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Days of Thunder
January 24, 2014 8:55 AM   Subscribe

"Days Of Thunder’s script wasn’t complete when shooting started, and Towne reportedly wrote and re-wrote many scenes on the day of filming, which helps explain why a script by a man widely considered one of the greatest screenwriters of all time is filled with rookie mistakes. It’s chockablock with moments where characters tell other characters things they both obviously know, solely for the benefit of an unseen audience. Also, it’s utter garbage." Nathan Rabin reexamines 1990's 13th biggest movie in The Dissolve's ongoing Forgotbusters series. List of previous Forgotbusters here.
posted by cnanderson (88 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Receded Culturally? Son - rubbins racin.
posted by JPD at 9:09 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Looking over the previous forgotbusters... Oh God, "Hannibal". I'm convinced that Harris wrote the book with an eye towards creating an unfilmable novel, and yet Scott managed to drag a whackadoodle film out of it. Definitely a waste of Julianne Moore, who is such a good actress and is so poorly used, here.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:12 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Hannibal was written under protest and basically to be as unfilmable as possible.
posted by The Whelk at 9:14 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


"Forgotbusters"? Really, Rabin? Maybe you've gotten tired of the AV Club, or something, but does the world really need another "let's rehash bad movies" series from you?
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:17 AM on January 24


Nice to see my perceptions backed up, there, then.

I read the novel and was so appalled at what he did to Clarice (who was an even better character in the novel than in the film - Ted Tally's adaptation made some good decisions on what to keep and what to lose, but there's a lot of class-based depth to the character in the novel that's missing on the screen) that I made a point of only watching the movie when I could do so for free. And even at 'free', I'm not sure it was worth what I paid.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:19 AM on January 24


Roger Ebert thought it an "entertainment of great skill."
posted by yoink at 9:19 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to figure out why anyone would spend any amount of time thinking about or writing about the movie Days of Thunder. I'm at a loss. In fact, I'd forgotten that such an atrocity had been made until I saw this post. Thanks, a lot.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:24 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Cole Trickle?
posted by benito.strauss at 9:27 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


I've never really understood how I could hate Days of Thunder so much but totally be cool with Top Gun. Looking back at pre-teen me I guess the answer would have to be F-14s.
posted by makeitso at 9:29 AM on January 24 [7 favorites]


And here I had chocked it up to Tom Cruise's horrible acting and assumed it was because he was such a primadonna and insisted in playing every scene as pissed off Tom Cruise like in every other scene he's in in every other movie.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:29 AM on January 24


The fact that I agree with all the laughable and ridiculous 'plot' creations show-horned into Days of Thunder and yet it is still probably the most realistic racing film (since Le Mans/Grand Prix and before Rush) is perhaps indicative of just how horrible racing related films are.
posted by Brockles at 9:30 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


And here I had chocked it up to Tom Cruise's horrible acting...

Sorry if that came off as bitter, my wife made me watch Jack Reacher last night.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:31 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


"Forgotbusters"? Really, Rabin? Maybe you've gotten tired of the AV Club, or something, but does the world really need another "let's rehash bad movies" series from you?

It's not specifically about "bad" movies, but rather movies that were major money makers at the time which are mostly forgotten now. They've actually had positive things to say about some of them like "Psycho II" while eviscerating others like "Rising Sun".

Personally, I can't wait for them to cover the ridiculously successful "The Waterboy".
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 9:31 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


so i actually live on the lake where they filmed this.

brockles, it would not be possible to make film about NASCAR not cheesy. NASCAR IS cheesy. although it is real racing, it's also cheesy real racing. especially in the 1980s. so.. verisimilitude.

but hey, thanks for the intro to that site. quite the roster of avclub talent
posted by ninjew at 9:33 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


It's not specifically about "bad" movies, but rather movies that were major money makers at the time which are mostly forgotten now.

Although this column is directly to blame for me losing a couple of hours of my life to Congo last night.

wow Congo is so bad
posted by COBRA! at 9:33 AM on January 24 [7 favorites]


We are talking about a bash script aren't we?
posted by srboisvert at 9:33 AM on January 24


Personally, my favorite racing film is the totally unrealistic Speed Tribe, which I watched specifically for its music.
posted by mkb at 9:34 AM on January 24


benito.strauss: Cole Trickle?

You know who that name was inspired by, don't you?
posted by Rock Steady at 9:35 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


yet it is still probably the most realistic racing film

Are you implying that this is unrealistic?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:38 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


although it is real racing, it's also cheesy real racing.

Well... The jury is out on that one, to say the least. If they make the timing data stream transparent and also make the tech process similarly transparent I'd be prepared to start moving into 'benefit of the doubt' territory, but while they don't let anyone see anything at all and hasbeens/neverwas/neverwillbe drivers get fortuitously relevant and out of character results when it suits ratings and sponsor requirements (and only when it suits) I'm firmly in the "The WWE of racing" camp.
posted by Brockles at 9:38 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


They've actually had positive things to say about some of them like "Psycho II" while eviscerating others like "Rising Sun".

And so far their best review went to Dragnet, which is the epitome of "sorta holds up but there's a reason it's not a classic." Dragnet is reliably fun, ephemeral, and of its time: a movie made to vanish eventually into your personal ether. That's what the series is about more than just "movies that suck." Granted, a lot of forgotten movies suck, but they don't all suck.
posted by mightygodking at 9:39 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


The 10th Regiment of Foot: "Sorry if that came off as bitter, my wife made me watch Jack Reacher last night."

Wow, that was a bad movie. We watched it just because we had watched some of the filming here in the 'burgh but what a painfully stupid movie that was.
posted by octothorpe at 9:39 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


It only ranked 36th in 1994, so it's not eligible, but I always think of The Paper like this. It's a Ron Howard movie with an all-star cast, but somehow it's like it never happened.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 9:40 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Are you implying that this is unrealistic yt ?

Sorry, forgot about Talledega Nights. Put that one slightly above Days of Chunder.

Reacher: Man, I love the books. From the second they announced Cruise I knew it would suck and it did. I watched it on a plane to somewhere (I forget where) and it was pretty awful. It felt like several scenes from Commando and films of that era had been spliced together with modern actors.
posted by Brockles at 9:42 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Days of Thunder...is still probably the most realistic racing film

And yet if you were to poll actual NASCAR drivers about their favorite racing movie, I'm betting Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby would win by a landslide.
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:44 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I like the 'Forgotbusters' concept. I worked in a movie theater for a couple of years in the mid-1990s and it's always interesting to be reminded of some of the completely forgettable films that were huge in the public consciousness for months at a time, then just sort of completely faded out of our collective memory. (Bridges of Madison County anyone? I think I even remember City Hall selling out its first night or two.)

Disclosure is a great example. Even apart from working in a movie theater, I remember there being a lot of buzz about it (I guess because Levinson/Moore and/or Crichton?) and huge crowds for the first few weeks of its run. I remember finally going to watch it on an afternoon off, and wondering what the hell the big deal was supposed to be. (Rabin's right, the hand-wavy CD-Rom/virtual reality technology felt dated even at the time.)
posted by usonian at 9:46 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


You can't have a discussion about terribly great car racing movies without mentioning the Stallone/Pardue/Reynolds vehicle Driven. While Cutthroat Island killed Renny Harlin's blockbuster career, Driven provided the coda.
posted by cnanderson at 10:02 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I won a Days of Thunder gift pack from the local video store when it was released on VHS. It came with 2 plastic cups, Days of Thunder sunglasses with the neon arms, and a Days of Thunder knapsack. The cups were put to good use, but even at 13 years old I was not a big enough fan to sport the other stuff.

wow Congo is so bad

Also "The Relic". One out of every 3 words uttered in the entire movie was "hypothalamus"
posted by Hoopo at 10:25 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


your favorite sporting fan base sucks?
posted by JPD at 10:36 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


For more on the sort of mindset that produced this film, I heartily recommend High Concept: Don Simpson and the Hollywood Culture of Excess.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:37 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


> wow Congo is so bad

I also re(!)-watched Congo after reading about it here. It wasn't nearly as good a bad movie as I remembered it being, probably due to my being a) older, b) wiser, and last and most importantly c) sober.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:40 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Days of Thunder changed my life; hell, Tom Cruise changed my life by making and writing this movie. Scary thought that I'd be grateful to Cruise about anything other than contributing to the destruction of Scientology.
posted by tilde at 10:51 AM on January 24


Top Gun = Top Gun
Days Of Thunder = Top Car
Far And Away = Top Irishman
The Firm = Top Lawyer
A Few Good Men = Top Navy Lawyer
Mission Impossible = Top Spy
Oblivion = Top Clone
Magnolia = Top Misogynist
posted by Thistledown at 10:52 AM on January 24 [16 favorites]


I just realized that Michael Crichton adaptations make up a full 25% of the current Forgotbusters. What's next? Has Twister receded culturally? The Lost World?
posted by cnanderson at 10:53 AM on January 24


wow Congo is so bad

This is such a weird coincidence, because my bf just made me watch it a couple of weeks ago (after being disappointed at me not getting his "Amy! Hungry! Eat! Now!" jokes) and holy crap, from the MS WordArt title onward, it's like that movie was begging to be made fun of. If you haven't listened to the How Did This Get Made? podcast about it, it is a treasure.

"Can we talk about how bonkers this movie is, that we're half an hour into this discussion and we haven't even gotten to the talking monkey* yet?"

*Yes, I know, gorillas are apes.

posted by psoas at 10:53 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


I never did see Congo, but I think I did have a Congo watch for a while.
posted by usonian at 10:55 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Talladega Nights is a lot more than slightly above Days of Thunder.
posted by ckape at 11:00 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


> I read the novel and was so appalled at what he did to Clarice (who was an even better character in the novel than in the film - Ted Tally's adaptation made some good decisions on what to keep and what to lose, but there's a lot of class-based depth to the character in the novel that's missing on the screen) that I made a point of only watching the movie when I could do so for free.

Same here except that I refuse to watch the movie even if it's free, and I refuse to read anything Harris writes ever again. That fucker.
posted by languagehat at 11:01 AM on January 24


You can't have a discussion about terribly great car racing movies without mentioning the Stallone/Pardue/Reynolds vehicle Driven.

There is a scene where Stallone and the other guy tear off through Chicago (?) traffic in their Formula One (?) cars. The scene was filmed one night on a quarter mile of University Avenue in downtown Toronto. I imagine it was no picnic to organize: it was as an all-night job, with several dozen drivers, most of whom just drove a few blocks in their Toyotas and Fords and whatnot, while two racing cars slalomed between them at four or five times their speed. After each take, the hundred-plus street cars would stop and then all reverse back to their starting positions, while the racers would creep up to their next place, each one sounding like 130 decibels of grumpy hornets (a sound at horribly odds with their andante pace). With everything in position once again, the major streets crossing University would be opened again for a couple of minutes to let traffic and streetcars and pedestrians through before being closed off for the next take, and repeat until dawn was in the eastern sky. It was only the stretch from King to Dundas, but with enough angles of different takes, the filmmakers could pad it out to three minutes or so of chase.

I know all this because the night it was being shot, I was walking home from a noble but futile attempt by some pals to see if they could find the limits of my alcohol tolerance. Through a combination of university-era carousing a few years earlier, a hyperactive liver and sheer bulk, my tolerance was in those days notable. I was heading home after having gotten outside of some thirty-five drinks including a confirmed count of fourteen in the hour before my departure. I was somewhat tipsy, I grant, but my pink elephants moment was surely arriving at a major street inexplicably lit by massive floodlights, full of an unusual density of traffic for 2:30 AM, all of it going in reverse.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:08 AM on January 24 [18 favorites]


> The Lost World?

I hope so. I have a friend who, to this day, loves movies more than anyone else I know. And as much as he loves them now, when we were in university together during the mid-'90s his love was almost childishly unconditional; it seemed like there was almost nothing he couldn't enjoy.

And then he went, on opening night, to see The Lost World.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:12 AM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Oh man, I loved The Secret of My Success when I was a young teen, but Rabin's takedown is spot on.

I saw Days of Thunder in the theaters but couldn't tell you a thing about it beyond race cars and Cruise and Kidman prior to reading this piece. Utterly forgettable.
posted by me3dia at 11:17 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


in their Formula One (?) cars.

Indy cars, not formula 1. Rumour has it Bernie Ecclestone (boss of F1) told Stallone where to shove his film when he saw the script. Because it was stupid and completely unrealistic. And also stupid.
posted by Brockles at 11:17 AM on January 24


the conclusion of this piece..

With Days Of Thunder, Simpson, Bruckheimer, Towne, and Scott set out to make the ultimate testosterone-fueled Tom Cruise movie. To their eternal detriment, and to the detriment of society as a whole, they succeeded.

...is pretty much exactly why I love Days of Thunder.

Which is to say, if hating Tom Cruise is the point of the movie, it's a damn enjoyable movie.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:19 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


yet it is still probably the most realistic racing film (since Le Mans/Grand Prix and before Rush)

What else is there in that time frame besides the execrable Driven (and Talladega Nights)?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:20 AM on January 24


Rumour has it Bernie Ecclestone (boss of F1) told Stallone where to shove his film when he saw the script.

It doesn't help that they named the Evil Villainous Driver something that might as well have been Schichael Mumacher. Get better Schumi.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:21 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Freejack had some racing in it (Formula Atlantic, including a crash into the bridge at Road Atlanta). There were a few others, I think, but they're all dross.
posted by Brockles at 11:22 AM on January 24


It is interesting to me how this particular class of movie seems to be the one that most epitomize their times --- I dunno, maybe it's just generational nostalgia; by definition these are movies you remember if you were around for them and don't if you weren't. But there's some something, some combo of zeitgeist-y elements that made them popular in their day, and I feel like maybe the general artless ness of the movies brings precisely those elements into higher relief.
posted by Diablevert at 11:22 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Sorry, Driven was Champ Cars, not Indy cars. I forgot where the split and renaming circus was at that point in history.
posted by Brockles at 11:24 AM on January 24


Wait, Space Jam? How could anyone forget about Space Jam?
posted by ckape at 11:30 AM on January 24 [5 favorites]


> Freejack had some racing in it

The best thing about Freejack is that the makers of True Romance had the entire history of movies to draw upon when it was time to pick a movie that only an idiotic stoner would want to watch...and they chose a movie that had come out the year before.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:31 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Indy cars, not formula 1. Rumour has it Bernie Ecclestone (boss of F1) told Stallone where to shove his film when he saw the script. Because it was stupid and completely unrealistic. And also stupid.

You mean to tell me that a car over cooking a corner into a tire wall doesn't cause the car to fly into the air and disintegrate into a million pieces?
posted by gyc at 11:31 AM on January 24


While I guess technically Trickle is the protagonist in Days of Thunder I always watch it with the view that Harry is the guy the movie is about. A lot more enjoyable not trying to relate to the buffoon of Cruise's character.
posted by Mitheral at 11:34 AM on January 24


Have to say that I like Days of Thunder and have rewatched it many times. I thought the review linked in the fpp was a bit too high-minded and definitely biased by a strong dislike of Tom Cruise and his ego. I'm not sure why there is an expectation that Cruise's character should achieve some remarkable moral highground by the end of the movie. I thought the tone they hit was probably just about right for the typical race car driver.

Basically, if you like car racing, and don't have a completely unreasonable hatred of Tom Cruise, then this movie is pretty enjoyable, and worth a rewatch. But if you can't see Cruise without picturing him jumping up and down on Oprah's couch, then this obviously is going to leave a bad taste in your mouth.
posted by spaceviking at 11:40 AM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Days of Thunder can be a fun movie to watch, so long as you don't expect a great film, but then again, that can be said for a lot of movies. When I think on the movie, I do tend to focus on Robert Duvall's character, which happened to be Robert Duvall playing a NASCAR pit chief, versus his other roles as "Robert Duvall playing..." That's not a slam, I really, really enjoy Robert Duvall, and perhaps that's one reason he lifts the film up for me. There is energy in the film, particularly when the engines rumble and roar, the kinetic sense of speed as the cars race against each other, similar to the speed of Luke's trench run. The movie had me with the cheesy line, "Where'd you learn to race?" "ESPN."
posted by Atreides at 11:40 AM on January 24


I saw Days of Thunder in the theater when it first came out, and it made such an impression on me that I remember almost nothing about it.
posted by freakazoid at 11:47 AM on January 24


a completely unreasonable hatred of Tom Cruise

I suppose such a thing is possible, but there are so many reasonable reasons to hate him that you'd have to really stretch to find it- 'he's too short' or something.

Tom Cruise seems to be an asshole in 'real life,' and not just because nearly all the characters he's ever played are pretty much assholes who don't realize they're assholes. The only time he's tolerable as an actor is when he's actually trying to play an asshole, as in Collateral, Magnolia and Tropic Thunder. When he has to really reach outside himself, and play a bad guy, somehow he ends up playing, basically, a slightly exaggerated version of who he really apparently is, and I think that's what makes those performances enjoyable.
posted by hap_hazard at 11:48 AM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Interview With A Vampire= Top Fop
posted by KHAAAN! at 11:54 AM on January 24 [4 favorites]


Ted Tally's adaptation made some good decisions on what to keep and what to lose

Actually Tally refused to write the script. Instead the screenplay was written by David Mamet and Steven Zaillian.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 11:57 AM on January 24


I've never really understood how I could hate Days of Thunder so much but totally be cool with Top Gun.

Because you already saw that movie when it was called "Top Gun" and it had fucking F-14s and sidewinder missiles that cost $50K a pop to shoot in 1980's dollars and "MIG-28s" aka F-5/F-20 trainer jets that look really cool!
posted by lordaych at 12:02 PM on January 24


Eyes Wide Shut: Top Creeper/Creepie
posted by lordaych at 12:04 PM on January 24


"MIG-28s" aka F-5/F-20 trainer jets that look really cool!

F-5's. The F-20 prototype(s) had a single engine.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:08 PM on January 24


Interview With A Vampire= Top Fop
posted by KHAAAN! at 11:54 AM on January 24 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]

Eyes Wide Shut: Top Creeper/Creepie
posted by lordaych at 12:04 PM on January 24 [+] [!]


Forgot about both of those…nicely played.

Jerry Maguire = Top Agent


I keep coming up with off-color, very politically incorrect versions of these, certain to offend more than one MeFite so I'll stop there…but my all means, continue!
posted by Thistledown at 12:17 PM on January 24


I like Days of Thunder mostly for the rental car demolition race scene. It's a bit of fantasy of mine to rent two cars with a friend, take out all the insurance, and then duke it out.
posted by rosswald at 12:23 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


I suppose such a thing is possible, but there are so many reasonable reasons to hate him that you'd have to really stretch to find it- 'he's too short' or something.

There's just something about him I can't put my finger on. It's his teeth or something...
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:36 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Cocktail = Top Shelf
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:43 PM on January 24 [11 favorites]


The best thing about Freejack is that the makers of True Romance had the entire history of movies to draw upon when it was time to pick a movie that only an idiotic stoner would want to watch...and they chose a movie that had come out the year before.

They were both Morgan Creek productions, so the Freejack footage was probably cheap to license if not free.
posted by hilker at 12:47 PM on January 24


Speaking of Freejack, my grandfather grew up on a farm in middle America in the turn of the 19th to 20th century and his family had a rule that if you farted you had to yell out "freejack" before anyone else otherwise that person got to hit you on the arm. This was apparently OK with his very victorian mother.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:03 PM on January 24


Thistle, this is a game Mrs. Khan and I have played for a while, turning every Tom Cruise film into a Top Something Or Other, ideally with the second word being three letters. 'Top Fop' was Mrs. Khan's masterpiece. Between us, we've come up with:

Vanilla Sky = Top Huh?
Cocktail = Top Bar
Far And Away = Top Mc-
Legend = Top Imp
Jack Reacher = Top Thug
Oblivion = Top Ctrl+C

Interesting to find out we weren't the only ones to come up with this. Then again, great minds think alike.

On preview, 'Top Shelf' is pretty good...
posted by KHAAAN! at 1:05 PM on January 24


My favorite racing movie is Speed Racer.
posted by mikelieman at 1:16 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


The only thing I remember about Days of Thunder is Nicole Kidman's impossibly young brain doc, on a motorcycle but not bothering with a helmet (so that glorious hair would dominate in the montage, perhaps).
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:36 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


This bit from the Congo review cracked me up:

By that point, I frankly didn’t want realistic gorillas: I loved how cheap and unconvincing and over-the-top everything felt, and that extends to a climax where Karen uses a diamond-powered laser gun on super-intelligent mega-gorillas while a nearby volcano erupts, filling the screen with hilariously unconvincing lava. (Incidentally, I hope that when Linney dies, the Oscar memorial reel shows a single image of her zapping super-gorillas with a laser gun from Congo.) Congo then ends with Karen turning on her evil boss by using a laser to shoot his precious satellite out of the sky, and Dr. Elliot returning Amy to the wild to live among her fellow gorillas, while the heroes depart on a hot-air balloon conveniently stashed nearby. I suspect that Amy’s fellow gorillas murdered her mere minutes later for being so annoying, but the film is too gentle to say so.
posted by mannequito at 1:47 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


How about this from the Jack review:

In this moment, the film shamelessly ejaculates thick streams of undiluted sap in a 25-person gang-bang of grotesque melodrama.

It's too bad it's too late to put "thick streams of undiluted sap in a 25-person gang-bang of grotesque melodrama" on the DVD box.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:54 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


shamelessly ejaculates thick streams of undiluted sap

Hey, that post was yesterday!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 2:09 PM on January 24


Mission(s) = Top Possible
posted by tilde at 2:24 PM on January 24


Looks like 'Days of Thunder' will be worth re-watching again soon, looking for the glaring factual and logical errors my teenage brain ignored in favor of raw spectacle throughout the early 90s. Because I only just saw 'Top Gun' at an open-air cinema a couple of nights ago for the first time in over ten years, and *my god* the things that stand out when you're not being reeled in by 'splosions and Kenny Loggins. There's no indication that Maverick learned anything at all from his training at Miramar: in the final engagement he was still entirely reliant on missiles, which Tom Skerritt assured us is the very tactical weakness the Fighter Weapons School was set up to correct. What really struck me is how effectively Tony Scott's direction ensured we don't pay attention to that, though. Maverick must've been a terrible instructor; I wasn't surprised to read that FWS was closed by the Navy a decade later.
posted by MarchHare at 2:28 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


My favorite racing move is Pre
posted by spicynuts at 3:45 PM on January 24


Sorry if that came off as bitter, my wife made me watch Jack Reacher last night.

Most under-rated American movie the year it came out and most under-rated of Cruise's career, imo.
posted by dobbs at 4:10 PM on January 24


WHO IS KAFKA
TELL ME!
posted by snuffleupagus at 5:26 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


My grad school adviser was an actual Top Gun graduate with thousands of flight hours and hated that movie (and Tom Cruise) with the heat of a thousand suns. Don't remember what his specific objections to it were though.
posted by octothorpe at 6:01 PM on January 24


Secret of my Success is one of those movies that I have to watch if I see it's going to be on. I do not know why. If you know why let me know.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:06 PM on January 24 [3 favorites]


Tom Cruise always made me remember I was watching a movie about Tom Cruise.
posted by chuckiebtoo at 7:03 PM on January 24 [4 favorites]


It’s chockablock with moments where characters tell other characters things they both obviously know, solely for the benefit of an unseen audience.

Wait - this is supposed to be a bad thing?
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:30 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Basically, if you like car racing, and don't have a completely unreasonable hatred of Tom Cruise, then this movie is pretty enjoyable,

can't agree. I have a life long passion for motor racing -- F1, Indianapolis, Le Mans and NASCAR Winston Cup (or whoever's sponsoring the premiere league these days) -- and thus I was looking forward to Days of Thunder even if it was starring Tom Cruise, about whom I had my doubts. But I didn't hate him.

Days of Thunder changed that.
posted by philip-random at 11:17 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]


Days of Thunder is mostly Duvall with a capable supporting cast. I liked it.

Thistledown you blew mind and I won't be able to watch another Cruise movie without topping it.

Collateral - Top Hitman.
Tropic Thunder - Top Studio Executive.
posted by vicx at 1:26 AM on January 25


Stroker Ace was way better.
posted by the big lizard at 10:59 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


I saw Days of Thunder when it was new, so a long time ago. As I've already suggested, I hated it. Which isn't to say there weren't a few cool on-track moments. But in general, I can only imagine it being an insult to any who would call themselves fans of NASCAR.

As suggested by Rabin's piece, the story was just so trite, predictable, dumb. But, as I recall, there were a few off-track moments (with Duvall, of course) where you got a sense of what it could have been in terms of taking a deeper, more nuanced, more dramatic look into what is a strange and fascinating sub-culture. That would be Robert Towne's contribution, I'm guessing. But nah, that was never going to be allowed to amount to anything. Not with the Bruckheimer-Simpson-Cruise combined EGO behind it all.

Definitely a movie that should be filed in the Fantasy section.
posted by philip-random at 11:51 AM on January 25


Stroker Ace was way better

That's a great trailer big lizard. Have you seen Flatbed Annie and Sweetie Pie: Lady Truckers ? Bigs stars in that one too. Not really a racing movie, per se though.
posted by cnanderson at 11:58 AM on January 25


mightygodking: "nd so far their best review went to Dragnet, which is the epitome of "sorta holds up but there's a reason it's not a classic." Dragnet is reliably fun, ephemeral, and of its time: a movie made to vanish eventually into your personal ether."

Dragnet reminds me of Stripes, in that the first 1/3 to 1/2 is hilarious, and then it totally goes off the rails.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:07 AM on February 3


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