Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fantasmo Episode 29: Smokey and the Bandit Trilogy

It was a while in the making, but Rob and I have finally settled on our theme for the September edition of Fantasmo . . . and I dare say it will be one of our most memorable! Initially, we had planned to do a straight Hal Needham/Burt Reynolds night with Smokey and the Bandit/The Cannonball Run. We later discovered that the latter would not be an option due to technical issues, so we pondered the possibilities for an acceptable substitute. Little did we know a masterstroke was soon to be achieved!

What one has to understand about the Needham/Reynolds films is that they represent near perfect drive-in entertainment (which is where they found their greatest success). The films, not to mention the director and star, are all about spectacle and a devil may care sense of humor. Reynolds is all attitude, and Needham delivers the stunts on a grand scale. You couldn’t ask for more . . . and why would you?

Given the drive-in roots of these films, we thought it would be neat to employ an old drive-in marketing ploy by playing an entire series of films – in this case the Smokey and the Bandit trilogy! While we have no hard evidence to support this assertion, we believe this may very well be the first time all three have been screened in succession in a public library (certainly) . . . or elsewhere (probably)! The main reason being that no one in their right mind could make it through the first two, and then withstand the mind-numbing horror of the third entry – Smokey and the Bandit 3: Smokey is the Bandit! However, having observed the fact that you, our loyal Superfans, made it through Gymkata and The Apple with flying colors, we know you’ll join us in achieving what may be a record-breaking feat! (Note: I never miss an opportunity to reference Gymkata : )

So, here’s your Episode 29 lineup:

8:00 P.M. – Smokey and the Bandit (1977) – Rated PG

10:00 P.M. – Smokey and the Bandit II (1980) – Rated PG

12:00 A.M. – Smokey and the Bandit 3 (1983) – Rated PG

So there you have it, another perfect evening of cult movie bliss! I will be blogging on the finer points of Smokey and the Bandit 3 in the next week, but suffice it to say that you absolutely must make it through the third film. Trust me, it is an experience like no other : )

The race is on Saturday, September 15, Chesapeake Central Library, at 8:00 p.m. As an added bonus, free Bandit mustaches will be supplied to the first 50 people through the door! See you there!


Anonymous said...

What do we win if we wear the mustache through all 3 films? ;-)

Jim Blanton said...

Our undying respect, and the envy of your peers . . . the proposition that achievement is its own reward has never been more true : )

Debra said...

You are just going to have to take my word for it when I say I had a surgery scheduled before I found out about your choice of movies this month. In other words, I didn't schedule surgery just to miss this lineup of movies. I would have thought about it. But I will miss seeing you.

Jim Blanton said...

Hey Debra,
The things some people will do to avoid Bandit 3! We'll miss seeing you too : ) Hope all goes well, and a speedy recovery follows!

Best, Jim

Dave said...

I have a website devoted to the Needham/ Reynolds ouvre, and was recently lucky enough to get an interview with Hal himself. (no www. on it). Hope you enjoy!

Jim Blanton said...

That is an amazing interview! What a cool guy to call up like that!!

For the record, although I think his later efforts following Bandit 1 and Hooper are relentlessly cheesy, I really love watching Needham's films (especially Megaforce). I agree, they are definitely right up there as important early movie experiences for me (as you mention with Star Wars, etc.).

Also, I should make clear for those who aren't aware, the horrific Bandit 3 is not Needham's doing (and Burt is only in it briefly). He wisely walked away realizing what an absolute turkey it was. This clearly shows that Needham understood his audience, and wouldn't sell out for a paycheck. Again, a class act!