Movie of the Day – Used Cars
August 13, 2012 Leave a comment
Before Robert Zemeckis got into the family, oscar, creepy motion capture phase of his career, he did his first one and only R-Rated film. Now I am sure that doesn’t mean much to a lot of people, but for me, I am always fascinated by with directors and their changes over the years in filmmaking. I mean you have a director who is continually trying to sell the movie going public on motion capture films (Polar Express, Beowulf, and Christmas Carol) but they are just creepy looking to even sit through. He’s like a used cars saleman, trying to push this on us even when we are apprehensive. Well, today, it is only fitting that I pick his perhaps finest (yeah yeah he made Forrest Gump and Back to the Future) comedy film and only R-rated film at that. Used Cars is that pristine relic of a comedy that pretty much set up the comedy style we get today in our crude, raunchy sensibilities.
Used Cars is one of Robert Zemeckis’ pre-Roger Rabbit and pre-Forrest Gump efforts starring Kurt Russell is a devious car salesman who goes to work for affable but monumentally unsuccessful used car dealer Jack Warden. Warden’s principal rival is his more prosperous twin brother, also played by Warden, who schemes to take over the “good” brother’s lot. After a series of raunchy vignettes, the film boils down to an every-man-for-himself price war between the two Wardens, which rages on even after we’re one Warden short. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
God this one of my favorite comedies. Used Cars never ceases to get me rolling with laughter as it throws all the crude tactics of a raunchy comedy at your face like a used cars salesmen. It is relentless in its rapid fire delivery, vulgar language and impeccable acting from Kurt Russell and supporting cast. It’s a fantastic ensemble of absurdity and vulgarity that just hits its stride like a fine tuned automobile, but definitely takes some turns down a few dark paths when you realize you are just watching the sleaze of the Earth become endearing anti-heroes.
I am always a fan of Kurt Russell when he decides to do comedic roles. Overboard is another one of my favorite comedies and Captain Ron continues to prove that Russell is a stellar comedic talent. Used Cars is the perfect role for him. He has to balance between being a loveable oaf of a salesman, doing what he thinks is right, but also throwing on the sleaze and deception. He’s kind of like a Han Solo character where he is the rougish ruffian, but damned if you aren’t drawn in by his tactics. It isn’t just Russell’s character that is a enjoyable lowlife, but everyone in this movie is on the same level as he is. The pure depravity of the cast is what makes this standout so well. You want there to be some beacon of civility, but no sir. You got Jack Warden, Gerrit Graham, and Frank McRae all playing people with such a loose moral compass that you can’t be shocked by how low they will go in this movie to sell a car or dupe the competition. They all pile on this comedy with fantastic scenes and excellent timing that you become overwhelmed and just accept the ride you are being taken on.
Every single frame of this movie is just glorious to watch. Never once did the jokes or gimmicks get old as, like the characters, every possible tactic is thrown at you as a comedy device. Used Cars is a terribly underrated comedy. You got Kurt Russell at his finest in this movie, hilarious physical comedy, and a non-stop, incessant barrage of quips and gags that never feels old. Personally, I love every scene that has the Used Car Lot dog Tobey, who happens to be a beagle. which I have one myself. Even the dog is used to peddle the cars they sell and makes the dark comedy even better. If you can track this film down, you won’t be disappointed.