Things to me, That Were Wrong with "Smokey and The Bandit"
Burt "Bo" Reynolds and Sally "Frog" Field in a key scene from "Smokey and The Bandit"
Let us begin
Let’s be serious. I can’t believe I said that. I am talking about a fictitious piece of film: The 1977 movie, “Smokey and The Bandit,” not one of the many JFK Assassination Conspiracy movies. And although it made Burt Reynolds a vault of money (that his “ex” Loni Anderson got) there was not a serious moment in the entire movie. Not even the fight scene in “Soul Man’s” café and bar where Jerry “Cletus Snow Snowman” Reed gets his “clock cleaned,” by a gang of pseudo bikers and thrown-out of the cafe along with his dog, “Fred.”
But soon, things are right in the world, when “Cletus,” comes to himself outside on the ground, crawls back into his ’74 Kenworth, fires it up as a devilish-smile appears on his bloody face. “Cletus” “guns” his truck and demolishes the pseudo-bikers’ bikes, judging by their size, this gang was low on funds.
Jerry "Cletus" Snow, as "Snowman," does his magic with his 18-wheeler
"Snowman's" 1974 Kenworth
Hal Needman, producer, gets a chewing from Jackie "Buford T. Justice" Gleason
1977 Trans Am used by "Bandit," makes a fancy move
No serious moment found in "Smokey and The Bandit"
That scene was stolen from a vintage joke: “A man was in a bar having drinks when a gang of bullies beat him up and threw him to the sidewalk. An innocent by-stander said, “Fellas, weren’t you a bit rough on that fella?” “Well, the head bully said. “He was always yakking about this or the other, didn’t know much, you know the type? Well we had heard all that we wanted and we tossed his butt out of here.” The innocent by-stander replied, “And another thing. He’s not much at driving a car—for he has ran over about six motorcycles in the parking lot.” Same old joke, different players. But when Jerry Reed “lived” the joke, seemingly it became much-funnier.
I am not coming to you with an axe in my hand and a smile on my face. I am simply taking the “Realistic High Road,” in this piece as I point-out the things that “I” saw as being wrong with “Smokey and The Bandit.” But do not worry. No one connected to this iconic piece of film will ever read this, not even Burt Reynolds (God only knows how much he needs the work) to pay for those botched facelifts.
And with Jerry Reed who is deceased and Sally Field who lives in her circles of Hollywood Royalty, she wouldn’t give my hub the time of day, so do you see any worry lines forming on my forehead?
Today in 2014, I can see Sally Field in her Malibu mansion watching herself in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” with her “ex,” Burt Reynolds. Suddenly, Burt hops (he used to leap) to his feet and meanders over to Sally to show her “this” story. She fumes with anger. Burt’s ego pumps. And he thinks I am on my way back.
“Let’s call this Kenneth Avery character, Burt.” Sally says. “I’ll give him a piece of your mind.”
“Burt!” Burt finally says.
“Why did you say Burt, Burt?” Sally asks very confused.
“Well, Sally. You said for us to call this Kenneth Avery character “Burt,” so I did,” Burt explains trying hard not to make too many facial expressions that would damage one of his many facelifts.
"Buford T. Justice," speaks of "Junior," (Mike Henry)
Secret Smokey and The Bandit Fact: Since Burt Reynolds and Kenny Rogers are no longer a “hot ticket” in Hollywood, or anywhere else for that matter, they have a weekly-date. Burt flies down to Kenny’s mansion and they sit around all day to see whose facelifts look better. A true “Game of vanity.”
Ingelborg Kjeldson as "Foxy Lady"
Mike Henry, "Junior," holds his daddy's had on his head during one of his rants
Paul Williams, left, "Little Enos," and Pat McCormick, "Big Enos Burdette," are great in the film
Replica of the Pontiac Trans Am used in "Smokey and The Bandit"
Sally Field and Burt Reynolds enjoy a laugh between scenes
Burt Reynolds "hams it up" during a publicity event featuring the Pontiac Trans Am
"If you are reading too fast, I will write you a ticket!"
Who was your favorite character in "Smokey and The Bandit?"
Think about "these" areas
Now I am finally getting to:
Things, to me, That Are Wrong with Smokey and The Bandit
- “Snowman” vs bikers – I never understood that in the fight scene in the roadside café, did the burly bikers start a fight with him? Today in 2014, not many biker gangs would want that type of publicity.
- Minority Short Change – in the same scene, “Cletus” talks briefly with his trucker buddy, “Sugar Bear,” and then “Sugar Bear” “Slides on out of here,” as he tells “Cletus.” “Sugar Bear,” the man who owned the café and the younger boy at the first place Bandit pulls-in for gas, and the kid says, “Well hello, mister Bandit,” the sheriff who rode with the mayor’s son giving chase to Bandit, and the man sitting on the side of the creek fishing, I counted only five African-American actors in this movie. And the one Japanese truck driver who’s rig knocked “Sheriff Justice’s” driver’s side door off. I thought in 1977, the Affirmative Action Act gave minorities the opportunities to work in any field. Maybe not.
- Smokey and The Bandit was, in all honesty, an action flick from the word go. There wasn’t that many stunts, just great driving by a battery of seasoned-stunt men and women. Which brings me to another scene where Bandit is being chases again and this rig, trailer and all, jumps over a hill and lands atop the flatbed trailer of another trucker who is just minding his own business. Look at what the trucker does, the stupid one whose truck in riding on the trailer. He looks “back” to the camera and asks the other trucker, “Think ye can let me off at the next exit?” I am no master of physics, but shouldn’t the trucker needing a ride be looking forward to ask his question?
- The place in the film where “Snowman” and Bandit get to Texarcana to pick up 400 cases of Coors beer, now the reason for such a haul was: “Big Enos Burdette” says: “I got a boy running in the Southern 500 and we need some beer to celebrate,” but 400 cases? That tallies up to 9600 cans. That’s a way bit much. I forgot to mention that this film is not only action-packed, but has weak gags such as the 400 cases of beer. And why wasn’t anyone at the warehouse in Texarcana? Things like this bother me in film.
- Among other surreal moments of this iconic picture is when the three teenage guys were going to strip the green Chevy, that I assume belonged to “Carrie,” a/k/a “Frog,” Sally Field, and up comes Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason) and “Junior,” (Mike Henry) his son. Okay. Justice makes a few disparaging remarks, threatens the boys and he and “Junior” leave. Now my point is Sheriff Justice has already informed the teen guys that “some of my associates,” will come and take care of them, but when Justice and Junior drive off, wouldn’t the three guys have time enough to hop back in their van and make a run for it? And that line, “you all do what you want. I’m stayin’ right here,” said by one of the teens. This was the first time they had laid eyes on Buford T. Justice, so why did they suddenly fear him?
- Bandit’s line: “I take my hat off for one thing—one thing only,” well “Frog,” tells him to “Take off his hat,” while they are taking a break then the scene cuts back to “Cletus” who is catching “Fred,” his faithful dog. Then a cut-back to “Bandit” and “Frog” walking slowly down a pathway into the woods. And we all know what for. Then one more cut-back to “Cletus,” who is heading back to the interstate and worried about how much time they lost, then back to “Bandit” and “Frog,” who have obviously made-use of this pit-stop, but what bothered me was did either one use protection? This act in itself was more dangerous than the run from the law.
- The gas mileage from Atlanta, Georgia to Texarcana, was so good that both “Bandit,” and “Snowman,” at different times stopped to fill-up with gas. On the way back to Atlanta with their “beer haul,” they did not stop one time. It must have been that “Secret Hollywood Gasoline,” that us commoners do not get to use.
- Everyone who is a fan of Smokey and The Bandit loves the scene where the pretty madam, “Foxy Lady,” is looking sly and sexy as she tells “Bandit,” “You just come over here and we’ll take care of those bears for you—with a little ‘personalized service,” but “Junior,” and “Justice,” only arrested the State Troopers’ captain. So why didn’t any of the authorities have the initiative to arrest the girls for solicitation? Wasn’t prostitution illegal in 1977 when this film was released?
- And speaking of “hot” girls, the girl at the café, “Hot Pants Hilliard,” a very-hot girl, does it not bother anyone that a girl who is well into her late 20’s or early 30’s is still wearing a faded fashion fad: Hot Pants? And working as a “carhop,” hanging-out with teenagers young enough to be her children?
- “Frog” was the only one of the three main characters who had to let her kidneys act. When she and “Bandit,” pulled in for their only tank of gas heading to Texarcana, and she asks “Bandit,” “Give me a dime for the ladies room,” to which “Bandit,” replies, “Crawl under.” My point is this: I guess that “Bandit” and “Cletus” had bladders of steel to be able to “hold their urine,” on their long, 18-hour trip.
- Is it realistic that a car that had been wrecked, rolled, and ran-over by “Snowman’s” truck, would even run? Well “Buford T. Justice’s” car did—and was still running as the film’s credits were rolling.
I am only asking very humbly, “Wouldn’t ‘Smokey and The Bandit,’ been a little better with bites of reality thrown in here and there?
I know what you are going to say. You have been just itching to say, “Kenneth, ‘Smokey and The Bandit,’ was only a fun-film, not a serious documentary,” and I agree.
You are half-right.