The five greatest car movies

Surely, the world didn’t need a fifth installment in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, but “Fast Five” roared into theaters last weekend. At least it provides a good opportunity to discuss five great car movies:

• “Two-Lane Blacktop” (1971): A languid, existential journey rather than a heart-pounding adventure, and that’s what makes director Monte Hellman’s film so fascinating. James Taylor and Dennis Wilson play two nameless and meandering auto racers who agree to race a big-talker named G.T.O. to Washington. The pervasive feeling of detachment is meant to metaphor for a national sense of melancholy at the end of the 1960s.

• “American Graffiti” (1973): The cars here serve as a reflection of not just who the characters are, but who they dream of becoming. They’re not just a mode of transportation but a way of life.

• “Bullitt” (1968): Peter Yates’ film features what is considered one of the definitive car chases in movie history — “The French Connection” has another — but just having Steve McQueen as its star makes it sufficiently great.

• “Christine” (1983): It’s a car! It’s a killing machine! It’s ... both! Director John Carpenter adapted the Stephen King novel — one horror master playing off another — and this tale about a bright red 1958 Plymouth Fury that does much more than get you from Point A to Point B.

• “The Fast and the Furious” (2001): And here we are, back at the beginning, with the first movie in the series. Of course it’s ridiculous, but audaciously so, and that’s the film’s charm.

“The Biggest Loser” (8 p.m., NBC): Style guru Tim Gunn drops in on “The Biggest Loser.” Presiding over a “Cinderella”-themed makeover, he plays a “fairy godfather” who helps contestants select new outfits to go with their new bodies.

“The Good Wife” (10 p.m., CBS): Are heads about to roll on “The Good Wife”? As the firm take on a tricky case involving guest star Martha Plimpton, Alicia (Julianna Margulies) deals with Peter’s (Chris Noth) stunning one-night stand with Kalinda (Archie Panjabi).

“THE LOONEY TUNES SHOW” (8 p.m., Cartoon Network): Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes crowd are back in an updated animated series based on the original 1930-69 series. Youngstown native Jim Cummings is the voice actor who handles the role of the Tazmanian Devil.

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