1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Drive
In "Drive," Ryan Gosling plays a Mustang-driving stuntman on the run. Will his car rev its way onto the list of classic film cars?
TODAY contributor
updated 9/12/2011 5:38:31 PM ET 2011-09-12T21:38:31

I have long conversations with my Mini Cooper. Don’t tell anybody. I have a dark green one, with white roof and mirrors. It cuts a dashing figure on the freeway. People point.

Because it is a Cooper S, it has a hood scoop. Combined with the grill, it’s a face. So we talk. At first it was the usual stuff — national debt, Lady Gaga vs. Madonna, the price of oil — but soon it drifted to his obsession with the movies, where it remains today. Specifically, he wants in. He demands to know why I don’t submit him for auditions. He saw “Cars,” and that was it. Now he wants professional headshots and a theatrical agent.

For instance, “Drive” is coming out, starring Ryan Gosling as a mob getaway driver. “I could have played that with my headlights closed,” my Mini complained. I had to explain that Gosling’s rig is a wicked black Mustang, which qualifies as a muscle car even though its pecs aren’t as puffy as a Chevy Camaro’s, or a Dodge Challenger’s.

Video: Watch the 'Drive' trailer (on this page)
  1. More Entertainment stories
    1. Autistic ballerina dances her way into hearts

      In a popular YouTube video, the beaming little ballerina dances an entire four-minute routine seemingly perfectly, matchin...

    2. Every on-screen drink in 'Mad Men' in 5 minutes
    3. See the 'Dancing' stars' most memorable moves
    4. Emmy's biggest snubs? Cranston, Hamm, more
    5. 'Toy Story' toys burn up in prank on mom

My Mini would have none of it. You know actors. So I had to sit him down for a little history lesson.

In 1968 there was Steve McQueen in “Bullitt,” the all-time award winner in the Best Smoking Hot Chase category, using a Mustang V8. Gene Hackman commandeered a Pontiac LeMans in the 1971 Best Picture winner “The French Connection,” but that car was dirty and beat-up and lacked glamour, even though the famous chase scene is righteous and riveting.

My Mini thinks he has larger-than-life mojo. I shut him up with one word: Batmobile. That fixture from the “Batman” series certainly takes the Best Superhero Chariot category. It could come up from behind my Mini and devour it, spitting its bones out the gas pipe.

My Mini likes to brag about all his features — hidden glove box, secret arm rest compartment, toggle-style switches — so then I had to remind him about James Bond.

Bond drove many vehicles over the years, but is perhaps best known for his Aston Martin. That car wins Best Gadgetry, because over the years in various models it had missiles coming out of the front bumper, armor plating, spike-producing tires and a passenger-ejector seat, which my Mini expressed interest in, wondering if it could be installed in his driver’s side seat.

By now, my Mini was getting a little depressed. I don’t like to dampen anyone’s dreams, but …

IMAGE: "Herbie Fully Loaded"
Walt Disney Pictures via Zuma
Lindsay Lohan drove famed Love Bug Herbie into history in the 2005 film "Herbie: Fully Loaded."

“Gone in 60 Seconds” takes the Best Remake category. The 2000 re-do of the 1974 action film, starring Nicolas Cage, was goofy and forgettable. But there was a neat Shelby GT500 featured, and it jumped over a traffic jam on a bridge. The stunt was preposterous, but it was the only indelible image from the film.

In the Best Animated category, the cars of “Cars” remind me the most of my Mini. In fact, if there were any project I would submit my Mini for, it would be a “Cars” movie. Of course, it would be a small part, just a line or two. I think my Mini might even consider extra work, just to be around the other more famous autos. I wouldn’t be surprised if my Mini initiated a tryst with a producer.

There are plenty of other nominees. Remember the DeLorean in “Back to the Future”? That was a four-wheeled wonder: Best Time-Barrier smasher. Herbie from “The Love Bug” and its sequels? Mr. Congeniality. The ambulance from “Ghostbusters”? The Humanitas Award.

But the one that really stung my Mini was “The Italian Job,” both the 1969 original and the 2003 sequels. Loaded with Minis. My car watched those chase scenes and saw nothing but a boulevard of broken dreams.

Maybe I’ll take my Mini out on the freeway for a spin, just to work off some frustration.

What's your favorite movie car? Discuss on Facebook.

Michael Ventre is a frequent contributor to TODAY.com.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Video: Watch the 'Drive' trailer

Photos: September movies

loading photos...
  1. 'Apollo 18'

    Stars: Lloyd Owen, Warren Christie

    Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 2

    Think there wasn't an "Apollo 18" lunar mission? Think again. Decades-old found footage from the supposed secret expedition reveals the reason the U.S. has never returned to the moon. Hint: Didja see "Alien"? (The Weinstein Company) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. 'The Debt'

    Stars: Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington and Tom Wilkinson

    Director: John Madden

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 2

    "The Debt" begins in 1997, as shocking news reaches retired Mossad secret agents Rachel (Mirren) and Stefan (Wilkinson) about their former colleague David. The group supposedly tracked down a Nazi war criminal in 1966 -- or did they? (Miramax Films) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. 'Shark Night 3D'

    Stars: Sara Paxton, Dustin Milligan and Alyssa Diaz

    Director: David R. Ellis

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 2

    The title, "Sharl Night 3D," says it all. But sharks in a freshwater lake? Hollywood will do anything to get the blood, bikinis and severed limbs flying in 3-D. (Relativity Media) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. 'A Good Old Fashioned Orgy'

    Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Bibb and Tyler Labine

    Directors: Alex Gregory, Peter Huyck

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 2

    In "A Good Old Fashioned Orgy," Jason Sudeikis and pals have partied for years at his dad's beach house. But when dad (Don Johnson) announces he's selling the place, his son decides it's time for the ultimate party. (Samuel Goldwyn Films) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. 'Contagion'

    Stars: Matt Damon, Kate Winslet and Jude Law

    Director: Steven Soderbergh

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 9

    Have your face masks ready -- you'll want one after seeing "Contagion." The action thriller follows people trying to survive a lethal virus. Big stars abound, and it sure looks like from promos that things don't go well for Gwyneth Paltrow. (Warner Bros) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. 'Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star'

    Stars: Nick Swardson, Don Johnson and Christina Ricci

    Director: Tom Brady

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 9

    "Bucky Larson" is a kid from the Midwest who moves out to Hollywood in order to follow in his parents footsteps -- which for him, means becoming a porn star. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. 'Warrior'

    Stars: Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte and Joel Edgerton

    Director: Gavin O'Connor

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 9

    In "Warrior," two estranged brothers face the fight of a lifetime. Nick Nolte plays their alcoholic dad, who trains one to eventually land in the ring against the other in a mixed martial-arts tournament. (Chuck Zlotnick) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. 'Straw Dogs'

    Stars: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgard

    Director: Rod Lurie

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 16

    "Straw Dogs" is a remake of the 1971 Dustin Hoffman thriller, infamous for its controversial rape scene. L.A. screenwriter David Sumner relocates with his wife to her hometown in the deep South. There, while tensions build between them, a brewing conflict with locals becomes a threat to them both. (Screen Gems) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. 'I Don't Know How She Does It'

    Stars: Sarah Jessica Parker, Pierce Brosnan and Kelsey Grammer

    Director: Douglas McGrath

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 16

    "I Don't Know How She Does It" is a comedy centered on the life of Kate Reddy (Parker), a finance executive who is the breadwinner for her husband and two kids. Based on the best-selling novel. (The Weinstein Company) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. 'Drive'

    Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Bryan Cranston

    Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 16

    In "Drive," Gosling plays a Hollywood stunt performer who moonlights as a wheelman. After a heist goes wrong, he discovers that a contract has been put on his life. (Richard Foreman Jr Smpsp / FilmDistrict) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. 'Moneyball'

    Stars: Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright and Jonah Hill

    Director: Bennett Miller

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 23

    Brad Pitt stars as Oakland A's manager Billy Beane in "Moneyball," based on Michael Lewis' book. The focus is on Beane's attempt to create a competitive team despite Oakland's unfavorable financial situation. (Columbia Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. 'Abduction'

    Stars: Taylor Lautner, Lily Collins and Alfred Molina

    Director: John Singleton

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 23

    In "Abduction," Taylor Lautner plays a young man who sets out to uncover the truth about his life after finding his baby photo on a missing persons website. (Lionsgate) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. 'Dolphin Tale'

    Stars: Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr.

    Director: Charles Martin Smith

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 23

    IThe 3-D film "Dolphin Tale" is is inspired by the true story of a bottlenose dolphin named Winter who lost her tail in a crab trap. Her human friends work frantically to create a prosthetic so she can still swim. (Warner Bros.) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. 'Dream House'

    Stars: Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz and Naomi Watts

    Director: Jim Sheridan

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 30

    The beautiful home in "Dream House" is more of a nightmare. Soon after moving in, a family learns that a mother and her children were brutally murdered there. (Universal Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. '50/50'

    Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anna Kendrick

    Director: Jonathan Levine

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 30

    "50/50" is a comedic account of a 27-year-old man's cancer diagnosis, and his subsequent struggle to beat the disease. (Summit Entertainment) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. 'Killer Elite'

    Stars: Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro

    Director: Gary McKendry

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 30

    Action film "Killer Elite" focuses on a retired member of Britain's Elite Special Air Service (Jason Statham) who is forced into action when his mentor (Robert De Niro) is taken hostage. His mission: kill three assassins dispatched by their cunning leader (Clive Owen). (Open Road Films) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. 'What's Your Number?'

    Stars: Anna Faris, Chris Pratt and Chris Evans

    Director: Mark Mylod

    Scheduled release date: Sept. 30

    "What's Your Number?" refers to the number of men a woman has slept with. Anna Faris plays Ally, a woman whose number is 20, as she looks back at those men wondering if any of them are her true love. (20th Century Fox) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

More on TODAY.com

  1. @HillaryClinton/twitter

    Hillary Clinton: Granddaughter led me 'to speed up' political plans

    4/10/2015 3:58:42 PM +00:00 2015-04-10T15:58:42
  1. Courtesy Bryan Morseman

    Marathon dad's victories help raise money for son with spina bifida

    4/10/2015 5:54:50 PM +00:00 2015-04-10T17:54:50
  1. YouTube

    8 great celebrity impressions of other celebrities

    4/10/2015 6:44:22 PM +00:00 2015-04-10T18:44:22