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I distinctly remember this movie because in the summer of 1980 I was
travelling across the United States, and only had time to see one movie of
the three big budgeted comedies that hit the theatres that
The comedies that year were; 1) "Airplane," 2) "Used Cars" and 3) "How to beat the High Cost of Living." I went and saw film 3, and have regretted not seeing "Used Cars" in the theatre to this day. Some four or five years later when it hit Home Box Office (HBO) I thought I'd die laughing, and was kicking myself even harder for not seeing Robert Zemeckis' film in the theatre some five years before!
"Airplane" took the box office that summer with all of its cheap gags, and "How to Beat the High Cost of Living" spawned the popular "Kate and Ally" TV series. Unfortunately "Used Cars" faded into the background, but saw a well earned and much deserved revival courtesy an HBO airing and home video sales.
"Used Cars" is the comedy those two other films wanted to be, but couldn't. "Used Cars" is a better film with funnier material, better story, more action, and more heart, and will always be remembered as the quintessential 1980's comedy.
You must see "Used Cars," but be cautioned, it's NOT a family comedy. There's lots of swearing, a few strippers, and other "adult" references. Even so, in my personal opinion, it is the funniest film made to date. ENJOY! :-)
One of the funniest movies ever made. I remember watching it on video in
the early '80s and expected something really bad (from the cover on the
video cassette). There was a movie released around the same time called
GAS, which was awful, awful, awful. I saw Used Cars after GAS and
the worst. And Used Cars is STILL as funny as ever. Perhaps even funnier
now (and interesting to note that Kurt Russell really displays great comic
timing in this, and it is director Robert Zemeckis' only R-rated film).
Zemeckis was one naughty school boy with this film, and those expecting
something along the order of Forrest Gump, Back to the Future or Castaway
will be in for a surprise!
If you're a fan, get the DVD - the commentary with Russell and Zemeckis
screenwriter Bob Gale is priceless. I think they were drinking a little
when they did the commentary. It is one of the most entertaining
commentaries I have heard.
A classic in bad taste, in the best Mel Brooks and Farrelly Brothers fashion--and 50 bucks never killed anyone!
This is a romantic comedy, but not one I would watch with my wife!
The tasteless jokes and one-liners roll out almost non-stop.
The movie verifies most everything we believe about used car salesmen, the "My boss will have a heart Attack" sales scene nearly brings me to tears I laugh so hard. Russell is at his best with some of the best character actors around joining in, I especially like the goofy Lenny and Squiggy, they just play two very disturbed individuals. Don't look for any deep meaning here, just crude humor a a very funny movie.
I give it 8/10
There are not many American films made any more which are as inherently cynical and as satirical as this. I know Rudy gives up his chance of becoming Senator to help Barbara but the last image we see is him giving the spiel to an old woman. The makers knew they wouldn't be able to get away with making a film which didn't have some sort of phoney closure so they stuck in the big finale, but they mean for us to be aware of Rudy's true identity; once a hustler, always a hustler.
It is also incredibly funny, packed with incidental pleasures as well as the foregrounded plot. In many ways the film could have been improved if they had just concentrated on the machinations of the rival dealerships but I think the film did need something more concrete to hang the narrative on. The last half an hour is a little disappointing but given that the preceding hour and a bit was so good, one can forgive them this.
There are so many things to mention I think I'll just list a few: Toby the dog, the two guerilla broadcasters, Rudy's first commercial, Jeff conning a customer into thinking he has killed the dog. There are so many great moments I can't think why this film isn't better known than it is.
Kurt Russell is Rudy Russo a slimy, dishonest used car salesman working
for Luke Fuchs (Jack Warden) who yearns to be in Congress, where the
real payola is. When Luke dies from one of the schemes of his evil
brother, Roy (Jack Warden again pulling double duty, who owns his own
used car lot across the street) to get Luke's car lot, as his is going
to be bulldozed to make room for a new offramp. It's up to Rudy to hide
Luke's death from both Roy and Luke's daughter, Barbara (Deborah
Harmon), whom Rudy is falling for despite himself. This movie is one of
Robert Zemeckis's best films (right up there with the first "Back to
the Future"), but whereas that's more or less a kid's fantasy, however
great it might be. This is a true blue adult comedy that wears it's R
rating on it's sleeve. And is all the more hilarious for it. Filled
with a great many quotable lines, memorable scenes, and wonderfully
zany characters, it's no wonder that I love it so much.
My Grade: B+
DVD Extras: Commentary by Robert Zemeckis, Kurt Russell, and Bob Gale; Outtakes; TV spot; 8 Radio spots; Advertising Gallery; filmagraphies; and Trailers for "So I Married an Axe Murderer", "Multiplicity" and "Groundhog Day"
Eye Candy: Deborah Harmon and Cheryl Rixon each get topless
This is one funny movie. Kurt Russell shows his comedic side and is hysterical - so are Gerrit Graham and Jack Warden. Robert Zemeckis made a gem very few people saw and this is my favorite movie of his. See it if you want to laugh like hell.
first of all when this movie came out, in 1980, (when first i saw
was way before cell phones, personal computers, and the
of mtv, which all have jaded our youth of today. this was a comedy
years ahead of it's time..that said. kurt russell's character
assassination of a used car salesman is a direct hit. gerrit graham's
performance is extremely brilliant as a superstitious-gambling
really the whole cast is incredibly funny. but it's the dual
of jack warden playing twin bothers, with good and evil
that probably should of won him a golden globe (on that performance
he's that good...simply put, this movie is laughs,laughs, split your
laughs, and more laughs. a must watch comedy. and after you've seen it
you'll want to add it to your movie library. but if you somehow don't
this movie funny, then maybe you need to check your sense of humor at the
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You've read the reviews and summations on other posts, but when you watch this gem, be sure to pay close attention to the scene where Rudy and the other 'salesmen' are ready to start selling on the morning after their football break-in commercial. The way Rudy goes from being "Rudy O'hara" to "Rudy Garcia" to "Rudy Washington Carver" is sheer script genius. And when Jeff uses his shotgun to blast away high prices, ending by saying "We blew the s---out of that overpriced m-----F-----just like we blow the s---out of all high prices", if you're not laughing you must be deaf and blind. There are many other great scenes too. I rate this film 9 out of 10 (only because of the slight letdown in the last 20 minutes).
It is absolutely absurd that this flick was left off "AFI's Top 100
Funniest Movies of All Time." While it loses some steam (and
irreverence} in the last twenty minutes,the first two thirds of the
movie is consistently hilarious. The omission may have occurred because
female members of the voting panel found the movie offensive. Indeed,
the main male characters manipulate and exploit women throughout. In
truth, the used car salesmen manipulate all the men they encounter too
(although they don't use their tits to sell cars).
I encourage you men to view this gem with your female significant other even though it's not a "chick flick" like "When Harry Met Sally." If she hates it, dump her for a woman with a sense of humor.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
USED CARS was director Robert Zemeckis' follow-up to the sweet, sentimental
I WANNA HOLD YOUR HAND, and, as he joked in his audio commentary, he wanted
to cut loose, swear, and do something supremely tasteless as a follow-up. He
This is a wild tribute to corruption, deceit, and dishonesty, in a field second only to politics in tarnished reputations! Kurt Russell is the crooked head salesman in a broken-down car lot, saving money to buy a seat in Congress "where the really BIG kickback money is". His boss, sweet-natured Luke Fuchs (Jack Warden), has a bad heart and a twin brother, truly nasty Roy Fuchs (also Warden, who is wonderful in the dual roles) running a competing used car lot across the highway. Evil Fuchs NEEDS his brother's dealership, as a state highway is about to be built over his lot, so he has an employee pose as a customer, and 'try out' one of Luke's cars with the old man in the car. After the test drive from Hell, Luke stumbles inside his trailer, and dies from a heart attack.
Russell realizes any hope to raise enough cash to run for office would be shattered with Fuchs' death, so he and his fellow employees bury the old man and his car in the lot, and fibs that Fuchs had left town on vacation. Then Fuchs' daughter, Barbara (Deborah Harmon) arrives, and things get sticky!
The film becomes a live-action Warner Bros. cartoon, as 'good guy' Russell and 'bad guy' Warden try scheme after scheme to ruin the other...Warden offers a carnival in his lot, Russell offers strippers...Warden does TV commercials, Russell brings in two disreputable cable guys ('Lenny and Squiggy' Michael McKean and David L. Lander) to break into a Presidential address with an 'R'-rated ad that would leave the FCC in apoplexy! This insanity builds to an epic climax, as hundreds of junkyard cars, driven by Driver's Ed students, race to fill Russell's car lot, and prevent a court-ruled closing.
The cast is matchless; in addition to Russell, Warden, and Harmon, outrageous humor is provided by Gerrit Graham (who gleefully shotguns Warden's cars in another 'illegal' TV spot), and Frank McRae, as a mechanic you DON'T want to disagree with. And don't forget a certain dog, who outperforms nearly everyone in the cast!
This is the ONLY 'R'-rated film Zemeckis has ever directed (the BACK TO THE FUTURE trilogy and FORREST GUMP are among his later triumphs), yet USED CARS was a commercial failure when first released, despite rave reviews. AIRPLANE! came out at the same time, and, unfortunately, the public wasn't interested in watching TWO 'over-the-top' comedies. So USED CARS languished, until video and dvd reintroduced it to a new generation.
It's growing status a a cult classic is perhaps the BEST proof the "Crime Pays" in USED CARS!
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