Tucker: The Man and His Dream Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 20, 2011
Tucker. Never heard of him till I stumbled upon this movie (which was just yesterday). Or should I say that I'd never heard of this movie till y'day??!!! (Take your pick from the one that sounds more appealing.) Maybe because the movie didn't have any moment that lingers in your mind for long. Everyone have put in their sincere effort at every level, but not exceptional. The fact that it's based on real life person who struggled hard for success (and whose life story could have been more inspiring) doesn't help it any because it has a feel of "been there, seen it all". As much as I applaud his efforts to realize his dreams, I still gotta admit that the movie was a plain mediocre which doesn't incline me the least to learn more about him or check out how much historically correct the movie was (which happens more often than not for such movies).


PS: I know some might feel that it's not fair to consider a movie mediocre just because it's presented without much dramatization, but that's how the score stands for me. Can't fight fact!!!
Super Reviewer
June 18, 2009
Uhh, it's not bad? I like the 50s clothes and references, but Coppola always makes his films so unnecessarily heavy, even when they're not supposed to be.
Rostron2
Super Reviewer
½ September 3, 2010
Coppola's tribute to Preston Tucker, inventor and loose cannon, is an enjoyable biopic with some messages relevant even today. While the story takes the most optimistic view of the emergence of the Tucker automobile, it's appropriate, since Tucker himself was one of those irrepressible optimists.

Jeff Bridges is fascinating as Tucker, and you can't help catch the fever and root for him, and his car. There's a number of good acting turns in this film, including a bizarre appearance by Dean Stockwell as Howard Hughes.

Coppola nicely reproduces the atmosphere and media frenzy of the time, as well as an interesting courtroom scene. The film clips right along, and you get an interesting view of the power of the established US car companies (how far they've fallen since then!) after the Second World War.

Some liberties were taken with the historicity to fit the screenplay, but overall, it captures the essence of who Tucker was, and what his cause faced. The film wasn't a commercial success, but it's worth your time because of the interesting subject matter, and a great 'underdog' story.

Recommended.
March 25, 2014
Francis Ford Coppola had long dreamed of making a film based on the life and struggles of Preston Tucker, who dreamed big and attempted to take on the Big Three Automakers and build a car of the future. I think because he had dreamed up the project for so long and as it was really a labor of love, it happens to be one of Coppola's strongest films after his peak in the 1970s. Jeff Bridges is, as always, quite entertaining in the lead role of Preston Tucker, and with a supporting cast that includes Martin Landau and Elias Koteas, it is a thoroughly entertaining film. If you like Capra films or just a little whimsy of the American dream and the struggles to make them come true, then this is for you. Definitely entertaining and worth a look.
March 31, 2009
Jeff Bridges can be extremely annoying and pick some bad roles. Jackpot. Though the Howard Hughes intervention and parallel made it more interesting.
May 21, 2010
The true telling of the 1948 effort of charismatic Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges) to found a new automobile company based on an then-stylish vehicle containing numerous innovations (eg, pop-out windshields, seat belts, padded dashboards) now industry standards. After cleverly overcoming a variety of entrepreneurial challenges, Tucker finds the dark forces of Detroit are well-armed and ready to conspire against him.

"Tucker" is Coppola's personal indulgence and obsession, a labor of love rooted in his fascination with the car and man since childhood. Coppola and producer George Lucas each own one of the 51 Tuckers ever built.

Coppola vigorously researched, ensuring an extraordinarily accurate portrayal, including extensive interviewing of Tucker's family. Evidence of such authenticity continually reveals throughout Coppola's commentary.

Historical stills under end credits exactly mirror film images. When the viewer sees Howard Hughes' plane taxi, it is in fact the plane Hughes used. In one factory scene, every Tucker still in existence is well-waxed and displayed.

The film's period stylings make for a unique pleasure to experience. Coppola invoked massive technique - backlighting & shadowing, context as period promotional advertising, authentic set pieces and murals, highly stylized transitioning, color filtering, costuming, text-fonting, split-screen telephone conversations, jingle-and-swing infused soundtrack - to load every frame with a rich 1940s aura that visually entertains on its own.

Jeff Bridges wears his role easily. Martin Landeau as Tucker's wingman provides a powerful, though understated, performance. Lloyd Bridges, Detroit's Congressional tool, delivers detestable well. Disney-esque at points, but the film holds something - romance, drama, biopic, underdog, suspense - for everyone, and is 99% suitable for sanitary family viewing.

RECOMMENDATION: "Tucker" ought be required viewing in every business school's entrepreneurship course. Highest recommendation.
September 29, 2006
Watched this the other day, still great. I probably bump up the points because I'm a car guy, but it's still worth watching, and has rewatchability.
December 13, 2008
I Love Cars, but Detroit has always "Held Out on us"!! Tucker's a story of Corruption which is Exposed! I think all car guys should see Jeff Bridges as Tucker!! It's well written, acted & directed. It will entertain & worry you about what the big 4,3, (or soon to be 2?) is willing to put us through to make profits. It makes you want to Lockup All Corporate Stooges! What else has been on the drawing board that "They don't Trust us With?"
½ December 7, 2007
It's strange, I think, that I had never heard of Preston Tucker nor this film until I stumbled across it in those painfully tempting yet frustrating bargain bins at Wal-Mart. I thought, oh my, Francis Ford Coppola? I'm all for this, it can't be too bad. I came home from my purchase and checked my handy Leonard Maltin film guide (I never trust him for genre films, but generally feel that anything that might be termed classic or that was directed by the director of a classic he is likely to be decently reliable on--certainly his positive opinions rarely, if ever, clash with mine) and found he had given the film 3.5/4 stars, and so I nodded, satisfied and set the movie on my shelf to be watched when I got around to it (chronologically by time of purchase).

I put it in and felt the time was right to watch it (sometimes the mood just isn't right for my gut instinctual expectation of a movie) and raised an eyebrow as the film started on the "crest" of the Tucker Motor Company and told me this was a promotional film made by said company for promotion of the car and the man, emulating the opening of the promotional film actually made for the car in 1948, a bonus feature on the DVD. Instead of "The Man and His Dream," as the movie is subtitled, it was "The Man and His Car." From here we hear music reminiscent of ads from the time, later used for ironic or dissonant effect in cartoons like Ren and Stimpy, and overly cheerful images of Tucker's family and the man himself (Jeff Bridges). We jump rapidly from him introducing the concept of the car to his family straight into attempts to build a company to manufacture it. His car was one that challenged ideas of automotive manufacturing in that time, adding things like fuel injection (never appearing in the actual cars, though), seat belts, pop-out windshields for crashes, padded dashboards, swivelling headlights for saftey on curves (!), and a very futuristic look. When he begins to design in earnest with associates Jimmy Sakuyama (Mako, who recently voiced Splinter in TMNT--yeah, you heard me) and Eddie Dean (Frederic Forrest), he suddenly receives audience with Alex Tremulis (Elias Koteas, more Turtles casting, seen two years later as vigilante Casey Jones--sorry, that's what I will always know him as), an automotive designer soon to exit the Air Force. He begins to find himself being squeezed by the Big Three (Ford, General Motors and Chrysler) and the politicians they support (who in turn support them) as he tries to realize his dream of an advanced, safe and affordable car.

The supporting cast includes Oscar-nominated Martin Landau (I'm not a company trying to sell DVDs, so of course I mean nominated for THIS role) as Abe Karatz, who helps Tucker to finance the company and gain the funds to build a prototype and sell stock so that they can gain the support and backing to begin production, Christian Slater as Tucker's eldest son who gives up Notre Dame acceptance to follow his father into the automotive industry, and Dean Stockwell as, yes, Howard Hughes. There's also an uncredited role for Lloyd Bridges as Senator Homer Ferguson.

The film has been accused of flaws by some, likely the reason it is partly forgotten; it has been called too Capra-esque (which of course I only understand from context, having seen no Capra, yet, though I now have 6 movies waiting in the wings) and Ebert accused it of not bothering to round out Tucker. Once again Ebert shows that he thinks he's smarter than he actually is, and that he's very judgmental and condescending about things he doesn't actually understand (though he's also prone to praise things he doesn't understand either, I've noted, when he calls Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn...satire? What?). The truth is the film IS made to be like a Capra-esque promotional film. If that's not your thing, that's one thing, but don't criticize it for achieving its goals. It's filmed with many advertising tricks and the sort of feel of the idealized film world (or television world, if we add around a decade to its setting)--especially one designed to sell something. There are brilliant cuts and sweeps, an exit from a living room blending seamlessly into a government office, or Tucker and Karatz sharing a distant phone call through what appears to be only a wall. This is never carried off with a Spike Jonze style modern quirk, but as if it's a carefully choreographed musical, perhaps (Coppola admits in the special features that this is something he considered for Tucker's story) and as if it's natural but exaggerated. Bridges is the perfect choice for this role. My mother is annoyed by him because he's so good at playing a na´ve, victimized "good guy." But that's exactly what's called for here. This film is promoting Tucker, that's exactly the intention. So of course he comes off as overly glowing, friendly, charismatic and charming. That's the way he's advertised. But we see it in a way, much like in advertising, that convinces us that somehow this is true all the same. As Tucker says at one point, "people believe what they read in the papers even if they don't believe it." We know no one could possibly be like this, this positive in the face of such adversity, this na´ve and unassuming (though he's not blind to the crush of the competition, he's often underestimating their power) when shown so consistently how wrong he is to be as such. But that's the idea here. It's about the ideal of the American dream*, about what free enterprise is SUPPOSED to mean.

We see a family that is unrealistically supportive of each other at any and all times, but we like them so much, and they are somehow believable in spite of this, that we root for them, we want them to be real anyway, and we don't care how nonsensical that is. We see the evil Senator (Bridges) using his influence to support the Big Three and crush the newcomer upstart, and we know no one is this intentionally, openly and undeniably sleazy and near-evil, but we accept his villainy anyway, because the film has set itself up as an artificial representation of a true story, and told us from the beginning that that is exactly what we are seeing. There is no dodging of the idea; it is clear from the words "promotional" in the first thirty seconds that this is not intended to represent events, facts and people accurately. It is intended to advertise something the director admires, something he thinks represents an idea nearly lost in the modern world, and nearly lost in 1948 when these events occurred. Coppola loves Preston Tucker and has no shame about it, so he built a movie that advertises, well--The Man and His Dream.


*I want it noted that "ideal" being used incorrectly grates on me, and I use it here as an abbreviated reference to the idea of the "idealized" American dream, not the concept (idea).
October 12, 2007
Great true story I thought this movie adaptation was good besides that Tucker's "team" raced the "Tucker" after the court case and not before. Currently 47/51 Tucker's produced still are existing today one of which is owned by George Lucas.
March 28, 2007
surprisingly very good. We watched this in history class in HS, which is usually a bad sign for a movie, but I really enjoyed this one.
February 28, 2007
a true story of how the one person can do something great even with all kinds of forces out to stop him
April 3, 2006
This is an aweome movie. I like the way Preston Tucker looked all the critics in the face and did what he wanted anyway. Plus he stood up to corruption when he saw it. Definitely someone I would consider a role model.
½ April 16, 2015
This can do attitude won me over.....or maybe it was Bridges acting and Coppola's directing.
½ March 6, 2015
Since I am a huge car and engineering fan this was a very interesting and enlightening film about a man and his invention that I didn't know all that much about. It also has a great cast, is well acted, love the score, it looks great and it never drags.
June 15, 2013
This is one fascinating movie covering a person I had no idea about. Jeff Bridges gives a wonderful performance and I liked that the movie was never dry.
November 2, 2012
Jeff Bridges, or rather Preston Tucker's enthusiasm is positively contagious despite a constant push back from the big boys in Detroit...it's a high-spirited biopic about an automobile entrepreneur that flows just as well as any Francis Ford Coppola film.
½ October 2, 2012
No parece una pelicula Coppola y podria haber dado para mas como film, pero como historia es algo que merece la pena ser visto y contado.
½ July 30, 2012
This movie was awesome
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