Tag: Jerry Reed

MUSIC REVIEW | Jerry Reed – Nashville Underground (1968)

In a nutshell, Bored & Dangerous says: “These old standards are hindered by a little too much faux earnestness and polish.”

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When I was a kid, Jerry Reed was the bloke who played The Snowman, the big rig driving sidekick to Burt Reynolds’ titular Bandit in The Smokey and the Bandit movies.  When I was teenager, I was impressed to discover that he didn’t only act on those movies, he also performed their awesome theme song, East Bound and Down.  Then, a few years ago, I realised how much deeper than that one song his musical career went.  It turns out, Jerry Reed is a bona fide country music legend and guitar virtuoso.  Talents that mostly go to waste on Nashville Underground.

Pretty far from the boot kickin’ country I was expecting, Remembering opens proceedings with a samba swing ballad.  It’s also Reed singing with a much smoother, more tender tone than I have ever heard in my limited experience with his music.  I associate his voice with movie saloons and road houses, not elevators. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***FONDA WEEK*** High-Ballin’ (1975)

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“Congratulations, sucker.”

If you want to get my interest in a movie quick smart, have the opening titles set to a song by Jerry Reed. You really want to make sure you get my interest in a movie quick smart, give Reed a major role in the movie too, so his name gets second billing in those opening credits while his own song plays. All of that is to say, I knew nothing about High-Ballin’ going in, but it certainly had my undivided attention pretty quick smart.


A “sexy” woman is on the side of the highway by her broken down car. When a truck driver pulls over to help her and maybe gets some action, we see she’s just a decoy. There’s a sinister bloke in her car who proceeds to hijack the truck. Cue the colourful crew of other truckies shooting the shit in a roadside diner. They’ve had enough of these robberies and are starting to talk about taking matters into their own hands. (more…)

MOVIE REVIEW | ***BURT WEEK*** Gator (1976)

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In 1984, we got Revenge of the Nerds.  One of the greatest raunch fest movies of the 80s.  It was crude, overflowing with nudity and made for a very specific audience of teenage horn bags.  Because it was such a surprise success, it spawned a sequel three years later, Revenge of the Nerds II: Nerds in Paradise.  Not content with aiming for a other surprise cult hit, they went all out, chasing a mainstream audience.  Toning down everything that made the first movie so unique, Nerds in Paradise was the kind of cookie cutter, bland nothing of a movie everyone expected the first one to be before they saw it.  While 1973’s White Lightning didn’t have the same impact on me as Revenge of the Nerds, you can see the exact same studio thinking is more than likely what lead to its sequel, Gator.


Returned from another stint in prison and leading the quiet life of a bootlegger on a swamp with his father and daughter, Gator McKlusky’s (Burt Reynolds) life doesn’t stay quiet for long.  The state Governor knows his re-election depends on cleaning up one small county, run by crime boss Bama McCall (Jerry Reed).  The Governor calls in Irving Greenfield (Jack Weston), a New York law man who blackmails Gator into helping them track down McCall.

The blackmail turns into a genuine respect and friendship as Gator learns the real extent of McCall’s crimes and ruthlessness.  Nothing gets an audience to hate a character more than under aged prostitution.  Soon, Gator’s determined to take down McCall, not just to save himself, but because it’s the right thing to do.  You see, this is a sequel, so Gator has to be a little more watered down and noble now.

I would never call White Lightning a classic, but it did have an edge to it that is clearly missing from Gator.  While the first movie was content to revel in its white trash, swamp people, red neck glory, there’ a clear attempt to make Gator a little more appealing to a wider audience.  He has a young daughter now, he’s fighting a much more evil enemy, he’s on the side of the law, everything that makes the character of Gator a little less interesting and little more easily digestible.

After being a huge Smokey and the Bandit fan all my life, it was kind of interesting to see Reynolds and Reed play off each other as enemies, instead of the best friends in movie history as the Bandit and the Snowman.  Reed is fine as a baddie, making the most of what he’s given, and a couple of showdowns between him and Reynolds are fun enough, but there just isn’t enough there for the actors to really make anything from.

This is a story about swampy, moonshine bootleggers getting caught up in some crazy shit.  There are car chases, a forced in romance and lots of red neckery.  Those ingredients sound to me like they should add up to some goofy, B-movie fun.  And in White Lightening, they did.  But in Gator, everyone just got a little too carried away thinking they were making something more.

Gator
Directed By – Burt Reynolds
Written By – William W. Norton

MOVIE REVIEW | ***DUD SEQUEL WEEK*** Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (1983)

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I love Smokey and the Bandit.  I love Smokey an the Bandit II even more.  Not ironically, not in a kitschy way, and I’d like to think it’s not even all based on nostalgia.  I think Burt Reynolds in the 70s and early 80s had a kind of charisma as the Bandit that was unequalled.  I think Sally Field was the perfect, adorable chick to play the love interest, Frog.  I think Jackie Gleason’s performance as Buford T Justice is a master class in broad, character comedy.  I think Jerry Reed nailed it as the Bandit’s sidekick Snowman.  It is for all of those reasons that I have always avoided the Reynolds and Field-free Smokey and the Bandit Part 3.  Until now.


This movie is so bad and so ignored, I can’t even find a trailer on Youtube. All I can find is the trailer for the original cut of the movie that never even got released, where Mason was going to play both roles of Smokey and the Bandit. Now, while that sounds absolutely terrible, at least it sounds crazy enough to be a little interesting, unlike the version that was released.

A common sign that a sequel might struggle to reach the highs of its predecessor is the promotion of supporting players to more prominent roles.  Think Frenchy in Grease 2, or Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 3.  Well, in Smokey and the Bandit Part 3, not only do we get the Snowman promoted to the role of the Bandit, we also get the comic relief characters of Big and Little Enis bumped up to major supporting characters.  In the first two movies, they make bets that send the Bandit off on his adventure and Buford T Justice off in hot pursuit.  In Part 3,they make the bet to kick things off, then pop up constantly, trying to hinder both sides’ attempts to win. They’re funny in little doses, just outright annoying when peppered throughout.

So the story is, Buford T Justice is retiring.  We learn this in a spoof of the famous George C Scott opening scene from Patton where he addresses the camera (his troops) in front of American flag.  This is after an opening titles spoof on Star Wars and a long montage of clips from the first two movies that shows Reynolds’ signature laugh no less than three times.  Two spoofs of iconic cinematic landmarks, shoehorning in as much footage of the absent star as possible…  I have a feeling the film makers weren’t too confident about this one.

But back to Buford’s retirement, he heads to Florida with his “tick turd” son and never seen wife, soon realising retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  His boredom makes him accept a bet from the Enises to make a cross country road trip in a designated amount of time.  You know, like the Bandit had to do in the first one.  And the second one.

Once they think Buford might actually succeed, the Enises decide to enlist the help of the Bandit.  But not the original, for convoluted reasons that don’t make any sense, Jerry Reed’s Snowman decides to take on the persona and take the job of the all new Bandit, Trans-Am and all.  But not the awesome Trans-Am of the Reynolds era.  It’s a cheap, plastic looking 80s Trans-Am that has none of the balls or character of the 70s original.  It’s sort of like the car equivalent of downgrading from Burt Reynolds to Jerry Reed.

What happens in the story doesn’t matter.  There are hints of the Snowman / Bandit learning a lesson about ego and realising you should accept who you are instead of trying to be someone else.  But it never really goes anywhere.  There’s a clunky moment of genuine affection shoehorned in between Justice and his always abused son Junior, but it never feels earned.  Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 really is the lazy, exploitative, half assed, last gasp of breath sequel that makes you scared all sequels are going to be a lazy, exploitative, half assed, last gasps.

Smokey and the Bandit Part 3
Directed By – Dick Lowry
Written By – Stuart Birnbaum, David Dashev