Hollywood — the southern Californian sideshow circus hiding behind a fashionable facade of silicone and Botox — has produced some wonderful films in the 102 years since the motion picture industry first set up shop there. Some of those films have even featured the four-wheeled, many-piston engined object that has united us as automotive enthusiasts, and as a result, warmed our hearts and captured our imaginations.
We sat on the edge of our seats as the Dark Highland Green Mustang fastback driven by Steve McQueen was chased through the streets of San Fransisco by a black second-generation Dodge Charger driven by two hitmen in Bullitt. We cheered on Kowolski in that white '70 Dodge Challenger R/T during his high speed run through the desert in Vanishing Point. And we can watch films like Bullitt or Vanishing Point over and over again and still not be any less captivated.
It's because films like Vanishing Point are so beloved by automotive enthusiasts, some less than savory and unoriginal individuals in So-Cal's plastic-fantastic playland immediately see an opportunity to make an extra buck or two by putting up a fantastically large budget and giving its script to a new cast of actors and a new director. Thus, a remake is born. And rarely does a remake of a movie capture the magic or live up to the reputation of the original. In fact, in the case of the 1997 made-for-TV-movie reboot of Vanishing Point, the remake totally sucked.
Here are three car-centric films that should be spared the fate of having a crappy remake.
3.) Back to the Future
While the movies that comprise the Back to the Future trilogy aren't car films, a car — which we all know is a flying DeLorean (... right?) — is centric to the plot, and is every bit of a star as Michael J. Fox or Christopher Lloyd. If it wasn't for that first Back to the Future film, the DeLorean would probably have been nothing more than an automotive footnote today.
Thankfully, the duo largely responsible for Back to the Future and its two subsequent sequels, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, isn't interested in doing a remake or a fourth film. Which is good, considering that it would be very difficult to assemble a new cast that could work together as well as their original counterparts.
2.) Smokey and the Bandit
Smokey and the Bandit is a film, in my opinion, that would be even harder to remake than any move in the Back to the Future trilogy. While you could easily source a new DeLorean with relative ease to star in a new BTTF film, what on earth built today could take the place of that black-and-gold Pontiac Firebird Trans Am? (It sure as hell wouldn't be one of those stupid fifth-generation Camaro kit conversions and one of Year One's Trans Am updates just wouldn't be the same.) Even harder, who could take the place of Jerry Reed?
Whatever the answers to those questions might be, I still feel assured that a modern result would probably suck compared to the original. Thankfully, there hasn't been serious talk of a remake to my knowledge. Let's keep it that way.
1.) Stephen King's Christine
Unlike the other two films on this short list, there has been serious talk of remaking the big screen version of Stephen King's tale about a Plymouth Fury from hell. Fortunately, that project never really got off of the ground.
Maybe its just me, but I liked John Carpenter's take on King's novel. The cast wasn't terrible, and considering that the film — like the first Back to the Future film — is set in the year of its release, I think it's managed to stay fairly timeless. I also fail to see how modern CGI would improve any of the scenes where Christine fixes the damage inflicted upon her fire engine red bodywork by Buddy Repperton's gang of goons, either.
What's your say? Is there a car-related film that should be kept off limits along with these three?
(Main image sourced from bttf3delorean.com)