Welcome to this week’s installment of “It Came from the Bargain Bin!” To tell you the truth, I was not sure what angle to approach this week’s intro from. I was going to go with focusing on this week’s Director, Sam Peckinpah, who has directed cinematic classics such as “Straw Dogs” (1971) and The Wild Bunch (1969). Or this week’s intro could have focused on the star of this week’s movie, Kris Kristofferson, who has, simply, done it all, from writing the Janis Joplin hit song “Me and Bobby McGee” (1971) to starring in hit films like “A Star is Born” (1976) for which he received a Golden Globe for Best Actor. On the other hand, I could have gone with a tribute to Ernest Borgnine who won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of “Marty Piletti” in the hit movie “Marty” (1955) and of course starred opposite Jan-Michael Vincent in the popular eighties television show “Airwolf” among many other film, stage and television accomplishments. Not to mention, this week’s selection is tied to the hit song “Convoy” (1975) written by Bill Fries aka C.W. McCall, so I pondered focusing the intro on films that either created hit songs or films that were more or less, based on hit songs. In the end, what you have just read is the intro that I’ve decided to go with so I hope it works for you. All that being said, lets get to this week’s review of the movie directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring Kris Kristofferson and Ernest Borgnine and driven (yes, pun intended) by the hit song “Convoy” by Bill Fries or C.W. McCall. This week’s pick from The Bin is, you guessed it, 1978’s……………”Convoy.”
Starring: Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, and Ernest Borgnine
Writers: Bill L. Norton (film) and Bill Fries (song)
Director: Sam Peckinpah
It’s the Arizona desert and independent trucker Martin Penwald aka “Rubber Duck”, because even a handle name like Rubber Duck sounds cooler than a trucker named Martin and of course all big rig truck drivers need a “handle”, has the “pedal to the medal” when he is passed by a beautiful motorist who is taking pictures of him while he’s driving. Wouldn’t you know it but along comes a “Bear” or highway patrol officer, who’s driven off the road by the two flirting motorists. When Rubber Duck informs the officer that the woman that was driving alongside of him isn’t wearing any panties the officer lets him off with a warning and pursues the panty-less beauty. This will not be the last time that The Duck crosses paths with the convertible cruising vixen nor will it be the last time The Duck has a run-in with an officer of the law.
Soon we meet The Duck’s cohorts like “Spider Mike” (Franklin Ajaye) and Bobby ‘Love Machine’ ‘Pig Pen’ (Burt Young) who are both enamored by The Duck due to various tales from the highway that have helped make the notorious and beloved Duck a truck driving legend. It isn’t long before The Duck becomes re-acquainted with his old arch rival the local “Bear” Sheriff Lyle “Cottonmouth” Wallace (Ernest Borgnine) through the magic of “CB” (Citizens Band) Radio. When The Duck and his fellow truckers drive into a speed-trap courtesy of Sheriff “Cottonmouth” The Duck quickly realizes that Cottonmouth has no changed a bit. Not only has Wallace broken the law by interfering through the use of a CB but he isn’t afraid to abuse his power by whatever means he deems necessary. The Duck and his buddies are soon free to go but not until they are nailed with a few tickets and you know that they will soon have to deal with Sheriff Wallace again.
When The Duck and his buddies arrive at local truck stop “Raphael’s Silver Cloud”, as fate would have it, Melissa (Ali MacGraw), the photo-snapping motorist beauty who The Duck was flirting with earlier, is there and she just so happens to need a ride due to unforeseen car problems. Soon enough Sheriff Lyle makes his presence known once again when he enters Raphael’s and attempts to arrest “Spider Mike” for the false charge of vagrancy. When Spider Mike and The Duck respond to Cottonmouth’s threats by knocking him out, things become very serious. As soon as The Duck’s friends try to flee the scene they are surprised by two more officers and a real brouhaha breaks out. After winning the fight it’s time for the gang to follow The Duck in a rush to the state line where they hope to avoid arrest and prosecution in the form of a……………….convoy!
Okay, so Convoy isn’t graced with great acting and the plot, may nowadays, be pretty humorous but for good or bad, it is a memorable film. Lets be honest, you might even watch Convoy if you were to come across it on TV and nothing else decent was on. If you haven’t watched Convoy I recommend checking it out if not only to get a kick out of a movie that was actually pretty popular at one time. Watching Convoy reminded me of films like “Every Which Way You Can” and “Every Which Way But Loose” both starring Clint Eastwood and “Clyde” the orangutan or maybe the “Smokey and the Bandit” movies starring Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason are better comparisons. Although, these films may not be on the top 50 best films of all time list they are still entertaining and fun to watch when you are hanging out at home. Nonetheless, Convoy is not a very good movie so, unfortunately, I have to give it 1 1/2 out of 3 Rubber Ducks, but don’t let this rating stop you from checking it out. See you next week with another pick from The Bargain Bin.