Wednesday, January 3, 2018

1980 Week: Coast to Coast

Throughout Coast to Coast, trucker Charlie Callahan (Robert Blake) drives a big-big cattlecar loaded with cows and steers, so remarks about this movie being a load of bullshit are wholly appropriate. Among the least charming romantic comedies ever made, the film tracks the adventures of Madie Levrington (Dyan Cannon), a high-strung woman who stumbles into a relationship with Charlie. Every note of their interaction is false, from the way he initially berates a woman who’s plainly experiencing an emotional crisis to the way they form an opposites-attract bond. And while the picture mindlessly follows the rom-com playbook, writer Stanley Weiser forgets to create the important third prong of a romantic triangle. Instead, Charlie and Madie face a number of one-dimensional villains, notably Madie’s vile husband, Benjamin (Quinn K. Redeker). In a prologue, he commits her to a mental institution as a means of circumventing expensive divorce proceedings, though much of what happens afterwards suggests she might actually be unhinged. Madie escapes the hospital and hitches rides with folks including Charlie, whom she offers to pay for cross-country transport. Since he’s badly in debt, with a repo man hot on his tail, Charlie accepts the offer and, later, considers turning Madie over to goons in Benjamin’s employ so he can collect a cash reward. Notwithstanding dumb car chases and physical-comedy scenes, most of this picture’s first hour comprises ugly vignettes of Blake and Cannon screaming at each other. The final half-hour, during which they connect, break up, and reconcile, is only marginally less irritating. Blake’s characterization is witless (his character’s catchphrase: “Oh, shit!”), and Cannon runs the gamut from hyper to shrill to vapid. Even with lively country-rock tunes by folks including Rita Coolidge, Johnny Lee, Bonnie Raitt powering the soundtrack, Coast to Coast is a road movie driving on stripped gears.

Coast to Coast: LAME

1 comment:

Unknown said...

You gotta admit, tho. A fantastic poster.