10 Worst Car Movie Ripoffs
As we mentioned in Death of the Car Guy? if you grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, you were fed a steady diet of movies that leaned heavily on car culture. Some of the car movies — Two-Lane Blacktop, The Car and Death Race 2000, for example – were pretty bad, but they at least had some shred of originality that helped you overlook their failings. Then there were the sequels, the ripoffs, and the clones that were cynically excreted to capitalize on the popularity of a better movie.
Now, we present to you 10 of the worst car movie ripoffs in history:
See if you can figure this out: The guy who made The Wild Bunch also made this gear-jammin’, CB-talkin’ cover version of Smokey and the Bandit based on the AM radio hit song of the same name. Of course, Sam Peckinpah also made Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, which might be one of the worst atrocities ever committed to film. Leather-skinned Kris Kristofferson looks – as always – like he just climbed out of a refrigerator box in a culvert, and Ali McGraw has the same short, curly perm that Mike Schmidt wore the year the Phillies beat the Royals in the World Series.
Drive-In was kind of a mashup of a non-nostalgic American Graffiti/Dazed and Confused – with lots of kids feeling each other up at the drive-in movie in the title – and Kentucky Fried Movie, in that there’s actually a parody of a disaster film playing on the screen. Two reasons to see this movie: The parody disaster movie, which is actually kind of funny, and Lisa Lemole’s epic 1970s shorts, which occupy about a third of the screen in some scenes. Director Rod Amateau was the supervising producer of Dukes of Hazzard and its short lived spinoff Enos, so he ain’t all bad.
Smokey Bites the Dust
When your star power includes Jimmy McNichol – a guy that looks more like a chick than his sister – you’re gonna have a bad time. There’s only two reasons to have “Smokey” in the title: It was made in 1981, and it hoped to capitalize on the success of the Burt Reynolds/Hal Needham franchise. The car chases are just a collection of unused clips from the 3,000 other films Roger Corman produced.