Sunday, February 21, 2010


I hate to call something a guilty pleasure, at least when it comes to movies. Why should you feel guilty if something entertained you? If whatever you’re watching takes you out of your world for two hours and makes you laugh, thrill and have fun no sin has been committed, no error has been made. In fact that’s EXACTLY the whole point of most movies so why feel guilty or ashamed when something succeeds at doing what it set out to do?

I’m not exactly sure what prompted me to write this but over the past few days I’ve been going through a bunch of the movies I owned and I realized there are a small handful of films that standout to me as films that bring me a massive amount of joy. By no stretch of the imagination are they the greatest films ever made they’re just films that I find myself throwing into my DVD player just as often, if not more than seminal classics like THE GODFATHER, CASABLANCA or ANNIE HALL. Why? Because I enjoy the crap out of them! These flicks entertain me to no end and for the most part these films that have been crapped on from the moment they were released.

Over the next few days (And maybe further in the future) you’ll see posts about films that I don’t want to call guilty pleasures, but are basically films that I truly love and get GREAT entertainment from yet I think most people barely give them the time of day. The criteria I used to pick these films were they had to be drubbed by most critics and audiences alike and for the most part weren’t financial successes. In fact some of them were MASSIVE failures. The thing is, for the life of me I can’t tell you why. These films are so much darn fun I can’t imagine anyone not loving them but sadly I think I’m in the minority on most of these. I guess I’m doing this to state my case and with luck maybe turn some people onto some movies they’ve been ignoring for a while now simply because they heard there was nothing to get out of them. Well, this is my attempt to prove them wrong.

THE DUKES OF HAZZARD: This movie is exceedingly dumb. This is a silly film with a barely-there plot that’s basically there to pay loving, tongue-in-cheek homage to the equally silly TV show it’s based on. The thing is though from the very get go the makers behind this movie (Basically the guys from Broken Lizard the brain trust that brought us SUPER TROOPERS, BEERFEST and so on) know that is EXACTLY what the movie should be and they don’t shy away from it in the least. Instead they go charging in full bore and don’t let up long enough for you to catch your breath.

The two things that no one ever really talked about or necessarily played up about this movie are the things that make it so much fun. First, I’m not sure they could have picked anyone better than Johnny Noxville and Sean William Scott to play the Duke Brothers. Honestly I don’t like these guys in everything they do but here they are perfectly cast and they have a fun, free wheeling chemistry between each other that you only chance upon by pure luck. Honest to God I think this is my favorite thing they’ve ever been in. Sure Jessica Simpson is just brainless eye candy (Which actually fits with the character) but the rest of the cast is pretty sharp too. Between Willie Nelson, Burt Reynolds and a bunch of familiar faces from the Broken Lizard world you have a cast that understands exactly the kind of movie they’re trying to make and as such they all gel beautifully together with not only each other but more importantly the tone of the movie as well.

Second and I think even more criminally overlooked is the fact that for all intents and purposes THE DUKES OF HAZZARD is basically an old school 1970’s car chase comedy along the lines of CANNONBALL RUN, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT or even THE BLUES BROTHERS. I read an interview with the director before the movie was released and he stated that’s what he was going for and the man seriously pulled it off. This movie has more spectacular car stunts and vehicular mayhem and destruction than 20 other films combined. As a result the movie while genuinely funny is also one hell of a car chase, action picture.

I’ll be the first to admit that THE DUKES OF HAZZARD is a pretty mindless romp but by golly it’s a fun one. This is one of those movies I put in when I want to have a good time because it delivers exactly that, and honestly what more could you ask for?

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