waking into a dream journal 01.17.08

this morning's craving for a pinky and leather tuscadero sandwich
grand theft auto
director: ron howard // 1977
cinema 4 rating: 4

i admire ron howard for his initiative -- i certainly wish i had his drive (no pun intended) and i also admire him for not just wanting to break free of his bonds on sitcom television and expand to theatrical films, but to get behind the camera as well -- initiative and drive aside, this is the work of a kid with a set of very expensive tinkertoys and hot wheels -- there has always been a little bit of the devil behind his comforting smile, which comes out occasionally in his work (richie cunningham's constant yearning to be a cooler guy than he appears... or is; narrating arrested development; tackling night shift as an early project, etc.) -- of course, even when beginning his feature film directing career, he is still enough of a family guy to co-write the script with his father rance (who has a dandy stunt moment here) and also cast his small-screen mom mrs. c in a role almost stutteringly against her normal type (marion ross is grand, but here it really doesn't work that well) -- in the car crash '70s, it seems that if there was a car that didn't have a bumper dented in or an unbroken taillight, it would have one by the end of the film -- howard goes crazy here, with more crashes per minute than even death race 2000, which pales in comparison for carnage purely involving the bodies of automobiles -- though, unlike death race 2000, because it is a young freckle-faced ronnie howard here, everyone walks away from every single car crash -- this is a comedy, after all, and while it smacks of the ambitiousness of a young spielbergian wannabe, it mainly fails on the laughter front -- the laughs are too desperate, too yearning for instant approval -- that said, there are some good ideas here, and if you like to see cars crash, you won't be disappointed -- i, however, need a little bit more -- it would have been interesting to have seen howard revisit this script a few years later (maybe post-ransom) with a little more experience under his belt -- still might be a cool idea -- i'd release the new version in a double feature with the gumball rally... or cronenberg's crash...


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