5 days ago
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Blood On The Highway
In a way I grew up watching Moving Violations. We had cable, and we also had a couple of the movie channels. I tended to watch HBO more than any of the movie channels. I don't really know why, since they only had a couple of movies that were different from each other in any given month. I never understood why they repeated movies so damn much though. You would think with all the movies they have access to, they wouldn't show one movie 50 times over a month. Okay, maybe it wasn't actually that bad, but it sure seemed like it. With some of the movies I didn't care that they were repeated so much. Moving Violations was one such movie. I can't tell you how many times I have watched this movie. But every time I would see that it was on, I would be sitting there watching it. It is just one of those movies that never gets old for me. Some of the jokes are still funny, and make me laugh every time I see them.
Even though I was probably too young to be watching this at the time, although it only has a PG-13 rating attached to it, my dad didn't much care. The nice thing about watching this movie, and being a fan of it even then, was that I didn't really understand a lot of the jokes at the time. I knew my dad laughed at some of them, and he would try to explain why but it was over my head still. For me though, as I grew up and learned more about life, I could watch Moving Violations again, and now I would get more of the jokes. Because of that, Moving Violations became even more of a favorite of mine.
If you have never watched it before, the plot is pretty simple. A group of people, for one reason or another, are sent to traffic school in order to get their license back. Dana (John Murray) is the main character. Dana owns a landscaping business, and gets sent to traffic school basically because of his smart mouth. Deputy Halik (James Keach) and Deputy Morris (Lisa Hart Carroll) have to teach the class, thanks to Dana...in a way.The judge (Sally Kellerman) decides that because this group has had so many violations over the years, they will not get their cars back if they fail this class. The judge and Halik come up with a sceme to make sure they don't pass though.
The reason I like Moving Violations so much isn't really because of the jokes, even though they are a big part of it. It has more to do with all the different actors. Having a lot more movies watched now, I can appreciate this even more. I remember reading a review for this movie that said something like the reason John Murray never made it big as an actor is because he was trying too hard to channel his brother Bill, which you can see in Moving Violations especially. I understand that to a point, since he did remind me of Bill Murray in this movie. But I feel John was never given a fair shot. Or it could be that John just isn't into acting as much as his brothers are. Either way, I do wish he was in more movies. Jennifer Tilly can also be found in one of her early movies. In the commentary by Neil Israel, he mentions that this is her first movie. It isn't, but it is pretty close. Israel forgot that Don Cheadle was in this movie. He has a small role, but you can easily point him out. James Keach is someone I always feel, I don't know...weird I guess, when I see him in a movie. The reason why is because he reminds me a lot of my dad, as far as his looks go. They wouldn't be twins or anything, but I can see a resemblance there. Obviously I take after my mom a lot more than I do my dad. Keach is a great actor, but I always think of my dad when I see him. You can also find Brian Backer, Wendy Jo Sperber, Fred Willard, Nedra Volz, Ben Mittleman, and of course Clara Peller. I know of her because of my dad telling me about the Wendy's commericals she was in. It was, and still is, a great cast.
Neil Isreal makes the statement in the commentary that the reason Moving Violations wasn't as popular as some of his other films, like Police Academy, was because Moving Violations was like the fifth or sixth film in the same vain of comedy that he had been doing. Because of that, people were getting a little tired of it by then. I guess I was lucky in this way. And I guess people felt they were ripping off their older movies as well. I watched these movies in reverse order in a way. Moving Violations was being played a lot more than the older movies by the time I started to watch them. I mentioned how some of the jokes still make me laugh. The thing that made me laugh when I was little, and still gets to me today, is when the person dressed as a duck goes flying off the float. With a duck "voice" the person says "Oh shit!" I'm pretty sure I would watch the movie for that part of it alone, when I was little. There are other places in the movie that make me laugh every time as well. This is what makes it a true classic to me. No matter how many times I watch it, it is still funny.
I enjoy the character of Spencer even more now. Spencer is the big horror nut in the movie. I can relate to him, even if I don't start talking about horror movies with everyone I meet. Even so, I connect with the passion that Mittleman put into the character, for his love of all things horror. I'm not sure if the movie shown for the class was called Blood On The Highway, it could have been Road I guess. You would think I would know since I just finished watching the damn thing. Anyway, even though it doesn't show much, just the impression that little kids are being run over, well I still take delight in it. I'm pretty sure this was something else I would laugh at when I was little as well.
So there it is...my favorite movie for my 650th post. Not a horror movie at all, but at least it has some ties to the horror world. If you haven't watched this movie yet, you simply should if you are into this style of comedy. If you have watched it before, you should check out the trailer for the movie sometime. The trailer was included in the extras, and was one of two extras on the DVD (I was a little disappointed there were not more extras). Plus I noticed there are a few scenes in it not found in the movie at all. That was pretty interesting to me. I will leave this post with a fun fact about the movie. Did you know that Michael J. Fox was slated to play the main character? The studio thought he would be too young though, so John Murray got the job instead.