Smokey and the Bandit – We All Wanted that Car

Rating (3.5 out of 5) – partially influenced by fond memories of childhood.

Rating (3 out of 5) – If you weren’t alive in the 70’s.  [Edit after posting….originally posted as a 2.5, but moving to a 3 after comparing to other movies I have ranked.  This is is just a good humored action flick.

A 1970’s classic that when you are 9 years old, seems like the best movie in the world.  Re-watched this on Prime as part of a dedication to Burt Reynolds.

Plot is simple, Bandit (Burt Reynolds) and Cledus (Jerry Reed) accepted a bet bootleg Coors beer from Texas to Georgia in 24 hours.  Bandit drives a fast car and distracts the police while Cledus is in the truck, and the movie follows their adventure.

What I Liked:   Bandit lights up the screen with his laugh and humor.  The chemistry between him, his cohort Cledus and his hitchhiker/runaway bride Carrie (Sallly Fields) was great.

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The trucker and CB world is definitely romanticized in this movie.  I remember in elementary school, you used 10-4 as a way to acknowledge people.  Looking back, everyone wanted the Bandit’s car, it was just cool.

This movie is well paced.  There are just enough car chases scenes to keep it exciting, but not too many that it becomes the whole movie.  Also the car chases weren’t over the top.  The police were just incompetent enough not to catch him, but he was also good enough to just out smart them.  It was a good balance.

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Jerry Reed’s music was great.  Now mind you I am not a huge fan of country music but the music just fitted the movie well.  The music is so good,  that same weekend I heard it at the University of Texas football game.  Music that has survived 40 years and played to over 80,000 screaming fans, that is impressive.

What I Didn’t Like:  Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) was too much, too over the top.  I get he was needed to drive the story and chase, but to me he was the worst stereotype you can find.   Worse than this character was his son Junior (Mike Henry).  He was designed to be an idiot.  It wasn’t funny but probably maybe it was in the day.  Again, felt like it was part of some down south stereotyping.

While they kept the kissy kissy to a minimum, it wasn’t really needed at all.

Conclusion:  A great chase action film, that now shows a little history of the day and age, but by no means a grand piece of art.

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