Holidays are perfect time to binge-watch great car movies

Courtesy of Richard Perry
Richard Perry, The Hemet Car Guy.

■ By Richard Perry / Contributed

Greetings from the Hemet Car Guy,

With the kids home from school and mom and dad likely taking some time off, the holidays are a perfect time to binge-watch movies together as a family.
When I was a kid, I remember binge-watching “The Twilight Zone” marathon all day long on New Year’s Day. My daughter does the same thing when it comes to “Star Wars” and “Supernatural.”
Now that Christmas is over and we’ve burned through all of the holiday classics, we’re ready for some action, and that means fast cars.
Cars have always played an important storytelling role in American and foreign films, and when talking about the top car movies one has to mention “The Fast and the Furious,” “Gone in 60 Seconds,” and all-time greats like “Bullitt” and “Smokey and the Bandit.”
Nothing is more exciting than a movie with a fast machine. In this list of the greatest car movies ever made (in my opinion), including racing films, fast car movies, films with high speed chases, and action car movies. So, what are the best movies about cars?
This list is in no particular order, because they all are good.

•“Fast & Furious”
•“Gone in 60 Seconds”
•“Mad Max”
•“American Graffiti”
•“The Italian Job”
•“Cannonball Run”
•“Rebel Without a Cause”
•“Smokey and the Bandit”.

Plymouth 1958 model used in 1983 production Christine.

Now, “Smokey and the Bandit,” starring Burt Reynolds (“Bandit”), Sally Field (“Frog”), Jerry Read (“Snowman”) and Jackie Gleason (“Sheriff Buford T. Justice”) is my all-time favorite. If you haven’t seen it: spoiler alert!!
The film is basically one lengthy high-speed chase, as Bandit’s antics attract more and more attention from local and state police across Dixie, while Snowman barrels on toward Atlanta with the contraband beer. (It always involves contraband, doesn’t it?) Bandit and Snowman are helped along the way by many colorful characters, including a hearse driver, an elderly lady, a drive-in waitress and all her customers, a convoy of trucks via CB radio, and even a madam who runs a brothel out of her RV.
Neither Sheriff Justice nor any other police officers have any knowledge of Snowman’s illegal manifest.
The chase intensifies as Bandit and Snowman get closer to Atlanta; state and local police have stepped up their pursuit with more cruisers, larger roadblocks, and even a police helicopter to track Bandit’s movements.
With four miles still to go, and discouraged by the unexpected mounting attention, Bandit wants to give up, but Snowman refuses to listen and takes the lead, smashing through the roadblock at the entrance to the fairgrounds.
They arrive back at Lakewood Speedway (while the Southern Classic race is being run) with only 10 minutes to spare, but instead of taking the payoff, Frog and Bandit accept a double-or-nothing offer from Little Enos: a challenge to drive up to Boston and bring back clam chowder in 18 hours. (Coincidentally, Boston is where my wife Bambi and I are going to visit our daughter for New Year’s.)
They quickly leave in one of Big Enos’ Cadillac convertibles, passing Sheriff Justice’s badly damaged police car by the side of the road. Bandit first directs Sheriff Justice to Big and Little Enos, but then in a gesture of respect, reveals his true location and invites Justice to give chase, leaving Junior in the dust.
And no list would be complete without one for the kiddos. Disney’s “Cars” was a favorite amongst the grandkids and also of my dad, who took them to see it.
Happy New Year

The Hemet Car Guy

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