Face Off--Car Lust Film Festival
Car Lust is devoted, above all else, to the chronicling of the "irrational emotions" we have for our automobiles. In the past, we've talked about how that emotional connection has been exploited to sell us those automobiles, and even traced the practice of what might be called "Car Lust advertising" back to its point of origin (which is somewhere west of Laramie).
It's been a while since we've done one of our "Face Off" interactive polls. For this edition, we invite you the readers to be the prize jury at the Car Lust Film Festival. Vote for which of the following five commercials best communicates the Car Lust ideal. You can view them on embedded video after the poll and the jump, along with my comments on each.
[The poll widget is no longer available because Vizu.com has ceased operations.]
The Challenger is a retro musclecar, and one thing musclecars should be really good at is laying down rubber from a standing start.
The narration says it all: "That's a Dodge Challenger. It was designed by people who really, really love cars ... for people who really, really love cars ... to drive past people who really don't care about cars at all."
Chevrolet: "It's Part of the Family" (2011)
This isn't an official Chevrolet commercial; it was an entry (and the second-place winner) in the MOFILM New York Video Competition, in which contestants were challenged to make a commercial for one of the competition's corporate sponsors.
This is an "Our Cars" post in video form. While it doesn't advance much of an argument for buying a new Chevy truck, it's a very moving declaration of love for an old one.
Chevrolet: "For Sale" (2011)
This is another unofficial Chevy video, described by its creator as a "spec commercial." It's even less of an ad for new cars than the previous contestant. The "Cowboy Cadillac" is not only not a new Chevy, it's a member of a category of vehicle GM hasn't sold in North America for nearly a quarter century.
The baby's facial expression at around 0:47-0:48 is the cherry on the dessert.
Chrysler Cordoba (1975)
Chris has already given this classic commercial its full measure of analysis, so I'll just note that this is a different kind of car lust than the first three. It's lust, but not so much the car itself as what it represents in terms of style, social class, and accomplishment. It should have a label on the window sticker with a picture of Ricardo Montalban and a disclaimer in boldface type: YOU MUST BE THIS SUAVE TO DRIVE THIS CAR.
Ford Mustang: "Dreamer" (2008)
Another flavor of car lust is the lust for the car of your dreams.
It's even more fun when the dream comes true.
All five of our entrants illustrate some facet of our emotional relationships with cars: the car as object of desire or status symbol; the distinction between those who use cars for transportation and those who really, really love them; the place a car can earn in our lives, and our family's lives. All are engaging and masterfully done--but one of them really gets to me on a level the other four don't quite reach.
My vote goes to "It's Part of the Family," and it's because of the sequence from about 0:36 to 0:47. It's a beautiful bit of filmmaking that communicates more in eleven seconds and one spoken line than some films can manage in three and a half hours.
The owner holds up the photo from his childhood, he and his father and the truck. He lowers it to see the reflection of his son in the rear view mirror, peering into the garage. It's that moment when he remembers that it's not just an old truck, it's "Dad's truck"--and when he truly realizes that it has the same significance for his own son that it once had for him.
Immediate hard cut to a pen signing a blank check. "Just fix it." An economically irrational decision, but the only one he truly could have made.
With that, it's your turn. As we used to say in my old hometown around Election Day: "Vote early and often!"
--Cookie the Dog's Owner