Days of Thunder Preview

With Patrick back at the apartment blazing the k’board on some dynamic AI features for their FMV video game, Jamie is off to the Super Dope Toys factory for a little R&D on the big Rich & Poe toy give away. On his guided tour through the surreal factory he gazes about with a childlike sense of wonder. There’s Eldric the Elephant, his favorite toy as a child! And the dastardly Dr. Cybotronic, with his stethoscope that shoots laser beams! Novelty farts! Novelty darts! Novelty darts shaped like farts! In his glee he finds himself separated from the group and lost in what seems like a never ending maze. Suddenly a door appears before him marked ‘Top Secret.’ Jamie hesitates, but eventually concludes that nobody likes a secret. Secrets are for sharing. But when he opens the door he only sees a dumb ol’ tank of water far below at the bottom of the room. A chill runs down his spine as he hears the door close behind him. Now trapped, the walkway he is standing on begins to slowly lower into the water. An alarm sounds and Jamie becomes acutely aware that he’s not alone. There is something in the water… something big. A periscope emerges and, being a submarine expert, Jamie recognizes the sounds of tubes flooding. That submarine is ready to strike and here he is without a single depth charge. Thinking quickly he jumps on the jetski conveniently waiting nearby. But this ain’t time for any old jetski action, Jamie knows it time to kick it up a notch. “Let’s do the dew,” he says, popping a can of refreshing Mountain Dew into the jetski’s gas tank, “cause I got the need, the need for speed.” And with that he roars away. That’s right! Close enough, cause this week we’re doing an actually good movie that somehow got bad reviews. That would be Days of Thunder starring the always in need of speed Tom Cruise. We didn’t choose it for its bad reviews as it’s admittedly pretty close to not qualifying. We chose it for its killer soundtrack including Show Me Heaven by Maria McKee which hit #1 on the UK charts (oh, and also a video game too). Let’s go!

Days of Thunder (1990) – BMeTric: 29.8; Notability: 73

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 11.6%; Notability: top 3.6%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 31.1% Higher BMeT: Rocky V, Ghost Dad, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection, Wings of the Apache, 3 Men and a Little Lady, RoboCop 2, Navy Seals, Ernest Goes to Jail, Desperate Hours, Another 48 Hrs., Hard to Kill, Air America, The Rookie, The Guardian, Bird on a Wire; Higher Notability: RoboCop 2, Predator 2; Lower RT: Ghost Dad, Spaced Invaders, Wings of the Apache, Meet the Applegates, Where the Heart Is, Delta Force 2: The Colombian Connection, Heart Condition, Ernest Goes to Jail, Opportunity Knocks, Air America, Everybody Wins, The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, Brain Dead, Too Much Sun, Graffiti Bridge, Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Navy Seals, Short Time, Stella, Another 48 Hrs. and 26 more; Notes: Low 6’s is exactly what I would have expected for a film like this for IMDb. The Notability is something else though, wow. We’ve been smashing some 50+ Notabilities in this cycle (I guess that’s why they get movie tie-ins). Seems to genuinely have been the biggest non-sequel by that metric in 1990 which is incredible.

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – Kidman has little to do as the love interest and doesn’t make much of an impression. And Cruise is so efficiently packaged in this product that he plays the same role as a saint in a Mexican village’s holy day procession: It’s not what he does that makes him so special; it’s the way he manifests everybody’s faith in him.

(This is a really weird review, and at the same time probably explains how people actually saw Tom Cruise at the time. He was a bonafide movie star. And if not that quite yet, he was one in the making. An action star, but versatile enough that you’ll believe him in Cocktail, and someone people might have seen as a young, I don’t know … Paul Newman? This would be the last BMT film for Cruise for basically a decade, he’d effectively star in A Few Good Men and then only good films until the 2000s.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPXL4_eZ4-M/

(Reminds me of Youngblood. I just hope he has a montage scene where he’s hitting a sack of straw on a farm or something to build up his muscles. That reminds me … we should watch Youngblood.)

Directors – Tony Scott – (Known For: Top Gun; Beverly Hills Cop II; True Romance; Enemy of the State; Unstoppable; Spy Game; Deja Vu; Crimson Tide; The Hunger; The Last Boy Scout; The Taking of Pelham 123; Future BMT: Domino; The Fan; Revenge; Man on Fire; BMT: Days of Thunder; Notes: Brother of Ridley Scott. During the 2000s he worked in television, and won two Emmys for his television movies and miniseries (The Gathering Storm, and Gettysburg). Committed suicide in 2012, apparently after a lengthy battle with cancer and poor prognosis.)

Writers – Robert Towne (story & screenplay) – (Known For: Mission: Impossible; Chinatown; The Firm; Mission: Impossible II; Bonnie and Clyde; Frantic; The Two Jakes; The Parallax View; Shampoo; Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes; Tequila Sunrise; The Missouri Breaks; The Last Detail; Orca; Heaven Can Wait; Ask the Dust; 8 Million Ways to Die; The Yakuza; Personal Best; Cisco Pike; Future BMT: Deal of the Century; Love Affair; BMT: Days of Thunder; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Written Film Grossing Over $100 Million for Mission: Impossible in 1997; Notes: Nominated for four Oscars (won for Chinatown). His career started writing and acting in Roger Corman films.)

Tom Cruise (story) – (BMT: Days of Thunder; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for The Mummy in 2018; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1989 for Cocktail; and in 2006 for War of the Worlds; Notes: This is one of two projects on IMDb for which Cruise is listed as a writer. The other? The upcoming SpaceX project which he has an illustrious “idea” credit. Crazy that Cruise never really felt the need to write films for himself like Stallone and others.)

Actors – Tom Cruise – (Known For: The Outsiders; Top Gun; Tropic Thunder; Mission: Impossible – Fallout; Eyes Wide Shut; A Few Good Men; Rain Man; Collateral; Edge of Tomorrow; Oblivion; Mission: Impossible; Jack Reacher; Minority Report; War of the Worlds; The Last Samurai; Magnolia; Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol; Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation; Jerry Maguire; Future BMT: Jack Reacher: Never Go Back; Lions for Lambs; Legend; BMT: The Mummy; Endless Love; Cocktail; Days of Thunder; Vanilla Sky; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for The Mummy in 2018; Winner for Worst Screen Couple in 1995 for Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and The Specialist; and Nominee for Worst Actor in 1989 for Cocktail; and in 2006 for War of the Worlds; Notes: Nominated for three Oscars (Magnolia, Born on the Fourth of July, Jerry Maguire). Famously he is extremely high up in Scientology, was married to Mimi Rogers, Nicole Kidman and Katie Holmes.)

Nicole Kidman – (Known For: Aquaman; Bombshell; Eyes Wide Shut; Moulin Rouge!; The Killing of a Sacred Deer; Lion; Destroyer; The Golden Compass; The Prom; Panic Room; The Others; The Upside; Cold Mountain; Australia; The Hours; Dogville; The Beguiled; Stoker; Paddington; Happy Feet; Future BMT: Bewitched; The Stepford Wives; Nine; The Invasion; Billy Bathgate; Practical Magic; Secret in Their Eyes; Before I Go to Sleep; The Goldfinch; BMT: Batman Forever; Trespass; Days of Thunder; Just Go with It; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Screen Couple for Bewitched in 2006; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actress for Just Go with It in 2012; Notes: Born in Hawaii, but notably Australian. Nominated for four Oscars (won for The Hours). Has done a lot of television recently including Top of the Lake, Big Little Lies, and The Undoing.)

Robert Duvall – (Known For: The Godfather; Apocalypse Now; The Godfather: Part II; Jack Reacher; Widows; Falling Down; The Chase; The Conversation; The Judge; To Kill a Mockingbird; Deep Impact; Secondhand Lions; The Road; Sling Blade; M.A.S.H.; Bullitt; Network; Invasion of the Body Snatchers; The Handmaid’s Tale; Open Range; Future BMT: Four Christmases; Something to Talk About; Lucky You; John Q; Newsies; BMT: The Scarlet Letter; Days of Thunder; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Gods and Generals; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for The Scarlet Letter in 1996; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor for Newsies in 1993; Notes: When just starting out he lived with Dustin Hoffman and was good friends with Jack Nicholson. Was nominated for 7 Oscars, and won for Tender Mercies.)

Budget/Gross – $55 million / Domestic: $82,670,733 (Worldwide: $157,920,733)

(That actually doesn’t seem so bad. I always say this, but I assume they were going for something more like Top Gun in the end which made nearly $200 million domestically. Not that that means there would have been a sequel or anything … although given Top Gun 2 is coming out, maybe we can get Days of Thunder 2 with Cole Trickle as the team owner or something.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 38% (25/65): Days of Thunder has Tom Cruise and plenty of flash going for it, but they aren’t enough to compensate for the stock plot, two-dimensional characters, and poorly written dialogue.

(Yeah, so “stock plot” is basically the moral of every single bad review of this film. I think the critics genuinely got offended that the plot is basically identical to Top Gun (just swap jets for cars). Reviewer Highlight: This is the kind of monstrously overgrown commercial movie that depends entirely on the microscopic pleasures of having one`s most routine expectations fulfilled. – Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune.)

Poster – Days of Funder

(Yes. Into it. One note: could we perhaps make Tom Cruise’s face bigger? No? It’s literally the biggest face of all time? Got it. Still like the artistry. Obviously the font is dope (and I say that unironically). Tells me this is all about speed. I’m good to go. A.)

Tagline(s) – You can’t outrun the thunder. (B-)

(I don’t know what this actually means, but it’s amazing. Basically the movie is telling you that you can’t help but watch it because it’s so fun and awesome. No matter how hard you try to run away from watching Days of Thunder you will fail. Bump it up cause it sounds good, but like… this is nonsense.)

Keyword – racing

Top 10: Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006), Le Mans ’66 (2019), Ready Player One (2018), The Social Network (2010), Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999), 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Cars 3 (2017), Speed Racer (2008), Days of Thunder (1990), Planes (2013)

Future BMT: 46.2 Smokey and the Bandit Ride Again (1980), 40.9 Planes (2013);

BMT: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003), Days of Thunder (1990)

(Nothing super interesting since the keyword seems pretty sparse. At the very least a bunch are missing (the Cannonball Runs come to mind). But it is a good idea to keep Smokey and the Bandit in mind going forward.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 13) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Nicole Kidman is No. 3 billed in Days of Thunder and No. 2 billed in Trespass, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 3 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 13. There is no shorter path at the moment.

Notes – Dr. Jerry Punch revealed that Tom Cruise approved Nicole Kidman to be his love interest in the film after it was suggested that Cruise see her performance in “Dead Calm (1989),” after a recommendation by Dr. Punch to director Tony Scott.

Production began without a finished script. Scenes were often written the day of filming. During one driving sequence, Tom Cruise actually had to read his lines off cue cards attached to his windshield, which resulted in a minor car accident. For subsequent driving sequences, Cruise was fitted with a special earpiece to have lines fed to him.

Some footage for the movie was shot during the 1990 Daytona 500. Two additional cars, driven by Bobby Hamilton and Tommy Ellis, were added to the rear of the field for the express purpose of shooting them for this film. They were not officially scored, and left the racetrack after one hundred miles (forty laps) were completed. At one point in the race, leader Dale Earnhardt even lapped the movie cars. (That is some insane shit)

Real-life Hendrick Motorsports pit crew member Mike Slattery served as an extra for Cole’s crew. After hearing what the stuntmen’s pay would be, he asked for the opportunity to do some of the stunts. However, when he saw how close the car came to the stuntmen, he changed his mind saying, “They can have it!”

The movie was conceived by Tom Cruise when he and Paul Newman were allowed to test one of Rick Hendrick’s race cars. Tom’s first lap was in excess of one hundred eighty miles per hour.

Don Simpson, Jerry Bruckheimer, and sometimes Robert Towne, often started their days on-set having arguments with Tony Scott over how to shoot scenes.

Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall characters are (very) loosely based on former driver Tim Richmond and his crew chief Harry Hyde. Richmond was known as an overnight sensation, and Hyde was the veteran crew chief. The scene where Duvall’s character teaches Cruise about tire management is based on an actual incident between Hyde and Richmond, who died from complications from AIDS the year before the film was released.

The scene where Cole leaves the pits after a race, to hit Russ Wheeler, is based on an actual event during the 1987 All-Star race at Charlotte, North Carolina, between drivers Bill Elliott and Dale Earnhardt. (It wasn’t quite the same, Elliot and Bodine drove up beside him and bumped him after the race, they didn’t smash directly into the side of their car!)

NASCAR driver Greg Sacks did most of Tom Cruise’s stunt driving. Cruise wanted to do his own stunt driving, but wasn’t allowed to for insurance reasons. The Chevrolets were prepared by Rick Hendrick’s racing team, which later used some of the movie cars in real races. Thirty-five cars were wrecked during filming.

According to Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Tom Cruise had a meeting with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. prior to the production of the film. It was rumored that Earnhardt was offered the role of Rowdy Burns, but he turned it down because he did not want to play the bad guy.

All cars used in the movie for the races had to pass inspection and qualify. Bobby Hamilton qualified one of the movie cars in the top ten.

At Daytona for the final race of the movie “Gentlemen Start Your Engines” is the voice of Burt Reynolds

In an effort to give a more realistic atmosphere, professional racing broadcasters were brought in to play the broadcast reporters and track announcers. Key among these were members of ESPN’s racing crew, including Booth Announcer Bob Jenkins, and Pit Reporter Dr. Jerry Punch.

Nicole Kidman wanted to study neurosurgery for her part, but the producers told her it would be a waste of time.

Donna W. Scott was cast by Don Simpson when he was casting roles for the film. They began dating afterwards, leading to Donna getting a small role as a “pit girl” in the film and spending almost two months on-set. After she broke up with Simpson, she began dating Tony Scott. They would eventually get married and have two children before he died in 2012.

In Daytona, Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer spent $400,000 to have a vacant storefront in their hotel converted into their private gym, with a large neon sign reading “Days of Thunder”. Simpson also kept a closet full of Donna Karan dresses to offer the attractive women his assistants found on the beach, and held private parties with friends like rapper Tone Loc. They threw a special welcome party for the crew at a local nightclub with minimal food and drink, and no music, but plenty of hookers they flew in, most of whom they limited to a roped-off VIP area with themselves and Tom Cruise. (uh … allegedly?)

Upon seeing the film “the King” Richard Petty (so named because he holds the record for most wins in NASCAR Grand National history) said of the movie, “the only thing they got right was the numbers on the side of the cars

Awards – Nominee for the Oscar for Best Sound (Charles M. Wilborn, Donald O. Mitchell, Rick Kline, Kevin O’Connell, 1991)

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