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Here is a list of movies that we think car enthusiasts should catch up on during the #CoronaVirus lockdown.

The #CoronaVirus lockdown is real and it is a battle we can win if we stay indoors to help flatten the infection curve. While saving the world from an armchair is a dream come true for some, others find this isolation business hard to deal with. Doing our bit for you, we have compiled a list of amazing car content that you could watch to while away the remaining days of the lockdown. Of course, a lot of ‘research’ involving an armchair, a television and some popcorn went into making this list but for our readers, we would gladly do this all over again. Our movie-reviewing skills are not as hot as our expertise in cars, so, instead of a top-20 list, we have just arranged them in chronological order. We will try and keep spoilers to a minimum (no promises).

Bullitt – 1968

Oh, that’s old. Bullitt hit the screens when most of us were not even born. The ‘King of Cool’, Steve McQueen, stars in it as a San Francisco cop, Bullitt. After the witness in his protection is murdered by a mob boss, Bullitt decides to hunt down the kingpin himself in this action-packed thriller. Our favourite part is the 10-minute-long car chase where Bullitt chases down the bad guys’ Dodge Charger using his ultra-cool 1968 Ford Mustang through the streets of Frisco. Certainly a treat for fans of the old-school American muscle car and car chases in general. Not a bad way to begin the #CoronaVirus movie list, eh?

Vanishing Point – 1971

This Barry Newman-starrer is a pure car-based film and an out-of-this-world plot. Newman plays Kowalski, a car delivery driver with a résumé that says ex-war veteran, ex-racing driver/rider and ex-cop. His latest assignment is to deliver a tricked-out 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 Magnum from Denver, Colorado, all the way to San Francisco. After making a bet to finish the job in less than a day, Kowalski takes to tarmac at break-neck speeds, evading cops and pulling off some insane stunts. Along the way he is helped by some wacky characters including a blind radio jockey and a nude female motorcycle rider (you can read that again). The ending may not be what you expect it to be but the soundtrack is certainly amazing. Disclaimer: After this, you may tempted to take your own car and go ripping around the now-empty streets (courtesy of the #CoronaVirus) of your neighbourhood. Don’t!

The Gumball Rally – 1976

This movie is just no-nonsense fun. Michael Bannon plays Michael Sarrazin, a wealthy, bored businessman who uses the code word ‘Gumball’ to initiate a coast-to-coast, illegal, street race from New York to California. Of course, there are cops on their tails and there are a few funny and interesting characters to watch out for as well. This is certainly the kind of distilled, all-fun movie that we need to tackle the #CoronaVirus blues.

Gone in 60 Seconds – 2000

Very few titles describe a movie’s plot so effectively and effortlessly as this one. Ex-car thief, Memphis Raines (Nicolas Cage) is forced to steal 50 cars within 72 hours to save his brother’s life. As always, there are gangsters and cops involved. In addition to a compelling storyline, we also get to see some mighty drool-worthy cars, the highlight being the 1967 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, or ‘Eleanor’ as Memphis calls it. P.S.: It is okay if you did not like the National Treasure or Ghost Rider series, this one will make up for it. Also, unlike the name suggests, this movie will occupy more than 60 seconds of your #CoronaVirus boredom.

The Fast and the Furious series – 2001 to infinity and beyond

Undeniably the most popular car-based movie franchise of our time. The Fast and Furious movies began as a story about an undercover cop (Paul Walker) trying to bust the street racing crew (Vin Diesel and Co) responsible for a series of robberies. There was a lot of racing, a lot of high-end cars and high-octane action as well. Now, there is a new movie every now and then with no definitive end in sight. Since the inception, Brian and Dom have gone from street racers, to thieves to spies and now the franchise has stars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jason Statham as well. For what it’s worth, most of the movies are riveting entertainers. Try not to tear up during the tribute to Paul Walker; may he rest in peace. Binge watching the whole series will easily strike a day off your #CoronaVirus curfew.

The Transporter series – 2002 to 2008

Originally, The Transporter began as a story about a war veteran, Frank Martin (Jason Statham) who used his skills to make no-questions-asked deliveries. His uncanny line of work attracts an unruly client who blows up his sweet Bimmer and sends Martin into a rage. Martin then wreaks havoc on said client/mobster using a combination of fancy driving and martial arts. The second and third movies also have similar storylines but Martin chooses to drive Audis in both of them. Personally, I liked the first one the best. However, watch them all and tell us which one you liked. Martin’s military training keeps him ready for the worst outcomes at all times, something we could learn to battle the #CoronaVirus.

The Italian Job – 2003

Life is never easy for Mark Wahlberg’s characters and the same goes for Charlie Croker. Croker and his associates are betrayed and left for dead by one of their own after they pull off a successful heist. A year or so later, Croker and crew track down the crew and use surgical planning and extraordinary driving with Mini Coopers to get their gold back and exact revenge. A lot of the action sequences were shot on location in Venice and Los Angeles and make this movie a treat to watch. This may come handy to plan your grocery store-raid during the #CoronaVirus lockdown. Just kidding. Or are we?

Herbie: Fully Loaded – 2005

Herbie is a Volkswagen Beetle that can think and act for itself with a racing pedigree to boast of. Maggie (Lindsay Lohan) is a college graduate and aspiring racer who ends up buying Herbie. Its a roller-coaster of a movie from there on with racing, drama and a NASCAR finale as well. Of course, a weather-worn Beetle pulling ahead of modern cars may be slightly hard to believe but Herbie’s charm makes up for it and it could certainly help your #CoronaVirus blues.

The Dukes of Hazzard – 2005

The Dukes of Hazzard is a fun movie that revolves about the lives of Bo, Luke and Daisy Duke. How they save their town from a corrupt cop and their adventures in this crusade form the story. What is in it for us? There is a nice 1969 Dodge Charger named ‘General Lee’ to look at. Even if it does not have as many car sequences as the other movies in this #CoronaVirus lockdown list, it is still worth a watch.

Cars – 2006 to 2017

Owen Wilson voices Lightning McQueen in this animated movie. McQueen is a rookie racing sensation and the first movie is all about his journey to the Piston Cup championship and how he is humbled and coached by veteran racer, The Fabulous Hudson Hornet. The second iteration has a bit of espionage entwined with the racing world and makes for an extremely enjoyable movie. The third and final movie focuses of McQueen’s retirement from the racing world. Great movies for children and adults as well. Could certainly be a family activity during the #CoronaVirus isolation.

Redline – 2007

Redline is a story about the high-stakes illegal street racing that is funded by multi-millionaires. Nadia Bjorlin plays Natasha Martin, an auto mechanic and aspiring musician who is also skilled at the steering wheel. In a wager race, unfortunate events turn Martin’s life upside down and how she and her associates deal with it forms the rest of the story. Keep an eye out for some exotics including a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren and a Ferrari Enzo. You’ll wish you also had a fast car to outrun the #CoronaVirus but trust me, it is better to stay at home.

Transformers – 2007 to who knows

Yes, the same comic book aliens that can shape-shift into anything but thankfully, they chose to be cars. Well, most of them. While the movies were always about the battle between the Transformers – Autobots and Decepticons – the initial movies relied heavily on car chases and similar action-sequences. As the franchise progressed, the car content, especially the Chevrolet Camaro as Bumblebee, was watered down. A fair warning: you could get addicted to the world of the Transformers and watch all the movies anyway, significantly cutting into your #CoronaVirus downtime.

Rush – 2013

This is serious stuff. Rush is based on real-life events and follows the life and rivalry of Grand Prix drivers and arch rivals, James Hunt and Niki Lauda, in the 1970s. The movie begins when these two are still driving Formula 3 cars and transitions beautifully to their rivalry in the Formula 1 Grand Prix world championships. It also showcases Lauda’s horrific crash during a very wet 1976 race at the legendary Nürburgring that almost killed him. You will be so drawn into the world of Grand Prix racing that you might just forget about the whole #CoronaVirus situation. Definitely a must-watch.

Turbo – 2013

Turbo is a snail and this movie made it on to this list because Turbo is a snail who wants to go fast. Very fast. We can relate to that feeling. After a freak accident, Turbo is suddenly gifted with super-speed and he goes on to conquer the American racing world. How he overcomes the hurdles set by the villain and attains his dream makes for a heart-warming story and certainly something the kids would enjoy. Should be a breath of fresh air for the young ones during this #CoronaVirus panic. Tip: be prepared to answer all your kids’ questions about why they cannot do exactly what Turbo did.

Need for Speed – 2014

A film adaptation of the popular racing video games by the same name. Need for Speed will pull you into the world of exotic supercars, friendships, high-speed chases and intense racing. In addition to a plethora of cars – very tastefully selected, if I may – the movie also has riveting plot twists and drama as well. One thing is for sure, you certainly won’t hate it. In fact, after the #CoronaVirus passes, we hope they make a sequel with the same essence.

Mad Max: Fury Road – 2015

The premise of this movie will certainly become a reality if we do not heed the #CoronaVirus safety measures and self-isolate. In a post-apocalyptic world, Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy use every trick in the book to escape from a tyrant leader called Immortan Joe who chases them with his army of dune buggies. If you are not familiar with the Mad Max series, buckle up for one hell of a ride.

Baby Driver – 2017

A young man called Baby is recruited by a master-planner for whom he works as a getaway driver. The opening sequence where he outsmarts the cops by some very skilled driving, sets the pace for the movie. Things go awry when Baby tries to leave behind his life of crime in order to live with his love interest. An exciting storyline, killer soundtrack and precision driving make this a must-watch when you get bored during the #CoronaVirus isolation.

Ford v Ferrari – 2019

Starring Christian Bale and Matt Damon, this was the biggest car movie of the past year and it was based on real life events. It tells the tale of the famous bitter rivalry between Ford and Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race. Told from the perspective of Shelby (Damon) and Miles (Bale). Sit back and relax as the story guides you along everything from good ol’ racing to race car development to corporate jealousy. Some argue that the movie did not tell the story exactly as it transpired, so, we would advice a bit of research after the end credits roll; if you are keen, that is. Reading is a great way to remain productive during the #CoronaVirus lockdown.

Go Karts – 2020

Imagine Karate Kid but with Karts because that is essentially what this movie is. A young boy discovers he is naturally talented at driving Go-Karts and seeks the help of a grumpy ex-racing driver to hone his skills and become champion. Although the formula may be tried-and-tested, it does provide a compelling storyline that is supplemented by some brilliant camerawork including on-board footage. Oh joy! Once the #CoronaVirus scare passes, I know where I am going.

If you have managed to wade through all of this and there is still some time before the #CoronaVirus lockdown is lifted, we also suggest that you check out Wacky Races and Knight Rider. The former is an animated TV show that is a right laugh while the latter is also a TV show about a self-aware car called KITT that helps its driver stop crimes and save people. If you manage to finish all of this before the lockdown ends, give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it.

Story: Joshua Varghese

 

About the author: Joshua Varghese

 

Would gape at fast cars. Still does but now has a chance to drive some of them. Hates driving in traffic but makes up for with a spot of off-roading or the occasional track outing.

 

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