Thursday, 6 April 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Car/Racing Movies

As motor racing is a sport (don’t look at me like that! It bloody well is a sport) any fictional movie about racing won’t be quite as exciting as a true moment of sporting greatness. Perhaps, that’s why my picks are either based on true stories or are documentaries. Make sure to visit -

My first pick is Greased Lightning, a film about racing car driver Wendell Scott, the first ever black man to win a top level of NASCAR race. Greased Lightning is an engaging and inspiring film as it looks at how Wendell Scott fought the racism of the segregated South to become a racing driver. The racing scenes are, surprisingly, really well done in a great, little film.

Unlike NASCAR, Formula 1 has tracks that have right turns and some that go left as well... it’s not quite so big in America, but for Europe, and Britain in particular, it’s the biggest form of motorsport. Rush is about the legendary rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt, focusing on the 1976 season where Lauda suffered an almost fatal crash at the deadly Nordschleife. Rush is a superb film that perfectly emulated the two contrasting personalities of the two drivers. Rush is a film that thrilled both fans and non-fans alike.
When Three time World Champion Aryton Senna died during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix I wasn’t even two years old, I was far too young to remember. However, twenty years later I was old enough to remember the death of Jules Bianchi as a result of an accident to graphic to show on TV. The death of Senna brought in numerous safety measures which revolutionized the sport and ensured death wasn’t a normality in the sport. From this documentary you could tell the danger the drivers faced, but this did not deter Senna from driving the wheels off every car he drove including a race where he endured great physical pain to claim victory in his home country of Brazil.

TT3D Closer to the Edge follows three bikers who travel to the Isle of Man to take part in one of the deadliest races in the world which, since the creation of the event in 1901, has claimed over 200 lives. We follow the main bikers Guy Hamilton, Ian Hutchinson and John McGuinness as they prepare for the biggest event of their year. Surrounding the track are stone walls, houses and hills to tumble down thus the TT Isle of Man will punish you if you make one small error and at the immense spends they travel at they could be fatal, The sweeping camera shots are impressive and capture the speed and the danger of the track brilliantly, the pictures of bikes that have turned into a fireball are terrifying and the footage of deadly bike crashes is horrifying.


  1. The only one of these I've seen is Rush, which I really enjoyed despite not knowing anything about Formula One.

  2. Haven't seen any of these, but have heard such great things about Senna.

  3. Great you did a little theme within the theme. I've only seen Greased Lightning and it was years ago but I remembering thinking it wasn't bad. Overall these don't seem like my cup of tea but this is the second mention I've seen of Senna so I'm going to have to track that down.

    I'm really not a race fan so I was surprised how many race films I've seen over the years. I had chosen my initial three and then ran across my bonus last weekend, it's not great but SO 80's I decided to chuck it in.

    Winning (1969)-Frank Capua’s (Paul Newman) dream is to win the Indy 500 and he is spurred on by his messy private life including a troubled marriage to Elora (Joanne Woodward) who is also involved with his main rival Luther Erding (Robert Wagner). The film inspired Newman’s lifelong love of racing and has some exciting scenes of the sport. While it doesn’t deliver on its ambitious tagline “WINNING is for men who live dangerously! WINNING is for women who love recklessly! WINNING is for young people who live for now! for everybody!” it’s a decent film with many of the stars of the racing circuit making appearances.

    The Great Race (1965)-At the beginning of the 1900’s The Great Leslie (an all in white clad Tony Curtis) and his arch nemesis Professor Fate (Jack Lemmon equally black covered with a handlebar moustache and top hat to boot) compete in the title race from New York to Paris with henchmen in tow, Hezekiah (Keenan Wynn) for Curtis and Max (a hilarious Peter Falk) for Lemmon. Also competing and covering the race for The Sentinel newspaper is pioneering and rambunctious reporter Maggie DuBois (Natalie Wood at her most beautiful). MANY complications occur along the way including a western town brawl and shootout and an enormous pie fight. Blake Edwards directed tribute to slapstick and old time serials is zany fun with beautiful costume & set design, a game cast and for car lovers fantastic automobiles. The score was provided by Henry Mancini and includes the Oscar nominated “The Sweetheart Tree”.

    The Big Wheel (1949)-Watch out Mickey Rooney’s on the skids in more ways than one! Billy Coy (Rooney) has something to prove, his father was a legend in the midget race car game until his death in a crackup, now Billy is trying to show his worth. The story is standard cocky hothead knocked down a few pegs until his learns the necessary life lessons junk but if you're a race fan and don't mind the obvious rear projection shots it has a certain entertainment value. Additionally parts were filmed at the Indy 500 raceway providing a glimpse of it in its infancy. Aside from Rooney there’s a good cast including Spring Byington, Thomas Mitchell and in a small part Hattie McDaniel in her last theatrical feature. This was made just as the Mick’s major star period was ending.

    80’s Flashback Bonus-Catch Me If You Can (1989)-When her small Midwest high school faces closure class president Melissa Hanson (Loryn Locklin) is persuaded by school bad boy Dylan Malone (Matt Lattanzi) to gamble on the illegal car races he runs. Everything goes well at first but then the local mob moves in so Melissa and Dylan take drastic measures to save ol’ Cathedral High! Full of 80’s music (the film’s score is composed and performed by Tangerine Dream) 80’s fashion and of course 80’s hair complete with headbands!

  4. You know, you picked three movies that I almost picked. Rush, Senna and TT3D are equally great. Love them all! Yet I went with different pick eventually.

  5. Rush is such a great film. I almost picked it myself but then I decided to save it for next week's TMP.

  6. I forgot about Rush and I have to mark that one down. I haven't seen any of these but I wouldn't mind seeing the Richard Pryer fil and Senna

  7. Ooh, you picked Greased Lightning! Can't believe I forgot about that one. Great pick. Rush is also great. Haven't seen your other two.

  8. Rush is such a great film! I never though I'd be interested but Daniel Bruhl is so compelling!