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The ten coolest cars in movie history

The ten coolest cars in movie history (photo)

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This week’s excellent new film “Bellflower” features one amazing automotive co-star: the Medusa, built by the main characters in preparation for the apocalypse. The Medusa is a sick ride: it’s got two fuel injected exhaust flamethrowers, a loudspeaker intercom system, a roll cage, and even spews smoke screens on command.

In other words, this is one cool movie car. But where does it rank in the history of coolest cinematic automobiles? I’d put it just outside our top ten favorites, and by our I mean my, and by favorites I mean totally subjective favorites that you’ll disagree with and give me grief about. Here they are:


10. The Ecto-1
1959 Cadillac Ambulance, modified
From “Ghostbusters” (1984)
Directed by Ivan Reitman

Bulky, clunky, and old, the Ghostbusters’ signature ambulance isn’t the prettiest car to look at. Still, all that weird sciencey equipment designed to trap spooks, spectres, or ghosts, plus the great red on white detailing and “Ghostbusters” logo make it an eye-catcher. Plus every child who played “Ghostbusters” growing up in the 1980s does a dead-on impression of that unmistakable siren. Even better, I’m pretty sure if you had one of these and drove it around the streets of New York City in 2011, you would get laid faster than you could cross the streams.


9. Cobra’s Merc
1950 Mercury Monterey, modified
From “Cobra” (1986)
Directed by George P. Cosmatos

What 1950 did L.A. cop Marion Cobretti’s beloved Mercury Monterey come from? Definitely not ours. It must belong to some weird alternate 1950 where cars are designed to break the laws of physics: driving backwards down the highway at absurd speeds, rolling over other cars like a monster truck, jumping off parking garages like a parkour racer (a par-car?) and practically flying over the canals at Venice Beach. This unstoppable tank was still ahead of its time in 1986. Fifteen years before the first “Fast & Furious,” Cobretti had already outfitted his Merc with nitro for crazy speed boosts.


8. Cameron’s Dad’s Ferrari
1961 Ferrari 250GT Spyder California
From “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986)
Directed by John Hughes

“Less than one hundred were made,” Ferris Bueller’s best buddy Cameron says of his dad’s prized 1961 Ferrari. In fact, the car was even rarer. Less than 100 were made of all the Ferrari Spyders between 1958 and 1963, at least according to this article on last year’s auction of the replica car used in the film. Cameron’s father — who understandably calls the Ferrari his love and his passion — would kill his son if he found out he was driving it. But the car is so friggin’ cool that no one would pass up that opportunity to take it out for a tour of Chicago. When Ferris, Cameron, and Sloane leave it at a parking garage, the attendants swipe it for a joyride too. And, man, do those arcing slo-mo jumps through the streets of the Windy City look beautiful.


7. Frankenstein’s Monster
1970 Chevrolet Corvette, heavily modified
From “Death Race 2000” (1975)
Directed by Paul Bartel

It’s a car that looks like a lizard’s head with headlights for eyes and fangs for a grill. It runs people over. ‘Nuff said.


6. Stuntman Mike’s Death Proof Car
1971 Chevrolet Nova, modified
From “Death Proof” (2007)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino

The heroines of “Death Proof” obsess over a white 1970 Dodge Challenger, the same car used in the classic road movie “Vanishing Point.” And while the Challenger is an amazing car — and there are a lot of great ’70s muscle cars in many movies from that period — Tarantino’s homage trumps them all. That’s because of his unique innovation: the death-proof cabin. Supposedly “Stuntman” Mike McKay has outfitted his 1971 Chevy Nova (with unforgettable skull-and-lightning logo on the hood) so that it is, at least while sitting in the driver’s seat, “100% death proof.” It’s impossible, but imagine if it wasn’t? It would be mighty cool to drive that Nova. Maybe too cool; the feeling of omnipotence Mike gets behind the wheel was probably a contributing factor to his deranged psyche.


5. The Pursuit Special
1973 Ford XB Falcon GT, modified
From “Mad Max” (1979) and “The Road Warrior” (1981)
Directed by George Miller

“Mad” Max Rockatansky’s endless and endlessly awesome wanderings through post-apocalyptic Australia wouldn’t be the same without his Pursuit Special (see: “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”). It’s truly one of the most iconic cars in movie history: the modified black Ford Falcon body, the side exhaust pipes, the supercharger on the hood. In “The Road Warrior,” it was modified with booby traps and concealed weapons to help Max survive in the wastelands. The thing’s so sweet, it almost makes you psyched for the end of peak oil.


4. Bullitt’s Mustang
1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback
From “Bullitt” (1968)
Directed by Peter Yates

Lieutenant Frank Bullitt’s 1968 Mustang might be the least flashy car on this list, but that’s part of its appeal. The fact that something so cool is (or at least was back in 1968) so attainable makes it even cooler. Yes, the cars used to film the movie’s masterpiece of a chase (see below) were heavily modified to withstand high speeds and big jumps, and throughout the nine minute sequence they drop more hubcaps than a clumsy chop shop stock clerk. But Peter Yates’ direction makes the scene just plausible enough to feel authentic. Bullitt’s car was a real-world ride. It’s easy to watch the film and pretend that if you’d been around back in ’68, you could have had one and been just as cool as Steve McQueen.


3. The Carmarine
1976 Lotus Esprit S1, modified
From “The Spy Who Loved Me” (1977)
Directed by Lewis Gilbert

Over twenty-two films, James Bond has amassed a car collection that would make Jay Leno drool with envy. Bond’s Aston Martin DB5, first introduced in “Goldfinger,” is easily his most famous whip, but for my money, the Lotus Esprit from “The Spy Who Loves Me” gets the nod as his best vehicle. It’s both stylish and functional. In a pinch, it can instantly transform from car to submarine; the wheels retract, fins extend, fans appear out of nowhere on the rear bumper, and a missile silo phallically extends from the roof. It’s quick enough to evade evil scuba divers and powerful enough to blow up a helicopter. Then when the coast is clear, Bond can drive it right out of the water onto the beach, scaring the hell out of some Sardinian sunbathers. Like the song says, nobody does it better.


2. The Batmobile
Bat-customized Chevrolet Impala
From “Batman” (1989) and “Batman Returns” (1992)
Directed by Tim Burton

There have been so many Batmobiles by now that it’s hard to pick just one favorite. The most recent “Tumbler” Batmobile from the Christopher Nolan films can jump and includes a pop out Bat-Pod motorcycle. The Joel Schumacher Batmobile could climb on walls. The Adam West ’60s Batmobile spewed fire from its oversized exhaust pipe. But the Anton Furst designed Batmobile from Tim Burton’s “Batman” and “Batman Returns” gets top marks for its sleek yet muscular body and its surplus of cool design elements. It can be remote controlled, responds to voice commands, and has pop-up shields to protect it while parked. The fanciful gadgets are off-set by some more blunt features, like twin hood-mounted machine guns, perfect for infiltrating Acme Chemicals.


1. The DeLorean
1981 DeLorean DMC-12, modified
From “Back to the Future” (1985)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis

How could it not be number one? The DeLorean was already a massively cool — with that stainless steel body and those great gull-wing doors it’s one of the few automobile designs from the 1980s that still looks futuristic — and then you add on the ability to travel in time and you have one bitching ride. Then in “Back to the Future Part II,” director Robert Zemeckis did it one better by turning the whole thing into a flying car and hovercraft. If God appeared before you and said you could have any car from any work of fiction, you’d pick the “BTTF:II” DeLorean ten out of ten times before He even finished His sentence. It’s the coolest car in movie history.


What’s your vote for the coolest car in movie history? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.com.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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