Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Days of Thunder (1990)
Right up front, I have to say the main thrust of this post is not a review. You want a review? Well this is the best I can come up with;
They don't come much cheesier than 1990's 'Top Gun Motorsport' Days of Thunder. Critically derided on its release (at least I think it was here in the UK) I actually think Days of Thunder has garnered in the twenty-five years since its arrival a new dimension to appreciate; that of nostalgia. They actually do not make movies like this any more, and maybe that was what Don Simpson's high concept was all about after all, movies that so many years down the line simply can't be replicated?
Let's get it straight though, Days of Thunder is in no way a good film. It's an enjoyable film yes, but it's not a good film.
And it's with that fact in mind that I have to write about Days of Thunder the way I'm about to. Because it amuses and bemuses me, so much that I thought I'd list some of the reasons for you all here.
Firstly, this was written by Robert 'Chinatown' Towne. Actually no, scrap that. What mystifies me was that this was actually writtenfull stop. There's a screenplay for this?! At best its a series of sports movies tropes thrown at the screen with some high gloss glamour. At worst, if it featured a female lead, it would effectively resemble a Body Form Tampax advert!
Tom Cruise. Oh you weird little Scientologist freak you. I will never really understand Tom Cruise's success (other than Scientology helping him achieve, like a specifically US modern-day version of the Freemasons) but there's so many moments in this film that literally make you wonder just how he continued to be employed after this. Firstly, there's that entrance on the motorbike. In the real world, certainly in the UK, that would be topped off by one bloke 'coughing' the word "Twat". Secondly, there's a scene about twenty minutes in where he looks like his own action figure. His height has always been amusing, but the scene where he wears a baseball cap and a tighty whitey in which he's clearly smuggling peanuts, standing on a platform, puffing out his chest and sucking in his cheeks is laugh out loud hilarious.
Then there's the wheelchair race - that one just looks like it belongs in a Naked Gun movie.
There's one scene that never fails to have me pissing myself and its the scene where Michael Rooker's wife Jennie introduces herself. She just appears on the edge of the camera out of nowhere for the most arbitary introductory dialogue ever; "Hi Claire, I'm Jennie" "Hi" "Hi" "Hi Cole" "Hi Jennie" I mean, seriously?! Go and watch it now. It's just after we hear the briefest snatch of Maria McKee's lovely 'Show Me Heaven' (which is criminally, staggeringly under used by the way). I defy you not to laugh and scream, WTF?! It's as if they forgot to introduce her or even write her character in any way shape or form and just felt obliged to have her intrude that shot.
Nicole Kidman looks gorgeous as ever, but there's that bit after she's conducted her physical of Cruise (no sniggering at the back there, I mean an actual proper physical here - she's a doctor remember) where she proceeds to snog his face off. She actually towers over him so much it looks like she could bite his head off and still throw a few shrimps on the barbie for afters.
Don Simpson's cameo!
Everyone plays this with a full on, full throttle 'fuck yeah' attitude that it's inherently ridiculous. Only Bobby Duvall walks away, winningly, with the entire film.
Oh and Cole Trickle is a really shit name. Watch the bit where Nicole Kidman addresses him as Mr Trickle when he's mistaken her for a stripper. It looks like she's making a premature ejaculation gag.
Days of Thunder is a beer and pizza movie, primarily because it's so cheesy. So, last week when I had beer and pizza - and the former is something of a rarity these days, as I'm virtually teetotal - I watched Days of Thunder. And I enjoyed it. But it's not a good movie. Just entertaining. Which is no bad thing.