Author Topic: Car Movie Marathon  (Read 16338 times)

Najemikon

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Car Movie Marathon
« on: August 15, 2008, 11:27:00 PM »
Car Movie Marathon

I haven't really done a marathon review before, so I thought I'd have run of car themed movies. I thought Death Proof (see here) was great and it inspired me to look up some of the classic road movies referenced by both Stuntman Mike in the story and by Tarantino in the features. Plus, to make it a marathon, I threw in some old faithfuls and even some subtitled foreign muck! ;)

The criteria was simple: Motor Porn. :) Just having a good car chase or two isn't enough. So no room for Bond, Bullit, Bourne, Ronin or The French
Connection. Don't even think about seeing that piss-poor excuse for a car chase from Matrix Reloaded. In fact, move along if you're only interested in modern CGi heavy stuff, so goodbye The Fast and the Furious, Gone in 60 Seconds (remake!) and Transporter. Enjoyable fluff one and all, but I need to know stunt drivers are on the front-line for this run.

The characters must be obsessed with vehicles or at least use vehicles almost exclusively to perform their very significant part of the story. The quality of the film overall isn't really a consideration, much like martial arts movies. These are films where the most important crew members could be the stunt
drivers and their toys. In one example, the bloody car has a name and gets top billing!

Najemikon

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2008, 11:27:25 PM »
WHITE LIGHTNING (1973)
3 out of 5




Burt Reynolds plays Gator McClusky, imprisoned for running Moonshine. He hears his brother has been killed and suspects the corrupt sheriff (Reynolds regular Ned Beatty) is to blame. He cuts a deal enabling him to get back into running liquour so he can get close to exposing the corruption and getting his revenge.

There was a time Burt Reynolds was as big a star as Clint Eastwood. Hard to believe now, but they were neck and neck until they both had a rough run in the 1980s culminating in the horrible City Heat. Eastwood came out on top (turning out to be the best American director around probably helped), while Reynolds spent a little too long as the Bandit and bankruptcy beckoned. I loved Smokey and the Bandit and the style is similar though not played for laughs (Hal Needham was stunt director here). But I prefer the serious Reynolds. He made several films like this and he was as solid an action star as they come.

The story is straightforward action-thriller, mean dialogue and great supporting characters. The sheriff is a first class villain. I'm only guessing, but this has to be a big inspiration to The Dukes of Hazzard, with such a familiar setup, just made fun. I've heard this takes its cues from Robert Mitchum's Thunder Road, but there's something about the 70s that gives this movie it's almost grindhouse feel.

Great movie anyway, but the driving is first class. Reynolds has several chases as he 'blocks' for the moonshine runner. Several stand out stunts, including one Tarantino talked about on the Death Proof DVD. Reynolds put his complete trust in the driver to pull off a truly iconic image at the films close.

The DVD is as barebones as they come!

The Car's the star: Ford Custom 500


Trailer

Pop quiz... name the film that uses the White Lightning theme, that can be heard at the start of the trailer... :)
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 05:51:08 PM by Jon »

Najemikon

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2008, 11:41:28 PM »
INITIAL D (2005)
2 out of 5


Movie based on the Manga/Anime about the drifting sub-culture in Japan... why am I even including this? Look, just read the bloody book. And I bet the animated version is far better. This is bollocks. Some cool driving scenes and using an older car against the flashy modern machines was great, but not enough to get in a lather about. The film is hamstrung by terrible MTV style editing that continually distracts. The kid looks good lazy and laid back while driving, but doesn't change when he gets out the car. His mate is a stupid character who really annoys me and the nail in the coffin was a completely daft subplot about his girlfriend
(click to show/hide)


Special mention for Anthony Wong who is a great actor. Here he plays the drunk dad who, in an unusually subtle part of the story, could be as good a driver as his son. He and the drifting kept me watching. As a pure car film, it's better than The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, but that film was more enjoyable overall. It just scrapes in for two stars because of Wong and some of the drift scenes. The other drivers are decent mysterious characters too, but I repeat, try the book or the series first.

The Car's the star: Toyota Sprinter Trueno


Trailer
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 05:51:25 PM by Jon »

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2008, 12:42:09 AM »
Hey Jon... let me get my horror fix through you... watch Christine or something like that!  ;D
Pete

Najemikon

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2008, 02:28:56 AM »
Sorry, Pete, I don't have that one! There is one though that might satisfy... ;)

Offline Achim

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2008, 04:16:27 AM »
Pop quiz... name the film that uses the White Lightning theme, that can be heard at the start of the trailer... :)
Kill Bill, I believe, Volume 1

Sorry, Pete, I don't have that one! There is one though that might satisfy... ;)
What's that? "The Car" with James Brolin? :dance:

Najemikon

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2008, 10:14:50 PM »
Yup, Kill Bill it is, but the horror car film ain't The Car, it's...
« Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 10:36:40 PM by Jon »

Najemikon

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2008, 10:34:44 PM »
DUEL (1971)
5 out of 5




Dennis Weaver plays a salesman on his way to a meeting that becomes a terrifying battle of wits with an unseen truck driver.

I have to stick my neck out and say that on the basis of this film, that Steven Spielberg fella is one to watch for the future.  ;)

Before he made a definitive horror film with Jaws, he made this definitive horror film with a real monster [truck] that we could all be scared of. That we never see the driver or understand his motivation makes him even more terrifying. Weaver's salesman is in real, tangible danger and you can feel it right to the end. Such a simple set-up and it works perfectly.

The film amounts to little more than a chase and the tension never lets up. The driving scenes are paced so well; the film matches the cars acceleration to that very memorable conclusion. There's a handful of stunts, but it's mostly a masterclass in editing and staging.

Made for TV, but just so good they released it properly and the rest is history. It's tempting to think everyone has seen this gem by now, but if you haven't run to the shop and buy it. Don't drive... it's too bloody dangerous.

The Car's the star: Plymouth Variant versus Peterbilt 281


Trailer
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 05:51:46 PM by Jon »

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2008, 11:02:27 PM »
I never seen Duel... Will have to be sure to check it out... Thanks Jon :)
Pete

Najemikon

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2008, 02:54:47 AM »
You've never seen it, Pete? That does surprise me. Certainly it isn't a conventional horror, in the supernatural sense, but still I would have thought it was right up your street.

Offline addicted2dvd

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2008, 01:53:02 PM »
Well... until recently (last 3 to 4 years or so) I wouldn't watch anything before the '80s... so I am still playing catch up on anything before then... It has been recommended to me before... but I haven't had the chance to pick it up yet.
Pete

Najemikon

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2008, 04:58:49 PM »
MAD MAX (1979)
5 out of 5




Mel Gibson is Max Rockatansky, a cop in a world on the edge of the apocalypse. A brutal motorcycle gang is terrorising the roads and Max's family come under threat.

Mad Max is a low budget sci-fi classic that made a star out of Mel Gibson and deservedly so. His quiet performance of pent-up anger anchors a film that might have been a bit too off-centre to work, despite featuring some of the best chase scenes you can find. And they are brilliantly staged, the opening especially (see below. I thought it more fun than the trailer!). A chase with "I AM the Night Rider!" is already underway and Max hasn't even started his engine. His colleagues are doing their best, but get wiped out in stunt after stunt. About 10 minutes long and full of confident gags, it sets the stage for one of the best comic book heroes who was never in a comic. This is all before his family are attacked and he sets off on a revenge mission against a biker bunch that can only work in a 70s cult movie.

It's a perfect case of using what you have. The sequels would expand the story a little more, perhaps a bit too much as the apocalypse has definitely been and gone in Mad Max 2. Here, it's just a thinly veiled excuse for tearing up the road. It's fantastic!

The Car's the star: Ford Falcon


Trailer
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 05:52:12 PM by Jon »

Najemikon

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2008, 09:44:26 PM »
GONE IN 60 SECONDS (1974)
3 out of 5




A gang steal 48 cars. Well, they get 47 of them. The last is a little tricky... ;)

This film is awful. There's no way to sugarcoat that. It makes little sense, the acting is horrendous, the direction worse. Dreadful. Only the fundamental plot saves it, and the last 40 minutes.

That last section of the film is one long car chase, where apparently 93 cars were destroyed in the making of this stuntman's wet dream. It's jaw dropping! No fancy camera angles like you'd get in Duel or Mad Max, because they aren't needed; the stunts scream for themselves.

The film was made by H.B. Halicki, a stunt driver who wrote, directed and acted it. Luckily, he also designed the stunts and drove, which is what he was actually good at. Very good. He specialised in crashes, which you can tell. Despite the first half being tough to watch, still choose this over the remake as it is some of the best stunt work ever done and there is so much of it! I suppose it's the perfect example of the type of film for this marathon. All the substantial skill is in the driving while the story just about holds it together and gives you a reason to watch what amounts to a public demolition derby.

All the cars being stolen in the story are given names. But only Eleanor gets credited, and she is gorgeous... ;D  Somehow she survived the onslaught and what's left of the poor old girl still makes public appearances. Halicki has since died, but the DVD has a feature with his widow being taken for a spin in Eleanor by another driver. Really worth getting the DVD for that as well.

The Car'sEleanor's the star: Ford Mustang


I couldn't find a decent trailer on Youtube, so check out the first 10 minutes of the final chase instead.

Trailer
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 05:52:31 PM by Jon »

Najemikon

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2008, 01:02:09 AM »
TWO-LANE BLACKTOP (1971)
4 out of 5




James Taylor (Driver) and Dennis Wilson (Mechanic) are driving across America in a souped up Chevvy, drag racing for money. Along the way they pick up a hitchhiker, played by Laurie Bird, and get into a race for "pinks" with Warren Oates in his G.T.O.

Time for change of pace. So far this marathon has featured people driving for a reason, but the early 1970s American cinema was defined by several classic movies that were more about the road than the journey. Aimless quests for freedom matched only by aimless filmmaking in some cases, started by Easy Rider in 1969. That's a film I found hard to really like, but I do admire it and it's importance can't be undervalued.

Two-Lane Blacktop is in some ways, Easy Rider in cars, though the characters have more interest in their vehicles than Fonda and Hopper who were more interested in drugs. It certainly shares it's laidback, cool vibe. Or is that lazy and comatose? Depends on your point of view, but Two-Lane is definitely better without compromising the idyllic idea of freedom.

The script is so lean the characters don't have names. Driver and Mechanic as they are credited, are also played by singers who can't act. That sounds like a criticism, but it's just an observation, because their manner was ideal and they weren't tasked with any sort of development. This is a film about mood and, I felt, a melancholic nostalgia for a time that surely couldn't last. The very final shot is as memorable and poetic as any.

The story, such as it is, follows the two as they drive across America challenging other drivers and entering competitions in drag racing to earn money. Get a proper job, you might say! But that's kind of the point. They pick up a hitchhiker... well, actually she just gets in the car when they stop for food. Then they get in and ignore her and carry on the journey. They say nothing for miles! Which pretty much tells you the whole style of things just kind of happening without argument or commentary. An urban natural order perhaps.

They keep tussling with the driver of a G.T.O. and finally make a bet for the cars on who can get to Washington first. That might sound like a plot, but trust me, it isn't! You have to see it to see why. Warren Oates plays an incredible character in a very poignant role as "G.T.O.". He's a show-off seemingly trying to fit in and be hip who annoyed me at first, but he gives the film a purpose and some much needed dialogue and by the end, he's a heartbreaking figure. For a film that seems so light, his part is brilliantly written. He picks up a string of hitchhikers (each one a comedy moment in their own right, especially Harry Dean Stanton) and gives each one a different story. One he tells the story to twice, so used as he is to lying. He reminded me a little of Leonard in Memento; it's impossible to know how long he has been out on the road or why. It gives the film a mysterious sad quality.

That character and the commitment to the mood make for a powerful screenplay, while Monte Hellman's direction is similarly restrained. There's plenty of driving of course and plenty of talk about cars, but very few stunts unless you count track shots at drag races. There is one highlight when they spin off the road to avoid an accident, but this isn't a pure petrol head experience. They do sound great though!

It's very hard to commit and say whether this film, like might be said about Easy Rider, is monumental work of art or a pointless exercise in boredom. It's wide open to interpretation. I loved it. G.T.O. made sense of the whole lot for me and made it a very memorable experience and I look forward to seeing it again. If you fancy challenging your conceptions about what makes a good film, give it a shot. It's a little bit of French New Wave played out on the American highways!

The Criterion DVD is superb. If you enjoy the film (big "if" possibly!) the interviews and features expand on it brilliantly. Nice feature about tracking down and restoring the Chevy too. Comes with a "book". Wasn't sure what to do with that; certainly wouldn't fit in the DVD player... :P

The Car's the star: Custom Chevy versus Ford Pontiac G.T.O.


Trailer
« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 05:52:59 PM by Jon »

Touti

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Re: Car Movie Marathon
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2008, 03:41:32 AM »
DUEL (1971)
5 out of 5




Dennis Weaver plays a salesman on his way to a meeting that becomes a terrifying battle of wits with an unseen truck driver.

I have to stick my neck out and say that on the basis of this film, that Steven Spielberg fella is one to watch for the future.  ;)

Before he made a definitive horror film with Jaws, he made this definitive horror film with a real monster [truck] that we could all be scared of. That we never see the driver or understand his motivation makes him even more terrifying. Weaver's salesman is in real, tangible danger and you can feel it right to the end. Such a simple set-up and it works perfectly.

The film amounts to little more than a chase and the tension never lets up. The driving scenes are paced so well; the film matches the cars acceleration to that very memorable conclusion. There's a handful of stunts, but it's mostly a masterclass in editing and staging.

Made for TV, but just so good they released it properly and the rest is history. It's tempting to think everyone has seen this gem by now, but if you haven't run to the shop and buy it. Don't drive... it's too bloody dangerous.

The Car's the star: Plymouth Variant versus Peterbilt 281


Trailer

Only the french members can understand this joke but the french version could be titled "La mort d'un commis voyageur" ;)