Drivers’ Cinema: Days of Thunder (1990)
Tom Cruise made some exceptional films in the ’80s, and these films were created in conjunction with producers Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer. The two greats produced films such as Top Gun (1986) and The Color of Money (1986). In 1990 these men created another film with Cruise called Days of Thunder. This film pulls elements from both Top Gun and The Color of Money to create a story about a stock-car driver who has tons of potential but no sense of putting it to use. He faces rivalries, a mentor, and a love as he chases the dream for the title. This film faces its challenges but overall paints a picture of what we all would hope life as a NASCAR driver would be like. It just seems a little strange that Tom Cruise is missing the seemingly essential Southern accent.
Early stock car racing began in the ’20s and ’30s in Daytona Beach, Florida. The culture grew from the prohibition days as the Americans learned to love driving fast cars and hauling illegal substances from place to place. These hot rods did one thing and they did it well: go fast as hell. NASCAR is a particularly dangerous sport as seen throughout Days of Thunder. Personally, I would consider it to be more dangerous than Formula One, as the pack of cars is so tightly knit for the entirety of the race. There is a constant changing of positions and tons of paint swapping, which makes for an exhilarating experience.
This film tells a good story and had a few moments that had me cheering out loud. But I can get weird with car films, I just love them a little too much. If you have a free evening, buckle your five-point harness and flip on Days of Thunder to see Tom Cruise in his days of glory.