Days Of Thunder

1990, Movie, PG-13, 106 mins

Review

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Tim Daland (Randy Quaid) owns a used car dealership but dreams of making his name on the stock car circuit. He persuades racing veteran Harry Hogge (Robert Duvall) to build him a car, on the condition that the car dealer find a suitable driver. Daland's discovery, Cole Trickle (Tom Cruise), makes his entrance on a motorcycle in a nimbus of golden dust and is unsuitable in almost every way. But he wants to drive, wants to win, and is a natural behind the wheel. After a rocky start, Trickle begins winning races and earns the good-natured enmity of champion Rowdy Burns (Michael Rooker), a good old boy with a dream: to stop racing and work the farm he's bought for his family. Trickle's dark night of the soul comes in the form of a near-fatal accident. He and Burns wind up at the same hospital under the care of Dr. Claire Lewicki (Nicole Kidman). Trickle's recovery is aided by his affair with the delectable doctor, but when he returns to the track, he has lost his edge.

DAYS OF THUNDER reunites the key players responsible for the hit TOP GUN--flamboyant producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer, director Tony Scott, and star Cruise--and it should comes as no surprise that the movie was referred to as "Top Car" during its making. No one really expects an action movie to resonate with profound meaning, but the shallowness of DAYS OF THUNDER is extraordinary even by genre standards. Written by Robert Towne, one of the most highly respected screenwriters in Hollywood and the author of CHINATOWN, it oozes cynicism and contempt for its audience. Designed as a summer date machine, DAYS OF THUNDER delivers only the bare essentials. Boys, the reasoning seems to go, will be lured into the theater by the siren call of gasoline and super-charged engines, while their girl friends will tag along to get a look at Cruise in tight jeans. leave a comment

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