Unlike the perfectionists you'll meet in Carol Strong's Sunday Driver (2005), I've never really been a car enthusiast. I've always felt that cars are simply a way to get from point "A" to point "B"---nothing more, nothing less---and should be taken care of, but not fawned over. Long story short: I keep my car pretty clean, but I'm not outside twice a week washing and waxing it.
For this reason, I'm not the target audience for Sunday Driver, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it anyway. This documentary---apparently filmed over the course of roughly 10 years---centers around "Majestics", a California low-riding specialty car club founded by Kevin Smith in 1972 (no, not that Kevin Smith...he's from Jersey). The club has grown from a local group of car enthusiasts to a worldwide phenomenon, boasting chapters across the US and in Japan, Australia and several other countries. Still, the original Compton/Watts chapter remains the heart and soul of Majestics; these people are passionate about their cars, despite encountering constant resistance from local law enforcement.
Though its lean running time doesn't offer as detailed a look as some fans might like, there's no doubt that Strong has done a fine job of assembling footage that most outsiders will be seeing for the first time. Also featuring music by Dr. Dre, 2Pac, The Temptations, Booker T & the MGs, Jurassic 5, The Dramatics and more, Sunday Driver is almost as much a venture into music as it is to the subculture of specialty cars and customization. Though I still only consider my car a way to get from point "A" to point "B", it's nice to know there are folks out there with different (but equally valid) opinions.
Featuring plenty of interviews with original members---and even a glimpse at the international chapters, as seen this disc's bonus features---Sunday Driver gives all budding car enthusiasts a look behind the curtain. Though the slim amount of content may not be as detailed as some would like, this is still a worthwhile effort that interested parties should enjoy. Presented by Rockstar Games (the bi-polar company responsible for "Hot Coffee" and Table Tennis), Sunday Driver arrives on DVD courtesy of Palm Pictures. Let's see how this one stacks up, shall we?
Quality Control Department
Video & Audio Quality
Presented in what I'll assume is the film's original aspect ratio (1.78:1) and enhanced for widescreen displays, Sunday Driver looks quite good for a lower-budget documentary. The colors and image detail are both solid from start to finish, while digital problems like edge enhancement don't seem to be an issue at all. The 2.0 Stereo mix is basic but serviceable, offering strong music cues and clear vocals. A host of subtitles (presented in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish or Japanese) is also available during the main feature only.
Menu Design, Presentation & Packaging
The basic animated menus (seen above) are presented in 1:78:1 anamorphic widescreen and offer simple layout and navigation. This 58-minute film has been divided into 10 chapters, while no layer change was detected during playback. The packaging is basic but attractive, as this one-disc release is housed in a clear keepcase with double-sided artwork. No inserts are included, though a chapter listing is printed on the interior.
Fairly basic stuff here, though fans of the film should enjoy what's on board. The main attraction is a handful of "Under the Hood" Featurettes ("Twin 2006 Still Rollin'", "Twin Not a Hopper", "Big Earl & Little Eric" and "Majestics 2006") which mostly provide a few updates since the end of the original production. Another Featurette highlights a Japanese chapter of Majestics, while a few Behind-the-Scenes Interviews with members of Majestic play out like unused clips from the film. Closing out the film-related extras is a brief Slideshow of photos taken during and after production, as well as a collection of Weblinks for Palm Pictures and the DVD's official site.
Entertaining and well executed, Sunday Driver is a documentary that car lovers of all types should be able to appreciate. Even so, it's still geared towards a very select audience---and while "outsiders" should be able to follow along, the focus of this documentary will limit its audience considerably. Palm Pictures' DVD presents the film with a decent technical presentation, but the extras don't add a great deal to the already lean amount of content. Overall, it's a light release that fans will enjoy, though newcomers may want to rent it first. Mildly Recommended.
Randy Miller III is an affable office monkey based in Harrisburg, PA. He also does freelance graphic design projects and works in a local gallery. When he's not doing that, he enjoys slacking off, general debauchery, and writing things in third person.