Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hypothetical playlist for a "Burt Reynolds Action Mustache Viewing Party"

I'm not saying I will be throwing a Burt Reynolds Action Mustache Party (with complementary Burt mustaches for everyone to wear), but if I ever do find myself planning such an event this is how it'll probably go down. To clarify, this night of tribute to the man who single-handedly defined hairy American masculinity through the 70s and 80s will concentrate on Burt's often overlooked (and quite prolific) catalog of straight action vehicles. This means that some of his more well known and successful works from his other genres like action comedy (Cannonball Run, Smokey and the Bandit), sports (The Longest Yard, Semi-Tough), and Peter Bogdanovich directed period flops (At Long Last Love, Nickelodeon) will be excluded. The fare will be limited to straight up Burt Reynolds mustachioed action.

8:00 pm
White Lightning (1973)
It is a bit of a controversial move to kick off a "Burt Reynolds Action Mustache Party" with a movie featuring a mustache-less Burt, however, I think he shows shows enough chest hair throughout to make up the difference. This has everything one would expect from a Burt Reynolds action picture: crooked authority figures (one of the all time great crooked sheriff performances by Ned Beatty), some blonde love interest, moonshine, car chases, cumbersome fist fighting, guns; all deliciously country-fried to perfection. It's sort of a less carefree version of the "Dukes of Hazzard." Reynolds would essentially remake this film in one way or the other for about the next 20 years.

10:00 pm
Gator (1976)
Having just witnessed the action packed conclusion of "White Lightning", everyone obviously wants to know what becomes of Reynold's Gator McKlusky in this sequel. The story is essentially along the lines of "White Lightning", except you replace the evil sheriff with the evil politician (played by future Smokey and the Bandit series co-star Jerry Reed). Gator drives, shoots, punches, and gets with Lauren Hutton; all carried by his trademark smart alecky southern charm. This was also Burt's feature directorial debut.

12:00 am
Sharky's Machine (1981)
You wouldn't believe how disappointed I was when I learned that the titular "machine" was not some type of fantastic crime fighting robot but rather the name given to the ragtag group of investigators that aid Sharky in his quest to put away the crooked governor involved in a high class prostitution ring (unbelievable I know). As with any action film involving prostitution rings, there is indeed a hooker with a heart of gold (Rachel Ward) and, yes, she eventually gets with Sharky.

2:00 am
Stick (1985)
I have to admit I haven't got around to watching "Stick" but from what I've gathered, it looks like a winner. You've got Reynolds playing his Gator-esque ex-con looking to make good but getting involved with crooked characters, a sexy Candice Bergen as a possible fem fatale, more Burt directing, and a story by Elmore Leonard. To me the whole thing sort of looks like an action packed version of "Body Heat" except with more mustachioed ass kicking.

4:00 am
All those who made it all the way through to 4 will be rewarded with this spectacular conclusion to the Burt action period. What can I write that wikipedia's quoting of the Allmovie guide hasn't already written:
Malone (Burt Reynolds) has been a "wet" operative for the CIA for many years, serving his country by performing assassinations. He is tired of his job and wants to get out of "the company" (as it is called) and live a normal life. He is looking along the Pacific Northwest for a place to settle down when his much-cherished classic Mustang breaks down outside the town of Comstock. He manages to get to a small gas station and is treated like family by a Vietnam veteran, who is the station's owner, and his daughter. They are suffering from the nefarious activities of a local bigwig (Cliff Robertson) to take over all the land in the city in a hare-brained development scheme. He soon runs afoul of the town sheriff, who is basically an employee of the developer, but eventually wins his respect. Meanwhile, the CIA is none too pleased to hear of Malone's intended retirement and send a succession of hit-men after him to ensure that he divulges none of their dirty secrets. Malone destroys the first two killers at some cost to his own well-being. The next assassin turns out to be a woman who is susceptible to his charms. Meanwhile, he has a thorough-going local scoundrel to put out of business
There seems to be at least a half dozen action cliches in that plot description. While the marathon party may be wrapping up after Malone around 6, there is always the possibility of some sweet extra breakfast Burt if one of the cable channels is airing an episode of "Evening Shade."

1 comment:

  1. I have a weird thing for Burt Reynolds, I mean I even just got him as the voice on my GPS. I got it from www.navtones.com that does celebrity voices for GPS. I love it! I also got Mr. T and Kim Cattrall but for some reason I keep going back to Burt!