'CALIFORNIA-AYY, HERE I COME' UNRELATED-TO-ONE-ANOTHER TETRALOGY!Robert Stevenson's HERBIE RIDES AGAIN (1974, DVD). Also available for streaming on Disney+.I love Disney's "The Love Bug,", but the first of its many sequels (with the same behind-the-scenes crew of cinema craftsmen and stunt drivers) is already exhibiting diminishing-returns sequel fatigue. Helen Hayes plays the elderly aunt of Buddy Hackett's Tennessee Steinmetz character, a Mr. Magoo-type that inherits the San Francisco firehouse and sentient VW Herbie from the first movie. Real Estate magnate Alonzo Hawk (Keenan Wynn, reprising his mustache-twirler role from "Absent Minded Professor" and "Son of Flubber") will stop at nothing to tear down the firehouse to build his new 'H' shaped skyscraper. Lucky for Mrs. Steinmetz her Beetle not only proves effective at fending off every Hawk attempt to evict her, but Herbie's also a great matchmaker for sexy flight attendant neighbor Nicole (Stefanie Powers) and Hawk's good-hearted nephew Willoughby (Ken Berry, a poor substitute for Dean Jones). A casual meet with a drunk cowboy (John McIntire) might also be what "Granny" needs to get lucky too. :-OThe first "Love Bug" used every special effect trick in the book to make Herbie come to life, but the practical stunt driving and racing scenes were the highlight. "Herbie Rides Again" still has some impressive driving tricks, but an awful lot of the gags are now rear-projected, miniatures, animation (for a hot second) and/or optical illusions. There was no other way in '74 to make it seem like Herbie's driving on the cables of the Golden State Bridge or two-wheeling it on the ledge of Hawk's office building, but it's not as cool as the on-camera stuff in '68. And unlike the likable leads in the first movie, the good guys here are so vanilla and 'meh' that you kind-of root for Hawk to do away with the firehouse as with the many (stock footage) buildings he implodes during the opening credits. Typical of Disney live action in the mid-70's, "HRA" 'is fine.'(TM). 3 TOMAHAWK-THROWING NATIVE AMERICAN HERBIES (out of 5).
Walter Hill's THE DRIVER (1978, YouTube) for the first time.Lucky break that someone uploaded this one on YouTube just a few days ago (June 19) with minimal compression. A critical/financial disappointment when originally released, "The Driver" has earned cult status and influenced many films (Edgar Wright's "Baby Driver," Nicolas Winding Refn's "Drive," etc.) trying to match its seemingly effortless cool vibes. It's a now-familiar Walter Hill-verse depiction of nighttime Los Angeles as an Edward Hopper paintings-inspired playground (courtesy of "Pink Panther" lenser Philip H. Lathrop) for angry cops (Bruce Dern's having-too-much-fun Detective), cautious robbers (Ryan O'Neal's titular driver) and the women who'd die (Ronee Blakely's Connection) or risk their lives for them ("Possession's" Isabelle Adjani) without asking questions. Unlike the informants who'd work for the cops (Joseph Walsh) or punks without scruples (Rudy Ramos' Teeth), the code of ethics of the principals is what keeps them alive and in the game, money be damned... up to a point. Too arthouse to be mainstream (O'Neal's expressionless performance and disdain of guns mirrors Alain Delon's hitman in "Le Samourai") but too mainstream for the indie crowd (every tunnel, bridge and street from every L.A. car chase you've ever seen gets check-marked), "The Driver" is a lean, well-told 90 minute adult fairytale. The driving stunts and fashions might be dated, but the attitudes and personalities of its damaged/goofy characters are 100% Hill. Worth the short ride. 3.5 SMOKING-FROM-A-BULLET-HOLE CHEAP MOTEL PILLOWS (out of 5).
I bought this a couple years ago, but never got around to seeing it and it was eventually forgotten. Thanks for the reminder!
Happy to remind you. 😉😀
Hal Needham's DEATH CAR ON THE FREEWAY (1979, YouTube) for the first time. TWO VERSIONS: Original Sep. '79 120 min. CBS airing with TV commercials (including spots with Orson Wells and then-new theatrical releases like "Time After Time" and "National Lampoon's Animal House") or 90 min. version without commercials. Pick your poison!Sandwiched between his "Smokey and the Bandit" hits and theatrical pet projects ("Hooper"), Hal Needham made time for a few made-for-TV movies that allowed him to work with his boys (Craig R. Baxley's stunt team) and appear on-camera as a version of himself. Clearly inspired by Steven Spielberg's "Duel" and 1977's "The Car," "Death Car on the Freeway" is a typical network TV-cheap facsimile of the genuine article. An unknown man driving a tainted-windows van (a dead ringer for Guinevere from Pixar's "Onward") attacks and kills multiple women driving on Los Angeles freeways. Lieutenant Hollar (Peter Graves in paycheck mode) wants to underplay the panic, but local TV reporter Jan Clawson (Shelley Hack) sees this as men not taking the plight of women in danger seriously. As the body count piles (mostly during an off-camera montage of car wrecks and stock footage) the unseen driver, who pulls an Argento by putting on black gloves before each kill behind the wheel, starts stalking and gunning for Jan.Decent driving/car crash scenes, but they add-up to about 15-20 minutes. The bulk of "DCOTF" deals with the Shelley Hack trying to please her bosses, the station's concerns her reporting is driving away ad money from car companies and how society in general treats women. George Hamilton has a rather big role as Shelley's separated-but-not-divorced hubby (an anchorman at a rival TV channel) trying to woo her back, for personal (dude's horny!) and professional reasons (her wife's news reports are getting bigger ratings than his newscast). The only way Hamilton's character could be an even bigger misogynist pig would be if Christopher 'Human Cigarette' George played the part. If the feminist-heavy narrative and decent-but-no-"Smokey" car stunts aren't enough, you can play spot-the-cameo with Dinah Shore, Abe Vigoda, Barbara Rush, Frank Gorshin, etc. 3 UNFLATTERING SID HAIG-AS-A-BIKER CLOSE-UPS (out of 5).
THE LAST CHASE (1981, YouTube). Again, TWO VERSIONS: Original theatrical version (recommended) or MST3K Season Zero, Ep. 20 (1989) (from the KTMA era when Joel and the Bots hadn't yet worked out the kinks; if you're new to the movie, watch it by itself first).'The mobility which had driven this nation like rats, scurrying in every direction that led us nowhere. Nowhere! Now, we have removed that addiction and brought order and tranquility... the two most fragile flowers in any civilization. And this man, this fool, is defecating on those flowers! This could set us back all the way to the 1980's.'--Old white man in suit and tie, monologuing--A COVID-like plague wipes out a chunk of the world's population, killing the wife and young kid of racing legend Franklyn Hart ("The Six Million Dollar Man's" Lee Majors in his only feature leading role). Yep, it's one of those, but only for the first 10 minutes. Somehow this plague also eliminates all gasoline and oil from the planet, which a dictatorial U.S. regime transforms into a new city-based dystopian society with public transportation and personal non-motorized vehicles (bicycles, golf carts, etc.) as the only means to travel within restricted areas. After 20 years brainwashing a new generation of young people about the virtues of public transportation, Franklyn has had enough. A "They Live"-style pirate signal from 'Radio Free California' tells him to come to the only breakaway part of America where man is free to roam. So Franklyn unearths the sports car he kept hidden in his garage and hightails it across empty coast-to-coast roads. sucking fuel from abandoned gas stations along the way. A nerdy bullied teenage hacker who loves to detonate school monuments' heads (Chris Makepeace's Ring) tags along because... kids need someone their age to relate to at the movies? I was shocked to find out "The Last Chase" was a (Canadian-shot-mostly-in-Arizona) feature film. It looks/feels so much like a made-for-TV cheapie, especially the matte painting-focused central war room from which government boss Hawkins (George Touliatos) and his stooges plot their sporadic attacks on Franklyn. For such a cool promise ripe with potential there are long stretches of nothing important happening. The plot thickens when retired military pilot Burgess Meredith is given the order to pilot a Korean War-era jet fighter to chase and destroy Franklyn and his car before they reach the California border. Burgess is clearly enjoying himself, and the eventual ground-based game of chicken between The Penguin's F-86 Sabre jet and Steve Austin's 1973 Porsche 917/30 CanAm Spyder (impractical to drive, but looks so cool!) is a major highlight. Some infrequent fun bits come and go (laser-blasting exploding cactus in the desert, Franklyn getting some side-boob action from "Bolero's" Alexandra Stewart, etc.), but ultimately "The Last Chase" feels more like a cheaper "The Postman" wannabe than even Corman's "Death Race 2000." 2.85 COCA-COLA TRUCKS LOADED WITH DECADES-OLD EXPIRED SODA CANS (out of 5).
ONE MORE CAR FLICK, JUST FOR ME!The Wachowski Siblings' SPEED RACER (2008, Blu-ray).Of all the movies I deeply regretted skipping in theaters, two stand out: 2001's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" (saw it on DVD rental in a 13" CRT TV months later, and even then it blew me away) and the Wachowski's $120 million-budgeted, 2008 live-action adaptation of Tatsuo Yoshida's cheesy-but-seminal "Speed Racer" anime series. Even though it missed the 3D boom of "Avatar" by a year (not that it would have helped its anemic box office performance), I've literally had dreams of me attending an IMAX screening of "Speed Racer" to be blown away by the closest a movie ending has come to achieving complete sensory overload (not just the loud noises and busy images, but the emotional/dramatic crescendo of the way-too-long 135 min. running time). In an artsy, commerce-be-damned decision that also seems tailor-made to appeal to the cheapest seats in the house, "Speed Racer" is an intelligent-but-pretending-to-be-dumb adaptation of a dated-but-simplistic cartoon made by filmmakers that respect the purity of the source material when wrapping their anti-corporate, family-is-the-most-important-thing morality around its characters' two-dimensionality. And then they cast strong actors (Susan Sarandon, Matthew Fox in one of his few "Lost"-era movie roles, Christina Ricci, Emile Hirsch, John Goodman, etc.) and shoot the whole thing in green screen backdrops that work better than expected (no resolution loss during its many digital transitions) to make the juxtaposition between smart storytelling and dumb-as-shit humor (anything with Sparky and Chim Chim) stick out even more!We celebrate at F This Movie the ambitious failure. This is one of the few that succeeds at being fascinating (the all-CG racing backgrounds have a peculiar charm), terrible (even the most patient kid will be bored by hour two), entertaining (Speed and Trixie have a cute, almost-chaste sincerity to their relationship) and moving (Pops and Speed-as-a-kid watching car racing on TV and bonding), all at the service of being an accurate representation of its source material. But just because "Speed Racer" was a dumb cartoon turned into a pretend-dumb American live-action, would-be blockbuster doesn't mean it's as dumb as it looks. There's heart, soul and sweat (all the money spent on its creation is on the screen... or whatever Joel Silver couldn't snort out of the cocaine coffers :-P) of talented filmmakers and actors swinging and missing big, but trying awful hard. The Mach 5 remains one of the most maneuverable movie cars I've ever seen (physics be damned, it looks/races like a demon), which matters to me because the character driving it was once a little boy who dreamt about seeing/being in movies like "Speed Racer." It's the closest a film I've seen has come to capturing what being a boy feels like at a young age, warts and all. :'P 4 CHIMPANZEE-UNLEASHED CLOSING CREDITS MONTAGES (out of 5).
F9 (2021)I'm sure there'll be plenty of talk about this one so I'll just say it's amazing how willing the marketing department was to put every major beat and action set-piece in the trailers. Aside from the flashback story bits and the mid-credit scene, there was pretty much nothing on screen that was unexpected or surprising. It's almost impressive that the essence of a F&F movie can be distilled down to 7 mins of trailers and almost not lose anything in the translation.That said, it's also hard to be disappointed when a movie is pretty much exactly what you've been told to expect and if there's one franchise where spoilers aren't going to interfere with your ability to enjoy the movies, it's this one. In conclusion, it's fine.
Great write up...thanks!Not sure if you are a fan of "The Pitch Meeting" guy on youtube...he's brilliant. Anyhoo, in regards to your comment about the trailer, that is a HUGE sore point with me, and the pitch meeting guy does a great disection of it in a new video this week. Check out "The Marvel Marketing Tutuorial- Pro Tips By Pitch Meeting" on youtube..its hilarious because its pretty much all true.
VANISHING POINT (1971, dir. Richard Sarafian)As a fan of 1970s American cinema, a film like Vanishing Point is the kind of viewing experience I relish. It fits perfectly in with the trends of the early part of that decade: rebellious anti-heroes bucking the Establishment, political statements, and a downbeat ending. The fact that our (anti)hero, Kowalski, was once part of the establishment emphasizes to an even greater degree his disillusionment with the world. Given the seemingly simple task of delivering a white 1970 Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco, Kowalski’s disdain for the fuzz results in a police chase over three states. Most of the film is Kowalski driving through some stunning landscapes relentlessly pursued by them. The sympathy of the film is with Kowalski, and there is a running commentary about the symbolism of his ride courtesy of a radio DJ amazingly played by Cleavon Little. The passage of half a century does not make Kowalski seem all that heroic, though. As for the film, it is entertaining and not completely serious, and it is a joy to watch. The use of landscape throughout the film is extremely beautiful. The camerawork comes from all angles: from a distance, above, from the side, inside, and POV. The way those shots are put together keeps the action always moving forward. Reading the comments on IMDB was interesting. The way Vanishing Point captures the zeitgeist of 1971 turned off some people while engaging others. Count me as one of those engaged.
Taxi (1998 - Gérard Pirès)Maybe it's my day 2 effects of my vaccination, but this one was stressful to watch. The action is good, but the plot/story is very stupid and the music (chilled old school hip hop) is not able to get my adrenaline pumping. Meh.
I watched Taxi as well. I enjoyed the chase scenes, lots of violent car-crashes and scenes of cars driving REALLY fast. I also think the star Samy Naceri is one of the most wildly charismatic movie actors I have ever seen. Derk, you are right about the music, it is a very odd choice, at one point during the final chase, there are no sound effects or engine noises, just a laid back basic beat. Interesting. I recommend this movie for those who enjoy practical car stunts.
You're right about Samy Naceri, he has a captivating charisma in this movie, and somehow I would have love to see him as a side character in the first F&F-films.
Oh - and one more thing. I really enjoyed watching small European cars. In US movie, you normally see bigger cars, muscle cars, vans, and so on - and we didn't have that many huge cars in the 90s. That's something I also liked about the first Bourne or Ronin.
Duel (1971, dir. Steven Spielberg)A businessman driving on a small California highway on his way to a meeting overtakes a tanker truck, and is subsequently harassed and chased by the truck driver with increasing ruthlessness.There's not much story here, but it's a tight 90-minute thriller that doesn't really give you much room to breathe, and as such it works great.The Finnish title translates as Kilometers of Terror (it sounds better in Finnish, there's alliteration).
Spielberg? I have never even heard of this movie.
It was a TV movie in the States but released in theaters in Europe, making it Spielberg's first theatrical film.
Just finished this today for the first time and loved it. People who fuck with you for no reason is a sub genre I am quite fond of.
John, agree that PWFWY flicks can be entertaining: the original "Jeepers Creepers," "Breakdown" with Kurt Russell, "Joy Ride," etc.
AHHHH! CARS DAY! AHHHHH! i happen to love the evil-car genre (also movies with creative cars or the car is a character) and there's so many choices....The Car, Duel, Maximumum Overdrive, Death Proof, anything Mad Max, Deathrace 2000, Animal House (rammming speeed!), The Blues Brothers (dont you dare tell me the bluesmobile isnt the 3rd blues brother...ill fight you), Back to the Future, Batman 66 movie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (ok, this would rock), Goldfinger, Smokey and the Bandit (I WILL own a 77 TransAm some day), Speed Racer ("i will survive in my Mach V" -presidents of USA), Bellflower (mmmmMedusa), Herbie, Ferris Bueller ("i killed the car"), Risky Business ("whos the U boat commander?"), Evil Dead II (Delta 88!), and so so many more.All that being said, i think im going to go with Christine. Because you dont want to piss off Christine."Show Me".
Fast Company (1979, dir. David Cronenberg)An early non-horror feature from Cronenberg, this one centered around an aging funny car racer (William Smith) and his pit crew. John Saxon plays a yuppie executive who sponsors the team, but tries to replace Smith to further his own career ambitions.There’s some solid drama around Smith in a mid-life crisis, unsuited to do anything else in life but race and a rival racing team of frenemies. I was most captivated at how Cronenberg takes great care to show the details of funny car racing: the tracks, the fans, the details of prepping the fuel mix for the superchargers and representing the hellish experience of trying to escape a flaming cockpit. He must have had a lot of love for the sport, one where grease monkeys and cowboy drivers were blue collar heroes. Guys clutching cans of Budweisers, gorgeous corn-fed ladies are everywhere but in the end it’s about feeling that speed.This was a very personal selection for me. My late father was a lifelong racing junkie who gave it up once he had kids. I remember summer evenings of attending local stock car races with my dad, and cheering as he raced “midgets” (a term they probably don’t use for them nowadays) a few times. If this movie had played in the U.S. I’m sure he would’ve been there on the opening weekend to catch a glimpse of his kind of car culture on the big screen. I teared up while watching this, not because it is particularly good drama, but knowing my dad (and a million other dads) could look back and see their misspent youths underneath a car in a garage with a few good friends.Gone in 60 Seconds (2000, dir. Dominic Sena)Nicolas Cage plays Memphis Raines, the proto-Dominic Toretto, world’s greatest car thief who left “the life” behind. Now his kid brother (Giovanni Ribisi) made a deal with the wrong people (in this case, a hammy Christopher Eccleston) and Raines needs to steal 50 rare cars in one night to set it right. The supporting cast is deep: Robert Duvall, Delroy Lindo, Angelina Jolie, Chi McBride, Vinnie Jones, Timothy Olyphant to name a few.There’s so much of what would become a Fast and Furious-type “family” of professional thieves racing their way out of impossible situations, Justin Lin must have borrowed generously from this. That goofy-yet-earnest action spectacle just fits the FF mode. Now I wish Memphis Raines would crossover into F10, but Vin Diesel probably wouldn’t let his star be outshone.I really liked this movie (this was my first watch), for that great Bruckheimer movie feeling, the impossible heist, the absurd car chases, the wall-to-wall Zimmeresque score and the characters avoiding all legal responsibility for committing hundreds of felonies. And, of course, Peak Cage.
Motorama (1991)A ten-year-old runaway boy named Gus has left behind an abusive home to go out on the road in a stolen ‘66 Ford Mustang that he drives with stilts attached to the gas pedals. His goal is to collect game cards from the Chimera Gas Company and if he spells M-O-T-O-R-A-M-A, he wins $500 million dollars.The first person Gus meets on his journey -- and the last -- is Phil (John Diehl), a gas station attendant who flies a yellow kit with a photo of a cop (Robert Picardo) shaking hands with him, all to show whatever is in heaven that he's a worthwhile person.The real thrill of watching this movie is in seeing who shows up next. From Martha Quinn as a bank teller and Jack Nance as a hotel clerk to Meat Loaf as an arm-wrestling biker, Mary Woronov as a kidnapper, Flea as a busboy, Robin Duke as a corporate drone, Allyce Beasley as a receptionist, Susan Tyrrell, Michael J. Pollards, Garett Morris, Drew Barrymore as the girl of our hero's dreams and, of course, Dick Miller -- man, this movie has something for everyone. And by everyone, I mean me.Director Barry Shils produced Vampire's Kiss and also made Wigstock: The Movie. Writer Joseph Minion wrote the aforementioned Vampire's Kiss and After Hours, as well as directing Daddy's Boys for Roger Corman, using the same sets as Big Bad Mama II.This movie is great because it's a hijinks ensue film, but within the context of a child becoming an adult by undergoing a quest to determine what really means the most in life. It's not weird for weird's sake. It just feels like it was filmed in a place not quite our own and sent to the wrong reality, where we must study it and determine what we can learn from Gus's quest.
Driven (2001, dir. My Boy Renny Harlin)Sylvester Stallone's washed up veteran CART driver is called back onto the track to mentor young hotshot driver Jimmy Bly. There's also about a dozen subplots going on.Stallone wanted to make a Formula 1 film, but the F1 teams didn't cooperate, so he had to switch to CART racing. At the same time, Renny was trying to get an Ayrton Senna film off the ground, but signed on to Driven when that fell through. The movie's kind of all over the place and directed and edited to within an inch of its life. The DVD I watched it on houses over 50 minutes of deleted scenes (which I didn't bother checking out), so that's not a sign that the script was particularly focused when they started filming. Also, the CGI is terrible and the movie relies on it way too much, but that's 2001 for you.Renny's obligatory Finland reference: plenty of Finnish flags in the stands, and in the opening montage of racing footage, for a second you can hear the voice of Matti Kyllönen, who was the voice of Formula 1 on Finnish TV at the time (at least I think that's him, couldn't find any proof in a quick Google search).
DEATH RACE 2 (2010) I never saw the Statham one, so I’m going into this sequel blind. It’s the future, and prisoners in jail are forced into gladiatorial death sports, eventually involving Mad Max-style rustbuckets. The Roger Corman original had the good sense to let the audience in on the joke, but this version takes the premise way too seriously. Otherwise great actors like Ving Rhames, Sean Bean, and Lauren Cohen have scene after scene where they go and on about the importance of the game and TV ratings, when all we want is car/jail action. The good news is that Luke Goss is surprisingly good as the lead. He’s got cool fight moves and a great icy stare. (Oh, and the Weyland corporation is mentioned, so add this to the Aliens/Blade Runner shared universe list.) 30 days of Chinese fantasy movies, day 25 THE YIN-YANG MASTER (2021) The internet tells me that this is unrelated to the 2020 Yin-Yang Master movie, except that both are about a group of demon hunters protecting an ancient kingdom from monsters. And both are big expensive blockbusters with gigantic production value. The good news is this one is a lot serious than its 2020 counterpoint and more playful. I have no idea what the plot is, but there’s so much colorful action, over-the-top creature designs, and just plain craziness in every scene that I was totally entertained.
D'oh. I meant that it's a lot LESS serious. My kingdom for an edit button.
Actually Death Race 2 and Death Race 3 Inferno are both prequels to the Statham one so it's fine to watch them first.
2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)Blank Check podcast covered this last weekend, but I saved it for today. It was just ok. Walker is great as usual, but Tyrese is just playing Tyrese. I guess the same could be said for Paul Walker, but he has more natural charisma, so can pull it off better.I loved the bit when hundreds of fancy colourful cars pulled out of the warehouse. There is so much gear shifting in this. There are multiple times where they're going top speed, just full out max, and then it shows some changing gears. What gear are you putting it into lol? Infinity gear. I drive a manual, and they change more gears in a minute than I do all week. HahaI shouldn't nit pick. It was an entertaining watch. The only F&F movie I haven't seen is 4. Maybe later today I'll complete the series.
The Gumball Rally (1976)I love It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and The Cannonball Run and movies of that ilk that are centered around madcap cross-country races, and this feels like it should be right up my alley but it’s like someone took those other movies and squeezed the fun out of them. All we’re left with is a race, a group of eccentric characters, and a comedy with no jokes.Michael Sarrazin (looking alarmingly like Peter Fonda) heads a somewhat bland cast in an illegal race from NY to CA. There’s a couple of fun motor stunts and a mild chuckle or two along the way, but there’s nothing to make it stand out as a comedy or even as a carsploitation movie. Raul Julia seems to be having fun as an Italian race car driver, at least.
Need For Speed (2014, dir. Scott Waugh)Really good practical stunts but too much plot. I wish there was more Keaton in this because it seems like he is having a blast.
Fast & Furious (2009) (the 4th one...it can be confusing)Wow. I was a little underwhelmed watched 2 Fast 2 Furious earlier, but the exact opposite with this one. I know the 5th is often quoted as the one where the franchise really took off, but as Rob argued in the piece he wrote a couple years ago, this one really feels like the Fast And Furious we've come to known and love. The absence of Mr. Diesel in the second installment is glaring watching them back to back. His sausage like body squeezed into a white sleeveless shirt, and total sincerity in the face of ridiculous situations is really the big selling point. I want more than anything for another Riddick movie. Please Hollywood. I would like one more Riddick. With all the toppings. All of them.Justin Lin is a great director, and I would love to see him take on something outside of a pre-established franchise. I think his Star Trek might be my favourite of the recent movies (or JJ's. I hate to rank stuff) but looking at his wiki, it's just F&F stuff from now on. Oh well, he's probably going where the money is, and I would 100% do the same in his shoes.
I was referring to the 2009 Star Trek. I forgot he also directed the follow up.
Hot Rod(1979) Dir George ArmitageLocal root beer magnate Robert Culp decides to hold a drag racing championship in order to get his son and company name on the national circuit. Culp sends the word out to get dragsters and tourist to the local Fremont raceway. Gregg Henry hears about the racer and enters to prove his mechanic and driving skills. Culp seeing Henry crash when he races his son of course assumes Henry must be a real threat. Culp enlist the help of the local police chief to harass, arrest and threaten Henry. Will Henry be able to make it to the race? Can he beat Culps son and local favorite, Sonny? Will Greg wear the Munn Rootbeer decal on his car? This on really wasn't on of my favorites discoveries of this month. Everyone is good in it, the stakes just seem empty and the tone never really seems established and it never feels like there is a question of whether Henry will win or not. Sometimes its plays like a 'man with no name' versus small town' race movie, the next its trying to be a Bandit-esque Greg versus the man flick. I really couldn't get into either. I found a VHS rip on Youtube. Complete with Charter video intro screen.
Tenet (2020) - 6.5/10 bloody gold bars
The Ice Road (2021, dir. Jonathan Hensleigh)While I have seen this labeled as "Sorcerer In The Snow", that is too lofty a comparison. There is one particular obstacle in this movie that keeps it from just about ice road trucking.
The Cars That Ate Paris (1974)Directed by Peter WeirWatched a beautiful print on the Criterion ChannelStrange, eerie film. Bit of a genre mashup, or refusing to fit neatly into any one genre: Aussie Western combined with small-town conspiracy, part-time art film with commentary on 70s car culture. There’s some car action, but definitely not in the way you’d think. Lots of focus on authority figures, and their abuse of it, and how they use us. Great to see Bruce Spence from Road Warrior so well used here. There’s a ton of weirdness here I couldn’t begin to explain. The inmates have definitely taken over the asylum, and you can’t tell them apart from the staff.
Trading Paint(2019) Dir Karzan KaderMore movies need heartfelt and earnest stories about alligator attacks.Its on prime
Rush (2013)I love, love this movie.
The Driver (1978) Dir. Walter HillBig thanks to JM for letting us all know this little gem was available for free on YouTube. Normally, I wouldn't watch something like this for free, but frankly this is the only option. Anyway, I loved it. It's easy to see why so many filmmakers are obsessed with it. Oozing with style and some of the best shot chases I've ever seen. Once a decently priced blu-ray hits the market, I'll be sure to grab it.
Glad to have helped. :-)
Deathproof (DVD), first time Long stretches of Tarantino dialogue followed by brutal car sequences. It is an interesting experiment, and the final chase sequence has some surprises, but this is very minor Tarantino and even a minor Car movie.
The Choppers (1961)A paint by numbers teenage car flick about a stripping racket some youths are involved in. When will these young punks learn?
Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985)Easily my least favorite of the Mad Max movies. Felt like it took forreevvveerrrrrrr to see a scene with cars. Isn't that why we watch these movies? The actual thunderdome was fun, though?
The Ice Road (2021)Kind of struggling to find anything to say about this. It had cars.
MOONSHINE COUNTY EXPRESS (1977) – On Amazon PrimeThe moonshine business can be very ruthless, especially if local moonshine magnate Jack Starkey (a wonderfully sleazy performance from William Conrad) does not like the competition. Even with the murder of their father, the Hammer sisters are not going to be intimidated into giving up the illicit liquor racket. The Hammer sisters are hillbilly ladies straight out of Hollywood casting, including Marsha Brady herself. Claudia Jennings is the standout among them; I would have like her in lead role, actually. She sustains a Southern accent better than most of the actors. In any case, the stakes are raised between the Hammer sisters and Starkey as the film progresses till a final showdown. This is prime 1970s exploitation that is full of car chases and other amusing antics. I had a good time.
The Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)I'm a day late to the finish line, because I ran out of gas in the middle of the race. But I refuse to be left in the dust!Anyway, this classic road movie stars not one but two icons of 60s/70s California soft rock. These two denim-clad boys sure love their cars, because they can't seem to shut up about them. If you love cars too, chances are you'll be properly entertained. If, like me, you're not as high on cars and car culture, you might get a little bored, because the performances are flat and the filmmaking is pretty dull. That's it. And like that, I'm back on track.
"Two-Lane", not "The Two-Lane", jeez. Gotta check my oil, or carburetor, or whatever.
Why not get a lube job while you're you're jerking off your transmission hose? It might get clogged with unspent fluids. 😳😉😛
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)There's nothing to say. We all know it's very good. I'm mostly shocked that it was 6 years ago. The hours become days and the days become weeks. I fell more alive than ever, but sense that death is right outside the door.
F9: THE FAST SAGA (2021, dir. Justin Lin)Forgot to post yesterday! Anyway I'm still processing it, but for me this is the least fun the franchise has ever been. I think I need to accept that 1-7 is my Fast franchise, and everything else I'm not really interested in. Also, sad to say Cena was a bad choice.
The Italian Job (1969) - I'm not a car guy so it took me forever to find a movie that interested me. Thankfully I found this one. Michael Caine is fantastic, there are some great driving stunts, beautiful locations, and while it slows down a bit in the middle, the heist and chase sequence of the third act more than makes up for it. I saw the remake years ago and don't remember much about it. Also, this film had to be an influence on the Ocean movies, right?
2 FAST 2 FURIOUS (2003, dir. John Singleton)I like this one more every time I watch it. It's the one I return to the most. I like it even more after seeing F9. The end.
Boat. Car. Boat? You’re not gonna do what I think you’re gonna do? Yeah. You got my back bro? Yeah! Absolutely love this movie.