Sunday, July 11, 2010

“You know, it used to be when you bought a politician, that son of a bitch STAYED bought!”

Thirty years ago today, Robert Zemeckis’ gleefully profane Used Cars (1980) premiered in theaters—and when Edward Copeland asked around if anyone was interested in writing up a little tribute commemorating that anniversary, I was only too happy to oblige. Cars is one of my favorite film comedies, a “slob comedy” that nevertheless has some slyly satiric things to say about “the American Dream.”

I should warn you, though, that because of the language, subject matter and questionably bad taste of the film it’s a little off-the-beaten path from some of the usual innocuous fare here at TDOY. Just wanted to give you a heads-up.

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6 comments:

Hal said...

Awesome, Ivan. This is my favorite film of all time and I can't wait to read your take. Roy L. Fuchs rules!

NetBookBoo said...

I saw you at Blog Flux
Robert Zemeckis is lucky man

fiftieswesterns said...

I love every single frame of Used Cars.

"Respect my ass, Food Giant!"

Hal said...

Warden was apparently chock full of great ad-libs; he ad-libbed the phenomenally filthy line from the top of the staircase in 1981's SO FINE as well, and the lines about the camel and good old Miami Beach in USED CARS as well. Consummate actor and apparently one Hell of a quick and funny guy.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Warden was apparently chock full of great ad-libs; he ad-libbed the phenomenally filthy line from the top of the staircase in 1981's SO FINE as well, and the lines about the camel and good old Miami Beach in USED CARS as well. Consummate actor and apparently one Hell of a quick and funny guy.

If I come across Warden in any movie--regardless of its degree of suckitude--I know I'm going to enjoy the heck out of myself because, as you so rightly hit the nail on the head, he is truly one of the best actors of all time.

An example of how Warden could elevate lousy material: he played the Walter Matthau role in the TV version of The Bad News Bears. That show was a trainwreck from the start, but Warden was so damn good I couldn't not watch it.

In While You Were Sleeping, Warden has the best line in the movie. When Bill Pullman, who's skeptical that Sandra Bullock is the fiancee of the comatose Peter Gallagher, challenges her to name Gallagher's favorite of The Three Stooges, she responds with "Curly." "He's everybody's favorite," Pullman retorts. Warden's response is short and to the point: "I like Shemp."

But my all-time favorite Warden line is from The Verdict (1982), in the scene where Paul Newman defends opposing counsel James Mason by saying "he's a good man." Warden: "He's a good man? Heh, heh...he's the Prince of f**king Darkness!"

Hal said...

I use the VERDICT line myself every so often. Complete with the "heh heh". :)

Let us not forget MIGHTY APHRODITE, where Warden asks, "Does the Trojan Horse have a wooden d*&#?"

Matter of fact, back when Warden passed away in 2006 I devoted an entire blog post to practically just listing the great lines. I'm sure I need to go back and read it now as I have to be forgetting several classics.

I even liked CRAZY LIKE A FOX, and I knew going in CBS wasn't going to let him drop any f-bombs. :)