Posts Tagged ‘James Taylor’

I have mentioned on many occasions the link between cinema and cars, but what is a car without a driver? Mel Gibson’s “man with no name” in How I Spent My Summer Vacation (aka Get the Gringo) is credited as Driver, but he is not the first or the best Driver; here are my top five characters called Driver (or The Driver):

FIVE: Driver (Dwayne Johnson) in Faster (2010): A throwback to both car and revenge movies from the 70’s. Dwayne Johnson is an archetypal antihero like Gator McKlusky in White Lightning. A man of few words, on a mission for revenge, the movie is far better than you would expect as its star, Johnson. Mostly likely to be seen driving: 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 

FOUR: The Driver, (Ryan O’Neal) in The Driver (1978): A minimalist classic about the best getaway driver in the business and the cop trying to catch him in the act. At its best in the chases and car related scenes notably the destruction of a Mercedes-Benz 280 S in a parking garage but not as cool or as slick as it thinks it is in the other scenes. It became the inspiration for many movies that followed as did Ryan O’Neal in the title role. Mostly likely to be seen driving: Anything with for wheels but notably: 1973 Chevrolet C-10 Pickup and 1977 Pontiac Firebird

THREE: The Driver (Clive Owen) in Ambush, Chosen, The Follow, Powder Keg, Star, Hostage, Beat the Devil, Ticker (2001-2002): Not actually a movie but well worth a place on the list. Along with Croupier (1998) this is where a lot of the Clive Owen for Bond talk came from. A series of web based BMW adverts with A list directors including: Tony Scott, John Woo, Guy Ritchie, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Kar Wai Wong, Ang Lee and John Frankenheimer. Aided by a supporting including Stellan Skarsgård, Gary Oldman, Danny Trejo and James Brown & Marilyn Manson (as themselves). With a great blend of action comedy and style they are that little bit more than just a series of car commercials. The idea is so good, so good that Luc Besson and Jason Statham took the idea and ran with it and thus, Frank Martin and the Transporter franchise began. Mostly likely to be seen driving: Various BMW’s from the early 2000’s

TWO: Driver (Ryan Gosling) in Drive (2011): When I first heard about Drive it was to be a Hugh Jackman action heist movie directed by Neil Marshall. While that could have been a great B movie, what we got from director Nicolas Winding Refn and star Ryan Gosling was so much more. Reminiscent of Michael Mann’s underrated classic Thief (1981). Violent rather than action packed, but the real pleasure is the way it manages to be retro and completely up to date at the same time, it is the star making turn Gosling has been waiting for. Mostly likely to be seen driving: a stolen getaway car or 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu

ONE: The Driver (James Taylor) in Two-Lane Blacktop (1971): A very different movie than the others on the list, where the others include violent action movies, Two-Lane Blacktop is an existential road movie, it is THE existential road movie. A time-capsule of the pre-Interstate Highway era and a metaphor for disaffected youth in a time when a nation and the world as a whole had lost its way and lost its innocence. This is life after Wyatt tells Billy “We blew it” in Easy Rider. The characters don’t have names in the true sense, they don’t need names! G.T.O (Warren Oates) drives a GTO, The Mechanic (Dennis Wilson) looks after the car, The Girl (Laurie Bird) is the girl they pick up along the way, The Driver (James Taylor) is just that, the driver. Mostly likely to be seen driving: 1955 Chevrolet One-Fifty Two-Door Sedan

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I recently re-watched Cameron Crowe’s semiautobiographical masterpiece Almost Famous and am pleased to report it is as good as I remember it, possibly better. The movie is full of memorable moments that all spring from one key scene. When his sister Anita (Zooey Deschanel) leaves home to be a stewardess she leaves William Miller (Michael Angarano and Patrick Fugit) a gift that will set him free. A bag of records including:

  • Pet Sounds, The Beach Boys
  • Sweet Baby James, James Taylor
  • Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! The Rolling Stones
  • II, Led Zeppelin
  • Axis Bold as Love, The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  • Wheels of Fire, Cream
  • Blue, Joni Mitchell
  • Blonde on Blonde, Bob Dylan
  • Tommy, The Who

I understand the albums we see are baste on Crowe’s own record collection from the time. Despite being recorded before I was born I own most of these albums we see. One thing has always bugged me about the scene, we get a glimpse of another cover but I have never been able to work out what it is. In the hope of finding the answer I took to the internet. I didn’t find the answer I was looking for but I did find THIS script from the movie. As is often the case it differs from the finished film, it contains this description of the scene:

William locks the door. He reaches under his bed. It’s a black leatherette travel bag, with tartan design. He unzips the bag — it’s filled with albums. He flips through the amazing, subversive cache of music. Cream’s Wheels of Fire… the seminal Bob Dylan bootleg Great White Wonder… the Rolling Stones’ Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out… The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds… Abraxas by Santana… Jethro Tull’s Stand Up… The Mother’s of Invention’s We’re Only In It For The Money… Led Zeppelin… Crosby, Stills and Nash… Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew… and The Who’s Tommy… with a note taped to it.

Take a look at this, as he flips through them its the third album we see between Sweet Baby James and Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! Any ideas who what it is?

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