Gone In Vanishing Bullit Crazy Blacktop

Editorial

I'm a bit of a horror movie junkie. In fact, my love for this genre is at a level which a psychologist would likely find troubling. No judge has yet deemed it necessary to send me to a shrink, so I won't worry about that. The only other genre for which I feel such affection is, as you may have guessed, car movies. Unfortunately, this genre took a nosedive a few years before I was actually born. Today's car movies simply can't compete with those of a few decades ago.

Not that those were always particularly good movies. The non-chase scenes in Bullit were mostly a bunch of guys standing around mumbling at each other, and very little of it made any sense. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry did make sense, but nobody cared. A proper remake of Gone in 60 Seconds would have required quadruple the budget it actually had, just to cover the sheer quantities of cocaine needed to make a movie like that. Then there was that other problem which movies like Vanishing Point and Easy Rider (yeah, yeah. I know motorcycles aren't cars) suffer from, the fatuous contemplation of what it all means, you know, like life, man.

The beauty of these movies is that none of those things bother me, not even a bit. In fact, they're probably much better this way, as there's nothing to distract from the car chases. Car movies used to be a cheap way to make an action movie, and since nobody was going to pay attention to the plot, anybody with a camera could make one. Car movies sort of went away for a while when new emissions regulations wreaked havoc on the automotive industry. We're back to an era where cars are fun again, but somewhere along the line, car movies changed.

Car movies have now merged with mainstream action movies (perhaps Ronin is to blame for this?) and it is no longer possible to make a car movie which doesn't also involve a gunfight. This is even true of car movies targeted exclusively at gearheads, such as the F&F franchise. It used to be that the simpler the car movie, the better it was, and whoever it was that thought car movies needed CGI (I'm looking at you, Bruckheimer) should be tarred and feathered. We do have relatively inexpensive movies being made by inexperienced directors these days, but it seems as though these belong almost exclusively to the horror genre.

What I'm proposing to all of you aspiring directors out there is that you start once again making low-tech, plotless car movies. If Paranormal Activity 2 (basically a documentary about white people in their natural habitat with 10 minutes of unrelated dish-throwing at the end) was any indicator, your horror movie will suck anyway. We car movie fans are much more forgiving than horror fans as well. Bad acting, bad scripts, bad editing, a lack of special effects, none of these things bother us. Just give us some V8 noises and a couple of crashes and we'll love you forever.

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