blue glow in the sky. The blue light takes form of a giant elderly face that claims to be God. At first the four figures start to give in and accept that it is indeed God they are speaking to. But when the so-called God thanks Sybok for bringing him a starship in hopes that his word can be spread across the galaxy, Kirk makes a revelation. Though he states he doesn’t believe he is God because God would not need a starship, it’s obvious he truly didn’t believe it was God because it did not have the voice of Morgan Freeman. Getting pissed off, we see the wrath of God, or at least a God wannabe. Sybok finally joins Kirk and his pals in admitting it is not God and, asking them to forgive him for his foolishness, he sacrifices himself in order to let the Starfleet escape back onto the Enterprise. And wouldn’t you know it, the Klingon ship fires at the fake God, destroying it and saving the Enterprise. I guess different races can be nice to each other from time to time.
Miss Daisy’s Log: Earthdate 1970s. While they didn’t quite get to quarrel with God on a distant planet in the galaxy, Miss Daisy and Hoke did have several more adventures together over the years, including teaching each other how to cook and driving together some more. The Earth years have gone by and Miss Daisy, after showing signs of dementia, is staying at a retirement home. Hoke, now in his early 80s and retired himself, goes to visit Miss Daisy, now in her late 90s, on Thanksgiving. After already telling him once before that he’s her best friend, the two have a nice moment together as he feeds her a slice of pumpkin pie. It’s a very touching scene, however, a better way to declare his love for her would have been to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, but she probably would have nothing of it because that would mean that the boat didn’t have an engine so she wouldn’t be able to get around anywhere in a short period of time. Regardless, as it has been throughout all their years together, they say so much by saying so little to each other.
Meanwhile, after destroying God and making the Klingons say they’re sorry, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy return to Yosemite and sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” around the campfire.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re black, white, Jewish, or Romulan. You can have your Temple blown up by others or you can blow up God yourself. It may take a few decades like Hoke and Miss Daisy, or it may take Generations like the Starship Enterprise, but perhaps in the end all races and species can live together, eating marshmallows and pumpkin pie around a campfire while drinking Coca-Cola from the Piggly Wiggly and Samarian Sunset from Guinan’s Ten Forward bar.
Perhaps Spock was correct, life is but a dream. Leonard Nemoy created an unforgettable character for generations. Some may have lived with Spock their entire lives, some may have yet discovered the philosophic Vulcan, but ultimately the pointy eared figure will always find a way into any figure’s heart who dares to journey into the unknown and boldly go where no man has gone before.
[author image=”https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-xfp1/v/t1.0-1/c0.50.200.200/1621680_10104645198686414_160815090_n.jpg?oh=036db60b27eab5d9a0b563c192df3035&oe=55671725&__gda__=1433249309_f7b7cd483af8a083e3454fce2eb0163a” ]Jeff spends too much time watching movies, but when he’s not watching them, he helps make them by working in the grip and electric department. Some would say he chose this profession because of the thrill of being on set and helping create art, but the real reason is most G&E don’t need to wear pants. Along with being a film nerd, Jeff enjoys riding his bike everywhere around the Southern California and watching his friends perform improv.[/author]