I don't know how it happened, but somewhere between 1995's The Fast and The Furious and yesterday's release of Fast Five I became a fan of this ridiculous franchise. Maybe it's my irrational Paul Walker love (the man did Running Scared, people!) or my intense desire to see dumb people do dumb things in supercharged sportscars, but I am genuinely excited to see this latest entry in the car thief saga.
Anyway, this was a hard list to compile. There are just endless great car crashes in cinema, but since I have to pick just five here's what I got.
5. The Revelatory Steven Russell T-Bone Smash (I Love You Phillip Morris): The first Surprise! T-Bone Car Crash I remember ever having a lot of effect of my delicate psyche was the Chis Cooper backing-out-the-driveway flashback from Adaptation. BOOM! Jump! Shock! Wet Myself! But my favorite Jump Scare car crash of late was the one that occured in last year's I Love You Phillip Morris. Virgina Beach policeman Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) is safely hiding in the closet, keeping his true nature from his wife, child, and supposed friends. Then BOOM! As he's screaming at the EMTs hauling his bloody carcass to the hospital, he lets the world know that The Closet cannot contain him anymore! The Mad Brilliant Romantic Comedy Journey of I Love You Phillip Morris begins.
4. The Ferrari Pantera Explosion (Cannonball!): Okay, so technically this is a Car Explosion and not a Car Crash, but it's my list and I can do whatever I want. Filmed just one year after Death Race 2000, Cannonball! reteamed writer/director Paul Bartel with David Carradine in this very serious take on the Cannonball Run phenomenon (but this should not be confused with the Burt Reynolds zaniness of a few years later). Unaware that his Ferrari Pantera has been rigged to blow, James Keach's Wolfe Messer attempts to outrun a persistent copper when he hits 160 MPH--BOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A tremendous display of blasting caps.
3. The On Two Wheels Truck Crash (Race With The Devil): You could probably pick any number of great car crashes from the amazing Race With The Devil, but this bit of crazy is definitely my favorite. Fleeing from Evil Satanic Cultists in their Winnebago, Peter Fonda and Warren Oates have to battle various clinging marauders on the freeway. As they shotgun baddies off their roof and side, Fonda finally decides to let go of his champion dirt bikes attached to the back. The falling motorcycles cause one cultists over-corrected pickup to spin, spin, spin, spin, crash. If you have not yet seen this movie than stop whatever you're doing and get yourself over to Netflix.
2. Police Car Demolition (Blues Brothers 2000): Vastly inferior to the original film, Blue Brothers 2000 still manages to entertain in a few places. One of those spots is definitely the massive police car demolition that erupts 2/3rds through the film. With the entire band clown-carred inside the Bluesmobile, The Brothers escape a tent revival and supernaturally avoid a collision with what has to be every Trooper in the State. Unfortunately, all those Troopers meet each other in a Looney Tunes-like dogpile of metal and sirens. Utter Landis genius.
1. The Dave Dee Dozy Beak Mick & Titch Car Crash (Death Proof): I was going to pick something a little more classic for my top spot, something from Road Warrior or maybe even Cannonball Run but at the end of the day I cannot deny the power of this QT devised wreck. After a night of depressive flirtations, a collection of Hipster Austinites meet their demise via head-on collision with car-slasher Stuntman Mike (so far, the last Great Kurt Russell performance). The suspense ratchets along to the pulsing cool tunes of Dave Dee Dozy Beak Mick & Titch and then Tarantino and editor Sally Menke outdo themselves with the splicing and dicing of the actual crash. Cinematic Wonder!