Monday, February 23, 2009


UPDATED Wednesday February 25 3:33 p.m.

Your after-Oscar mint… Sam Peckinpah’s Convoy (in nine parts).

Imagine Sean Penn muttering into the CB mike, Kate Winslet riding shotgun:

“It was the dark of the moon on the sixth of June
In a Kenworth pullin’ logs
Cab-over Pete with a reefer on
And a Jimmy haulin hogs
We’s headin’ for bear on I-1-0
‘Bout a mile outta Shaky Town
I says, Pig Pen, this here’s the Rubber Duck
and I’m about to put the hammer down…”

UPDATE Wednesday February 25: If you have DirecTV or a cable company that provides high-definition programming, you can see a bit higher-resolution of Convoy tonight as part of a grimy Peckinpah double-header on the MGM HD channel. Here's tonight's relaxing evening entertainment courtesy of this network, which has MGM/UA's excellent catalog of movies upon which to draw each and every day (all times Pacific, all plot descriptions MGM's):

8:00 p.m. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) A seedy American (Warren Oates) and his hooker girlfriend (Silvia Pinal) seek an angry father's $1 million bounty.

10:10 p.m. Convoy (1978) Trucker (Kris Kristofferson) blocks crooked sheriff (Ernest Borgnine) with big rigs.

I love the hard-boiled, non-nonsense clarity of these descriptions, even given the presence of the editorial boner that places Bunuel's Viridiana in the Isela Vega role in Alfredo Garcia. Such a description of Peckinpah's 1974 thriller is somewhat reductive, to be sure, but boiling down the basics of the plot is actually a fair representation of Convoy, a meat-and-potatoes movie if there ever was one from a director not usually inclined to provide such easily digestible fare. So if you've never seen Convoy, grab this chance if you can-- the MGM HD network doesn't have it on its schedule again in the immediate future, and the movie does have its grunting, smashing, sometimes even lyrical pleasures, even if it can't really be counted among the director's best.


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