Days of Thunder (1990)
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Is it creative? No. It's pretty obvious that it's the same thing as Top Gun. The only difference is maturity. Over the years, Tom Cruise had developed into a fine actor, and when coupled with Robert Duvall (in a spectacular performance) and a surprising Randy Quaid, Days of Thunder becomes a film which gets pretty much any guy involved in it.
I personally hate NASCAR, but still I find this film absolutely riveting, and every time I watch it, I suddenly have a desire to go race my car down the highway. In fact, the biggest argument against this movie is that it does get to the testosterone.
The music for Days of Thunder sets it up perfectly. Hans Zimmer does an effective job with his second Cruise film in two years (Rain Man was the other), and The Spencer Davis Group's Gimme Some Lovin' makes some plotless racing scenes worth watching.
The script, penned by Bob Towne, is far more clever than the average action movie and actually creates some serious character depth for Cole and Rowdy, although Cary Elwes' character seems excessively evil.
But, all in all, this is an action movie that works for Cruise fans, even if they don't like action movies. 8.5 out of 10 (On a pure enjoyment basis).
Cruise plays Cole Trickle, a very cocky and smooth indy car driver that lost his ride and decided to head to NASCAR with team owner Tim Daland,(Randy Quaid), and be coached by legendary crew chief Harry Hogge (Robert Duvall). During the Daytona 500 Cole and nemesis Rowdy Burns are involved in a nasty wreck that hospitalizes both of them and threaten to end their careers. They become friends but Cole realizes his mortality and must overcome it if he is to ever race effectively again.
This has better romantic chemistry than Top Gun. Due in part to the fact that Cruise and Kidman really were attracted to each other and we know the rest is history. The action scenes are great and filmed superbly. It's also a very loud movie. It received an Oscar nomination for best sound. It's just another mindless action movie to help relieve boredom. 7 out of 10.
That said, there were so many errors in this film, it's laughable. The racing shots were taken from real races, and the film editing did a poor job of disguising real race cars (like Dale Earnhardt's No. 3) for fictional ones. The timing is off. There's a scene where Tom Cruise is talking but his lips don't move. There's another scene where a character in the movie calls him Tom instead of Cole - really inexcusable that a error that big was missed. The scenes of cars ramming into one another while leading the race wouldn't be possible in reality: they would wreck or cause too much damage to remain at top speed.
By conventional standards, it's a terrible movie. But, somehow, it's still a fun movie! Action on the race track is similar to the action in the sky in Top Gun. If you're up for a little escapism and wish fulfillment, then Days of Thunder lives up to the billing. But, if you're a critical viewer, you won't be impressed by this film - unless you're looking for ways to laugh at its mistakes.
I was a NASCAR fan before this movie came out, and I still am. This is an enjoyable movie that (somewhat) accurately portrays the on-track action I watch on Sundays. To be honest, I didn't care that much about who was in it or the plot that it had, I was in it for the racing from the beginning. The actors and writing hold it together and, from a fan's perspective, the racing is great, although the cars are incredibly tough and drive all over the walls and each other, something you can't do in a real race. Still, the racing stays true to life and, with one exception, the cars remain on the ground. They don't seem to be on the moon or some other zero-gravity environment like in DRIVEN. If you're a fan of NASCAR, you'll love this movie.
The film certainly has the feel of NASCAR to it and it takes its place along side such racing classics as Grand Prix, The Racers and Paul Newman's own film, Winning. The story is the teaming of young rookie sensation Cruise and top mechanic Robert Duvall.
Tom's character is a whole lot like the young fighter pilot in Top Gun, a kid with a world of confidence and the ability to make his brag become fact. He's a driver by instinct not knowing a whole lot about the mechanics of a racing car. That's the way he and Duvall complement each other although it's not an easy relationship.
Days of Thunder is also the film on which Tom met Mrs. Cruise number two, Nicole Kidman. She's a neurologist who gets to treat Tom after a crash and also drops the hammer on Cruise's rival Michael Rooker and his career after a serious head injury.
There are also some nice performances by Randy Quaid as the stock car owner and Cary Elwes as another of Cruise's rival drivers.
Fred Dalton Thompson, District Attorney of New York County on Law and Order, former United States Senator, and would be President of the United States is in the cast as the head of NASCAR. If the political thing doesn't work out for Fred, he certainly has the presence and authority to be a baseball commissioner. They'll certainly need another Judge Landis in that job to restore some integrity to that sport.
Days of Thunder got an Academy Award nomination for Sound Recording and it's a good followup film for Top Gun.
I saw this movie today for the first time and it is just ridiculous.
I mean, after the race is over he drives into the pits, requests new tires, goes back on track and then crashes into the race winner on purpose? I'm not really familiar with NASCAR but I'm pretty sure you get a lifelong ban for that.
Also, the scene where he explains Nicole Kidman that they're developing 'a little thing called 'drafting''.
Early on in the movie we're told that Tom Cruise doesn't know anything about cars but drafting is part of the absolute basics of racing.
It would be like watching a movie about soccer and the main character says that 'they're developing 'a little thing called 'scoring a goal''.
As a movie I'd probably give it a 6 but the racing part is just ... so ... awful.
The plot is entirely predictable and there is little tension. Like Top Gun the bits in between the action are too long and the sub plot of the injured driver coming to terms with his forced retirement is tedious and contributes little. BUT see this if only for Duvall's flawless performance.
Racing fans tell me there wasn't a lot of realism with this and actual NASCAR events - mainly involving sponsorship - back then, but I was looking an entertaining film....and I like Robert Duvall as actor and don't mind gazing at Nicole Kidman (who can also act.) Michael Rooker and Randy Quaid usually portray interesting people, too.
It's basically a story about a guy who wants to prove himself on the race track, and I have no problem with that. It's not a memorable but it's not a waste of time either. You should be reasonably entertained.
Please...go rent "LeMans" made by the great Steve McQueen if you want to see a real racing movie about racing itself, not some cheap storyline...
The biggest problem with the movie was the appalling script. Once again the big budget was able to overcome all these faults and turn it into a hit. If your wondering it's about car racing, I think, or something like that anyway.
A generous 3 out of 10.
My opinion was that it is all right. I am in two minds about Tom Cruise's entrance to the movie. We spend about five minutes hearing about a great new driver and Cruise enters all arrogant, macho like acting as if he knows everything. On the track he seems good but when he is put in the actual race he seems to be quite panicky about the style of racer. If he was that good then I doubt he would be freaking out on the track. But I guess that is a part of the character of Cole Trickler (stupid name I think). He is a natural driver, but driving on an empty track and driving on a track full of other drivers are two different things.
Days of Thunder is about macho contests (I have chosen not to be crude here). Basically it is about a group of men trying to prove who is the manliest of the lot of them. In this contest people get hurt, and even killed, but that doesn't stop them. In fact, as quoted in the movie, they refuse to go to a hospital or even a funeral so that the inevitable is as far from their mind as possible.
Plot wise I predicted it quite accurately. He becomes a racer and is good but has a nasty crash. He goes to hospital, meets the love interest (Nicole Kidman) and then goes back to racing where he wins the big race. The plot is not all that thin though because there is a relationship element in the film as well: not the shallow relationship between him and Kidman, but rather between him and another driver. At first they are rivals but after the crash, they are brought together, and though they have a smash up with a couple of rent-a-cars, they soon become friends after the steam has been vented.
What used to be a movie on the lips of everybody has now simply faded away to an 11:00 time slot. They claimed that there were a lot of hot scenes between Cruise and Kidman in this movie, but there is not: only for about five minutes in the middle of the movie. What I did like was the style of photography in the film. It has a very dusky feel to it that I thought added depth to the movie. To me, it is an average movie that it okay once but that is as far as I would go.
Tom Cruise's depiction of race car driver Cole Trickle is a spot-on reinterpretation of Orson Welles' character from Citizen Kane. The chemistry between Cruise and costar Michael Rooker is undeniable, and some would say that despite the fact that Cruise actually rooks Rooker, they are both winners in this film.
There is also a very agreeable Rawlsian undertone to the story, channeled through Robert Duvall's character Harry Hogge. Much credit to screenwriter Robert Towne for incorporating such an important philosophical idea in a film that may otherwise have wandered into predictable summer blockbuster territory.
This film comes on your chest like thunder. Go see it immediately.
The comedian Rich Hall did a great routine once where he summed up the films of Tom Cruise by basically saying that each of them involves him being great at his job (pilot, bartender, driver) before suffering a crisis of confidence but meeting a beautiful lady who helps him over it in time to come good hilarious in the telling because he was right and, true to form, Days of Thunder sets its stall out in the same way. That the plot is formulaic (father/son stuff, macho posturing, love interest, final big race etc) and it is a bit tiring at times because it is nothing new and it produces large sags during the film. The father/son stuff is OK if hackneyed but the romance is so sudden and fake that it left me cool and never engaged once. The racing stuff is fun, noisy and fast which I suppose is what most of its audience want; but this is still not a great action movie but kudos to Scott for managing to make a load of cars going round a circular track appear exciting.
The cast is more impressive on paper than they are in reality. Cruise plays his usual character and does it with no real charm or ability. He is trading off his fame here and his macho nonsense is rather tiresome. Kidman may have been Cruise's offscreen partner but viewers of this film will have seen their divorce coming because they have zero chemistry and she is poor throughout. It's not all her fault though, the script gives her nothing to work with. Thank god then, for Robert Duvall; he may be playing a fairly clichéd character but he does it well and steals every scene from his pretty but empty co-star. Support is good from Quaid and Rooker but Ewles is given too little time to make anything but a negative impression and Reilly had yet to prove his versatility and doesn't do it here.
Overall this is very much painting by the numbers in many regards. The plot is easy and lacks any sort of spark or innovation meaning that, when the cars are off the screen, it is easy for the film to get dull. The action scenes are OK but, as with F1, I find many motor sports to be dull and didn't get drawn into the predictable races as much as I wanted to. The script gives the cast nothing to really work with, and only Duvall comes out with any real dignity even if he has a cliché as opposed to a real person to play. This has all the failings you would expect and the end result of so little imagination is an average film that is watchable but no more than that.
Have I made my point ? Cars are boring so a movie featuring car racing isn't my gallon of four star but there was nothing else on so I decided to watch DAYS OF THUNDER regardless
In many ways DAYS OF THUNDER is similar to TOP GUN . It has the same leading man , the same director and the same producer . It even has the same cynical marketing ploy of fast vehicles for the boys mixed in with a romantic sub story for the girls along with a OST album for the teenage market . The only real difference is that the screenplay is even more shallow than TOP GUN . Cole Trickle ! What sort of name is that for a racing driver ? He sounds more like an unemployed miner . I suppose Cruise plays the role very well since all he has to do is smile a lot and look a little bit moody now and again . No acting required . Robert Duvall is very disappointing but seeing as his character is a shallowly written father figure I suppose he did his best and this movie isn't about characters - It's about people rushing to the cinema then rushing out to buy the soundtrack album . Nothing more nothing less
When you've seen one movie featuring fast cars like DRIVEN , THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS , and DAYS OF THUNDER you've seen them all
Tom Cruise is convincing in his driving incompetence. Many wannabe boy racers mimic his activities behind the wheel. Sadly, I don't think he's acting. Definitely one for the ladies while the men go out for a beer.
The film is bad, it's the repeated formula of the Cruise films which gets me and annoys me. If you've seen Top Gun, and lets face it, who hasn't, there's really no need to waste your time on this trash.
Bruckheimer has a lot to answer for. Everything seems to be made of cardboard, including the actors, the film is so bad it made Nicole Kidman fall in love with Tom Cruise. Also, it's the 80's, it looks garish and cheap, and it is, at the risk of ending this review with a poor car joke, I'd advise even the dumbest of you to steer clear.
I loved Top Gun and still have it in my collection. It was a classic. Days of Blunder was a classic, too. A classic bomb.
Sure there are some nice car crashes, but that's where the good part ends. And, while we all know movies aren't supposed to be real, this took the "Rubbin's Racing" theory way, way beyond extreme.
I gave this movie a four, and I'm not sure why I put it that high. If you ever think about renting it, do it for a good laugh at a turkey. Otherwise try something else.
This is everything in Top Gun with cars replacing planes. All you need to know is that it's Tom Cruise playing a racing car driver & you can peg the entire plot, every bit of it. Even when it was made it was so cliched, you've got (1)driver (Cruise) as 'playboy', (2)other good driver made out as enemy, (3)lead with 'cool' name (they're never just called John Brown or even David Coulthard, (4)romance with woman gorgeous yet single? (this in Nicole's pre talent days) (5)Driver crap at start & threatened with sack (6)Driver has accident, career threatened (7) Car owner / Head Mechanic with a previous grievance to bear. Oh & of course (8) The victory at the end & everything else falls into place.
I seem to be different to others but being a sports lover I prefer my sport to be ... er ... sport and not through a film. Any sport, motor racing included gives you all the tension & emotion you need from it and 10 times more than any film can ever do, so I don't know why directors bother with films such as this.
But despite the plot that you can peg, even before the credits open at the start & Cruises cringing line near the end "He's goin down" or something, it's still watchable. You can nip off at various points for 10 minutes here & there & still follow what's going on and has some good racing scenes & scenery.