The Dukes of Hazard Movie - My Thoughts

The Dukes of Hazard is a movie that I wanted to see when it was released in 2005 but didn't because, well, I just didn't get around to it.

Not only that but when I heard Johnny Knoxville and Jessica Simpson were in it my expectations were immediately lowered to "it's probably not going to be what I hoped it could be." Which is why I've never been pro-active about hiring the movie on DVD.

Last night I saw it was being shown on free to air TV. I happened to have the time to watch, so I did. To sum up my experience... I didn't get fired up by the movie until I watched the 'bloopers' in the end credits.

The Dukes of Hazard signature is the car. The General Lee flying through the air in some flat out impossible jumps. We know they're impossible jumps but they're just so cool you kind of want to believe the General Lee can do them. The point is, in the TV series, you never (or rarely) saw the General Lee not land safely and undamaged.

Thus, seeing the General Lee crash all over the place in the movies blooper reel, is spectacularly exciting. Finally you get to see what would really happen to the car, jumping that high and just how hard it is, even for a stunt driver, to maintain control.

The other positive I can say about this movie is that they did take the opportunity to really step up the driving sequences beyond what the TV series could. Seeing the General Lee 'drifting' around a city round-a-bout is something we've never seen the car do on TV.

It's all down hill from there. I'm not only glad I didn't pay money to see this in the cinema I'm also glad I didn't hire the DVD (although I'm sure, if the DVD has more 'bloopers' on it of the General Lee it would be worth it).

After watching the movie I got caught up reading the movies forum on the Internet Movie Data Base (researching for this blog article), specifically the thread Why do you hate this movie? Let's settle this once and for all.

The thread was started by AutumnRed who is a big fan of this movie and the TV series and, to those who have expressed a view of hate, he will defend this movie to the death.

I've read through the whole thread and people have hated this movie for reasons like, miscasting, bad acting, weak plot, crude humor, dumbed down for today's audiences, devalues the TV show, isn't true to the TV show, lower moral standards of the Dukes, the list goes on.

AutumnRed defends the movie by saying it is a parody of the TV series and/or a re-imagining of the TV series. It's a stand alone movie that shouldn't be compared to the TV series. All very true points though I don't believe it's a parody of the TV series. The closest it ever gets to parody is the city folk's reaction to a car with a Confederate flag painted on the roof (in this day and age). Beyond that it's more a re-imagining based on the source material.

Personally I didn't expect this film to be like the TV series. In fact I'd be disappointed if it was. Part of what makes a movie version of a TV series exciting is seeing how it is adapted, updated, re-imagined for the big screen.

When this movie starts you see a very old, beat up General Lee, with no Confederate flag on the roof, being chased through the back roads of Hazard County. In the TV Series the General Lee rarely looked anything less than having just been driven off the showroom floor so I immediately thought, maybe this movie has some potential.

After all this is a car owned by struggling farmers running an illegal moonshine business on the side. It's driven like it's forever competing in a perpetual rally race. It should look a little worn and beaten.

At the end of this chase scene we get to the phone book incident. For me that speaks volumes about why this film is widely hated by fans of the TV show. The Duke boys hitting each other, painfully in the face, with phone books to resolve a bet. It would never happen.

The movie introduces a kind of 'meanness' into the relationship between Bo and Luke Duke that really plays on the likability and charisma that these two characters had in the TV show. For all their failings as small time outlaws you can forgive them because they were so much fun to be around and just so likable.

Bo and Luke are cousins who spend so much time together because they enjoy each others company. They're the kind of friends that look out for each other. Competitive - yes but in a good way rather than a self destructive way.

Personally I don't want to hang around with fools who find humor in seeing their friends hurt or who do things like sleep with a girl I have a crush on behind my back. Hence this was a major hurdle to my enjoyment of the film. I didn't like this version of Bo and Luke. Even though they do look out for each other, there's an under current to the relationship that is like biting through a worm in a juicy looking apple. It's just off.

You can see this meanness in the scene where Bo drags Luke along behind Cooter's tow truck, as Luke is trying to open Boss Hog's safe which they've attached to the tow truck's hook. Bo clearly knows Luke wants him to stop but Bo says to himself "Sorry Cous' but you'd do the same to me." It's a scene that could have been far funnier if Bo wasn't aware of Luke's actual predicament. Instead, not only is he aware, but he's calculating and unnecessarily prolonging Luke's perilous situation.

I could go on and make all the comparisons about this movie to the TV show and how the shift in all of the interpretations of each character is a step backwards rather than forwards. The thing is, as AutumnRed points out, this is not the TV show.

When I finally saw this film I wasn't as disappointed with either Johnny Knoxville or Jessica Simpson as I expected to be. Johnny and Seann William Scott, as Bo, actually worked pretty well together. Jessica wasn't terrible either though stripping her down to a bikini was kind of unnecessary (I'm not complaining but seriously, Enos would've told Daisy anything if she so much as hinted he had even a remote chance with her).

When a TV show is brought to the big screen you kind of hope it will exceed your expectations and be a shining light for keeping the memory of a great show alive. Not only that but it may even be well enough received for a sequel (or better yet be the start of a great franchise or give rise to a new TV series).

As it goes, the best Dukes of Hazard fans can hope for is that people protested loudly enough about this film to hope another director will take up the challenge and show us how it should have been done.

I don't want the TV series in a big screen version of Dukes of Hazard. However when I think of movie adaptations of a TV series my mind goes back to The Adams Family (1964). The TV series was funny, charming and well written. The two big screen adaptations, The Adams Family (1991) and Adams Family Values (1993), enhanced what was good about the TV show and built upon it further.

The producers of The Dukes of Hazard movie thought it was just the car that made the series good but it wasn't just the car. The relationships between all the characters were important too. Somehow in this movie they weakened all the relationships to the point where no one was really that likable. Least of all the leads.

No matter how the series is adapted to the big screen the most important factor is that it be a 'buddy' movie. It's about two cousins that would die for each other if it came to that. They're fun to be around and they both can drive a car better than anyone. They're not perfect role models but you want to be just like them anyway.

I didn't want to be like either Bo of Luke in this version of the Dukes. In fact I'm glad I only knew them briefly because they're not people I'd want to hang with at all.

If you liked this movie then you're either very forgiving or it's your style of humor. For me, I kind of hoped for a more intelligent movie. The Dukes may be country folk but they were never simpletons (not even Daisy).

Most country folks I've met are very smart people. I know the Dukes aren't a family of brain surgeons but they are very resourceful and spent much of their time staying ahead of the law. You have to have some intelligence to do that.

John McCain: Serial Musician Offender

What is going on with John McCain and his Presidential campaign music selection? For someone who is in the running for, arguably, one of the world's most powerful jobs you'd think he'd have someone who could contact a musician or two and ask, "Can we use your song?"

In what seems to be a growing list of disgruntled musical acts John McCain has managed to get the backs up of The Foo Fighters (My Hero), Survivor (Eye of the Tiger), Van Halen (Right Now), John Mellancamp (Pink Houses and Our Country), Jackson Brown (Running on Empty) and, if you add running mate Sarah Palin to the list, Heart (Barracuda) and Bon Jovi (Who Says You Can't Go Home).

Come on John! You're supposed to be a man with influential connections. If you can't even connect with a musician's agent to see how their client feels about you using their song then what hope can anyone have in you when it comes to your foreign policy and extending U.S. Goodwill beyond the border?

I've read comments that Barack Obama has also used songs without the artist's permission in his campaign but this doesn't get reported. I don't know if this is true (and my casual Google search for Barack Obama Campaign Music didn't find any such reports on the first and second page) but for argument's sake let's say it is. It's highly unlikely that any musician would be unaware of their song being used in Barack's campaign (you'd have to be living under a rock not to know).

If permission hadn't been granted for the use of the song and the artist was supportive of the campaign then they're probably just going to have a quiet word to Obama's people ("Ahem... license and royalties please" or "Might want to ask next time but sure use my song if it helps").

Should the artist be against Obama's policies and campaign I'm sure you'd be seeing the reports, loud and proud. There are plenty of Republican sympathetic media outlets that would only be too happy to report the story (cough...Fox News...cough!).

The fact that John McCain's campaign has hit troubled waters with song choice more than once suggests that it isn't common practice for Presidential candidates to ask permission for the use of a song. If this is the case, with a growing list of musical protesters, what does that say about John McCain and his policies?

Everything I Know About Cars

This week I spent a couple of afternoons underneath a green 'frog' van (see photo) that my partner's brother got given and offered to my partner for her son to drive until he can afford something better.

The van its self is a 1989, Nissan, Vanette, ex-delivery vehicle. It had blown a head gasket and the owner didn't want the hassle of making the repair which, if done professionally, would have cost more than the van was worth.

My partner's brother and his backyard mechanic mate kindly offered to do the repairs which turned out to be a little more serious with the cylinder head having blown as well.

Now if you're not really an engine kind of person you're probably starting to scratch your head at words like 'gasket' and 'cylinder head'.

I'm not really an engine person either however I do know the 'broad strokes' of engine components and how they work. I learned most of what I know during my childhood years. Endlessly studying diagrams showing how various car components work so I could try and build scale model versions from my sizable Lego Technic collection.

I'm still fascinated with that particular challenge and have a new, smaller Lego Technic collection that I tinker with from time to time. See the animated photo on the right of a simple two speed gearbox I recently made.

Sure the gearbox seems simple enough but trying to make things like this with only the pieces you have is quite a challenge. I don't have a very wide selection of gear wheels.

The rest of what I know about cars I learnt from watching and assisting other people fixing my first car or from my own stumblings around various car engines since.

I'm rubbish at trying to fix modern car engines with their fuel injection systems and computer controlled components but anything with a basic engine like those of cars built in the nineteen seventies I'm willing to have a go. That's how I ended up under the frog van. It has a basic four cylinder engine, nothing fancy.

Although the van had been fixed it developed a problematic leak in the cooling system that meant it would overheat if you tried to drive at any kind of decent speed. I volunteered to 'see what I could do'.

Any real mechanic could have probably fixed the problem in under thirty minutes. It turned out it was just the position of a hose clamp that wasn't properly sealing off the end of the hose. It was the location of that hose that was difficult. Right at the back of the engine. I couldn't get to it from above and from below it was quite awkward to reach.

It took me two afternoons to fix because, initially, I thought it was a blockage causing the pipe to leak. I couldn't see anything actually wrong with the pipe its self but it did have quite a severe kink that appeared like it could be enough to cause a blockage. However shortening the pipe and straightening it out made no difference.

Anyhow, to cut this long story short, this is how I learn about things. I'm not the kind of person who throws up their hands and says 'I don't know' until I've really had a good look and applied whatever experience I have already to the problem. I'll even have a look at something and see if I can learn how it works to try and fix it.

It doesn't work all the time but each time I succeed it gives me just a little bit more confidence in myself.

As far as I know the van is no longer overheating but it does make a wonderful backfire noise from time to time. I think I'll leave that problem for when the van goes in for a tune up and service.

Roary the Racing Car is Evil

Well okay maybe the lovable little red racing car, that has his own TV show, Roary the Racing Car, isn't evil but I do suspect he's into brain washing. Subliminally teaching everyone his life lessons.

How else do you explain a fully grown adult, namely me, waking up in the morning from a dream about Roary? Before your mind begins to wander, it's nothing even remotely perverse (or maybe it is, depending on how you look at things), my dream was simply playing out like a typical episode of Roary the Racing Car.

Perhaps we should back up a bit. In your best 'Big Chris' voice say "Come on Roary!"

This all starts because I do my daily work out routine watching Judge Judy. Exercise is as boring as hell (oh dear, coarse language) so I watch TV whilst I go through my routine. At 3pm the most intelligent show on the box is, you guessed it, Judge Judy.

Her show is only 30 minutes long and my routine is an hour so at 3:30pm I need something else to watch.

Channel flipping (keeping in mind I only have four channels available on my studio TV), Huey's Cooking Adventures just doesn't cut it for me. Sorry Huey, watching you cook is like dialing for pizza that never comes. The dialing isn't the best part of a pizza. Watching someone cook isn't the best part of eating food.

Hi5 is no good either. No matter how good those five teens look (if in fact they are teens?) they still make me want to stab my eyes out with a pencil!

Then there's some New Zealand, Time Travel, Sci-Fi series, Time Trackers, featuring obnoxious teens running everything. It's badly acted, with naff special effects and manages to make Hi5 look like top notch TV. (Maybe I'm being harsh? It's just that I like time travel as basis for a TV show but, from the ten minutes I tried to watch, the kids made me want to stab my eyes out with a pencil!).

This leaves Roary the Racing car followed by several other short format kids shows, such as Maisy, Curious George, Pepper Pig and The Mr Men Show. What is the world coming to when Roary is the most intelligent thing on TV?

The trouble with Roary is his show has a catchy theme tune. Not surprising when you consider this show is from the same studio that gave us Bob the Builder ...can we fix it! Roary's theme tune may well hit the under age dance floors yet. If it hasn't already. It's been stuck in my head ever since I woke up from this dream.

If you're into dream analysis then my dream had Roary looking for some flash, bent (or maybe hook like) gold key. He was racing about everywhere looking for it... I don't know much more than that so here's a burning question I have about the show...

What is the deal with the out of control racing action on almost every episode? All the cars drive like maniacs - even for race cars. Seriously. The only time I've ever seen a formula one style race car jump three to five feet in the air during a race was when it was crashing! For all the shows moral preaching and life lessons what is it teaching the kids about driving?

"Come on Roary! Faster son and don't slow down for the bends!"

That's enough from me. Hopefully all this blogging about Roary will have exorcised him from my head. I think he is evil. If only just a little.

U.S. Economic Crisis - Someone Who Gets It

Sorry to harp on about the U.S. Economic Crisis (which is apparently a 'World Crisis' with the English and German markets taking a dive - I think - who cares really?) but I happened to be skimming through my Mashable feed and came across this article by Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins, How Technology Can Help Alleviate Economic Fears.

Mark is one person who understands difficult economic times from the point of view of the 'common man' (or 'common woman' in his more feminine moments so I can be a bit PC) and realises that Stock Market fluctuations mean very little in the big scheme of things to the little people. Which is not to say it doesn't affect us.

As I pointed out in my recent post, The U.S. Economic Crisis - Bring It On, in times of crisis us little people make the best with what we have to work with. We don't fall in a heap hoping that Mom (or the Government) will come and make it all go away (How's that buy out working for you? Crisis over - NOT).

Mark's article is well worth a read as he demonstrates through personal experience this very principle and even highlights the point that with crisis comes opportunity. He concludes with this paragraph that speaks volumes about how real people survive:
No, what this is instead is me saying you, the reader, exercise your capability in the face of economic adversity (no matter what form it ends up taking) to survive this and perhaps even prosper. It’s less important for those of us in sectors outside investment banking to pay minute attention to every movement of the stock market than it is stay nimble, practical, resourceful and to keep an eye out for opportunity. Is that, after all, not the goal of all the great tools and services we talk about daily on these pages?

You have the ability and the resources. It will be OK.
I have to thank Mark for the photograph with this article as it's one of several images that appear with his piece. It kind of sums up my point of view in terms of all the real stock market players who are blowing this so called crisis all out of proportion.

If it's really so bad then JUMP. The rest of us will get on with the economic crisis we live through every day. I'm not saying I'm poor by any means but I've learnt how to make the best of what I have. Don't expect me to feel sympathy for you just because you may have sell your million dollar view for 1% of what it was worth when you bought it. That's what you do if that's what it takes to make ends meet.

Losing an Hour of Time

This morning I feel like I've lost an hour of my life. Is this how alien abductees feel when they say they're missing time that they can't account for?

Apparently everyone in the state of South Australia is also feeling the same way. This smells of Government Conspiracy!

Some time last night, I'm told, around 2am the clocks never made it to 2:01am. In no time at all it was 3am and I have no idea what happened between two and three? I hope I had fun though, since I was sleeping, anything could have happened.

Did we all just move our clocks forward for daylight saving or were we collectively abducted for an hour of lost time? Think about it. Few people are actually awake at the official time of 2am - when the clocks were moved forward. There has to be a reason they want us sleeping?

Why not move the clocks forward at 8pm so all the little kids could stay up late and see what 9pm looks like?

When we set the clocks back an hour, is that the hour that we lost? Is everything we do in that 'repeat' hour what we were doing in the hour we lost? So many questions. Maybe there should be an official, independent inquiry?

Conspiracy and the U.S. Government

Lately I've taken to listening to the Michael Groff show in the mornings (whilst I wash the dishes) because his show is intelligent commentary on issues mixed with humorous satire.

Whilst he claims to call U.S. Politics like he sees it, he does have Republican leanings in the same way I would have Democratic leanings (if I were a U.S. citizen). By that I mean we both can be cynical about all sides of politics but at the end of the day, if we had to vote, I think Mike leans more towards the conservatives. It's just a sense I get about him and his show.

Yesterday Mike made an interesting observation about conspiracy theorists. You know those people that think the U.S. Government can control the weather or that 9/11 was an inside job etc.

To sum up his point he observed that George Bush is widely regarded as the dumbest U.S. president to date. Yet conspiracy theorists credit his administration with all kinds of complex, highly planned, covert operations intended to deceive the American public. Good point but not good enough to debunk all the conspiracies.

Sure George Bush maybe the weakest link in his government but he's not the Unabomber (FBI sketch pictured). He isn't planning all this stuff by himself from a log cabin deep in the woods (the one he's probably built in case the Wall Street bail out goes pear shaped). The President has a very capable team around him. Any of whom could be the real 'brains' of the Bush administration.

I'm not a conspiracy theorist but I do think 9/11, at least, has too many questions side stepped or just completely ignored by the official investigation to warrant many people's belief that something suspect is going on behind closed doors.

On the other side of the fence I noticed that Barack Obama, prior to the vote for the newly revised Wall Street bail out bill was trumpeting that he had contributed a lot of input into the new document.

Effectively he helped turn, what was initially a three page solution, into a one hundred page document that no elected member (in all likely hood) would ever read in its entirety. Let's hope it had a fantastic executive summary! I know Mike Groff hadn't read all the new bill by the time he commented upon it on his show. He admitted he was only scanning pages of it as he was broadcasting.

Yay, let's all vote for Barack Obama - the man who can turn a simple idea into something no one understands or has the time to read. I can feel the conspiracies beginning already with Barack proclaiming...

"It's all written in Bill. Didn't you read it? Page 4689. It clearly states we can control the weather if we want to!"

The U.S. Economic Crisis - Bring It On

I am well aware that if the U.S. Government doesn't act to bail out Wall Street that the U.S. Economic Crisis will eventually affect me financially too - even though I live in a smallish country town in South Australia. However I say the U.S. government shouldn't spend a single dime on Wall Street. Bring on the crisis!

This morning I was listening to the Michael Groff show on Internet radio and he was telling me why I should be very concerned about the U.S. Economic Crisis and the Wall Street crash.

He said that if the American People and congress didn't support the government bail out plan, there would be chaos. That you may as well take your family, retreat to a farm somewhere and protect what little you have with a gun - because that is how bad it will get. Then in the next sentence he said that he wasn't trying to be alarmist.

Despite that he personally didn't want the government to bail out wall street but because of the potential consequences it was the 'right' thing to do. Otherwise the fallout will affect you and I personally (he is correct on that) and he wasn't ready to go there (presumably to his little farm somewhere).

However when was the last time you heard world leaders and big business talk like, potentially, the best course of action would be to dig a bunker somewhere, stock up on food and don't come out until the coast is clear if you don't act now to protect yourself? Think about it...

That's right. The Millennium Bug. Remember how the whole world was going to fall apart. There would be chaos if we didn't act to protect ourselves now. Didn't upgrade our computers?

Did you cave to the pressure? Did you start digging your bunker? Are you still digging your bunker? Sounds like you're going to need it again doesn't it?

Let's back up a bit. I'll humor Mike on the 'chaos' outcome just for a moment. Let's say that is a possible outcome of the crisis. The world collapses into chaos.

People who have that view fail to recognise the human spirit. There might be a bit of chaos, here and there but ultimately people prefer order in their lives.

Whilst banks, big business, small business, and you and I head towards chaos you can bet we'll be doing everything we can to make the best of it. To maintain order and stability until things start to improve.

Like the oil crisis. You can't afford petrol, you walk, ride a bicycle or use public transport. You lose your job because you can't afford the petrol to drive to work, you look for a job closer to home. You don't start robbing gas stations to get petrol. You make the best of what you have. That's what people do.

Perhaps the U.S. government should save it's trillions of dollars for supporting well fare programs, food stamps etc. I'd support that because apparently you and I aren't going to able to get our pay cheques, according to Mike, if we let this crisis continue.

Big Business and the banks can get its money back through us, the little people, spending our meager welfare cheques. The people who live through economic crisis every day because those F**kers up there keep scheming more and more ways to keep us in debt and them living the life most of us can only ever dream about.

This is what credit does. It lets you and I, big corporations and banks spend more money than we actually have until you reach critical mass and go bankrupt (well, that is, if you can't find someone to bail you out).

Credit is a great idea, if you understand it and use it conservatively but unfortunately stupid people don't realise it's money they've yet to earn and may never actually have. It's betting on the future. Well this time it's the big players that have screwed up. They bet on the future and it wants its money now.

David R. Francis of CSMonitor on September 8, 2008 wrote an interesting article, US financial crisis spreads towards your wallet which clearly describes how you may be affected by quoting economic consultant, Gary Schilling:
Consumers account for more than 70 percent of all spending in the United States. Since many families have relatively little savings and are deep in debt through credit cards, car loans, home-equity loans, etc., he foresees a cutback in spending. This will lead to a deep recession next year, one that will spread beyond US borders.
Personally I say don't bail out Wall Street. Don't bail out banks. Don't bail out big business. Don't bail out small business. Don't even bail out you and I. We're all in this together.

If the big players are going to go down and we're going to let them then we shouldn't expect to be bailed out either. At least we shouldn't expect any more assistance than that which we currently have available. Come what may and make the best of it.

A government bail out is simply a band aid to delay the inevitable. I say bring on the inevitable now. Things may get tougher. Prices may go up. You may not be able to get a loan or even your pay cheque but eventually the big players will realise that if they're going to survive then they need to give us and them products we all can afford. Stop throwing us into debt.

This is a real chance to bring a lot of people back into reality. Don't worry about retreating to some shack in the woods with a gun because you won't be able to afford either (apparently). Stick around and ride it out.

The U.S. Economic Crisis is just a lot of whiny rich people applying pressure because they're not ready to give up their million dollar views for chaos, a shack in the woods and food stamps either.
Related Posts with Thumbnails