May 29, 2018
How to Sink a Career in Six Easy Steps: A Tribute to the Films of Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham (part 6 of 8)
In the end, Stroker wins the big race when his chief rival smashes into him, causing his car to flip over on its roof and cross the finish line. He frees himself of his contract, and ends up with Pembroke. The movie has no point, no interest, no coherency, no laughs, and no way in hell am I going to write another word about it. Instead, here’s some screen captures of the lowlights of the movie.
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Roger Ebert said it best about this one in his review.
Roger Ebert: Burt Reynolds used to make movies about people’s lifestyles. Now he seems more interested in making movies that fit in with his own lifestyle.
And since I refuse to let another critic have the last word on this movie, I’ll contribute one of my own:
The End; and I don’t mean that comedy he did with Dom DeLuise: Cannonball Run II (1984)
And so we come to the end. After Stroker Ace was roundly rejected by everyone in the known universe, Burt and Hal teamed up one last time for a second Cannonball Run film. It’s pretty much the same damn movie as the first one, only about twelve minutes longer. The best thing that can be said about it is that it’s not the first movie. Of course, the reverse can be said about the first Cannonball Run, so they kind of cancel each other out.
To be fair, it’s a breath of fresh air compared to what we just witnessed with the previous film.
A recap is not needed here, since it’s basically the same damn movie, so let’s bring it on home with some ramblings.
Random Ramblings II: Blood Hunt:
Before we begin, let’s tally the Razzie nominations and wins for the movie:
- Worst Film: Lost to Bolero, starring Bo Derek and her two best assets.
- Worst Actor: Burt lost to Stallone in Rhinestone.
- Worst Actress: Shirley MacClaine lost to Bo Derek.
- Worst Supporting Actor: Sammy Davis Jr. lost to Brooke Shields in something called Sahara, somehow. Who knows? Maybe she plays a dude or something. Beats me.
- Worst Supporting Actress: Susan Anton and Marilu Henner lost to Lynn-Holly Johnson in Where the Boys Are ’84.
- Worst Director: Lost to Bolero’s John Derek. Yes, Bo’s husband and yes, it is rather creepy when a husband and wife team up to make a movie in which the wife bares it all several times. Just wanted to clarify.
- Worst Screenplay: Lost to Bolero, which is fair, since I seriously doubt this movie actually had a script.
Wow, at this point Burt couldn’t even buy a Razzie award! That, or the crop of shitty movies in 1984 was worse than average. I’m inclined to go with the latter.
It’s pretty much the same principal cast, only Farrah Fawcett is gone (replaced by Shirley MacClaine and Marilu Henner, as actresses dressed as nuns), as are Adrienne Barbeau and her busty partner. According to her autobiography, it’s pretty clear Adrienne didn’t care for the way Burt and Dom interacted with each other, and given the blooper reel from the first film, I can see her point. So it’s not really a shock that she’d bow out of the sequel.
Added to the cast is pretty much every working character actor in Hollywood at the time. Susan Anton and Catherine Bach are in the Lamborghini now, and Telly Savalas is a gangster, as are Abe Vigoda, Michael Gazzo, Henry Silva, and Alex Rocco.
Tony Danza is on hand with a trained ape, Jackie Chan is back, only this time his sidekick is Richard Kiel, Ricardo Montalban appears as Jamie Farr’s dad, and Frank Sinatra himself has a cameo appearance… sort of.
Charles Nelson Reilly also has a part in the film, and there are other cameos strewn throughout the picture like debris after a hurricane. It’s a great bloody mess of a movie, as we’ll see.
Like the first movie, it takes about 45 minutes until the actual race starts, and for some reason, rather than going from Connecticut to California, the route is reversed. The other major difference is that the race doesn’t really play a role in the movie bearing its name. Yeah, this is going to be a rough ride, folks. Good thing I’m not charging you to read this. Otherwise, I’d be sending out a shitload of refunds.
We begin in the Middle East as Ricardo Montalban sends Jamie Farr back to America to win the Cannonball Run, since he failed so badly the last time. I should note that Doug McClure is on hand as Farr’s personal slave. Not for anything story related, it’s just that he’s in the scene and I don’t want people going, “Who the fuck is the blonde guy?”
By the way, Farr’s last name in the movie is “Falafel”. I think we’ve just set the humor bar for the movie here, folks. Don’t try to limbo under it, I’m pretty sure no matter how good your health insurance is, it doesn’t cover breaking yourself in half trying to match the comedy level of a shitty Burt Reynolds movie.
Sheik Khan tells Farr to set up a race, as there isn’t one scheduled, and this takes us to the opening credits. Like the first film, they play over hot chicks in a Lamborghini, and with the exception of different actresses in the car, and the fact that apparently the production department couldn’t spring for a can of spray paint, it’s the same goddamn scene.
The next forty minutes or so are basically there just to reunite us with the returning characters and throw some news ones our way. There’s not much to mention here, really, outside of the Brando impression that Dom DeLuise does playing “Don Cannelloni” in one scene.
The basic plot is that the Don’s son Don, yes, “Don Don” (Charles Nelson Reilly) is behind on collecting his debts. He’s in for nine million and change to Telly Savalas, and a scheme to ransom Farr’s character is hatched. I honestly don’t have a clue, really.
Either way, I’ll just Screencap Recap the highlights until the race starts. Well, not really “highlights”, per se. Let’s just think of them as excuses for me to make the same joke a bunch of times. Much like the movie, oddly enough.