If you haven’t seen ‘Days of Thunder’, it’s basically the exact plot of ‘Top Gun’, except all the airplanes are racecars and the story is significantly slower and more ponderous. But that didn’t stop Hemal and Brian from watching the film for the Ten Movies podcast and that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying this delightful episode.
Tom Cruise leans heavily into type here, playing a cocky young hotshot racecar driver who is (say it with us) the best of the best. With the help of Robert Duvall, the world’s greatest pit crew chief, he wins a lot of races and dates Nicole Kidman, but then he gets in a wreck and is sad, but then he’s the best of the best again. A simple, age-old tale, perhaps, but it takes a long time to get through because they show a LOT of car races.
Released in 1990, ‘Days of Thunder’ reunited Tom Cruise with Tony Scott, director of ‘Top Gun’, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer for a legendarily troubled production. There was also an extensive promotional advertising tie-in campaign for Mello-Yello, a once top-tier soda that Wikipedia informs us “is still sold as a fountain drink at various locations including Arby’s and Cracker Barrel”, if that tells you how well that worked out for those guys.
Brian and Hemal had mixed feelings about the film. Brian objected to all the interminable car racing and ponderous narrative structure, while Hemal was more upset that they got the pace car rules wrong. Either way, you should probably listen to this episode.