Racing Movie Project: Days of Thunder

Days of ThunderMovie: Days of Thunder

Year: 1990

Starring: Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid

Rating: ⚐⚐⚐ (out of 5)

My thoughts: On the eve of this year’s Daytona 500, the Racing Movie Project comes to an end with Days of Thunder. I purposely saved this movie for last. It had to be the one right before the Daytona 500 because this movie is unapologetically about nothing more than winning the Daytona 500. For me, one of the lines I always quote is, “You’ll build me a car, and I’ll win Daytona next year.” I believe that winning Daytona is important to every NASCAR driver, but I don’t sense the passion like Cole Trickle has.

I probably shouldn’t have watched Talladega Nights and Days of Thunder back to back. Because if Talladega Nights is a NASCAR comedy, Days of Thunder is a NASCAR unintentional comedy. Tom Cruise is so serious that it’s actually funny. (Or we’d also accept Top Gun on the track.) Also, I got John C. Reilly in back-to-back NASCAR movies. I totally forgot he was in this movie. (And a hat tip to Randy Quaid as not-Richard Childress.)

Days of Thunder also brought us one of the best NASCAR quotes — “Rubbin’ is racin’.” There certainly is a lot of rubbin’ in Days of Thunder. I don’t think there’s nearly as much these days. And a sign of how much things have changed in the 24 years (!) since Days of Thunder was made – no one would even blink at a NASCAR driver from California. In fact, there’s one who has won six NASCAR championships.

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