Chris Paredez is reluctant to play favorites when it comes to The Fast and the Furious movie franchise.
"Oh, my goodness," he says. "I wanna say the fifth one [Fast Five]."
But ... "I just watched the first one this past weekend, too, and I still loved it." he's still all in, eight movies later.
So is his car club, DFWLX Modern Mopar.
"We've been going to the pre-screenings since Fast and the Furious 4," says Paredez, who is a senior member of the club. "Every year that it comes out, me and my wife start working on getting tickets for the club members so they can see it before it comes out in theaters."
They're far from alone in their fandom: Hollywood A-list actors let it be known they want to be a part of the franchise; check out Charlize Theron and Helen Mirren in The Fate of the Furious. And the just-released eighth installment took in more than $100 million at the box office in its opening weekend.
Besides the thrilling stunts, the movies feature cars that look like those belonging to the club members, what Paredez and others call "the businessman muscle car."
"Our car club is model-specific. LX is the frame the car is built on. It's changed names but it's still basically the same frame. It started off with the 2006 Chrysler 300 and the 2005 Dodge Magnum. They came back with the four-door ... V8-powered cars again," he explains. "And when Dodge did that, they made a loyal following. I could go on and on."
It's probably safe to say that the new American muscle cars stoked the fire for the movies and inspired the club. The first movie was released in 2001; Paredez says the club started in "the middle of '07, and I joined in April of 08."
The club is about fellowship, and of course, cars. The next event is Friday, April 21.
"We have a monthly meet and greet; that's the third Friday of every month. Between 20 and 40 cars show up for that event," Paredez says. "If the weather is nice -- there's no rain and it's not cold -- we have a parking lot that can fill about 80 cars and we've filled the parking lot once already."
Cars are his work, too. He works for a company called Fasty's Garage, which installs specialty lighting, such as halos and undercarriage lighting. But the parking lot activity is less about that, and all about sharing the love for the hobby.
"People are welcome to attend," he says. "It's for the members to come and interact with each other, but we're out in the public. We do get people who come to look at the cars and we welcome that to show people what we're about. And people who have similar cars, some of them want guidance on what to do with their cars. It's on the corner of Royal Lane and North MacArthur Blvd., the northwest corner, right next to the In-N-Out Burger. It's in Irving."
They won't do the stunts you'll find onscreen in The Fate of the Furious, or any of the other jaw-dropping stunts seen throughout the franchise. But these cars can show off standing still. And the club members seem to be having just as much fun as the cast. And for free.
"It's a no-fee membership," Paredez says. "We go off of donations and that is it. It's a nonprofit organization also, and we do charity events."
The Fate of the Furious (PG-13, 160 mins.) is out now in theaters nationwide. And, according to producer and star Vin Diesel, there are two more movies to come.