Somewhere in Dave Hill’s character drama Flying Cars is a really interesting documentary about radio-controlled car racing and its niche community.
Drew (Jeremy Schuetze) is weeks away from getting married to musician Sadie (Regan James), but instead of occupying his interest towards the wedding, he consumes himself in the hobby culture around racing RC cars. There are segments in Flying Cars that feature Drew at miniature racetracks; mingling with competitors and watching them put the pedal to the metal (trigger to the remote controller?). Reader, as someone who was completely in the dark about the enthusiasm around racing RC cars, I scoffed at the initial idea of a movie wrapped around this interest. But after watching Flying Cars, I would absolutely spend my afternoon at the track. These races are fun and exciting. The film’s title doesn’t lie – these cars really do fly.
Well, the film’s title kind if lies. Flying Cars isn’t actually about radio-controlled car racing. Unfortunately, the film is a soapy melodrama disguised as a unique sports movie.
Dave Hill doesn’t give audiences a satisfying reason as to why Drew would be so interested in this pastime. Considering how immature Drew is, the filmmaker should’ve committed to a coming-of-age story about a man-child who has romanticized the idea of being an adult but is having a hard time maturing. It would be a typical story, but the addition of the hobby subculture would’ve given the movie its originality. Instead, Hill alludes that Drew wants to pitch his obsession as some kind of show for the media company he works for. It’s a sliver of an idea that makes the undercooked company more of a character than Drew.
As the film strays further away from radio-controlled cars, Drew gradually regresses to even more of an overgrown teenager as he jeopardizes what defines him as an adult, including job responsibilities and the fate of his relationship to Sadie. The film interprets this transformation as a positive change which opens the door to a series of excruciatingly bad decisions – all of which Hill cashes in on. Especially when Drew starts fraternizing and grooming Rachel (Mackenzie Lintz), a younger RC racer who becomes hooked to Drew’s bad influence.
After making a few short films over the last decade, Dave Hill has tried to challenge himself with this feature-length indie. It’s a classic case of a short-form storyteller having insufficient material and experience for their debut.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie