I'll start off with complete and total disclosure: I am extremely biased. I spend more time on the internet watching car videos than actually driving the cars I own. I own every single episode of Top Gear ever made, and have watched them at least 3 times each. I'm a car guy to the obsessive, neck-scratching extreme. And I absolutely love it when people make car videos with little to no support and simply do what makes them happy. This is why I was turned on to All Cars Go To Heaven.
The official title of the movie is All Cars Go To Heaven - Volume 1: The Washington Discovery Route, apparently because they're planning on making more at some point, and like to tease their audience more than a delightfully inappropriate Ashley Madison pop-up ad.
The movie revolves around the adventures of The Smoking Tire team, consisting of Matt Farah, Tom Morningstar, Zack Klapman, and Thaddeus Brown, and how they take one new and arguably reliable car and one cheap craigslist clunker and drive it across one of the harshest and longest off-road terrains in North America. It's a very simple premise that has a very complicated follow-through, and you're there to witness all of it.
When you think about the fact that this entire movie was shot out of two cars, with 4 people, it becomes quite a feat. The whole movie is a mix of found-footage reality shots and narrative, with a sprinkling of great eye-catching establishing shots of the often breathtaking surroundings. It's the job of the cameraman to accurately convey what's going on at the moment, and when you're talking about moving cars, conveying a sense of speed, which they nailed perfectly. Every high-speed or sketchy run through the forest felt like I was right there, potentially ruining my pants because HOLY CRAP WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE.
If it's one thing the team has, it's chemistry. There's a certain bond that's clearly visible when a group of people have spent a lot of time together, both comfortably and not. There isn't a clear leader of the group, even though Matt Farah has the most hosting credit, and they all get a chance to chime in on the the most pressing matters that they face throughout the movie, with commentary that would make anyone chuckle, whether the viewers are avid car nuts or not. It's an adventure movie first and foremost, and one that has cars in starring roles, but it doesn't get super technical or geeky that would potentially cause some of the more casual viewers to get bored. The team does a stellar job at keeping your attention throughout the entire run time, and when the credits roll, you find yourself heading to their site and looking up more material to fill your wanton need for car-centric media.
...or is that just me?
Perhaps the most important parts of the movie are the cars and the real-time stages of life and death of cheap cars you buy on craigslist. A brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee is the reliable and dependable car, and the craigslist specials, the '90s lifted Jeep Cherokee and Toyota Tercel, have personalities, quirks, and hilarious faults all their own. Without giving away too much, the lasting effect that I got from watching these cars rip through uninhabited wilderness is that you can make any car do nearly anything if you're determined/crazy/desperate enough, and big surprises, both positive and negative, can come from the least expected places.
If you love the antics of Roadkill, enjoy epic movies like Love The Beast, and enjoy the cheap car challenges of Top Gear, watch this movie. It's spectacularly well made and has an attention to detail that is readily apparent, despite its lack of 7-figure budget and dedicated filming crew and support vehicles. This is a chronicle of what car guys love and what they aspire to do with their cars if only they had the chance. The Smoking Tire have successfully filmed the dream of automotive freedom in such a way that it inspires you to go out and have fun in whatever your wallet allows. I'll definitely watch the next in their series, and I hope it goes on for a long, long time.
You can also follow The Smoking tire on twitter: @thesmokingtire
If you liked the article, consider supporting us by bookmarking the Amazon.com link below and using it before you buy anything. It costs you nothing extra, and it lets us keep producing free content for car people everywhere. Thanks for your support!