Sitting here waiting for the 2010 Brickyard 400 to begin, I have more than a little time to kill. With past races gracing a sea of televisions overhead, I began thinking of some of my favorite racing themed films and I singled out that I've loved throughout the years.
I know some might not make your list, but these are a few of my favorites.
Speed Racer (2008)
The movie was generally panned by most critics and fans, but the artistic take the Wachowski Brothers gave to "Speed Racer" was surreal to say the least and I loved it. Over the top special effects and mind melting cuts between scenes made this one heck of a wild ride.
It's been reported star Emile Hirsch has said he would not return for a sequel, and with the movie not earning back its budget, it's almost a sure thing Warner Bros. won't attempt another film anytime soon.
I actually own two copies of the film and would more than welcome another film. Hopefully the film will become more appreciated with time.
Days of Thunder (1990)
"Days of Thunder" is perhaps the best racing movie ever. The film takes a realistic look at NASCAR and leaves a layer of grit on you after every watching. I'm not saying everything is real in the flick, but you get a sense of the rivalries and the desire that drives the drivers.
My favorite scene is when Cruise gets surly with Michael Rooker and smashes a baseball bat against a pool table. I know Cruise is a dude in great physical shape, but the image of him threatening to "fix" Rooker's character was laughable. Sorry, Tommy.
Six Pack (1982)
A cute little flick about a group of orphaned children who are reluctantly taken in by Brewster Baker (Kenny Rogers) after he catches them stealing parts from his race car. Ultimately the group becomes his pit crew and helps resurrect his career.
The film has some nice music from Rogers such as "Love Will Turn You Around", but the seven-year old me was attracted to something else, namely the 17-year old Diane Lane. Looking back, the early 80s were some formative years, first with a fresh-faced Lane followed by a metal bikini-clad Princess Leia the following year. Good times, folks, good times.
Vanishing Point (1971)
"Vanishing Point" isn't a racing film that takes place on a track, but rather on the highways of the western United States. This was the film I'd heard about all my youth, but since it was out of print, I wasn't able to view it until I caught it on a late night show on cable in my teens.
The story revolves around Kowalski (Barry Newman), a car delivery driver who must get a white 1970 Dodger Challenger from Denver to San Francisco in 15 hours. Adding another layer to the plot is the fact Kowalski is a former cop.
Kowalski is billed as the "Last free man on earth" by a blind D.J. (Cleavon Little), who helps him evade police over by using the radio waves. The film begins and ends with the image of two bulldozers pulling into position and dropping their blades on the road.
For those who don't know the movie, I won't spoil the ending, but it's definitely a film to catch.
These are just a couple of my favorite high octane flicks, but I want to know some of your favorites, so leave a comment and let the world know. Until then, I'm putting Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift at the top of all of your lists.