|Smokey Bites the Dust (1981)|
|Director:||Charles B. Griffith|
|Writers:||Max Apple and Bryan Williams|
|Starring:||Jimmy McNichol, Janet Julian, Bill Forsythe and Walter Barnes|
|The Plot: Roscoe (Jimmy McNichol) is an adventurous youth who doesn’t like to play things safe and he spends his hobby-time instigating car chases with the local authorities. During the big homecoming celebration however, Roscoe takes things to a new level when he steals his friend’s exceptionally nice ride and also kidnaps the homecoming queen Peggy Sue Turner (played by Janet Julian) who soon takes a liking to the brash young man. Peggy Sue isn’t just any girl though, she is the daughter of the local police chief! Now, on the road, the chase is on! Roscoe has the sheriff chasing after him, Peggy Sue’s football star homecoming-date, Roscoe’s good friend who is after his borrowed car and nearly anyone else on the road who can give him a good chase. Will Roscoe find a way out of this situation before one of these parties catches up with him, or will he be forced to pay the price?|
Smokey Bites the Dust has so many issues going against it that ultimately leaves it a weak product. This is unfortunate because many of the cast members actually seem talented and I’m sure there could have been a decent action-comedy to be made with all of these ingredients. Unfortunately, you can always ruin a good meal when you add too many ingredients. While Smokey Bites the Dust does feature a relatively talented cast of actors, the characters simply don’t inspire any kind of conviction or interest to endear them to the audience. In fact, outside of the confines of a comedic action movie the character of Roscoe really isn’t much of a hero. Here we have a kid stealing car after car, damaging private property, buying ten packs of cigarettes for a seven year old (in possibly the funniest bit of the entire movie, and also the most morally questionable) and all of it for no real purpose whatsoever other than the fact that things are boring in smalltown America. When you really start to look at motivations, this movie doesn’t really hold up that well. Roscoe literally travels across the country in order to evade boredom and in the context of the movie he potentially ruins the lives of a handful of people and we ultimately have no idea why. I realize that this is a comedy, first and foremost, but even a comedy should be held to some standards of narrative.