Sunday, February 23, 2014


In the late 70's in the Will household, it's obvious, as I previously lamented, to say there was no cable. You get your listings from the paper. A solid week's worth of scheduling on about 4 pages of a "PARADE"--sized publication insert. Don't lose it, or you'll be forced to flip the dial searching for your show until it breaks.

 So, it was easy for a little chap like myself to scan the black and white newsprint, hopefully to find out if "White Lightning", "Eat My Dust", "Vanishing Point", or my personal fave, "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry" were going to be aired anytime that week. It was more miss than hit, as far as programming goes,(Hey, "Paper Tiger" is on!! Is that a kung-fu movie? Who the hell is David Niven?) but one of the local Milwaukee or Chicago stations would pop one of those redneck classics on more than once a month, giving me a decent reason to scan the publication.

I'm no gearhead now, not even close, but as a boy I loved the car-chase movie. The roar of the engine, the endless action shots of Burt Reynolds, Barry Newman, Ron Howard, or yes, Peter Fonda whipping the steering wheel around like Devo on Acid.

 So, "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry"..... Who needs plotline. Fonda, (Henry's son) playing Larry, and his partner rip off a grocery store, (in a surprisingly disturbing sequence involving an uncredited Roddy McDowall) to fund their racing career. They pick up an idiotic airhead, Mary, (Melissa George's mom, Susan) along the way, and run for it. Vic Morrow, (Jennifer Jason Leigh's Dad, what the hell is going on here!) some kind of helicopter pursuit expert, is put on the case, and the chase, one that may be the longest ever filmed, ensues. Longest until Tarantino and "Death Proof anyway. In a creepily sad bit of irony, Morrow was killed in real life by a helicopter during the filming of "Twilight Zone: The Movie".

 Some banter, which makes Adam Roarke the only sympathetic one of the three running from the law, is juvenile and poorly executed. Although there is a nice moment where Roarke befriends Mary, when Fonda's character lets his incredible assholeishness get way out of control and pushes her down. As far as emotional content, that's about as far as this one goes.

 I gotta say, I showed this movie to my son earlier this summer, and he disagrees with me on the ending. That's ok, he's entitled. There's a TON of c.b. chatter in the second half of this flick, and a lot of it is dialogue between Morrow and Fonda in the final chase segment. Just when it looks like the rogues have it made, and Morrow appears to be backing off as evidence by the dying of his Oscar-worthy repartee, Fonda's Charger crashes right into a train.

 Credits roll.

 Greatest. Ending. Ever.

I don't remember how many times we and Mr. Will, (that's my Dad. I'm just Rob) watched this one....

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