Monday, May 3, 2010

Cannonball Run, The - 1/5

I will admit I enjoyed Smokey and the Bandit. Despite that I don't necessarily like "Good 'ol Boy" comedies starring Burt Reynolds I still found it enjoyable. Smokey and the Bandit II not so much. But when it came time for me to watch Cannonball Run, which reunites Burt Reynolds with Smokey director Hal Needham, I couldn't help myself. I heard so much bad news about this film so I had so see exactly why. Plus look at the all star cast! Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. , Jack Elam, Adrienne Barbeau, Terry Bradshaw, Jackie Chan, and Peter Fonda. With a cast that amazing it can't be that bad...can it?

The answer is yes, fuck yes. The first major problem is that this film has absolutely no plot! It's about the Cannonball race across the U.S. and literally that is it. Reynolds and DeLuise are our protagonists and supposedly Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. are our "antagonists" dressed as priests. Antagonists is used loosely as they flatten our "heroes" tires and give them nasty looks. Along the way Reynolds predictably has a small romance with eye candy Farrah Fawcett. This literally has the thinnest plot I have ever seen in a film, especially from a major Hollywood studio!

The second problem is that there are too many big name stars! It's like the filmmakers new they had no plot so they tried to make up for it by loading the screen with recognizable faces. The film could have more plot if it spent less time trying to give each star so much on-screen time.

The third problem is there are too many pointless scenes but since the film doesn't really have a plot, I guess this isn't that big of a problem. There is literally a sequence where Burt runs out of beer while flying a plane (!?!) and lands on a main street of a small town to have DeLuise get out and buy some more. No purpose other than to show a stunt.

The fourth problem is that it just isn't funny. For a comedy you expect some laughs but all you get is grimacing looks on your face by the outrageous stupidity going on the screen.

I can't imagine how embarrassing this film was to some of its stars who no doubt did this monstrosity for a paycheck. Take Roger Moore for example who plays...uh...Roger Moore. Except his "character" is an actor and spy? What the hell? He plays ROGER MOORE and he is both and actor and a spy?!?! This makes no sense. He even did this film when he was still playing James Bond! Moore, you greedy bastard!

Burt Reynolds broke the payroll record with this film by getting a $5 million dollar paycheck and it was even one of the top grossing films of 1981. That is just a sad statement. This of course opened the door to more sequels. Cannonball Run II with Reynolds and Needham returning came out in 1984 and Speed Zone! In 1989. I like viewing train wreck films (or else I just love torturing myself) so I will be viewing Cannonball Run II shortly just to see how much worse it can get.

Burt while deciding what car to drive says "Could get a black Trans Am", and then answers himself, "Naw, that's been done." This of course is a reference to Smokey and the Bandit and one wishes they were watching that film again than this bastard offspring.

Written By Eric Reifschneider

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