Sunday, July 29, 2012

Friday Night at ther Movies II

I was surfing Netflixs early Friday evening and ran into a movie I hadn't seen in years. Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. It was a little different. Okay, saying this film was a little different is like calling PEEPS a health food.

The camera work looks like it was shot with an iPhone, and the acting could be considered wooden at best. But the reason to watch the film is the car chases. They are very real, and not cinematic in the least. Cars do what cars physically do. They get damaged when they collide with both movable and immovable objects, and require repair after said collisions. They also overheat and burn up when pressed to hard. And helicopters need fuel to run.

I like this so much better that the car chases that seem to go on for a thousand miles with nobody ever stopping for gas, and multiple collisions with no damage to the car. If the goal is realism.

Face it; I love Smokey and the Bandit, from the opening credits when the big rig fires up in the early morning light, to final scene with Sheriff Justice ready for another chase with less that half the car he left Texas with. I have to take an afternoon one weekend about every 6 months of so to sit down and watch The Bandit run that Trams Am all over Georgia. But in a lot of respects, Smokey and the Bandit is a live-action cartoon. That is part of what makes it FUN.

Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry is, in some respects, not fun. You know my criteria for a movie, a good story, convincingly told. DM,CL fills that requirement. Parts are interesting, parts drag out way to long, and some parts you just think to your self; WHAT?

I also have to disagree with Wikipedia on at least one point; they call Peter Fonda's character 'likeable'. I never found him likeable. Had I played almost any other character in the movie I would have hit him hard in almost any scene. He was about as likeable a bad case of shingles. The opening seen he and his buddy steal $150,000 form a grocery store by kidnapping the manager's wife and daughter. Oh yeah; that's a likeable bunch.

But the cars... In my opinion the most likeable star was the 1969 Charger R/T. Maybe that was why I disliked Fonda's character so much. He was behind the wheel of this machine less than a minute when he used it to take the door off of a police cruiser. And then tore half of the front end off off later in the film when he t-boned a pickup truck at an intersection.

The movie ends rather abruptly. The helicopter runs out of gas; they escape from the cops and are home free.

Until they t-bone a train and die in a fiery crash. Ahhhh; the final comeuppance.

But it made money; over $28 million. it was released in 1974, and laid the blueprint for movies like Smokey, and TV shows like The Dukes of Hazzard.

All of the elements are there; the hot car; the hot girl, the inept police, the likeable outlaw who isn't really a crook, even though he has broken the law, maybe, depending on your point of view. And the chase.

Chase scenes are as old as the movies. Name a Western without a chase scene. Name a Comedy without one. Name a Romantic Comedy without one. The difference is, this movie started The Chase Movie. So at some point, if that is your genre of preference, you need to watch Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry at least once. Preferably at the Drive-In, in the front seat of a 1966 Oldsmobile, with a tinny speaker hung on your door and a large popcorn in your lap.

If none of these items are available, a beer, Netflixs and your recliner are okay. and the surround sound will improve your viewing experience. When they uncork that 440 Charger for the first time, you might just turn the image off and listen to nothing but the noise, like I almost did.

No comments: