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Ain’t nothin’ gonna get in their way!

September 8, 2011

Convoy (1978)

Tuesday, September 13th 9pm

Otto’s Shrunken Head

538 E. 14th street (A & B)

Convoy is based on the 1975 novelty, country western song of the same name, by C.W. McCall.

Directed by Sam Peckinpah, this epic anti hero tale, is one of the premier examples of the CB Radio/trucker film genre which rose to prominence in the 1970s following the success of Smokey and the Bandit, White Line Fever and the TV series Movin’ On.

Didn’t you hear me? She didn’t have any pants on!

Martin ‘Rubber Duck’ Penwald (Kris Kristofferson), an independent trucker on the road in the Arizona desert just trying to make a buck, gets hassled by the cops for speeding while trying to flirt with a lady in a Jaguar XKE. This isn’t the first time he’s had run ins with the corrupt highway patrol, nor will itbe the last.

My name is Bob Bookman, sir, and I hate truckers.

Narrowly escaping the ticket by appealing to the cop ‘s lascivious nature, he says that the lady wasn’t wearing any underpants, and the cop tears off after her to ‘investigate’. Back on the road, he quickly tunes in to some friendly voices on the CB radio, Love Machine and Spider Mike. Getting the ‘all clean and green’ ok from a mystery voice on the airwaves, they speed on towards lunch, but after taking a sharp turn at 75mph, they’re greeted by corrupt sheriff ‘Dirty Lyle’ Wallace, who it turns out has been luring them into speeding over the CB just to give them a ticket.

Piss on you, and piss on your law.

Having been extorted for all they’re worth, they head on to a favorite truck stop for lunch. When they arrive, the gang’s all there, including fellow trucker Widow Woman, the Duck’s girl Violet, and Melissa, the chick from the XKE, who’s sold her car and is looking for a ride out of Arizona. When the cops show and start trouble again, the truckers fight back and it all goes to hell. They pull the plugs on the cop cars and hit the road as a 4 truck convoy to the state line.

Melissa: But they’re all following you.
Rubber Duck: [looks at Melissa then road] No, they ain’t. I’m just in front of them.

As the word quickly spreads over the CB, more truckers join the convoy in support of the injustice of cops towards independent truckers everywhere, and by the time they reach New Mexico, the convoy is a mile long. The media, politicians, and the public are consumed by the renegade fleet of long haulers, and the Duck has become the unlikely leader of a revolution, with Melissa as his co-pilot.

Breaker, Breaker this is Mother Trucker. Repeat Spider Mike needs help.

While the convoy camps for the night amidst a media blitz. Spider Mike who’s split off from the group to rush home to his old lady who’s just made him a daddy, is arrested by “Dirty Lyle”, and taken to truckers hell in Alverez, Texas, where he’s ruffed up bad. Word reaches the convoy via CB (of course) and the truckers rush to his rescue, despite the politicians trying to convince them to sacrifice Spider, for the good of the convoy.

Here’s the plan: When we get to the pass, we’re gonna put on our fish costumes, pass out the Vaseline an’ an extra ration o’ rum for the men. That should do it.

Of course they don’t get it. The convoy was never a political statement, but instead a group of truckers watching out for each other, united against an unjust group of law enforcement. Melissa doesn’t understand and stays behind, though she quickly realizes the Duck was right and hitches a ride with a fellow trucker to try to catch up with him.

Breaker 19, calling all trucks. Anyone who’s got a problem with Mexico, speak up quick

The convoy busts Spider Mike out of jail, confronts ‘Dirty Lyle’ and split for Mexico. They’re no longer a revolution, or a political pawn, but instead simply an outlaw caravan on the run for their freedom.

Breaker 19, this is the bear, banging down your front door. Come on!

Dirty Lyle, a fleet of highway patrol and the army heads off the convoy. The Duck rushes them in a hapless game of chicken, where he’s run off the road when the explosive load he’s hauling is hit with a flurry of bullets. The truck crashes through a guard rail and off a bridge, while the Convoy and Melissa watch in horror.

You ever seen a duck that couldn’t swim? Quack, quack!

The funeral is a star-studded media affair. The Duck has been turned into a true American hero, a ‘native son’ fighting for the rights of the hard working man. Melissa, wandering the proceedings, happens upon a hippy Jesus bus that’s been part of the convoy all along…low and behold, who’s tucked away in the back, busted up but very much alive, but the Rubber Duck himself. Hopping on the loud speaker to taunt Lyle one last time, the politicians are furious, and the funeral ruined. Dirty Lyle cackles hysterically at the absurdity of it all, the Duck, Melissa and the entire convoy peel out for one final run.

Catch you on the flipflop. 10-4.

– Corinna

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