Good Automobile Moves
August 11, 2004 6:25 AM   Subscribe

Can you all suggest a good movie that involves cars or car racing? Please think "good plotting and suspenseful" rather than "artistic and profound". I'm trying to select a present for my brother, who is a mechanic and trucker, and he thinks Smokey and the Bandit is the best movie ever made.
posted by orange swan to Media & Arts (65 answers total)
 
Days of Thunder?
posted by mhaw at 6:32 AM on August 11, 2004


Two Lane Blacktop
posted by quibx at 6:37 AM on August 11, 2004


The Italian Job and Ronin?
posted by emelenjr at 6:38 AM on August 11, 2004


The original "The Italian Job." It has a great plot, it's really funny, and real Minis feature heavily in the plot. There's also Astin-Martins, a Jaguar and a Lamborghini, all from about the time the movie was made (late 60's).
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:41 AM on August 11, 2004


And its got Benny Hill and Noel Coward.
posted by biffa at 6:45 AM on August 11, 2004


I love Two Lane Blacktop with a love that knows few bounds. But it's not in the zippily-plotted genre.
posted by redfoxtail at 6:51 AM on August 11, 2004


Grand Prix and C' E´tait Un Rendezvous by Claude Lelouch
posted by riffola at 6:54 AM on August 11, 2004


Gone in 60 Seconds [recent|original]is a good car fetish movie as is The Fast and The Furious [first|not as good sequel]. Bullit is not about cars but it's a macho cop movie with one of the all time classic car chases. You might want to spend some time poking around in the Car Chase Database where you can actually search by type of car. See also: The Car Chase Movie Hall of Fame
posted by jessamyn at 6:57 AM on August 11, 2004


I second Two-Lane Blacktop, although it may be a little slow for him.

And while It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World is probably not up his alley, it's an enjoyable movie involving cars racing towards a goal. Best seen on the big screen.
posted by gluechunk at 7:01 AM on August 11, 2004


He might also enjoy Grease - only one race, but lots of singing, dancing car mechanics ;)
posted by iconomy at 7:04 AM on August 11, 2004


Cannonball Run. Though I'm sure he's already seen it if Smokey is his favorite movie.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:06 AM on August 11, 2004


He probably already knows this, but Stroker Ace is the best movie about racing there is. All the footage is spotty and the best racing scene is in the hotel with the towel carts.
posted by annathea at 7:06 AM on August 11, 2004


Le Mans
Death Race 2000 (wicked satire)
posted by adamrice at 7:07 AM on August 11, 2004


The original Gone in 60 Seconds is good. If he likes campy satire, Deathreace 2000 is awesome. Vanishing Point is not as well known as Bullitt, but better, in my opinion. Hmm... must go to work, will try to think of more.
posted by jammer at 7:10 AM on August 11, 2004


Response by poster: Hmm, I've looked up Two Lane Blacktop and find that it is described by such words as "slow moving" and "existential", which indicates the film probably isn't quite my brother's speed.

The Italian Job might be a possibility.

I doubt he would go for subtitles, so think English language movies only. Also, funny is definitely good.

On preview: hey, everyone really jumped in with lots more suggestions for me to check out. Thanks!
posted by orange swan at 7:10 AM on August 11, 2004


I second Ronin. and the script is (under an alias) by David Mamet.
To Live and Die in L.A. has an hair-raising car chase, just like French Connection
posted by matteo at 7:10 AM on August 11, 2004


Hmm, I've looked up Two Lane Blacktop and find that it is described by such words as "slow moving" and "existential", which indicates the film probably isn't quite my brother's speed.

Give it to him as a secondary or tertiary gift. It will sit in his home, unwatched for awhile, and then one day he'll pop it in and get drawn into it. It definiately has the "mechanic" aspect to it.
posted by gluechunk at 7:19 AM on August 11, 2004


Gumball Rally is a Smoky & The Bandit era road race movie. Very silly and dated but also pretty funny.
the racers are a lovable bunch of eccentrics. Sarrazin races in a Shelby Cobra with a Harvard professor as his partner. McIntire and Julia (a real race driver brought in as a ringer) race in a red Ferrari. A Southern daredevil driver and his mechanic (a young Gary Busey) race in a yellow Camaro. Two elderly upper-class gentlemen drive a Mercedes. Two LA cops drive in their police cruiser (complete with cop car badges for every state they drive through). Two attractive ladies drive a Porsche and the main group is completed by a psychotic Hungarian motorcyclist.
posted by jessamyn at 7:25 AM on August 11, 2004


if he likes trucks, he should definitely see DUEL.
posted by nylon at 7:30 AM on August 11, 2004


Ron Howard pops the clutch and says Eat My Dust!
posted by SPrintF at 7:33 AM on August 11, 2004


Oh, also The Car. BAAAHH BA-BA-BAAAAAH!
posted by SPrintF at 7:35 AM on August 11, 2004


I stongly discourage you from picking up the original Italian Job. (Previous, snarling MeTa discussion of The IT starts here.)
posted by Marquis at 7:37 AM on August 11, 2004


I seem to recall that “Red Asphalt” was pretty good in Drivers Ed.... but, this might not be *exactly* what you're looking for... ;-)
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 7:51 AM on August 11, 2004


Mad Max and The Road Warrior sound like they'd really be up his alley.
posted by iconomy at 8:03 AM on August 11, 2004


You mean besides "The Love Bug"?

Cannonball Run II is infinitely cheesier than the first Cannonball. Not to be missed. Especially if you want to see more washed-up celebrity has-beens than you can shake a Tim Conway at.
posted by Vidiot at 8:22 AM on August 11, 2004


Listen to Marquis. He knows better than to jump on the bandwagon. Sure, legions of people are crazy about The Italian Job, but Marquis has better taste than all of them.

He's a little girl and he can see that the emperor is naked.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:26 AM on August 11, 2004


I stongly discourage you from picking up the original Italian Job. (Previous, snarling MeTa discussion of The IT starts here.)

Wow. You're the first person I've known to so strongly dislike the original.

I saw the remake first, on the recommendation of numerous friends, and thought it was alright. It was better than Ocean's 11, thankfully, which was another that everybody seemed to recommend around that time.

So then I rented the original, and I was angry with the producers of the remake. To take such a farsical, fun movie and turn it into this fairly serious high-tech drama/action/comedy just seemed to suck the soul out of the picture.

The original was womanizing, it was dumb, it had its fair share of juvenile humor. It was not a tightly-plotted movie, to say the least. But it was a whole lot of fun to watch, and Michael Caine, who I liked already, immediately shot up the list of my all-time most charming male leads from the 60s. (Which is saying quite a lot.)

On paper, I would having the plot sort of evaporate during the big final chase scene, and having the cast sing an absurd song drunkely would be a bad ending for a film. They actually pulled it off, I thought, which was a feat for which they'll have my enduring respect.

So, anyways, in response to your original point, I've seen it within the last month and rather enjoyed it. No cocaine or alcohol involved.
posted by mragreeable at 8:43 AM on August 11, 2004


I cannot believe that noone has mentioned The Blues Brothers, which has some of the most over-the-top-fun car chase scenes ever put down on film.
posted by ChasFile at 8:53 AM on August 11, 2004


Response by poster: Uh oh, I see a potential car wreck of a thread here:-)

I think The Italian Job may not be right for my brother. I adore him, but he's not the most sophisticated guy around. I think what I'm trying to do is strike a happy medium - to buy him something that's a cut above Smokey and the Bandit, but not get him something that won't appeal to him at all.

I'm a bit handicapped in my selection by the fact that I don't have a T.V. If I did, I could rent some of these, and judge for myself. But I've a list of eight movies culled from this thread and have googled the titles, so I'm armed for my shopping trip. Thanks again, everyone!
posted by orange swan at 8:53 AM on August 11, 2004


Well, I cannot believe Herbie has not been mentioned.
posted by anathema at 9:07 AM on August 11, 2004


Kill the Moonlight, if only because Beck sampled the movie in "Loser." And because it became the title of a spoon album.
posted by drezdn at 9:09 AM on August 11, 2004


How has nobody mentioned Bullitt yet?
posted by chicobangs at 9:10 AM on August 11, 2004


(Sorry, Jammer. I liked it more than you did, but it still bears mention, I think.)
posted by chicobangs at 9:11 AM on August 11, 2004


I saw Gumball Rally as a kid and really enjoyed it. It seems as if maybe three people outside of my family have even heard of it.
posted by coelecanth at 9:15 AM on August 11, 2004


Am I too late to repeat "gone in 60 seconds(2000?), Ronin, Italian Job ('69)"
posted by twine42 at 9:17 AM on August 11, 2004


Sorry to threepeat in the thread, but here's a good list to start from as far as gift shopping. We've come up with most of the movies listed, but still.

And there's always the Car Chase Movie Hall Of Fame, which is just a big list broken down by location and category, but it might give you some other ideas.
posted by chicobangs at 9:17 AM on August 11, 2004


Response by poster: Those are all on my list of possible movies, twine42. I'm still tracking the thread, don't worry.
posted by orange swan at 9:21 AM on August 11, 2004


I guess Vanishing Point isn't the sort of thing you're looking for?
posted by biscotti at 9:53 AM on August 11, 2004


riffola's right: Rendezvous, Rendezvous, Rendezvous.

It's only fifteen minutes or so, but it's the best fifteen minutes ever committed to film.
posted by lbergstr at 9:57 AM on August 11, 2004


Plus it would be a perfect gift: something unique he probably wouldn't have gotten for himself. Plus it has the director barrelling down the Champ-Elysses at top speed at dawn.
posted by lbergstr at 9:58 AM on August 11, 2004


I'd third the suggestion of Bullit. Best car movie I've seen.
posted by mathowie at 10:16 AM on August 11, 2004


Betcha he'll love Driven. Burt Reynolds is in it, which must give it some bonus points.
posted by iconomy at 10:17 AM on August 11, 2004


Uh, Mayor Curley, all I said was that I wouldn't recommend what I found to be a shitty movie. Sorry if you couldn't handle a difference of opinion.
posted by Marquis at 10:21 AM on August 11, 2004


Short trailers for Driven, and also for both of the Max movies - The Road Warrior, and Mad Max. If he likes those two, he'll want to have Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, which is the 3rd movie in the trilogy.
posted by iconomy at 10:29 AM on August 11, 2004


Have they come out with a DVD of all those short films that BMW commissioned? Some of those were pretty good.

Yes, indeed, it seems that they have, and you can get the DVD for only $3.75.
posted by kindall at 10:37 AM on August 11, 2004


Driven sucks, please do not get it for your brother.
posted by gyc at 10:50 AM on August 11, 2004


Response by poster: The viewer review in iconomy's link for Driven (scroll down a little) is one of the best user reviews I ever read ("....The trio of racers (Jimmy, Beau & Memo) look like they were filming a gay porn movie and accidentally stepped onto this set....).
posted by orange swan at 11:08 AM on August 11, 2004


Uh, Mayor Curley, all I said was that I wouldn't recommend what I found to be a shitty movie. Sorry if you couldn't handle a difference of opinion.

Oh. My sarcasm-detector is in need of a serious overhaul. I read his message and legitimately thought he was saying he holds your opinion in high esteem. But now that I see he originally recommended The Italian Job, well, nevermind.

Moving on... the person who recommended The Blues Brothers was right on target, I think. As far as over-the-top car chase scenes, you can't do much better. It's not "suspensful" as such, and a lot of scenes haven't aged so well. Still, it's got the Illinois Nazis.
posted by mragreeable at 11:23 AM on August 11, 2004


*giggle*

From the same page: "Every generation seems to get a race car movie built around a soap opera - others are 'Bobby Deerfield', 'Grand Prix', 'Winning' and 'Days of Thunder', but they didn't have Stallone writing the script and Renny Harlin directing...luckily."

See, orange swan, the real reason I linked to Driven was to get you to read that quote, because it mentions Bobby Deerfield and Winning, two other good racing movies. And gyc thought that I really wanted you to buy it. Sheesh.
posted by iconomy at 11:23 AM on August 11, 2004


Uh, Mayor Curley, all I said was that I wouldn't recommend what I found to be a shitty movie.

You linked to a comment where you accused people who enjoy the movie of being under the influence. That's a bit stronger than your above quote. Did The Italian Job kill a member of your family or something? Because it rescued my puppy and saved the local orphanage.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:25 AM on August 11, 2004


And did you read the follow-up discussion with George_Spiggott?
posted by Marquis at 11:51 AM on August 11, 2004


Seven-Ups (70s cop movie, but really excellent chase scenes all over the city)
posted by amberglow at 11:52 AM on August 11, 2004


While were talking about the original Italian Job does anyone know what the those dual steer buses are? My google-fu has never been up to the job.
posted by Mitheral at 12:12 PM on August 11, 2004


The thing about Smokey and the Bandit is that most of the movie showed people in cars, rather than a single car chase scene or an occasional race. Vanishing Point does the same thing in a dramatic vein, Gumball Rally and Cannonball Rally do it comedically.

OTOH, if he liked SATB for Burt and Sally and stunt driving, he would probably like Hooper as well.
posted by joaquim at 12:18 PM on August 11, 2004


I'll third or fourth or whatever for Two-Lane Blacktop. It's not the fastest moving movie in the world, no, but I wouldn't call it slow, either. And car people I know dig it because the three main characters know cars.

I'll also second Vanishing Point. Great flick.

TLB and VP are the two best car movies, imo, and two of the best and most overlooked movies of the 70s.

He might also like Convoy, but it's more trucks than cars.

French Connection and To Live and Die in LA both have good chases in it as does Ronin (though I hate the movie).

He might also like The Transporter, which has a couple chases if I remember correctly.

I second Ronin. and the script is (under an alias) by David Mamet.

I'll have to disagree. I think the movie's poo, but my disagreement is more with the Mamet credit. He did a rewrite/polish of the dialogue but I'd cry to think he would write such a flick on his own.

I also strongly discourage anyone from the original Italian Job. I didn't bother with the remake but the original is just boring as all hell.

It's probably among the top 5 of mt "Movies I Don't Understand Why Anyone Likes" list.
posted by dobbs at 12:52 PM on August 11, 2004


I think The Italian Job may not be right for my brother. I adore him, but he's not the most sophisticated guy around.

Did you miss the part where I said it had Benny Hill in it?


Hey Mayor Curley, I liked the part where you said Marquis was a little girlie girl.
posted by biffa at 1:41 PM on August 11, 2004


Bullitt, of course, as listed a couple of times above. In the same genre as suspenseful cop movie with seriously thrilling car chase, The French Connection - I can still feel the thrill as they raced under the overpasses in NYC. Moving forward a few years in cinematic history, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and The Matrix Reloaded - lots of car racing/crashing fu!
posted by Lynsey at 1:43 PM on August 11, 2004


Listen to Marquis. He knows better than to jump on the bandwagon. Sure, legions of people are crazy about The Italian Job, but Marquis has better taste than all of them.

Mayor, there are plenty of movies that lots of people like--that doesn't mean they're good. There are sequels (or going to be sequels) to Bringing Down the House and Scooby Doo, for instance. Popularity does not equal quality.

(And hey, don't take it personally. There are plenty of movies that I like that are out and out shit. I own Notting Hill and Ishtar, for chrissakes. I've seen them multiple times. Doesn't mean they're good. And of course, you and anyone else are welcome to think they're as bloody gawdawful as Marquis (and myself) think Italian Job is.)
posted by dobbs at 2:02 PM on August 11, 2004


60-odd comments and nobody's mentioned Thunder Road. Ah am appalled.
posted by jfuller at 5:30 PM on August 11, 2004


Yeah, Vanishing Point is fantastic.

Just don't confuse it with the Christian Fundamentalist remake starring Jason Priestley...
posted by Sonny Jim at 9:52 PM on August 11, 2004


Mitheral: That bus in the original Italian job is apparently a Bedford Legionnaire. (more info here [google cache])

orange swan: I know it's not a movie per se, but your brother might dig the Dukes of Hazzard box set.
posted by arto at 11:00 PM on August 11, 2004


Mitheral: That bus in the original Italian job is apparently a Bedford Legionnaire. (more info here [google cache]) In fact, this Bedford Legionnaire.

orange swan: I know it's not a movie per se, but your brother might dig the Dukes of Hazzard box set.
posted by arto at 11:03 PM on August 11, 2004


The Driver. 'Course you need to track it down in region 2.
posted by codger at 7:32 AM on August 12, 2004


Ah finally the answer to why tandem steer axles. Supposed to improve safety. Thanks arto.
posted by Mitheral at 12:32 PM on August 12, 2004


Response by poster: I can't get over how many responses this question generated. Seriously, the only car movie I could think of was Days of Thunder. Thanks everyone.
posted by orange swan at 6:23 PM on August 12, 2004


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