Burt Reynolds in Gator: Are Old Campy Movies Actually More Personal?
I was scanning Netflix and Amazon for the odd movie that I haven’t seen yet and came across this campy-looking Burt Reynolds film – Gator – that I remember seeing many years ago. My first expectation was to see a VERY campy film with a smarmy leading actor, backed by a woman who was the stereotype of what sexy was 40 years ago. Boy was I surprised! In a good way, too.
If you have Amazon Prime, you can see the movie for yourself here: http://amzn.to/2p2JvZD
Official movie trailer:
What surprised me the most was the story and just how … real it seemed when compared with the nonsense that often passes for a script these days, even when you consider that Reynolds was never in a high-brow part of the film industry to begin with. Unless a movie is laughing at itself and the genre (Guardians of the Galaxy, Spaceballs), or unless its so high-brow that it never pretends to appeal to anyone but the art house viewers in Santa Monica, its often unwatchable. The characters in Gator seem like caricatures until the movie gets to Act 2, and then they become more real, and suffer the consequences of being real and doing dangerous things. Yes, it has exploding hotel rooms, I know! )) And yes, there is a fight that ends the film. But – the romance between Hutton and Reynolds is about as real as it gets – she wants him but knows that she has a different road to walk. The final scene is more real than I’ve seen in quite a while – he opens up to her but she chooses her words to carefully push him away, and he is man enough to walk away. Wow. No happy ending. Two good characters die, although there are hints that things may change in their personal lives, but real violence from a force they cannot stop destroys them. The bad guys are not prescient – they stumble along sometimes too.
Sure, there are bad scenes too – the brothel bar scene where Gator is drugged is just painful to watch. Two good lead actors are surrounded by beginners and the scene is real awkward. Awkward and unbelievable – why drug him just to put him at the city limits? Just drive him there. He’s not going to do anything. Script does have issues…..but the good outweighs the bad.
Do yourself a favor and see this old film! I just checked and it is 41 years old. What I noticed is that watching movies from the 1970s is amazingly revealing about aspects of life at that period in our nation’s history. The Parallax View left a similar impression on me. Especially the scene where Warren Beatty boards an airliner at Burbank Airport without any security screening and buys a ticket once the plane is airborne. What a contrast with the TSA gauntlet we have to run these days! I think reminiscing and griping about things that once were is a sign of aging, so I hope I’m not showing mine. ))) Just watch those films! You’re welcome…….
An interesting scene: (Jerry Reed & Burt Reynolds)
More from the Parallax View starring Warren Beatty
Separating the sociopaths from the regular folk )