Released on June 27, 1990, Days of Thunder is perhaps the last great ’80s movie. It has all the hallmarks of that era, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman in her big hair phase, acid-washed jeans, and direction by Tony Scott, Ridley Scott’s more action-oriented brother. Produced by Simpson/Bruckheimer, it’s shot and edited in that pair’s preferred cocaine cut style.
Cruise of course plays the lead, a cocky stock car racer named Cole Trickle, which sounds exactly like a NASCAR driver’s name because it’s the same as that of the late Dick Trickle. Kidman naturally plays the love interest, a smart woman who’s dumb enough to fall for Cruise’s abrasive character, while the pit boss is played by Robert Duvall. He is probably the best thing going for the film. It’s remarkable in fact to learn that the script for Days of Thunder is co-credited to Robert Towne. He is the writer of such classics as Shampoo, China Town, and another Cruise flick, Mission Impossible. Almost as incongruous is seeing Michael Rooker (the Walking Dead’s Merle Dixon) with hair, here playing a track rival of Trickle’s
The racing genre is always a tough sell and while Cruise is a solid actor, he can’t bring any level of gravitas to this hokey NASCAR soap opera. It’s still worth a look as it is very much a product of its era. You could compare it to the more recent Rush, which, while based on actual events, is a similar story. Catch some Cruise right after the jump. … Continue Reading