Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hot Summer in Barefoot County (1974)

Even if one accepts as a thesis that ’70s movies about moonshiners rarely charted new intellectual terrain, Hot Summer in Barefoot County is extraordinarily stupid—so much so that it seems as if the filmmakers forgot their own plot about 20 minutes into the picture. Despite being presented with the incompetent acting, sludgy imagery, and twitchy editing of the worst low-budget junk, the opening of the picture presents an adequate B-movie premise: Moonshiners have gotten the best of local authorities in rural Barefoot County, so a Southern-bred government agent is sent there to work undercover. Yet as soon as the agent arrives, he gets into a car accident and is recovered and nursed to health by a backwoods matriarch and her three sexy daughters. The agent recuperates quickly but then spends all of his time romancing one of the daughters, periodically calling back to the office to claim that he’s making progress even though he barely ever does any investigating. In fact, just about his only crime-fighting activity involves saving his favorite gal from an attempted rape after a bunch of hopped-up rednecks watch her and her sisters skinny-dipping. Yes, this is the sort of picture in which women are largely portrayed as oblivious sex objects, and in one scene the daughters annoy their mama by trying to paint the family’s moonshine still pink as a means of alleviating their boredom. Alas, nothing can alleviate viewers’ boredom while enduring Hot Summer in Barefoot County, which is basically coherent but so plotless that following the story is like trying to grab vapors. Besides the eye candy of shapely women in barely-there costumes, the only quasi-noteworthy element of Hot Summer in Barefoot County is the presence in the cast of actor Jeff MacKay, who later enjoyed a long small-screen career with recurring roles in Black Sheep Squadron; Magnum, P.I.; and JAG.

Hot Summer in Barefoot County: LAME

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