2013 was a great year for auto-related movies. From real-life documentaries, to loud and stupid action, these movies have something for everyone.
The obvious choice for car movie of the year is Ron Howard’s obsessively detailed, and beautifully shot Rush. Following Formula 1 drivers James Hunt (played by Thor) and Niki Lauda (played by that one Nazi guy from Inglourious Basterds), Rush successfully portrays the two very different drivers in their season-long battle for the championship. The film hits on every level, as Hunt and Lauda were both interesting people in real life, and this particular season was marked by innovation and danger. The alternate title was probably Sex, Drugs, and Formula 1.
Fast & Furious 6
The Fast franchise blows up the screen, and everything else, in their sixth movie since the series started in 2001. Universal Pictures decided one ripped bald guy wasn’t enough, so Dwayne Johnson was added to the cast opposite Vin Diesel. The movie plot expanded to include more than just street racing, so the target audience would be wider. It generally worked, as Fast & Furious 6 is considered to be every bit as dumb and fun as the first movie. That’s a good thing.
Easier Said Than Done
Matt Johnston is a psychotic rally fan, and almost single handedly made the finest documentary about racing in the World Rally Championship. The first movie to cover rallying in HD, Easier Said Than Done goes behind the scenes, covering raising cash for entry fees and keeping the car competitive, but doesn’t forget to offer tons of jaw-dropping racing. Helicopters, drones, and slow-motion cameras collectively manage to capture one of the purest, yet most brutal, forms of racing out there. The abuse the cars take is unreal, and sometimes the wheel falling off the car is the steering wheel.
Told ya there was something for everyone this year. DreamWorks Animation offers another entertaining fluff piece for the kids, but it leaves gearheads puzzled. Ryan Reynolds plays a snail named Turbo dreaming of speed. He gets his chance when Turbo is sucked into a Camaro ZL1’s supercharger and covered in nitrous. No, this does not kill the snail, but gives him incredible powers, including super speed. Yes, the rest of the movie makes about as much sense. If that does not make you want to watch, know that this is the best movie of the year featuring Snoop Dogg and Samuel L Jackson playing snails.
The Great Gatsby
Yeah, sure, this is not a car movie, but if you watch it, pay attention. Leo DeCaprio as the title character guides us through the roaring twenties, in a movie that continues his legacy of being not terrible. Forget the story though, and look around at the background. Old Cadillacs and Lincolns are everywhere, and vanished brands like Pierce-Arrow and Kissel also make an appearance. Gatsby even drives a Duesenberg Model J, a car with so much presence Jay Leno has owned three. Not bad, old chap.