Yeah, they don’t make car movies anymore. What do I mean by car movies? Well, I’m not talking about Cars or Cars 2, which could just have been called Toy Story 4/5, and I definitely am not talking about Transformers. God no.
What I’m talking about are Vanishing Point. . . Smokey & The Bandit. . . Cannonball Run. These weren’t car movie so much as flipping the bird at the man and hitting the gas movies. These were westerns on speed. These were movies about “the last American hero” who would not conform to the dictates of the nanny state.
They don’t make movies like American Graffiti anymore either, movies about American youth in their natural habitat.
They don’t make movies like Corvette Summer. . . uh, never mind on that one.
They don’t make movies like Vacation anymore, about the Odyssey so many Americans take with their families: the family road trip vacation.
They don’t make movies like Duel, which speak to our love with road rage or Death Race 2000 which had everyone I know looking for points.
Look, Americans and cars go hand in hand. They define us, we express our individuality through them. They set us free. And you don’t see that anymore. When you see “car” films today, they are really just heist films that involve cars, like Fast and Furious or The Italian Job. Or they’re nostalgia pieces like Deathproof. Or, God help us, it’s spoiled rich girls taking daddy’s BMW on the road to find get attention.
What you don’t see anymore are films about the connection between average Americans and their cars. You don’t see films about our love for cars... about us defining ourselves through our cars... about the freedom our cars give us.
There are several possible reasons for this. It’s possible that car movies have just become that much harder to make since cops are more sophisticated now in stopping scofflaws... though that doesn’t stop the heist films. It’s possible that we aren’t as interested in cars since we’re more urban, but anyone who has looked at our busy highways and the love affairs Americans still have with cars knows that’s not true.
I think this is another example where Hollywood has lost touch with America and Americans. Hollywood still realized that American’s love cars - indeed, they use cars to make their heroes stand out by giving each a classic car - but they don’t seem to understand the connection. They don’t seem to understand that a car in not like a jacket or a watch, it is a much larger symbol of who we are, it is a member of the family, it is one of the few things that give American’s total control over their destinies. . . cars are a part of us, not just an accessory.
Maybe it’s time for the next great car film to remind Americans of personal freedom. Thoughts?