Release Date: 2016 Directed by: Nate Adams, Adam Carolla Cast: various
Chassy Media, Netflix, 99 Minutes
Man, I really wanted to watch this as The 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of my favorite sporting events of the year and the biggest motorsports thing that I care about.
However, this was pretty underwhelming even though it told a great story, which was the Le Mans rivalry that developed between Ferrari and Ford. Since there’s a very well-received and beloved drama film on this very subject, it’s not a true story short on excitement.
I think that the biggest problem with this documentary, though, was the editing. It wasn’t very good and it made this play like a disjointed clusterfuck at times. I don’t want to be too hard on it but it shifted gears in strange ways that left my brain feeling like a speed bag.
It was hard to follow the narrative but I did enjoy the interviews within this. Although, that doesn’t save the film from its issues.
While this is probably more factually accurate than the dramatized motion picture, you’re probably better off just watching that. Plus, it boasts great performances from its A-list cast.
Rating: 5.5/10 Pairs well with: other documentaries on Le Mans and motorsports in general.
Release Date: March, 1985 Directed by: Andy Sidaris Written by: Andy Sidaris Music by: Henry Strzelecki Cast: Darby Hinton, Sybil Danning, Lynda Wiesmeier, Lori Sutton, Art Metrano, Shelley Taylor Morgan, Regis Philbin, Joy Philbin
Andy Sidaris Company, Malibu Bay Films, 105 Minutes
“Did you hear that she got raped this afternoon by two homosexuals? One held her down and the other one did her hair.” – Liza Chamberlain
I’ve wanted to watch Andy Sidaris’ movies for quite awhile, especially this one and Hard Ticket to Hawaii. Luckily, I found the entire collection of his twelve films on Amazon for nine bucks. Yes, nine bucks! It’s a fucking steal! Buy it!
Well, that is unless you don’t like goofy action comedies with Playboy Playmates, cool dudes with guns and fast cars, as well as crime stories littered with bumbling, idiot criminals.
These films also feature stunts, lots of vehicles and budgets so low that over-the-top special effects have to be crafted out of chicken shit and dirt.
Malibu Express may be the biggest budget film of the lot (adjusted for inflation) and it doesn’t fall victim to as minuscule of a budget as the other films that came later but it’s definitely not “big budget” and had to cut corners and trim unnecessary fat.
Sidaris and his crew still did the best with what they had and the look of the production is more akin to a moderately budgeted action TV series of the ’80s, as opposed to looking like something made for less than the cost of a small house in the Hollywood Hills.
I love the lead, Darby Hinton. I also love all the beautiful women that are often times devoid of clothes. Plus, this has Art Metrano in it. I only really know him as Mauser from the Police Academy movies but I’ve loved that guy my entire life. Add in Sybil Danning and this is a solid mix of fun talent in a fun movie that’s amusing and high octane.
Sure, this is low brow schlock that got shoved into drive-in theaters and budget movie houses but it’s also what I would call an ’80s VHS classic. And frankly, that makes this the type of action comedy I tend to love.
I can’t say that I was impressed by Malibu Express but I can say that it didn’t disappoint me or leave me with buyer’s remorse. It’s pretty much exactly what I thought it would be.
Rating: 6.25/10 Pairs well with: the other eleven films in Andy Sidaris’ Triple B Series, as well as the American films of Iranian director Amir Shervan.
I grew up in Florida with the men in my family being big professional wrestling fans. So the territory that I was exposed to the most was Florida’s. Because of that, Gordon Solie really was the voice of my childhood, as far as being the guy who was the host of every single episode of the television program I liked the most after G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero.
Sadly, I never got to meet the man even though I saw him at wrestling events all over the state, as well as being front and center at the few studio tapings I went to with my dad and my uncles.
As a kid, I took Gordon Solie for granted. He was just always there and I guess I never realized how great he was and how much he meant to me until he wasn’t with us anymore and other than Jim Ross and Lance Russell, who I could only see when I had access to Memphis wrestling, I was typically disappointed with the wrestling commentary that came after Solie.
Additionally, I never knew much about the man. I had heard and read things over the years but even then, a lot of the information was scant and kind of unreliable. Wrestlers love telling stories but if you’ve listened to enough, you know that those stories often times comes with a lot of bullshit.
So reading this was really great. It’s written by Solie’s son-in-law and daughter and they were able to give a lot of insight into the man’s personal life, going all the way back to his childhood, his military service and how he eventually broke into sportscasting in the State of Florida.
I know that this book might not appeal to many people, as it’s about a guy from just one territory in a bygone era for a business that has completely changed but I enjoyed it and I think that those who know of Gordon Solie, might enjoy it too.
Rating: 7.75/10 Pairs well with: other books on the history of the old school territory wrestling business, as well as biographies on the personalities who lived it.
Also known as: Carquake! (UK) Release Date: July 6th, 1976 Directed by: Paul Bartel Written by: Paul Bartel, Donald C. Simpson Music by: David A. Axelrod Cast: David Carradine, Bill McKinney, Veronica Hamel, Gerrit Graham, Robert Carradine, Belinda Balaski, Mary Woronov, James Keach, Dick Miller, Paul Bartel, Joe Dante, Allan Arkush, Jonathan Kaplan, Roger Corman, Don Simpson, Martin Scorsese (uncredited), Sylvester Stallone (uncredited)
Cross Country Productions, Harbor Productions, New World Pictures, 90 Minutes
“I thought this car could beat anything on the road.” – Linda Maxwell, “This car’s a winner.” – Coy ‘Cannonball’ Buckman
A year after Paul Bartel directed the cult classic Death Race 2000, he made a very similar film with a lot of the same core cast members, as well as producer and B-movie legend, Roger Corman.
In this film, take the Death Race 2000 concept and strip away the futuristic sci-fi setting, the slapstick uber violence and the plot to assassinate a corrupt president and you’ve essentially got the same film.
Granted, Cannonball! isn’t as good and I kind of blame that on stripping away the things that made Death Race 2000 so unique. This is still really enjoyable, though, and fans of that more beloved flick will probably dig this one too.
The race car driving hero is still David Carradine and he’s re-joined in the cast by Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel (the director), Sylvester Stallone in an uncredited cameo, as well as some of the other bit players.
Like Death Race, the film follows a cross-country auto race, all the wacky characters involved and all the crazy shenanigans of racers trying to sabotage and outperform one another.
I like a lot of the new additions to the cast like the always great Gerrit Graham, Robert Carradine, Bill McKinney, Belinda Balaski and the inclusion of Dick Miller, Joe Dante, Allan Arkush, Jonathan Kaplan, Roger Corman (the producer), Don Simpson and Martin Scorsese, who is also uncredited for his appearance here.
The action is good, the comedy still works and this film has that unique Paul Bartel charm.
In the end, this isn’t quite a classic but it did help pave the way for all the other movies like it that followed for years to come.
Rating: 7.5/10 Pairs well with: Paul Bartel’s Death Race 2000, as well as other cross-country racing movies of the ’70s and ’80s like the Cannonball Run films, The Gumball Rally and Speed Zone.
Also known as: The Innocent and the Damned (reissue title) Release Date: October 5th, 1959 Directed by: Charles F. Haas Written by: Robert Hardy Andrews, Robert Smith Music by: Van Alexander, Paul Anka Cast: Mamie Van Doren, Mel Tormé, Ray Anthony, Paul Anka, James Mitchum, The Platters
Albert Zugsmith Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 89 Minutes
“This is Chip’s father.” – Michael Clyde, “You killed my son!” – Mr. Gardener, “I’m sorry for you, Mr. Gardener, but you’re dialing the wrong number.” – Silver Morgan
This movie was the focal point of the first episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000‘s sixth season, the first full season to star Mike Nelson. It was also the last episode that I needed to cover for that season, as I had watched and reviewed the rest of the pictures from that lot. In fact, I have one episode left in season four and then a handful or so in season five.
So on this journey of reviewing every film featured on MST3K, I have come across a lot of ’50s delinquent movies. While this one is equal to the quality of the rest of the lot, which doesn’t say much, this may be the most star-studded of them, as it features rising star Mamie Van Doren, as well as musicians Mel Tormé, Paul Anka and The Platters. It also has James Mitchum in it but James’ career never rose to the heights that his father’s did.
Sadly, despite the musical flourish, Girls Town is a pretty boring movie.
The story follows Van Doren’s Silver Morgan, who is sent to a Catholic reform school, where she doesn’t quite fit in. Additionally, Silver has been accused of killing a rapist but the girl that actually did the killing was Silver’s sister. The sister is then blackmailed by a creep who is into “hands-off drag racing”. The same creep has plans of selling the sister off to some Tijuana slave traders.
Yes, that’s really the plot. I didn’t pull any of that out of my ass. It’s fucking insane, I know.
And well, the film itself is just a baffling mess that deals with heavy subjects like rape, sex slavery and swooning over Paul f’n Anka. That’s pretty hardcore shit for 1959!
Anyway, there’s nothing all that noteworthy about the film, other than its cast and how nuts the story is.
Rating: 2.5/10 Pairs well with: other delinquent movies featured on MST3K.
RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.
*Written in 2014.
There is something pretty special about the Monaco Grand Prix.
To start is it’s name. It is named after its hosting country Monaco, the beautiful sovereign city-state located on the French Riviera – surrounded by France and near the Italian border.
It isn’t like all the other Formula 1 races that are named after large and well-known hosting countries; some notables being the British Grand Prix, the Spanish Grand Prix, the Chinese Grand Prix, the Brazilian Grand Prix, the Australian Grand Prix, the United States Grand Prix and so on. No, the Monaco Grand Prix is unique in its distinction – it is a tiny nation and known across the world by racing fans of all social and economic backgrounds almost entirely because of this race.
There are a lot of insanely beautiful circuits throughout the entire Formula 1 calendar but something about Monaco sets it apart. There is an added level of mystique and beauty. There is a greater degree of pageantry that sets the bar at a height that other places can’t seem to reach. Between the waterfront littered with luxurious yachts and the old European architecture that creates majestic looking canyon walls next to the lightning fast Formula 1 cars weaving between them, there is just a little something extra special about this world-renowned race.
The Monaco Grand Prix is Formula 1 at it’s most prestigious level. Monaco is the sport at its absolute best and is the highlight of the season from year-to-year. It has been the standard bearer for the sport going as far back as 1929. It is also considered one of the world’s greatest races and is on a level similar to that of Le Mans.
In fact, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the only race that I’d rank above it. However, Le Mans is a different type of motorsport. Formula 1 is the pinnacle of auto racing and with Monaco being the pinnacle of Formula 1, you can’t not respect and appreciate it.
For those who have never watched this truly amazing race, it will be on this weekend. This year’s Monaco Grand Prix should be one for the ages, as Lewis Hamilton is going for his fifth straight win, as Mercedes has dominated the sport this season. Also, Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel is still arguably the greatest driver since Michael Schumacher and he will most likely be at his best this weekend. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen will turn up the heat, as both are still top level drivers and have a lot to prove due to their misfortune so far this season.
Formula 1 is the greatest motorsport in the world and possibly the greatest sport in the world. This weekend we are once again treated to the best this sport has to offer. Grab some real champagne, not that sparkling wine crap, and eat about five pounds of Gruyèrs and croissants because it will be a special day that we only get once a year.
RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.
*Written in 2014.
As I’ve stated previously (here), the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the greatest race in the history of the world. That is not just some careless opinion that I have, the rest of the world recognizes this as well. By rest of the world, I apparently can’t include America in that because this year it is glaringly obvious that the largest and greatest race in the world is a fucking afterthought.
As I was just watching the race with 75 minutes left on the 24 hour clock, Fox Sports 1 cut it off to show a Moto GP. Are they serious? The race is almost at the end and now in the most exciting and competitive leg of the race they cut it off for a pre-race show for one of a couple dozen Moto GP events this year? They cut of this race, the one and only Le Mans that only happens once a year and is the supreme platform for bragging rights between the best car manufacturers and engineers in the world?
Going back to yesterday afternoon, just as it was becoming really dark in France, Fox Sports 1 cut off Le Mans for some NASCAR truck racing. No, not even fucking NASCAR but NASCAR truck racing! Derp! Derp! Go Chevy!
That was the worst possible time to interrupt the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as the night racing is exciting and unlike anything you can get in any other race. Sure NASCAR and Formula 1 have some night racing but NASCAR and F1 have gigantic lights that make nighttime a moot point and neither of them drive in complete darkness on a winding country road for 12 or so hours. You wouldn’t know that though, watching America’s shitty coverage of this truly amazing race.
Sure, they redirected everyone watching from Fox Sports 1 to Fox Sports 2 but I, and I’m sure many people, don’t have Fox Sports 2. It’s not even a situation where I just don’t pay for the channel, it is a situation where Comcast in my area (and I’m sure many areas) doesn’t carry it.
So other than the start of the race, Fox Sports, America’s unfortunate owner of Le Mans’ broadcasting rights, has robbed us of the two most important parts of this race, the night racing and the finish. At least when Fox Sports 1 was still Speed TV, they’d show 75 percent of the race and they’d definitely show the ending. I mean, what’s the point of watching this race, if you can’t see the fucking ending?
So, as the race ends, I am watching it on an illegal stream because the Fox Sports website, the Le Mans website and the live stream on DailyMotion either aren’t working, they’re lagging or they have atrociously bad quality. The illegal feed? Well, it’s got awesome sound, is in HD and I can’t complain. Fox Sports and America needs to get their shit together because this race is deserving of far more respect than it is receiving.
I mean, for fuck’s sake, America, Patrick Dempsey has gone from fairly successful actor to following his dream and becoming an incredibly formidable Le Mans racer. That’s an amazing story and Americans should be embracing that shit because he’s gone from the grass-cutting nerd in Can’t Buy Me Love to a 250MPH American hero in the hardest and best race on Earth.
Maybe if Ford would start making prototypes again, America would care. Unfortunately, Ford is too busy making billboards on wheels that can’t turn right. At one time, Ford was a goddamned world champion after conquering the unconquerable Ferrari. The late 1960’s was the best time in the history of Le Mans, I wish the level of respect and glory it had back then still existed. I wish people would see the magic in the Steve McQueen film Le Mans and feel the spirit of this grand event.
NASCAR’s success ruined all other racing in this country. Americans don’t have the attention span for real racing, which is why Le Mans and Formula 1 don’t have massive followings. It’s kind of like how Americans don’t have attention spans for anything other than American football and basketball, leaving great sports like soccer, baseball and hockey to suffer.
But fuck it, I’m in the minority here. I just wish my countrymen weren’t such philistines.
Also known as: Turbocop (Mexico), Interceptor (Germany) Release Date: October, 1986 (Tokyo International Fantastic Film Festival) Directed by: Mike Marvin Written by: Mike Marvin Music by: Michael Hoenig, J. Peter Robinson Cast: Charlies Sheen, Nick Cassavetes, Sherilyn Fenn, Randy Quaid, Clint Howard, Griffin O’Neal
New Century Entertainment Corporation, Alliance Entertainment, Turbo Productions, 93 Minutes
“You listen to me, you son-of-a-bitch! There’s a kid out there usin’ his car to kill people, not that it’s such a big deal since it seems to be your gang he’s got it in for… so, if you guys try to take the law into your own hands, and that killer turns up dead, I’m gonna see you all sniffin’ cyanide in the Arizona gas chamber.” – Sheriff Loomis
This is one of those movies that used to come on late at night on cable, usually with an introduction by Joe Bob Briggs via TNT’s MonsterVision. I always got glued to the set whenever it was on though, as there is just something so surreal and bizarre about it.
The plot is basically the same as The Crow, except the dead guy looking for revenge isn’t an invincible goth dude with a pet bird. Instead, he’s Charlie Sheen and he has the ability to turn into a ghost car. But then, that’s kind of confusing because he ends up giving the car to his little brother at the end, as he goes off into the sunset on his motorcycle with Audrey from Twin Peaks.
Anyway, Tucson is overrun by a gang of race car thugs. They bully people into racing them, cheat to win and then take their car. Charlie Sheen in his previous, less dreamy form, was murdered by the gang because he was having sex with Audrey from Twin Peaks, who the gang leader is obsessed over.
Sheen comes back, turns into a ghost car a.k.a. a Dodge M4S Interceptor and kills the gang members, one at a time, in races that end with them usually being blown to bits. Although, their bodies remain intact with their eyes looking like they’ve been burnt out. I guess Ghost Car Charlie sucks their souls out through their eyes or something. Honestly, it’s not really clear.
The film also stars Nick Cassavetes, son of John, as the gang leader, Clint Howard, as a a guy that looks like a ginger Beavis with glasses, and Randy Quaid, as the no nonsense sheriff that ain’t got time for all this supernatural shit. But the sheriff doesn’t really care about solving the case, as the ghost car is killing off the scumbags of Tucson.
I can’t particularly call this a good film and really, it’ll resonate with a certain type of movie fan. Mostly, fans of ’80s schlock with a sci-fi and supernatural bent. Really, this is a common late night cable movie of the late ’80s and ’90s, so if that’s your thing, you should enjoy this.
There’s not much plot to muck up the insanity and surrealness, which in these type of movies is a real plus. We don’t need all this wacky shit explained, just serve it to us in mass amounts and let us feast.
I can’t say that this is a movie that helped anyone’s career but I certainly don’t think that it hurt anyone’s either. It’s a hearty helping of ham with a dopey but fun script, executed as well as it could be with ’80s special effects and a tight budget.
Plus, it’s got a lot of solid car action.
Rating: 6.5/10 Pairs well with:The Crow, which may have somewhat ripped this story off.
RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.
*Written in 2014.
Since 1923, one race has stood above all others as the greatest race in the world: The 24 Hours of Le Mans.
It has now gone on for over 90 years and is inching towards that century mark. It is the most important event in motorsports history. It pits the best car manufacturers in the world, head-to-head, to see who is the best between them. It is a dangerous game of impossible odds, cutthroat competition and bragging rights yet it still exudes more class than any other sporting event in the history of the world.
The only thing that even comes close to the 24 Hours of Le Mans is Formula 1. However, Formula 1 doesn’t race for 24 hours straight, through the elements and into the dark of night on poorly lit and often times wet roads. I can’t think of a sport or a single event with such a level of danger, risk and reward. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a showcase of the immortals behind the wheel. Only the best can hack it and only the best of the best can cross the finish line.
I could spend all day pumping this thing up because it is the most amazing thing that I get to witness year in and year out. This race is great for all the reasons I stated above but it doesn’t seem to click with American audiences. I guess watching ugly billboards go round and round in a circle for four hours is more exciting than seeing Ferraris, Porches, Aston Martins, BMWs, Audis, Mercedes and other beautiful cars weaving in and out of other luxury cars, s-curves and sharp turns for 24 hours. Sorry America, I have to side with the rest of the world on this one.
Additionally, Le Mans brings out the prototypes. The best manufacturers and engineers in the world use all their resources and knowledge to create the absolute best machine they can build in order to compete against one another. For more than a decade, Audi has dominated the sport because they have made cars that make supercars looks like ’82 Datsuns. In the past, manufacturers like Porsche and Ferrari dominated the sport. I’d rather see these majestic beasts of the road zipping by than some Chevrolet eyesore trying to sell me penis pills and Pop Tarts. If you don’t feel the same way, you need to really look at yourself in the mirror. To succeed in Le Mans, you have to be able to do a lot more than turn left at high speeds and talk with a twang.
This weekend, the 24 Hours of Le Mans returns. I will be glued to my television set for 24 hours, actually more than that due to all the pre-race and post-race coverage. Yes, I know that Audi will most assuredly win once again but that’s not the point. I didn’t stop watching Formula 1 when Michael Schumacher won five seasons in a row.
The point is, this is a sport for men. The most dangerous and life-threatening sport in the world. It gives us the best drivers in the best machines on the best race track ever created. It gives one more excitement and awe than some Mike’s Hard Lemonade 900 or whatever the next NASCAR race is called.
Steve McQueen, one of the greatest manly men to ever live, made a racing movie about one event, it was the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Hell, the film itself was simply called Le Mans.
Any argument one could have against Le Mans being the most badass sporting event of the year is completely and utterly invalid.
Release Date: July 7th, 1971 (New York City premiere) Directed by: Monte Hellman Written by: Rudolph Wurlitzer, Will Corry Music by: Billy James Cast: James Taylor, Warren Oates, Laurie Bird, Dennis Wilson, Harry Dean Stanton
Michael Laughlin Enterprises, Universal Pictures, 102 Minutes
“Performance and image, that’s what it’s all about.” – G.T.O.
1969’s Easy Rider really left its mark on people, especially the film industry. It’s pretty apparent that it had an effect on this picture, as far as its tone and narrative. But that’s not a bad thing, as Hollywood really started to evolve around the turn of the ’70s. Films got darker, more personal and much more experimental, as indie filmmakers started to redefine what a motion picture could be.
I also find it interesting that this came out the same year as Vanishing Point, which also features a cool car, a plot full of hopelessness and a gritty realness that wasn’t common in films before this time.
Now this can feel like a slow moving picture but it’s got a lot of energy and a strong spirit. None of these characters are all that likable but there’s something about each of them that is intriguing and lures you into their orbit.
I really think that the glue of the picture is Laurie Bird, who plays a character simply referred to as “The Girl”. She is the object of every man’s desire in this film and it is kind of unsettling, as she is very much a minor and isn’t, in any way, glammed up or all that beautiful. She’s pretty obviously a runaway that sleeps her way to free rides across the country with no real direction in life and no personal aspirations to speak of. But her part in this really puts the other characters into perspective, as they are all vying for her companionship, even though she’s just a ghost that comes into their lives for a brief moment in time, probably because she’s got nothing else to do. And ultimately, she bolts at the end of the story, leaving the men pining over her in her dust.
If anything, this film is a strong character study with understated performances, except in regards to Warren Oates’ G.T.O. Oates was stellar in this as a pathological liar, who gives riders in his car a different backstory every step of this journey. But he provided just about all of the personality in the film, even if he comes off as a middle aged loser running away from a life he failed at.
The plot is pretty lose and not focused but it doesn’t need to be, as we aren’t so much concerned with the beginning and the end of this “race” in the film, so much as we are just peeking into the lives of broken people in an era where America sort of had a dark cloud over it between the Vietnam War, the Nixon presidency, a drug boom and coming out of the Free Love Movement.
This will not be a film that everyone will enjoy and those looking for car action should look elsewhere. Maybe check out the original Gone In 60 Seconds. But for those who enjoy films like Easy Rider and Vanishing Point, they’ll probably also enjoy this.
Rating: 8.25/10 Pairs well with:Vanishing Point,Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and Easy Rider.