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Nostalgia continues to creep over me like a fungus.
This weekend I watched several movies. The first of these movies was Death Proof. It’s a Tarentino movie, part of the Grindhouse movies, and it deals with car chases. Q wanted to capture the feel of the 1970’s exploitation and car chase movies. It was all right. It wasn’t actually all that great, but it mentioned several other movies that I’d never seen but had wanted to for quite a while.

Vanishing Point is about an ex-cop-military-race driver turned junkie. He delivers cars for a living and makes a bet with his pusher that he can drive from Denver to San Francisco in 15 hours. Thus beginning a long police chase as he eludes them in the Challenger he’s supposed to be delivering. There’s not much plot there, but it’s an interesting flick.


The original Gone in Sixty Seconds is about a group of car thieves getting a collection of 48 cars to be shipped out. It includes a massive chase scene at the end involving a bunch of cop cars and a yellow Ford Mustang fastback. I’ve read a lot that says it was a Mach I, but it didn’t look like a Mach I to me; it was missing the Shaker hood for starters.


Then there was the classic I’d never seen but always heard a lot about, especially in the context of computer games: Death Race 2000. One notable thing about this movie is that it has Sylvester Stallone in it. It’s a highly satirical movie about a futuristic race (it takes place in the year 2000, ahem) where the drivers get points for killing anyone dumb enough to be on or near the road during this presidentially sanctioned race.


Finally, as a counter to the revolution-themed movies, I watched Herbie the Love Bug. A movie I haven’t seen since I was just a wee little lad. For being a Disney film, I have to say the acting was better in the this older movie. And, yes, it’s quite dumb and silly but it’s still better than Herbie: Re-Loaded.


I had thought that movies had gotten a bit raunchier as time went on and standards slipped a little more. I was really surprised by the amount of swearing and nudity in these movies.
Vanishing Point, for instance, has an entire scene with a naked woman riding a motorcycle. She does her entire scene naked and nothing is said about it. It was like she was wearing clothes, but she wasn’t. Death Race 2000 also had quite a bit of nudity. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, I’m just surprised. Gone In 60 Seconds only had Playboy centerfolds hanging on a garage wall, but it had a lot of ethnic slurs. Against the Polish. When was the last time you saw a movie where the main characters were Polish? I grew up in a Polish family so you can imagine my surprise when one guy told another to shove something up his ‘dupa.’


What current movies have, though, is more sex. Less nudity but more sex. How does that work?
Herbie, being a kids movie, filled it’s own quota quite nicely. It’s got sex, violence, alcoholism, and esoteric conversation. And hippies.


So what did I get out of all this? I really miss my car. I drive around in a stupid SUV and I hate it. I wish I could plop down a couple hundred dollars to get a 1970’s Dodge Challenger or Charger, but those things are running anywhere from $14,000 up to $100,000. Not cheap.
The desire to hop in a car (not an SUV) and drive cross-country still grows, just as it’s been growing since I was a teenager. Back then, the idea of getting in my RX-7 or Trans-Am and hopping on Rt. 80 and following it west was very tempting. And things aren’t the way they were back in the 70’s, or even the 80’s. It’s not the same world.


Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball Run, Gumball Rally, Vanishing Point, Gone in Sixty Seconds, Death Race 2000… There’s probably a few movies I’m missing. In fact, next weekend I’ll have to see if I can find Bullit and Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry.
If any of you can think of more car chase type movies, just let me know.


If anyone knows where I can get at least a working yet inexpensive Challenger, Charger, Barracuda, Mustang, Camaro, Duster, Scamp, Demon, or Dart you can let me know that, too. I’ll learn how to restore cars if I have to, and I’m a quick learner when I want to be.


Oh, before I finish this I want to look at two things.
There was a television remake of Vanishing Point about ten years ago. I didn’t see that one, either, but reading through the plot line I see they changed it. Instead of having not much of a plot, they give Kowalski (another Polack!) a full name, a wife, and an actual reason for driving 1200 miles eluding the fuzz.


In the remake for Gone in 60 Seconds (made in 2000? Was it really that long ago?) the main character (who is no longer Polish) is an ex-car thief who has to steal cars to save his brothers life.
When did we become such pussies? The heroes in the two originals were criminals. They broke the law and they got away with it (sort of). Somehow we lost that rebellious edge, and I think that’s sad, too.

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