Saturday, September 8, 2007

Convoy

First things first: did you know that Convoy was directed by Sam Peckinpah? Seriously? A movie based on a novelty country song that was written for bread commercials? That's just crazy talk.

Anyway, I watched this as part of my ongoing quest to see all the movies referenced by Grindhouse, and this is one of the driving movies that Death Proof is a tribute to. You know that metal duck on the hood of Kurt Russell's car? It's from Kris Kristofferson's hood in this movie. So there you go.

I do not fully understand the Trucker Genre. This movie in particular relies on an insane cop (played by Ernest Borgnine, looking exactly like Jackie Gleason in Smokey and the Bandit) with an unexplained grudge against Kris Kristofferson in specific and truckers in general. It's not even like in Vanishing Point where the guy's speeding slowly picks up more and more police attention; Borgnine just picks a fight until the truckers punch him out. I think these movies work a little better when the police have a point, like in Cannonball Run. I don't really dig a completely irrational antagonist. Apparently in the Convoy universe, the police routinely arrest truckers for no reason, which seems like it would put a crimp in interstate commerce.

Anyway, then it's a race to the state border! And right past the state border, and now all the truckers in the country are in a big Convoy to Nowhere! And then they all turn around and go back to Texas! And then it's off to Mexico, making me wonder if these guys aren't supposed to be delivering their cargo somewhere. You can talk all you want about the Freedom of the Road, but I'm pretty sure there are schedules to be met. Truckers aren't directionless hoboes. They've got jobs! And what about the pigs in Burt Young's truck? Shouldn't someone feed them or something?

The climactic roadblock scene involves the national guard and tanks and looks more like the last scene of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid than a lighthearted Revenge of the Truckers flick. I blame Peckinpah. That's what they get for hiring a real director.

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