Days of Thunder

Friday, June 05, 2009

My brother and I used to refer to Days of Thunder as Days of Chunder (to ‘chunder’ being to vomit). In our estimation, the film was so shit that just to watch a few moments of it would make you regurgitate all over yourself.

So how did it fare this time? Was it as bad as I remembered? Yes. And did I puke all over myself? Thankfully no.

One of the most shocking things about this film is that it was written by Robert Towne – the guy who wrote the masterpiece Chinatown. But then you look at the screen and see that Tom Cruise had a story writing credit. You can just imagine him in script meetings. ‘Yeah, I want a scene where I drive really fast with a shit-eating grin. I want one where I almost die and subsequently learn important life lessons. And I want one where I knob some ginger chick who’s at least two feet taller than me.’

But you’ve also got to remember that this is the same production team that made Top Gun. That means that you shouldn’t expect cinematic excellence. And also bear in mind that uber producer Don Simpson was the sort of man who liked to have prostitutes drink from his toilet as he pissed into it, that he once had fat injected into his penis to give it more girth (unfortunately he ended up with a deformed cock) and that during the filming of Days of Thunder he was experimenting with testosterone his ass. The theory was that the implants would give him a steady flow of macho energy. Instead they leaked and he went crazy. Mental giants were not in control of this production.

To illustrate this fact, consider the scene where Cole Trickle (yes, that’s the name of Cruise’s character) and rival race driver Rowdy Burns (another great name, and one that perhaps suggests that the character perpetually has the clap) race each other in wheelchairs. You see, earlier in the film, they had quite the rivalry going on and it lead to a spectacular crash. And now that they’re both in hospital, they decide to have a chair race. Yes, they’re primary school children.

However, there’s a scene that’s even more spectacularly stupid than this. For some reason the head of NASCAR invites them to dinner and gives them a set of keys for a car that they can drive over. He does this even though they have serious head injuries and hate each other’s guts. Yes, giving them a car and not having them driven over by a limo would be a great idea. So Rowdy encourages Cole to hire a car so that they can have another race – Rowdy in the car that the NASCAR guy gave him and Cole in the rental. And the two men proceed to race across streets and beaches in their shitty automobiles, ruining their cars. And when they finally arrive for dinner, they no longer hate each other. They share a knowing look that suggests that this vehicular destruction was a substitute for a hard cock up the arse.

By the way, the term for ramming another car is ‘rubbing’. Therefore nearly half of the film consists of men ramming and rubbing each other.

Bearing this in mind, it’s not surprising that women hardly get a look in. Nicole Kidman is a bland prophet of doom who eventually sees the light and realises that happiness lies not with professional integrity but with being a subservient beard. And then earlier in the film we have a scene where Cole and his race team get pulled over by cops. Cole is pushed into the team’s truck and is then groped by a state trooper. It turns out that the trooper is a stripper with a gorgeous set of tits. But you see, just like Maverick was wooed by his woman dressing like a man in Top Gun, Cole Trickle likes some gender reversal too.

Something else that illustrates how disposable women are in this world is the ending. You see, Trickle wins Daytona and celebrates with his beard for about two seconds. But then he sees that Harry, his surrogate father (played by Robert Duvall), isn’t joining in. This makes Cole sad and the two share a little moment. Eventually Harry perks up and the film ends with the two men running after each other with shit-eating grins. Pussy is nice and all, but real ecstasy lies in rubbing another man in victory lane.

Second to the explicit man love, the most amazing thing about Days of Thunder is how stupid Cole Trickle is. He doesn’t know anything about tires or engines. He doesn’t know that you’ll knacker a car if you give it too many revs. How am I supposed to believe that? How am I supposed to believe that a racing driver that supposedly has a few years of experience wouldn’t know that you couldn’t just take a race car and drive it as fast as you can – that you have to have a little strategy? It’s surely too much to ask of an audience.

And then when Cole is injured he’s like a small child. He has to have an MRI and gets a little frightened because no one is talking to him. He then goes on to mention that when he drives he has a man who talks to him all the time. Poor didums needs someone to hold his hand at all times. He probably even needs Harry to tell him how to pee.

But one of the most stupid acts is actually committed by Nicole Kidman. And no it’s not the moment when she decides that Cole can park his car in her garage. No, it’s the fact that she goes on a motorcycle ride with him…without a helmet...after he’s crashed his car and has head injuries. Fuck me running, would you entrust your life to this muppet? A man who can’t control a car and who makes a living by wearing overalls that have Mello Yello emblazoned all over them? He’ll probably crash the bike and then have you piss on his face.

The only thing that saves the film is how outstandingly bad it is. Nowhere else do you find the line ‘we ended up looking like a monkey fucking a football out there’ in it. It’s entertaining for all the wrong reasons. I mean, it has Carey Elwes playing a smarmy scumbag racer. That’s got to be worth something. Not a whole lot, but something. Plus there’s a scene where, after winning a race, and while celebrating his victory lap, Trickle rams Elwes at full speed. Somehow Cole doesn’t receive a life ban for this. Perhaps NASCAR know what a prick Carey Elwes is.

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