FailCar is undoubtedly at his best when he’s having a good rant. As Carly Simon once said, nobody does it better. But as you will have seen from his cleaning posts, he’s as equally engaging when his blood isn’t at the point of boiling. Here, we find him doing his best impression of Mark Kermode with his pick of the best films for petrolheads. So without further ado about nothing under siege, here’s Mr FailCar.
Much as I do love cars one of my other great loves is film, so it comes as no surprise that when you put the two together you should have a film that I would love. Sadly that’s not entirely true as most of the time when studios try to make a ‘petrolhead’ film they just get it all wrong and I end up getting furious, fast.
I figured I would share some of my favourite petrolhead films in an effort, not only for more people to discuss them, but also so that everyone can go nuts in the comments championing their favourite petrolhead films. I might just steer clear of the obvious ones like The Italian Job et al but here are a few ones I love.
When I first heard about this film I was a little surprised as I had not heard that Mr Bana was much of a petrolhead and figured it would just be some sort of MTV Cribs ‘willy-waving’ type documentary about how many cars he has and how awesome that is. How wrong I was.
I have never seen a film that goes so deep into trying to understand what it is that causes the petrolhead obsession and tries to explain the emotional attachment between people and their cars. Eric clearly has a huge passion for cars and while trying to answer questions on what causes that bond the narrative follows Eric as he prepares to take his Ford Falcon into the Bathurst race. I don’t want to say too much as it might ruin it for you if you haven’t seen it but just be prepared for getting something in your eye at the end.
A biopic following the story of Burt Munro and his quest to go very fast on what looks like a bit of scaffolding and some fibreglass.
Following the character from his fettling in a shed, (which is where all the best work is done), his mission is to make ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’ and what follows is a pretty epic tale as he manages to take the bike to the Bonneville salt flats and do in excess of 200mph on what is essentially a heavily shed-modified 1920 Indian Scout motorbike.
The film covers not only the emotional attachment between Burt and his machine but also the commitment he gives to his cause of going faster and faster. He comes across as a real no bulls**t kind of guy, making this film quite inspirational.
This is one of those awesome ’70s films with very little dialogue or story line as such. It doesn’t need it as the basic premise of the story is two guys driving across America in a full race-spec 1955 Chevrolet 150. The noise of the car is enough to get any petrolhead excited and watching the effect it has on fellow passengers is just comical.
Another character referred to as ‘GTO’ is the typical mid-life crisis guy thinking that his latest bit of Detroit metal could wipe the floor with anything. He gets proved wrong in a brown-trousers sort of way.
Never mind being one of my favourite ‘car’ films this is just one of my favourite films full stop. While part of the focus on the film is main character Walt Kowalski’s 1972 Gran Torino, the real focus is the social impact in the areas in which car companies conduct their business.
In a way the world that Walt lives in reminds me of areas in the UK that have been affected by the rise and fall of car companies. In the past when I have been to Dagenham, (there’s a blue shed there full of awesomeness), you see the dock and the train line all going into the factory and it’s clear that this was once an area that lived and breathed a car company and is now a shell of its former self and that’s sad.
Gran Torino explores the sociological change surrounding the demise of industry in the Detroit suburbs and shows just how much of a change has occurred in what is a relatively short space of time, with the American car manufacturers going from top dog to fighting off foreign competition.
I have to be honest here I had not seen or really heard much about Vanishing Point until I watched Deathproof and heard the references to the ‘Vanishing Point’ Charger.
I’m not really sure that there is much of a story to this film, it’s like that with a lot of ’70s cinema though. It’s mostly the noise that makes this film the car sounds great and it’s simply one big police chase from start to finish.
One thing though is that I would like them to do a re-make but with narration from Sheriff John Bunnell.
This is PetrolBlog right? Well, this is a film about…petrol!
Syriana is one of those films that’s probably a bit too close to the truth and rather scarily it shows the geo-political battles going on in order for our insatiable demand for oil to keep flowing.
It’s one of those films you watch and get confused as you realise the western influences in the middle-east kinda make us the bad guys.
It’s all a bit depressing BUT… George Clooney has a cool beard in it to make you feel better.
I don’t buy Bluray that often as I reserve the extra spend for when something really special comes out. It just so happens that when Drive came out it was only 99p more than the DVD so I took the plunge and I was not disappointed.
Drive is basically visual porn, the colours, the shots the whole aesthetic of the film is just really rather beautiful.
For me though the most exciting bit of the film starts and ends in the first few minutes as he evades police in the dark corners of Los Angeles. I don’t really want to ruin the rest of the plot for you but that bloke you keep seeing and wondering where he’s from? It’s the dad from Malcolm In The Middle.
Anyway I could rattle on about countless other films on my shelf but I would rather shut up now and hear about your favourite ‘petrolhead’ films while trying not to open another Amazon ‘1 click buy’ tab in my browser.
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Image courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. UH Digital Library.
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