Well, it’s that time of year again! This Thursday was the customary day for getting drunk and watching Smokey and the Bandit with friends, an activity of which I partook for the first time ever. As always, this movie did not disappoint and did not provoke anything except a rollickin’ good time.
A filthy rich, matching-suited father and son approach the dozing Bandit (Burt Reynolds) with a daring proposition: drive to Texarcana, Texas, fetch 400 cases of Coors beer and transport it over county lines to Atlanta, Georgia, all in 28 hours. This is what’s known in 1977 as bootlegging, due to antiquated laws. The Bandit accepts this $80,000 bet and enlists his old truckin’ buddy Cledus “Snowman” Snow (Jerry Reed, who also did several songs for the soundtrack). Snowman drives the truck with the beer, while Bandit drives a black Pontiac Trans-Am at high speed to distract any cops away from the speeding truck. Enter Carrie aka “Frog” (Sally Field), a runaway bride fleeing a “wedding posse”, who hops in with The Bandit and both helps and hinders his scheme. Enter moments later Buford T Justice (Jackie Gleason), a Texas sheriff who goes way out of his jurisdiction to take down that elusive, smart alecky daredevil.
That is pretty much the entire plot, a fairly simple premise formatted to show off some high-speed, high-flying car stunts, slip in some wiseass dialogue, reflect on relationships forged out of necessity/fate in a thrilling situation, and, of course, have hilarious hi-jinks! There are some good shots of Sally Field’s butt (or possible butt-double), several occasions of Burt Reynolds’ high-pitched laughter, seriously amazing (and destructive!) stunts, and lots of smooth truckin’ lingo. It is a carefree, fast-paced time that’s always lots of fun! Watching it drunkenly with a group of friends just makes it funner!