Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Great (film) Debates vol. 30

Nothing defines a character more than the kind of car they drive. Cars is cool!

What is the coolest car on film?



Panelist: T-Rav

The Thunderbird in Grease. Seeing that and the people around it just screams "quintessential '50s" to me; and let's face it, the '50s were awesome. I think it did as much to make that movie what it was as John Travolta did.

Panelist: Tennessee Jed

Intellectually, I guess Bond's Aston Martin from Goldfinger which I once saw in person along with the Black Watch {think about that for a minute :) }Still, the very first car that came to mind was Steve McQueen's Mustang from Bullitt.

Panelist: ScottDS

The Bluesmobile, as seen in The Blues Brothers. It was actually a 1974 Dodge Monaco. We never find out how the car gets its "magical powers" but the extended version of the film includes a scene where Elwood parks it in an electrical substation underneath the L train. It was Dan Aykroyd's idea that the car would absorb the electrical energy but when the film was running long, director John Landis cut this scene, knowing the audience wouldn't quite understand (nor would they need to). "Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration, don't fail me now!"

Panelist: AndrewPrice

This is really a very hard question as there are so many. There's the Challenger from Vanishing Point, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, there's Christine. . . the list is endless. But in the end, nothing beats the 1967 black Camaro from Better Off Dead.

Comments? Thoughts?

90 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

To be sure, cool is in the individual mind's eye, as is art itself. One could not quibble with any choices, but it would be hard to compete with two panelists with clickable links :)

Joel Farnham said...

Jed,

I am with you. The 'Stang from Bullitt. My reason is that it is in the first and probably the most definitive car chase sequence. It still is exciting to watch it.

Tennessee Jed said...

Joel - we are probably showing our age again (l.o.l.)

tryanmax said...

I'm still pondering my selection, but something must be said for the General Lee. That car visibly twisted its frame in countless* shots and yet somehow straightened out whenever the camera angle changed. Impressive.

*Actually, they probably could be counted, they were recycled so often.

Tennessee Jed said...

I have to admit, Tryanmax, The General Lee did get a workout, yet it never occured to me to think of it as cool! :) Seriously, one of my sons was a big fan so I do remember watching the show a few times.

Tennessee Jed said...

I hadn't seen the Politico article but felt it best left for a different discussion.

tryanmax said...

I probably shoulda put it over in Vox Populi. Doing that now.

ScottDS said...

Excellent choices everyone! I guess mine's pretty obvious, though I'm also partial to the DeLorean in Back to the Future (which is finally being restored) and the Ecto-1 from Ghostbusters.

And of course, the Batmobile. As much as I like the Chris Nolan films, I'll always be partial to the Batmobile as seen in Tim Burton's film. The one on the original 60s series wasn't too shabby, either.

And tryanmax, in response to the article, all I have to say is, "Ugh..." :-)

Joel Farnham said...

Jed,

Yep, but we are classics. We never get old. :-)

tryanmax,

So, Santorum decides to double down on the Porn angle? I wonder what type of society Ricky wants us to be like? I wouldn't mind going back to the 50's. At least then, educators were not militant liberals bent on world domination. Somehow, I don't think that is what The Good Senator envisions.

tryanmax said...

Scott, one could very well debate which is the best Batmobile. Of the three you named, I can't really pick a favorite.

Tennessee Jed said...

Scott - indeed how could one not love the Batmobile. I was never a huge fan of the Delorean when it came out. yeah, the gull wings are cool, but . . . .here is the thing--the DeLorean tried way to hard to be cool. Maybe that's the problem with Andrew's Camaro for me. And don't get me wrong, my second car ever was a '67 Camaro. But the Challenger vs. Mustang duel in Bullitt is the original bad ass car chase. Only French Connection 2 even approaches. The Aston Marton is a beautifully understated car that gets away with it's, ah -- options, because they were put in by Q for Bond.

tryanmax said...

I'm still not making my pick, but I can't help but think of James Bond's submersible Lotus as incredibly handy.

Outlaw13 said...

The Lotus that turned into a submarine in the Spy Who Loved Me was pretty damn cool. Although the James Bond cool was diminished significantly when he drove an AMC Hornet in The Man With The Golden Gun...damn you product placement!

Tom Cruise's dad's Porsche 928 in Risky Business.

Agree totally with Steve McQueen's Mustang.

Clint Eastwood's and Starsky and Hutch's Gran Torinos in their respective films were sweet as well.

Outlaw13 said...

Sorry was beaten to the punch on the Lotus...that's what I get for taking too long to compose a comment. :)

Tennessee Jed said...

Tryanmax and Outlaw - the submersible was indeed not only cool, but incredibly handy. Outlaw, your picks are spot on. And, Joel --we are classics indeed.

Outlaw13 said...

Any of the cars in film "Le Mans" can be substituted for any position on this list.

ScottDS said...

The cars Pierce Brosnan drove in his Bond films weren't too bad, either. I remember people complaining when GoldenEye was released that the car (a BMW Z3) wasn't given enough screen time. And Die Another Day may have gotten a little too crazy with the Aston Martin Vanquish and its invisibility feature. (But then again, everything that film did was a bit over the top.)

LawHawkRFD said...

I'm with the Aston Martin. The DB5 used in the earlier Bond films were cool by themselves, but the "gadgets" made them spectacular. The newer ones, not so much. The later cars were sexy as hell, but they had minimal gadgets.

I also like the Mustang in Bullitt, and it gives me an extra twinge watching them on those same hills I used to drive in my Austin-Healey (at about the same speeds, LOL). I used to drive my kids nuts yelling "hey, look, you can see my house from here" whenever the movie chase scene showed up on TV. In fact, the closest the chase ever got to where I had lived was a block away, and by that time I had married and moved to a suburb in the East Bay. And Tennessee, admitting I owned an Austin-Healey dates me too.

AndrewPrice said...

Great choices everyone! This was another really difficult one because of all the great possibilities! I never even thought of Greased Lightening, by the way, until I read T-Rav's choice and then I had to admit that was a fantastic choice!

Tennessee Jed said...

Hawk - why am I not surprised you would find a soft spot in your heart for the Bullitt car chase? I remember seeing that one in the theater and it was awesome. Probably just as the beginning of Dolby stereo in selected theaters ! (l.o.l.)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, The car chase from Bullit is without a doubt THE definitive car chase. That's the only car chase out there which I see as real when I watch it -- no feeling that I'm watching something staged. I know that's not true, but that's how it feels.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The General Lee was awesome! I wanted one as a kid! Interestingly, it's in the news again because someone recently bought it and wanted to let it do a lap at a NASCAR race and NASCAR said no because it has the confederate flag on it. Booo!

AndrewPrice said...

Jed and tryanmax, (See my comments at the open thread.)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, If I was going to pick a Batmobile, it would be the original from the 1960s series. That's my favorite. But as between the Burton one and the Nolan one, I prefer the Burton one as well.

I actually never did care for the Ghostbuster's car. It never struck me as anything special. The DeLorean was cool though. Apparently, they are still making those out of original parts that were never assembled. What a world!

Tennessee Jed said...

The deuce coupe in American Graffiti was cool. Rav - Not to put too fine a point on it, but Greased Lightning was a modified '48 convertible, not a T-Bird. That is just a small point, however. It was a cool car :)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, True classics never grow old, they just grow better!


I'll save my Santorum comments for the open thread. But I have nothing good to say about the piece of...

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I agree with you about the DeLorean -- it does try too hard. But the Camero defines cool in my book. Everything about that car is just so totally cool. :)

The Aston Martin is awesome. Even without the James Bond toys, that thing defined "class" to me. They couldn't have picked a better car for James Bond.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I like originals, so I go with the original Batmobile. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, The Lotus was indeed cool. And then they had to go and ruin it by blowing up... and then putting him in a Saab! Huh?!!!

Later, the Z3 was cool before everybody in the world started buying them. I'm glad they've given him the Aston again.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, The cars in Le Mans are indeed cool. One of the things I love about watching Top Gear is commercial cars that look like those races... plus the humor.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I loved the Z3 when the film first came out because the car is beautiful and it was unique when the film was released. But within a year or so, those things were everywhere because BMW even put them on cheap leases. Suddenly, it lost its luster and now it doesn't seem nearly as cool in the film as it did at first.

The invisibility was a major shark jumping moment.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, It is indeed a great car and the gadgets would make it so much cooler. I wonder what kind of ticket you would get for using them? LOL!

SF is a cool place to do car chases because of the hills. It does annoy me though that so many directors keep going back to the same 2-3 streets.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think they called it a Thunderbird in the film, but I'm not sure.

The deuce coupe is the yellow one in American Graffiti? Believe it or not, but not a huge fan of the street racers. I prefer the bigger cars older cars. One of my favorite older cars is Christine though I don't know what make or model the car is?

As an aside, I'm also partial to the pimp mobiles from the 1970s. :)

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew- you are too young to remember, but when the Camaro was introduced in '67, it was tagged "the hugger." I will admit it saved my butt more than once. Also, first car to have a custom after market 8 track with six speaker installation so it was a tune mobile. Sadly, it met an untimely end :( when a little old lady pulled out directly in it's path. At least no humans were hurt.

Tennessee Jed said...

I used to have a summer job in 1970 stocking vending machines in Philly bars. Got held up twice. My favorite pimp mobiles were always on 52nd Street in West Philly. I remember a Caddy with big fins that has been covered in valour. The body was a kelly green and the top was leopard skin. Oh my!!

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, My WV Rabbit died the same way, but it was brought back to life after being officially "wrecked"... though it was never the same.

I did not know it was tagged "the hugger." LOL!

I had a friend with a 1979 Thunderbird with shag carpeting on the dashboard! That thing was so large you had to lean all the way forward to touch the dash. It floated over the road. :)

Outlaw13 said...

Speaking of pimp-mobiles there was a scene in Magnum Force with a white one...although it didn't stay white for long.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, I remember that one. Live and Let Die have some cool ones too. What an age for pimpishly-cool cars!

tryanmax said...

If we're talking Cameros, how can we forget John Cusak's ride from Better Off Dead? A study in mop-ish-ness no more.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That was my choice above! ;)

tryanmax said...

Oops, musta skipped that when I was catching up.

tryanmax said...

Plus, I still have a significant amount of Bailey's in my system.

AndrewPrice said...

Blogging while intoxicated... BWI. That's illegal in 17 states. ;)

In any event, that is the coolest of cool cars!

tryanmax said...

James Bond's unfortunate stint with a Hornet reminds me of Garth's Pacer, a.k.a. "The MirthMobile" from Wayne's World

tryanmax said...

RE: Better Off Dead, you have to admit, that station wagon he has first puts in a pretty fair performance, too. And what was that thing that the bullhorn guys were driving?

AndrewPrice said...

True. But the Pacer did give us one of the better scenes of that film, when they all started listening to "Bohemian Rhapsody." LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

My friend, they were driving a Ford Falcon.... the first car I ever owned. 0-60 in 20 minutes (downhill).

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I agree about the same two or three streets being used just to copy Bullitt. But what we San Franciscans find amusing is that practically every time Bullitt turned a corner, he was suddenly on a street that was blocks or even miles away from the street he just left. The filmers were exactly right in using some of the steepest hills in town to heighten the excitement, but if you know the town well, you also know that it just couldn't happen that way. And it makes no difference. It's still great fun. And at that, it's not as egregious as the scenes in TV's Nash Bridges where cable cars were depicted as running on streets where no cable cars have ever actually existed. They used tourist gasoline-powered cable cars and painted the tracks on the streets.

ScottDS said...

Blogging while intoxicated... BWI. That's illegal in 17 states. ;)

And if Santorum's elected president, it'll be illegal in all 50! :-)

As awesome as the chases in Bullitt and The French Connection are, it always bothers me that The Blues Brothers is never given the proper recognition for its car chases. Between the chase scene in the mall and the epic chase through Chicago at the end, I'd put this film up against any in the chase category.

Interestingly, the mall itself was finally demolished this year.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, It's amazing how much they dissect cities when it comes to putting them on television.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Not quite... blogging won't be allowed. Why would anyone need to blog after all... you might say things Rick doesn't like.

The Blues Brothers has some awesome chase scenes, but they aren't true car chases so much as car-related jokes. I love the scene in the mall.

Kit said...

Cop car from BLUES BROTHERS, Aston Martin in GOLDFINGER, and the DeLorian from BACK TO THE FUTURE.

The Ashton Mahrtin DB5 is the coolesht cahr in the hishtory of shinemah.

Also, one of the best songs too!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgN50uAp4pg

Kenn Christenson said...

The interceptors from "Mad Max" and "Road Warrior" were pretty cool! (If a bit dusty.)

As a kid - the car(s) in "Journey to the Far Side of the Sun" were what I thought we'd be driving in that far off year of "1980."

AndrewPrice said...

Kid, Good choices! And to think, they got the Bluesmobile for the price of a microphone! ;)

Here's your link: LINK

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, Those were pretty cool cars. I can't remember what they are at the moment, but they were Australian made cars actually.

"Journey to the Far Side of the Sun"? I'm not familiar with that.

Kenn Christenson said...

"Journey to the Far Side of the Sun" a little-known Gerry Anderson feature - lots of the props and costumes wound up in his following TV show: "U.F.O"

AndrewPrice said...

Ah, yes, I just looked it up. I haven't seen it. Looks interesting though.

Kenn Christenson said...

The acting takes a backseat to the effects, which were pretty good for the time. The ending is what makes the film, IMHO.

Kit said...

Also, the winnebago in STRIPES.

Awesome.

tryanmax said...

After much consideration, I'm going to go with the trio of Mini Coopers in The Italian Job.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, My favorite pimpmobiles can run right over those Mini Coopers like they aren't even there! ;)

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, I know some people who actually do drive around in those things. I would never do it, but they seem to really like it.

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, Sadly, I haven't seen it so I can't comment.

DUQ said...

All good choices, I have nothing to add really. :)

Kenn Christenson said...

There's also, the "Mist Mobile." Although, it starts off in the bad guy's hands - it wind up in the hands of one very capable young driver/assassin!

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Did we really get this far and not ONE Smokey and the Bear Trans-Am? I'm flummoxed.

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, I am embarrassed. How did we miss that?

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, That's a cool car. That's a newish Mustang if memory serves?

Kenn Christenson said...

That it is, Andrew.

AndrewPrice said...

A very nice car indeed.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Also...

Red Skull's ride in Captain America was cool.



The Mach 5 from the original Speed Racer series was cool... but not as cool as Racer X's

I've always liked the Pierce Arrow in movies like The Untouchables, Road to Perdition, etc.

http://www.seriouswheels.com/pics-1930-1939/1931-Pierce-Arrow-Sedan-Maroon-SA-fl4.jpg

The '62 Ferrari in Ferris Bueller's was sweet as well.

Floyd R. Turbo said...

Smokey and the Bandit of course -- not Smokey Bear. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Floyd, Yeah, that was "BJ and the Bear."

I like the Ferrari from Ferris Bueller but it's been in films too much. For me, it's kind of lost it's place because of that -- overuse.

The Mach 5 is indeed cool.

Commander Max said...

Coolest car on film?

I would put KITT on the top, what better than have a car you can talk to on long trips. Plus the car will do all the driving for you. No worry about any body damage, and drive as fast as you want. I have some bias on this because I had an 1982 Pontiac Trans Am. I only wished it could have dome all of those things.

Since the Italian Job was mentioned, forget the mini's. How about the Lamborghini Miura?

Here is some more cars, I can't say if they are cool. But they were fun-
Hannibal 8
Leslie Special
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Herbie
Ecto 1
Interceptor(Mad Max)
Viper(from the TV show)
Monkees GTO
Munster Koach
The Mystery Machine
Turbo Interceptor(Dodge M4S)(The Wraith)

Andy this one will test your ST knowledge.
Gene Winfield's "Reactor".

AndrewPrice said...

Max, How could we forget KITT? That was one of my favorite shows at the time.

Herbie was good too. And I am very partial to vans -- we used to have one and I loved it. So the Mystery Machine is a good call to!

Outlaw13 said...

If you're going into TV land Magnum's Ferrari has to be mentioned. Although I was more partial to the "Rat Patrol"'s Jeeps and Squad 51's Paramedic truck from the show "Emergency!"

tryanmax said...

Here's one: Frankenstein's Monster from Death Race 2000.

And how about a totally uncool car? RoboCop's Ford Taurus. So sad.

tryanmax said...

Frankenstein's Monster is a Dick Dean Shala-Vette, BTW.

AndrewPrice said...

I had NO idea that was a real car! I love the original of that one... crappy remake though.

AndrewPrice said...

Outlaw, We had Ferrari just like Magnum's somewhere in town when I was growing up and people would stop and watch it drive past. That was a cool car.

I like Emergency a lot, but I can't say I ever paid much attention to their truck.

tryanmax said...

Wow, I didn't know it when I posted about Frankenstein, but this conversation wouldn't be nearly as interesting if it weren't for Dick Dean. He had a hand in designing/building several of the cars we are talking about, including the original Batmobile and Ecto-1. But there's lots more. Just google his name.

AndrewPrice said...

Fascinating. I had no idea!

EricP said...

Nice seeing the Bluesmobile, even minus its cigarette lighter. Ditto Cusack's ride in Better off Dead. With the latter in mind throwing my nomination to Lloyd Dobler's Malibu in Say Anything. Nothing like primer greys when it comes to Malibus.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, Primer grey can say so much about a car! LOL!

rlaWTX said...

I enjoyed this conversation. Some great choices! I was going to add KITT, but he appeared at the end!
I kinda think Frank Martin's car (Transporter movies) is pretty cool. Or maybe it's the driver... ;)

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That is a nice car... and well maintained!

Commander Max said...

Another one that was forgot was the 80's poster child(that wasn't a chick).

The Lamborghini Countach.

It was in a number of shows.

AndrewPrice said...

I believe it was in Cannonball Run, wasn't it? And of course a couple James Bond films. Great looking car.

Commander Max said...

Yes it was, in both Cannonballs. But I've never seen a Lamborghini in a Bond film. I figure it's the whole British image thing.

AndrewPrice said...

Ah, my mistake... I was thinking of the Lotus.

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