The First Annual Drivies
The Golden Globe Awards is a banal, self-congratulatory orgy of breathless acceptance speeches. Here, we give out awards for automotive excellence in film. Suck it, Hollywood.
Lingering uncertainty surrounding Leonardo DiCaprio's purported rape by grizzly bear in The Revenant not withstanding, we can by now agree: Awards Season is getting old. The span of months stretching from Labor Day until the Oscars telecast in late February can be fairly characterized by an obsession with prestige movies. Most people forget about them even before winners' names are engraved on their golden statuettes.
Mercifully, awards season is observed at The Drive with a different prize: the Drivie.
It's an honor of distinction handed out for automotive excellence in film, sure. But also a supercharged antidote for Golden Globe fatigue and full-throttle palliative for Academy Awards overload. With the Globes playing out Sunday in Hollywood, and with it an orgy of self-congratulation and breathless acceptance speeches, our winners are as follows.
Outstanding Achievement in High-Altitude Automotive Aeronautics…
Vin Diesel and Paul Walker jumping a $3.4 million Lykan HyperSport in Furious 7
How fitting that Paul Walker’s cinematic swan song should careen onto the screen in one of modern film’s most deliciously bonkers car sequences. In it, his cop-turned-outlaw-wheelman character and Vin Diesel’s Dom Torretto must escape from a commando squad in an Abu Dhabi high-rise complex. They have no choice but to hop into the Lykan, a vehicle with diamonds in its headlights and a gold-plated roof, and fly across blue Gulf State sky…into a neighboring skyscraper. But once there the Lykan’s brakes don’t work. (Gasp!) Our heroes have no recourse but to jump the car out the window into, you guessed it, a third skyscraper and escape.
The Built for Laughs Award…
The Griswold family's Tartan Prancer in Vacation
In 1983, National Lampoon’s Vacation set a high bar for vehicular nerdiness with a wood-paneled whip, the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, in which Chevy Chase pushed his family cross-country to Wally World. Updating the mother of all bad station wagons for last year’s franchise reboot, the filmmakers concocted something called the Tartan Prancer. It’s a veritable rolling butt plug that Ed Helms’ character touts to his skeptical brood as “the Honda of Albania.” Blessed with the latest Eastern European gadgetry, the Prancer boasts outside door handles that double as cup holders, CB radio and a removable steering wheel. None of those things come in handy. Ever.
Best Performance by a Steam Punk Monster Truck…
Doof Wagon & Bigfoot in Mad Max: Fury Road (tie)
Let’s be real: We could easily find excuses to give all the Drivies to Fury Road, a two-hour fever dream of asphalt rage, adrenalized misery and cruelly beautiful smash-ups set in the post-apocalyptic Australian outback. But, for the sake of argument, we narrowed our focus to celebrate two particularly outlandish vehicles. Based on the German high-mobility off-roading MAN KAT 1, Doof Wagon is stacked high with amplifiers and sub-woofers, providing a roving platform for a guitar-wielding maniac to crank out blistering heavy metal. Bigfoot, meanwhile, began life as a Forties-era Fargo truck. For the movie, it’s tricked out with a harpoon and belt-driven machine gun, a supercharged V-8 and 66-inch all-terrain tires swiped from a military supertanker. In other words, it’s the perfect thing to overrun and horribly maim roadside victims in the dystopian future.
The Hell on Two Wheels (with roof and lockable trunk) Award…
Melissa McCarthy's BMW C1 enclosed scooter in Spy
Unless you are European and/or a self-hating masochist, you really have no business driving one of these things: arguably the least cool, ugliest, slowest and most peculiar motorized vehicle ever mass produced. Which is probably why McCarthy’s bumbling secret agent operative is shown attempting to give chase in a C1 before the top-heavy scooter falls helplessly over onto Budapest’s cobblestone pavement. “Who puts a roof on a scooter?” she asks the unsuspecting guy from whom she grabbed it. “What are you, the pope?”
Most Laughable Car Chase Dialogue…
Everything Simon Pegg says in Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation
In the sequence, Tom Cruise’s super spy Ethan Hunt and Pegg’s computer whiz character Benji Dunn have traveled to Morocco to retrieve a list of Syndicate agents. But when it winds up stolen by double agent Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), the two throw a BMW coupe into high gear and go after her through winding Casbah streets. Pegg’s dialogue, uttered wild-eyed and just below screaming volume. Here, a full transcript:
“There she is!”
Heavy breathing, the car approaches a long stone staircase.
“Stairs! Stairs! Stairs! Stairs! Stairs! Stairs! Stairs! Stairs! Stairs! Stairs!” Motorcyclist overtakes car, starts shooting at Ilsa.
“Who’s this guy – oh shit!”
Screaming, car is pursued by a bunch of dudes on Ducatis.
“Go! Go! Go! Go! Go!”
BMW smashes into a bunch of stuff, bullets fly.
“I’m OK! I’m OK! I’m OK!”
Car takes a hairpin turn, nearly crashes into wall.
“Go! Go! Go! What?! What?! What?!—Ha!”
Turns to see bikers gaining on them.
“Here they come, what are you gonna do?!”
Tom Cruise asks if Pegg has his seat belt on.
“You’re going to ask me that now?!”
BMW flies through air.
Shakespearean drama, it is decidedly not.
Outstanding Performance by a Low-speed Extra-terrestrial ATV in a Musical or Comedy…
Matt Damon's rover in The Martian
Stranded on the Red Planet and left for dead, Matt Damon’s Mark Watney character gins up his Mars rover to do a bunch of stuff that NASA never intended: interplanetary text messaging, radioactive hand-warming and long-range missions across vast terrain. The outer-space jeep motors along slower than OJ Simpson’s White Bronco. But, hey, it’s got real world off-road racing credentials.
Best Car Chase (shaken-not-stirred)…
James Bond (Aston Matin DB10) and Mr. Hinx (Jaguar C-X75) drifting the streets of Rome in Spectre
Do the specific circumstances under which 007 takes off in a prototype V-12 coupe really matter? No. He’s getting away from the bad guy—in this case, a brick shithouse played by former pro wrestler Dave Bautista—behind the wheel of an experimental Jaguar supercar. Ripping along past tourism whistle stops like the Vatican and Colosseum, then culminating along a foot path beside the Tiber River, the eye-popping sequence reportedly cost $37 million and resulted in the destruction of no fewer than 10 Aston Martins.
Sexiest Swede not Based on a Steig Larsson Character…
Volvo P1800 from Bridge of Spies
As a lawyer endeavoring to free a captured U.S. pilot down over Soviet airspace during the Cold War, Tom Hanks takes a back seat to the car in which he’s driven in Steven Spielberg’s dramatic thriller: the iconic P1800. Hanks and an East German lawyer (Sebastian Koch) discuss something important in the era-appropriate ride, but you’d be forgiven for being distracted by the Volvo’s voluptuous shooting brake figure. As fan forum commenters have duly noted, you just don’t see Sweden’s answer to an Italian Dolce Vita Era two-door sports car on film often enough. So when you do (or when we do) you give it an award.
Best Paint Job…
The Bedford camper from Lady in the Van
It sounds more like a horror story than a British comedy: A kindly but borderline insane old spinster living in a dilapidated van parks in a man’s suburban driveway, then ends up staying there for 15 years. At one point, the plucky octogenarian—played by Dame Maggie Smith—attempts to paint her vintage commercial vehicle canary yellow to spruce things up. It’s a shade as eccentric as the character, one she admits has some “madeira cake” mixed in. “Monet himself could not have done it better,” observes a neighbor with plummy aplomb.
The “Sacré Shitbox!” Award…
Citroën DS Wagon from Infinitely Polar Bear
Mark Ruffalo plays a father with bipolar disorder straining the bonds of family in the Seventies-set drama. But surrounding his manic episodes is a string of sweet, sweet rides. Among them: a Triumph Spitfire, vintage Volvo and a, yes, a decrepit 1972 Citroën DS Wagon. The oddball estate offers a key insight to Ruffalo’s character, too. He may barely be in control of himself, but he has magnifique taste. Mental illness and hydro-pneumatic suspension go hand-in-hand.
Outstanding Product Placement…
Christian Grey’s garage in Fifty Shades of Grey
So the bad boy billionaire is an Audi man. When he isn’t flogging Anastasia, dribbling wine down her chin or making her sign non-disclosure agreements, Christian Grey is indulging his appreciation for a certain German auto manufacturer. A quick visit to his garage reveals a fleet of Audi sedans; the S6, S7 and S8, as well as a Q7 crossover SUV, are shown parked there. He buys Ana a red A3 as a graduation gift. Then, in another scene, the BDSM poster boy takes an R8 V10 Spider convertible out for a spin. Gives a whole new meaning to pushing the whip.
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