Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cars in movies: Tower Heist and The Descendants

I watched 2 movies this weekend: Tower Heist and The Descendants, both of which I enjoyed for very different reasons. Tower Heist was an extremely predictable but fun movie starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy doing exactly what the title suggests - stealing from a tower, which in this case belonged to Alan Alda's character. The Descendants was a very moving story about George Clooney's character grieving over his wife's boating accident.

I've always believed that cars represent implicit characters in movies and help cinematic storytellers succinctly divulge important information and traits of characters. I wanted to show how these two movies used cars in an effective manner. Click through for more.

Alan Alda's character's 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso played a prominent role in Tower Heist. As one of the most valuable and collectible cars in the world -- and one that we learn Steve McQueen had at one point owned -- the Ferrari instantly conveys Alda's character's wealth.

A more curious choice was Ben Stiller's character's late-70s Chevy Nova, which only makes a brief appearance. If this was a reference to another buddy movie or something, it went over my head, as the Nova did not really fit with Stiller's character.

 There were quite a few shots of Tea Leoni's character's Buick Lucerne followed by Alan Alda's character's Mercedes S-Class. I wonder if the Lucerne was a deliberate choice - do FBI agents drive Buicks? I would have expected a Chevy Impala or Ford Taurus before a Lucerne.

And just a quick note on George Clooney's Honda Accord in The Descendants. What a perfect choice: Clooney played a lawyer in Hawaii who had a large land inheritance but never used it for his financial gain. The Accord was the perfect down-to-earth car to show his character's humility.

Photos courtesy of Internet Movie Cars Database (


  1. Two movies I enjoyed, I also agree with assessment of why the specific vehicles were chosen.

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