I finally got to see the movie “3” the other night. The ESPN made for TV film wasn’t what I expected, but I suppose I’ll have to give the good reviews first.
I was impressed with Barry Pepper. The actor did his homework and did a very fine job of portraying someone he knew would get him a blast of ridicule if he didn’t do it right. There were times during the film that you really could believe that he was Earnhardt, a great job on the makeup and his facial expressions were probably as close as anyone could have gotten to him. The actors that portrayed Dale Jr as an adult had one thing that was very noticeable, he must have been an impressionist, because the kid sounded just like Junior, although he had a much more refined look than the real thing. The actor that played Ralph was excellent also, this busy guy is playing around with Law and Order, appearances on cable shows and finds time to play Ralph Earnhardt. Did he do it right, only those that knew the elder Earnhardt can tell you that.
For an unauthorized depiction of Earnhardt the producers must have had some insight into the life of the Earnhardt’s or they took a great deal of artistic license. There was information that only people on the inside of the family could have known, or it was made up. Case in point, Dale Jr. and Earnhardt talking after his wreck at Talladega on the deck of Junior’s house trailer. This conversation had to be relayed by someone who knew, or the producers just came up with as much drama as they could. I suppose you’d have to ask Junior, according to the scene, only he and his father were there, so he’s the only one left that could know.
Now I’m going to give you the reason I didn’t like the movie.
It’s the same reason that most racing movies don’t work, the cars. Days of Thunder used real cars in real races, it was one of the things that was right about the film, “3” however, shows fiberglass cars, street cars converted to look alike race cars, and poor renditions of wrecks that are mixed film, actual and fabricated. The older scenes with the dirt cars were probably the most realistic, when they started showing the Winston Cup cars, the producers lost every die-hard fan at that moment. Producers and directors seem to always assume no one will notice the way they do the cars, and folks there are enough of the old cars laying around that they could have done it right.
All in all the movie was fine, but I would not have paid any more money for it than the cost of cable, I’m glad they didn’t put it on at the theater, it would have been an overnight flop.
Till next time, keep turning left.