It will never be mistaken for a ‘great’ film, but given what Shepard — co-Director, writer, star — set out to do, it’s great for what it is. Uncomplicated, unpretentious, breezy, silly, fun and filled with good repartee and dialog. Plus, the soundtrack is fabulous, not to mention a show-stealing performance by Bradley Cooper.
I’ll just say it: better than Smokey and the Bandit.
It might not be the greatest movie ever made, and it might not be one I’d watch over and over again, but has there ever been a purer, honest or more perfect film in the history of cinema – at least in terms of delivering on what it promised – than Smokey and the Bandit? The only film that even approaches it in my mind is the original Gone in 60 Seconds.
(My favorite line? When Jackie Gleason decides he’s had enough of his dimwit son and looks at him and says, “There is no way, no way, that you could come from my loins. Soon as I get home, the first thing I’m gonna do is punch your momma in the mouth.”)
(As an aside, what does it say about me that all my favorite lines from these movies are the women-hating ones? I guess maybe it’s time to sit down for a little self-evaluation.)
(A more topical aside – the director of this film, Hal Needham, was at the Oscars over the weekend, celebrating his Honorary Oscar. Who would’ve thought the director of this classic would ever have his own Oscar?)