Listing off the best car movies is easy. Let’s face it, even RUSH hasn’t eclipsed Grand Prix as the best of the genre, despite probably being the actual best one.
For your Sunday evening viewing pleasure I chose to share my 5 worst car flicks of all time. The odd thing is that my top two worst car flicks are also two of my all time favourite movies!
5. Two Lane Blacktop
A couple of young guys in a primer coated 55 Chevy travel across America, picking up drag races along the way. There isn’t much of substance in the flick, but there are some pretty wicked cars.
Oh, and for music geeks, the lead characters are played by Warren Oates and James Taylor. Beach Boy Dennis Wilson is in the mix too, as a mechanic. Harry Dean Stanton has a spot in this one also.
4. Stroker Ace
I didn’t know much about NASCAR when the 1983 comedy Stroker Ace appeared and I didn’t know anything more after I watched it. With Burt Reynolds, Loni Anderson and Jim Neighbors, there was never really any intention of creating anything but racing related fromage.
For NASCAR fans, there is some cameos by legends Harry Gant, Neil Bonnett and the late, great Dale Earnhart.
An age old tale of a boy and his
dog car. Boy, in this case Mark Hamill buts his dream car, a whacked out custom Corvette. Naturally, the heavily modified visual monstrosity is stolen. Hamill and a hooker in training portrayed by Annie Potts, set off on a wild goose chase to find the car.
Good fun, but a bad flick.
2. The Last Chase
A cold war era tale similar to, but somewhat more civilized that Mad Max, The Last Chase combines fighter jets and race cars with a Canadian twist. Set in the future, Americans are no longer allowed to own personal vehicles. One time pro racer Franklyn Hart, played by Lee Majors, chose not to follow the rules and instead stored his disassembled Porsche Can-Am car beneath a false floor in his garage.
Finally fed up with government oppression, Hart sets off on a mission to California which is a ‘free’ zone. Teenage Ring, played by Chris Makepeace, gets involved and insists upon tagging along. As the duo head off on the road, the big brother style government cameras follow their progress as the eyes of an over-zealous government official. Determined to prevent the pair from becoming a symbol of freedom in the press, said official dispatches an aging Korean war vet, played by Burgess Merideth, in an F-86 Sabre jet. A cross country game of cat and mouse ensues.
All in all, the flick is pretty cheesy, but then again, what would you expect from a Lee Majors movie. The really cool bit is that the opening sequence was filmed at Mosport. No movie car for this crew, as an actual 1973 Porsche 917/30 was used in filming, which was driven by Seventies Canadian racing ace Bill Brack. A quick look through the full cast shows that Canadian media mogul Moses Znaimer had a bit part as a reporter.
1. King of the Mountain
Harry Hamlin. Dennis Hopper. Dan Haggerty. Porsche. Corvette. Mulholland Drive. Few movies have so much potential for greatness and failure all at the same time. King of the Mountain was ultimately a failure, yet it remains one of my most favourite flicks.
Steve, played by Hamlin, is a current Mulholland racer who is contemplating the end of his ‘career’ with visions of his best friend dying in a fiery crash. The main character works in a Porsche race shop owned by Haggerty’s character, a retired pro racer. Another tech in the shop is the drunken old Cal, who often crashes out in the shop at night. Cal was a legend of Mulholland who is determined to beat the hill one last time.
Filmed in 1981, the film is understandably cheesy, but the race scenes are real and the cars are awesome. Steve drives a wicked Porsche 356, which is actually a California Speedster, while Cal drives possibly the coolest Corvette of all time. Pro-Touring & rat rod all wrapped up into one fat and ratty weapon.
Legend has it that Hopper was in his element as Cal and fully immersed himself in the character, right down to performing the racing sequences himself while shit-faced. There is no CGI here, this is full on, old skool street racing.