Madison, Indiana, 1971. The Ohio river port is in full economic decline, its last pride and obsession being its uniquely town-owned power boat, although the raggedy old donation from a millionaire decades ago never comes close to a win. With his doted son Mike as most devoted fan, air-conditioner repairman Jim McCormick, who had to stop piloting it after a near-fatal accident, devotes all his 'spare' time to it, turning down professional opportunities as that would mean moving, as his wife suggests. Things climax when he realizes the town will either be scrapped from the national racing circuit or host the Gold Cup itself, requiring $50,000 fund raising. Written by
Many of the real life characters names of the Miss Budweiser team have been changed for the film, they are: Roger Epperson, who was based on the real life late Miss Budweiser owner, Bernie Little; his son Bobby was based on either of his sons, Bernie Jr or Joe Little and Rick Inston was based on Dean Cheonoweth, the driver of the team until his fatal accident in 1981. See more »
During the opening shot of Miss Madison making a test run, the driver has a white helmet and in other shots of the same run, the driver has an orange helmet. See more »
Adult Mike McCormick:
Why is it that everything important that happens to you when you're a kid, happens during the summer? In the summer of 1971 I was ten years old, and the only thing I looked forward to more than the last day of school, was the first day of practice of the hydroplane racing season. You could say Madison kids were born into racing, the same way some folks were born into the oil business or farming.
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Being an unlimited hydroplane "nut" (I grew up on the sport and lived only 12 miles away from the Seattle racecourse) I've been excited about this movie's release, since I first heard about it as far back as 1999 when I was at the General Motors Cup at Seafair race. Needless to say, I've waited nearly 6 years for the movie.
The storyline to the movie was good. I liked the story about father and son's and the love of the sport. It's easy to tell, that unlimited hydroplane racing is in their blood. I especially liked Jake Lloyd's character, Mike McCormick, because in some ways, it reminded me of my childhood. Except I used to race wooden hydroplanes with my friends on my parent's lawn and I had hydro pictures and posters on my wall.
I Also liked the story of how the city of Madison, Indiana's struggle to host the American Powerboat Association (APBA), Gold Cup. For those unfamiliar with the sport, the Gold Cup is the oldest motor sports trophy and is one of the most coveted races every hydro team wants to win.
What disappointed me about the movie was, I sort of felt that Hollywood was trying to alter hydroplane history and facts. Here's 's some of them.
The All red paint scheme of the Miss Budweiser, was not used by owner
Bernie Little and the race team until 1994.
-The second race on the circuit was in Chicago. There was no race there.
If they wanted to show another race site in a big city, why didn't they use Detroit? It was the 3rd race on the circuit that year and it has a longtime history in the sport. It seems like they insulted Detroit; I can see many longtime Detroit hydro race fans are insulted over this.
-Seattle was the 3rd race site. I assume they wanted to show Seattle, since it has a longtime history in the sport, like Detroit, but they moved it up about a month early, when it usually follows Madison and the date has traditionally been on the first weekend of August.
-The "us vs them" attitude in the movie or "David vs Goliath". Although it is very true that there are many rivalries in the sport and it looks good in the storyline, it seems seldom that you see this attitude all the time as was depicted.
Many times I've seen when one race team is in trouble, especially the smaller race "camps" ones like the Miss Madison, I've seen many competing race teams help each other out, by sending their pit crew members to the troubled race camp, or loaning them parts for their boat, so they can race. Miss Budweiser owner, the late, Bernie Little for example, has done this over the years because he has said, it is important to have those boats out on the racecourse competing. I'm not saying that what you saw in the movie doesn't happen, but to me, it's very rare.
That being said, when I look at the movie overall, I liked it, despite it's faults. It had many good qualities, like the father/son storyline and the city and race team's struggles, like I mentioned. This will be a good movie for the hydro fan as well as a ports fan. I'll buy the DVD when it comes out.
On a final note, here's a little trivia from the movie:
-The driver of the miss Budweiser at the time was actually, the late Dean Chenoweth (His surviving family probably didn't give their consent to use his name).
-The original Miss Madison from that time, couldn't be repaired and restored in time for the movie. Instead, The Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum put together a replica of that Miss Madison, using the Savair's Mist hull in her place. The boat has affectionately been referred to as the "Mist Madison".
-The Atlas van Lines, was actually, the Pay 'n Pak's 'Lil Buzzard.
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