If you are a huge car buff like I am, or a huge action movie buff, or both, then you’re probably chompin’ at the bit for Fast Five to come out next month. Sure, it’s not the most brilliant filmmaking, but it’s pretty cool to watch you must admit. The fifth installment of the Fast and the Furious franchise brings back a little bit of the whole gang from all previous films to crash up and cash in on the big screen. If you haven’t already seen the trailer (most of us did during the Big Game), then here it is again to get you geared up.
After watching the trailer I got to thinking about what some of my favorite car movies are and why they stand out in my mind. Not just car chase movies, but movies involving cars. Anyone who knows me also knows that cars and movies are probably my two favorite things in this world. Put them together and I’m in seventh heaven. Below is a short list (in no particular order) of my favorites and why I think they are among the best car movies ever made.
This is the movie that started it all for me. H.B. “Toby” Halicki’s car crash spectacular was a movie like no other when it was released (So I’ve been told). Filmed entirely in the Long Beach and L.A. South Bay area, the movie showcased stunts performed by Toby himself. The movie has a 34-minute car chase scene through the streets of downtown Long Beach that will blow you away. The acting is bad, really bad, but that is okay because the car crashes make up for it. No really, they do. The remake of this in 2000 with Nick Cage was abysmal and even though Toby’s wife served as a consultant on the film, the remake never garnered enough of the excitement and awe that the original ‘Gone’ did back in ’74. The DVD re-release of the original with all the extras is worth a rent.
A Car Horror/Love story that only a car lover could understand. Originally written by Stephen King, the film adaptation was a spectacle unto itself. I remember watching this movie as a kid and thinking that all cars must have souls (which they do), and that this car was just a bad bad girl. The scenes of Christine fixing herself were pretty innovative at the time. The creepy possessed Fury systematically kills anyone who gets in the path of her owner, but eventually Christine reaches the end of her road when she tries to kill the owner’s girlfriend. If only my Mustang were as daring as Christine. A boy can dream.
So what if it’s a time travel movie, Back to the Future and it’s sequels have some of the coolest cars in them. Anyone who ever went and saw the original BTTF back in the 80’s was wowed when they saw Doc Browns modified DMC-12 race away from the Libyans at 88 mph and land in Hilldale “November 5th, 1955!” Yes, I’m dorking out on BTTF, I can’t help it. The only thing that was cooler than the original was seeing Part II and getting absurdly excited at what cars were supposed to look like in 2015. I must have seen Part II at least three times in the theaters just to see the cool flying cars, and the killer hover board sequence. My later viewing of the special features from the BTTF Box Set would shatter my perception that none of this would ever happen in real life. I have to say that even Part III of the BTTF series which relied little on the DMC-12 did in fact find a way to keep it in play and relevant all the way until the end. It is because of this movie franchise that people can identify the DeLorean, and I secretly still want one.
I only recently saw this movie for the first time about a year ago. It peaked my interest after seeing Tarantino’s “Death Proof” which references Vanishing Point throughout, specifically the car in the film, a 1970 white Dodge Challenger. Vanishing Point is simply a movie about a guy racing against time in the attempt to win a bet. The bet is that he can deliver the car from Colorado to San Francisco in 15 hours. Along the way he comes across various characters and the cops who are hot after his tail. The whole time he is guided by a radio DJ who is monitoring his amphetamine induced race against time and the law.
A classic Steve McQueen film that laid the groundwork for so many others that would come after it. Bullit is the name of McQueen’s character, a San Francisco cop involved in a bunch of Mob drama. The movie is notorious for having the ultimate car chase scene for its day using a 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback through the streets of San Fran. Watching the chase nowadays seems relatively tame to what we’ve gotten use to but when you take into consideration that McQueen did some of his own driving, it makes it that much more exciting.
I absolutely LOVED this movie when I first saw it. It has everything, cars, comedy, action and adventure, and romance. Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise made for a hilarious comedy duo and the supporting cast is what truly made this movie a blast. When I think of this movie I think of fast car chases, pranks, and stars. The story is about a group of people racing across country to win the cash prize and the wackiness that ensues. There were so many stars in this movie that your head would spin. Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Farrah Fawcett, Roger Moore (Bond at the time), Jackie Chan, Peter Fonda, just to name a few. If this is ever on TV I absolutely must stop and watch. Too many cool cars, chases, and stars to ignore!
These of course are just a few of my favorite that come to mind when I think of car movies. What are some of yours?