How to Sink a Career in Six Easy Steps: A Tribute to the Films of Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham (part 8 of 8)

Regardless, Frank has a solution. He doesn’t appear in the same scene as anyone else, but he does have a solution. And that solution is…

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Well, Frank was going through a rough period around this time.

Don Don takes Burt, Dom, and Sammy into his office, with Dean posing as their agent. Savalas shows up, and after some fisticuffs, they get the money. Farr is freed, and after the obligatory huge brawl that breaks out when the other racers appear, the race resumes. And no, you missed nothing.

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So this is how you rock the casbah? I would never have guessed!

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Somehow, this standoff doesn’t have quite the same appeal as the one in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Our heroes in peril? No chance of escape? Who can save them, dear viewers?

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Dom DeLuise, Man of Action!

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Right turn, Clyde!

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Jackie Chan does what he usually does, Richard Kiel does the strongman routine, there’s more stuff with the ape of course, and lots of punches are thrown and lots of stuff gets broken. Also, it turns out Farr and Reilly made a business deal, which would render this whole thing pointless if it ever had a point to begin with.

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Jackie earns his paycheck.

While we’re in a bit of a lull, I’d just like to say this is the laziest piece of shit movie I’ve ever had the displeasure of watching in my entire life. I can understand being burnt out. I can understand maybe just wanting to make a movie in order to hang out with your buddies, but Jesus H. Tap Dancing Christ, is this bad!

So the race resumes (now for two million dollars, instead of the initial one million) and since we only have eight minutes of film left… Oh, give me a break! We go between random shots of the actors in their vehicles (Frank makes an appearance to show up his Rat Pack buddies), and an animated arrow on an animated map. Yes, the racing movie only has about a third of its screen time devoted to said race. Jesus.

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Hal, you cheap redneck cousin lover.

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Well, at least somebody is having a good time.

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…In a below average movie!

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The dude who made this map has never seen what America looks like, has he?

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“Bad enough I have Joe Piscopo acting as the champion to my legacy, I end up in this movie, too? Screw this, I’m outta here!”

You know, Roger Corman made some racing movies, and even he, one of the cheapest producers in the history of Hollywood, never resorted to this. He skimped on safety precautions and catering, but by god, he actually showed the race!

Did anybody give a shit on this production? About the only thing of interest I can find here is the song played over the racing/map footage. It’s a Spanish version of the song played when the race begins. The ‘80s group Menudo performs it, and…

Okay, it’s not that interesting. Christ, I feel like Count Floyd right now. While I’m on the subject, I’d just like to mention that SCTV was really brilliant. Unlike this movie.

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In a related story, this movie can kiss my ass.

Regardless, Ricardo Montalban shows up to finance another race. It turns out the ape won the race, and the movie finally ends. The blooper reel… Oh, you can guess. Game, set, match. The best thing I can say about this movie is that it makes adequate background noise when you’re doing other things, because there’s no chance at all of any distractions.

In the aftermath, Burt ended up doing some rather dull thrillers, before landing a TV series on CBS. Evening Shade ran for a few seasons and was a surprisingly good show. Following that, he drifted back into disfavor with films such as Cop and a Half (which Roger Ebert inexplicably gave a good review to), before his personal life (namely a real nasty divorce from Loni Anderson) took center stage.

A brief glimmer of a comeback was there with Boogie Nights, but he pissed it away, sadly. Can he come back again? I’d like to think so. When he’s on his game, he’s an entertaining performer, and while one can hold his films against him, you can’t deny the man’s early success.

As for Needham, he’s still doing stuff, and occasionally getting Burt to sign onto the project.

Until next time, keep an eye out for those Smokies, and put the pedal to the metal!

Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: How to Sink a Career in Six Easy Steps: A Tribute to the Films of Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham

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