Some might tell you that Cheech & Chong’s 1978 movie, Up In Smoke, was about Malaise Era drug culture, or Los Angeles, or California punk rock, but in fact it is one of the greatest car movies in cinematic history. For this reason, I have used my Svengali-like powers to convince the management of the Denver Alamo Drafthouse theater to include this fine automotive film as part of the Murilee Martin Presents series. Yes, on Monday, which just happens to be April 20, we’ll roll Up In Smoke starting at 7:30 PM. (Read More…)
Because the power of the Murilee Martin Lifestyle Brand™ is so extreme, the Alamo Drafthouse Theater in Denver has fallen under my spell and allowed me to select and introduce four car films, to be shown each Monday during their “Alamo Takes the Wheel” month of April (actually, it was the endorsement of Repo Man director Alex Cox, who teaches at the University of Colorado, that convinced the Alamo management that this idea wasn’t completely stupid). The first of those films is the amazing Duel, an all-time-great Malaise Era car movie that shouldn’t need any introduction for TTAC readers. (Read More…)
It makes sense that since the dawn of motion pictures, filmmakers have been drawn to the motive action of automobiles. There have been so many theatrical movies made that have had cars as part of the plot that Hod Rod magazine was able to poll readers on the 40 best car movies ever produced. Another perennial favorite, even more popular than car movies are horror/monster/sci-fi (yeah, I know it’s kind of broad) movies. Both genres have spawned movies from cheesy exploitation flicks to high art. I suspect that the artistic sensibilities of the producers of a proposed independent film lean more towards the former than the latter because they have decided to join monsters and motors in Road Kill, a movie they describe as “The Exorcist meets American Graffitti on the Highway to Hell complicated by a three way romance.” They need $150,000 to start filming and you can get in on the ground floor by participating in their Indiegogo project with as little as a $25 investment. A variety of perks, including many hot rod related items are associated with the different funding levels. (Read More…)
“Gimme Carter!!! Gimme Carter!!!”
“You can have him!” My brother Lewis, a lifelong conservative was watching me, a hyperactive six year old, pointing eagerly at our home’s only TV.
“I’m voting for Reagan.”
“Pa-tau!!1 Pa-tau! To a 1st grader’s ear, the word Reagan sounded just like “Ray gun”. And for all I knew, Carter and Reagan were locked in some Star Wars parallel universe fighting each other for control of the presidency.
Lord knows that 34 years later, I would need every single ounce of that youthful imagination to get through a day long movie shoot.
Before the Clint Eastwood film (but after the cheezoid TV show), the most well-known Ford Gran Torino in cinema history was the beater ’73 sedan driven by Jeff Bridges’ character in The Big Lebowski. This film, which took quite a while to go from box-office dud to sacred document of the Lebowski Jihad, was released in 1998 and was set in late 1990 or early 1991 (a period during which I was also in Southern California and living a fairly Dude-ish lifestyle myself). The choice of a ’73 Gran Torino by the Coen Brothers makes some interesting statements for those who obsess about movie cars, and Monday is always the best day to discuss such things. (Read More…)
The best movie so far this summer is not really a film. Jaguar just revealed its new platform to promote the new Jaguar F Type. A 13-minute short film called Desire. It’s not original but it’s still better than GI Joe: Retaliation.
Should you see this new film? Hell yeah you should; it’s awesome. As if you were do something important today. HD version here. If you REALLY don’t know what to do today, here are a few more car movies worth watching. (Read More…)
Within 50 feet of getting out of my old 74 Chevy C10 I hear a familiar voice.
“Hey Steve. How are ya?”
A 6 foot 7 inch monstrosity of a man pats me hard on the back and dislodges the few cobwebs that remained from a 5 AM wake-up call.
Editor’s Note: This is the second part of the series. The first can be found here.
The people running the low key publicity campaign for director Ron Howard’s upcoming Formula One based film Rush have done their job well, at least as far as car enthusiasts are concerned. Howard’s an A-list and very bankable director with a string of critical and commercial successes so it will be interesting to see how general audiences, as opposed to racing fans, respond to the movie. Since plenty of folks who weren’t space buffs enjoyed Howard’s Apollo 13, I don’t think that will be a problem. If you’ve seen Apollo 13 then you know that Howard is a stickler for authenticity. Howard has made sure that car blogs and the like have been teased with tweeted cheesecake shots of umbrella girls and information about how realistic the racing footage will be in the movie, centered on the 1976 rivalry between playboy James Hunt and methodical Niki Lauda. The theatrical opening of Rush is scheduled for September but the film’s official trailer has now been released. You can’t tell a book by its cover nor a movie by its trailer but it does look promising. It also looks kind of familiar, there’s a sense of deja vu about it. (Read More…)
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? (Read More…)