Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Convoy

NetFlix
IMDB
My Rating: 3/10



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Totally obnoxious and unlikable redneck trucker Rubber Duck ends up leading a gigantic convoy as truckers from all over America rally to his side as he stands up to The Man, or something. Along the way we get the saddest cheating waitress ever, a hero who's semi-conscious at best, obligatory 70's hick cops beating up the black guy, incredibly serious direction that's convinced this pointless mess MEANS SOMETHING, and Ernest Borgnine.

Watch the trailer below because it gives you all the best parts of the movie and actually makes it look like fun. One can enjoy the trailer for 3 minutes and be spared sitting through 1 hour 43 minutes of the Duck staring vacantly out the window and Ali MacGraw's awful haircut.


I found this review on IMDB from a person who gave this 8/10. I'm not sure we watched the same movie, and I'm equally not sure this guy isn't just taking the piss, but this is one funny review if he's being serious...

CONVOY, even after almost 30 years since it was released, remains was it was, an iconic American film by an iconic American director. This movie,which is not short on American archetypes, from Ernest Bornine's vile redneck sheriff "Dirty Lyle," to Kris Kristofferson's independence-loving "Rubber Duck," to Ali MacGraw's free-spirited "Melissa," is really an old-fashioned Western, but with trucks. LOTS of trucks. Like Clint Eastwood's "man with no name" gunslinger, Kristofferson (who steals every scene with his smile and blue eyes) is a man whose sense of honour and justice compels him to act on behalf of the down-trodden; symbolized in this case by a black truck driver named "Spider Mike" (played by actor Franklyn Ajaye). But instead of guns and "pistols at dawn" Kristofferson uses a semi. But it's not "justice" he's after, for in the world of CONVOY "justice" (per se) doesn't really exist. That's what makes this film so iconic. If it was about "justice" this movie would have been a court drama, with the Rubber Duck hiring a lawyer, going to court, and getting Dirty Lyle tossed in jail for his arrogance and abuse of power. Nor is it about mere revenge, for throughout the movie Kristofferson's character never truly reaches the point where he simply wants to hurt and destroy his nemesis. It's rather about personal honour and how we, as individuals, define it. Spider Mike, therefore, becomes not so much the victim of racism (which is repeatedly emphasized by the other characters calling him "boy") but of a system that has allowed dishonourable people (in positions of power) to abuse that power at will. Into this world comes the "legendary" Rubber Duck, the "last of the independents," who alone is willing to strike a blow for the diminished honour of another man, while seeking no reward for himself. This is the essence of the American Western and why it works so well in CONVOY. Take away the trucks, put on some cowboy boots and a six-shooter, and you have before you any number of Westerns whose sole premise is that one man with personal integrity and honour can make a real difference in the corrupt world in which he lives. The difference in this case is that Kristofferson doesn't just "clean up this one horse town" he, with the aid of his "posse" of like-minded truckers (Burt Young does a terrific job as his side-kick "Pig Pen"), totally demolishes it. And like those great Westerns, only then can Rubber Duck find solace for his spirit; which he does without compromising either his own values or his personal integrity This is the essence of honour itself and what really makes this movie work. Even, now, after almost 30 years, one cannot help but stand and cheer as Rubber Duck and company take on the forces arrayed against them as the movie reaches its climax. And then stand up cheer again during the closing dénouement. CONVOY, therefore, isn't about "America," or even about being an American, it IS America; the America of myth and folklore that people, even now, still believe in and which the great Westerns of old have done so much to popularize. Because of that and because director Sam Peckinpah does it with such style and grace, this iconic movie, by an iconic director, deserves a place on the shelf of every lover of good solid entertainment 

I'm not sure we saw the same movie, because what I saw was Rubber Duck & Co plowing into the town where the cops had jailed Black Victim and driving 18 wheelers through every fruit stand, trading post, pawn shop, and general store in the town during their wheeled battle with the evil cops. I lost count of how many buildings got demolished and all I was thinking was, "Man, the guy who owns that chicken farm is gonna be PISSED." Somehow I don't think all the innocent townspeople whose livelihoods were destroyed in the macho truck fest were "standing and cheering".

I obviously missed something because to me it was not an "epic, iconic American myth" but rather the story of a lazy, thuggish layabout and the trail of carnage he inadvertently creates due to having the maturity level of a 14 year old. YMMV.

And I freaking LOVED "Smokey & the Bandit", too, so it is not due to my having any inherent bias against dumb redneck car movies. 


Suggested Accompaniment:  Budweiser beer and white sugared donuts.  Preferably deep-fried white sugared donuts.  For the full effect, have your wife hit you with a pan a few times while watching, down at least a whole sixpack, and pass out on the floor of your garage next to your primered Nova.