Sunday, July 28, 2013

Days of Thunder & Real Racing 3

Days Of Thunder & Real Racing 3:

In case you don't know what one of these two things are, Days of Thunder is a movie made in 1990 about race cars. Real Racing 3 is a video game that came out this year and is also about race cars.

And what, you might ask, do these two things have in common besides the aforementioned race cars, such that they deserve to be rated together?

The answer?  Nothing, but here we go any way.

Days of Thunder stars the real life couple of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.  Back when Tom couldn't fail to make a hit movie and Nicole hadn't yet had enough of his brand of crazy.  It also has a slew of other famous stars: Randy Quaid, Cary Elwes, Michael Rooker, Fred Thompson, John Reilly and even Robert Duvall.[1]  Not to mention a ton of actual stock car drivers.

Real Raching 3, doesn't actually have any people in it.  Unless you count yourself steering the cars and thus has no famous stars [2] including Nicole Kidman. [3]

One big similarity between both Days of Thunder and Real Racing 3 is that neither of them has any actual plot to speak of.

You wouldn't expect RR3 to have one, it's basic premise is you buy and race cars around a variety of tracks so that you can make enough money to buy and race more cars around more tracks.

You might have expected DoT to have a plot, but you'd be wrong.  Okay, perhaps I exaggerate I little.  It does have a plot.  Here it is in its entirety:

Cole [Tom] is a race car nobody who convinces a car dealer to sponsor him as a driver.  In one season of racing, he wows the racing world and wins important races.  Along the way he gets into an accident and falls in love with his doctor [Nicole] and makes friends with a driver he started out being semi-enemies with.

Done.  There is no more plot to be had.  And I'm not exaggerating in the least.  Here it is boiled down a bit:

Cole races cars.  Cole gets hurt.  Cole meets girl doctor.  Cole makes friends.  Cole wins races. [4]

I'm pretty sure that is the initial plot treatment that they used to sell the script to Paramount in the first place.  The conversation went something like this:

Movie Person: Here's the movie we want you to pay for. [Shows the initial treatment.]
Paramount: That's it?  Hell no.
Movie Person: It will star Tom Cruise.
Paramount: Here's $50,000,000.  Let us know when you need more.

Since DoT is about stock car racing, everyone ostensibly drives the same car. [5]  Of course they paint them all different with big numbers so you can tell them apart.  And so that they can sell more movie memorabilia.  Since it is American car racing all of the tracks are a big oval.

In RR3 there are currently something like 48 different cars for you buy and race, including: Porsche, Audi, BMW, Dodge, Nissan, Bentley, Ford and Chevrolet. There are a bunch of different tracks and only one of them is just an oval. [6]

The change of cars and tracks keeps things interesting.  There are also a variety of different events to complete, only some of which are traditional "races".

In DoT all of the races are pretty much the same.  In fact if you pay close attention, you'll see that they keep repeating the same action in all of the races.  Including the "bad racers" bumping Cole, the various crashes and spin outs and even how Cole nearly wrecks but manages to stay in the race.  But of course, they change the cars and the numbers so you won't notice.

From a 'realism' perspective, one of the biggest problems with DoT is that the actual racing is pretty bad.  Cole can be in last place and somehow in just a few laps he can pass everyone in the race and get back to being right behind the race leader for some dramatic last minute passing to win the race. [7]

From a 'realism' perspective, one of the biggest problems with RR3 is that you win most races by several hundred yards.  The game claims that it carefully picks opponents to keep the racing challenging, but I think I can count the number of races that I had some dramatic last minute passing to win the race on one hand.

When DoT came out I happen to be working at Toys R Us and I can remember the frenzy among the car collectors as they tried to get all of the various replica models that were for sale.  There was one set of cars by Matchbox or Hot Wheels that had both the stock car and the trailer transport together.  Grown men would wait for hours around the store hoping that our next delivery truck would have a case of the cars in it and that the case would have the rare, limited edition, Cole Trickle black car. [8]

I wonder if those same fellows think back now and wonder what were they thinking? [9]

RR3 is completely free.  You can download it on your phone or iPad whenever you get a hankering. Of course you can spend actual money to get more "in game" money, but if you are doing that, you need to rethink your use of disposable income. [10]

RR3 also touts its "Real Time Multiplayer" technology.  Which supposedly is that the game records how you run a race and then when I run that same race, your car will be one of the people I race against.  Only, I don't think it actually quite works that way.  I say this mainly because I've run a lot of races in the game and I've never seen one single person drive at all the way I do. [11]  Neither have I ever seen another car suddenly go running off the road for no reason. Which is also something I do from time to time. [12]

The best part about RR3 is that you get to drive by tilting your phone or iPad like a steering wheel. [13]

The best part about DoT is Nicole Kidman, but I think I already mentioned that.

Despite DoT's lack of plot and general cheesiness, I find myself drawn to it every few years and I end up rewatching it.  And every time as it ends I think, "Man is that movie way worse than I remember."

Despite RR3's gaming flaws, I find myself drawn to it several times a day.  If you happen to play, send my an invite on FB. You get more money for racing against friends and I have my eye on a new Bugatti.

Days of Thunder: C

Real Racing 3: B+

[1] - Yeah, I have no idea how they got him to be in this movie either.  I'm assuming a boat load of money.
[2] - Unless of course you are actually famous, in which case, thanks for reading my blog, can I have an autograph?
[3] - Which is a shame cause she's a hottie.
[4] - Actually when you look at it, RR3 has more plot than DoT
[5] - Thus, "stock" cars
[6] - The Indianapolis Motor Speedway which is in America of course.
[7] -  Which begs the question if it's that easy, why isn't everyone doing the same thing?
[8] - I was actually offered sizable amounts of money by more than one person if I would "set one aside" for them.  If only it had been that easy.  I could have completed my Ninja Turtle action figure collection.
[9] - I suppose it is possible that they sit at home looking loving at the shelf that holds their complete set of Days of Thunder memorabilia and marvel at how rich their lives are.  Possible, but not bloody likely.
[10] - And perhaps go look at your Days of Thunder collection again.
[11] - Which is to say reckless and crazy.
[12] - Like say when a four year old jumps onto your lap in the midst of a race.
[13] - Hey, it's probably the closest I'll ever get to racing a Porsche so let me have my small pleasures.

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