Tag Archives: burt reynolds

The Bandit is Dead, Long Live the Bandit: the Passing of Burt Reynolds

Friends of Padre Steve’e World,

I came of age in the late 1970s and early 1980s and back then Burt Reynolds ruled the box office. I think that I saw every move that he made between 1974 and 1985. My favorites were his comedies like Smokey and the Bandit, The End, The Cannonball Run, Starting Over, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and so many others. I did really like his serious films like  Sharkey’s Machine, Deliverance, and his part as “Mr. Burt” in the X-Files episode Improbable which was aired in 2002. But it was his comedies that I continually go back to when I need a laugh. I’m doing that tonight.

One of the movies that I will watch this weekend is The End where he plays a man diagnosed with cancer who tries to kill himself and gets locked up with Dom DeLouise, who then takes it upon himself to help Reynolds try to kill himself. At the end of the film Reynold’s character decides that he wants to live after swimming out into the ocean to drown himself. In a panic he begins to bargain with God:

Oh, God! Let me live, and I promise to obey every one of the Ten Commandments. I shall not kill… I shall not commit adultery… I shall not… I… uh… I’ll  learn the Ten Commandments, and then I’ll obey every fucking one of them!

I love that line.

But for me Burt Reynolds was an icon and it is hard to believe that he has passed away. I heard about his death as my iPhone news notifications started going off for close to an hour, even overwhelming important news going on in the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. All I can think about Judge Kavanaugh and his lack of truthfulness and character is a quote from Reynolds’s character in Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd: “Boys, I got myself a pretty good bullshit detector, and I can tell when somebody’s peeing on my boots and telling me it’s a rainstorm.” But I digress…

The fact is that I am going to miss Burt Reynolds. I was looking forward to him possibly being in Quentin  Tarantino’s next film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood; I am sure that he would have been great in it.

Reynolds was more than a sum of his acting parts, he was also a very reflective and appreciate man as he aged. He appreciated his friends. When he friend and frequent co-star Dom DeLuise  passed away he said:

As you get older, and start to lose people you love, you think about it more, and I was dreading this moment. Dom always made you feel better when he was around and there will never be another like him. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone. I will miss him very much…. 

He was able to recognize his failures in life, relationships, and even in the choices of some films that he made. That being said he was able to express his appreciation for those who stood by him, supported him, and told him the truth during his good and bad times.

He also said something that I can relate to despite not being an actor. Instead of acting I have tried to teach and help younger military personnel, officers, and especially chaplains. In doing so I often make fun of myself and the mistakes that I have made. I can laugh at myself, except when I can’t. As I look at retiring from the military next year after some 38 years of service I know that my legacy will not be the sum of my personal accomplishments, it will be the young men and women that I have been able to teach and mentor over the years. Reynolds said:

I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun making fun of myself! As to my legacy, it’s the kids that I have taught. I love this business so very much that I want to share my knowledge about it. The young actors that I have taught, I hope they think of me as a good teacher like Charles Nelson Reilly. Being a good teacher. I’ll take that over being a good actor any day!

With that I will go back to my Burt Reynolds movie binge watching weekend.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Seventies Movies Tonight: Foul Play, Airplane and Smokey and the Bandit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elHoRhGrTiE

Well after a couple of weeks of nothing but seriousness I decided to give myself a break from the real world and retreat to the 1970s. Well, I didn’t drag out a Leisure Suit or start playing the Bee Gees or anything like that but I decided to drag out some 1970s comedies. First up was Foul Play starring Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase; next the slapstick classic  Airplane starring Robert Hedges, Julie Hagerty and a cast of all-stars including Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack, Leslie Nielsen, Peter Graves and even Kareem Abdul Jabbar and finally Smokey and the Bandit starring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field and Jackie Gleason.

Sometimes I need these kind of nights. I wrote yesterday about things that trouble me and yes they still do, but to maintain some sense of sanity I need to break away and clear the brain housing unit.  Baseball does this a lot for me but alas it is not yet the regular season and not much is on although I could tune in to the MLB channel and maybe catch a Spring Training game or speculation and analysis of the coming season.

But tonight I needed to laugh and laughing is good for us and that is in the Bible, Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes that there is a “time to laugh” of course there are other verses in the Bible that make laughter to be a bad thing and I don’t think that the Apostle Paul would approve of my taste in comedy. However after Paul’s shipwreck he might have gotten a kick out of Airplane, but then maybe not. But Karl Barth the great Swiss Theologian once said that “laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God” and I think that he was right and that if we can find things that allow us to laugh, even at ourselves that it is good for us.

I love comedy and lover to laugh and movies like these never get old to me and watching Airplane was even more enjoyable after having spent some time on a flight simulator for the MV-22 Osprey on Thursday afternoon.  I was able to take off and land without crashing. I want to go to flight school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzRJWy-3_Dc

I love Foul Play and I think a lot is because that it was filmed in San Francisco.  Airplane though is special because of all the one liners, puns and parodies of things that I grew up with in the 1970s that make it so funny to me.

After I watched the movie once I went back and watched it with the commentary by Jim Abrahams and David and Jerry Zucker.  Watching the movie with their comments made it even funnier because as many times as I have seen it I noticed more things that I had missed in previous viewings.  Likewise I found out things that I never knew. I guess that the most interesting was that the part of Roger Murdock played by Kareem Abdul Jabbar was originally written for Pete Rose but Rose had to turn it down because it was filmed in the summer.

So I guess that means that I watched Airplane twice tonight and because of that I am not going to watch Smokey and the Bandit. Oh well it was fun and I am still laughing.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Doing the Sidestep: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and American Politics and Media

After the past week of seriousness I have decided to take a night off of the news and even away from ESPN before driving to see Judy tomorrow for the long weekend. After watching a couple episodes of 30 Rock and walking and playing with Molly I decided to watch a couple of more light hearted movies.

The first was The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas a classic musical comedy from 1982 starring Dolly Parton, Burt Reynolds, Dom Deluise, Jim Neighbors and Charles Durning as the Governor.  Based on the real life closing of the Chicken Ranch brothel near LeGrange Texas in 1973 I have always liked it.  The music is nice to relax to and I find the social commentary quite poignant about holy than thou media types that use their power to sensationalize stories and most politicians have no morality other than the latest poll numbers. My inner Libertarian actually thinks that the media and government should stay out of people’s private lives as Sheriff Ed Earl (Burt Reynolds) said “I’ve been fightin’ crime all my life but let’s not confuse crime with committing a sin. You can’t legislate morality.”

Dom Deluise portrays a consumer watchdog reporter for a Houston television station named Melvin P Thorp.  The song Texas has a Whorehouse in It is emblematic of such reporters methods.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z5CXQGCxphU&feature=related

 Despite my attempt to avoid politics tonight I did get a laugh as Durning playing the governor answered a reporter’s question about what he thought of the Middle East saying “I was sayin’ just this morning at the weekly prayer breakfast, in this historic capital, that it behooves both the Jews and the Arabs to settle their differences in a Christian manner!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJG75FJkjr8

But the best is the song “Sidestep” the lyrics of which are below. The song sounds like it could come out of the mouth of any of our Presidential candidates that have either run for office or been elected in the past 50 years, with the possible exception of Ron Paul.  But the song sounds just like speeches I hear from those on the campaign trail on the news every night.

Fellow Texans, I am proudly standing here to humbly see.

I assure you, and I mean it- Now, who says I don’t speak out as plain as day?

And, fellow Texans, I’m for progress and the flag- long may it fly.

I’m a poor boy, come to greatness. So, it follows that I cannot tell a lie.

Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don’t-

I’ve come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,

cut a little swathe and lead the people on.

Now my good friends, it behooves me to be solemn and declare,

I’m for goodness and for profit and for living clean and saying daily prayer.

And now, my good friends, you can sleep nights, I’ll continue to stand tall.

You can trust me, for I promise, I shall keep a watchful eye upon ya’ll…

Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don’t-

I’ve come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,

cut a little swathe and lead the people on.

Now, Miss Mona, I don’t know her, though I’ve heard the name, oh yes.

But, of course I’ve no close contact, so what she is doing I can only guess.

And now, Miss Mona, she’s a blemish on the face of that good town.

I am taking certain steps here, someone somewhere’s gonna have to close her down.

Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep, now they see me now they don’t-

I’ve come and gone and, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step,

cut a little swathe and lead the people on.

Ooh I love to dance a little sidestep…

And, ooh I love to sweep around the wide step…

Cut a little swathe and lead the people on

So anyway, a little humor can help all of us navigate the current election season.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Thoughts from a Sunday Night in DC: I had better Accommodations in Iraq

Today was one of those days that was well “just one of those days.”  I am in Washington DC this week for a conference at the George Washington University Institute for Spirituality and Health.  I am looking forward to the conference as we are beginning to incorporate the Institute’s FICA spiritual assessment at our hospital.

Today however was just “one of those days.”  I spent a lot longer of my day than I would have wanted to on the road traveling the I-64 and I-95 corridors from Virginia Beach to DC.  I left atnoonand arrived after6 PM.  By the time I had found where I needed to check in and get to my room it was after7 PM.  Since it is less than 200 miles from our place in Virginia Beach to the GWU campus it means that much of my time was spent driving less than 20 MPH which if I was a Panzer Commander of the Easter Front would be great time but is pretty sad for our wondrous county.

When I got to my room it was the worst accommodations that I have stayed in since Iraq. I won’t go into too many details but it is about 85 degrees in my room and I am sleeping on a very uncomfortable mattress.  The only way the heat is bearable is to sleep 18 inches from the pathetic window air conditioner without any covers and scantily clad enough to be a Playgirl Magazine centerfold like Burt Reynolds without the hair or the moustache. There is a kitchenette without as much as a utensil, no television, a refrigerator with a working freezer but alas no ice trays.  There are many tiles missing from the bathroom floors, the supplied towel is thinner than a junior high school gym towel and the sheets do not fit the uncomfortable mattress.

Now I admit to save the government money I took the “on campus housing.”  But truthfully I don’t remember staying at anything so substandard in college or when visiting any other campus after graduation.  In fact since GWU is a rather prestigious school I thought that the room would be something that the parent of a student paying mega bucks to attend this university would approve of their child living.  If I was a parent I would be appalled.  To put professionals, physicians, nurses and chaplains all with advanced degrees in such conditions where after hours study is well nigh impossible and rest even more so is embarrassing.

But then what do I expect for Washington DC?  Hell the Republicans and Democrats can’t get enough of their collective shit together to do anything and are driving the country toward a cliff that all of us know will end in disaster.  So why should anything else work in this town and why am I not surprised?  I should have brought a Super-Soaker full of Holy Water and equipped my car with a Holy Water Mist system and just hosed down the city.

I doubt if I will sleep tonight but at least I know that a least two things are working, Baseball and breweries.  I walked to the Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant and had a couple of good beers with dinner and was able to watch a bit of baseball at the bar.

I doubt if I sleep much as I am having some strongIraqmemories but I’m going to give it a try. All I can say is that this is doing nothing for my post-Iraq PTSD psychological and spiritual health . Tomorrow I find a way out of this dump without having the Navy pay another dime for me to stay this place.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Some of Padre Steve’s Favorite Funny Movies of the 1970s and 1980s

I don’t know about you but no matter what your age some of your favorite movies might just come from the time when you were in High School or College. For me that was the 1970s and 1980s.

I have always been a fan of slapstick and silliness and in my book some of the most creative and even hysterical films ever made came out of that era.

Of course there are all of the Mel Brooks films which I have mentioned in previous articles.  I absolutely love Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, Spaceballs and History of the World Part I.

But I also love others such as Burt Reynolds films like the Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run films where Reynolds teamed up with people like Dom DeLouise, Sally Field and Jackie Gleason as well as The End, The Longest Yard and Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

There were others such as Foul Play with Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn, Stripes, Caddie Shack and Meatballs with Bill Murray. Then there were was the Pink Panther series with Peter Sellers in the role of Inspector Clouseau, in a great series of comic misadventures.

Then there are the military dark comedies such as Kelly’s Heroes and the movie version of M*A*S*H, Private Benjamin and Catch 22.

I cannot ever forget the Zucker, Abrams, Zucker films, Airplane and Airplane II, the Naked Gun series with Leslie Nielsen and spoofs like Hot Shots and Hot Shots Part Deux. Then of course I cannot leave out films like the Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters, Animal House and English imports like Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Some of favorites include sports comedies such as Major League, Bull Durham, the Longest Yard and Slapshot, and cop comedies such as 48 Hours, and Beverley Hills Cop and then films like Trading Places.

I love these films because I get a laugh out of them and on days like today where I had to undergo more cognitive testing ordered by the Neurologist to see if the Mad Cow is getting me.

So anyway those are some of my favorites and if I took a boit more time I probably could add to these in a big way.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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