|Eat My Dust (1976)|
|Director:||Charles B. Griffith|
|Writers:||Charles B. Griffith|
|Starring:||Ron Howard, Christopher Norris and Brad David|
|The Plot: Hoover Niebold (Ron Howard) is a real gear-head with a fixation on stock-car racing. He reads all of the magazines and keeps up with his favorite driver Big Bubba Jones, who drives the sweetest little ride with the fastest engine around. His father, who is the sheriff, thinks that the entire stock-car racing business is a bunch of bunk. After sneaking into a race, Hoover stumbles upon his greatest crush: Darlene Kurtz (Christopher Norris), a blond haired angel who wears tight shirts and short-shorts. After Darlene doesn’t immediately take to his charm, she soon lets it slip that she wouldn’t mind going for a ride. A really FAST ride. The only thing is, she doesn’t want to go anywhere in Hoover’s beat-up truck. She has her eyes set on Big Bubba Jones’ tweaked out stock-car. Hoover, acting off of instinct, proceeds to steal the stock-car and goes off on a mission with all of his friends and the beautiful Darlene. With Hoover’s dad and the rest of the county searching for him, Hoover is facing a lot of trouble but for now he’ll simply have some fun along the way.|
The comedy this go-around, within the work of Charles B. Griffith, is much more tolerable than what I had seen from him later on. The comedy is still very broad, but this time out the character of Hoover Niebold (Ron Howard) is much more forgivable than the lead we were given in Smokey Bites the Dust. Despite the property damage that Hoover creates along the way, it is rather understandable due to his love-affair with Darlene (Christopher Norris). The blossoming “romance” between these two makes for one of the more interesting developments in the movie. We’re never quite sure if Darlene actually likes Hoover or if she’s just here for the ride. Her free spirit makes her three dimensional and hard to read, which is commendable for this sort of project and adds an extra layer of believability.
The rest of the cast all do well in their roles, including the lovely Christopher Norris. Her role is a bit duplicitous at times and it makes her more interesting than your average damsel-in-distress. Not to mention the fact that she’s also about as beautiful a piece of eye candy as one is going to find, especially whilst wearing her yellow hot-pants… which the filmmakers do a fine job at showing off throughout the entirety of the movie. Warren J. Kemmerling who plays Hoover’s father and the local sheriff is also really great in his role as the pursuing force. He is a bit exaggerated at times, as anyone in such a role needs to be, but he doesn’t come off as annoying. That in itself is actually quite impressive, since I usually find these characters to be brutal on the nerves and I’m generally not that forgiving with these cliche villains. I’d be remiss however if I didn’t mention Clint Howard who shows up in a small role during the first half of the movie, and believe me you have never seen him looking so enthusiastic… or young.