Saturday, May 25, 2013

Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers (1979)

To avoid any confusion later, it must be stated up front that the TV movie Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers is exactly as awful as its title suggests, though not in the expected way—instead of being lurid or sleazy, the picture is merely dull and insipid. So why note its existence? Well, a number of notable people worked on the project, and in the case of supporting actor Harry Dean Stanton, there’s a minor connection between Flatbed Annie and a famous project that came later. Plus, Flatbed Annie features the one and only acting performance by Billy Carter (pictured), U.S. President Jimmy Carter’s beer-swilling brother. Based on the scant evidence of his one scene, Billy Carter did not miss his calling. To get the synopsis out of the way, Sweetiepie (Kim Darby) is the wife of long-haul trucker Jack (Fred Willard), who gets laid up after an accident and falls behind on truck payments. Sweetiepie decides she needs to deliver a load in Jack’s rig so she can earn money to keep the truck out of hock. In order to achieve this goal, she enlists the aid of Flatbed Annie (Annie Potts), a tough-talking driver. Meanwhile, conniving entrepreneur C.W. Douglas (Stanton) buys Jack’s loan and then tries every angle he can to repossess Jack’s truck so he can sell the rig for cash. That’s the Stanton connection, such as it is—the actor plays a repo man just a few years before portraying another character with the same job in the cult favorite Repo Man (1983). Stanton is the best thing in this terrible movie, whether he’s giving deadpan line deliveries or, in one scene, singing. It’s also (somewhat) interesting to note that Flatbed Annie was directed by Robert Greenwald, whose other accomplishments in fiction films range from the impressive (the 1984 TV movie The Burning Bed) to the mortifying (the 1980 musical flop Xanadu); today, Greenwald is known for his low-budget liberal-fringe documentaries, such as Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price (2005) and Koch Brothers Exposed (2012). As for the leading actors, neither Darby nor Potts benefits from her encounter with this material. Both are abysmal. Darby seems distracted and incompetent, while Potts’ weird performance would only make sense if it were revealed that her character was a drug casualty. Summing up, Flatbed Annie is to be avoided at all costs—except by the morbidly curious.

Flatbed Annie & Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers: LAME

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I know this movie is by no means a masterpiece, but I have to admit I love it. It's in the same vein as Smokey and the Bandit, but a couple of women instead. It could have been beefed up, but then again, it's a 1970s TV movie. What can you do? They can't all be Duel. I had fun watching it!