Days of Thunder vs. Talladega Nights: The Tale of the Tape

 

Revisiting Days of Thunder on Episode 66 stirred up a lot of old memories. It also brought up quite a few parallels with another beloved NASCAR movie: Talladega Nights. We decided it was high time for a new Throwback Show tradition: a good old-fashioned Tale of the Tape. Here's the official scorecard, with an explanation of the picks below:

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THE BREAKDOWN:
Year Released - 1990 vs. 2006 - This is a no-brainer for us on the Throwback Show team. We have only gone past 2006 once on our timeline (for 2007's The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters). Meanwhile, we've done a movie from the year 1990 an astonishing (okay, not astonishing) six times: Kindergarten Cop, Tremors, Edward Scissorhands, The Hunt for Red October, Dick Tracy and The Freshman. Advantage: THUNDER (1-0)

Hero's Name - Cole Trickle vs. Ricky Bobby - Not an easy one by any stretch of the imagination. These are both iconic movie names, but something about the overt absurdity of a name as silly as Cole Trickle in a movie that's trying to be as serious as Days of Thunder wins the day here -- narrowly, we might add. Keep in mind, this is not a judgment on which hero we like better; just which name is more amusing. Advantage: THUNDER (Thunder leads 2-0)

Catch Phrase - "There's nothing I can't do with a race car" vs. "If you ain't first, you're last" - Not an especially close matchup. In Days of Thunder, Cole Trickle's catch phrase is basically a throwaway. Meanwhile, for Ricky Bobby, it's a through line of the whole movie and one of the most important myths of his life (which he eventually learns is complete nonsense). If this were a tennis match, it would be 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 -- Advantage: TALLADEGA (Thunder leads 2-1)

Crew Chief - Harry Hogge vs. Lucius Washington - Make us choose between these two powerhouses? As Lucius (the late Michael Clarke Duncan) would say: Don't you put that evil on me! This one is a PUSH. (Thunder leads 2-1-1)

Hero Falls in Love With... Dr. Claire Lewicki vs. Susan - Nicole Kidman does an admirable job in Days of Thunder bringing Dr. Lewicki to life, but there's just no topping the climactic speech from Susan (Amy Adams) in Talladega Nights. As Ricky Bobby said, "Susan, I've never heard you talk like that." As Ricky Bobby also said: "I'm as hard as a diamond in an ice storm right now." Advantage: TALLADEGA (Score tied 2-2-1)

John C. Reilly - Buck Bretherton vs. Cal Naughton Jr. - We have nothing against Buck Bretherton, who's a fine character with a handful of borderline memorable moments, but Cal Naughton Jr., quite simply, is an icon. Advantage: TALLADEGA (Talladega leads 3-2-1)

An Homage To / Spoof Of - Top Gun vs. Days of Thunder - We're not sure of exactly how much Talladega Nights was thinking about spoofing Days of Thunder when they made the movie. Sure, it must have been on their mind to some extent, but were they thinking about it constantly? Meanwhile, Dan F. made a pretty strong case during our Days of Thunder episode that the movie is a direct facsimile of Top Gun, trading out fighter planes for race cars. Writing this up made us realize this is a strange category, but the point here goes to THUNDER. (Score tied 3-3-1)

Race Car Drafting - Sweet'N Low vs. Shake and Bake - "Shake and Bake" is not just a motto for Ricky and Cal, it's also a code for their patented "slingshot" maneuver (where Ricky drafts off of Cal's car and then flies ahead). What we had forgotten though is that in the Sweet'N Low scene of Days of Thunder, Cole Trickle uses the packets of sweetener to explain the very same racing technique. And while Days of Thunder certainly earns points for this scene basically being the precursor to the Animal Crackers scene from Armageddon, it doesn't actually earn points on this scorecard. As you can see, we're biased here, but when it comes to Shake and Bake, you could say it 10,000 times and it still wouldn't be enough. Advantage: TALLADEGA (Talladega leads 4-3-1)

Preferred Time - Day vs. Night - Perhaps the ultimate question. Possibly even an impossible choice. But ending this on a tie would be a copout, and ending it by choosing Days of Thunder (as much as we enjoyed re-watching it) would betray how we really feel. The advantage here goes to TALLADEGA, which takes home the victory 5-3-1. Now if you haven't done so already, it's time to crack open a cold Mello Yello (or Laughing Clown Malt Liquor, if you prefer) and listen to all of our thoughts on Days of Thunder (including Aaron's best Dr. Lewicki impersonation), below:

Episode 46: 1994 - Blue Chips

 

Aaron Cohen and Dan Fleschner join Matt Stroup for a March Madness-themed Throwback special: the remarkable collaboration between Nick Nolte, Shaquille O'Neal, Penny Hardaway (and to a far lesser extent, Bobby Hurley) in the 1994 movie Blue Chips. We explore the basketball scenes (good), the rules of who plays on what team (bizarre) and the movie's morals (tiresome). Check it all out below...

Also: This is the actor Aaron said Ricky Roe reminded him of. (We don't see it.)

 

Episode 35: 1991 - Backdraft and How Well Do You Know '91?

 

Mike Camerlengo and Zack Verhoff join Matt Stroup for an in-depth and possibly emotional discussion of the movie Backdraft (Kurt Russell, Robert De Niro, Billy Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Donald Sutherland, Scott Glenn, Rebecca De Mornay and a guy who looks kind of like Skeet Ulrich). We break down our favorite quotes ("check that door for heat, Tim?"), and Mike tells us how this movie inspired him to start an underground firefighting club. Plus, a high-stakes test of how well we actually know the year 1991.

More on this episode / 1991:

Backdraft - The Show Goes On montage
Cool As Ice - trailer