Tag Archives: smokey and the bandit

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.


Padre Steve+

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Filed under film, life, Loose thoughts and musings, movies

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


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.


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.


Padre Steve+


Filed under film, Just for fun, movies

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.


Padre Steve+


Filed under Loose thoughts and musings

New Laws for 2010: Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean that Big Brother is Not Watching You

I love legislatures, well maybe not and it really doesn’t matter if they are controlled by Republicans or Democrats.  I personally think that the members of most legislative bodies are seriously in need of getting their own lives.  Nothing against them, but it seems to me that no matter what party is in charge the end result is that an exponential number of new laws are enacted.  Now some of these are good, and I will not fault legislatures for trying to do well, it just seems to me that every time some new law is enacted that the people who benefit the most are the legislators, lobbyists, special interest groups and of course lawyers.  2010 is a time of intense joy for these interests as the legislatures at all levels of government have been bust, a total of 40,697 new laws went on the books, that’s like 111.49 laws a day.

Across the country a host of new laws have gone into effect.  In Georgia they have a “super-speeder” law for those that go above 85 on 4 lane highways and over 75 on other highways.  Good thing I don’t live there. I think that they were about 30 years to late to get the Bandit though.

In Illinois it will be illegal to text while you drive, not to be outdone New Hampshire and Oregon have followed suit.  No problem here I can barely text when I’m parked comfortably on my couch, but truckers in Illinois can now do 65 rather than 55 outside of the Chicago area where word has it that they can drive as fast as the 25 mile an hour traffic will let them.  In California a new law will allow people to drive vehicles with video screens operating in the front seat… so long as the driver can’t see them, yeah that will work.  Folks in Ohio If you are driving through the Buckeye state you might consider turning on your lights when your windshield wipers are engaged. We already have this in Virginia.

Of course the California legislature has in the name of good health and obesity prevention now prohibits restaurants from using oils, margarines and shortening with more than half a gram of trans fat per serving.  Half a gram, is that a lot?  Not to be outdone in the realm of health Virginia and North Carolina have banned smoking in restaurants, though in Virginia this can be done if the restaurant has a specially designed space with specialized ventilation separated from the rest of the restaurant, in most places this is known as the sidewalk.  I’m not a fan of having to inhale someone’s second hand smoke but it seems that smokers who pay exorbitant rates for taxes in their cancer sticks, and pay higher life and health insurance rates are sort of like criminals who must be demonized and separated from society.  I just think that it is hypocritical that governments allow smoking to be legal if they plan to punish smokers.  It seems if they were really interested in good health that would simply ban cigarettes, but then that would get in the way of tax revenues and put tobacco companies who lobby the legislatures out of business.

In Texas teenagers can no longer use tanning beds unless accompanied by an adult, I guess the fake ID business has a new outlet in Texas.

I love patriotism and symbolic acts that give the appearance of caring about American jobs. In Illinois flags used by state and local governments should be made in the United States.

Much to the glee of divorce lawyers and wedding planners alike New Hampshire joins Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and Iowa in legalizing same-sex marriages.  California now requires that same sex marriages performed in other states while its same sex marriage law is in force.  Washington State and Kentucky each have placed limitations on payday lenders.  In Arkansas the sale of realistic-looking toy guns is banned while stores there and in Florida and Michigan will be required to sell only “fire-safe” cigarettes, fire safe? They are on fire thank you. Nevada and Louisiana have banned the sale of novelty lighters, devices which are designed to look like cartoon characters, toys or guns or that play musical notes or have flashing lights.  On the religious liberty side of the house employers in Oregon cannot restrict employees from wearing religious clothing while working or for taking time off for religious holidays, Festivus anyone?

There are also laws that allow a lot more security measures at airports, give police new powers and allow the use of technology such as radar traffic cameras at intersections.  I first saw these in Germany back in the 1980s and have no problem with them. Virginia Beach has installed a bunch of these around town and I think that is it cool to see the flash of the camera when a car runs a light.

Of course there are other laws that civil libertarians oppose and actions such as the granting immunity to Interpol agents operating in the United States that have some folks riled up, the fact that they are Americans who work in the Justice Department doesn’t calm the storm on this one.

So anyway, as security cameras watch your every move and legislatures find more ways to make your life a legal maze to avoid becoming a criminal for some minor infraction, rejoice, you could live in Iran.

Until that happens we’ll just have to be darned to heck for minor infractions by all the Phil’s in our legislatures.

Have a great New Year,


Padre Steve+

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Filed under laws and legislation, Political Commentary, state government agencies