Welcome to this week’s installment of “It Came from the Bargain Bin! Lets take a ride back to 1976, the year of the United States’ bi-centennial. What was the United States like in 1976?: The average cost of a new house in 1976 was $43,000. The average income of a U.S. citizen was $16,oo0. Now get this. A gallon of gas in 1976 was 59 cents! The Apple Computer Company was formed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Republican nominee Gerald Ford was our President. Lets get to pop culture, shall we. “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by Ken Kesey all but cleaned up at the Academy Awards with Oscar victories in categories such as Best Picture, Best Leading Actor (Jack Nicholson), Best Director (Milos Forman), and Best Writing, Screenplay Adapted from Other Material (Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman). Captain and Tennille won the Best Record of the Year Grammy for “Love Will Keep Us Together.” Paul Simon won Best Album of the year for “Still Crazy After All These Years” and Richard Pryor won a Grammy forBest Comedy Recording for “Is It Something I Said?” Lets not forget Sylvester Stallone’s megahit “Rocky” was the top grossing film of 1976 raking in $225,000,000 worldwide on a meager $1 million dollar budget. This week’s movie might not have been up for a Best Picture Oscar and it wasn’t even in the top twenty for the top grossing films of 1976 but, if anything, it is a cinematic look at the pop culture and styles that helped shape the year 1976. This week’s pick from “The Bin” is the film………..”Car Wash.”
Movie: Car Wash
Starring: Franklin Ajaye, George Carlin, and Richard Pryor
Writer: Joel Schumaker
Director: Michael Schultz
Welcome to “De Luxe Car Wash” in beautiful Los Angeles where there is a whole cast of colorful characters ready to wash and buff shine your vehicle. Meet “Floyd” (Darrow Igus) and “Lloyd” (Otis Day) who are gonna make it in show biz someday but not until they steam clean your Chevrolet. Lindy (Antonio Fargas) may enjoy wearing women’s clothes but he will make your car glow. “T.C.” (Franklin Ajaye) likes to dress to the nines, worships ‘The Fly’, picks his fro to the sky, and make your car look like IT WILL fly. “Duane” or “Abdullah” (Bill Duke), as he prefers to be called, may have a bit of an attitude but he will get the job done…..when he shows up for his job. Now, “Scruggs” (Jack Kehoe), wears a cowboy hat and may have contracted “The Clap” while performing his second job on his back but with a smile he will pump your gas. “Slide” (Garrett Morris) will make sure your car gets done and take bets on the side, collecting if you lose and paying if you won. “Hippo” (James Spinks) will vacuum your car out right but make sure you keep any food outta sight. Now “Marleen” (Lauren Jones) may not be an actual “employee” of De Luxe Car Wash but while your wheels are being washed she will give you what you want in the bathroom for a fair cost. Now, “Irwin” (Richard Brestoff) don’t mind him, his Daddy “Mr. B” (Sully Boyar) is the owner and Irwin’s just trying to fit in. Oh yeah, that there at the front desk is “Marsha” (Melanie Mayron) who will help you when she’s free from taking care of Mr.B. Now there are others but they must be busy in the bathroom getting dizzy but I’m sure that they’ll be along by the end of the next hot pop song.
You can’t run a car wash without customers now can you? The De Luxe Car Wash certainly has it’s share of customers that are just as colorful and entertaining as the people buffing and spraying. There’s “The Taxi Driver” (George Carlin) who claims to understand the less fortunate but has an interesting way of expressing his empathy. Of course you have phony holier than thou preacher “Daddy Rich” (Richard Pryor) who speaks for “the church of divine economic spirituality” and has everybody fooled, except for young Muslim, Abdullah who isn’t fooled by Daddy and “The Wilson Sisters” (The Pointer Sisters) mantra of monetary gain “You gotta believe in something, why don’t you believe in me!” From young skateboarding instigator “Calvin” (James Fennell) to hysterical Beverly Hills mom (Lorraine Gary) you never know who’s gonna roll into the De Luxe Car Wash next but you can bet that they will be a character of interest.
You may be wondering “where’s the plot?” Well, the characters are the plot in this particular film. Yes, there is one particular scenario that takes over towards the end of the film and helps carry the movie to its finish but all in all the film thrives on the unforgettable, colorful characters that help turn the film into an on screen party. All that being said, Car Wash is more than just a good time movie that may or may not have you tapping your toes. Car Wash addresses topics from sexuality to religion in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve been hit over the head by the filmmaker’s beliefs. In the end, I think you will find that Car Wash is a fun movie that will also make you think about how things have changed and how some things really haven’t changed very much at all since 1976. I give Car Wash 2 out of 3 funkdafied hipsters. See you next week with another review from The Bargain Bin.