I was watching a new movie just the other day, and one of the first scenes was filmed in a car which was going down the road, at least supposedly. It was a newer car, one in which I knew the locks would automatically lock above a few mph, but these remained unlocked. For some reason it stuck out like a sore thumb, and the first thing I thought was the car was stationary and the moving background was fake.
I shook my head. Why can’t Hollywood get it right? It doesn’t seem like those little details should be so hard. The funny thing is that it was one of the least of the automotive infractions I’ve seen over the years. I saw another movie lately where the unfortunate car got destroyed worse than it would have in a demolition derby. Yet it kept going and smashing into more cars when there was clearly no way it would have ever survived even remotely that long.
But the star of the movie still drove it home. What’s worse is when a mechanic came to get it the next day, he got out of his truck, took one glance at the car (which certainly would have been a total loss), and said “well, the engine’s going to fall out, the brakes are shot, and the driveshaft is bent, it’s going to take a while.”
Really? That’s the best they could do? If there was anything on the car that wasn’t bent, it was probably the driveshaft! And without even bending over to look under the car, how would he know that? It’s not too often you see an engine fall out, hang if a mount is broken, okay, but when it’s bolted to a transmission and there’s a frame crossmember underneath each, that’s the last thing that’s going to fall out.
I also didn’t know it was that easy to hotwire a car. All you do is reach under that dash and yank on the first wires you come to. Two of them will miraculously be stripped, then you quickly brush them together twice and they will produce sparks each time. Then on the third time, you can just twist them together and the car will start and run fine. Piece of cake!
Perhaps my favorite of all time was the “automatic manual.” They wanted to make the old car in the movie appear as an old school muscle car with a 4-speed manual trans. But it was an automatic. So, what do you do? Bolt a shifter to the floor so there’s something to hang onto, then when shifting gears, get a strategic camera angle of the driver’s feet so you could see the action of pressing on the clutch pedal, then shift the fake shifter.
Problem was, there was no clutch pedal. The large automatic pedal was still there, and the driver’s left foot was just pressing on air. Then, after the race, he put it in park using the column-mounted automatic shifter. Oh well, it was still a good movie.
I love movies, especially car movies, and I know there’s hardly anything that’s actually real anymore, but can’t they find anyone who knows anything about cars? At least try. It makes movies like Bullitt that much better. And who can forget “My Cousin Vinny.” Finally, a movie where they actually got some facts right!