Cowboys Love Fat Calves...

Or so says Bo "The Bandit" Darville as played by Burt Reynolds to Sally Field in response to her dancer's legs in the hillbilly classic, Smokey and the Bandit, which I watched last night.

This is not the first time I've seen this movie. Nay, the first time I saw this movie was when it came out. With my folks at the drive-in, actually. And if I remember correctly, we were sitting in lawn chairs in the back of the pick-up truck whilst drinking Shasta sodas (or perhaps they were even Kroger-brand knock offs of Shasta sody pops, which somehow makes the whole enterprise even redder-necked). I've probably seen it some 20 times since then.

Has this movie gotten its proper due in the history of cinema? Absolutely not. Listen kids, I was country when country wasn't cool, so I know these things. This movie has everything. It's got beer (bootleg Coors, to be exact). It's got Jackie Gleason as Sherrif Buford T. Justice, that foul-mouthed coon-dog of a Smokey. It's got Sally "You Really Like Me" Field, who we haven't heard much from in awhile but who was everywhere in the glorious 70s, wasn't she? It's got trucks, trucks, and more trucks ('member the whole 'Convoy Chic' of the same era? You had the Sam Peckinpah Kris Kristofferson / Ali McGraw vehicle (heh) Convoy which, believe it or not, AFTER the song "Convoy" and not the other way around, as well as the Red Sovine tear-jerkin' song "Teddy Bear" about the trucker and the fatherless, paraplegic little boy. And don't forget the Greg Evigan's BJ and the Bear (this was pre My Two Dads), in which, like Every Which Way But Loose, the lead character had himself a simian companion-- NB: Bear was a chimp while Clyde was an orangutan.) Best of all, Smokey and the Bandit had Jerry Reed. Who not only sang the theme tune, but who starred as Cledus Snow, Bandit's decidedly less handsome but equally law-snubbing partner in crime. And make no mistake, Bandit is handsome. A mustachioed 40-something Burt Reynolds in tight jeans and a cowboy hat driving fast? Hell, yes.

What a grin!

When I was a little girl, I had three Jerry Reed albums. I'm not kidding, either. He was my FAVORITE singer and musician. I would have had a Jerry Reed doll to play with but they didn't make them. Instead I had a Donny Osmond doll (never had a Ken for Barbie to play with). But I digress. The point I want to make is that Jerry Reed is NOT a one-hit wonder. In fact, he is a tremendously accomplished musician and songwriter and singer and is enormously respected in Nashville. I don't think he's ever gotten his proper due.

I love the scene where Snowman runs over the asshole bikers' hogs in the parking lot of one of the several "Choke N Puke"s they stop at in the course of the film. I love Bandit's almost Groucho Marx-y quips that pepper the movie's script, as is evinced in the aforementioned "calf" exchange:

Bandit: [commenting on Carrie's legs] Cowboys love fat calves.
Carrie: They're not fat!
Bandit: Well, they're bigger then mine.
Carrie: Do we really wanna talk about legs?
Bandit: Well, one of us wants to.
Carrie: Smart ass.

There's something so damn genuine about this movie. It's a Robin Hood tale, in spirit. Bandit's disregard for the law and "The Man" is actually quite uplifting to me. I feel like it has something to teach me, to remind me.

And us hillbilly types love our car chases.

But I don't have fat calves. Which might be why I never had a cowboy boyfriend.

My favorite Buford T. Justice quote from the film:

"Nothin' but pure and simple ole' fashioned communism. Happens every time one of those dancers start poontangin' around with those show folk fags."

Anyone been poontangin' around lately?


jill alexander essbaum said...

... and I know it ain't Movie Monday, but that's just the sort of insult to authority that Bandit would approve of...

JP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JP said...

I haven't been poontangin', Miss Jill. I totally haven't. But I plan to, ASAP.

jill alexander essbaum said...

Poontangin' is to pimpin' as what the 70s is to the 00s.

dave said...

Fucking brilliant, Jill. I have to say that if you added about 2,000 words and explored these important issues in greater detail, we would have no choice but to publish this sucker in our next issue. Or maybe the one after that, since the next one is all full up. Still, damn that's good stuff.

Updating my netflix queue in one minute.

And no, no poontangin' around. Unfortunately my lame attempts at poontangin' around ceased long before I even became aware, just now, of the phrase "poontangin around."