Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Only now does it occur to me... FLATBED ANNIE AND SWEETIEPIE: LADY TRUCKERS

Only now does it occur to me... that a full five years before he played one in the seminal REPO MAN, Harry Dean Stanton was already repossessing vehicles across the American West in FLATBED ANNIE AND SWEETIEPIE: LADY TRUCKERS!




It's unfortunate that this genre died out (do we blame MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE?), because these movies are all pleasant enough (see: HIGH-BALLIN', WHITE LINE FEVER, and the like) and usually deliver hearty doses of Americana bizarre-itude, zany high-speed chases, and blue collar Davids versus corporate Goliaths.

All of this, naturally, is accompanied by janglin', crawdaddyin' country grooves thicker than Burt Reynolds' chest hair and sweatier than Southern Fried Sleaze-o-Rama.  This particular film puts its own spin on the genre with lady truckers, played by DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK's Kim Darby and CORVETTE SUMMER's Annie Potts.

When Darby's trucker husband (played by Fred Willard) is injured in the line of duty, she has to stay one step ahead of the repo men and joins forces with her best friend to keep the big rig runnin'.  That's pretty much the entire plot.  There's a lot of Harry Dean Stanton "slow burn"

set to banjo music, and I can really get behind that.  It's also notable for being the first and only film appearance of Billy Carter, full-time brother of then-President Jimmy Carter and part-time huckster of Billy Beer.
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He's given the opportunity to smile a lot, which really plays to his strengths as a performer.  I love that there's a rich history of this sort of political gimmickry, including Roger Clinton's appearance in BIODOME.  But it's really too bad that Jeb Bush never appeared in something like, say... THE PAPERBOY.

 In the end, it's the sort of film where random men declare, "You are some kind of woman, Flatbed Annie!"
 
and it feels only natural. Amen.

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