Hollywood has seen some incredible cars in its 100+ year history. From James Bond, The French Connection, Bullitt and the Bourne films, there’s nothing quite like a great car sequence in a movie. Iconic and cool, a film with a great car chase can become ingrained in the memory.
Unfortunately, not every car in Hollywood’s rich history can be the kind of car that Steve McQueen or Sean Connery would be proud to sit at the wheel of (although in some cases it would be amusing to see it). There are cars that are just plain terrible. Some intentionally for comedic effect, for example and others that just don’t work. Here’s a look at a few cars that failed to set the silver screen alight for various reasons:
The Van from Little Miss Sunshine
One of the coolest images of travelling and a life spent on the road is that of the minibus, and the Volkswagen Minibus can be synonymous with that image. But not in the case of the yellow Minibus that features in the Oscar-winning 2006 film Little Miss Sunshine.
The entire Hoover family are driving across America from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Redondo Beach in California in a clamped out yellow Volkswagen T2 Minibus so that their seven year old daughter Olive can compete in the Little Miss Sunshine’ beauty pageant. Their journey takes many interesting turns, which is more than what can be said about the family van, which breaks down pretty quickly into the 800 mile trip after the clutch breaks.
In most cases, the minibus would be dumped and the six-strong family would put their cash together to buy a new vehicle. But the Hoover’s are broke and short on time, so taking the frankly poor and dangerous advice from a garage owner, the Hoover’s collectively push the van until it reaches 20 mph and then jump in the van and head for the horizon. This makes for hilarious scenes, and puts the Hoover fan into the rubbish cars hall of fame.
Tommy Callaghan’s Plymouth Belvedere GTX
The late Chris Farley was a master of playing loveable idiots who could turn an ordinary situation into an accident-ridden nightmare. In the 1995 comedy Tommy Boy, Farley is on a road trip across the country, trying to sell 500,000 brake pads that’ll save the auto-parts company that his Father and his ancestors have built over successive generations.
The Plymouth Belvedere GTX gets a tougher ride than most movie cars do, including having a door ripped off when backing out of a gas station with it open and the front bonnet flipping open when Tommy leaves a can of WD40 in the engine, leaving Tommy with no visual on a busy road and leading him into oncoming traffic and then off the road into a field.
But that’s nothing compared to the moment that an act of kindness puts paid to the car. After hitting a deer, sweet natured Tommy puts it into the backseat, not wanting to leave it in the road. Then suddenly, as he is driving peacefully down the road, the simply unconscious deer wakes up, panics, and proceeds to beat the living hell out of the car until it’s an empty shell, leaving an open-mouthed Tommy to watch in awe as Bambi’s buddy strolls off to freedom.
KITT from Knight Rider
This will be a controversial choice for some, but KITT has not aged well. He’s also pretty rubbish. No offence to William Daniels, who provided the voice, but KITT is pretty boring. Michael Knight and his team should have made him a wise-cracking bad-ass or a sassy chick, instead you get a professor type with a flashing red light that looks like he’s sticking his tongue out at Michael. The remake of the old series doesn’t do a whole lot better, making KITT more aggressive and with better special effects and gadgets. It didn’t stop it getting cancelled after just one season. Nostalgia can play funny tricks on people. Knight Rider is poor. Believe it!
Late Nineties Bat Mobiles
Between Tim Burton’s dark comic book adaptations of Batman and Christopher Nolan’s epic Dark Knight Trilogy, there were two films that most film fans and definitely the majority of Batman fans have blocked from their memories. Batman Forever and the even worse Batman and Robin were damp, camp and terrifyingly bad.
In the majority of cases, bad action films will at least have good cars. A good car chase or some action sequences that exist purely for blowing things up in very cool ways can be enough to redeem a film. These two Batman films couldn’t even pull off a decent Batmobile. It had flashing lights and neon colours, resembling a Lady Gaga dress rather than a film. Give us Nolan’s Tumblers any day of the week.
Ace Ventura’s ’72 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
All good detectives need a good car. It’s a common staple in the movie world, and the majority of movie gumshoes will have cool vehicles to ride around in: smoking, drinking, wisecracking and womanising as they go. Ace Ventura is not an ordinary detectiveâ€¦ Or a particularly successful one. He’d rather let a woman take his pants off than be paid for a job. Although that may not sound like a bad deal, it definitely doesn’t help him in the success stakes.
After taking a stolen puppy back to its rightful owner, the vengeful thief promptly takes a baseball bat to Ventura’s car. For the rest of the film, the broken windscreen and lack of side mirrors results in Ventura hanging out the side of his car while he’s driving. It’s not a good look, but it’s pretty damn funny.