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Hoonivercinema: Best Motoring Super Battle

I’m a huge Best Motoring fan and I was deeply saddened when they closed their doors in 2011. The variation that the Best Motoring International series offered, from the Track and Touge Battles to Gymkhana runs, was a more enthusiast-minded environment than the comparable fact driven Motorweek.

Of all the battles, the Super Battle from 2006 reigns king. It’s an automotive David vs Goliath with a NSX-R and Murcielago trading places, which is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat.

… Continue Reading

My Weekend Didn’t Suck

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Last weekend, Mrs. Tanshanomi and I got away for an extended weekend and spent two days snowmobiling in the Arapahoe National Forest with a few friends. The Grand Lake area is a snowmobile mecca, and these three minutes of video demonstrate why. Needless to say, we came back in a very, very good mood.

Living at 1000 feet ASL and much too far south, snowmobiling is not really a practical option for us most of the time, so this sort of activity is something special for us that we only get to do every couple of years. Back in the mid ’80s, I did work in a Twin Cities Yamaha dealer for several seasons and stole demo sleds on the weekends as often as they’d let me. However, as much fun as snowmobiling is in the Midwest, it pales in comparison to the environment and vistas the Continental Divide offers.

Our Polaris 550 Trail Touring sleds were the sort of typically low-spec machine common to rental establishments: an old-style, short-tracked model powered by a fan-cooled 550cc two-stroke twin. It was pleasant enough on the trail, but had neither the lungs nor the track length to venture into anything other than hard-packed snow. Among hardcore ‘bilers, Polaris sleds — especially their two strokes — have a chorus of detractors, but the fact that all of our sleds were in fairly serviceable condition after six years and 12-15K of hard rental use is a testament to the design’s underlying robustness. The only problems we had were a couple of inop electric starters and grip heaters (the latter the victims of obvious crash damage).

This video was taken with the Chinese “Xtreme HD” action camera I’ve been playing with for a couple of years now.

The soundtrack is one I found on Newgrounds, which I’ll give a plug for here because it’s a fantastic community and a great source for Creative Commons licensed works.

Hoonivercinema- Monday Movie Trailer

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Everybody loves an anti-hero, the character that plays by their own rules and doesn’t take you-can’t-do-that for an answer. You don’t get much more anti-heroic than a car salesman (sorry car salesmen) and no one is better at playing an anti-hero A-hole than Jeremy Piven. Did you know he was in Black Hawk Down?

In The Goods, Live Hard, Sell Hard, the only thing going down is car sales, and in this comedy Piven plays a fixer salesman at his smarmiest. Piven’s Don Ready leads a crew of sales ‘professionals’ that includes Ving Rhames, David Koechner, and Kathryn Hahn, and they are called in by a failing dealership to sell 200 cars over the 4th of July weekend. They’re not the only recognizable faces in the film, and in fact if you’re a fan of the U.S. Office TV show, you’ll recognize a few favorites from that cast.

The movie earned a mediocre 27% on Rottentomatoes, but you can’t tell that from the trailer, which is damn funny. I’m sorry about the trailer’s intro but it’s the only version I could find that was (A) HD quality, and (B) not a red band NSFW version. Anyway, ignore the first 10 seconds or so, and enjoy the rest, especially Ving Rhames’ bit about being away from home. … Continue Reading

Hooninvercinema- Monday Movie Trailer

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It goes without saying that, over the course of its history, auto racing in the U.S. has not had a lot of African American participants. That’s a sad state of affairs and when an individual of color does get behind the wheel, and makes a name for themselves, it’s a noteworthy accomplishment.

One such driver was Wendell Scott, who after War II honed his driving skills piloting a cab and by running Moonshine in the hills of Virginia. Scott started racing in local events and went on to become the first African American driver in NSACR, and the first to win a Sprint Cup Series race. His battle to participate in the traditionally all-white sport is loosely documented in the 1977 film, Greased Lightning.

The movie stars the late, great Richard Pryor as Scott, the always awesome Pam Grier as his wife. Beau Bridges and Cleavon Little co-star. Also co-staring are a bunch of ’40s cars that get hooned ’til their wheels fall off and crash into just about everything in sight. In fact, the trailer would have you believe that Pryor’s Scott is the ONLY individual in the film that can competently drive. Check it out, right after the jump.

Hoonivercinema- Monday Movie Trailer

Flash of Genius

Everybody loves a David and Goliath story, one about a little guy overcoming both the odds and a vastly bigger foe. It’s empowering, and at least offers the illusion that we as a species value fairness and egalitarianism in all aspects of our lives. Of course that’s a bunch of baloney and the fact of the matter is that, if you don’t fight tooth and nail for what is rightfully yours, it will be taken from you without a second thought.

One such real-world fighter was Robert Kearns, who in 1964 received a U.S. patent for his invention of the automotive intermittent windshield wiper. The fight was necessary because Kearns alleged his invention was stolen from him by Detroit’s Goliath auto makers. The invention, discovery that he had been duped, and the courtroom battle that followed are the central themes of the 2008 movie Flash of Genius.

The film stars Greg Kinnear, who portrays Kearns as a salt-of-the-Earth midwestern man who prizes his dignity above all else. The real life Kearns was actually a coldly calculating  business man who obsession eventually drove away his wife – in the movie portrayed by Lauren Graham – and his six children.  The real-life Kearns passed away in 2005, before his story reached the screen. That story is based on the book Flash of Genius and Other True Stories of Invention by John Seabrook. The movie version is stripped of much of the greys of the real story, presenting a more black and white version of good and bad. It may not be 100% accurate in its recounting, but it is a rousing drama about the intricacies of the auto industry and the legal system. Check out the trailer right after the jump. … Continue Reading

Hoonivercinema- Monday Movie Trailer DOUBLE FEATURE!


Just exactly how many times does Nicolas Cage have to check out of Hell and fight ultimate evil in order to save someone he loves? Well, so far he’s done so on a motorcycle in Ghost Rider and – in a series of amazing American muscle cars – in Drive Angry, and today we’ve got them both. Compare and contrast.

Based on the Marvel comic book Graphic Novel, Ghost Rider has Cage playing Johnny Blaze, a motorcycle stunt rider who gives up his soul in return for the cure of his father’s cancer. Dad instead dies in a motorcycle accident, which doesn’t dissuade Johnny from becoming a stunt rider like his old man. Meanwhile, agents of the Devil offer Johnny his soul back in turn for his becoming a skeletal grim reaper of sorts who rides a flaming bike, and collects bad guys’ souls. Of course, there’s a pretty girl involved too.

In contrast, Cage’s character in Drive Angry is named John Milton (subtle, no?) who has broken out of Hell to save his granddaughter from a sacrifice by an evil cult leader. He’s followed by another agent of the Devil, played with hysterical deadpan by William Fichtner. Of course, there’s a pretty girl involved too.

Check out the trailers for this Cage match double feature right after the jump. … Continue Reading

Hoonivercinema- Monday Bonus Music Video

Gardena stock car race

This lede image is, sadly, not part of the music video here.  In fact, it isn’t a video at all, but it is a link to a Drive-By Truckers song called “Daddy’s Cup” on YouTube. The song is all about a father and son who live their lives for racing.  Given the subject matter, I have deemed it worthy of the Hooniverse.

… Continue Reading

Hoonivercinema- Monday Movie Trailer


Was Preston Tucker a conman, leading his investors down a blind alley with a sure to fail scheme of entering the hotly competitive U.S. auto market? Some would have you believe that was the case, but not Francis Ford Coppola. To him, Tucker was Jeff Bridges, and you can’t not love Jeff Bridges.

Tucker, The Man And His Dream portrays Tucker as a staunch family man and as an individual who stands behind his ideals, and up against the tyranny of the establishment.  In the 1988 film that establishment is the Big Three automakers, the heads of which Coppola presents as scheming defenders of the status quo not above bribing complicit politicians to stamp out upstart competitors. They eventually succeeded in the case of Tucker.

Is that how it really happened? Well, I don’t think it matters anymore, and Tucker, The Man And His Dream should be taken not as historical treatise, but as an allegory of the American dream. The film also gloriously recreates the Tucker car’s development and – using all the existing cars as props, as well as some hand-built models for stunts – will give you an overdose of what might have been. Check it out after the jump. … Continue Reading

Hoonivercinema- Monday Movie Trailer

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Considering all the car chase and crash movies made in the early ’70s it’s a wonder that there are any automobiles from the era left at all. If you believe Hollywood of the time, Detroit’s main purpose was to churn out cars that were predestined to end up in a roadside ditch or upside-down. One of the purveyors of this impression was Steven Spielberg, whose first full-length film was the TV movie Duel, and whose first theatrical feature was The Sugarland Express. Both of these films demonstrate a general distain for the automobile.

The Sugarland Express was released in 1974 and was not just directed by Spielberg, but was co-written by him as well. The story is based on an actual event but is heavily embellished. It’s about a woman – played by Goldie Hawn – who breaks her husband – Ghostbuster’s William Atherton – out of jail, and then leads every cop in Texas save for one, on a low-speed chase across the state. Hawn’s character is determined to be reunited with her baby, which the state has taken away. The one cop not involved in the chase is in fact in the car with Hawn and Atherton, having been kidnapped by the pair. There’s a good bit of Stockholm Syndrome thrown in for good measure, but mostly what this movie is about is two-lane and highway chases.

Those involve a slew of ’60s and ’70s American iron, but it seems like Buick get’s the star treatment. There’s a sweet 1956 Buick Roadmaster, a ’63 leSabre, ’65 Electra, and a ’67 Riviera all getting in on the action. And that action typically involves lots of tire squealing, body roll, and wayward hubcaps from those plus all the cop cars chasing the baby-seeking duo. The trailer after the jump was crated for a video release, and it gives you a good sense of the film’s tone, as well as a bunch of that car action. Check it out. … Continue Reading

Hoonivercinema- Monday Movie Trailer

Mini Skirt Mob

American International Pictures was founded in 1954 and their first release was The Fast and the Furious. No, not that Fast and Furious, but a B-grade black and white actioner in which a fugitive kidnaps a girl while carjacking her Jag. AIP developed a system for churning out low-budget grind house fare aimed at teens, one that their PR department called the Peter Pan Syndrome (hey, that sounds like a good title for a movie!). That posited that a younger child will watch what an older child would, but that an older child wouldn’t watch what younger kids would. They felt the same thing held true for girls who would watch what boys liked, but that boys would shun girly fare. This led the company to zero in on their ideal target audience – the 19-year old male.

I can’t think of a more appropriate audience for The Mini Skirt Mob, which AIP released as part of its 1968 slate. It’s an action film about an all-female motorcycle gang who are as adept at brawling as they are at keeping their bouffant hairdos in place while racing down the highway. It also has one of history’s best movie tailgates – They’re hog-straddling female animals on the prowl! I’m going to seek out opportunities to use the term ‘hog-straddling’ in conversation whenever possible. Hey, back to school night’s coming up!

The movie has girl fights and guy fights, motorcycle crashes – and a bevy of sweet sixties bikes – as well as molotov cocktails and some pretty campy acting. That acting is provided by a cast of mostly forgotten actors, however you will likely recognize Patty McCormack who had previously played the creepy little girl in The Bad Seed, and Harry Dean Stanton who you will know from damn near all your favorite films including Alien and Repo Man. 

The trailer itself is chock full of bikes and action – and mini skirts! – so check it out right after the jump. … Continue Reading


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