By on January 22, 2013

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As a child with a 1:24 scale model of the first generation Viper constantly adorning my bedroom amongst other automotive related furnishings, my eyes were glued to the Viper television series. It was full of horrible dialogue, campy acting, and a car that transformed (I wonder where they got that idea from?) into a V10 powered, crime fighting caricature of itself. I was 10 years old when it first appeared on TV, so I didn’t care about the obvious insert of a disabled African American male in a wheelchair to appease focus groups. Nor did I care about stupid weapons which were probably taken straight from the dusty script of a failed Star Trek pilots.

In my lifetime, I have yet to see a good, live action, car themed television show. Just look at the last Knight Rider reboot or The Transporter for proof. Even worse, the movie studios want you to spend big money to watch fantastic failures on the big screen which will make you shout at inaccuracies and pine for a movie exec to get it right for once.

Outside the non-fiction genre of Senna and Ron Howard’s upcoming dramatized Rush which peers into Niki Lauda’s near-fatal accident, why can’t someone make a decent fucking car movie or television show?

In my almost 30 years of life, I have been lucky to enjoy the classics: Vanishing Point (the original), Grand Prix, Gone In 60 Seconds (the original, not the Cagey version), and Bullitt. I wasn’t alive when they first came out, so I have no idea if they were critically acclaimed films or flubs when they were first shone on the silver screen. And, honestly, I don’t care. They’re still better than the ultra-CGI colon polyps of today. Hell, Ford even built a Bullitt-style Mustang in recent years. Can you see Volkswagen resurrecting the “Fast and Furious” Jetta? Even if they did, you’d absolutely hate them for it. I’d give props to Ferrari for building an Eddie Griffin Edition Enzo though, sans nose, even if it was only for a laugh.

But, what makes all recent movies and TV shows with any sort of petrol-fuelled theme suck so much?

Attention to detail.

As soon as I see a car do something that obviously couldn’t be done without the assistance of Industrial Light and Magic waving their digital wand over it, I automatically hate it. The absurd crashes in Driven? The horrid dirt road drag race in Biker Boyz where Laurence Fishburne and Derek Luke are able to have a conversation with each other while riding at full clap? Redline?

Give us the car chase in Ronin. Hell, even Days of Thunder wasn’t too bad. I could go for a rental car smash up derby along Daytona Beach any day over watching Stallone hum to himself on the race radio while lifting dimes off the road with his rear tire. Just give us something correct.

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74 Comments on “We Deserve A Good Car Movie...”


  • avatar
    niky

    I think you’ve already cited what’s good. Ronin was a fantastic modern car chase (Modern in that it happened after carbs went bye-bye…). I quite liked the chase sequences in the Matt Damon Bourne series, too. Okay, no way is a Mini surviving all of that without the floor dropping out, and that taxi cab should’ve had a smashed live-axle halfway through, but they’re detailed and frenetic enough for us to not care much.

    I think one of the big problems is that a realistic car chase with modern cars on modern tires would be boring. No more going through turns with the tail hanging ninety degrees out. No fifty foot long rooster tails of tire smoke (not if you’re actually trying to accelerate). No flying hubcaps.

    The only way for them to make a realistic and exciting chase scene nowadays is to use beat-up old bangers like they used to do in the 80′s and 90′s. Huge body-on-frame dinosaurs bought from salvage yards for beer money and smashed on the very first take.

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      When I watch shows like CHiPs, Dukes of Hazzard, Charlie’s Angels, Hawaii five-0 and so on today I can’t say I’m impressed with the driving styles. It’s all very slow and wallow-y; the malaise era of car chases. The only thing cars of that vintage are good for is summed up in the ‘wagon days’ car dealership scene from Roadhouse. Or maybe National Lampoon’s Vacation.

      Reading a little lower I’m reminded there are exceptions, at least for James Garner.

      Bond films in the 80s had some decent driving, though. I remember being impressed with the German Police in Octopussy when I was eight.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I agree completely. I think the peak of real car movies was the 70′s however, and a big part of me feels that the genre just isn’t coming back.

    Car culture isn’t was it once was. Current generation car culture is derived quite literally from The Fast and the Furious, so for a vaguely car related movie to sell some viewership, it doesn’t need much credibility.

    I love true car movies with and will spend money to see ones with credibility, but I think I’ll be stuck watching Two Lane Blacktop over again while my wife is bored to tears.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark Stevenson

      The only reason I didn’t mention Two Lane Blacktop is because I have never seen it. Maybe I need to compile a list of absolute must-see movies for another piece? Maybe some shows as well?

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Great idea. I would probably avoid the cliché choices of Bullit and Ronin simply because they’re predictable and on every “Top 10″ car movie lists but the actual car pr0n is limited to one or two car chases. Not to say they’re bad as car movies, but they’ve been said over and over again.

        For a pure car chase/crash movie, the original Gone in 60 Seconds is good.

        Two Lane Blacktop is a good movie in an existential, observation sense. People looking for a plot or substantial characters will bored to death. Lots of BBC ’55 Chevy authenticity though.

        The California Kid is a decent flick where Martin Sheen attempts to avenge the death of his brother in a hot rodded ’32 Ford. The cars are late 50′s early 60′s traditional hot rod accurate.

        I really like the original Cannonball Run and Gumball movies for the amusement and authenticity of most of the cars, some find them to be a bit too goofy.

        Vanishing Point isn’t a car movie in the nitty gritty mechanical sense, but most of it takes place behind the wheel of a ’71 Challenger doing some nasty driving, so most will find it satisfying.

        There’s definitely more, but those are some of my favs.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Face it, Mark. You were born too late, and danio is right – those movies are never coming back. Car chases have been eliminated from action movies, replaced by computer generated explosions. Even comedies like Good Neighbor Sam with some car action are gone, replaced by French-style interminable dialogue masquerading as wry humor (except for Adam Sandler Movies). Even commercial porn has been ruined, with extraneous items like sets, lighting, dialogue and plot crowding out the good parts. At least the porn aficionado has xtube.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Dude, Where’s My Car?

  • avatar
    ringomon

    Drive. I thought it was a good movie, with some good car sequences. But I’m not a dyed in the wool car guy, so your mileage may vary.

    • 0 avatar
      roger628

      Am I the only one to see that a great deal of the premise of Drive was pinched from Ryan O’Neals 1978 flick The Driver? (directed by Walter Hill and co-starring Bruce Dern). The central premise of the brooding loner, highly professional, intolerant of amateurs, is suspiciously similar. The difference is that The Driver was more believable. Drive had a few too many plot coincidences.

      • 0 avatar
        ClutchCarGo

        Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to locate a copy of Driver on DVD. The opening sequence where O’Neal demos his skills is great (as best I can remember it).

    • 0 avatar
      Mark Stevenson

      I am disappointed there wasn’t more “car stuff” in Drive. Still loved the movie, but the car bit was a distraction from what was really going on.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Around New Year’s, TCM revived that classic 1963 comedy “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.” Everything about this movie is BIg, BIg, BIg and Big. Three hours long, it needs all that time for a jumbo cast that includes almost every popular comedian of that era. “Mad…World” is as dense and kinetic as a Pixar movie, but it’s all for real. Best of all, it’s a road movie, with a half-dozen cars, tricks and airplanes driven desperately towards a stash of buried treasure. The stunts are as real as they are plentiful. Cars leap over jumps, sink into rivers, and roll into ditches, not to mention the countless near-misses with other drivers and pedestrians. The airplane stunts surpass, though, with a plane flying through an open hangar and a billboard. A movie like this will never be made again, thanks to the pressure of liability laws and the easy option of CGI animation.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark Stevenson

      This formula was also used in Rat Race in the past 10 years. Massive line up of stars all racing to get treasure. Am I right that Rat Race is based on the movie you mention?

    • 0 avatar
      Numbers_Matching

      I always got a kick out of the scene where Phil Silvers is reving the *crap* out of his ’47(?) Ford while trying to get back to the highway. The sound is pure flathead. Sound authenticity makes a car scene worth watching.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    I think the problem was movie producers feel the need to make the car chase scene so over the top and outrageous that it just wasn’t realistic anymore, thus not enjoyable to watch. It looks too fake. Transporter 2, later James Bond movie, etc. fall victim to this.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark Stevenson

      The roll in Casino Royale was real, and awesome, and made my inner 10-year-old go “COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!”

      • 0 avatar
        Lumbergh21

        They still had to “fake it” by using a hydraulic ram, I beleive, to make the car flip. The Aston just wouldn’t flip over as easy as they thought it would. But, yeah loved that car and that movie, not just the big crash scene.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Two Lane Blacktop is weird but entertaining. The mechanic sure did check the points and jets a lot. Another classic is Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. “My top end is unlimited”. The Trans Am in Smokey & the Bandit with the NASCAR engine in it is fun to watch. Hence the reference to Richard Petty during the movie. Now you know where they got it.

    • 0 avatar
      tmkreutzer

      Speaking of Smokey and the Bandit, another great Burt Reynolds/Jerry Reed movie is “WW and the Dixie Dance Kings.” It isn’t all centered on the car, but the Golden Anniversary Oldsmobile does play an important part in the movie.

      Also, since the movie co-stars Jerry Reed, you know the music is great.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      The ten year old that lives inside of me still loves Smokey and the Bandit and the Cannonball Run (Burt Reynolds, haven’t seen the David Carradine version). That opening sequence of Cannonball Run with the Countach still sends a shiver through me. As does Farrah Fawcett climbing out of said Lamborghini.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The thing I think I like the most about Two Lane Black Top is that the Mechanic and Driver characters played by James Taylor and Dennis Wilson were both sort of tragic people in the same sense as the actors that pleyed them at the time. (Both had bad substance abuse and dark personal issues).

      It’s as if both had just dropped out of their music careers at the time and decided to race across America.

  • avatar
    tmkreutzer

    I know it isn’t “live action,” but one great car show produced during your lifetime is the Japanese anime series “Initial D.” It’s available on Hulu in both dubbed English and with the original Japanese audio tracked subtitled (and the latter is my preferred option because the English version is poorly acted.)

    I was an anime nerd back in the mid-80s and actually began my Japanese studies as a result of that hobby. (you see kids, back then there was no internet and no subtitles so if you wanted to know what was going on, you had to learn Japanese… )

    By the mid-90s I had fallen out of love with anime and started falling in love with Japanese girls – the two interests are mutually exclusive. So it was with some trepidation that I began watching this series when I was jonesing for some Japanese language programming after I relocated back to the states a couple of years ago. Since my wife and kids stayed with my in-laws while I established a stateside home, I had the time. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the series.

    I first moved to Japan in 99 as an English teacher and lived there until 01. I used to take my twin-turbo Supra up into the mountains to watch the kids race and I think the show pretty accurately captures the scene. The cars are representative of what I was seeing at the time.

    I’m sure most people who love cars have already seen the series, but if you haven’t, check it out. Just don’t let your Japanese wife catch you…

    • 0 avatar
      Mark Stevenson

      Initial D has a really soft spot in my heart as well. It is probably the only show/series/anime/movie in recent memory that’s created a car that’s instantly recognizable – the Tofu Delivery Car AE86. Even doing a simple Google Image search for “AE86″ shows tons of replicas or homage cars to the tofu delivery car in Initial D.

      That said, there was a live action movie made which covers the first “Stage” or two of Initial D. It’s absolutely horrible. I know because I own it. I’ve watched it once and I will never watch it again. But, I really hope the animated series makes a comeback, and soon.

      • 0 avatar
        JamesE

        Initial D Stage 5 is actually on air right now in Japan. You’ll have to check the usual places to view it in America.

        Regarding the live action movie, I agree it is a little cheesy but I think they did a fantastic job of bringing the anime to life. Bunta was incredibly well acted, and Team Emperor made for a cool villain. I would have preferred some Super Eurobeat music though.

      • 0 avatar
        tmkreutzer

        I saw that on Netflix a month or two ago. It has the same problems a lot of TV series turned movies have, namely the producers try to cram an entire story that developed over dozens of episodes into 120 minutes. Also, the Animated series does a good job of capturing the way Japanese young people speak and act and the movie, made by Hong Kong producers (I believe) and dubbed by piss poor English voice actors squeezes that small bit of joy out too.

        I wish now I had gotten into the comics when I was there. I wonder what the anime series left out.

        I did get one question answered by that anime, however. How one of my hot rod students managed to tear the front wheel off of his Toyota Levin in a drainage ditch. Yeah, those ditches on that anime mountain pass must really be special because a trying to shove your tire into a REAL Japanese drainage ditch is flirting with death.

    • 0 avatar
      luvmyv8

      Another good Japanese anime series is Wangan Midnight. It’s harder to find since it was never officially imported like Initial D, but it’s worth the effort tracking it down (I got it off Ebay with english subs)while Initial D deals with Touge (mountain pass drifting)Wangan Midnight is about the high speed racing on Tokyo’s Shutokou expressway. The main car is a S30 Nissan Fairlady Z (ie- Datsun 240Z)that has a twin turbocharged L28 that is bored out to 3.1L and produces around 660 or so horsepower. That car is called the ‘Devil Z’. The main rival is a Porsche 911 known as the Blackbird. Also plenty of Skyline GTR’s, Evo’s and even a built up Z31 300ZX with a worked up VG30ET. Good stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      The driving in Initial D (the animated series) is pretty fantastic, and you can tell they did a whole lot of work to be as accurate and realistic as possible, though I’d question whether a road-going car can survive jumping off six foot high curbs during a race…

      One other animated series that you should watch if you’re into cars is Wangan Midnight. Even more anti-social and irresponsible than Initial D, but it delves deeper into the mechanical aspect of Japanese car culture.

  • avatar

    Whenever there is any doubt, there is no doubt. That’s the first thing they teach you. We definitely need a good car movie. My Ronin DVD is on the verge of being unplayable at this point.

    There is a rally movie in the works these days. I forget the name, but it’s going to be legit – it’s being produced by rallyists. Pretty sure there’s a kickstarter going right now. (Part of the problem, part of the solution, part of the landscape, right?)

    Press on.

  • avatar
    Adub

    Ronin was already mentioned, the first Bourne movie was good. In the theaters now is Jack Reacher, which even if you are a Tom Cruise hater, you should see. The driving is realistic and not CGI. He even screws up, although he does some amazing driving at the end.

  • avatar
    Matt Fink

    The Disney movie ‘Cars’ has done a great job getting my 3 year old son interested in old cars and racing. I’m not kidding.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      Cars 1 had some fantastic stuff in it. Cars 2 was entertaining, with amazing production design, but it was dreck. Absolute dreck. What a waste of characters and artists.

  • avatar
    roger628

    A&E used to have a program called Lost Drive-In in the 90s, hosted by Bruce Dern. It featured the usual suspects (Vanishing Point et al) along with Dern’s commentary. However, there were some real sleepers. Anyone ever heard of Corky? Robert Blake plays a small town Texas loser garage mechanic cum dirt racer who abandons his wife (Charlotte Rampling) and sets out to break into NASCAR, all because he got his picture taken with Richard Petty at a county fair race years before. He drives a ’67 Barracuda done up to ape a Superbird. Darned if I can find it or download it, though.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    Every single person here should own a blu-ray of the IMAX movie “Superspeedway”. Mount an IMAX camera on top of a REAL indycar (CART/ChampCar), turn up the boost, and let Mario Andretti get behind the wheel. YES PLEASE! Oh, and Paul Newman narrates

    Why the IMAX theaters don’t seem to play this much is beyond me. Used to kill me that there was a theater right next door to Burke Lakefront Airport and during the Cleveland Grand Prix nobody thought to show the movie!!

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    They have finished filming Mad Max 4/Fury road now, and it is in post-production. As for other modern movies, I think both the Dukes of Hazzard movie and FnF Tokyo drift were decent car movies with a lot of good fun driving in them, and a lot of actual live action stunts.. Tokyo drift is also set in a car enthusiast environment, unlike most of the other Fast n Furious movies , which are mostly cop/robber(druglord) stories, with hilarious plots to make the heavily edited car sequences necessary.
    But there hasn’t been many good movies at all recently, it’s not just car chases that has gone to the dogs…

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    Simple – CGI. CGI removes the most important element of a great car movie, the danger. Watching a REAL driver take REAL turns at speed, where the possibility of serious injury or death lurks around every corner, is what makes auto racing and movies about cars so great. I don’t watch racing for the wrecks, but because I can appreciate that every driver knows the dangers and is able to compete despite them. Similarly, watching a Charger and Mustang ramp down the hilly streets of San Fran makes up for poorly edited sequences with 15 hubcaps flying off, in spades. I don’t get white knuckled watching Nick Cage ramp Elanor over a flatbed tow truck, because that never actually happened.

    As a consequence, CGI has led directors to try and one-up each other in a different way. In a bigger-is-better Hollywood, the more fantastic and ridiculous a driving sequence can be made, the better. Realism is not a consideration, it can’t be.

    Now, insert my complaints above into the question of why there aren’t any good flying/air combat movies. Same formula, with even more dismal results (e.g. Flyboys).

    This all being said, is it really worth someone losing their life making a movie? I don’t know what the answer to that is, but I do know that I’d rather watch Grand Prix 100 times than sit through Driven again.

  • avatar
    autojim

    Ron Howard’s upcoming “Rush” looks promising. He’s gone to a LOT of trouble to make the racing action as real as possible, down to hiring actual 1976-era F1 cars. He “gets it” and while he’s said it’s a people story — about Lauda and Hunt — he’s also said that it’s vitally important that the racing be right or it will throw viewers out of the story.

    Don’t get me started on “Days of Blunder” (when Bob Duvall *and* Randy Quaid can’t save the movie, it’s really, really bad) or the even-more-atrocious “Driven”. The less said about the various “Fast and Furious” movies, the better. This the franchise that single-handedly introduces “Naws” to the poseurboy lexicon and they should forever pay for that.

    “Ronin”? Excellent and part of my permanent collection. “Grand Prix”? Absolutely. That they’re both Frankenheimer movies is not a coincidence. “LeMans”. “Bullitt”. To some extent, “Winning”, if for no other reason than it introduced Paul Newman to auto racing, and many astonishingly wonderful things came from that. There’s a reasonable car chase in “The French Connection” if memory serves.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark Stevenson

      I really have been meaning to watch “LeMans”. “Winning” is a new one for me. I hope I can find it without having to drudge through dozens of TMZ articles about Charlie Sheen. Paul Newman was a fascinating man.

  • avatar
    Scout_Number_4

    No one’s mentioned it, so I will–The Rockford Files. I grew up watching that show and was always impressed by James Garner’s work (he supposedly did most of the Firebird driving) behind the wheel. Love that oft-used move whereby he escapes the bad guys in reverse, whips the ‘Bird around and departs in a cloud of tire smoke–Fridays 9pm Pacific….good times. I recently watched a few episodes on Netflix which was an absolute hoot–fun to hear all the dated dialog, see the horrid ’70s on full display and the car scenes are still fun. Had the planets lined up differently when I could finally afford a car, I would’ve bought a ’77 or ’78 Formula Firebird.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark Stevenson

      A&E used to show reruns of ‘The Rockford Files’ before it was exploiting drug addicts and promoting backwoods Louisana duck hunters for ratings. There was something special about that show. James Garner was the anti-Burt Reynolds: a law man, good guy, and not an incredible womanizer. But, he still had the foot work to match Burt’s Smokey days.

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    One of the best pre-CGI car chase scenes I recall was in “To Live and Die in L.A. from 1985. Also a great film noir cop story.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Once I see CGI flying cars and explosions, it doesn’t matter what happens after. I’m out.

      +1 “To Live and Die in LA” is one of the greatest films of all time, and its car chase scene has never been matched.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “I wasn’t alive when they first came out, so I have no idea if they were critically acclaimed films or flubs when they were first shone on the silver screen.”

    Seems like an Internet might help with this ignorance.

  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    The Transporter. The first one really worked for me.

    There was also the 1970s television mini-series Wheels adapted from Alex Haileys book and starring Lee Remick and Rock Hudson. It was a sort of soft-core TTAC put to video.

  • avatar
    bg

    Don’t forget 1973′s “The Seven-Ups” with Roy Sheider and the driver from “Bullit”. It’s often referred to as the “sequel” to the French Connection since it had some of the same team and a gripping car chase through NYC. …okay, those old bias-ply tires didn’t grip much, and you can see the skid marks from previous takes, but the cars are teetering on the brink of control and the driving is obviously real.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    I agree that “The Driver” (1978) is worth seeing.

    As for “Two Lane Blacktop,” I came across a paperback of the script (first published in Esquire magazine, I believe) in 1972, and although I reread it with pleasure every five years or so, it’s never made me want to go see the movie. Somehow the assortment of black-and-white photos, together with the script, suffices.

  • avatar

    Does no one remember Deathproof? That’s our good car movie right there!

  • avatar
    I've got a Jaaaaag

    Another movie from the 70s with good car culture “Dirty Mary Crazy Larry” So iconic the final car crash was in the opening of the Fall Guy.

  • avatar
    Loser

    I think Blues Brothers still has the record for most cars wrecked in a movie.

  • avatar
    gumbypiz

    The Gumball Rally (1976) wtih Michael Sarrazin & Raul Julia is a good one, if not more than a goofy knock off of the “Cannonball” movies (actually before “Cannonball Run”)…the sound of the Ferrari Daytona in this movie is intoxicating.

    I’m not really surprised that there is such a lack of good “car” movies at this point and time. It has to do with our relationships with cars and the computerized nature of cars nowadays.

    So much of tactile feel of cars has been removed from the driver and given over to computers ECM’s and other devices, the image or the car on screen had to change too. That’s why so much CGI, and why the use of it is so much less satisfying…

  • avatar
    Numbers_Matching

    Note to Hollywood: Good car chase = real-time action with real-time SOUND.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    Has anybody mentioned Mad Max? That’s one of my all time favorites.

    “I am the Night Rider. I’m a fuel injected suicide machine. I’m a rocker, I’m a roller, I’m an outta controllllla….I’m the Night Rider baby!”

    I haven’t seen Hit and Run yet (at RedBox next month) but from what I hear, its a good gear head movie. The producer/director/writer, Dax Shephard, has a pro-touring ’67 Lincoln (IIRC) that he uses as a daily driver.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    Mad Max is a good suggestion (tho the film itself is excruciatingly dated in parts). The original Death Race 2000 was pretty good, can’t remember if it had much car racing in.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Original Gone in 60 Seconds is good from “Let the wrecking begin,” first half is crap.

    Some interesting spotting in Gattaca (97).

    I want to see NTSC The Deadliest Crash (BBC 2009) on the 55 Le Mans Jag-MB incident.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Try checking out the Hong Kong movie Motorway. Not that it’s an all-time great, but it is enjoyable, it’s light on the CGI, and a number of the chase scenes build tension rather than just having the cars drive really, really fast.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    OK so you’re going to cry foul about Driven being unrealistic then right below it give a pass to Days of Thunder, a movie where a stock car racer downshifts to pass because normally they are cruising along comfortably in OD until they feel like passing?

    There are good movies where cars play a major role it’s just a small niche. I can name all of the good bicycling movies in two words, “Breaking Away”. How many good football or baseball movies have been made? I can only think of a very few. There’s really nothing special about a car-centric movie that there should be large numbers of good ones.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    I loved “American Grafitti” and “Christine.” Wheatridger already mentioned “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad World.”

    Sometimes I like to watch old movies or TV shows just to look at the cars in the street scenes, even if the cars aren’t really integral to the plot. I love watching “Vertigo” for that reason.

    A surprisingly good low-budget thriller originally released as a TV movie in 1971 is a movie called “Duel” starring Dennis Weaver as a nerdy businessman driving a Plymouth Valiant while being chased by a homicidal maniac driving a semi truck. The then unknown director showed a lot of promise and went on to make quite a few more movies a name for himself. The director’s name was Steven Spielberg. Worth catching if you see it listed late at night or on TCM.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      Saw it in school, can’t remember what class it was where the teacher needed a break from teaching so showed us the movie. I’m guessing English Composition. I made my wife watch it a few years ago, and it totally freaked her out. She was already skittish next to semis, that movie pushed her over the edge I think.

  • avatar
    Lumbergh21

    Here’s a true car movie that hasn’t been mentioned, “Love the Beast” by Eric Brana. It’s about the love of cars in general and his specific love of his Ford XB Falcon Coupe that he’s been racing in some form since he was a teenager. The tag line under the movie title is “25 years of love can’t be wrong.” Both me and my wife (who loves cars) enjoyed this movie. While we couldn’t relate to his racing, we certainly could relate to his love of his Falcon. In my opinion, it is easily the best purely car movie that I have ever seen. Matter of fact I think I need to stream it on Netflix right now.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      Just finished it and it was as good as I remember. Can’t go wrong with a movie that has Eric Bana, Jeremy Clarkson, Jay Leno, and Dr. Phil as the “stars”. If you have ever loved a car, you will certainly identify with how Eric Bana feels about the Beast.

  • avatar
    Mattsterzz

    There is a fantastic New Zealand road trip movie from the early 80′s called Goodbye pork pie, where these two cars drive a Mini from the top of New Zealand to the bottom while on the run from the police. Some great car chase’s (there are about 4 or 5 chases throughout the movie). Its on Youtube, and I highly recommend it.

  • avatar
    BigM4x4

    Having come through high school in the late ’90′s and early ’00′s there were really no good car movies. So had to search out the older ones. I really enjoyed “american grafitti”, smokey and the bandit, and the Mad Max movies, but one modern “car guy” movie i would suggest watching is the documentry “Dust to Glory”. Documenting several racers in the Baja 1000, its got plenty of racing action scenes(off-road of course, the sound is all live, every inch of course is dangerious, and you don’t have to worry about plots or characters or CGI! Who doesn’t love a race movie where you ram the back of the vehicle infront of you to let them know you want to get by!!!

  • avatar
    Wabbit3

    Ok, it’s not a good movie, per se, but No Man’s Land (1987). It uses the same formula of undercover cop goes into crime ring and goes native that has been used in a lot of movies, including Fast & Furious 1 through 63 (if they haven’t made that many yet it just feels like it).

    The banter is pretty good served up by Charlie Sheen, and the car chases have a minimum of helicopter-jumping obvious frame-bending silliness. Lots of 80′s Porsches, including candy-colored wheels, side strakes, and folding headlight conversions.

    Sigh, just watched T2 again recently and had to watch the semi tractor jump off a bridge into a culvert and break it’s front suspension completely, landing with wheels pointing in completely opposite directions. Jump cut to kid on bike and back…and continue chase. Still love it anyway. Suspension of disbelief.

  • avatar
    otaku

    Not sure whether anyone’s brought it up yet, but I’d like to nominate “Corvette Summer” for an honorable mention. I’m under no illusions about it being a good car movie (or even just a good movie, overall), but mostly due to the weapons-grade nostalgia it generates whenever I watch it, I tend to add about an extra two and a half stars to its rating.

    For anybody who grew up in the 70′s as a fan of both Luke Skywalker and curvaceous fiberglass coffin sport cars, this should qualify as major guilty pleasure material. I was just a little kid the first time I saw it, so I didn’t really require any suspension of disbelief in order to enjoy myself. Still, back in those simpler times, it made perfect sense to me that somebody would be willing to uproot their entire life, drop out of school and hitchhike out to Las Vegas just for an outside shot at tracking down their stolen customized, right-hand-drive ‘Vette. I suppose the casting of a young Annie Potts as Hamill’s co-star probably didn’t hurt either.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    I think one of the reasons why there’s no new shows or movies about cars or that have cars in any engaging way is that TV and Hollywood in general hasn’t had any new ideas in years. TV is dominated by reality shows that aren’t. And movies are predominantly vulgar and insipid, over hyped remakes of classics. So many just scream the producer’s got nothing.

  • avatar
    XYGTHO Phase3

    There’s an Aussie movie made in the 70s – Running on Empty if my memory serves me correctly (and IMDB says it has for once…).
    Made in the early 80s, but full of 70s-era muscle cars.
    Plot holes galore, but lots of driving around Sydney locations. And jeans so tight you can see grandchildren…


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