5 Things Car Guys Hate About The Movies

By | December 10, 2014


Four wheels beneath me and a steering wheel in my hand is generally all I need for good entertainment.  Flats, straights, v’s – 4′s,6′s, or 8′s.  It’s all good.  Throw in a good movie, maybe even a drive-in in the back of an old pick-up and I’ve really had a treat.  I’m pretty easy to please.  Probably a little too easy, especially with the movies.  I don’t get caught up in analyzing the flaws of a film or the improbability of a story line.  I just enjoy the couple of hours of entertainment and some popcorn.  Except for most scenes that involve automobiles, especially action scenes.  I’ve listed my top 5 pet peeves that I think most car guys would agree with.

5.  Unbelievable Air Time: This isn’t my number one offender for one simple reason.  The big time jumps are super entertaining, regardless of their ridiculousness.  Pretty much every fast & furious movie involves major hang time.  Each movie outdoing the last.  “Gone In 60 Seconds” is probably the most infamous jump that has caused its fair share of rolled eyes… except for the utility workers that get to inspect the Shelby’s undercarriage of course.

4.  The Complete Absence of Headrests:  It will forever bother me that every movie scene that takes place in a vehicle during a conversation lacks headrests.  If you look really close, you can usually see the fabric that was made to cover the evidence of their existence.  Sometimes they’ll magically appear during an chase scene… probably to prevent whiplash.

3.  Vehicles In Chase Scenes That Repair Themselves:  Reason #3 is actually the reason I decided to write this article.  I was watching “It’s A Good Day To Die Hard”.  A totally lame Mercedes utility van is being chased through the streets of a Russian metropolis by a giant military armored vehicle.  Never mind the likely differences in top speeds of these two vehicles, the van gets smashed up early in the chase.  In particular, it loses a headlight.  I’m talking, hanging from the wiring harness type of loss.  About two minutes later into the chase the headlight has magically found its way back into original home, shining brightly for everyone to see.  I also hate it when cars involved in movies change model years inexplicably between scenes.  Those chargers that pull the vault through Rio in “Fast Five” ring any bells?

2.  Soundtracks That Don’t Fit The Car:  “Need For Speed” is one of my favorite car movies.  Probably because of the excellent exhaust notes throughout the movie.  Thankfully that Mustang that Toby Marshal drives through most of the movie sounds like a stacked Mustang.  The problem with most car movies is that most cars involved, sound like a stacked Mustang… especially that Vanquish from James Bond “Die Another Day”.  Car guys can tell a cylinder count or configuration just by hearing it.  Hollywood can’t fool us.  Apparently a throaty V8 is the only way to go in a chase scene.  Who cares if that big bass is coming out of the skinny tailpipe of a euro taxi.

1. Incorrect Speedometers:  My biggest pet peeve is ironically in one of my favorite movies.  “Unstoppable” starring Denzel Washington is based off of a true story involving a run away train.  Towards the end of the movie, an over confident railroad employee leads the dopey local police on a merry chase throughout the Pennsylvanian countryside.  His appropriate mode of transportation is a Ford Super Duty dually.  At one point in the movie we get a glimpse of his speedo.  Apparently the excessive lack of character of an early 2000 model year Ford truck was not good enough for Hollywood because what you see is a 1960′s vintage Mustang speedometer.  At least they got the make right.

Maybe I’m too easily annoyed by such things but at least I can be a movie critique to a point.  Share your favorite big screen automotive bloopers in the comments below.


AJ Wilcox on December 11, 2014 at 8:55 am.

Matt, you get my mad props for noticing these things. I’m sponge that soaks up candy and popcorn during movies. Also a confession – I can’t tell the cylinder count of an engine by listening. Sad face!

Seriously curious the thought process in someone’s head – we need a shot of the speedo on this truck…let’s film a pony car!

Chad Waite on December 11, 2014 at 9:11 am.

The V8 thing is so true. I’m surprised they didn’t try putting a V8 sound on that Mercedes Van in ‘A Good Day To Die Hard’.

Chance Hales on December 11, 2014 at 9:26 am.

Another speedo fail is the DeLoreans in Back to the Future. Don’t they know the speedo only reads 85 mph because of the dumb federal law that was in place at the time?

Shah B on December 11, 2014 at 10:11 am.

I love this article! Like any car guy, I love films with cool cars, chase scenes and big crashes. It’s all the in-between stuff that I notice that bugs me! As is life, the devil is in the details!

Steph K on December 11, 2014 at 10:26 am.

Annoyances with car chase scenes aside, I’m more bugged when a person can run and catch up/keep speed with a moving vehicle as the vehicle gets faster and faster.

Maybe a little bit at the fact that the Yaris in Chuck never completely fell apart in chase scenes.

Matthew Davis on December 12, 2014 at 8:32 am.

I tried to find the shot of the speedo from “Unstoppable” on line but couldn’t find it. Has anyone ever watched “Get Smart” with Steve Carrell? There is a chase scene in that movie that has a duplicate scene. They just paint the cars that are being passed a different color. It cracks me up.

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