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A Movie A Day: Quint on MOVING VIOLATIONS (1985)
Why is my back all wet?



Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.] Cinematographer Robert Elswit connects us from yesterday’s 1985 comedy THE SURE THING to today’s 1985 comedy MOVING VIOLATIONS. This film comes from the creators of POLICE ACADEMY. If you didn’t see that on the DVD cover you’d see that within 5 minutes of the flick. I won’t say that there’s not any enjoyment to be had out of this movie, but it is so very clearly set on the “Hey, Police Academy worked. Rinse, wash, repeat…” setting. So, we take Police Academy and… wait for it… set it at a traffic school! Bang! Instant bucks! And we’ll get Bill Murray to star! Wait, GHOSTBUSTERS made a shitload of money. We can’t get Bill Murray. Can we get someone that will act and sound exactly like him… doesn’t he have a brother? Bingo! That might be a little harsh. John Murray does try his hardest, but I get the feeling that he isn’t exactly like his brother and that’s what the producers wanted because he’s essentially playing Bill Murray playing the character, Dana Cannon. I quite liked what he did in SCROOGED, actually playing Murray’s brother, so no offense to him as an actor, but I think he got shafted a bit. Instead of GW Baily we have James Keach, the tight-ass highway patrolman who bumps heads with Murray throughout the flick. Keach is good in the role, but suffers a bit from the same thing that John Murray does. You get the feeling that the producers wanted Stacy and then just settled for his brother, making him play his more famous sibling. I’m making it sound like I hated this movie… I didn’t. There are some fun gags and Murray is charming, if not a carbon copy, in the lead. There’s a great cast of character actors here, including Brian Backer (remember him? He was the geek that fell in love with Jennifer Jason Leigh in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH), Jennifer Tilly (cast as a rocket scientist, no less), Wendie Jo Sperber as a hypocondriac, Fred Willard as a double-entendre spewing mechanic/scientist guy, Ned Eisenberg as an unapologetic gore hound that gets off on the horrible warning videos shown to the class and Sally Kellerman as a dirty (in more ways than one) judge. Also look out for Don Cheadle in an early, early role as a fast food clerk at a drive-thru, Brent Chalem (Horace from The Monster Squad) as one of the children victims of the inattentive driver in the PSA shown to the class and the Where's the Beef lady as the best friend to the old Mrs. Houk (Nedra Volz), a damn near blind senior citizen and one of the funniest parts of the movie. The scene where she is found trying to piss in the men's urinal did get me to laugh (that's her line in the subhead), but I love toilet humor. Final Thoughts: The movie’s a formula that was already getting old when it came out and now after a hundred sequels and ripoffs of POLICE ACADEMY it’s even more out of touch. But there is a charm to it, something that could be ‘80s nostalgia for me or seeing Murray trying to do his best Bill. I won’t deny the movie did get a few laughs out of me (usually when James Keach was being a dick) and '80s Jennifer Tilly is ALWAYS worth watching, but I can’t say I enjoyed it enough to ever go out of my way to watch it again.

The schedule for the next 7 days is: Monday, July 21st: MEATBALLS (1979) Tuesday, July 22nd: CAST A GIANT SHADOW (1966) Wednesday, July 23rd: OUT OF THE PAST (1947) Thursday, July 24th: THE BIG STEAL (1949) Friday, July 25th: WHERE DANGER LIVES (1950) Saturday, July 26th: CROSSFIRE (1947) Sunday, July 27th: RICCO, THE MEAN MACHINE (1973) Tomorrow we cut across the Murray blood-line and hit 1979’s MEATBALLS, starring John’s brother Bill. See you folks then! -Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing

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