“Ask any racer. Any real racer. It don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.”

“More than you can afford, pal. Ferrari.” Followed, of course, by “Smoke ‘em.”

“Spirit. Thank you. Thank you for providing us with the direct-port nitrous . . . uh . . . injection, four-core intercoolers, and ball-bearing turbos, and . . . um . . . titanium valve springs. Thank you.”

“I smell . . . skanks.” (That one probably hasn’t held up so well.)

The film made you root for the gearheads and the street racers. You didn’t care that they pulled some highly illegal shit. The point was that they loved cars and so did you and that’s why this whole thing matters in the first place.


And, of course, there was Paul.


Is there anything as majestic as early-2000s Paul Walker? With baby blue eyes, a winning smile, a penchant for using the word “dude” and sun-bleached hair, he was basically perfection.

We were there when his character went on his first date with Mia Toretto and when he sat down to his first Toretto barbecue. He busted Dom out of jail. He had a son with Mia. We were there for all of it; we grew up with him.


Off screen, Walker was just as immersed in car culture as his character. He loved BMWs. He was an avid car collector. He participated in track days. Watching the films just isn’t the same when you know that he’s gone. Every time I watch the tribute at the end of Furious 7, I cry like a goddamn baby. It’s why it hit people who love cars so hard when he died. We didn’t just lose some actor. We lost one of our own.

Weave through the topical silliness of the movie and you suddenly hit upon a film that impeccably balances its sentiment with its characters: That family will always have your back. That just because you might not always have a home to return to, there will be people who will let you into theirs. It was the right film for the right time because it had absolutely nothing to prove to anyone. It didn’t need to outdo anything. And none of its sequels—not even Tokyo Drift, which may in fact be the greatest film of all time—can match its resonance.


Go see the movie tonight, if you can. It’s a good way to relive some of the old magic. See where it all began. And if we could, we’d have the tuna. No crust.