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George At 

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Smokey and the Bandit

Back in 1977, SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT was a massive hit at the box office, second only to a little movie called "Star Wars" that year.

Even as a 16 year old movie critic for my high school paper, I detested it and almost walked out. I wanted to....LOL.

Many years later, seeing that it was a .99 rental on iTunes, I wanted to revisit it and see if I had been wrong.

It's really, really, really dumb, but it's hard to deny Burt Reynolds charm as Bandit, a legendary driver hired to get a truckload of Coors beer across state lines.

Look, I don't even understand why someone would want to get Coors from the shelf into their shopping cart, let alone on a thousand mile journey....but whatever....

Jerry Reed contributes not only southern charm but the BEST piece of the film with his oft repeated theme song "Eastbound and Down", which he said he wrote in about twenty minutes. I think that's twice as long as they spent on the script.

Jackie Gleason is remarkably unfunny as portly southern sheriff Buford T. Justice (what a waste!) and Sally Field is screeching nails on a chalkboard as a runaway bride.

Director Hal Needham is one hell of a stuntman and the car chases are a lot of fun, but they're pretty basic by today's standards.

I blame this movie for the fact that CBS knocked it off two years later to create 'The Dukes of Hazzard" another craptastic hillbilly fest that seems all too familiar to those that loved Smokey.

On a $4 million budget, this movie somehow made $126 million and drove two

Reynolds is effortlessly charming and his rapport with Reed is enjoyable. There, I said something nice. Oh, and Pat McCormick and Paul WIlliams are humorous as Big Enos and Little Enos, but who wouldnt be funny in those matching outfits?

My Dad loved Hee Haw and he loved this movie too. I definitely did not get that gene from him, but did inherit his love of James Bond movies!

SMOKEY smashes and crashes its way to a D.

Now sing it along with me...

"East bound and down,

loaded up and truckin'

Oh, we gonna do what they say can't be done

We've got a long way to go

and a short time to get there

I'm east bound, just watch ol' Bandit run"

(insert banjos here.....)

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