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I probably shouldn't like this film, but sweet damn, I do. Very
By way of synopsis: this is the story of the inaugural non-stop atomic bus service from New York to Denver. Cyclops, an articulated twin deck bus (with a swimming pool and a bowling alley on board of course), is beset by various unlikely perils en route.
This venerable spoof predates "Airplane!" by four years, and is at least its equal in cheesy quality. This film is cheese, and it's matured for 28 years. With no word of a lie, it is THE cheesiest film I have ever seen, and I've witnessed some fine acts of cheese.
And there are some pretty bad moments to be sure, the sort of moments where you cringe so violently that ligaments tear, but there's comedy of fine calibre in this too: both by way of deadpan "throwaway" lines, and the overall situation (sublimely funny).
The grandfather of a genre (and I'd argue, an exemplar), The Big Bus deserves far more recognition than it presently receives. A fine spoof with no high ideas of itself, which doesn't need to stoop low... by virtue of starting low. Perhaps that's my favourite thing about this film: it was written, acted, and produced without shame. And for that, it's the best quality low quality you'll ever see.
It's sad, but I've seen this film over 100 times! Favourite scenes: The fight in the bus garage: "Watch it, he's got a broken milk carton"! The bar, where the pianist sings "Six Months To Live" to the terminally ill passenger! The Bi-Centennial dinner scene, where Dan denies eating 180 passengers, but admits to eating a foot: "Eat one lousy foot and they call you a cannibal"! The cliff-hanger ending: "I know it looked like I fell, but it was all part of my plan"! All in all brilliant.
The sight gags are all there, there's silliness to spare and there's not a
ZAZ (Zucker, Abrahams, Zucker - the creators of "Airplane!") member in
Yep, "The Big Bus" was the predecessor to the long and luxuriant line of disaster spoofs you see lining the video shelves today. And to tell the truth, as a groundbreaker in this field, this movie is pretty funny.
Bologna is a down-and-out bus driver who is given one shot at redemption by being picked to man the Cyclops, the biggest single bus ever created, driving it coast to coast.
His old girlfriend (Channing) is a kind of bus stewardess on board and an old driving buddy (Beck) is also by his side. But so are a load of passengers as diverse as your average "Airport" or "Poseidon Adventure" movie, not to mention an inept terrorist (Margolin) trying to sabotage the bus at every turn while whining to his brother, "Why did YOU get the iron lung?".
It's that kind of movie.
You'll have a lot of fun picking out every star you can imagine from the '70s here, as well as discovering the jibes at every major convention of disaster movies, even the digs at the huge Cyclops bus itself ("The coyote is on backwards." Never mind, you'll see.)
Definitely a funny and fun movie. Get on this "Bus".
Ten stars for being one of the first on this bandwagon, as well as for some big laughs. And if you have a co-pilot for a huge bus, make sure he stays conscious.
"The Big Bus" was released in 1976, four years before the landmark disaster flick-spoof, "Airplane!". Why "The Big Bus" was not as popular a film is a mystery, because it is every bit as funny as "Airplane!". The dialogue is witty, the sight gags are hilarious and plentiful, and the acting is just dead-pan enough to make it all work. Joseph Bologna and Stockard Channing head up an all-star cast heading from New York to Denver on a nuclear-powered bus, which is supposed to make the trip with no stops, but of course, disasters ensue. The bus is a luxury vehicle, complete with a piano bar, swimming pool, bowling alley and dining room. If you haven't seen "The Big Bus" check it out. It will make you laugh out loud.
This film is a disaster movie spoof that pre-dates Airplane! It's about a giant nuclear-powered bus complete with a bowling alley and pool. Very very funny, okay, not as funny as Airplane!, but better than Airplane 2. The scene in the milk bar where two bus drivers fight with broken milk cartons is great, lots of goofy characters, great cast. Ruth Gordon! Stockard Channing! Richard Mulligan! Lots of 70's fun!
This film was a great way to spend an hour and a half winding up the day.
went to bed with a smile on my face!
It is not quite a "it's so bad it's good " type of film but it came close.
Don't take it seriously, let them off with a few flat jokes, and you'll have a giggle!
Obviously, with all the disaster films of the early '70s, someone had
to make a spoof. And they did just that with "The Big Bus". It portrays
the world's first nuclear-powered bus driving nonstop from New York to
Denver. Naturally, the oil industry is worried that this novelty will
ruin their business, and they seek to destroy it. That's the main plot,
but the movie is mostly an excuse to have a bunch of silly things
happen, as the more famous disaster spoof ("Airplane!") would do four
Another aspect is of course the cast. Joseph Bologna and Stockard Channing get top billing as driver Dan Torrance and inventor Kitty Baxter, but there's even more. John Beck plays narcoleptic co-driver Shoulders O'Brien; Harold Gould plays Kitty's father who gets injured in an explosion; Jose Ferrer plays the diabolical Ironman, who seeks to blow up the bus; Ned Beatty plays Shorty Scotty, guiding the bus along its journey; Rene Auberjonois plays an awkward priest; Ruth Gordon plays an old woman; Sally Kellerman and Richard Mulligan play a couple who may or may not be getting a divorce; Lynn Redgrave plays a woman who has nothing to do but come onto men; and Larry Hagman plays the parking lot doctor.
Like I said, the whole thing was meant to be goofy, and it does not disappoint. Whether it's Shoulders falling asleep at inconvenient times, a truck full of hicks crashing into the bus and getting stuck, or some of the one-liners, the whole thing is a laugh riot.
By the way, although Richard Mulligan and Larry Hagman didn't share any scenes in this movie, this was the second time that they co-starred: Richard Mulligan once guest-starred on "I Dream of Jeannie". This was also the second time that Ruth Gordon co-starred with an "I Dream of Jeannie" cast member: Emmaline Henry (who played Amanda Bellows on "IDOJ") appeared in "Rosemary's Baby".
Saw this when first released, and it was a howler...but only to a
genuine movie and TV fan.
In addition to the various disaster films of the 1970s, it also harkens back to some classic WWII films, the smarmy romances of the 60s and 70s, and not a small number of tidbits from television.
Our circle of friends who saw it together are all film nuts, and we spent days picking the film apart and identifying all of the references and parodies, and still find ones we missed whenever we catch it again.
It's not a spectacular film...hell, it's not even that great of a comedy if you don't get the parody references...but it _is_ one of those films that "hangs together" into a working product.
If you aren't a film buff, then simply sit down on the couch with your favorite nosh, and empty your mind to accept the totality...
And don't cut yourself on the broken milk carton.
The Big Bus is the kind of film that will make you giggle and grimace,
frequently during a viewing. Almost of a kitchen-sink humor, you'll
out loud at the parodies of the great 70's disaster flicks.
This is a film with wonderful cameos featuring b-grade stars who evidently hadn't anything better to do that day, then show up at the studio and act out some schtick. It's campy, rompy, and fun. As I recall, the film's tagline was "You'll die laughing!" Well it is a disaster spoof...
Pay particular attention for a classic line in which elderly runaway from home Ruth Gordon tells Renee Auberjenoius (as a doubting priest) how happy she was that god put her in the seat next to a priest. Father Kudos responds, "If it was god that put you here, why didn't he give you a fancy window seat like mine?! I, Kudos, a doubter luxeriate in a window seat, while you, aging with age, get older yet in that disgrace of an aisle seat!! Where is your god now old woman?!" Ruth Gordon responds, "Jesus, I'm sorry I asked!"
Check this gem out - There are far worse ways to die, than to die laughing while watching "The Big Bus"!
Technology has brought us many wonderful things but at what risks? One
such advancement is the creation of a nuclear bus that runs direct from New
York to Denver. However the sinister Oil Lobby are out to stop the bus from
succeeding (wouldn't they!). When the driver is injured washed up driver Dan
Torrance is brought in despite his history with the inventor's daughter.
Can they survive the dangerous maiden journey?
Disaster spoofs were big business around this time mainly because the genre had been done to death and it was a very easy target to lampoon. However not all worked because they weren't funny. Airplane will always be the best but this little jewel is still pretty funny. It doesn't feel as funny as Airplane simply because it's taken the action and put it in a spoof location rather than spoofing a normal location. However it still allows plenty of laughs and manages to be really funny.
Bologna is a good lead, but Beck steals a lot of it with his role as shoulders. It's funny seeing Stockard Channing drowning in soft drinks and the rest of the cats is filled out with some names Hagman, Kellerman, Beatty etc.
Overall it may not have the fame of Airplane, and many of the jokes just aren't fresh 20 years on but it's still worth a look if you like spoofs.
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