Saturday, April 21, 2007

32:07 the movie. This one is for Doug.

Great movie.

If you've followed lists of racing movies, you know, things like Gran Prix, Le Mans, etc... then you'll like this.

If you've enjoyed movies like Cannonball Run, you'll love it!

A documentary made out of friendship, loyalty, and respect... 32:07 eclipses the "documentary" style film making (dull, poor editing  lousy music) and catches the excitement and passion of the drivers of the real Cannonball Runs of the 1970's, and the US Express of the 80's, and adds the logistics and planning of a New York to LA run,  but also includes the film making from inside the car.

The first half is very cool,  leading up to the reason for the film maker - Cory Welles - had for giving the history of the runs in the recent past (the 100 year ago reasons of vehicle proving endurance exploits are long gone) and Cory nails it.

Why did the Cannnonball Run drivers risk jail, tickets, car accidents, and everything that can go wrong for 2700 miles? This movie fills you in, and resets your memory of what the 70's loose free life was for endurance thrills like driving from the East coast tot he West coast. We Americans used to have fun doing things like that, and that is at the core of the name "Cannonball Run" because it was named for Cannonball Baker who would try to set new records for getting his motorcycle from coast to coast in the 1930's.

Cory has also set her movie pacing in more than just documenting the event she participates in as a filmmaker, she knows what she is doing... she hooks your interest, fills your resulting curiosity about if the 32 hour and 7 minute record that was set in 1983 can be broken, and provoked me to think about the many facets of accomplishing such a bucket list life event.

How was it that the 1971 and 70's Cannonballers were able to pull off the race in basically the times as todays cars, without the onboard computers, without the GPS point by point mapping, without the radar detectors/jammers and without mobile internet, updated weather reports, traffic reports, construction calendars, without modern high perf radial / all weather / rain handling tires, without the fuel injected modern engines and all wheel Brembo braked traction assisted suspension?

Dan Gurney (you know, expert race car driver) was on the Cannonball winning team of 1971, and made it in 365 hours. Only 4 hours more than the 1983 winners. The 1983 winners are of course not in Dan's level of virtuoso high speed driving and racing decision making abilities, so how did they not get farther ahead of his time with all the advantages of 12 years of car technology?

This movie got me thinking about it, and you will likely be as engrossed in the questions I raised as much as I am.

They get answered while watching. Yes. You'll have to work out some, but this movie is the key to delving into the roughly 32 hours on the freeways coping techniques that all the drivers and teams have had to figure out. Vans, Rvs, race cars, sports cars, bikes, and trucks have all made the trek, but 32:07 was the record that stood from 1983, and when the interviewed teams and drivers tell you that it wasn't possible (it was, it did happen, that is a fact - not a result of a cheat) and some are positively hating the driving team that did it in a 308 Ferrari for never wavering from the story of how they did it.

See, you have to average about 90 miles an hour, for about 32 hours, no matter what happens. Fuel stops, food, bathroom breaks, police, toll booth stops, tires, construction, snow or rain on the roads... all of the obstacles and delays that happen can't change that to make the run in 32 hours, you've got to go much faster than 90 miles an hour to offset the stops, delays, and slow driving that will occur.

So when Cory made it her mission to prove that a family friend did the record with integrity, she went all the way to making a run happen.

You've maybe heard about Alex Roy, and how he outfitted a BMW M5 for Gumball Rally racing, both in America and Europe, it was all over the news about 5 or 6 years ago. Night vison, radar detectors, police scanners, radar jammers, and all the rest.

Well, when he got involved with the movie, as an investor, he became curious, and one thing led to another, and then Cory realized that her movie, his experience, and together they could accomplish the monumental task of proving the 32:07 wasn't less than, but damn near a perfect run, and finally have evidence to squash all the detractors, haters, and naysayers.

In conclusion, best movie about racing you'll see this year, or next. Senna was good, but that was last year. (For me anyway)

If you have a movie shelf in the garage for racing movies, 32:07 has earned a place beside the best. Not a Hollywood production, no stars, no movie studio pulling the strings and censoring the rare occasional swear (I like that bit of realism), and no execs to steer it to one thing or another. Like "Boys of Bonneville" and "Vintage Racing Today"   this is a terrific racing movie, and similarly it exposes a perspective of the car enthusiast that other movies haven't.

Fathers day is coming up, so are birthdays, and lucky for us Cory made a great movie to make gift giving a snap.

The Wikipedia entry about the Cannonball Baker trophy dash can explain much more about the race history.

The "Wired" magazine article link here