If you’ve never seen The Cannonball Run, beg, borrow or steal a copy as soon as you have a chance. It’s not that the 1981 film was a remarkable achievement in cinematography, and it’s certainly not an accurate portrayal of the actual 1979 Cannonball-Baker-Sea-To-Shining-Sea-Memorial-Trophy-Dash on which it’s based. It is, however, a snapshot of American pop culture in the early 1980s, back in a time when the national speed limit was 55 miles per hour and films generally got good bank based on the amount of cleavage shown.
It’s good fun, but it certainly doesn’t need a remake. The Cannonball-Baker is gone, replaced by Brock Yates’ One Lap of America. The 55 mile per hour speed limit is gone, replaced by more rational speed limits now set by individual states. Revisiting the Cannonball Run of the 1970s would be no more relevant today than revisiting the Watergate hearings; call us jaded, but life just isn’t that simple anymore.
Earlier this week, rumors started flying of a Cannonball Run remake. New York Magazine even went so far as to name Guy Ritchie as the director, with a cast to include Brad Pitt and Ben Stiller. General Motors would contribute a significant amount of funding to the project, which would ultimately serve as a giant product placement ad for GM vehicles. Call me a cynic, but it sounded like a big, steaming bowl of fail to me.
Now comes word from Autoblog that GM isn’t funding any such project, and GM’s Tom Henderson goes so far as to say he hasn’t seen a script. We’re not sure if that means there is no Cannonball remake, but GM is clear that it won’t be a two hour long ad for its vehicles.
Watch the original movie and appreciate it for what it is. Like the mid-seventies Cosworth Vega, a remake simply isn’t needed.